New battery time?

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Lmo
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New battery time?

Post by Lmo » Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:07 pm

1 - The Westco WCP15L 14aH/220CCA AGM battery in my rig is at least five years old. It's been performing well until very recently;
a - it sits on a digital battery 'maintainer' and will start the bike first thing in the morning.
b - it will start the bike, with the electric starter, after a 10+ mile cruise at 'highway speed'.
c - it will then fail to start the bike after a second stop ( i.e. running into the market ).
d - it kick starts with one kick.

2 - The alternator is making;
a - 11.49V 2 idle*
b - 12.8 above idle ( say 10mph in first gear )
c - 14.8V 'at speed'

3 - I had it load tested at O'Reilly Auto Parts and, surprisingly, it tests 'Good'

Regardless of load test, I think it's new battery time.

What says the collective?

* I didn't have my Harmonizer available to monitor RPM, but I would estimate 800-1000 RPM.
Lew Morris
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darkhorse
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Re: New battery time?

Post by darkhorse » Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:48 pm

I would try starting it in the morning and let it idle a bit, shut it off, and see if it will start with the electric start a second time. If it starts the second time, I would start to look towards the alternator for the root cause as it could indicate that you are running off the battery as opposed to the battery not being able to recover from the initial start . 11.5V at idle seems low to me. Mine is older than yours but after replacing the voltage regulator a couple of years ago I think I recall it being above 12V at idle.
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Re: New battery time?

Post by jeffsaline » Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:58 pm

If I was evaluating your battery I'd want to know the voltage with the battery at rest, with the key on and the headlight on and finally what it reads when cranking the engine for 15 seconds. Voltages I'd want to see are 12.5 or better at rest, 12.3 or better with the key on and headlight on and at least 10.0 volts at the end of cranking for 15 seconds. For the cranking test the ignition system should be disabled or you could just put a sparkplug in each cap and ground them. Don't just unplug the caps and let them hang. That can damage the coil.

Any voltages below what I note above and I would replace the battery. I have a Westco AGM battery I bought in 1999 and it still works for around the shop stuff. I removed it from an R90/6 after 5 years as they are known to fail without warning. I'm keeping it around just to see how long it lasts. I used it in my lawn tractor for a couple of years and a buddy put it in his wife's R90/6 earlier in the year for a few weeks while he tested the bike.

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Jeff
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Re: New battery time?

Post by Lmo » Sun Sep 08, 2019 10:39 pm

Thanks for the input Jeff.

12.59v at rest
12.12v ignition on, headlight on
11.99v ignition on, headlight on, 2 55w H3 bulbs on

I couldn't test cranking because I don't have any spare plugs here at the house.

But having just done this test, when I attempt to start the bike in the morning I suspect, strongly, that the starter will not even turn over the engine.

Ours may be the last of the 'good' Westco AGM batteries; they were manufactured by Panasonic. They are now of Chinese origin and from what I've been reading their quality is not as good.

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Re: New battery time?

Post by rivers » Sun Sep 08, 2019 10:42 pm

Charge it fully. Then let it sit overnight and then check the voltage. Lotsa failing batteries will take a charge but they won't hold a charge.
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Re: New battery time?

Post by Lmo » Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:09 am

Lotsa failing batteries will take a charge but they won't hold a charge.
That's exactly what it's doing. First start of the day off of a fully charged battery turns over like gang buster. If I don't keep a hand on the throttle and the engine dies, it won't turn over with the starter motor. Kick starts fine.

Alternator output, at speed, is over 14v

It's time for a new battery. Not sure I want to go with Westco again however. But finding another battery that will fit into the Dnepr batt box may be a challenge.
Lew Morris
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Re: New battery time?

Post by VWK75S » Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:14 am

Lew, check the condition of you cables/connectors.
My motorcycle batteries typically last 10 years and I don't leave them on battery chargers (maybe only an hour a week in the off season)
John
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Re: New battery time?

Post by jaybird » Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:59 am

When is the last time you cleaned out/freshened the starter?
I’d probably give the starter and cables a going over before I replaced the battery, it wouldn’t hurt to do it anyway.

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Re: New battery time?

Post by chaos2 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:36 am

jaybird wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:59 am
When is the last time you cleaned out/freshened the starter?
Ditto. When the Ural's battery wouldn't turn over the starter anymore I put it in the BMW and it was fine for another 4 years!
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Re: New battery time?

Post by Lmo » Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:33 pm

I haven't touched the starter since I got the bike in 2016. But I'm curious about why it turns over the engine so well right off of a fully charged battery, but fails to turn over the engine after that.

After kick starting, and running, say, 20 miles or so, the electric starter will start the engine again ... once ... but reverts back to the 'won't start after that' scenario. It seems like a 'surface charge' situation to me.

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Re: New battery time?

Post by jaybird » Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:54 pm

Whether or not you replace the battery, I would still clean and freshen the starter, it’s a relatively easy job and there are some odd things in a dirty/worn starter that could be contributing to the issue you’re having.
It could have a bad segment or two segments shorted together that it stops revolving on, driving might jiggle it enough to catch the next segment, or the extra voltage at first start and after riding might be just enough to overcome that. There are some other things too.
Like I said it’s an easy job, and you’ll know what it isn’t. :cheers:

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Re: New battery time?

Post by Wildhorse Cafe » Mon Sep 09, 2019 1:14 pm

Batteries start to die the second after they are manufactured. Five years is a good run. Any battery is suspect after two years.
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Re: New battery time?

Post by jeffsaline » Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:21 pm

Lew,

Maybe put a voltmeter on the battery and watch it when you first start the machine. Then when you go for the second try put the voltmeter on again and see what you get for a voltage reading while pressing the starter button. I'd want to see 10.0 volts or better all the time. My guess is the voltage will be significantly below that.

Best,

Jeff
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Re: New battery time?

Post by tgtrotter » Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:37 pm

rivers wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 10:42 pm
Charge it fully. Then let it sit overnight and then check the voltage. Lotsa failing batteries will take a charge but they won't hold a charge.
+1.
Wildhorse Cafe wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 1:14 pm
Batteries start to die the second after they are manufactured. Five years is a good run. Any battery is suspect after two years.
+1

Depends on how fat your wallet is and how much time you want to spend too.

I'm just thinking when it comes to consumables like tires and batteries, currently they don't run or last as long as they used to. Less virgin rubber in tires/thinner plates in batteries...

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Re: New battery time?

Post by Desantnik-VDV » Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:53 pm

Lew,

When the battery with the age looses it's capacity it can have enough power for one or two starts, then it will need some time to recover and gain the voltage. Also, it will get charged a little....
Stock Yuasa battery lasted 7 years on my 650 Ural. I was kickstarting most of the times if not always.
I have installed a voltage meter on an old BMW R100RT when I had a doubt how good is my battery and my charging system. I was trying to monitor battery voltage, alternator, voltage regulator.. what I found later was an issue with voltage regulator.

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