Motorcycle Batteries .. AGM, GEL, Wet, Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4)

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by _cy_, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. Anorak

    Anorak Woolf Barnato

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2004
    Oddometer:
    34,893
    Location:
    OAK
    I get a hot tube ignition and a wick carburetor.

    Ask Petefromberkeley what he used when he rode his R80 G/S around the world. A neutral switch is a good spare.
  2. DiabloADV

    DiabloADV Semi-Occasional

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,335
    Location:
    Nor Cal, USA
    Well, I'm not going RTW any time soon. But multi-day trips here and there, sure.

    The ignition system that Euromoto sells for the stock alternator allows the stock points and advance setup to stay on the bike. Switching back takes 5 minutes on the road. Something to consider...
  3. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,465
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    looks like we are going opposite directions. look at what just got yanked out of R80 G/S
    much easier to field repair points ignition vs electronic ignition with little to no penalty.

    once condenser values are dialed in and proper cam lube used, points can last for a very long time.
    ran the same set of points and condenser in my 56 Austin Healey 100-4 for 10+ years (my main transport besides a HD Superglide) until I parked it. when your points reaches a neutral state of not depositing metal on either side. points will hold their dwell and can last 25k+ miles.

    there's more logic to this ... the most common failure with R80 G/S during RTW is electronic ignition. not always same part fails but result is the same. halls pickup dies, magnets comes loose, ICU dies, etc. etc. trying to locate electronic ignition bean can parts in say Mongolia is not high on my list of fun things.

    working electronic ignition yanked on R80 G/S

    [​IMG]

    these little lovelies are in it's new home (one spare beancan with points)
    had to switch from 1.5 ohm to 3 ohm coil for points

    [​IMG]
  4. DiabloADV

    DiabloADV Semi-Occasional

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,335
    Location:
    Nor Cal, USA
    Not the stator/alternator? That's what I keep hearing...
  5. DiabloADV

    DiabloADV Semi-Occasional

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,335
    Location:
    Nor Cal, USA
    What did he use? I read his ride report and didn't see it...

    Why a neutral switch? I don't even have one now...
  6. B9E9R9T9

    B9E9R9T9 Old Guy

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    Find a jeweler that will rhodium plate your contacts and they will last even longer.
  7. bagsnatcher

    bagsnatcher Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 17, 2012
    Oddometer:
    30
    Thread necromancy ...

    My R75/6 battery died and I need a replacement.

    Do we have a consensus or semi consensus on LiFePo?

    Do I go new tech or old tech?
  8. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,465
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    that depends on your budget $$$ and how important saving weight is?
    main advantage of LiFePO4 batteries are weight savings and low self discharge rate.

    Lead acid batteries have advanced too. if weight savings is not a concern AGM batteries also has low self discharge rates at sightly higher $$ with excellent performance.

    disadvantage of LiFePO4, technology is still fairly new, where marketing may not meet with reality.
    exaggerated amp hour ratings are a valid complaint. what battery mfg recommends is usually too small. one may need to go several sizes up to match performance of original wet lead acid battery.

    if LiFePO4 battery is going on say a motocross bike, savings several pounds is pretty appealing. especially if that motocross bike is only ridden in fair weather.

    new gen high tech adventure bikes have highest requirement of needing weight savings, cold weather and extreme cranking performance for extended crank cycles. as in recovering from bad fuel and/or diagnosing failed component(s).

    so if saving weight is not a concern. my recommendations is go with a high quality AGM motorcycle battery.

    airheads are not known for high output charging systems. so amp hour ratings especially come into play if one is running heated gear and doing short runs.

    if you should decide to go with much lighter LiFePO4. smaller LiFePO4 batteries may start your motorcycle fine, but do so with very little amp hour in reserve. my recommendations is to go with the largest LiFePO4 battery that you can afford. especially if you planning on riding your bike during the winter.

    if goal is to duplicate performance of original OEM battery (new gen adventure bike). say bike originally came with a 16 amp hour wet lead acid battery. replace with a equivalent 16 amp hour AGM. if going with LiFePO4, currently my recommendation is downgrade actual amp hour ratings by about 75% = 12 amp hour actual rating for LiFePO4 if replacing a 16 amp hour lead acid battery.
  9. bagsnatcher

    bagsnatcher Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 17, 2012
    Oddometer:
    30
    I can spend 100 on AGM or 200 on LiFePo. The money aspect is tertiary.

    Of primary concern is reliability, secondary is weight & size

    By reliability I mean everything from hour blast around downtown to day long trip around the majestic Midwest.

    I'm also lumping in service life under reliability. I'd want at least a couple of years out of the battery.

    So that leaves me with option A - 100 to 120 for Deka, WestCo, Oddyssey or whatever else AGM and

    Option B - 150 to 300 (ideally somewhere in the middle) Ballistic, Antigravity, Shorai, Sycl, Zippy or whatever else LiFePo.

    So, what do I get?

    EDIT: for clarity. Bike is '74 R75/6.
  10. nwdub

    nwdub Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,097
    Location:
    PNW
    lithium hasn't advanced enough

    I'd go AGM unless you're doing something ultra high performance.
  11. bagsnatcher

    bagsnatcher Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 17, 2012
    Oddometer:
    30
    Okay.

    Good brand and model to get?
  12. petefromberkeley

    petefromberkeley -

    Joined:
    May 13, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,294
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    Huh? I haven't read this whole thing but... I used a Panasonic branded gel battery (same as Westco). I bought it prior to my ride in 2003 and it still works great today. And a high output voltage regulator, a super duper Thunderchild diode board grounded no less that three ways (and it burned out in Sudan- I carried the stock one as a spare and it is still in there). What else? A Bosch starter motor which was repaired and rebuilt in Kyrgyzstan and Turkey- that's still good.

    Anything else was stock and did not fail.

    p.s. It's an R-100
  13. ssevy

    ssevy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    971
    Location:
    Southern Adirondacks
    I have an inexpensive AGM that I bought from my local auto parts store for less than $100. It has lasted four years, and been on a Pulse Tech xtreme charger when stored during the winter. If I buy a lithium, my $100 battery charger is extinct, as it isn't meant for the lithium batteries, so I need to add the cost of that to the actual new battery. As of right now, I'll stick with AGM and a good charger for storage, and let the technology get better and the buy-in cost get lower.
  14. oz_airhead

    oz_airhead Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    208
    Location:
    AUS
    Odyssey battery.

    http://www.odysseybattery.com/powersports.html (guide is a 'pdf)

    Just put one in my R90. Guide says PC 925L, but on advice of many on the web I used a PC 680 and made up some timber blocks to fill battery box as it's a smaller battery.

    You will need a smart charger if you ride in frequently.

    Happy so far with it.

    HTH

    YMMV.

    ~OZ

    PS: thanks _cy_ for all your hard work so far, great info & technical info on the lithiums.
  15. bagsnatcher

    bagsnatcher Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 17, 2012
    Oddometer:
    30
    That seems to be the general consensus.

    What's a good smart charger for it? Will a Sears brand trickle charger do the job?

    Also, any kind of special considerations regarding terminal orientation, L bracketry, etc.?
  16. oz_airhead

    oz_airhead Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    208
    Location:
    AUS
    G'day Bagsnatcher.

    None of the chargers listed by Odyssey are suitable for here in OZ, so I bought one of these:

    http://www.batteriesdirect.com.au/shop/product/13818/mxs5.0.html

    (sorry dunno what "sears" type is mate)

    The PC680 I bought comes with 6mm threaded receptacle, bolts and "L" brackets that can be used. For my particular bike/setup, I used one "L" bracket on the negative terminal, and just used the 6mm Stainless bolts to attach the Positive terminals. I also added a small square flap of rubber from an old tube threaded through +ve cable to make a rough terminal cover for that terminal.

    I also replaced the battery leads whilst I was there - made some up using cable and lugs from an Car parts store.

    Cheers

    HTH (sorry for thread hijack!)

    ~OZ
  17. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,465
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    LiFePO4 fires

    since this topic is going to come up anyways...
    might as well get started

    very few shreds of hard data are available.
    For the number of LiFePO4 batteries out in the field. very few instances of LiFePO4 fires.

    LiFePO4 batteries must be wired carefully to your bike's wiring harness, as they can source high enough currents to start some amazing fires in shorted wiring. Be dead certain positive connection(s) will not ground out.

    seldom are LiFePO4 batteries identical size/shape to factory battery. take extra care to strap non-OEM sized battery securely to prevent any possibility of damage to outer case. if an internal connector strap grounds out. a fire could result.

    note pictures below showing LiFePO4 fire are from wiring shorting out. Note LiFePO4 cells were still putting out full volts afterwards.

    wiring shorting out, not battery failure seems to be the common thread so far for LiFePO4 fires.

    it's worth noting that identical shorting problems could happen with wet lead acid, AGM or Gel cell batteries. dead shorts can easily result in a nasty wiring harness fire.

    more to come...

    here's an example of a LiFePO4 fire thought to be caused by shorted internal wiring. a valid example yes, but without laboratory analysis still not considered hard data.

    ---------------------

    The Lifepo4 FIRE!!!! (the top secret photos)

    Last year we had a problem with one of the boxes that Headway sent us.
    http://www.elmoto.net/showthread.php?231-The-Lifepo4-FIRE!!!!-%28the-top-secret-photos%29

    [​IMG]

    The batteries were NEVER the problem nor the so-so BMS. It was the poor wiring job provided by hungover employees, at least it looked that way.
    [​IMG]

    I cannot say this enough times, FUSE your battery packs!!!!! (note this in context of Electric bike which draws aprox 33 amp continuous load)
    [​IMG]

    Just to show you the robustness of the headway battery, here is one that was burnt to crackly crisp and still have full voltage!!!!

    this is worth considering if one is looking into LiFePO4 batteries

    [​IMG]
  18. MightyManfred

    MightyManfred Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    83
    Location:
    SE Oklahoma hill country
    I put an Odyssey PC925L-A in my '87 R80RT in early 2010, plug into a battery tender junior that I picked up for $20. With a new ignition coil, the old girl starts immediately nearly every time.
  19. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,465
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    thanks for dropping in and sharing that most valuable information. so what spare parts did you carry besides the diode board? starter on R80G/S is getting refreshed before taking off on any long trips.

    tried starting R80G/S 3 days ago... normally one short crank does it.... dead .. yup a dead battery.
    R80G/S is the test mule, so been switching batteries around.

    for the last few months, battery on R80G/S Shorai LFX36L3-BS12... Not a single problem until now. measured volts was down to 6.5v ... not good..

    charged battery very carefully. recovering from such low discharge conditions requires reforming cells.
    initially charged at .01C with HP regulated power supply. volts and amps was adjusted barely above what LiFePO4 battery would accept as battery slowly came back up.

    after Shorai LFX36 finally came back up to 12.85v. then switched to Powerlab 8 with balance board for charging duties. next phase was to form cells at .5C which brought battery back up to about 18% charged condition. then charged battery at 1C (12 amps) until battery finally accepted charge to 3.65v per cell.

    Shorai LFX36 recovered from a total discharged condition of 6.5V to a fully charged 14.2v.
    after letting battery rest overnight... measured 13.35v ... repeated charge to 3.65v per cell. measured 14.19v after charging.

    repeated process of resting and charging for four cycles the last three days. Shorai drops to 13.35 resting volts after sitting overnight. normal resting voltage after a full charge should be higher.

    naturally would like to know reason for Shorai battery going dead. measured milliamp draw of zero with Fluke 87V between battery and ground. No parasitic drain of any kind on R80G/S, unless drain is intermittent.

    did a few 150 amp load tests on Shorai LFX36, which it passed without a hiccup. will do a full discharge cycles to find out total amp hour capacity after recovering from 6.5V.

    the last few days before battery went dead. had been working on dialing in a Bean with points, experimenting with different ignition advance settings. every time front cover has to come off, battery has to be disconnected to prevent dead short. with all that battery cable moving around. problem could have been caused by all the recent activity.

    more to come...

    [​IMG]
  20. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,465
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    recovering nicely from dead (6.5v) Shoria LFX36 via several charge and regenerative discharge cycles.
    amp hour input and out capacity are increasing with each cycle.

    with a 40 amp charge/discharge capacity, Powerlab 8 has proven itself to be a worthy tool.
    fin 11.46 AH input .. very happy with Powerlab 8's performance recovering Shorai LFX36

    still need to find out reason why Shorai LFX36 went dead. with how battery is recovering. starting to think reason is due to some type of parasitic drain on R80G/S.

    [​IMG]

    10.39 AH out ... with 11.24 input afterwards
    [​IMG]

    next discharge cycle nets 10.98 AH out ... then 11.33 input
    [​IMG]

    11.10 AH output
    [​IMG]

    charge rate is bumped to 2C or 24amp
    [​IMG]

    fin 11.46 AH input .. very happy with Powerlab 8's performance recovering Shorai LFX36
    [​IMG]