Shorai Battery review on my 2008 R1200GS

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by troyslegacy, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. Twilight Error

    Twilight Error Going nowhere slowly

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    Hmmmmm....

    I've been following the various LiIon battery threads with mild interest. I don't think the technology is ready for prime-time here in the Northeastern winter, where the temperatures don't often reach freezing and can sometimes dip below zero at night. I ride year-round (unless the roads are icy), so cold starting is a concern.

    That said, my background in building LiIon batteries for spacecraft might be useful to those folks who want to use these batteries.
    Space is a very unforgiving environment with some pretty extreme low temperatures (very dependent on the particular orbit). A battery failure will render your million-dollar spacecraft a million-dollar bit of space debris. Batteries are taken quite seriously and lots of work goes into making sure they work when they need to.

    Every battery that left my shop had a common design feature: A heating element connected to directly to the battery through a thermostat. The heater was a simple resistive-film type unit, stuck to the Aluminum case with an appropriate adhesive. When the thermostat closed, the heater warmed up and kept the battery within its operating range - simple and reliable.
    Why not do something similar with these batteries? We have pretty easy access to resistive heating elements - adhesive grip heaters aren't very different than the heaters I used to install. Depending on the surface of the battery case, you can probably stick the heaters directly to the battery. If you've got surface features like ribs or ridges, a thin Aluminum plate could be glued to the surface with a thermally conductive epoxy and the heaters stuck to that. Wire the heaters to the battery through a toggle switch. When you've got to warm the battery, simply flip the switch for a minute or two and then start the bike.
    #21
  2. Mr. Canoehead

    Mr. Canoehead Taste Gunnels!

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    I got the 18ah for my 1150. It sat on the shelf for 6 months and then I was going on a 10 day trip and since the original (yes, 7 years) BMW (Exide) battery was getting a bit tired, I swapped it out for the Shorai. Big mistake! Every time the temp dropped below about 50F overnight the bike was very hard to start. I did the lights on thing to warm the battery but it was hit and miss and it caused me stress every morning. After the first start, no problems for the rest of the day.

    The slow cranking and low voltage is very hard on the starter and the servo brakes. The Shorai would drop immediately to around 9.5v on attempted start and spring right back to 13v when the starter was released. The 18ah Shorai has a much higher CCA rating than the BMW or Odyssey batteries; I have to say that the CCA ratings are crap. CCA is supposed to be at 0F and I can't see a LiPO cranking anything at that temp. In Canada, we plug our cars in at night (in the winter) and battery blankets are readily available but I don't really want one on my motorcycle!

    I ordered a new Odyssey and it has been flawless. I did call Shorai (great customer service) and they sent me a 21ah replacement but now that the cold weather is here, I'm not putting it in the bike. Maybe I'll try it next summer.

    There is a great thread in Parallel Universe on LiPO's http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=770364
    #22
  3. Twilight Error

    Twilight Error Going nowhere slowly

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    Okay, this is good until you forget to turn the heaters off and cook your battery.

    So we modify the circuit a bit: a SPST latching relay is our friend here. For those who don't know the difference between a relay and a latching relay, a regular relay flips to its "normal" position when the coil current is removed. A latching relay stays in position until another signal is sent to the coil (internally reversing polarity) to flip the contacts to the other position. Any momentary pushbutton or toggle switch will actuate the latching relay to the closed position, sending current to the heaters. A 12v source present *after* the bike is running is needed to disengage the heaters. On my 1150, I'd use the blue testlead coming off the alternator - that only shows 12v when the alternator is spinning.
    #23
  4. EJ_92606

    EJ_92606 Rider

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    A123 batteries just filed for bankruptcy.....
    #24
  5. Twilight Error

    Twilight Error Going nowhere slowly

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    I read that. Was a time when A123 was courting the company I worked for, they wanted a space division in a very bad way. Many of us received calls from headhunters for an "opportunity" in Az...
    #25
  6. def

    def Ginger th wonder dog

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    Are LiFePo batteries being used on diesel trucks in sub freezing climates? Until I can spin my CAT diesel engine in my motorhome with a Li battery in 20F. temps, I'll remain a lead battery (AGM) proponent.
    #26
  7. def

    def Ginger th wonder dog

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    Were they not the supplier of batteries for the Volt?
    #27
  8. Anorak

    Anorak Woolf Barnato

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    They are not. They are the the supplier for Fisker.
    #28
  9. Twilight Error

    Twilight Error Going nowhere slowly

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    Dunno. I can't see any advantage to using one in that application - the size and weight of a battery is more-or-less irrelevant in a motorhome or 18 wheel truck.
    #29
  10. MizzouRider

    MizzouRider Long timer

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    It's almost the same circumstances with a 1200 GS Adventure.. LOL!
    I didn't get it to save weight. It was the only available option at the rally I was at. I'm hoping for decent results. Heading for Alaska in June.
    #30
  11. Twilight Error

    Twilight Error Going nowhere slowly

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    If you store your bike over the winter, disconnect and keep the battery in a warm location, like on a shelf in a closet.

    fat fingered on a small keyboard.
    #31
  12. TuefelHunden

    TuefelHunden Been here awhile

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    The voice in the back of my mind says use the Shorai. Why? It's lighter. Really that is the ONLY positive advantage I see. The AGM is easier to maintain. No pricey special charger. I can plug in my charger to the AGM and it keeps the voltage OK even in a cold garage (it hardly goes into the 20's all winter in SC). The AGM fires the bike up better, IMO than the Shorai. I am going to run a test, a kinda, sorta practical test. My radar detector drains the battery a lot. (that is another mystery, but it does). I'm going to keep it plugged in and measure the battery voltage at various times, then just see how it cranks. Going to do it for both batteries.
    #32
  13. def

    def Ginger th wonder dog

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    It appears that Johnson Controls is going to acquire the automotive products assets. Hopefully, JC will make a go of it.
    #33
  14. def

    def Ginger th wonder dog

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    Oh no! Don't let Obama hear about it or he'll show up with a pot full of money.
    #34
  15. TuefelHunden

    TuefelHunden Been here awhile

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    I have both the LFX21A6 and the stock AGM that came with the new bike. Both work! I have heard guys say the Shorai cranks harder. Harder than what? The Shorai does crank when it is 32 degrees out. Tested, proven, but the cranking power in the cold was NOT impressive. I had both go dead from leaving the same accessory attached directly to the batter left on. Didn't time it but it took about the same time to go dead for both. So WHAT is the real difference? Lighter to me is a non issue. When you load up your bags with all kinds of crap and put all kinds of bars, lights and stuff so you can ride to hell and back, the difference in battery weight is not a factor to most riders. Both seem to start OK. Their main function. Maybe the Shorai may last longer, but you can buy at least two good AGM's for the cost of a Shorai. Am I missing something here. I know, I bought one, I should be asking myself why. I think I drank the "new and different" cool aid.
    #35
  16. oalvarez

    oalvarez Resident Raggamuffin

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    if weight savings means little or nothing to you, then a Li battery is a waste of money. conversely speaking, if saving weight is important, then the Li battery is a cost effective way of doing so.
    #36
  17. Duall

    Duall Adventurer

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    Wow, I feel very lucky !
    I have an 08 GS that's been all over B.C., Alaska and then shipped over to Europe and I just changed out the original battery. I went to a local bike shop, they x-referenced the part# and voila 60€ later I was on the road vs 160€ from BMW. Since I have put on over 5000 K's riding all over Europe and has yet to give me any trouble. I think that sometimes these over engineered "farkles" are best to be left alone, but of course that is my own personal opinion ;)
    #37
  18. troyslegacy

    troyslegacy PigGS Feet

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    I've had zero issues since they sent the replacement. It's been great!
    #38
  19. Twilight Error

    Twilight Error Going nowhere slowly

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    Skipping dessert for a couple months would have a greater impact for much less money.
    #39
  20. oalvarez

    oalvarez Resident Raggamuffin

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    i get that, but not when you don't have to :evil
    #40