What kind of battery for adventuring, is Lithium up to the challenge?

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by JoelWisman, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. Ducksbane

    Ducksbane Quaaack!!!

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    Firstly thanks to Joel for all the work he put into this (and many other) thread. :clap

    I've had a Shorai in my F800GS for over a year and I have had no issues, but I don't start my bike in really low temperatures. Although I am in Australia it is a bit cold here in winter ... frost down to -8 degrees C fairly common. I usually don't ride unless it is about 4c.

    I also have a XChallenge with a Shorai, and apart from the 2Kg weight saving, what I really wanted was the battery to stay charged up if I didn't ride it. Bump starting a 650 thumper gets pretty old pretty quickly. Recently I had the XC forks rebuilt with Husky internals and also went on holiday, so the XC was sitting around without forks in the garage for something like 2 months. Last night I got it reassembled to the point where I could start it, but didnt know what it would be like after this time. Very nice Indian summer here a the moment ... 16c, pushed the starter button and it fired up as though I had ridden it yesterday. Very relieved, because I'm sure with the standard battery I woud have been up for a push start. :clap

    So all I'm saying is that I'm sure that Lithium Batteries have a big place in the future. I'll probably look at an anti gravity next time, but Shorai's service has been very good ... very fast delivery times to Australia.
  2. DaleC

    DaleC Adventurer

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    Incredibly thorough and detailed report to educate us mere electrical mortals, especially the clarification of the marketing propaganda.

    As a potential LiFePo4 battery customer, your efforts are greatly appreciated! I am certain that my purchase would be very different had I not have stumbled across your work and I may have seen me (not) enjoying a long walk from the middle of nowhere. This being further unaided by the F650GS (twin spark, single cylinder) low charging levels that I was previously unaware of.

    Cheers for your efforts.
    Dale
    :clap
  3. JoelWisman

    JoelWisman Long timer

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    Thanks DaleC, the pleasure has been all mine as I enjoy blowing things up :)


    To others that have posted that their Shorai batteries have worked for them fine......

    It may get buried due to the fact that I am contemptuous of Shorai for their deceptively written Q&A, but I think Shorai makes a good battery, just not as good as many other battery manufactures.

    If you follow Shorais specifications when replacing your battery, it will probably fail and rapidly.

    Take the BMW F800GS or R1200GS for example. Both come from the factory with 12 amp hour 200CCA batteries that do intact start the vehicles reliably.

    Okay, hop over to Shorai's web site and you will find that the Shorai LFX14 is rated 14 amp hour and has 210 CCA. Perfect, spend $160 and you have a battery that will run your lights longer, crank your bike for longer, and turn your engine over faster all while weighing half as much!

    The problem is, SHORAI IS LYING! If your lucky you found out Shorai was lying by word of mouth when you heard Shorai was recommending owners of these bikes with the previously recommended LFX14 upgrade to the newly recommended LFX18 and that Shorai had your back and would upgrade you to this battery if you simply sent them the difference in price. a short while later the LFX18s started failing in these bikes and Shorai turned around and started recommending the LFX21. Once again, send them the difference in price and they will send you a battery that will work for their originally advertised purpose for once again the difference in price.

    Okay, the women on the phone at Shorai was nice and had a sweet voice as she told you that for only an additional $70 they would send you a battery that would work for the application they originally advertised a $70 cheaper battery for.

    This is good customer service???

    Okay, being that this battery thread is posted in parallel universe and most of you have likely dealt with BMW customer service, Shorais customer service may seem good in comparison :rofl but in my book, if I sell someone a battery I have advertised as being suitable for their motorcycle and it is not, I would not only send out a battery that would work reliably, I would send it for free with an apology AND a box of cookies!

    Next up, why in the sage brush hell does the F800GS and R1200GS require a battery rated 21 amp hour and 315CCA to start reliably when a chinese lead acid battery rated 12 amp hour and 200CCA works just fine?

    Simple, the terms "amp hour" and "CCA" which were defined before my grandfather was born are being misused by Shorai.

    There are half a dozen R1200GS motorcycles that have been running the recommended Shorai battery that have needed their flywheels replaced over the last year. So far all that I know of have been replaced under warranty, but.... Corporate BMW is aware that the Shorai battery being undersized is the problem and will not continue covering the flywheel replacement forever.

    Hows this for customer service... Buy our battery for $160, send us another $40 for the next size up, then another $30 for the size above that, and then pay $800 for a new flywheel because we like to lie about CCA and AH :rofl

    The F800 uses a sprag clutch that isn't vulnerable to under voltage like the R1200 bendix and ring gear, but it still has a starter relay that does not really dig chattering. The LFX21 is in truth approximately a 160CCA and 9 amp hour battery.

    I say "approximately" because it is a bit like comparing apples to oranges. A LiFePo4 just works differently. under most conditions you will run out of available amp hour in a lead/acid battery somewhat before you run out of actual amp hour because the lead/acid chemistry can't keep up with continues demand. This is not the case with LiFePo4 so even though the LFX21 only has 7 actual amp hour in practice it will perform more like a 9 or 10 amp hour lead/acid battery, but to call it a 21 amp hour battery is total and complete advertising B.S.

    Same for CCA, the chemistries just work differently. In an actual CCA test the Shorai rates somewhat below 200 CCA. I am not sure how much below 200 CCA but since a brand new Shorai LFX21 belched clouds of acrid white smoke before reaching the 30 seconds that CCA tests are conducted for, it certainly didn't pass a 200 CCA test. Shorai is rating the LFX21 315CCA! IN A PIGS EYE!!!!!!!!

    The Shorai LFX21 will work for the F800 as long as you are not a demanding rider who likes to charge accessories with the bike off, crank for an extended period when something is breaking on your bike, or start the bike regularly in super cold weather. The $74 Deka ETX14 will actually power the LFX21 into the ground and burry it in every specification but weight.

    To those with Shorai LFX21s in their F800s, this battery will likely work fine but don't kid yourself into thinking you have a battery that is more robust then a good Deka or Odyssey battery because you do not.

    For the R1200, those bikes are on the bleeding edge of what a 200 actual CCA battery can reliably start so if you have anything smaller then a LFX24 I would replace it unless you are just a fair weather rider.


    Long story short, Shorai batteries are not bad as long as you massively oversize from what their specs say you need. If you stick with their currently recommended battery it will work but will not be as robust as the $74 stock battery.


    I am digging Antigravity batteries because their CCA is pretty honest, and though their amp hour is inflated, its not inflated by much. I have only tested a 16 cell Antigravity battery so far but a 4 cell and 8 cell is in the mail for free because the owner of Antigravity actually cares about getting it right and is using my tests to refine his product and application tables.

    I will also have a 12 cell on the way shortly that I am paying for because it is what I have settled on for my bike. I'd use the 16 cell I used in the tests but its off on long term testing in an F8 that won't be completed till next summer.

    Either way, using actual amp hour and actual CCA performance rather then inflated specs, Antigravity is cheaper then Shorai.

    More test results coming soon, sorry for delay but I am working full time+ again.
  4. Schannulleke

    Schannulleke Been here awhile

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    A good thorough test of LiFePo and comparison is very needed, so keep up this wonderful testing. I was thinking about a new battery, a Shorai for the KTM, But I would also like to know what I am buying with honest specifications.
  5. Greebe

    Greebe Adventurer

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    First of all I would like to thank you for all the work put into this post. I was wondering however if you could give me a short synopsis of this thread as I really do not have the time to read through the entire post. Having to work 60+ hours a week and trying to raise a young baby does not allow me much time. I really need a new battery for my DRZ400S so that I could at least ride it to work, but can't decide on just getting another lead acid battery or upgrading to Lithium battery.

    I appreciate it very much.

    Greebe
  6. JoelWisman

    JoelWisman Long timer

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    The DRZ400s takes a YT7B battery if memory serves. Thats about a 6 amp hour 120 cca battery depending on brand and its a battery with such thin plates to get the CCA up there that it is pretty UNreliable.

    The DRZ's have zero current draw when off which is great compared to all the beamers that continue to draw 2-3 mA with the key off to support memory on all the computers.

    That said, because lead/acid batteries internally discharge substantially when just sitting, you have to charge them at least once a month if you want them to last more then a season or two at best.

    For your application upgrading to a LiFePO4 means you won't have to mess with a charger at all. ZERO current drain when the DRZ is off coupled with LiFePO4 batteries ability to hold a charge for several years with no damage is a very nice thing.


    Even Antigravity inflates their specs or they probably wouldn't sell any batteries, but at least they do it less then the rest....


    A small case Antigravity 8 cell will have from my testing a real life CCA of around 160 but for the 5 second period your likely to need to crank before your bike starts, an honest no-shit 240 CCA tested by me.

    I have worked on DRZ charging systems before and they are not impressive, but are regulated within the envelope LiFePO4 batteries can handle without damage.

    If you could fit a 12 cell you would have a truly impressive package, but I doubt you can. Either way I would consider it a worthwhile upgrade as the YT7B is just a terrible battery size in lead/acid.
  7. ebrabaek

    ebrabaek Long timer

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    Hop over to the Thumpertalk.com forum...get a hold of Eddie Sisneros..... he sells the superstart kit...that uses a new tray...and the yt12b....i believe.... That is what I am running in my DRZ470...
  8. JoelWisman

    JoelWisman Long timer

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    The problem with the YT series batteries amongst others is that it is not a sealed battery. Not only does it leak every time you drop the bike, bet electrolyte sloshes from cell to cell resulting in terrible imbalance, and hence why even with light duty use these batteries rarely last more then a season or two still able to start the bike.

    If you can jam at least a YTX or YTZ 12 battery into these bikes, well thats a huge improvement, but now you have added 10 LBS in a less then ideal spot on a bike where weight is noticeable when you use it hard.

    I truly do think LiFePO4 would be a big improvement on bikes like these.
  9. ebrabaek

    ebrabaek Long timer

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    First.... memory does not serve me correct...as I mentioned the wrong battery....ups... The kit he makes use the YTZ10S....which is a sealed unit, and a nice upgrade from the 7 that comes stock. But my intentions were not to really recommend this over the lion's..... but merely make him aware of the bigger units available...in case he goes the Yuasa way, as he indicated. Ironically my DRZ...and the whole fleet...suffers the same fate as the 8GS with the low charging voltage... Ironic...is'nt it....:D
  10. JoelWisman

    JoelWisman Long timer

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    The YTZ 10 is a good battery. So for me it would come down to money.

    A note.... Neither the DRZ nor F800 have bad charging voltage regulation, they simply have regulators set up for the wrong kind of batteries.

    With the F800 the older bikes are set for gel battery charging which is hella stupid as no one makes a gel battery in a case size that will fit the battery box.

    With the DRZ, the voltage is about right for a non sealed flooded battery which is hella cheap for a bike that tips over often if ridden correctly :D therefore leaks acid.

    The stock DRZ charging system won't extract a whole lot of performance or longevity from a YTZ battery unless you regularly use a "made for AGM" battery charger.
  11. MODNROD

    MODNROD Wheat and Sheep

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    Gday Joel.

    Like you I have a "piece of paper" or 10 in the electrickery field. I also need a new battery for my big old ugly bike, standard is a Yuasa YB16, but I'm sick of replacing the things every year or two. I should probably ride more during winter, but taking the old Vmax hotrod down "red grease" slippery goopy clay mud is stooooopid, when I have an old crappy Supra that has a working heater...........so it sits a bit I spose, but still.......*sigh*

    Anyway, VERY COOL TESTING MAN!!!! I'm impressed! Like you I prefer to find out how good the stuff is for real (like checking the 10A capacity of a $100 multimeter on a spotlight output line........my son-in-law is still pissed about the smoke coming out, I still giggle about it). I had looked at the "PbEQ" mention on Shorai's website, and thought that something had changed in between the satellite laser ranging I do now, and the Submarine batteries I used to maintain 25 years ago. Nice to know I'm not completely out of touch!

    Now, where's that Antigravity listing for a 20cell?

    Thanks man. :clap

    PS: unless you rekn the 12cell or 16cell would do the job OK? You have to remember it gets cold here sometimes........I think last year I even saw 7*C on my front porch! Lucky I wasn't out there for long........
  12. cyborg

    cyborg Potius Sero Quam Numquam

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  13. C5!

    C5! Been here awhile

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    Still here. the compufire works fine, but I did only 3,000 km on it so far (I have a new Xchallenge to play in Spain :evil). Time will tell, but looks fine to me, works a lot cooler than the oem regulator, can even touch it with the hand after stopping sometimes. If any interest I could take the idle and running voltages, but I have only a small shitty radioshack voltmeter.

    As for this battery testing thread, thanks to Joel, this is great work. Don't worry too much about the youtube visits, I for one is more interested in reading the results and conclusions than actually looking at the experiment.
    cheers
    claude
  14. bobobob

    bobobob IN HOC SIGNO VINCES

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    That's encouraging and a good climate for a heat test.
    Keep us updated.
  15. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    Joel<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    You again amaze me on the depth of knowledge and effort you add to this forum. Thank you. :clap<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Read this thread through and understood some of what you are doing. This is timely for me as I am preparing my 800GS for about 25,000 mile trip to South America. I would like to prepare the bike to make it as durable as possible through a wide variety of terrain, temperatures and altitudes I expect to encounter. Based on other’s experiences, it sounds like the electrical system is one place that could cause some headaches that I would just as soon mitigate before I leave.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Recognizing the OEM battery may not be the most reliable, at this point in time for a trip such as this, would you change the battery to a LiFePO4? I realize your research is not complete yet but, if you were to change it, AntiGravity? Will a 12 cell fit? Would I need to carry a specialized charger? If so, is there one that is fairly compact?<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    There was a bit of discussion about the regulator. If I understand it correctly, a different regulator may extend the life of the stator. Is that correct? If so, what regulator would be the best to switch to? Any other risks that become a concern if such a change is undertaken?<o:p></o:p>
  16. JoelWisman

    JoelWisman Long timer

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    Honestly I don't understand how some of these companies function on so little research.

    If and it's a big if, the BMS is reliable and does not heavily reduce the batteries shelf life. AND if the BMS is reliable, it's a good thing.

    BUT, go to earthx's website and click on warranty, read the last line....

    "Immersion in liquid.", as in, earthx batteries are not warranted against damage caused by immersion in liquid. So I would guess that like Shorai, earthx batteries are not waterproof :(

    I've now had 3 Shorai batteries shipped to me that have failed and the cause is water in the battery case.

    Shorai advertises for the dirt and adventure segment as well but what their warranty and performance indicate is they are only for the adventure segment that only adventures to Starbucks and only on sunny days.

    I ride durring arial flooding and drop my bike on water crossings.

    There are three LiFePO4 batteries I am aware of that are waterproof of which none have BMSs and of those Antigravity is the largest and only I have tested. (I have tested others but all except for Antigravity were NOT waterproof)

    I would NOT put a battery susceptible to water damage in anything but a sport bike unless you are only a fair weather rider and never intend to cross water.
  17. JoelWisman

    JoelWisman Long timer

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    25,000 miles! Get the new BMW stator. The MOSFET shunt stator helps a little but only a little. The series regulator a local inmate brought by reduced output by 12% which for me and my auxiliary lighting / heated gear is too much

    My testing of batteries will likely never end but I'm 100% satisfied with antigravity and the F800's old low voltage regulator as well as Antigravity being superior to everything else, LiFePO4 and Lead acid, but you have to size it right.

    The 12 cell is fine for any normal range of temperatures, but if you want a battery that cranks the bike faster then stock and doesent become a liability when the temperature is below freezing, get the 16 cell which fits with room to spare as does the 20 and 24 cell.

    Pack a spare fuel pump and spare injectors, or at least leave part #s with someone who knows the tricks for shipping to whatever countries u will be in and tools / knowledge to change them.

    Chech torque on shock bolts and adjust the headset. Lube the forks regularly.

    Have fun!
  18. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    Yah, I plan on it.:D

    Just to clarify, is the part number for the new stator 12 31 8 524 422?

    With the 16 cell AntiGravity battery, I presume I want their Small Case version of that battery? What about the special charger - need to carry one with me?

    Again, thank you so much again for your help. :clap
  19. beechum1

    beechum1 Dandole Gas al Burro

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    you mean this one?

    http://motoelectrixcom.myshopify.com/
  20. JoelWisman

    JoelWisman Long timer

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    That's the MOSFET shunt regulator that is the gold standard. Tighter voltage regulation, better voltage set point for AGM and LiFePO4 batteries, no capacity loss and a little more reliable, though the stock K7X regulator has no reliability issues.

    It will only get stator temps down a little bit and is not the solution for that problem.

    Neither is the series regulator unless you regularly use less then 312 watts and can deal with reducing your maximum output down to 352 watts.


    You don't need a special charger for LiFePO4 batteries, you just need to be sure not to charge them beyond 14.7 volts.

    With a manual charger, sit with it and manually stop charging when you hit 14.7 volts.

    Most automatic chargers work fine but if it's got an automatically engaged desulfate mode, don't use it or watch it and manually terminate charge when 14.7 volts is reached.

    I would absolutely bring a multimeter as for batteries or the bike it is the #1 most useful tool.

    If I were going seriously far from the power grid, I would bring small solar charger. I wouldn't bother with a purpose built lithium charger except for long term storage.