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

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

  1. cyborg

    cyborg Potius Sero Quam Numquam

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    Hey Joel, impressive tests you are running! :thumb
    With all the specsmanship going on with the vendors, the hard-core real-world tests tell the tale.

    So, you seem very pleased with the Antigravity battery so far. I like their packaging and waterproof claim. I looked at their dimensions and weights and a question came up for me:

    The biggest Antigravity Cranking Amps that will fit in my bike, a KTM990 (998cc V-twin), weighs 2.5lbs and the biggest Shorai Cranking Amps that will fit is 2.1lbs. Not a huge difference in weight, so what magic do you suppose Antigravity uses to get a lot more from a very similar weight/mass?

    I worry if I got the Antigravity (claims for motors up to 1300cc), it too wouldn't have the power needed for first-crank cold weather starts, and another $220, poof!


    Specs below:

    OEM battery: Yuasa YTZ14S, 11AH, CCA 230, $200
    6.0L x 3.44W x 4.38H, 8.6lbs


    Antigravity max Cranking Amps model that will barely fit for Width in my bike.
    YTZ10S-12, 12 AH(PbEq), 360 CA, $220
    6.0L x 3.5W x 3.75H, 2.5 lbs


    from: http://antigravitybatteries.com/?page_id=2267


    Shorai max Cranking Amps model that will in fit my bike.
    LFX18A1-BS12, 18 AH(PbEq), 270 CA, $190
    5.83L x 2.6W x 4.13H, 2.1 lbs

    from: http://www.shoraipower.com/c-1-batteries.aspx
  2. JoelWisman

    JoelWisman Long timer

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    cyborg, if you can go higher, these: 4.25″ Long x 3.25″ Wide x 5.25″ Tall are the dimensions for Antigravitys small case format.

    I am very much liking the Antigraity because it has held up to tests that have destroyed a total of 3 Shorai batteries. I am NOT brand loyal, so if another brand performs better, it will become my new best friend. I have loved Deka batteries for a decade and my Deka ETX 14 just got pulled out of my bike and became my electric lawn mower battery unless I run across something I don't like in further LiFePO4 testing.

    Build quality and cell construction. Despite rumors, LiFePO4 batteries sealed in a cylindric pressure vessel really are hardier then LiFePO4 cells in a plastic pouch.

    But..... I think a 12 cell would be challenged to perform to my standards on a 998 V-Twin.

    As to winter, I have played around with my freezer so am getting an idea, but cold tests are yet to come.

    Hold up a bit if you can. I have 3 additional branded batteries coming and all the finalist I am going to put through winter tests by using a cold storage facility to chill the bikes and batteries simultaneously. Hello negative 20F :D

    I would give the worlds greatest shout out to the guy letting me use it, but he doesn't want his customers to know there are motorcycles being frozen beside their sides of beef :rofl

    Also, I didn't realize the KTM990 had such a small battery box. I don't think Shorai will be sending me any batteries for testing, but I have already mapped the performance of the LFX18, 21, and 27. I could request some batteries that will fit in that bike for testing from manufactures I have not blasted, but would love to have someone with one drop by my house so I can measure its starting demands. I would be VERY surprised if it is harder to start then my Caponord with its 1000cc V-Twin and 2 always on H4 headlights, but If you run across anyone on the forums that hales near St. Louis, suggest they hook up with me as measurements are better then assumptions..


    Any other adventure bikes that use a smaller battery then a YTX12 I should know about???

    Oh, and as for the waterproof claim, the Antigravity is sitting under 12 inches of water in a bucket as I type, will be till morning then it goes back into my bike for a 3000 mile trip. Once I get back I will sink it into the bucket again and load test it some more as well as charge it. Fully expect the terminals to turn green, and if they don't, I will add some salt to the water. I take nothing on faith. Perhaps I will sink one of the failed Shorais so everyone can watch bubbles come up, or would that be vindictive lol.

    I MIGHT also end up testing a Ballistic battery, but someone needs to send me one first AND I need to hear from the manufacture that they are waterproof or I won't bother. The liquid immersion exclusion on their warranty page makes me doubtful.
  3. cyborg

    cyborg Potius Sero Quam Numquam

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    Oh yeah I was eyeing those 5.12" high batteries since I could then put in a 480 CA or the really expensive 600 CA in there, just nead .75" more headroom. :evil On the KTM990 the battery is in the low front of the engine in the skid plate, in a full-wrap plastic battery box for ruggedness. There is a little space above it, hmmm...

    I used Deka's for 10 years in my Triumph Tigers (885 to 955 triples), great batteries. I really like Odyssey batts, very heavy but rugged and they still do not make a size that will properly fit any of the last 3 bikes I had. It's either too big "cruiser" style, the PC310 or nothing, and the 310 doesn't have enough punch for a big twin, barely works, but anemic.

    I'll hold off to see where your tests go. Weather is getting better and the existing Shorai's are starting the bikes fine in the 50's.

    Have a good trip!

  4. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    Thanks for all this testing Joel. I was doing some research on the Shorai batteries when I came across this thread.

    My 2009 Husky TE-610 let me down last week on the 2nd day of a 2k mile trip when it failed to start after lunch. I was thinking at first I had a charging issue as I had replaced the stator cover just before the trip and had been in there messing with the wires etc, but now thinking it was just the battery that went bad as its resting voltage is now about 11.5 volts and drops down to 8v under starting load and won't charge up. This is the FI model, so even after jumping it off when it happened, it still wasn't running correctly. Anyway, since I wasn't certain it wasn't just a battery issue at the time and I was still pretty close to home, I decided just to be safe to go back home and grab my wife's BMW F650GS to continue the trip on. I figured I'd research it more when I got home which I'm doing now.

    So now I need a new battery for the Husky and was trying to decide if a LifePo4 battery was really worth the extra money over a sealed AGM battery. The Husky is actually pretty new to me (bought 1 month ago), so not even sure how robust the charging system is and what voltages it puts out when idling or running at like 3-5k rpm's. It also seems to be a pretty high stress starting on a battery or that battery was already on its way out and I just didn't realize it. Most times I had to go into N to start the bike as it really seemed to stress the starter while in gear with the clutch pulled in. Who knows, maybe with a new battery, I won't have any starting issues and it will spin over a whole lot faster.

    So question, if I'm on a multi-day camping trip without access to electricity and need to charge small electronics at night, what battery would work best to start safely in the morning? This would include BT communication headset and maybe a phone or camera. Would try to minimize what I left charging and the draw from any of these devices should be pretty low.
  5. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    BlueLightening... Funny running into you on this thread! :wave

    I too was reading up on batteries to replace the Yuasa in the Terra Mostro, not dying, just long in tooth and I want a spare on the shelf for when it goes. I'd already decided on the Antigravity and ordered one, but got hooked on this thread once Joel mentioned he was going to test them. Thanks, Joel for all the work on this. Really outstanding. :clap I seemed to have made a decent choice, imagine that.

    Regarding the overnight charging of little electronics -- I used to be much more concerned about that, but after a total of 16 weeks of ipod / intercom / camera battery recharging nightly off the (tiny) DRZ batteries on the Mobius trips, sometimes in temps down into the 30's, I don't worry so much any more. We've got stock aftermarket AGM batteries in those bikes, but they're really small. I've never had a hicough starting the bikes in the morning. The only times we've had to bump start have been when we've left the headlight on during lunch, the heated grips (overnight), or had a dead stator. I can't imagine the Antigravity 12-cell I bought for the Ducati will do worse than those wimpy DRZ batteries.
  6. Hicks

    Hicks der Überluber

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    I use powergorilla.. charged during a ride:

    [​IMG]

    one of the advantages is that you can charge directly and safely in the tent.
  7. DDT Rider

    DDT Rider Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the tip!
    On the specs for this item, I just read that "Powergorilla cannot be charged with any mains charger which is less than 16V"

    Does a GS/GSA charge this thing adequately?
  8. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    Thanks DR Rock. It is funny running into you here also. I hadn't kept up on your Mobius trips lately, but after spending last week riding with Northern Traveler (Scott) on the tetS loop, and him bringing up your trips, I started going back to catch up. We picked up my wife another XT225 and myself the Husky after not having DS bikes for about a year and we have certainly missed it.

    I have charged several things off my Vstrom battery like the camera, BT, etc and never had trouble either on long over night camping trips, but for some reason, I've been a bit more hesitant on the Husky even though its got a YTX14-BS battery stock and that's actually a fairly good sized battery. I guess I was thinking it was a lot smaller then it really is. Thanks for your feedback and I'm looking forward to catching up with you guys on the Mobius trip again.
  9. ebrabaek

    ebrabaek Long timer

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  10. Tirespin

    Tirespin Been here awhile

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    Joel, thanks for all the testing, interesting reading. I'm looking forward to more results with the Antigravity.

    My main concern is the risk of a full drainage situation. I have had lead/acic motorcycle batteries (and car/boat batteries) drained very low, and with a jumpstart I can ride home, and recharge if needed. I assume the life of the battery is affected, but they're "good enough" for a good while after that, and there was no meltdown or smokeshow.

    What is the real world risk with one of these? If I leave the key on and walk away, and need a jumpstart when I get back, will the battery be fried? Will there be a smoke show? Or best yet, a firework show?

    Cyborg, can't these batteries be mounted any which way you want? No liquids, so they don't need to be "right side up". If so, the 16 cell battery will fit the KTM if it's mounted on it's side. Antigravity says "4.25″ Long x 3.25″ Wide x 5.25″ Tall", rotate it and you have 5.25 Long x 3.25 Wide x 4.25 Tall, which is smaller than the Yuasa. You may need to extend a cable.

  11. JoelWisman

    JoelWisman Long timer

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    BlueLghtning, lithium batteries are ideal for engine off charging of accessories for 1 very big reason. All lead acid batteries age at a greatly accelerated rate if kept in any state then full. A lead acid battery that's kept full 24/7 would last 10+ years. Kept at 80%, perhaps 3 years, kept at 50%, maybe a year.

    Many other things affect lead acid life so you will not be swing one last 10 years, but you get the idea. Drain a lead acid partially when you get to camp, leave it partially discharged over night, you have just removed a small chunk of its life.

    LiFePO4, as with all other lithium chemistry will actually live slightly longer if always kept slightly discharged. 50% is the ideal state of charge for long term storage, where if like other lithium chemestries (which engineers claim it is, but not out long enough to be 100% certain, just 99% certain) it will sit unharmed for decades.

    One thing to take into account is PBEQ amp hour versus real amp hour.

    Shorai lists it's LFX18 as having 18 p hour PBEQ, but that is total bull shit. Read Shorais FAQ or measure with fancy equipment and you wil find the LFX18 only has 6 amp hour. Accessories use REAL amp hours, as does everything on the bike.

    Shorai has a BS explination for this, and there is a grain of truth to lithium performing better regarding amp hour, but only a grain. Shorai multiplies there real amp hour by 3 to come up with their specs which for real world use is totally bogus.

    Antigravity does this too, but to a lesser extent. In antigravitys case, they rate their YTX12-16 15 amp hour PBEQ, but in reality it is 9.2 amp hour.

    NOW why PBEQ might be a useful term if Shorai wasn't rapeing people with it, is there is some difference to how lead acid performs versus LiFePO4.

    A high quality Deka or Odyssey lead acid battery will not start your bike once it has less then 30% capacity left. It would continue to charge your phone for its full rated amp hour, but you can't run it below 30% and have it still deliver enough current at a high enough voltage to actually start your bike.

    The Antigravity battery will start my Capo with only 5% of its charge left.

    The Antigravity YTX12-16 has 9.2 real AH. It will start my 50 c engine with just 0.47 AH remaining. Though it's cutting it close, I have 8.3 amp hour I can use for charging accessories / tuning lights with the engine off.

    The Deka ETX14 needs 30% capacity left to reliably start my bike. It has 12 real amp hour, but only 8.4 are usable while still being able to start my bike.

    Antigravity rates the YTX12-16 15 amp hour PBEQ. Against a cheaper battery or at a higher discharge rate, I could see this being accurate. There is no Chinese lead acid battery that that I have ever seen that would make Shorais 3x factor for PBEQ realistic, and that is one of many reasons I am pissey at them.

    For charging accessories I would pick a bigger LiFePO4 battery then any of the manufactures reccomend. For doing this with the TE, at least a 12 cell Antigravity, but ideally a 16. And if money is no object, Antigravity makes a 20 cell that will fit in a YTX 14 case, and shortly a 24 cell which I really want :)
  12. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    Thanks, that makes perfect sense about dragging down the life of a lead-acid battery with charging stuff off of it at night and why the LiFePO4 would do better at that.

    In the end though, I couldn't convince my wife that a $200+ LiFePo4 like the Antigravity was worth the extra $130 over a sealed AGM :cry So I decided to at least get the MotoBatt MBTX12U due to how it performed in the the "Texas Toast Battery Cook-Off" - Thread 1 & "Texas Toast Battery Cook-Off" - Thread 2. For the AGM's they tested, the MotoBatt far succeeded most of the others, so that made me feel good about ordering it. It came in today and I hooked it up and everything. Never tried one before, so we'll see. My cheapo meter says its charging at 14.2-14.3 at idle, so hopefully the Husky has a decent charging system on it.

    Funny thing is the Scorpion battery which she has in her F650GS didn't do as hot on those tests. Maybe when that thing pukes on her, she'll be more inclined to get a LiFePO4 battery herself. That's been another bike that has been tough on batteries. :lol3

    Regardless, I'll follow this thread and see what other things you turn up, especially on how the AntiGravity battery works for you. Might have to try to put one of those in the Vstrom when its battery dies. :evil
  13. WayneC

    WayneC Long timer

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    Joel, good testing, you take my pedantic title hands down, It was needed to see how they stacked up in the real world

    Like you I thought the PR claims were pushing the limit too far in the push to get to market with these new battery types,
    The owner of AntiGravity impressed me though with at times brutal honesty

    Re regulators, it is not just the F8's running these regulators, they are fitted to most of the F&G 650 singles as well, part No's below
    (only the X's with smaller alternator are different)

    Twins
    F650GS - 61312346550 voltage regulator AGM Battery
    F800S - 61312346550 voltage regulator AGM Battery
    F800ST - 61312346550 voltage regulator AGM Battery
    F800GS - 61312346550 voltage regulator AGM Battery

    Singles
    F650CS - 61312346550 voltage regulator
    F650CS/M - 61312346550 voltage regulator
    F650GS - 61312346550 voltage regulator
    F650GS/M - 61312346550 voltage regulator
    G650GS - 61312346550 voltage regulator

    XChal - 61317707943 voltage regulator
    XMoto - 61317707943 voltage regulator
    XCoun - 61317707943 voltage regulator

    I encountered problems with the VReg on the 650GS single quite a few years back & looked into the problems & found they suffered thermal drift up to 15.5v & then at a point dropped out & fed what looked like raw alternator output which I concluded was thermal overload protection. I solved the problem by relocating the VR from under the motor to beside the cylinder as per the 650X models.

    I can confirm in operation the regulated output is 13.8 to 14.2 v, good to see the chance that later VR's are possibly being changed

    A contact with SvceMgr background as per yours & I discussed it at the time & combining our knowledge we concluded the machine was intended to be fitted with a gel battery & the regulator was spec'd to that but they were then fitted with the wet cell in production. He also recalled a TSB on regulator testing which specified a stationary test at engine operating temp & any regulator which went over 14.2v was deemed faulty. I have not been able to track down & sight the TSB to confirm his memory but have immense respect for his knowledge & ability as many others do over here.

    It is worth noting US owners in particular seem to be getting low battery life on the singles & that includes those fitting AGM. Wet cells require more regular checking than normal with the inner cells requiring top up more than the 2 outer cells indicating possible overheating

    Re replacement regulator's, like you I dreamed of a suitable series pass VR but did not track one down, The shindengen
    FH019 in the link below seemed a suitable unit but am unaware of any retail sources, Many Japanese bike owners & early F650 owners with the lower alternator output are using the FH012 with good success & the connector kits available are making the swap easy

    http://www.shindengen.co.jp/product_e/electro/catalog.html


    In another part of their web site shindengen indicate they are working on series pass regulators, perhaps with your background & ability you may be able to get further information from shindengen

    As for me, I picked up a Shorai as they were the first to reach our shores at a realistic price, so far so good but your testing has showed caution will be needed in times of emergency & a check on cell balance is in order.
  14. cyborg

    cyborg Potius Sero Quam Numquam

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    Yes you can mount them any way you want. Now that's thinking outside and sideways of the box! :thumb
    Why didn't I think of that? :scratch :lol3
    Oh, yeah, I wasn't looking at the "Antigravity Small Case" versions. I could cram the "480CCA" in there (again, probably derate that claim by 2) but that would still be super-strong, and spendy ($289)!

    However, I think I'll still hold off for a bit more torture testing here, and also my Shorai's are starting my bikes solid now that the temps have gone up into the upper 40's and 50's F. No urgent need to blow more bucks on a different brand/type for awhile - just to have the ultimate bestest battery ever.

    A agree the Shorai's ratings should be halved, or true capacity doubled in the same case (for cold weather starting) and have said as much to Shorai Tech, but practically speaking my LFX18 still starts the 990 very strong most of the yearly seasons and never had one strand me yet in 14,000 miles or so over the last year, including rough offroad.

    Let the games continue! :freaky
  15. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Long timer

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  16. WayneC

    WayneC Long timer

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    Yes, would be interesting, these are the failures we are likely to see in electric vehicles as we work out how to build & maintain them
  17. Gangplank

    Gangplank Advenchaintourer

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  18. WayneC

    WayneC Long timer

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    Interesting, they are light on spec though & the manufacturer http://www.cycleelectricinc.com is not much better

    One worry is for the CE601 in the install instructions they specify 2 different output voltage ranges for different models

    "All “L” model regulators should run between 13.7~14.1 Standard models should run 14.2 to 14.6"

    Would be worthwhile asking for more details on spec, would need to do it by phone as there are no email contact points on their web site
  19. Gangplank

    Gangplank Advenchaintourer

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    Different model. On the website I posted its the 605 model which isn't on the mfg site.
  20. LukasM

    LukasM Long timer

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    The Compufire 55402 is the most popular 3 phase series regulator, lots of people are using them on Aprilias, Triumphs and other bikes with problematic stators.

    I think a guy on ADV from Venezuela bought one and was going to install it on his F800GS that kept burning up his rewound stators? Not sure what happened to him.