Battery losing charge - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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  #1  
Old Dec 22nd, 2013, 7:22 am
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Battery losing charge

Hello everyone and seasons greetings!

I've had my K1200LT for two years now and normally use her as daily transport. However, recently I've been using and enjoying my K100RS as a daily. If I don't run the K12 for a few minutes every day the battery quickly loses charge and won't turn the motor enough to start up.
I've aleady done the 'upgrade' to the Ford-type starter relay to avoid any issues there. What causes the battery to drain so quickly?
BTW, I always put the steering lock on when she's parked up. Just as a foot note, the bike gets locked up about 7 miles away from where I live so not that easy to start her up every day!

Thanks in advance, Martin
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  #2  
Old Dec 22nd, 2013, 7:46 am
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Re: Battery losing charge

Unless you've done some electrical work recently, might just be a case of the battery going south on you. Do you know how old it is?
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Old Dec 22nd, 2013, 7:57 am
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Re: Battery losing charge

I've had this issue for years. My bike is from model year 2002 and I end up replacing the battery every other year. I consider it to be a normal thing in the colder climates. Most of us keep the bike on a battery tender when we know that it's going to sit for more than a couple of weeks.

I hadn't used my bike since Thanksgiving due to the extreme weather in upstate NY, but it was tropical (45 degrees) yesterday with rain, so I checked on my bike. The battery was low and she wouldn't start. I charged it for an hour and took her out for an hour long ride. Once she was running again, all seemed fine. I stopped a couple of times, to return Redbox movies, get gas, and deposit some checks....and she started up each time.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2013, 8:19 am
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Re: Battery losing charge

I parked mine the week before Thanksgiving and forgot to plug it in. I set the alarm because I was going out of town. The battery was dead when I got back. I hooked up the charger and it's fine now. It's two years old and I'm not sure of the brand. It may be getting weak. I'm looking to replace it soon.......
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Old Dec 22nd, 2013, 8:55 am
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martin280s martin280s is offline
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Re: Battery losing charge

I bought a Yuasa 51319 battery just over a year ago plus I live in a warm climate. Surely the battery can't be on it's way out?
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Old Dec 22nd, 2013, 9:52 am
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Re: Battery losing charge

Quote:
Originally Posted by martin280s View Post
I bought a Yuasa 51319 battery just over a year ago plus I live in a warm climate. Surely the battery can't be on it's way out?
1. You can't assume that. You can buy a new battery that's bad. A battery could have one shorted cell for example. If you're having problems test it or otherwise eliminate that as a possibility.

2. The LT does have constant drain on the battery and that is normal. That drain can be increased by adding devices such as an ipod adapter (Dice) or you may have a circuit somewhere that shouldn't be and its higher than normal. What devices have you added? intercom? gbs? Anything direct to the battery?

The only way you're going to find out is start trouble shooting. Identify possible issues and eliminate by testing and diagnosis one by one. Why do people start with the battery? Its because its a relatively easy one.

BTW the yuasa 51913 is a lead-acid battery. Battery tech has progressed to gel type to AGM and Lithium Ion. If you do find you need a new battery skip the lead and gel.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2013, 10:31 am
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Re: Battery losing charge

Do NOT start your bike and "let it run for a few minutes" during storage. It's very bad for the engine due to the condensation which forms in the crankcase. Start it only if you ride it long enough to warm it up thoroughly. Get a good self regulating battery charger and plug it in. Also, Michael is correct. A good AGM battery is probably your best bet.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2013, 11:29 am
C-A-D C-A-D is offline
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Re: Battery losing charge

Quote:
Originally Posted by deanwoolsey View Post
.... A good AGM battery is probably your best bet.
I do sign that - if one is lucky enough to get working one. Unfortunately the worst batteries I have (bad luck?) had have been two AGMs. Both experienced sudden death in less than a year. Both changed under warranty to lead acid ones...

Yuasa (lead acid) is a quality battery. In fact BMW-reseller changed the failed original AGM-battery to YUASA 51913 and it lasted for years.

Of course just experiences of mine and bad luck... Still. Now I run on cheap lead acid ones and change it when first sign of weakness appears... Still a more economical solution based on my experiences.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2013, 11:41 am
NickHolland NickHolland is offline
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Re: Battery losing charge

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Originally Posted by martin280s View Post
I bought a Yuasa 51319 battery just over a year ago plus I live in a warm climate. Surely the battery can't be on it's way out?
as pointed out already, you can't make that assumption. Motorcycle batteries are infamous for erratic life spans.

The basics are simple:
1) The battery is discharging internally
2) The battery is discharging externally.

Case 1 is easy, but annoying: replace the battery.

Case 2, not so easy.
I'd probably start by looking at the battery itself -- if dirty, you could be discharging through the dirt, 'specially if there's some dampness around.

Next, I'd disconnect the battery, and slip in an ammeter. The power here should be pretty low, but I'd still suggest starting at a 10A range until you are sure -- some meters will happily blow a fuse if you run 300ma through a 100ma range, which may be difficult to replace.

All that should be drawing power at this point is your ignition computer, the audio system, and the alarm system. The power draw should be pretty low -- even 50ma (0.050A) will be 1.2AH of energy sucked off your battery in 24 hours, which is a non-trivial chunk of the battery's total capacity (and remember: if you have a 20AH battery, that means you have 20AH of energy to suck off the thing before it is stone dead, not 20AH and then you can start your bike!).

If your draw seems high here, reconnect the battery, and check the draw through every fuse (use your meter to replace the fuse). The circuit attached to the fuse with high draw is where the power is going.

I have seen cases where (supposedly) low power circuits work great...but suck more power when idle than they should. Repair can be expensive and may not be worth it -- battery tenders are cheap.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2013, 3:45 pm
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Re: Battery losing charge

To see if it is the battery, try disconnecting it for a couple of days and still maintains voltage. On some of the earlier LT's the cd player would continue looking for cd's even with the key off. Also as someone has mentioned if you bike has the Dice unit, this is a known battery drain.
When you reconnect the battery, turn the key on but do not start the bike. Open and close the throttle three full turns, then start the bike.
Good luck!
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  #11  
Old Dec 22nd, 2013, 4:49 pm
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Re: Battery losing charge

Normal draw should be on the order of 5 ma. This is the ECU memory, radio memory and alarm ( may not be there on a 99 ). One bike I checked had an after market "hidden" radio antenna that drew 135 ma with the key off. That would flatten his battery in a week. There is also an issue with mix matched controllers for the radio and the radio itself. If the software versions are not correct it can cause a big drain on the battery. Here is how you check for it.

Turn on the radio and within 8 seconds push and hold down the "MAN" button on the stingray radio control panel. You'll see "SVOL" appear on the radio screen (controls your speed volume/rate of change and is adjustable from 1 to 4). Continue to hold down on the "MAN" button until you get an 8 character radio serial number displayed on the screen. Now release the "MAN" button.

Next, press and release the radio "SEEK" control on the handlebar. You should now see the radio software version (on the radio screen) that will look something like SV 0300, SV 0400, etc, up to SV 0700 meaning that the radio software version is 3.0, 4.0, etc.

To get the RCU software version press the "MAN" button again and you should see either BID 2.0 or BID 3.0.


If you have a RCU with version 2.0, it will work with any radio software version, and they are: 3.0, 4.0, 5.0, 6.0 and 7.0 respectively. If you have a RCU with version 3.0, you WILL get the battery drain problem if you do not have a radio with version 7.0 software. In order to keep the battery from discharging with a RCU version 3.0 and any other radio software version except 7.0 you must use a Battery Tender or some reasonable substitute, or religiously 1)turn off the radio first, and then 2)turn the key to the fork locking position each time you park the bike for any extended period.
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  #12  
Old Dec 22nd, 2013, 8:25 pm
Bumboo Bumboo is offline
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Re: Battery losing charge

Well, I had a similar problem that drove me crazy for two weeks until I discovered the courtesy light in the trunk was left on....
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Old Dec 22nd, 2013, 9:16 pm
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Re: Battery losing charge

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Originally Posted by Bumboo View Post
Well, I had a similar problem that drove me crazy for two weeks until I discovered the courtesy light in the trunk was left on....
That and turning the key too far and leaving the park light on. Don't ask me how I know.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2013, 9:19 pm
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Re: Battery losing charge

That's why you turn the key to the fork lock position. Working 3rd shift I use the light to retrieve my gear and work items and forget to turn it off when in a hurry. A very nice safety feature.
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  #15  
Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 5:01 am
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Smile Re: Battery losing charge

Hi guys: i have a good friend of mine that used to tour a lot and he swears by the Battery Bug. It monitors your battery at every level. It shows whether your battery is bad or your alternator is not charging, It shows how much draw is on your battery at start up, it shows how much battery life is left and also will sound an alarm when the battery life is almost over but not leave you stranded. I just ordered one from ebay for 35.00, small price to pay to keep from being stranded and not sure why.
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Old Dec 24th, 2013, 12:12 pm
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Re: Battery losing charge

One thing you need to be sure of is that you are using a tender that senses when battery is charged and shuts off charging. There are a lot of chargers that do not shut off the charging once the battery is fully charged (usually referred to as trickle chargers) and if connected for a long period of time (over the winter especially) it will fry the battery. Make sure the tender you buy or have shuts off charging and you will get five or more years as I have. Note I keep my battery on the tender on 24/7 all year long.
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Old Dec 24th, 2013, 9:18 pm
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Re: Battery losing charge

Does your radio still work? The reason I ask is because my radio developed the no radio issue because of water getting into it. My battery kept going dead and it turned out that there was a short and it was draining the battery even though the radio was shut off. Took the radio out and no more issues with the battery. The bad thing in all of this is that my battery probably wasn't bad and I replaced it with a cheap Chinese battery.
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Old Dec 25th, 2013, 4:15 am
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Re: Battery losing charge

A Friend of mine bought an LT and had the same or similare Problem.
Found out there was a loading dock for a cellphone installed He disconectet this and the Problem was gone. This unit took power also without a cellphone hooket up.

Hope this helps you.

Manfred
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Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 9:18 am
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Re: Battery losing charge

I have been battling a discharging battery situation of my own that is getting progressively worse. About a month ago I would not be able to start if I didnít ride for a few days, as of yesterday the battery is discharging so quickly that it will be dead in the time it takes to have lunch.

I have used 2 different batteries that both seem to be fine, my tender cannot bring either to a full charge while connected to the bike but disconnected from the bike it does and they both can retain their charge when disconnected. When I go to install the battery in the bike itís a little scary when connecting that negative terminal and you see that arc flash so close to your fingers, not the usual little spark. I have tested all the fuses below the seat for drainage to no avail and I am becoming fearful that my alternator might be bad and somehow draining the battery (diode?).

I must admit that electrical issues are my least favorite because I am a complete electrical idiot. I can follow installation directions for electrical components and use a soldering iron like a pro (okay, rank amateur but they hold up and conduct electricity just look ugly), but donít really understand the principles of it all.

Anyway, just wondering if there are other things to check because from what I can tell I basically have to split the bike in half and remove the transmission to replace the alternator Ė is that right?

Hereís to hoping for a simpler solution
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Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 9:54 am
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Re: Battery losing charge

Quote:
Originally Posted by copperstatetour View Post
I have been battling a discharging battery situation of my own that is getting progressively worse. About a month ago I would not be able to start if I didnít ride for a few days, as of yesterday the battery is discharging so quickly that it will be dead in the time it takes to have lunch.

I have used 2 different batteries that both seem to be fine, my tender cannot bring either to a full charge while connected to the bike but disconnected from the bike it does and they both can retain their charge when disconnected. When I go to install the battery in the bike itís a little scary when connecting that negative terminal and you see that arc flash so close to your fingers, not the usual little spark. I have tested all the fuses below the seat for drainage to no avail and I am becoming fearful that my alternator might be bad and somehow draining the battery (diode?).

I must admit that electrical issues are my least favorite because I am a complete electrical idiot. I can follow installation directions for electrical components and use a soldering iron like a pro (okay, rank amateur but they hold up and conduct electricity just look ugly), but donít really understand the principles of it all.

Anyway, just wondering if there are other things to check because from what I can tell I basically have to split the bike in half and remove the transmission to replace the alternator Ė is that right?

Hereís to hoping for a simpler solution
Sounds like you have a larger than normal current draw. With your self-proclaimed lack of electrical prowess , you many need to seek assistance with what I'm about to suggest, for help and tools.

With the bike off, remove each fuse, one at a time, and place a meter across the fuse terminals and measure the current. An indication in excess of 5mA (per jzeiler ) would indicate a suspect circuit. Unfortunately, from that point on, it will be a hunt.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 12:05 pm
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Re: Battery losing charge

Quote:
Originally Posted by GHOSTRACER View Post
Sounds like you have a larger than normal current draw. With your self-proclaimed lack of electrical prowess , you many need to seek assistance with what I'm about to suggest, for help and tools.

With the bike off, remove each fuse, one at a time, and place a meter across the fuse terminals and measure the current. An indication in excess of 5mA (per jzeiler ) would indicate a suspect circuit. Unfortunately, from that point on, it will be a hunt.
That's what I have done already and nothing meters that high. I checked the fuses under the seat, the only ones that I know of. I was wondering if there was another fuse block somewhere, or other systems to check that don't have a fuse in the block under the seat.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 12:22 pm
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Re: Battery losing charge

The big spark is normal when hooking up the battery after it has been off the bike. That is inrush current to all the electrical items that have large capacitors in the input line. It is usually not an indication of the steady state draw.

If you do have a meter then use it this way next time the battery is out. 1. Hook up the positive wires first to the + terminal as normal. Then hold the ground wire on the negative terminal ( big spark remember) then remove it and run the current meter between the negative terminal and the wire you just removed and measure the current. It should be on the order of 5 - 10 ma. But be prepared to read a higher current. If you do then start removing positive wires one at a time until it is down to that level of current. The key should be in the off and locked position.

Also try the procedure outlined in post 11 to check radio issues.
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Old Mar 8th, 2014, 3:29 pm
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Re: Battery losing charge

I had to buy a new battery today. I have unsuccessfuly tried to source a gel battery. However, unfortunately, the only battery available in Brazil for the K1200LT is the Yuasa 51913. it cost a very painful R$502,00, that's almost USD230.00!
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Old Mar 8th, 2014, 3:33 pm
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Re: Battery losing charge

Quote:
Originally Posted by martin280s View Post
I had to buy a new battery today. I have unsuccessfuly tried to source a gel battery. However, unfortunately, the only battery available in Brazil for the K1200LT is the Yuasa 51913. it cost a very painful R$502,00, that's almost USD230.00!
wow what the frack?
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Old Mar 8th, 2014, 3:46 pm
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Re: Battery losing charge

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wow what the frack?
And I shopped around on the net first..the difference between one and another seller wouldn't even cover the fuel to collect it!
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