I've tried to read everything on this site but I'm still confused - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 12 Old Jul 2nd, 2006, 12:52 pm Thread Starter
 
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Question I've tried to read everything on this site but I'm still confused

I have tried to view everything on this site about batteries for a 2003 K1200LT. The more I read the more confused I get and the less I understand. I realize that batteries beliefs are a lot like other beliefs in that everyone has a different opinion. The bike has the original gel battery in it and I know it has to be getting close to need replacing so I want to replace it before it gives out. I've seen a lot about the Odyssey battery but I can't tell if it's a gel battery or not. Their specs say it's a dry cell. Others say they use a battery that can be bought from Digit-Key (spelled wrong). The Odyssey battery is only rated at 16AH while my bike manual says to use a 19AH battery. As I understand it, a lot of this has to do with how long the battery can crank the engine.
A little straight information about what all this jargon means to a mechanical guy would be greatly appreciated. A link to a good web site would also help.
If the information is here and I have missed it, I apologize.
Many thanks.
Ken
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post #2 of 12 Old Jul 2nd, 2006, 1:56 pm
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Battery Info you requested...

Quote:
Originally Posted by kdale
I have tried to view everything on this site about batteries for a 2003 K1200LT. The more I read the more confused I get and the less I understand. I realize that batteries beliefs are a lot like other beliefs in that everyone has a different opinion. The bike has the original gel battery in it and I know it has to be getting close to need replacing so I want to replace it before it gives out.
Before you do, Check the battery voltage across the battery terminals and see what the "Just after a 20 minute or so" ride is. At rest, engine not running and key OFF for 5-10 minutes after a ride. You should see about 13.4 - 12.8 volts. Next morning after the bike has been sitting (not on a float charger) it should be 12.7 - 13.0 volts. If this is what you see, Don't change it unless you are having problems. If it is starting OK but the voltage is lower than 12.0 Volts the next day, Change it
I've seen a lot about the Odyssey battery but I can't tell if it's a gel battery or not. Their specs say it's a dry cell.
The Odyssey battereis are a GEL battery. They are a sub-brand for the Hawker batter company. They make batteries for the military, telcom and industrial markets. I have had an Odyssey battery in my 99' K1200lt for 4 years now and is just now starting to go soft. I have a 210 ma leak in my system from an old intercom that will take it out if I don't lleave it on the float charger. The other companies, Panisonic and the Standard GEL that came with you bike is how old? Purchase date? 2003 did you get it the year before or early in 2003? Is getting up there. I recomend you get the Odyssey. No maintainance from you other than a good float charger, Will last a minimum of 4-5 years if you do not run it dead too many times. That is one thing that is hard on a GEL battery. The stock battery is just fine also but not built to the standard the Odyssey is.
Others say they use a battery that can be bought from Digit-Key (spelled wrong). The Odyssey battery is only rated at 16AH while my bike manual says to use a 19AH battery. As I understand it, a lot of this has to do with how long the battery can crank the engine.
Yes this does equate to crank time. But CCA values also determin HOW MUCH current at the rated voltage you can get from a battery during that time. The Odyssey give 680 Cranking amps during this time frame. I am not sure of the specs of the standard battery put in the bike.
A little straight information about what all this jargon means to a mechanical guy would be greatly appreciated. A link to a good web site would also help.
Here is a link for information on the Odyssey: http://www.ajusa.com/cgi-bin/load?pa...de40c5a6ffea97
If the information is here and I have missed it, I apologize.
Many thanks.
Ken
Bob

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99 K1200LTC Canyon Red "Thank god I didn't sell her!"
06 K1200lt Magnesium Black Metallic. YEAH! Baby got new legs,
Plastic will be a bit crunchy, but... She will be road worthy soon!
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post #3 of 12 Old Jul 2nd, 2006, 2:15 pm Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Bob.
You have given me the information that I was looking for but could not find. I will do the check that you advised but may also get a Odyseey battery to put on the shelf as my battery is 3 years old this month from the date of the bike manufacture. As I understand it, the gel batteries have a long shelf life. I did let the battery go dead one time but now use a battery tender for gel batteries.

Thanks again.
Ken Dale
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post #4 of 12 Old Jul 2nd, 2006, 3:22 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob
Bob
The Odyssey battereis are a GEL battery.
No they are not Gel. The Odyssey is an AGM battery, which is "Absorbed Glass Mat". The acid electrolyte is absorbed into a mat of fine glass fibers between the plates, not gelled as in a Gel battery.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying.

David Shealey
Dandridge, TN
EX: '01 Black LT, BAT BYKE (Totaled at 110,000 miles)
IBA SS, BB, BBG, 10/10ths.
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post #5 of 12 Old Jul 2nd, 2006, 5:13 pm Thread Starter
 
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David:
Who does make the gel batteries and what makes either one better than the other. I don't mean to start anything that has already been hashed out here. If it's been discussed before, then point me to the link. I'm just trying to understand and make a good decision based on fact. I have read the HOW and understand that the Odyssey is highly regarded and the Panasonic is getting good feedback but not enough information on it yet. I guess my next question would be, can I safely replace the gel battery with the AGM battery. I would also assume that if I did that then the battery tender that I have for the gel battery would no longer surfice.
Thanks for all the feedback.

Ken Dale
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post #6 of 12 Old Jul 2nd, 2006, 8:04 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdale
David:
Who does make the gel batteries and what makes either one better than the other. I don't mean to start anything that has already been hashed out here. If it's been discussed before, then point me to the link. I'm just trying to understand and make a good decision based on fact. I have read the HOW and understand that the Odyssey is highly regarded and the Panasonic is getting good feedback but not enough information on it yet. I guess my next question would be, can I safely replace the gel battery with the AGM battery. I would also assume that if I did that then the battery tender that I have for the gel battery would no longer surfice.
Thanks for all the feedback.

Ken Dale
I really liked the Odyssey, but never used a battery charger anyway. I believe that it is better charged with a standard charger, not one specifically for a Gel cell. Personally, if you use an Odyssey there is little to no need to use a charger on it anyway. Maybe if you let it set up the whole winter or something, but it certainly does not need anything like a battery tender to be used if you ride somewhat regularly. I have one I took out of my bike in my garden tractor, use it very infrequently, no charger, and it starts the tractor right up every time. I NEVER used a charger on my LT.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying.

David Shealey
Dandridge, TN
EX: '01 Black LT, BAT BYKE (Totaled at 110,000 miles)
IBA SS, BB, BBG, 10/10ths.
No bike now, but maybe in the future.
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post #7 of 12 Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 9:03 am
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The BMW battery is made by Exide. Originally a standard wet lead-acid cell was used. Problem being if the bike falls over, acid spills (this is also a problem in many other battery operated appliances). Manufacturers found ways to make a battery perform like a lead-acid, but without the liquid. Gel cells were one of the first solutions. AGM is another solution. You can generally replace one with the other. As for your battery tender, contact the manufacturer (Deltran). The special battery tender was spec'd by Exide, but I never bought into the need for the special charger. I use a charger on my bike much of the time since I often use the radio in the garage and use it over the winter to keep the battery full. I guess I have officially voided my warrenty on the "BMW" battery since I haven't used their approved charger, but I've not had a problem (I use the batteryminder). Batteries are similar to oil, everyone has a better solution. Do the voltage check Bob describes, if you need to replace, the Odyssey has received good reviews from others here so it is probably what I will buy when it's time. You may also want to check the conversations on the archive of the old site.

'03 Silver LT
'05 Silver F650GS (Wife)
'08 Red R12GS
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post #8 of 12 Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 9:35 am
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"special" charger... hmmmm..

I find it "interesting" that there are "special" chargers for "special" batteries, yet the charging circuit on our bikes is not "special"... hmmm.

I am using the Deltran.. a good product. It comes with a harness which remains attached to the battery and can be used as a "battery tap" for other power accessories... just don't forget to "fuse" it.

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post #9 of 12 Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 10:43 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfell
"special" charger... hmmmm..

I find it "interesting" that there are "special" chargers for "special" batteries, yet the charging circuit on our bikes is not "special"... hmmm.

I am using the Deltran.. a good product. It comes with a harness which remains attached to the battery and can be used as a "battery tap" for other power accessories... just don't forget to "fuse" it.
The special chargers are for low amperage "top up" charging, which does require higher voltage to get the current required, and automatic switch back to lower voltage as the charge level comes up.

Any of the batteries can be charged by a standard high current charger if it has automatic shut off circuitry or you watch it. Few battery chargers have regulated voltage, and it will change with temperature or input voltage fluctuations. The charge circuit in the bike is regulated, and is high current capable. Cannot compare that to a small "maintenance" charger.

My opinion is that most people are overusing maintenance chargers anyway, using them all the time the bike is not being ridden. You only need to do that if the bike is not ridden for LONG periods, like three-four weeks and more.

I NEVER used a charger on an LT. The only time the battery was ever charged outside the bike was when I had the bike down for a few weeks replacing the pistons, charged the battery just before putting it back in. It probably did not need charging then since it was an Odyssey, which can sit on a shelf for months and still have a very high percentage of charge left.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying.

David Shealey
Dandridge, TN
EX: '01 Black LT, BAT BYKE (Totaled at 110,000 miles)
IBA SS, BB, BBG, 10/10ths.
No bike now, but maybe in the future.
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post #10 of 12 Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 11:45 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dshealey
No they are not Gel. The Odyssey is an AGM battery, which is "Absorbed Glass Mat". The acid electrolyte is absorbed into a mat of fine glass fibers between the plates, not gelled as in a Gel battery.
Fine, Shoot me down in cold acid... Sniff.
You are right though just the same. In trying to over simplify I misled.

As for battery chargers, If the bike can charge it then the average Charger can as I have seen no evidence of changes to the charging Voltage/current on the bike.
At full charge our bike puts out just shy of 60 amps at 14 volts.
If the bike does not blow it up, I am fairly sure the Charger won't.

BECAUSE I have extra equipment that must be left on, I have a little 175AmpHr, 125 Lbs Telcom Battery that I use plugged into the Charging jack just to give me a Little iddy biddy buffer...
My bike will be flat dead in under two weeks if I don't keep it on the boat anchor... I mean Battery. The average stock bike with standard accessories should need little to no float charging especially if the battery is an Odyssey. Odyssey batteries have very high internal resistance I.E. do not self discharge. I have some(16) 40 Amp Hour Hawkers that I charged up 3 years ago that still have 93+/-5% full charge. I use them to jump start cars and such. I used one in my VW for 3 years with no ill effect on the battery, actually the car LOVED that battery.
Man I am just going off on a tangent...
Sorry.

Bob Weir KC6VHS
99 K1200LTC Canyon Red "Thank god I didn't sell her!"
06 K1200lt Magnesium Black Metallic. YEAH! Baby got new legs,
Plastic will be a bit crunchy, but... She will be road worthy soon!
MAXbmwmotorcycles.com Great price on parts and free shipping!
Saved me about $560.00+ on local parts! Thanks Max!


82 Yamaha Seca ZZzzapp (converting to electric)
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Last edited by Bob; Jul 3rd, 2006 at 11:54 am.
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post #11 of 12 Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 7:00 pm
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I put in the BMW Gel battery in Dec '03. Bought the BMW gel-specific battery charger. After a year of never using it, I sold it to another board member. I do have a cheap battery charger if I need to use one, but that's more for the car than the bike.

If your accessories are wired properly, and you ride every week or two, then you don't need a maintenance charger. Those who deal with long winter conditions excepted, of course.

Ken
Pacific NorthWet
'13 Dark Graphite Metallic K16GTLD, 24K miles
'09 Magnesium Beige Metallic K13GT, 63K miles
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post #12 of 12 Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 7:44 pm Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the input.
I had bought a new Battery Tender for gel battries from one of the board members.
I have not had a chance to test my battery yet as has been advised here. I think I will get one of the PC680 and put on the shelf anyway. I've had too many batteries that were dead when I went to ride. This is my first gel battery so I don't know if they do the same. Sometime because of my work schedule it is 2 or 3 weeks before I can get out. From the information that I'm seeing here, I don't believe that the charger for the gel battery will do any harm to the AGM battery so I will continue to use it when I know it maybe a while before I get out.
Thanks again for all the input.

Ken
'03 Impala brown LTC
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