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post #1 of 40 Old Apr 15th, 2014, 11:14 am Thread Starter
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Question Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

Strange things has been happening. When I leave the 2003 LT in 1st gear, the battery drains to the point of not being able to start the bike in 9 - 10 hours. Thought I had a bad battery, but ran all the tests from the manufacturer and that looks good.

I started leaving it in 1st gear at work because I was parking on a slope. Had to pop the clutch twice to get it started so I started digging into it. When in my garage, I tested the current draw but have only done it in Neutral so far. This weekend will be more testing in 1st gear.

In Neutral, I see about 200mA when I first connect the battery and then it will settle down to 20mA or less. That is pretty normal for what I have witnessed in the past.

Was wondering if anyone else has run into this issue.
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post #2 of 40 Old Apr 15th, 2014, 11:22 am
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

Did you also test it disconnected or removed from the bike? as in leave it sitting for 24 hours on the garage floor and then test it? or leave the negative cable off the battery and test it the next day?

Currently riding a 2003 K1200LTC
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post #3 of 40 Old Apr 15th, 2014, 11:26 am Thread Starter
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

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Did you also test it disconnected or removed from the bike? as in leave it sitting for 24 hours on the garage floor and then test it? or leave the negative cable off the battery and test it the next day?
Yes - I ran through a testing process of charging it completely with my Battery Tender out of the cycle and then waiting 30 minutes and taking a voltage reading. Waited 12 hours and took another voltage reading. Then put it in the cycle and started it a few times taking a voltage reading after each start.

There was a voltage drop over 12 hours, but less than .5v so I didn't consider that too bad. The one things I didn't do was take voltage readings when trying to start the cycle to see how it may dip down. With a full charge, the cycle starts in 2 or 3 seconds so it won't give it much time to check for voltage drop.
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post #4 of 40 Old Apr 15th, 2014, 2:25 pm
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

You've checked you're not leaving the lights on when at work? (turning the key past steering lock and turning on parking lights)

It would be some really sneaky sneak path to drain the battery through the gear indicator switch.

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post #5 of 40 Old Apr 15th, 2014, 2:28 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

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You've checked you're not leaving the lights on when at work? (turning the key past steering lock and turning on parking lights)

It would be some really sneaky sneak path to drain the battery through the gear indicator switch.
Yes, I have verified that there are no lights on.

I agree - doesn't make any sense, but it is the only thing I can relate to the issue consistently happening. Thought it may have been something to do with being on a slope, but my garage floor is level. Typically it starts OK in the morning, but not today and the only thing different was I left it in 1st gear.
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post #6 of 40 Old Apr 15th, 2014, 5:51 pm
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

i would suggest that you likely have a weak battery.

how old is your battery?

try FULLY charging it with a full size charger (not trickle). after a couple of years-they go.

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post #7 of 40 Old Apr 15th, 2014, 5:54 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

Battery is about a year old. It is a Scorpion. I'll do some more testing.
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post #8 of 40 Old Apr 15th, 2014, 6:04 pm
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

Simple test to confirm your issue. Get a cheap meter from Harbor Freight (ten bucks) and check your key off amperage draw on the battery. Then stick it in first gear and see if it changes. You should see about .02 or less amps with everything off. If it's above that, reconnect the cable and check amperage draw across your fuse contacts to isolate the problem circuit.


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post #9 of 40 Old Apr 15th, 2014, 6:14 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

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Simple test to confirm your issue. Get a cheap meter from Harbor Freight (ten bucks) and check your key off amperage draw on the battery. Then stick it in first gear and see if it changes. You should see about .02 or less amps with everything off. If it's above that, reconnect the cable and check amperage draw across your fuse contacts to isolate the problem circuit.
I've got a few VOM's. I did take current readings but so far only in neutral (posted those readings in my original post). I plan to pull the negative cable off tonight and try it in neutral and compare.

Was really wondering if anyone else had noticed an issue like this. Trying to avoid finding the phantom current draw culprit if someone else had a similar issue and already tracked it down to something suspect.
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post #10 of 40 Old Apr 15th, 2014, 6:56 pm
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

This is a new symptom to me so I am interested in what you find. I have been around LTs now for ten years and never had this issue come up. Sounds like you know how to handle a meter. I use a serious load bank now to test batteries as the old voltage drop over time will not find all flaws.

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post #11 of 40 Old Apr 15th, 2014, 7:04 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

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Sounds like you know how to handle a meter. I use a serious load bank now to test batteries as the old voltage drop over time will not find all flaws.

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Many moons ago I earned my electronics degree. Still remember how to turn on the VOM I see you are a fellow HAM. I am K9WWW. Congrats on the 9000 posts. I feel honored that you used that milestone for a post for me!

Good idea about using a load bank. I do have a large resistive tester for big batteries and I imagine it would be a good test for this one as well. I can throw that one on as a test point. Really want to get to the bottom of this because I just don't trust parking it for more than a few hours.
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post #12 of 40 Old Apr 15th, 2014, 8:21 pm
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

This sure smells like a grounded wire issue to me.... Time to start pulling fuses while testing.

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post #13 of 40 Old Apr 15th, 2014, 8:32 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

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This sure smells like a grounded wire issue to me.... Time to start pulling fuses while testing.
I am a little confused. How would pulling fuses find a ground wire issue?

Ah, you mean if a power wire is grounding out. Gotcha.
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post #14 of 40 Old Apr 15th, 2014, 11:33 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

Did some more testing tonight. I had the battery charging all day and put the Schumacher BT-100 Battery Load Tester on it. I hit it with a load for 8 seconds and it barely hung into the 200CCA zone. I let it recover for one minute and then hit it again for about 5 seconds and it fell into the BAD zone about 3 seconds in. I let it recover for another minute and when I hit the load switch, it immediately went into the BAD zone.

I put the Battery Tender on it and brought it back up to full charge (which happened pretty quickly.) I kept my meter on the battery when cranking and it went down to about 10V. I let it idle for about 20 seconds. When running I was getting a bit over 14V. I got three starts. The 4th attempt failed to start the bike. I am leaning towards a bad battery. Working with the reseller to see if they want me to do more testing. It is under warranty till the end of the month.
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post #15 of 40 Old Apr 15th, 2014, 11:35 pm
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

Could it be an alarm fault ?

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post #16 of 40 Old Apr 15th, 2014, 11:37 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

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Could it be an alarm fault ?
I don't understand.
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post #17 of 40 Old Apr 16th, 2014, 1:33 am
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

i actually had 2 bad batteries in 2 years. i believe in one case it was just bad but in the second, i had left the bike un "tended" for a few weeks and had to hit it with a FULL size charger to get a crank out of her. the batteries were from Batteries Plus and they honored both in warranty issues. the 3rd battery is on trickle with my Battery Tender (full size-not Jr.) WHENEVER she's in the garage. if i'm gone overnight, i take the tender with me and use it. this one has been good for a 2nd year now and it keeps on perk-o-latin'.

if it were i, i'd just tell the reseller i want a new battery. screw the testing for their sake.

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post #18 of 40 Old Apr 16th, 2014, 7:34 am
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

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Originally Posted by rdepas View Post
Did some more testing tonight. I had the battery charging all day and put the Schumacher BT-100 Battery Load Tester on it. I hit it with a load for 8 seconds and it barely hung into the 200CCA zone. I let it recover for one minute and then hit it again for about 5 seconds and it fell into the BAD zone about 3 seconds in. I let it recover for another minute and when I hit the load switch, it immediately went into the BAD zone.

I put the Battery Tender on it and brought it back up to full charge (which happened pretty quickly.) I kept my meter on the battery when cranking and it went down to about 10V. I let it idle for about 20 seconds. When running I was getting a bit over 14V. I got three starts. The 4th attempt failed to start the bike. I am leaning towards a bad battery. Working with the reseller to see if they want me to do more testing. It is under warranty till the end of the month.
Looks like you found the issue!

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post #19 of 40 Old Apr 16th, 2014, 8:23 am Thread Starter
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

@Mike - The reseller has been really good to work with in the past. I get the reason for asking me to test it. I have the tools so it is no biggy.

@14wntr - I hope I have... It gets me how these bikes can chew through batteries for no apparent reason. I get there are a lot of electronics on them, but except the clock and maybe the alarm, nothing should be drawing current in an off state. Even the radio doesn't need power when off for memories. I pulled that out a couple years ago and sent the amp off for repair and when I put it all back together 5 months later, the memories were still in there.

My first Scorpion batter lasted 4 or 5 years so I ordered up another one when that one got weak. The one I received last year was the same modem number but it looks like they cheapened them up. The posts were not the same and I am not having good luck with them. Maybe it is just me though.
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post #20 of 40 Old Apr 16th, 2014, 9:09 am
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

I have a regular lead acid battery in mine 4 years now, just measured and bought the biggest one that would fit, Power Sport from a store here called Canadian Tire. During winter it has a solar panel with 12 volt regulator on it. Once riding it again it sits with nothing on it and even if I am away 2 weeks still OK.

On the K100 and K1100 I used AGM because of the extreme heat from the rad being blown through the center and I had a no name AGM that lasted 7 years. It started out on the K100 and died on the K1100 just as it was sold. It seems the AGM could take the heat much better than lead acid, not so much of a problem on the LT.

I imagine some motorcycle batteries sit on the shelf for long time until sold

I was warned by an independent motorcycle battery supplier to watch date on battery if I bought a pc680

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post #21 of 40 Old Apr 16th, 2014, 9:09 am
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

It's because the battery is undersized for the bike. There is a constant draw like a car but our battery is 1/10th the size (in power) of a car battery.

Honestly I would like to blame German engineering, but there is really no way to put a larger battery in the bike short of making it another 4 inches wider or use a custom shape battery that will cost us $600 from a BMW dealer only.

I know people that have tried those lithium Ion motorcycle batteries but they only last about 2 years just like a standard motorcycle battery but cost 5X the price.

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post #22 of 40 Old Apr 16th, 2014, 9:17 am
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

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It's because the battery is undersized for the bike. There is a constant draw like a car but our battery is 1/10th the size (in power) of a car battery.

Honestly I would like to blame German engineering, but there is really no way to put a larger battery in the bike short of making it another 4 inches wider or use a custom shape battery that will cost us $600 from a BMW dealer only.

I know people that have tried those lithium Ion motorcycle batteries but they only last about 2 years just like a standard motorcycle battery but cost 5X the price.
The battery in most cars is quite tiny last 20 years or so, the battery in my fusion is about twice the size of the one in my LT and there is a lot more electronics in the car than on the bike
A bigger battery much better when it gets old and is failing, will turn starter at lower volts

My V Star had a tiny little battery but I put a car battery in the sidecar, worked real good.

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post #23 of 40 Old Apr 16th, 2014, 9:31 am Thread Starter
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

I'll be pulling the battery back out and will check a date code. I have a feeling it is from recent stock at that time though.

I've heard the complaint of the German engineering for the battery from others. They wish BMW would have put at least a 30Ah battery in this bike. Still seem to think there are more phantom draws on the battery they could have done a better job mitigating rather than putting in a bigger battery.

I hope here is that next big jump in battery technology so we can have longer lasting, lighter batteries, but until then, we are stuck with what we can get. I'm hoping the reseller will exchange my battery. Was hoping I could change brands on the next one but they will only do a direct exchange.
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post #24 of 40 Old Apr 16th, 2014, 9:43 am
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

Batteries can be a crap shoot. I went through two BMW batteries on my new GS during the warranty period. The last one I just replaced myself with a Braille (just because it fit without mods). I dug into the BMW battery and found a faulty junction between cells. It would take a fast charge and show good open circuit terminal voltage but would not support a load. I used a heavy duty soldering iron to repair the junction and used it for a bench battery. But it did not last very long so it had other issues.

On the other hand on my LT that I bought new (in 04) and NEVER used a tender lasted 6 years before it showed any signs of weakening. I replaced it with a PC-680 before it failed.

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post #25 of 40 Old Apr 16th, 2014, 9:46 am
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

I had battery trouble last year. Brand new Odyssey PC-680 from dealer. lasted a few months then trouble. When I bought another new one same battery but different graphics. me thinks the 1st one was new old stock. BTW the mothership says not to push start bike. If need be jump it with cables...

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post #26 of 40 Old Apr 16th, 2014, 10:04 am
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

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BTW the mothership says not to push start bike. If need be jump it with cables...
I still don't see how that can damage the CAT. They also don't want you to run out of fuel. I have done both with no issues.
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post #27 of 40 Old Apr 16th, 2014, 10:31 am
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

mothership says not to push start bike.

so what do you do when the sprag clutch won't engage?

now, if battery voltage is so low it won't energize the alternator then push start won't work.
but if you have enough voltage to start the alt. then push start should be ok.

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post #28 of 40 Old Apr 16th, 2014, 11:40 am Thread Starter
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

I had never heard the "no push start" thing. I have done that 3 or 4 times over the years. Fortunately it has always worked and I have been in situations where using jumper cables would have been tough.

My first year with the cycle I didn't use a Tender at all and the battery lasted when I wouldn't ride it. Over the WI winter killed it though so I put a Tender on it. Now I use the Tender when I am not riding for more than a week. Guess I just miss how my old Yamaha Virago would go months without riding and start right up but then again that didn't have nearly the electronics on it.

I really think in this case it is like John said - it is an internal issue in the battery where it will charge and have some reserve but not nearly the rated reserve.
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post #29 of 40 Old Apr 16th, 2014, 1:23 pm
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

"I had never heard the "no push start" thing."

It's in the riders manual under important notes. Sec 3

I agree with John Z

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post #30 of 40 Old Apr 16th, 2014, 9:34 pm
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

Please indulge my 'always eliminate the simplest cause first'. I see you're in Wisconsin. May I ask if your garage is heated or at least attached to the house? It could be as simple as the battery is nearing its end, and the drain isn't seen in a warm garage, but parked outside at work in the cold, it doesn't start ?

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post #31 of 40 Old Apr 16th, 2014, 10:19 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

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I see you're in Wisconsin.
Actually I live in WA now. The weather is in the 50 degree mark and it does not seem to be temperature dependent. Good thought thought. Also the battery is just under a year old.

I sent off all my test data and the reseller said they would replace it under warranty so that is a bonus.
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post #32 of 40 Old Apr 17th, 2014, 9:41 am
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

A post near and dear to my heart as I replaced my 1 yr old battery yesterday. I'd really like to avoid doing this on a yearly basis going forward. I'm not sure I can believe that somehow the battery is undersized or that this is somewhat normal. I've had batteries last for 7-8 years with 0 maintenance on other bikes I've had. Is the group united on the idea that normal current draw from the basic electronics will kill a battery in a couple of months or so without a battery tender? I'd rather fix a problem then mask it by the PITA of worrying about dealing with this.
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post #33 of 40 Old Apr 17th, 2014, 10:07 am
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

This can be an issue but my 05 had a static draw with the handle bars locked of only 5.7 ma. Even this would draw down a 19 ahr battery in 135 days. Typical draw is less than 35 ma. There are some conditions where a mismatch between the radio controller and the radio can cause even more drain unless the radio is shut off before the key is turned off.

Now having said that I never used a tender on my 05 and the battery lasted 6 years.

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2009 R1200GS (Gone)
2005 K1200LT Ocean Blue Blue Wizard 110 K and counting...
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
K4AN

Have ridden a Motorcycle in all 48
But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #34 of 40 Old Apr 17th, 2014, 11:15 am Thread Starter
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

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Originally Posted by thynk3r View Post
I'd rather fix a problem then mask it by the PITA of worrying about dealing with this.
I am with you there! I had my radio repaired two winters ago and I had Baris do some pre-amp work for me. I knew this was prototype and he was awesome about doing the work. When I got it back and started riding, I was running down the battery to the point it would not turn over when it sat a couple days. Tracked it down to the post amp staying powered up all the time. Did some long distance troubleshooting with Baris and I needed to move a power wire to a different post and all was good. My standby current draw was well below 20mA.

Part of me thinks the batteries being put out today are grossly over-rated for mAh and that is where our issue is coming from. This is just a shot in the dark though and I don't want any manufacturer being blasted. Just doesn't make sense that some batteries can last 5 - 7 years with no tender on them and others need it when the cycle is not ridden for a week. Nothing is changing in the bike...

In fairness, maybe I stressed the battery when I was having the radio issue, but I really doubt that running a battery down to 8 or 9 volts (too little to kick in the starter on the LT) should damage a battery in any way. Especially with using a Battery Tender to charge it back up. I surely would expect any good brand of battery to handle that and last for many years.

Anyone that wants to take on getting to a root cause - I am willing to pitch in however I can to assist. I am sure there are plenty that would appreciate it.
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post #35 of 40 Old Apr 17th, 2014, 11:21 am
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

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Originally Posted by TeddyTelco View Post
"I had never heard the "no push start" thing."

It's in the riders manual under important notes. Sec 3

I agree with John Z
The reason push start is not recommended is to protect the catalytic converter as stated.
Push starting a vehicle can cause raw fuel to enter the exhaust system and when fire is eventually achieved, any accumulated fuel would ignite. I've heard about mufflers getting blown out like this, but that was almost exclusively with carbureted engines. With FI, this should be a much much lesser concern.

That said, if I was in a jam and a pop start is an option, I'll take the risk.

Dave
-2000 K1200LT
-------------------------------
Life's too short to ride ugly motorcycles
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post #36 of 40 Old Apr 17th, 2014, 12:11 pm
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

I have never measured draw on the battery when parked, but I do know that after a week of sitting without a battery tender, cranking is audibly slow/weak.
After two weeks, it won't start.

Ross
K1200LT (99)
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post #37 of 40 Old Apr 17th, 2014, 1:00 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

It is interesting. If a guy runs the numbers - a 20Ah battery with a 20mA draw on it should have the capacity to run for about 6 weeks (not taking into account self discharge and things like that...because self discharge over 6 weeks should be negligible). Now I thought Ah ratings were the potential a battery could put out and remain at nominal voltage. If that is the case, a 20Ah battery should easily be able to start a bike after 2 weeks. Of course Cranking Amps are a little different than Ah ratings.

All this is why I just have this gut feeling these batteries are grossly over rated for what we are seeing. OR - there is no good way for a starting battery like this to handle the slow draw of the clock/alarm/... when the cycle is off. What if there was two batteries installed (ok...ok... I can hear the moans already). One battery would be the starting battery and the second would be the deep cycle. Basically like a fishing boat has where one multiple batteries are used. There would need to be the ability to charge off the alternator but isolate when the cycle was off so the parasitic draw was only off the deep cycle.

I don't know about you guys - but I just want the darn bike to start when I want to ride!
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post #38 of 40 Old Apr 17th, 2014, 8:17 pm
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

Glad you found the issue and Baris is a great guy. One thing I have found over the years is that most 12 V batteries will not recover if you let the terminal voltage fall much below 10 volts for an extended period. I have had great success with the PC-680 Odyssey battery coming back from the dead (0 v) like a deep cycle battery. And that one is still in an LT and working fine two years later. Now go ride that beast.

John
2009 K1300GT Red Rocket
2009 R1200GS (Gone)
2005 K1200LT Ocean Blue Blue Wizard 110 K and counting...
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
K4AN

Have ridden a Motorcycle in all 48
But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #39 of 40 Old Apr 17th, 2014, 8:40 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

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Originally Posted by jzeiler View Post
Now go ride that beast.
I will as soon as the replacement battery arrives. I am hoping it gets here on Saturday.

The battery I was really eye balling in case mine was not covered under warranty is the Motobatt. It looks to have really good reviews and I like the 4 terminals so I can put the mains on one set and the accessories on another.
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post #40 of 40 Old May 6th, 2014, 8:48 pm Thread Starter
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Smile Re: Battery dies in 9 - 10 hours when in 1st gear

Wanted to post an update.

The replacement battery came in. I have to say that I am very happy with the way that batterystuff.com stands behind their batteries. 2 weeks left in the 1 year warranty and all I had to to was pay the shipping fee.

New battery had thicker posts on it just like my original Scorpion. Makes me wonder about the ones they were putting out a year ago.

Installed the new battery and put on the Battery Tender for a couple hours and everything was green. Bike started up perfectly...although that was expected. I did do a current check when installing and didn't find anything abnormal.

Been using the bike on and off for a few weeks and it is still starting perfectly.

Really think that battery was a dud. It would charge and have great voltage on it but it was like there was no reserve in it. Drain for any length of time or trying to start more than once would drag it down something terrible.

Hoping this is like my first Scorpion and I will get years of trouble-free service from it.
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