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I left my bike on the factory charger and each time I came back after 60 days the battery was dead. The charger defaults to error about 5 - 10 minutes after it is plugged in so everything looks fine when you plug in and leave. The dealer says that this is a software glitch that won't have a patch until sometime in fall. I put a pigtail on and now charge directly to the battery. If you are riding the bike and then leaving in storage for more than a couple of weeks, I recommend that you do the same.
 

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I had the dealer install the pig tail before I took delivery of the bike. I try to ride every Sunday but when my water pump went out the bike sat for 2 months & never went dead. I plug it in every time I park it.
 

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My dealer put the pig tail ( what we are calling it) on and I didn't know that he had done it. I actually duplicated it because I didn't notice that it was there. I had one come with my last battery tender.

It is a standard battery to charger/heated vest type plug that cannot get shorted out very easily. I'm sure that there is a model name for it. I have one on each side of the bike.
 

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I'd make sure any charger used doesn't exceed 14.4VDC during any portion of the charge cycle. Sealed Gel batteries like the Exide unit in the K1600 apparently prefer lower charging rates (capacity in amp hours/20) and voltage (14.4 max) than the typical AGM (absorbed glass mat) used in earlier BMW's and most other recent motorcycles.

Google Gel battery charging to confirm my comments.

BMW also recommends disconnecting the battery ground or removing it entirely during charging to prevent damage to electronics. The typical fused pigtail may be ok if the charger is designed for Gel cell batteries and offers an electrically clean output.

Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The dealer had a pigtail with a fuse on it. He installed it directly to the battery and had the socket with a spring loaded clasp attached to the bottom side of the battery holder which is a very clean installation.
 

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BMW offers the CAN-BUS socket charging for a reason...possible control of charger type limited to those with the proper output plug and K1600 compatible. They may assume such a charger is compatible with the K16 electronics. Their's is.

Yes, we can buy an adapter to mate standard battery tender outputs to the CAN-BUS receptacle, but the system won't allow the charger access to the battery for very long. Optimate for example had to reconfigure their Optimate-4, already BMW compatible on other models, to work with the K1600.

I doubt a dealer would be following BMW's advice if they bypass that "feature" with the traditional adapter found on other motorcycles. Owner's info strongly suggests disconnecting the battery before charging if a standard tender is used to protect the electronics.

There's always the chance that someone will hook up a charging system built for old-style flooded batteries with an uncontrolled voltage/current supply and dirty DC output. If something blows there's no warranty if BMW finds out a non-compatible charger was in service.

Gary
 

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Gary, there are numerous threads about problems people are having with the BMW canbus charger on the K1600 when they plug into the BMW power outlet.

http://www.k1600forum.com/

Something is wrong and it seems like the only way to get a good charge is to go directly to the battery. That is why so many do it that way and many dealers are hooking up a pigtail with the initial set up.
 

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Hello Dan. Good point on the problem. Yes I agree there are reported issues with the BMW charger, and with early versions of the Optimate-4 (now rectified apparently for the Optimate). BMW it seems changed some of the CAN_BUS com parameters on the K1600.

I've been on the K1600 forum for over a year, and yes there are threads that discuss the charging problems some have experienced: http://www.k1600forum.com/forum/bmw-k1600-accessories/708-canbus-charger.html for example.

My point in cautioning the install of a pigtail is that BMW recommends disconnecting the battery for fear of harming the electronics during the charging event. It's an owner's choice.

If the electronics are harmed then best of luck with warranty coverage. The question isn't the pigtail...it's the quality of charger that'll be in review.

I use an Optimate-6 connected directly to the battery, but disconnect the ground cable just in case.

Gary

Edit: Like oil and tire threads, few topics interest more than batteries. Good reference: http://www.webbikeworld.com/motorcycle-battery/
 

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I should have added, a BATTERY TENDER connected to the battery. I agree with you 100% on a CHARGER directly to the battery being bad. Without any type of electronic battery condition monitor, you could easily damage the battery and the bikes electrical system, I think!

Disclaimer:

I really know very little about these matters, only what I have read and discussed with my dealer. We are probably saying the same thing but in different languages...
 

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I also have the Optimate 4 and I currently have it plugged into the CAN-BUS plug and will probably change it to a direct battery connection. I assume that all I do it attach the battery to the cable without removing any other connections and just tuck the charging plug away somewhere when not being used? And change the charger over to standard as opposed to CAN BUS. Am I correct?
 

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I spoke with my dealer today on this charging thing. We're all saying the same thing...connect to the battery if you don't have a BMW charger. Even then, the CAN-BUS plug connection sometimes gets confused over a long charging period of several weeks and may be shut down by the bike's reptile brain.

Just be careful that the battery tender's voltage remains under 14.4V, and it's current output is low...less than 1.5 amps was mentioned.

That's so the Gel battery in the K1600 doesn't overly gas the electrolyte, and cause problems with other electronics. Most smart chargers/battery tenders with monitoring circuits comply. Older simple trickle chargers and full size 10-50 amp units should be avoided as they can cause harm.

If BMW still used AGM or regular flooded cell batteries like they did years ago then the battery would more tolerant to over voltage and current. The problem then would be avoiding damage to the electronic components connected to the battery. That's why is safest to remove the negative terminal on the battery and isolate them from the charger's potential effects.

Gary
 

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I'm running an informal test to see how quickly a fully charged battery (13.1V in my case after 24 hrs of sitting) goes down when connected to the bike. After being charged by my Optimate6 at 14.4, then about 13.5 float, in two days it's dropped from 13.1 to 13.02. Not a big deal and may prove insignificant.

Can't ride for 6-8 weeks due to Alaskan winter so we'll see in a week or so how it's doing. The decrease in voltage at the 10.5mA draw may not be linear. Disconnecting the battery would cease most of the drawdown of course outside of self discharge, at the expense of loosing some memorized features.

Gary
 

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I'm probably wrong, but I've heard figures of about 1% a day. The K1200LT really needs a good charge to turn over and if the battery is weak, you can do damage to the starter relay. I think it gets hot and sticks.

Not sure about the K1600, but have heard that it draws more current than the K1200LT and the battery is not as strong.

Hopefully someone who really knows will step in.
 
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