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Battery Changing / How to know when to change the battery?

8507 Views 41 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  onewizard
Hi everyone,
Can anyone share me some light on when to change the battery for versys 650? and how to identify that the battery is not working properly. Thanks
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Generally if it is becoming weak when you start the engine. My factory original went just over 4 years. If you are having weird electrical issues all of a sudden, it could be the battery is going bad.

The V650 does have a history of charging system problems but usually not for many miles. I'll toss out 50,000 miles but then someone will say theirs failed before that. But if your bike is well below that amount, I would first suspect the battery rather than the charging system.

Fwiw, my brand name replacement battery lasted about 3 months and then suddenly died completely. It is possible to have a bad battery that isn't very old.

I have and recommend a voltmeter installed on your instrument panel. It will tell you what your battery's voltage is with the engine not running, and if your charging system is working properly when the engine is running.
A auto shop can test the battery for you. Places such as advanced auto dont charge for it.
My bike went uh huh, uh huh very slowly, then it turned over. Don't trust it, time for a new one.

Sent from my ONEPLUS A6013 using Tapatalk
Before my battery failed I was getting some weird readings on the dash. For one, the fuel gauge wouldn't show full all the way when the bike had just been filled. It totally failed shortly after that. The factory battery lasted about four years, which seems about normal. The current AGM battery will get replaced at three years. A no start situation can really ruin your day in some of the remote places that I ride.
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Just replaced the battery in my 2015. When not riding I always keep it plugged into a tender at home. I noticed as soon as I would plug it into the tender the green light would come on right away and show it was fully charged. Went for a ride one day and turned the bike off and when I went to restart the bike the battery was completely dead. I got a jump and rode it home about 30 miles the voltage was showing good but no cranking amps.
A fully charged battery should read 13.1 volts at rest and 14.1 volts while charging if the charging system is functioning properly. The difference between a fully charged battery and a dead one could be as little as .5 volts, and voltage is only an indicator of a battery's actual condition. A specific gravity tester will give a more accurate representation of a battery's health, as will a load test. Typical lifespan of a lead acid battery is three to five years, and can depend on several factors like battery quality, discharge cycles, and environmental conditions. If the motorcycle is only ridden occasionally then a maintenance float charger, such as a BatteryMINDer, should be used. When in doubt change the battery out every three years so you don't wind up broken down on the side of the road somewhere. Preventative maintenance is always a good idea on a motorcycle.
I replace my battery when I notice it start to crank slower. But when you notice it at that point, you may only have a couple starts left, so don't put it off.
If you want to go to your work on a cold and wet morning. Sitting in full gear on your bike. And the bike doesn't start while the lights are still on. Than you know it's time.
Most of the time you can jumpstart the engine with a car. Do don't worry. When it's time you know it.
Another concern.: I had a flooded lead acid battery fail on my last bike, a c-10 Connie. I was traveling and it failed to start the bike in the morning at a campground, Blue Ridge Motorcycle campground. The campground owner had a small shop with some tools that guests could use, if needed. I jumped the battery and got the bike started. The bike had a volt meter on it. When we disconnected the jump battery the voltages where jumping all over the place because of the bad battery not acting as a "damper" for the electrical system. I shut the bike off and got a ride into town to get a new battery. I was concerned that the voltage spikes may take out the ignitor or??? Now with ECU's and other fancy stuff on bikes I would be quite leery of running it with a compromised battery.

Shameless plug. I mentioned the name of the campground because they were quite helpful during the above episode. It's a way cool motorcycle only campground on NC 276 near Crusco, NC and the Blue Ridge Trail. And they do have a few sleeping cabins.
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A battery load test will given the health condition of the battery. And if you hook it to a battery tender most of the time the battery can last more than 2 years min.
First , anything in this post is strictly my opinion. I did a post on series and shunt regulators and how they relate to battery life. My opinion of using a battery tender every time when parking the bike would fall under the same as a shunt regulator( more harm than good using a tender), unless the bike is sitting for 8 weeks or more, the advantages are limited, and only if you are using one that cuts off 100% and also cycles , on the long run you evaporate fluid, thus the green light when plugging in and no capacity, if you did a visual you would find a dry battery. I said it before, my second Versys, so far my 2015 with original battery, I expect to replace it winter 2022, yes I get 6 to 7 years out of the Yuasa battery. Also I look at 12.6 VDC or less indicating time to replace ( I load test it, I will do a test on my 2015 and post the current and duration ), ( after 10 minutes of sitting after a ride). FYI, the voltage is a very poor indicator of battery condition, use a battery tester and see what amps you get and the duration. As a example, I have had AA batteries measure 1.49 VDC, and shorted it put out less than 50 milliamp and went to 0.3 VDC rapidly, I have also had AA batteries that measured 1.3 VDC and put out over 2 amp, current is work done, like I said , battery voltage is a poor indicator of battery condition.
Here is a really good site Battery Basics - Guide to Batteries | BatteryStuff
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I agree w/ onewizard - and I'm NOT an electronics "wizard" as he is.

MY '15 V650 is still running its OEM battery, and (SO FAR) it's just FINE! I changed over to a 'series' R/R shortly after I bought it - BEST choice I could've done - as recommended by onewizard.
Starter actual current, using hall effect clamp on and Fluke 189 , yellow case meter. The photo is for display purposes only, the current was 50 amp at 11.0VDC ( this is the actual voltage measured while producing 50 amp, no load voltage was 12.9 VDC) This is with the bike not running
I had to give thought as to how to do this with the least trouble, something to consider is carrying a say 6 inch piece of 10 gauge insulated wire, I jumped out the start relay allen head socket screws with my amprobe clamped around the wire.

Please note
; the photos below are using a car battery load tester. The above test using your starter and not using the start button, simply because we are using a known fixed current of 50 amp, we don't know momentary current for fuel pump/ ignition, lights etc.

FYI the yellow jacket meter is current in amps DC

A related thread

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I am going to post some photos and add some text. I will come back another day and edit this post, already several hours into this. I mentioned my last ride was 10 minutes within city limits after riding over 300 KM round trip, this was two days before testing, so my guess is the battery was at about 95% charge, because the fan was running during this 10 minute ride within the city, several stop lights.
So I was using a Fluke 189 set on millivolts and my hall effect amprobe was tested prior and the battery voltage was within spec. My first two tests were without photos, voltage measured was using a Fluke 8060A which is equal to the 189 and the meter on the left. My battery tester is a cheap Princess auto / Harbor freight .
So test #1 12.8 VDC , first load test was 84 to 86 ADC at 10.8 VDC for 20 seconds ( very maximum as plastic was melting on insulation within tester)
Test #2 after 5 minutes wait , 85 ADC at 10.8 VDC for 10 seconds

What to do if you aren't sure--is it the battery, the charging system or a little of both ( edited June 2021)
First hopefully you own a digital voltmeter and a battery tender/ motorcycle specific charger.
This is specific to the AGM motorcycle battery;

#1- Hook up your charger /battery tender, after 2 hours I want to know what the voltage is at the battery with the charger connected. Next , charge for a total charge time of 6 hours ( the charger should be a motorcycle charger with a preferable 1 amp maximum charge rate. At the 6 hour time I want the same reading of battery voltage with charger connected, then take the charger off.
#2 after 1 hour I want the battery voltage measured without keying on. I posted this link the second time because who better than the manufacturer , see what the voltage measured should be.

using either shorting out the solenoid contacts , or removing the connector at the start solenoid and providing a control power of 12 VDC to the coil circuit of the solenoid. This is what I want you to do ( no key on)
Run the starter for 10 second intervals with your meter connected to the battery. 10 seconds on and wait 30 seconds, do this 6 times. The voltage should be 10.6 VDC during testing or greater. Please be sure to use the same meter and post the fully charged voltage, it is possible to have a meter off by 1 volt, in this test that voltage is extremely important.. So total start at 50 amp was 1 minute total for 4 minutes total.. My test was actually higher at 80 amp, but a new battery.
The following is what I originally posted 9 months ago;
So I started the bike , ran it for 10 minutes, and proceeded to do tests for a total of 8 times all around 8 to 10 seconds long.( the last test was done after running at or above 195'F , so the fan was running and I was actually discharging the battery, because I was at idle of 1500 RPM )
This is 20 seconds of on time, the switch was just released so the voltage shown is no load, recovering voltage, it was taken to demonstrate what red hot looks like

I think you get the picture, a 5 year old Yuasa battery, each test I waited from 2 to 5 minutes for the tester to cool down, here is the last of 8 tests, two I deleted as meter readings were hard to see.

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Glen - I'm glad that you're my friend, and could tell me my... whatever... is faulty, 'cause your post is mostly "Greek" to me [apologies to any Greeks on the Forum].

THANKS for posting this info...!
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OK, so a battery lasts 3-6 years.
Only use a tender for 8 or more weeks dormancy.
When in need of a change, what do y'all recommend?
Glen - I'm glad that you're my friend, and could tell me my... whatever... is faulty, 'cause your post is mostly "Greek" to me [apologies to any Greeks on the Forum].

THANKS for posting this info...!
Well if it is Greek, that means only I understand and I haven't done a good enough job. Your post is like feedback, it helps to make me think, if you don't understand probably there are more, just afraid to ask.
So I have the test equipment , a Hypatia milliohm tester, I checked my tester to see the actual ohms, it measures between 0.120 to 0.140 ohms or120 to 140 milliohm/s. Why does this matter? Ohms law says current is found by dividing volts by ohms, in this case at 12.9 VDC 92 amp to 107.5 amp maximum, since it is nichrome wire , even1 second is too much for my Hypatia tester.
So that Princess Auto is a voltmeter with a fixed load, if say we had 6 volts, our current would be about 50 amp or exactly what the starter draws. Next time I will calibrate the battery tester meter needle to match what my Fluke meter displays.
The second reason for doing this battery test on a 10 amp hour Yuasa battery that is 5 years old, is to show a base line for current output, all my tests were above10.8 VDC under load with the current exceeding start motor current by 30 amp minimum, that amount exceeds the total base load of the Versys by roughly 100%.
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OK, so a battery lasts 3-6 years.
Only use a tender for 8 or more weeks dormancy.
When in need of a change, what do y'all recommend?
Buy another Yuasa AGM battery, buy the cheaper one, the expensive one has more plates and a higher cranking amps, the problem is you don't need higher cranking amps, to get that they use thinner plates. At issue is vibration and shorts, plate failure. Which battery is more likely to fail the standard plate or higher plate count. The higher plate count is the answer, yes I had to think for 1 minute when I bought my battery for the 07, both batteries are the same physical size. The standard one has thicker plates and better insulation, plus it is cheaper.
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