Batteries are a common source of issues when you own a motorcycle. Batteries are affected by numerous factors including changing weather conditions. One of the most common problems with regards to your battery is your motorcycle battery isn’t charging.
- Check the battery with a multimeter
- Check for sulfation
- Replace the electrolyte
- Check the stator and its components
- Check the terminal connections
- Check the regulator
- The battery may be overloaded
Most batteries are designed to convert the kinetic energy while riding, helping prolong the life of the battery as a result. What are the possible reasons why the battery doesn’t recharge?
Batteries provide DC current to all the electrical systems in the bike. The battery might be low on electrolytes, could have issues with the stator or regulator, or just be overloaded. This would prevent the battery from holding its charge.
Most riders are confused about how to go about tackling this problem. They believe replacing the battery or taking it to the garage might be their only solution. This is a much bigger problem nowadays as most motorcycles do not have kickstarts.
They depend only on electric starts to get underway. There are a few things you can check before going in for a new battery, which will help you save some money and time.
These tips summarize the various different steps one can take to find out why their battery is having recharging issues. Read on as we explain each point in detail, helping you gain a better understanding of the issues.
Check the Battery with a Multimeter
Assessing the issue you are facing with the battery is a key step. This not only helps you identify the problem correctly but also helps you save time and resources. A multimeter is a simple handheld device that is pivotal in diagnosing your battery issues.
It helps you find out the output voltage and amperage of the battery and helps you perform a variety of tests that will help you identify the issue.
A standing voltage test helps you determine if the battery is used to find out the existing voltage that a battery can supply without any stress on it. Connect the negative terminal to the COM terminal and the positive terminal to the port marked V.
For a 12V battery, any multimeter reading above 12V indicates the battery is usable and just needs to be charged for longer. However, any voltage output beyond that indicates that the battery has expired and needs to be replaced.
A cranking voltage start will indicate if the battery is overstressed, while a current draw test helps you determine if your battery is discharging at the right rate for a normal load. These tests will ensure that your battery charging problems are not due to a battery having gone bad or becoming too old.
Check for Sulfation
Sulfation occurs when the lead battery of your motorcycle has discharged quite extensively. The sulfur present in the battery acid forms a sulfate layer around the lead plates, preventing the proper flow of current as a result.
This can result in improper current flow, which can affect its performance while discharging and recharging. The plates will also corrode at a much faster rate due to this.
Provided the corrosion is minimal, sulfation can be resolved without much fuss. After removing the battery and draining the fluid, the battery cells must be filled with a solution of distilled water and Magnesium Sulfate, commonly known as Epsom salts.
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This will help get rid of the sulfate deposits on the terminals. Trickle charges the battery at the lowest setting and the problem should be resolved. Remember to use only distilled water though, as regular tap water contains chemicals that can cause unwanted reactions. This could damage the battery.
Replace the Electrolyte
Batteries use an electrolyte to produce chemical reactions that provide the required electrical power. The electrolyte consists of distilled water and sulfuric acid. However, the water evaporates over time due to heat and the resulting chemical reactions.
Many batteries have the option of refilling the batteries with water to maintain the electrolyte levels. However, adding too much water, using tap water, or having an improper mix can result in the battery’s reacting improperly.
This could prevent the recharge from happening. In this case, drain the electrolyte completely and ensure that you do not fill the water beyond the marked limits on the battery.
Check the Stator and its Components
The stator is the main component responsible for recharging the battery is the stator. It is a metallic coil within the engine housing. When the engine shaft rotates within the stator, it produces an AC current which recharges the battery. This is important in prolonging the life of the battery while making efficient use of the motion and functioning of the vehicle and its engine.
The performance of a stator coil can degrade over long periods. In extreme cases, the coil completely fails, providing no current to recharge the battery. This can occur due to improper resistance at the stator coil terminals, which provides an escape route for the current.
Another way of detecting trouble to the stator is by conducting a static voltage test on it using a multimeter. In this case, you might have to replace the stator or replace the windings, which might need professional assistance from your mechanic or nearby garage.
Check the Terminal Connections
A poor terminal connection can result in improper connections at the terminals of the battery. This can be critical because the actuator is connected to the terminal, which helps recharge the battery while riding.
A poor connection can result in no charge or very minimal entering the battery, which could explain why your ride is unable to hold its charge. The terminal connection at the stator should also be checked to prevent the same issue.
Another issue that could prevent the battery from holding charge is improper grounding conditions. A poor ground can result in the battery not having a proper and complete circuit, which results in the intermittent recharging of the battery.
The recharging is not the only issue, but this could damage the battery over long periods of usage. Excessive vibrations can also loosen the terminals while riding, which could cause the same problem.
Check the Regulator
The regulator is a device in the electrical recharging system of the motorcycle. Its essential functions are converting the AC current obtained from the alternator to DC, as well as regulating this DC voltage when supplied to the battery.
It is a key component for the recharging of the battery and is amongst the most reliable components in a motorcycle. As a result, the failure of this component is rare, but still possible.
The internal connection between the output and input can be shorted, resulting in a leakage of current. This will prevent the battery from recharging, and be a reason why it doesn’t seem to hold a charge. Signs of a faulty regulator include erratic electrical supply, fluctuating headlights, and flickering displays.
While these are the symptoms of a battery with a low charge, if that is not the case, then you may have a faulty regulator. The regulator will have to be replaced, which may need some professional help depending on the complexity and positioning of your battery systems.
The Battery may be Overloaded
Batteries are the heart of all electrical systems on your motorcycle. They supply the required power to keep vital systems like the lights and display console running. Most vehicles are started using the battery, which powers the starter motor. However, these batteries are designed to power the factory systems that are on the motorcycle.
Riders may face an issue when they add aftermarket parts and make modifications to their motorcycle. These parts may have a different rating and consume more power. While this might make the motorcycle more appealing to the rider, it can have an adverse effect on the battery.
In rare cases, making too many modifications can result in the battery being overloaded. As a result, the battery will drain at the same rate as it gets recharged. Overextended periods will cause damage to the battery, resulting in complete failure.
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