Buying a Gel Battery Tender - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old Nov 26th, 2005, 9:28 am Thread Starter
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Buying a Gel Battery Tender

I want to buy a Gel Battery Tender for my '03 KRS. This morning I removed the battery from the bike for the Winter.

Anyway, my question is: Assuming that in the future I prefer not to remove the battery, should I buy the BMW adapter or can I use the socket of the accessories's plug to charge the Gel Battery? I'm using the socket on my older K-100 and the battery charges just fine, but I see from the vendor that there is a special plug which apparently connect permanently to the battery.

TIA for your help.

Pier
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old Nov 26th, 2005, 10:09 am
 
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I use the power socket w/ the BMW 'cigarette-lighter-plug' adapter ... works just fine.
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old Nov 26th, 2005, 10:58 am
 
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I agree you can use the socket if you adapt your trickle charger to it. I also want to say that expensive special purpose trickle chargers are a waste of money. the $9 one at harbor freight is just fine. A trickle charger is a trickle charger.

All a trickle charger does is provide a very low current and is VOLTAGE regulated so that when the battery is charged, current does to zero (a little bit oversimplified).

Cheers,

--Jerry
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old Nov 26th, 2005, 11:13 am Thread Starter
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Re-Battery Tender. Not need for the Gel Tender?

Jerry, Are you saying that I don't need a Gel Battery Charger?

I already have the Deltran Battery Tender Plus, but it doesn't say " Gel". It has an output of 12V @ 1.25A. I'm not sure what the Gel charger does different but I would prefer not to buy another one if I don't have to.

Thanks,

Pier
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old Nov 26th, 2005, 12:54 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pier1
Jerry, Are you saying that I don't need a Gel Battery Charger?

I already have the Deltran Battery Tender Plus, but it doesn't say " Gel". It has an output of 12V @ 1.25A. I'm not sure what the Gel charger does different but I would prefer not to buy another one if I don't have to.

Thanks,

Pier
Pier
Go to the Battery Mart site. There is a Battery Tender Plus and a Battery Tender Plus GEL.
Compare them and see what you have. There are different charging rates for the gel.
Bruce C
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old Nov 27th, 2005, 9:53 am
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pier1
Jerry, Are you saying that I don't need a Gel Battery Charger?

I already have the Deltran Battery Tender Plus, but it doesn't say " Gel". It has an output of 12V @ 1.25A. I'm not sure what the Gel charger does different but I would prefer not to buy another one if I don't have to.

Thanks,

Pier
I posed that exact question to Deltran Corporation when I bought my KGT last April since I already owned an older Battery Tender as well. Deltran's response was... interesting... basically they said that there *is* a difference between the BMW-branded 'gel' tender (also made by Deltran) and the Battery Tender Plus model .... however, the Deltran tech rep alluded that this was more a 'marketing' move by you-know-who than a technical requirement for gel-type batteries. He came right out and said that *he* wouldn't buy a new 'gel-type' tender if he already had a Battery Tender Plus (I wish I could find his email response *found it! ... see next post below*) ... I've been using my six-year-old Battery Tender Plus for 8 months now w/ no problems on my '04 KGT.
btw, I posed this question to Deltran after Jason (the Parts Guy) @ Blue Moon Cycles in Norcross, Ga told me pretty much the same thing and recommended using the original Deltran Battery Tender Plus that I already had, instead of selling me a new gel-branded unit ... according to him, their dealership specifically tested the output of each side-by-side and came to the conclusion that there ain't a whole lot of difference... they also use the older BTP's to charge the newer gel batteries in their service department he says, so go figure...

Last edited by motorradnik; Nov 27th, 2005 at 10:32 am.
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old Nov 27th, 2005, 10:27 am
 
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Found It

-----Original Message-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sent: Monday, May 02, 2005 5:08 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: BMW Gel Batteries


Hi,

I currently own a Battery Tender Plus (about 5 years old) labeled 12V, 1.25A that I had been successfully using on my previous BMW's w/ lead-acid type batteries. My new 2004 K1200GT however has the newer Gel type battery installed. My dealer says to go ahead and use the Battery Tender Plus since he has 'tested them for output voltage' and that they're OK to use w/ the Gel type batteries. I see also that BMW is marketing a version of your chargers under the BMW brand that is 'programmed for the new Gel batteries as well as lead-acid batteries'. So, my question is: Is there a difference bewteen my 5 year-old Battery Tender Plus and the newer versions labeled for Gel battery use? If so, what effect will this difference have on a Gel type battery (short-term vs long-term) if I continue to use my 'old' charger as my dealer suggests?

Thanks!

Steve J.
Columbus, Ga

------- Deltran's Reply --------------------------------------------------------------------------

Steve,

I believe that there is a high probability that the answer to your question does not exist. Deltran was mandated by BMW corporate to create a new charger specifically for the Exide Gel batteries being used on the newer model BMW motorcycles. The specifics of that design output, i.e. voltage, current, and timing, were clearly defined by BMW. I always refer BMW customers to their dealers for the recommendations. In your case, since the dealer was knowledgeable enough to be able to compare the output voltage of the charger that you have with the BMW corporate recommnedations for the new charger, then I would say go for it. Why buy another charger if you don't need one.

My opinion is that the players in this industry may be on the verge of outsmarting themselves by trying to spit hairs over slight differences in battery and/or battery charger performance.

Best regards,

Dan Williams
Director of Quality & Engineering
Deltran Corporation
801 International Speedway Blvd.
DeLand, Florida 32724
Phone 386-736-7900 ext 233
FAX 386-736-0379
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old Nov 27th, 2005, 11:02 am
 
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Interesting, since I also emailed Deltran after Jason at Blue Moon told me the same thing. Deltran told me that there were definite differences in their GEL software vs. AGM & Std. software and that you WILL damage your battery if you use the wrong algorithm on a long-term basis.

HOWEVER, they said that since they charge at a reduced amperage and closely regulated voltage than most other companies, that IF you had to use a "standard" charger on a GEL battery, then theirs was the best to use. After researching, there are a number of microprocessor, reduced amp designs and they all seem to claim that this technolgy is the best and it seems to be supported by many, many reviews and testimonials. Their explaination also seems to jive with the following description of a GEL battery taken from a battery website:

What is a Gel Cell Battery?
A gel battery design is typically a modification of the standard lead acid automotive or marine battery. A gelling agent is added to the electrolyte to reduce movement inside the battery case. Many gel batteries also use one way valves in place of open vents, this helps the normal internal gasses to recombine back into water in the battery, reducing gassing. "Gel Cell" batteries are non-spillable even if they are broken. Gel cells must be charged at a lower voltage (C/20) than flooded or AGM to prevent excess gas from damaging the cells. Fast charging them on a conventional automotive charger may be permanently damage a Gel Battery.



Deltran's website is confussing since it clearly states in their "Selection Guide" that you should select the GEL software, yet, when you go to order the Battery Tender Plus, it doesn't show you an option for that!

So, by my research, I would say that if you already have a BT Plus and use it in-between rides, you are OK (same reason a dealer gets away with it). If you are using it for winter storage, I would contact Deltran and see if you can "upgrade" the software since you will apparently get longer battery life with the correct algorithm.

If you are purchasing new, I would buy the correct one to start with.

And to the poster that said "a trickle charger is a trickle charger", he is 100% correct, but, is a trickle charger what you really want? After my research and using them for extended use on my boats and riding lawn mower in the past, I wouldn't let one near my bike (nor my boats anymore!). I now know why my batteries in my boats and lawn mower never really lasted as long as I thought they should.

Just my $.02

Randy

Last edited by htheater; Nov 27th, 2005 at 11:10 am.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old Nov 27th, 2005, 12:04 pm
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Some differences

There was some chit chat on this topic this weekend on the PA MACPAC list. There is at least one differnce that I seem to recall, but just barely so this could be off, just passing over the messages, and that is that the highest voltage permitted on these chargers is lower than the normal ones. Can't recall whether this was an AGM or Gel issue, but think a max of 14.0 volts was mentioned, which is a bit lower than the regular chargers. Seems like the Deltran one has essentailly the same measured output as the BMW branded one they make. If so it would seem normal that Deltran wouldn't exactly advertise this. I didn't pay that much attention, but another Pac'er may. I personally have used a Deltran Battery Tender Plus with an Odessey battery for about 3 years now, so I assume it won't be long before I do pay attention to this stuff.

Velomaxx
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old Nov 27th, 2005, 12:28 pm
 
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The overvoltage issue is an issue for GEL batteries. Another quote from a different battery website:

GEL: The gel cell is similar to the AGM style because the electrolyte is suspended, but different because technically the AGM battery is still considered to be a wet cell. The electrolyte in a GEL cell has a silica additive that causes it to set up or stiffen. The recharge voltages on this type of cell are lower than the other styles of lead acid battery. This is probably the most sensitive cell in terms of adverse reactions to over-voltage charging. Gel Batteries are best used in VERY DEEP cycle application and may last a bit longer in hot weather applications. If the incorrect battery charger is used on a Gel Cell battery poor performance and premature failure is certain.

This one and the other I quoted in my previous post BOTH mention being careful to control the voltage during charging. Deltran claims to use a maximum charging rate of 13.2 volts when using their GEL algorithm and 14.4 volts when using their AGM & Std. algorithim. Typical car charges are 15+ volts with many cheaper ones, including trickle chargers hitting 16+ volts!

Randy
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