Is it the battery or is this normal? - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old Nov 22nd, 2012, 6:14 am Thread Starter
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Is it the battery or is this normal?

Hi, I am new to BMW and this forum. I recently bought a K1200r and so armed with my handbook I am trying to work out whether some of the issues I am experiencing are normal or a sign of problems I need to address; but as you would expect, the handbook can only go so far.

So, if anybody can tell me whether what I am experiencing is normal that would be a great help.

My issues relate to the battery; I purchased the bike from a main dealer and it came with a clean bill of health only a few weeks ago. I am not using the bike daily – once or twice a week and only for rides of about half an hour. Within a few days of collecting the bike I noticed that the ignition hesitates when the button is pressed and wondered whether that was a sign that the battery is in need of replacement. I then took a trip with the heated grips on and the battery was left without enough charge to restart immediately – the bike did restart once the engine had cooled a little.

Out came the Optimate 4 with can-bus and with trial and error I have found the following:

1. With the ignition in the 2nd position (ie key out but lock not on) the best I can manage is a green and yellow test result – meaning that the battery is between 60% and 80% good

2. With the ignition in the lock position (ie key out and steering lock on) I can get a full green result, meaning that the battery is very good.

I am guessing the difference between 1 and 2 is explained by the fact that some of the systems are still taking power from the battery unless the ignition is in the steering lock position – is that correct? I was aware that some systems remain active for a short period in the 2nd key position but I did not think the difference between the two settings would make a significant difference. If this is the case it does seem as though I shall need to leave it in the steering lock position when I am going to leave the bike dormant for any length of time

And finally, no matter how good the test result, the red warning light and battery symbol show up briefly on the bike’s display, and then disappear, immediately after the engine starts – is this normal or should they not show at all?

Any thoughts greatly appreciated. Many thanks
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old Nov 23rd, 2012, 9:36 pm
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Battery Issues

From your descriptions it sounds like mine just before the battery expired. Seems the useful like of the OEM battery is about 2-3 years. I ride my 08 K12 almost every day, so the battery is always in a full charge mode, but still has a relatively short life. My next change will be to either an Odessy or a Shorai, depending upon availability at the time of failure. Do not wait for it to fully fail 100 miles from a good shop. Have it checked now and be prepared. Good luck.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old Nov 23rd, 2012, 9:36 pm
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Battery Issues

From your descriptions it sounds like mine just before the battery expired. Seems the useful like of the OEM battery is about 2-3 years. I ride my 08 K12 almost every day, so the battery is always in a full charge mode, but still has a relatively short life. My next change will be to either an Odessy or a Shorai, depending upon availability at the time of failure. Do not wait for it to fully fail 100 miles from a good shop. Have it checked now and be prepared. Good luck.
EJ
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old Nov 24th, 2012, 3:08 am Thread Starter
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Thanks erniejen, I suspect you are right but I have found the optimate to be a reliable indicator of battery condition in the past and so don't really understand how I can get a good test result if the battery is on its way out - perhaps it is not infallible.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old Nov 25th, 2012, 10:35 am
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Despite your reliance on these electronic gizmos, they do not always tell the truth and sometimes doing something simple and cheap will give you more information and a better quality answer. A suspected battery problem should always include a test for the alternator charging and current discharge from the bike electrics, so here you go:

The best tool you need is a cheap digital multimeter from Maplin or Machinemart with a dc voltage range. It will cost you less than a couple of gallons of gas!

All batteries charging from the alternator when the bike is running should get about 14 volts across the terminals when they are fully charged, or when just taken off the battery charger.

When a battery has rested, say first thing in the morning before starting up, it should have about 13V across the terminals. If it has less than 12 volts then it has a dead cell.

If you put the voltmeter across the battery terminals and crank the bike, the terminal voltage should not go lower than about 9 volts or 10 volts for a battery fully charged in perfect condition.

If you keep the voltmeter across the battery terminals, then run the bike with all the heated load and main beam switched on, the voltage may drop below 14 volts or worst case to 12 volts at idle, BUT should come up to 14 volts at 2-4k rpm. If it does, that means your alternator can match your load AND put charge back in the battery. The rpm that gives you that voltage balance is the rpm you have to try and keep up when all the gear is switched on.

If you are able to 'rest' the battery for a few days and repeat the checks, you will also find out how good the battery is at holding its charge, but read on:

On our bikes the clock is taking a small current 24/7. That is not a problem if the bike is ridden or even left a week, but there can be faults which drain a battery when the key is off. You can check that current with your new multimeter on the dc current range.

So you can see that spending about £8 on a cheap digital multimeter can give you a lot more information than just looking at a green led on an electronic charger. In the end you may well need a new battery, but you will have confirmed that for certain whilst also checking the bike current draw (key off) for a high current and you have checked your alternator output is ok.

If you need a new battery, buy the Odyssee if it fits your bike. More expensive, but fit and forget with a superior spec. to the oem batteries.



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Last edited by voxmagna; Nov 25th, 2012 at 10:41 am.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old Nov 25th, 2012, 4:48 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voxmagna
Despite your reliance on these electronic gizmos, they do not always tell the truth and sometimes doing something simple and cheap will give you more information and a better quality answer. A suspected battery problem should always include a test for the alternator charging and current discharge from the bike electrics, so here you go:

The best tool you need is a cheap digital multimeter from Maplin or Machinemart with a dc voltage range. It will cost you less than a couple of gallons of gas!

All batteries charging from the alternator when the bike is running should get about 14 volts across the terminals when they are fully charged, or when just taken off the battery charger.

When a battery has rested, say first thing in the morning before starting up, it should have about 13V across the terminals. If it has less than 12 volts then it has a dead cell.

If you put the voltmeter across the battery terminals and crank the bike, the terminal voltage should not go lower than about 9 volts or 10 volts for a battery fully charged in perfect condition.

If you keep the voltmeter across the battery terminals, then run the bike with all the heated load and main beam switched on, the voltage may drop below 14 volts or worst case to 12 volts at idle, BUT should come up to 14 volts at 2-4k rpm. If it does, that means your alternator can match your load AND put charge back in the battery. The rpm that gives you that voltage balance is the rpm you have to try and keep up when all the gear is switched on.

If you are able to 'rest' the battery for a few days and repeat the checks, you will also find out how good the battery is at holding its charge, but read on:

On our bikes the clock is taking a small current 24/7. That is not a problem if the bike is ridden or even left a week, but there can be faults which drain a battery when the key is off. You can check that current with your new multimeter on the dc current range.

So you can see that spending about £8 on a cheap digital multimeter can give you a lot more information than just looking at a green led on an electronic charger. In the end you may well need a new battery, but you will have confirmed that for certain whilst also checking the bike current draw (key off) for a high current and you have checked your alternator output is ok.

If you need a new battery, buy the Odyssee if it fits your bike. More expensive, but fit and forget with a superior spec. to the oem batteries.
]AMEN... This is the real information needed. And going for an Odyssey is the wisest choice. Having been there and done that!

Larry
Deep Blue 2009 K1300GT
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