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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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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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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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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pier1 said:
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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pier1 said:
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...
 

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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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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
 

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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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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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Buy the BT+ for gels if you have a gel battery. It works good on our 03KRS's with gels. Nothing wrong with having more tools and it only cost 1/2 of the cost of a gel anyway.

Mary
 

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Hmm. This is very interesting.
Do you think the alternator knows it's charging a gel Battery?

I think not.

Bazra
aka: The Flash
 

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bazra, interesting question. Both gel and wet acid use the same chemistry. The main difference is because gel is mean't to operate sealed, it must not be overcharged and allowed to gas. Some manufacturers say the terminal voltage when charging should't exceeed 14.1 volts. Most gel chargers use a microprocessor to give a 3 stage charge. 1st is a high current short time, 2nd is a lower current for longer time and finally an even lower current 'trickle' charge phase - often maintained. This last phase is what most small tenders do and current is limited to <1/2 amp.

However a proper battery charger needed to re-charge a flat gel battery will have its charge controller designed for gel so you get the battery charged in the shortest time within the maximum (lower) charge current/time limits for a gel battery.

Now the alternator question is interesting because I see no difference with a good charged battery either wet acid or gel - the alternator regulator will drop out at the same terminal voltage representing full charge and at this point the alternator current is being limited. Alternator charge regulators are electronically quite crude and the full charge endpoint critical for gels may vary more. However, if you've cranked the bike to death, virtually flattened a gel battery, and the bike starts, I'd expect the alternator to bang a lot more current into gel than it should over a shorter time.

With a well maintained bike and battery this may be rare. As any battery ages, its self discharge increases and you're eventually struggling to start the bike thinking $$'s for a new battery. In this state I'd expect a wet acid battery to take the more punishing high re-charge rate from the alternator, but the gel to fail very quickly.



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accumate charger

I have been using the accumate 6-12 charger with no ill effects on GEL or AGM batteries for the last few years, got off Ebay for around 90 bucks. Accumate says its ok for all types.
 

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Vox nailed it...an alternator should never go into an overvoltage situation so it should not cause a problem with the GEL batteries. In fact, if you read the battery tutorials, an alternator is NOT considered a good charging device for a poorly charged battery; it is only to be considered a "maintainer" in that it immediatley replaces the juice used and keeps it there.

Avoiding deep discharges is especially true for GEL batteries and one of the reasons for their demise (AGM is replacing GEL in most vehcile applications).

BTW, most battery companies will tell you to use a "proper" battery charger on deep cycle applications (Marine, Lawn and Garden, infrequently used vehicles, etc.) rather than allowing the vehicle's electrical system to recharge since it will NEVER get it to the proper condition and greatly shorten its life. Another reason that they don't recommend jump starting if at all avoidable since it then relies on the unsophisticated internal electrical system to do the job.

Don,

Accumate is considered a top brand. Some even consider it better than the Battery Tender line.

Randy
 

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I did buy the BMW Deltran charger

While I was at Max's BMW in New Hampshire last May while attending the DownEast Rally, I said the heck with it and bought the 'special' charger since I had replaced the original battery with the Exide gel unit. I like being able to just plug into the side of the bike and charge the battery without taking off the seat, etc. Plus it comes with two other types of leads so you can hardwire to the battery or use the alligator clips too charge other batteries. later that evening I won the 50/50 draw ($180 US) plus a gel battery. I later sold that battery to a friend for his Concours and all that money put a dent in my new Concept 2 gunmetal colour helmet. The $9 charger I bought I sold to a co-worker for $5. I think I paid $70 or so for the BMW charger and hauled it across the border duty-free. I'm happy with it. Plus this charger is supposed to top up the battery and bring it close to being 100% charged. And tells you when it is done. Over the winter I will charge it once a month. Last winter (heated garage) I left the battery in the bike.
 

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Battery chargers

It might be helpful to distinguish between trickle chargers and maintenance chargers.

#1: A trickle charger is not a slow charger. Slow chargers have a charge rate of 1 amp and up.

#2: Actual trickle chargers have not been made to my knowledge for at least 20 years and maybe longer. Trickle chargers were made for lead-antimony batteries which had a considerable tendency to self-discharge, particularly in hot weather. A car battery could self-discharge to where cranking would be questionable in 30 days of hot weather. Battery retailers would put a trickle charger on batteries when they received them from the manufacturer to keep them at a high level of charge until sold. Trickle chargers put a continuous (small) charge into the battery, around 1/2 amp. Even then, battery retailers were advised to not leave them on forever, as a long period of charge after the battery was fully charged would damage the plates.

The introduction of the lead-calcium battery (maintenance-free) or hybrid (reduced maintenance, alternating lead-calcium and lead-antimony plates) rendered the need for
for trickle chargers

#3: Maintenance chargers (Battery Tender, etc), on the other hand, bring the battery to a full charge, then stop charging, or nearly so, until the battery voltage falls to a predetermined level, then begin the charge cycle again.

As to the need for different chargers for different batteries, I think it would be helpful to check the charging voltage specifications (voltage regulator specs) for a bike which has the battery as stock equipment that you are trying to charge on a given maintenance charger.. The output voltage of the maintenance charger should be about the same as the voltage regulator specs. In my own case, I found that my Battery Tender would not bring my Panther/Odyssey battery up to full charge, got in touch with my Odyssey rep and got another charger which did just fine. Have not had the opportunity to check charging voltage or specs, but maybe this will help some of you out there.

#4: I think the final charging voltage before cutoff is the most important thing--I am just not willing to believe that charging at the typical 1.25 amp or thereabouts that maintenance chargers charge at is important enough to require special algorithms on a battery charger. I would be most happy to learn from anyone with better knowledge.
 

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Battery Care

Subject: BMW Gel Batteries

GREAT info Steve. I had the same issue with the HD V Rod before I matured to BMW.
I have had all my 7 vehicles on trickle chargers (most wet cell) and they are the best thing you can do to maintain long life from a battery.
Now I don't have to be concerned re my K12GT which has been on a standard trickle charger for 18 months with no issues (so far).

Best wishes all.

Ken.

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

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[/QUOTE]
 

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Outsmarting is true, there's a lot of hype. The clever microprocessor controlled chargers often have 'battery fault' sensing causing them to switch off charge completely. Unfortunately, they often fail to discriminate between a very discharged battery and a faulty one. So you sit waiting for hours, battery doesn't charge, the charger says the battery is faulty (actually it just can't put the peak current in to lift it out of deep discharge), then you go buy a new battery!

Although there may be a subtle difference in definitions between a 'slow charger' and a 'trickle charger' I regard both as a charger delivering a continuous small current that overcomes the self discharge rate of a battery and small accessories e.g clock. They are both slow.

I opened up an Oxford 1/2 amp bike charger. 75% of the electronics were flashy leds and zener diodes to tell you when it was connected, when the mains was on, and crudely what the battery terminal voltage was.

The parts that did the work were a small 15 volt ac transformer, simple 15V regulator IC for voltage/current limiting, a diode, a 0.1 ohm resistor and fuse! You could easy make one of these with an old cellphone charger.



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voxmagna said:
Although there may be a subtle difference in definitions between a 'slow charger' and a 'trickle charger' I regard both as a charger delivering a continuous small current that overcomes the self discharge rate of a battery and small accessories e.g clock. They are both slow.
Actually the difference isn't subtle. A trickle charger is voltage regulated so it will not charge above a set voltage--13.5 to 13.8. A slow charger may not provide any more current than a trickle charger but is not voltage regulated so it will probably go up to 14.5 or 15 volts--not good for your battery, especially for long periods of time. The small loads like the clock are not enough to keep the slow charger from overcharging.

I'm sorry I didn't get back here to anwer questions posed of me sooner. here is my two cents worth.

First, I can't figure out whey you guys take the battery out of the bike for the winter. You have a great accessory plug to adapt your trickle charger to. Leave the battery in there where it belongs.

Second, I think all the fancy battery chargers are one of the biggest scams out there today. But they'll be there as long as people are buying them. Our alternaters are very poor battery chargers. They hit the battery with very high charge rates and don't regulate voltage very well. This is necessary so that the battery will be ready when the starter pulls 100 amps several times a day--or even several times an hour when you're running errands. And customers are asking manufacturers for even bigger alternators to run their Las Vegas lights, electric clothing, and sound system all at once. This is very difficult service. Then you go and buy a battery charger that is designed to treat this battery with kid gloves????

Who don't you need this fancy battery tender? First of all, it is designed to take a dead battery, charge it and then switch to trickle. Your battery is already charged unless your alternator is broken. If your alternator is broken, I recommend getting it fixed before you have to use your thumb. Second, it worries about charge rates like you've got the backup power to the launch code for an ICBM. Remember what I said about the alternator before??? do you think it knows you've installed a gel battery????

So in the fall you should park your bike, put some fuel stabilizer in it, adapt the cheapest trickle charger you can find (make sure it is voltage regulated) to your accessory plug and then if it warms up in Jan, you can go riding!!! Check the air in your tires. Now remember that I live in SD so I ride year round and I may have forgotten something here...check your own winterizing list to be sure.

Cheers,
Jerry
 
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