The BSA A7-A10 Forum

Technical => Lucas, Electrical, Ignition => Topic started by: BSA500 on 20.01. 2014 09:09

Title: Battery issue?
Post by: BSA500 on 20.01. 2014 09:09
I am using the A7 daily for work(have done for the last three years) and a year or so ago had the dynamo upgraded to 12 volt and fitted a dvr2 regulator.
Everything has been fine and dandy charge balances really quickly and well with lights on. Now have noticed the battery going flat a lot more which suggests its on its way out. The strange thing is the ammeter reading, with lights on again the needle comes up well and if the battery's low the lights brighten which suggests the dynamo/reg is doing its stuff. But the needle only just gets above the centre mark on the ammeter and with lights off the same, it doesn't move into the positive charge section. My question is, is this a sign that the battery is not taking a charge so the ammeter doesn't move up or something much worse(hope not) I will put the battery on charge tonight and see how we go but any suggestions on how to test the battery for 'life' would be great.
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: bsa-bill on 20.01. 2014 09:27
Andy do you have electronic ignition?, I have read that some of them do leak to earth when not in use.

I have binned  a few batteries (some fairly new) over the last few years, I'm afraid there is a lot of rubbish  batteries out there and the symptoms are just as you describe - the battery just stops accepting the charge.

I bought three of the Burlen type last year and they seem to be much better, I bought three as I have twelve volt on the RGF and six volt on the Flash, haveing the three batteries allows for some swapping around if ever needed, so far they have been just fine keeping there charge even after not being used for quite some time.
They are a funny shape (tapered) but not a problem as you can mount them upside down if needed (sealed)
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: BSA500 on 20.01. 2014 09:47
Just standard ignition but heavy use esp now with dark mornings and nights and stuck in traffic. Even with the 12 volt dynamo and DVR2 its a lot for it to keep up with. Battery is more than a year old but I will put it on charge tonight and see how well it fares. I don't mind it being a dead battery they are easier to replace than regs or dynamo's.
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: KiwiGF on 20.01. 2014 09:56
hi bsa500, what are the symptons of the battery going flat? does it get so flat it cannot power the lights without the engine running? I ask as the electronic regulators (I think) do limit the rate at which they charge so the battery does not get damaged from charging too fast, my ammeter only moves slightly into the positive when either the lights are on or not, but even thought it appears to be hardly charging it does not go flat to the point ofmnot being to power the lights with engine off.

My lights get brighter when blipping the throttle, that seems to be normal behaviour, as the voltage does rise when the dynamo spins fast enough to charge the battery and power the lights. On tickover the battery is discharging and powering the lights.
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: BSA500 on 20.01. 2014 10:39
At the moment they dim to nothing with ticking over or engine off. It will gather some charge when left sitting for a afew hours but that's short lived. It all seems like the battery has given up. I can't remember where I bought it prob ebay :(
I have noticed that the ammeter since using the 12 volt/dvr setup doesn't go much above the pos side but like you say was keeping a good charge. Its prob a combo of heavy use/cold days have killed the battery.
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: Dynamo Regulators Mike on 20.01. 2014 11:15
There are a couple of quick checks you might do to diagnose further.

First is to check the voltage across the battery with enough revs for normal charging. This should be about 14.2 V. If it is about 14.2 say +/- 0.2 V then the regulator is controlling the dynamo OK.

(I assume the ammeter is working normally, e.g. showing suitable discharge current with lights on and engine off)

If there is little current showing on the ammeter, but the battery is low, it is probably safe to say the battery has gone high resistance. This probably means it is unserviceable, but a boost charge (using a higher voltage to drive more current through) off the bike may revive it to some extent.

Normal topping up charge with a good battery and a DVR2 will usually be less than 1 Amp so will hardly show on the ammeter. But at start-up it is likely you will see a few amps charge for the first few minutes perhaps, to make up for any discharge since last run.
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: BSA500 on 21.01. 2014 08:42
Well charged the battery all last night and no improvement had a bright light for all of 10 secs before it faded before my eyes. New battery then any recommendations ?. This will be in daily use in all weathers. I have seen a nice Varta 10 amp are they still good?
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: Duncan R on 21.01. 2014 09:28
I fitted a Varta,have had no issues with it seems to hold a charge OK. Most batteries are OK these days,I fitted a cheap Taiwanese battery to my BMW expecting it to last a year max,6 years later its still going.
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: BSA500 on 21.01. 2014 12:37
So am I just unlucky?
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: Duncan R on 21.01. 2014 18:12
Maybe down to luck. I spent a lot of money on an Optimate battery years ago, I was dissapointed with its performance it really was no better than the std one it replaced despite costing twice as much. Then I have bought cheap no name batteries for my Japanese bikes and they have lasted very well. One make that is getting very good reviews is MOTOBATT maybe worth a look as you use your bike daily. From the reviews I have read,they hold a charge really well even when left idle for weeks on end.

Good luck
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: morris on 21.01. 2014 22:17
So am I just unlucky?

Possible. Battery's are weird stuff. I replaced one in my car a couple of years ago, but after that couldn't even keep the lights on for 5 minutes without the engine running for the battery to go flat again. I replaced the alternator because I thought that was the culprit, but the symptoms remained. In the end it turned out the new battery was defect although it was from a reputable marque. They replaced it free of charge, but the sad part was that I binned a perfectly good alternator because of it....
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: Dean on 21.01. 2014 22:55
In my experience the Motobatt batteries are good. I bought a second hand Piaggio scooter 18 months ago to go on the back of the camper. It came with one of these batteries and I've no idea how old it is. The scooter goes months without use and then needs loads of goes on the starter motor to get it to start but the battery always has enough grunt after all this time to turn it over till it starts. I'll be getting these batteries for the A10s when then are up for new batteries
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: bikerbob on 22.01. 2014 09:31
You could buy one of those trickle chargers made by MOTOBATT I have one you get 2 adapters with it one is for connecting the battery with clips and the other one which is the one I use which connects permanently to the battery and has a small 2 pin plug on the end which you plug into the charger this hides behind the frame and I can connect the charger in a matter of seconds and it cuts out when the battery is charged. I believe that they do 2 types one that charges the battery up then cuts out and the other cuts out when the battery is charged but cuts back in when the battery voltage drops ideal if your bike is laid up over the winter both  are switchable for 6v or 12v.
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: bikerbob on 22.01. 2014 09:46
Found this article on another site worth reading
here are several reason a new battery could prove out to be a "bad" battery:

- Someone could have removed the plug that blocks the battery vent letting out the gas that protects the battery from sulfating while it sits on the shelf. You have a new battery, but it is a "bad" battery.

- The lead structure that supports the plates and connects the cells together could have been damaged (broken) in transit or a cold solder joint develops in production. These high resistant internal connections will render a new battery a "bad" battery.

-The battery wasn't charged properly when it was put into service. If a battery isn't brought to a full charge when new, the plates will immediately begin to sulphate.

A lot of modern batteries feature a chemical process done during manufacture that allows the battery to be put into service with as little as 2 hours of charging time. In the past you had to charge a new battery at 1 ampere hour for each amp rating of the battery. So a 10 amp battery had to be charged for 10 hours before it was put into service.

Today, this type of battery with this feature, come 75% pre-charged and it only needs to be topped up to a full charge before being put into service. The shortcoming of this is the battery immediately begins to sulphate when you begin to add the acid and is rendered a "bad" battery in short order if you don't immediately charge the battery. After adding acid, and waiting the requisite 30 minutes, for the chemical action to subside you must charge the battery to a FULL charge. Even waiting 24 hours to charge one of these batteries can render them useless for use with an EI ignition.

-If the motorcycle's charging system cannot keep the battery fully charged, and the battery runs in a constant discharged state it will sulphate. This even though it appears that the battery is being charged. The reason you had to replace the old battery just might have been the charging system, not the battery.

Remember most of your past experience with batteries was with points. Points have no requirement as to the condition of the battery as long there is enough energy to produce a spark. All electronic ignitions have voltage requirements beyond what is required to run points.
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: BSA500 on 22.01. 2014 11:36
Thanks for the replies. The charging system is excellent-rewound 12 volt dynamo and dvr2 reg. Has worked with no issues for a whole year so far. The bike is in daily use(5000 miles last year) and is running standard magneto so no current draw when parked up. It would not take any charge over a 10 hour charging session so it looks like its stuffed. The battery before this one was delivered with a dead cell and was replaced free of charge for the one I am using so who knows?
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: bsa-bill on 22.01. 2014 12:10
Seems like I'm just unlucky then as three of the last four batteries I've had went duff.
On reflection the good one was ordered for me from my MOT guy (it's a Vartra) the other three (one branded Lucas) were bought online - perhaps there's a lesson to be learnt

PS The Lucas one was identical in every dimension/shape colour and spec as another with a far Eastern name
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: muskrat on 22.01. 2014 19:09
I'll throw in another vote for the Motobatt. The only type (AGM) that will crank over my rHonda. Discharge rate is much much less than a wet battery.
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: bsa-bill on 22.01. 2014 19:21
The Lucas one I had was AGM ( somit Glass Mat - is that right) it kept it's voltage for more than a year on the shelf but once on the bike it gave up keeping any charge for more than a day.
Present battereis are doing fine with same set up
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: muskrat on 23.01. 2014 07:49
Absorbed Glass Matt. The 1st one I got for the rHonda gave up and was replaced. It's been great for about 2 years now. I have another in the A65, it's been off the road since the blow up a few months back. Just checked it, 12.6 volts. Maybe they like our weather better *smile*.
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: BSA500 on 27.01. 2014 15:48
I thought seeing as the battery is fubarred I would try hooking it up to my car battery charger(8 amp rate) to see what happens. After about 2 hours it started to take a charge so I unhooked it and put it on my bike charger. Its holding the charge and accepted a full charge. Using it today and so far its good(might not last but we will see, nothing ventured nothing gained):)
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: BSA_54A10 on 28.02. 2014 04:15
You need to remember 6  letters when it comes to vehicle batteries
P pressure
V valve
R regulated
A absorbent
G glass
M matt

Any brand that is PVR & AGM will run rings around any other type of battery in maximum power delivery ( CCM )  and minimum self discharge.
Spiral wound ( Cylons & Optimas ) are even better because of greater plate surface area and substantially higher mechanical strength.
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: duTch on 13.12. 2014 10:20
  ..To continue on from... (,

          after only a year and a half of use from new.....
 My 'cheapo' battery started not holding charge, and after a few seshes on the charger to no avail, headed off to the battery shop....halfway through the newest maybe biggest intersection in town, I heard a funny scraping sound......looked back and saw something on the road as a truck went past a a guy sung out.."BATTERY'.....friggin' 'ooligans.... *????*   uhooooh I think they just drove over my battery (...intentionally..?) didn't matter- their lust for glory was already short-circuited.....

Anyway to cut the long story long, in my haste, I'd not done the locknuts up enough on the holder, and vibrations cut them loose....and the battery fell out on the road(see pic- again)..lucky I was on the way to th eBatto shop, scraped up the bits that you see.....and bought a new battery- the guys there never saw one that flat either  *eek*

 So,new batto- off I went- volt meter said what I thought it should say, but trouble is, after only a few days, the new batto started doing same as last one- not holding charge...even with a charger boost..and after a couple of weeks, figured it's dud, so took it back and they swapped I went...!

  Trouble is after a few days, the new-new batto started doing the same as last-(first new) one-not holding charge- NO *eek*, you read right, it's a ditto sitto...
  Now to far as I'm aware I haven't connected anything wrong, when i'm riding the volt/amp meters say what I think they should say....but the batto just wants to sleep (lay down and die a premature death)... I haven't had much chance to analyze properly, vocational pleasure is interfering with my life....maybe I'll need to update more later, but was wondering if it's possible while everything was disconnected the polarity went 'funny' -nudge,nudge-wink,wink.....? Yea know whut I mean.?

Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: jachenbach on 13.12. 2014 13:24
If anything is suspect, I always check for idle current draw and verify the charging system when replacing a battery, especially if it's less than a few years old. Easy on these old bikes, as there should be no current draw when idle, just see if it sparks when you hook up the battery. Also, according to manufacturers (and what I think I've learned from experience) initial prep of a new battery has a huge effect on it's life. That is, be sure it is fully charged before installing it for the first time.
  As to battery choice, I put an Odyssey in one of my Guzzis in spring 2008. The bike doesn't run from early November until early March (winter in Idaho mountains) and I don't even own a trickle charger. Last winter I actually removed it for the first time because I was using it to test other project bikes and gave it a charge before reinstalling. It's still working. My Jeep has had it's Optimate since 2002 and still starts in below 0 Fahrenheit weather. Between my experience and the customers where I work, I am completely sold on the superiority of AGM and Gel batteries. Li-ion, on the other hand, is not yet ready for primetiime, IMO.
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: duTch on 13.12. 2014 21:54
If anything is suspect, I always check for idle current draw and verify the charging system when replacing a battery, especially if it's less than a few years old. Easy on these old bikes, as there should be no current draw when idle, just see if it sparks when you hook up the battery. Also, according to manufacturers (and what I think I've learned from experience) initial prep of a new battery has a huge effect on it's life. That is, be sure it is fully charged before installing it for the first time.

  I prepared both the first two batteries to the letter, so there should be no issue there....and when the first one went funny, the first thing I did was check for any current with the multi-meter, all switches off then on, and all seemed ok. Then with battery isolated(disconnected), checked for any leakage to earth with switches in 'off '...all seemed ok....couldn't really think much else to check.

    I also checked the reg. a couple of months ago, as per the Lucas instructions but will go over it again this a.m., check all is connected properly and go for a spin and see what happens.......
   Normally I have spare days during the week when I can do these things and it's ok to annoy the neighbours, but last few weeks been suckered into some 'vocational fulfillment'... *spider*

Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: duTch on 14.12. 2014 01:14
 Gave up on the research and went and got on with it, think I may be on to something.....

 The Field wire inside the Generator (dynamo) cover has rubbed on the cover, and burned the wire at the connector- just have to hope it's ok......

  The other genny has an old ugly piece of inner tube as an insulator, and I had planned on doing same here but neater, but fergot...!!!!!   *doh*
 On the upside all the neighbours are doing the mowing so I can join in with a startup....TBC

Ok well that didn't take long, so I'll just edit this.....and I forgot to paste the picture anyway....had the batto charged up, but was losing volts as I looked at it, by the time I had it hooked up, not enough to fire the tail light, down to <5v, but soon as I started up all good- lights all work Front AND rear brake light operation the whole kit and kaboodle...

 Moral of the story- as soon as a problem becomes apparent, and BEFORE blaming the battery (or whatever) and installing a new one, check it out......NOTE TO SELF *bash*

 ..but at least we had a good ol' chinwag about things *smile*

So hoping/assuming that was my problem, I'm off to buy some insulating material..!!!! and finish *beer*
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: duTch on 23.02. 2015 17:50
 Well this has turned into a saga...Re; previous posts.

 I'm up to I think a fourth new battery-good thing they are the cheapest I can find, maybe that's the problem, but shouldn't think four.
 I think the story stopped after the second one- the story so far;
 ....   I think the guy at the battery shop prepped the first new one to replace the dead flat one.
 That one didn't last, he swapped it gratis ..but when I found the field wire shorting I fessed up, but he'd already done a warranty claim so no probs there, but there's something crazy going on because as soon as I add a new battery, it blows a cell or two  (6V)...!

 The dynamo/generator is charging fine, and I re-checked the regulator, cuts in/out at the right places, and holds a steady regulated ~7.6V, and runs all the lights ok at fast idle upwards, but I noticed today the rear brake light switching sends the amps to '+' insted of '-', maybe 'cos of where it takes off in the circuit...˚~˚

 Today I may have discovered something though... as far as I can tell there's no shorts or power leakage, but found a blown fuse in the U-beaut fuse holder from Jaycar, that connects to the battery... (

  I was playing with the fuse holder the other week to see what the LED was supposed to do, and it ( LED= blown fuse indicator) only works on 12V, but with a blown or no fuse the disconnected stand alone item has ~1.35* (2kΩ scale) across the fuse terminals (though the LED, I guess), so am wondering if that resistance could be causing a problem, because it's the wire that takes the charge to the battery, and any load out,  - but it was fine for 18months...??

 I reckon I'll change the fuse holder and see what happens. I bought another smaller 6ah battery to test with, it's a bit cheaper, and they don't have any 13ah ones left anyway...
I hope some of that makes sense to anyone...I'm open to suggestions, but can't expect a lot of glory.. *conf*, and I'm otherwise stuck for words!!

 ~a few hours later *edited
(2kΩ scale from 'kΩ')
@ 09:30 my time 24/02/15 ~23:30 GMT/UTC
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: muskrat on 23.02. 2015 19:14
"I'm otherwise stuck for words!!" *shh*
I'd replace the fuse holder and remove the LED completely.
The dynamo is supposed to have an insulator (cork) inside the cover. piece of cornflakes packet inside mine!!
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: trevinoz on 23.02. 2015 20:39
No cork inside the pressed or cast end caps, Musky.
Dutch, you're correct about the stop light causing the ammeter to show positive. If the feed was connected to the same place as the lights, the ammeter would show negative.

Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: duTch on 23.02. 2015 23:39
 Yo Musky that's changed- and I pulledth sock out for a while.... *shh* *smile*

  Trev, why no cork? It needs something to keep the weather/dust out of  the belt/chain chamber...??

 I also have a fabricated bottom of a drink bottle to insulate inside the brush chamber, as I discovered that the brush holder plate is probably not the matching one for the alloy cover, as per discussion elsewhere a while ago.

  I forgot to say I was wondering why the Amp didn't register anything while riding (except the rear brake going '+'), even though lights and everything work and it's obviously charging ~7.6V /(~6.4 @battery )- obviously with the fuse blown, and due to resisted continuity across the now gone LED...
 Also think I need to run an earth wire from the handle bar for the horn, it's a bit pissant..!!

 * note I edited my previous post
(2kΩ scale not 'kΩ')
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: muskrat on 24.02. 2015 19:00
This is what I meant Trev. to stop any chance of the brush tail shorting against the cover.
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: trevinoz on 24.02. 2015 20:28
I know what you mean, Musky, but Dutch has the later generator with the one piece end cap which doesn't have a cork gasket.
In theory, the brush tail shouldn't short as it is insulated and there are also the recesses in the bands which don't have any insulation which generally causes no trouble.
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: muskrat on 24.02. 2015 21:34
Doh *red*
Note to self "put glasses on".
Mine ('51) needs it due to the Makita drill brushes. *work* *bash*.
Title: Re: Battery issue?
Post by: duTch on 26.03. 2015 21:43

 Just to revert to Andys original question- how'd you get on...?

  Trev, I thought you meant the cork on the drive end (RHS)...being the only cork I was aware of  *whistle*

Musky, when I read
stop any chance of the brush tail shorting
-"brush tails", I was wonderin' what in hell possums were doing in there..? ...your cork is where I used the drink bottle, and added some heat shrink to my "brush tails"....

  So I left off putting in the new smaller battery until I could see no reason to not, with old '2V' battery, everything working as it should- except sometimes the horn, maybe due to bad earth- lights come on/off at about 5V, just above idle.

  Also checked the resistance of field wire "F" disconnected at the reg., and from there to earth I read ~3.8Ω...I think I read before that normally the field resistance should be in the mid-two range (~2.3?), but as I've got lazy and went all the way from the reg through the wiring, figure it'd pick up some on the way...does that sound about right ??

  Otherwise, I've discarded the fuse holder with the LED, and all seems normal- amp gauge (which with bad battery was 'kind of' showing minus riding with lights on, but no +) seems to now be behaving doing +/- where it should, except "0" seems to vary a bit.

 Fingers crossed