Author Topic: Do I need a new battery?  (Read 759 times)

Offline LynnLegend

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Do I need a new battery?
« on: 02.08. 2017 14:52 »
Hi all,

I have been told that the only stupid question is the one that you don't ask, with that in mind...

Bike starts and runs fine, but the lights don't work (inc brake light) - could this be as simple as the battery needs chaning (it's been stood for a few years), or does the fact the bike runs indicate the battery is fine? Would rather start at the battery and then work my way through the system if that isn't the issue.

Thanks in advance,

Sam.
'59 A7 - No idea what I'm doing with it.

Online JulianS

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Re: Do I need a new battery?
« Reply #1 on: 02.08. 2017 15:02 »
The bike does not need the battery to run, the magneto is completely independent from the bikes lighting and charging ciruits. Duff battery makes no difference to the magneto.

If it has been standing for some years then it is due some battery maintenance, try charging it but a new one wont cost a fortune.

Offline cyclobutch

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Re: Do I need a new battery?
« Reply #2 on: 02.08. 2017 15:03 »
Is there an ammeter fitted? What is it indicating?
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Offline LynnLegend

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Re: Do I need a new battery?
« Reply #3 on: 02.08. 2017 15:30 »
Is there an ammeter fitted? What is it indicating?

I'm not sure I can rely on the Ammeter's reading...
'59 A7 - No idea what I'm doing with it.

Offline LynnLegend

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Re: Do I need a new battery?
« Reply #4 on: 02.08. 2017 15:32 »
The bike does not need the battery to run, the magneto is completely independent from the bikes lighting and charging ciruits. Duff battery makes no difference to the magneto.

If it has been standing for some years then it is due some battery maintenance, try charging it but a new one wont cost a fortune.

Agreed, if they're not too pricey I will opt for a new battery so I have confidence that it isn't the cause of the issue, if there still is an issue (which of course there won't as it'll all go smoothly). So, the next question - should I buy a Lead Acid jobby or will a modern battery be OK?

I have no interest in messing about with the voltage, so would something like this be OK as it matches the spec of the original (6v 13ah), or is this overkill:

https://www.countybattery.co.uk/motorcycle/6-volt-motorcycle/6n6-3b-6v-6ah-yuasa-battery?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIs7bJ9Oy41QIVzbXtCh2nGQxwEAQYBSABEgIJ_PD_BwE

I'm interested in getting the right balance been cost and quality - I don't have loads to spend but I don't want to buy the cheapest.
'59 A7 - No idea what I'm doing with it.

Online Greybeard

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Re: Do I need a new battery?
« Reply #5 on: 02.08. 2017 17:07 »
If money is not an issue and you want to keep the bike looking original you might like to do what I did. See picture
I got mine from Paul Goff: http://www.norbsa02.freeuk.com/

Online groily

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Re: Do I need a new battery?
« Reply #6 on: 02.08. 2017 17:29 »
Starting with the battery is a good plan if the initial objective is to find out whether the lights work and whether the wiring goes from A to B to C etc the way it ought.

But you could look at things through the other end of the telescope and start by seeing whether the dynamo and regulator (and ammeter!) are capable of working. (If they were in good shape, you'd have lights with the engine running if the wiring was intact.)

The cost of a battery might well be unavoidable, but it might be more reassuring from the ££ point of view to get an idea whether that is the thin or the thick end of the costs involved in getting some electrics! I'd hazard a guess it's towards the thin end and I'd want to know if the 'thick end' bits were OK or not.

So I'd start by testing the dynamo with the engine running, to see if it works. It's the most expensive bit, so it's always very heartening if it shows life, even if it needs a bit of tlc.
Then I'd see whether there was anything happening at the regulator, which is the next most expensive bit probably.
Only when happy they worked and would support a battery would I think about investing in one - because there's no benefit in paying for something that goes flat and stays flat because the other bits don't work.

Simple dynamo tests are described in various posts on here, and there are loads of comments on regulators and ammeters and all the necessary bits for a functioning system. And the good news is that every bit you could possibly want, if you go for 'full working order', can be had easily.
Bill

Offline LynnLegend

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Re: Do I need a new battery?
« Reply #7 on: 02.08. 2017 18:43 »
Thanks groily, really insightful post and given me another angle on the issue.
'59 A7 - No idea what I'm doing with it.

Offline Sluggo

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Re: Do I need a new battery?
« Reply #8 on: 02.08. 2017 19:42 »
A bike that sits long periods of time usually need A) The generator bearings looked after or lubed, and likely a service buy a good cleaning (Armature, brushes and dead bugs and leaves and dust bunnies B) The generator once operational needs to be "Flashed" to function.  This involves touching wires together to flash the field-armature.   The manual describes the proper procedure on how to do this.  Kind of like priming the cars carb with a splash of gas because the fuel system is dry.  C) What KIND of regulator do you have?? The originals are mechanical and have points and contacts inside  (Sometimes even a mouse nest). The procedure is remove the cover (Screws or wire clip) and check the operation, clean the contacts and gap it. As well as wire connections
However many forward thinkers go ahead and modernize their Regulator with a modern solid state unit and hide it inside the Original box if its in a visible location, or if on your model its not visible then simply replace it.  (On for example my 48 speed twin its out there for all too see under the solo seat and very visible.  The case has a prominent LUCAS Prince of insufficient light logo on it)

All generator equipped bikes have their quirks and need tending too.  Old Harley Sportsters had these issues too, Indians and Vincents typically adapt a car alternator to theirs (Belt driven).

If your flux capacitor or dilithium chrystals have fully expired, then some people do the following if original 6v system.
A) New armature of a 12v variety
B)Alton alternator.

REMEMBER! "A Gentleman does NOT motor about after dark!" Joseph A Lucas

Might need to refill the wires with fresh Lucas smoke as well, dont purchase imitation or asian made smoke, Although Texas BBQ rib smoke will suffice in a pinch.
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Offline LynnLegend

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Re: Do I need a new battery?
« Reply #9 on: 02.08. 2017 20:20 »
Sluggo - I doubt it's the flux capacitor, as that only comes into effect from 88mph and I wouldn't feel comfortable taking her up to that speed to find out whether that's the issue. Same goes for the dillithium crystals really, unlikely to be depleted as I've never used the warp drive?! If it's neither of those two I'm at a loss to know what the issue is  *dunno*
'59 A7 - No idea what I'm doing with it.

Online morris

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Re: Do I need a new battery?
« Reply #10 on: 02.08. 2017 20:54 »
Avoid a "wet" non sealed type battery. I had one in the SA some years ago. The vibrations made it spill so much acid that it had chewed off most of the paint from the battery tray before I noticed.
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Offline Sluggo

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Re: Do I need a new battery?
« Reply #11 on: 02.08. 2017 22:16 »
Moriss has an excellent point about battery choice.  I too avoid wet type batteries.  For many years I have been using AGM type batteries in My sportsters, Buells and Ducatis, They seem to be more compact and more CCA than a traditional but on my Ducati Monster and Buells the batteries mount laying on their sides so a regular wet type battery would not work for obvious reasons.

But on many vintage bikes I have been using emergency lighting type batteries, If you run a exposed battery like some models then you can purchase a hollowed out shell and stuff the Sealed type battery inside and you look stock but have a modern battery inside.

But the ones I use are designed for extreme service.  A normal battery if allowed to discharge for extended periods the plates inside sulfate and get a coating on them that basically impedes charging or operation or in most cases kills the battery.  These service type batterys can be discharged, and left like that for a year and revive just fine. (You should charge at a different rate to revive them)  But the industrial applications are typically Break-away trailers where you unhook the trailer and leave the lights flashing for safety.  You may come back not as soon as you expect so, while the batteries are discharged and flat by this point,, they come back to life no problem.  Same with emergency barricades,,, they only get used from time to time and see a rough life, but simple to charge them up again when needed and they give great service.

For those of us who dont use these machines daily there is a LOT of appeal to that.  I have a BSA 441 thats been in storage 3 years. My nephew turned the key and the lights came on shiny & Bright.  (He was amazed).

Their one issue is they dont like vibration much so, I pack them in dense foam rubber to cushion them.  Some their terminals are kind of small so good connections are important.  There is many places selling them these days online. But back in the day I sourced mine at industrial supply stores. 

Besides physical dimensions what you want to look at is Ah.  Thats Amperes per Hour and that is the important rating.  Try to get as many Ah as possible in the size limitations you have.  Some people use these in race bikes as well with total loss systems., My friend runs  BSA race bikes with these batteries (Tribsa PU Scrambler and 2 B40 units) in AHRMA race series.  His motto is "When I am too old and feeble to put on my race gear, THEN I will worry about stock & Correct restorations!"

I have 2 5ah batteries down in the shop if you would like to see a picture
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Online Greybeard

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Re: Do I need a new battery?
« Reply #12 on: 02.08. 2017 22:34 »
If money is not an issue and you want to keep the bike looking original you might like to do what I did. See picture
I got mine from Paul Goff: http://www.norbsa02.freeuk.com/
I've just had a thought...if your bike is  a swing arm jobbie I have a feeling the battery is hidden so it doesn't matter if you get a modern looking battery.

Offline mikeb

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Re: Do I need a new battery?
« Reply #13 on: 02.08. 2017 23:50 »
another battery thread  *sad2* *conf* *red* *sarcastic* *evil* *whistle*
get a new one. they don't last forever. get two 6v cyclons - in parallel if you are 6 volt. (everyone has their own view. BTW my B33 has cyclons but the A10 a cheap wet lead acid - works fine, just don't drop the bike)

ride the bike before you get to fussed about it. the genny will have demagnetised after all that sitting but running it will magically fix it (probably). suddenly that broken ammeter will start twitching like an electrified frogs leg.
what sluggo says is probably all true re maintenance but I'd be too lazy to do it. riding a bike is a way of maintaining it that I'm much more motivated to attempt. I MIGHT clean the contacts on the old evil tired rattly buzzing obsolete cursed lucas regulator but don't try and adjust it unless you are courageous- one day just fit a DRV2

BTW you really should try the warp drive, unless its a plunger
New Zealand
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Offline duTch

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Re: Do I need a new battery?
« Reply #14 on: 03.08. 2017 03:40 »
 I think my Plunger has a permanent warp driver  *eek*

  In the case of lead acid batteries, instead of vented caps most now come with a plastic vent hose that can be run to ground (atmosphere) or the back of the bike so less of an issue. 

 edit 4/8/17 just a couple of phone-typos
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