Lithium batteries

City Garage

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We have had very few "battery" failures. What we have seen after "getting the whole story" from the customer is that either they left their bike on heavily discharging the battery or a wiring issue, like wiring up heated gear directly to the battery and shorting the terminals etc. Charging with the wrong charger etc.

The other thing we see is a lot of loose terminal wiring which is horrible for regular batteries but fatal for lithium because of the arcing

I see these forums where people say all sorts of negative things but yet every industry is going to lithium because they work so well. Look at all the dirt/ street race teams that run them with no issues. Look at the RV industry. 8-10 large batteries under an RV is way more dangerous than one motorcycle battery yet look at how many manufacturers are going there.

I'll address the Ducati issues we have seen. The one big issue has been starter wiring, especially on monsters. This has caused more battery issues

I repeat this numerous times. 99% of the failures we see can be traced to human-induced issues. If you use knock-off lithium then you suffer the consequences which is why Shorai is a popular choice.
 

City Garage

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Hmm, not sure it can, I have read the manual, the instructions on the charger and the indications are very limited. I'm not sure it can indicate if it's faulty in any way. Closest Ihave seen is in the manual

"Errors are indicated by a flash/pause sequence of both LED flashing together. An alarm buzzer may also sound until error is corrected or power off:  1 flash/pause = Internal input voltage error. Check that AC power is in range and properly connected. Try another outlet.  2 flashes/pause = Polarity error. Not typical.  3 flashes/pause = Open Circuit. Charge cables not properly connected, broken, or worn. Inspect and/or try new cable set.  4 flashes/pause = Battery/Cell voltage error. Cell variation issue, use the store mode for 24hrs, then charge to correct issue. "

Looks like 4 is the only real indication of a battery error

BUT if you have any other details, it would be great! Right now it indicates fully charged at 13.5 v as of this morning, so disconnected it from any load...lets see where the voltage goes. I'll leave it until Monday or Tuesday and see if it starts a bike. Maybe a better test is now put it in storage mode....then on charge mode just before trying on the bike...then going for a ride and coming back, then seeing if it starts. Hmm..it's as much to do with my faith vs if the battery is OK!

The other question is, I'm not sure how these batteries fail..as I'm sure they will at some point...do they not hold charge? fail to deliver enough current? just die pretty quickly?

What happens is that typically individual cells fail not the whole battery. If the whole battery fails it will do so catastrophically and that will cause thermal overload which does some serious damage. Each cell will have a BMS on it so that's what is supposed to keep that from happening but when you overload all the cells all at the same then typically kaboom. That's the negative of lithium. To get to that level you would need to have constant shorting between the positive and negative terminals or to damage the battery
 

City Garage

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The Chinese reg/recs on 961's are far too inconsistent imo for a lithium...seen a fair few running at a constant 15+ volts whilst on a test ride. If fitting a lithium, you really should invest in a mosfet reg/rec at the same time.
The weight of the battery has little influence on the battery boxes failing....that shite design is having to support the full weight of the fuel you're carrying, and in some cases, tank bag too.
The battery box is also the route cause of failing aluminium tank welds, at the front behind the oil filler. The solution we came up with the Tab ii Classics tank, was a simple underbrace that links the two tank mounting points. It eliminates the tank flex, but doesn't do anything for battery box fractures.
As a side note, the standard battery is not lead acid, its an AGM.
Stu is correct as usual. Some of the regulators spike horribly and we have found contributes to some of the ECU issues because of that. Again checking each system is critical before installing a lithium
 

Tornado

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Stu is correct as usual. Some of the regulators spike horribly and we have found contributes to some of the ECU issues because of that. Again checking each system is critical before installing a lithium

But you stated this in post #8:

"Modern regulators are just fine for a Shorai. NOT ONE INSTRUCTION STATES TO CHANGE YOUR REGULATOR ON A MODERN MOTORCYCLE OR CAR."

Now you seem to be saying some regs are not good for Shorai lithiums.

I honestly don't understand the reasons for changing out from traditional Lead acid/AGM chemistry. Been reliable tech for over a hundred years and the bikes systems are designed around it.
 

Gojuu

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@Tornado I expect that one of the issues that we have with variance on 961's is down to component supply. For a lot of reasons (I'd hazard a guess credit hold is likely in there somewhere) component manufacturer appears to have drifted on bikes. The regulator is a style that is used on a number of bikes and definitely available from a number of different manufacturers no doubt with different specs and overall build quality.

I don't believe @City Garage is suggesting replacing the regulator for a different unit so much as confirming that the existing regulator is within expected specifications and performing well - and - if it isn't, replacing it with a good unit.
 
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Fast Eddie

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I honestly don't understand the reasons for changing out from traditional Lead acid/AGM chemistry. Been reliable tech for over a hundred years and the bikes systems are designed around it.
Increased cranking amps is a reason for some. For others (me) it’s simply the big weight saving.

Some will argue that the weight saving is not worth the hassle. Fair enough, stick with LA or AGM.

But some (me) would ask ‘what hassle’ ? Replacing two batteries on a fleet of seven in fifteen years does not sound like hassle to me.

No one is saying they should be compulsory. Yer pays yer money and makes yer choice.
 

City Garage

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But you stated this in post #8:

"Modern regulators are just fine for a Shorai. NOT ONE INSTRUCTION STATES TO CHANGE YOUR REGULATOR ON A MODERN MOTORCYCLE OR CAR."

Now you seem to be saying some regs are not good for Shorai lithiums

I assume you don’t have a 961 or you wouldn’t be asking that question.

No matter if you have a lead, AGM lithium you should always check your charging system. And yes I stand by what I said. You don’t need to anything on a modern motorcycle

If you consider a 961 modern by todays standard and with all the issues that they have then it’s a longer explanation. On a 961 because of all the crappy electrical components I wouldn’t install one until every knock off part electrically was replaced and then confirm the system
Everyone has a reason to go to Lithium. Weight, size, cranking, power storage, and clean power output with less amp draw

I like them because you can get 50% to 100% more cranking amps in a smaller or same size battery. On bigger bikes or hard starting bikes that’s worth every penny
 
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City Garage

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@Tornado I expect that one of the issues that we have with variance on 961's is down to component supply. For a lot of reasons (I'd hazard a guess credit hold is likely in there somewhere) component manufacturer appears to have drifted on bikes. The regulator is a style that is used on a number of bikes and definitely available from a number of different manufacturers no doubt with different specs and overall build quality.

I don't believe @City Garage is suggesting replacing the regulator for a different unit so much as confirming that the existing regulator is within expected specifications and performing well - and - if it isn't, replacing it with a good unit.
That’s is correct. Even when replacing a lead or AGM check before installing
 

MAK

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That’s is correct. Even when replacing a lead or AGM check before installing
I think replacing the standard battery is due to parasitic drain. If this didn’t happen or was a lot slower there would be less interest in lithium batteries.
I have been using Odyssey batteries for years with complete satisfaction and I doubt Lithium would be that much better.
 

Fast Eddie

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I’ve used Odyssey too and they’re very high quality and last a very long time in my experience.

But they offer neither the cranking amp improvement or weight saving of lithium, so it depends what you’re actually looking for.

A lithium battery is NOT a solution to a 961s parasitic drain, on the contrary, they’d be more vulnerable than a good traditional battery.
 

MAK

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I’ve used Odyssey too and they’re very high quality and last a very long time in my experience.

But they offer neither the cranking amp improvement or weight saving of lithium, so it depends what you’re actually looking for.

A lithium battery is NOT a solution to a 961s parasitic drain, on the contrary, they’d be more vulnerable than a good traditional battery.
Every modern vehicle has a parasitic drain..
The only variable is how long it takes.
An isolater switch is the way to go.
Old school for a modern problem..
Or maybe retro fit a kick start!!!!
 

worntorn

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I'm going to give a Shorai a try on a modern bike. The modern bike meets Shorai's charging requirements and the Lithium battery gives very good cranking power while knocking about six pounds off the bike.
You have to drill a lot of holes and weaken a lot of metal to shave off six pounds.
The potential ten year lifespan is also a good feature, if it achieves that.
On a kickstart British bike there isn't much reason to use a LiFePo.
First off, the charging system most likely does not meet Shorai's requirement. The Lucas stators that I have tested do not put out 13.1 v at idle by my measure ( Lucas manual method). They need some revs to do that.
The ah is about 1/3 the pbeq number so an LFX 18 is the true equivalent to a 6ah conventional. The kickstart bike just needs a battery with sufficient ah, the cold cranking ability is not in use.
So the weight saving with a Lithium on a kickstart bike is greatly reduced.
I'm using a 2 ah AGM on a lightweight bike. That battery weighs 10 ounces. So far no problem.
961s seem to be somewhere in the middle, can't be considered fully modern but not the same as old British in the electrical department either.


Glen
 

worntorn

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Is there a reason that modern autos and motorcycles keep their ecu powered up on standby? It seems to me that if it was healthy for the ECU to be powered fully up and down with each turn of the key then manufacturers would wire things that way.
I suspect that this might lead to an early death of the ECU, but it is only a guess.
I do disconnect one battery lead for winter storage as It seems the system should be hardy enough to withstand one full disconnect/reconnect per year.

Glen
 

lcrken

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An interesting, if maybe irrelevant, factoid is that my new Aprilia Tuono 660 Factory bike comes with an Aprilia-branded lithium battery. Don't know which type of lithium chemistry it is, but it was touted by the factory as saving several pounds over the standard AGM battery in the regular Tuono 660. Now I'm wondering if other new bikes are being delivered with lithium batteries.

Ken
 

Stu Bodycote

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Is there a reason that modern autos and motorcycles keep their ecu powered up on standby? It seems to me that if it was healthy for the ECU to be powered fully up and down with each turn of the key then manufacturers would wire things that way.
I suspect that this might lead to an early death of the ECU, but it is only a guess.
I do disconnect one battery lead for winter storage as It seems the system should be hardy enough to withstand one full disconnect/reconnect per year.

Glen
They don't really, they soon drop off to sleep. The moment you open a door on a modern car, the body control module wakes up and powers up various other systems... but won't send everything live until the ignitions on.
The 961's draw is through the clocks. The euro 4 bikes halved the draw by having its permanent live rewired to the ecu shut down relay. But still has the speedo with a permanent feed.
I run a Motogadget rev counter and speedo combined. Never have to charge mine up.
 

Stu Bodycote

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An interesting, if maybe irrelevant, factoid is that my new Aprilia Tuono 660 Factory bike comes with an Aprilia-branded lithium battery. Don't know which type of lithium chemistry it is, but it was touted by the factory as saving several pounds over the standard AGM battery in the regular Tuono 660. Now I'm wondering if other new bikes are being delivered with lithium batteries.

Ken
Nortons V4 ran a superB lithium, along with a copy of a Shindengen FH020AA regulator. They had a worse drain than the 961's. Dont know what the cause was, or I've forgotten what it was....but those really struggled.
 

Tornado

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My list getting longer and longer!!​

Then add a few minutes after every starting up to set the clock/date and any custom bike settings not held in non-volatile memory etc. ;-)
 
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