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Thread: New Batter Dead :(, Where to start Looking?

  1. #1
    apriliaforum expert joeybeppy's Avatar
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    New Batter Dead :(, Where to start Looking?

    A few weeks ago I installed a new battery along with some other items for a tune-up, and the other day I went out to start the Futura up to attend a Euro bike nite, and it barely turned over

    I use a Battery Tender at all times like specified and I've always had about 6 to 8 years out of batteries with it. To test what's happening, I unplugged the battery tender and for five days straight for some reason the bike started great. On the sixth day, it barely cranked over again. I reconnected the battery tender and tried again the next day with no luck again... barely cranking over.

    Could it be a bad battery/cell? The Futura just turned over 30k and has never been in the rain and maintained maticulously (all electrical connections are practically like new with no debris or corrosion). Can someone tell me where they think I should start and possibly how to test?
    (aka joeybeppy)

    Aprilia'less Tuono in my future!:2011 Kawasaki Concours, 1979 Yamaha XS1100, 1980 Honda CB750

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    apriliaforum expert Argh Oh's Avatar
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    Not to sound redundant but the connections/terminals would be the first choice. All the grounds, starter connections etc. What is static volts? What is volt drop when trying to start? Starter switch contacts clean? It sounds like you're very careful with it but it never hurts to double check the simple things again. As I go through mine I've found some of these not so good, others almost like new, also things I thought were tight turned out not to be. Parking light accidentally left on? Not meant to offend.
    01 Blue #84, 11/12 with: HeliBars, foam grips, 05 map, Borla cans (Replaced by 2" pipe)/stock silencer, derestricted, metal QD, dash socket, wiring mod. Me: Ford relay +10awg & grd, fuel pump rewire, FPR, vac hoses. Evap gone, CBR coils/harness+ Magnecor, clutch switch bypass. S.S. clutch & front line, RaceTech Gold fork, Cogent rebuilt Sachs, tapered head bearings. Added LED run lights/indicators/brake. All signals also run lights. All lights but Hi/park/brake on dash switch. Hi beam mod, vest plug, wiring block, blue dash SMD's/Red V meter, Tune IFT, PCIII gone. Stripped/polished rims, vented screen, rear petal disc. FH008 soldered DC plug/added grd/hard soldered AC. L/R dash indicator lights, RG frame/fork sliders, vented screen.

  3. #3
    apriliaforum expert NUMBER41's Avatar
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    Oh wait, "battery"?!?! I read the title TOO literally I guess...

  4. #4
    apriliaforum expert RAS's Avatar
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    Do you own a voltmeter? Maybe there's something wrong with the tender and it's not charging properly.

    Would not be the 1st time someone's gotten a bad battery right out of the box.

    You need to know the standing voltage, your tender's charge voltage, the bike's charge voltage and then if all that is OK, have the battery load tested. If it passes the load test, then you have a wiring issue - weak ground, connection at starter dirty, starter solenoid going or wires not tight and clean there, etc. If it fails the load test, contact the seller and have it exchanged.

  5. #5
    apriliaforum expert Motech's Avatar
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    Connections are key.

    Check battery voltage while cranking, especially when it barely cranks, right at the lead terminals of battery itself. If you still have over 10-11 volts while barely cranking, it's not your battery, it's either relay or bad connections. Check it with Volt-Drop testing like this:

    With meter positive on battery positive and meter negative on starter lug, crank it. Under .5 volt is good, if that's what you get, you're done, the whole positive side is good, including relay. However, if you find a large drop above a volt, you've got a bad relay or a bad connection somewhere (resistance) between battery and starter. Go find and fix it.

    Now go to the negative side. With meter negative on battery negative, connect meter positive to engine block and crank it. Same as above, under .5 volt is OK. If higher, go find ground resistance (connection) and fix it.

    Connections are key.
    Last edited by Motech; 06-29-2013 at 07:27 PM.
    No Matter Where You Are, There You Go!

  6. #6
    apriliaforum expert joeybeppy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NUMBER41 View Post
    Oh wait, "battery"?!?! I read the title TOO literally I guess...
    LOL, sorry. Maybe I was considering battering my battery
    (aka joeybeppy)

    Aprilia'less Tuono in my future!:2011 Kawasaki Concours, 1979 Yamaha XS1100, 1980 Honda CB750

  7. #7
    apriliaforum expert joeybeppy's Avatar
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    I will try the cranking test. I did test the battery sitting and during running. Yes, it fired right up again after 3 days charging, UGH! Anyway, the battery sitting was 12.5 and running was 13.7. I'll check again for a few days in a row w/o charging again and this time while cranking. I will unplug, clean, and lube connections. What sucks is I just love this bike and how unique it is out there and I'm worried on getting stranded :/
    (aka joeybeppy)

    Aprilia'less Tuono in my future!:2011 Kawasaki Concours, 1979 Yamaha XS1100, 1980 Honda CB750

  8. #8
    apriliaforum expert Motech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeybeppy View Post
    I will try the cranking test. I did test the battery sitting and during running. Yes, it fired right up again after 3 days charging, UGH! Anyway, the battery sitting was 12.5 and running was 13.7. I'll check again for a few days in a row w/o charging again and this time while cranking. I will unplug, clean, and lube connections. What sucks is I just love this bike and how unique it is out there and I'm worried on getting stranded :/
    The beauty of volt-drop testing is the problem will show up with higher vilt-drop while cranking even if symptom does not.

    In other words, say you have a bad connection at relay where starter cable is attaches. Sometimes that resistance will affect cranking, sometimes it might not, but it will always appear in a loaded (ie: cranking) volt-drop test between battery positive and starter positive. So, in effect, you do not need the symptom present to pinpoint the cause if the cause is resistance or a bad relay.

    As I said in first post, if test measures under a half-volt, you're done with that entire half of the circuit, move along.

    Another cool thing about volt-drop testing is it splits the system in half--power and ground sides--and can immediately remove half the effort. You get a 4 volt drop on the negative side and .17 on positive, woo hoo! You've just eliminated positive battery connections, relay connections, relay, starter cable all in one 20 second test. Your problem is on the ground side.
    No Matter Where You Are, There You Go!

  9. #9
    apriliaforum expert joeybeppy's Avatar
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    Btw, what side and where is the starter? I don't recall seeing it over the past nine years I'll take this time to say how much I miss my RSV with only six quarter-turn screws and the side panel was off. This Futura is built like a tank.
    (aka joeybeppy)

    Aprilia'less Tuono in my future!:2011 Kawasaki Concours, 1979 Yamaha XS1100, 1980 Honda CB750

  10. #10
    apriliaforum expert Robert Borchert's Avatar
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    When you connect one lead of the meter to the terminal on the starter top, and the other to the battery + terminal, you will read the static voltage of the battery (since the solenoid contact is "open". As Motech described, the goal is to see 0V while cranking. It's normal to see 0.2 volts or less while the starter is cranking over.

    AGM batteries will read about 12.8 volts when charged, everything off.

    As described, run the test a second time connecting at the (-) terminal and a good ground point, like one of the engine mount bolts. When cranking, you should see a maximum of 0.1 volts.

    To access everything you'll need to see, remove the large right side fairing (middle) cover, and the seat. The starter is behind the radiators, at the front of the Rotax engine.

    Bob

  11. #11
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    Throwing in a plug for Oddessey batteries. Bought one for my former Ducati which had a terrible factory charging system I had to upgrade. The Oddessey motorcycle battery I bought was a military grade with over 500 initial cold cranking amps. The guarantee was outstanding. I put in the Oddessey and no matter what other problems the Ducati had, the battery always got me home and would hold a charge. They don't specifically made a battery for Aprilia, but then they didn't make one for my former Ducati either, I just went by exterior battery case measurements. Not sure if this one would fit:

    http://www.tnrbattery.com/pc545-odyssey-battery/

    but look at the specs:

    -12V 13.0AH Battery
    - CATALOG# 0770-2019
    - 545 cranking amps for 5 seconds
    - 495 cranking amps for 10 seconds
    - 420 cranking amps for 20 seconds
    - Short circuit current over 1200A
    - 18 minute reserve capacity with 25amp load
    - Female brass terminal w/M6 SS bolt
    - Length 6 7/8"
    - Width 3 1/4"
    - Height 5 1/8"

  12. #12
    apriliaforum expert thesprocket26's Avatar
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    if you want to check draw at rest/off (without toasting your voltmeter fuse) disco one of the battery cables and temporarily connect a 1156 bulb (12v bulb or whatever you have handy to see if there is a draw) between the bare terminal and the cable you disco'd

    if it lights and stays on or blows out, there might be a substantial draw

    just a thought

  13. #13
    apriliaforum expert deefred's Avatar
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    Bigger batteries are nice, but unless you have extra equipment which needs battery power you are only masking the real problem.
    I´m still on the stock battery capacity of 10Ahrs and if Ï experience cranking problems I check out the battery, charging and starting circuit.
    If engine doesn´t start easily I´m checking the rest.
    To avoid being caught out by charging problems I have a voltmeter which I can monitor during driving.
    I feel much more confident now with the mosfet regulator installed.
    I´m still even using the 50A starter relay.

    I´m buying unactivated quality batteries cheap on ebay as they can be stored for years as long as the acid has not been added.
    There are always people who bought the wrong size battery or sold the bike etc and has this new battery just lying around.
    2001 RST Futura in stream Silver.
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  14. #14
    apriliaforum expert RAS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeybeppy View Post
    Btw, what side and where is the starter? I don't recall seeing it over the past nine years I'll take this time to say how much I miss my RSV with only six quarter-turn screws and the side panel was off. This Futura is built like a tank.
    Been a while since anyone has mentioned the connection at the starter, so a precaution. When you lift off the rubber boot, the hardware might look clean, but you should still remove the nut, you may find corrosion underneath on the lug and cable end. We've also seen this connection get fused with rust and when guys unscrewed the nut, the stud broke inside the starter motor. Maybe someone was able to get it repaired internally, but you'll wind up with a bill. A new starter is big money.

    You need to get your charge voltage up to 14 - 14.4V. !2.5V at rest isn't flat, but like Bob mentioned, it should be 12.8 - especially for a new battery. Just bought a battery and it showed up at my door reading 12.8V

  15. #15
    apriliaforum expert Robert Borchert's Avatar
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    A footnote regarding that starter connection: it isn't forcing the nut tight that's as important as the cleanliness of the connection. Good idea, after checking voltage drop (measure from the tip of the starter lug bolt, this way you will also be testing for drop at the starter lug!), loosen the nut and scrape the terminal clean with a razor blade.

    The starters for our apes are priced based upon aircraft starters, I am sure of it. Heck, it is a twin-plug Rotax, right? I'm surprised aprilia didn't install a pair of magnetos on the thing. Preventative maintenance is the best way to ensure long starter, sprag clutch, and battery life.

    I'm spoiled, testing the system with a Fluke 88, you can connect, start the recorder, and press the starter button. It displays the min / max / avg voltages nicely. At the workshop, I used the Siemens to display a current draw graph. What a difference clean terminals makes.

    Bob

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