How to Charge a Motorcycle Battery

Written by Delia Berry on August 13th, 2016. Posted in Harley Davidson

As a motorcycle enthusiast, there’s no better way to spend your free time than riding the bike aimlessly, enjoying the view, the speed, and the rush that it gives you. But as with all types of vehicles, the battery that powers the motorcycle eventually runs out of power, a moment when you have to charge it in order to start it. If you’re scared that this might be a task that is going to be too difficult for you or that it might take too long, don’t panic as this isn’t the case. In the following, we will show you what are the procedures to charge the motorcycle battery and how long they take so that you are aware of what awaits you and you know how to correctly proceed.
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Types of Batteries – Understanding Them so that You Choose the Right Type

There are three primary types of motorcycle batteries out there, more precisely wet cell, gel cell, and dry cell batteries. They all basically work the same way, more precisely by providing an electrolyte material that the electrical charge travels through, storing the charge when the motorcycle isn’t in use, and facilitating the flow of power to the engine of the vehicle. The major difference between these types of batteries is that they require different maintenance, and you can find out what the best type of motorcycle battery is by checking the manual of the vehicle or going online to find this important piece of information.

  • Wet cell: These batteries include a mixture of liquid acid electrolyte that allows the electricity to flow through them. They are the most common and cheap options out there, and they need to be either refilled or replaced when this mixture that composes them dries out. Thus, they are not the most convenient to go with despite the fact that they’re more affordable.
  • Gel cell: They use a gel form of electrolyte and they don’t lose their charge quickly, which makes them more appealing when compared to wet cell models. Additionally, they are splash-resistant, so they’re designed in a superior manner. Nonetheless, there are downsides to these batteries, more precisely that they lose their power if they’re not used for a long time and that they cost more.
  • Dry cell: These batteries use an AGM to carry the electricity, being maintenance free and not losing power as quickly as the other two types of batteries that exist on the market. On the other hand, dry cell models are the most expensive option to go with, but this is understandable as they are indeed of a superior quality.
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How Long Does it Take to Charge a Motorcycle Battery?

We start off this section of the article by directly answering the question – it doesn’t take long to charge the motorcycle battery, being done with the procedure in a few hours. Now that we got this out of the way, let’s look at the steps that you have to go through when charging the battery in order to ensure that you will get the procedure right and not waste any precious time:

  • Step #1 – First off, you have to determine what type of battery you’re dealing with. If your motorcycle uses an AGM, lead acid, or gel battery, you can charge it the conventional way. If you are dealing with a lithium-based battery, the procedure is a bit different as you will require a special type of charger.
  • Step #2 – Now that you know what type of battery you’re dealing with, it’s time to figure out what kind of charger is required for the procedure. There are quite a few types of chargers out there, so you have to pay increased attention to this step. First, we have the trickle charger that converts the AC power to DC, pumping it into the battery until it turns off. Next, there are the float chargers that charge the battery, after which they which on and off to keep the charge rate at an optimal level throughout the procedure. The last type of charger is the smart charger that monitors the charging process, charging at different rates to minimize any potential damage to the battery. Be aware of the fact that smart chargers usually aren’t compatible with lithium batteries, being best for you to check the manual of the battery or go online to find out what is the right type of charger for the specific model that you’re dealing with.
  • Step #3 – In this step, you have to carefully remove the battery. Hopefully, this is a procedure that you have done before so that you don’t waste too much time on it. If you feel like you’re not prepared to do it, look at a video online and proceed the same way as instructed to remove the battery from the motorcycle.
  • Step #4 – Now you can move on to actually charging the battery. Just attach the charger to the terminals of the battery, making sure that they are hooked up correctly, plug the charger in, and wait for a few hours for the battery to fully charge.
  • Step #5 – When the battery is finally charged, unplug the charger, completely disconnect it from the battery, and reinstall the battery in the motorcycle. Make sure that you secure the hold-downs when doing so, attach the positive cable, then the negative cable, and you’re done. After only a few hours, you have managed to easily and successfully recharge the battery, being able to ride your bike once again.
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How to Charge a Motorcycle Battery Without a Charger

If you don’t own a charger and you’re in a hurry, you can charge the battery without using an actual charger, with the help of your car. What you must do is to place the motorcycle as close to the hood of the car as possible, without the two vehicles touching. Take a pair of jumper cables and stretch them between the car and the motorcycle. Next, turn the engines of the vehicles off, and find the positive and negative terminals of both vehicles.

When you have found the terminals, connect the positive clips of the jumper cable to the positive post of the motorcycle’s battery and clamp the other positive clip to the car’s battery. Do the same procedure but with the negative clips this time. When you’re done, let the power transfer occur for a few minutes and try to start the motorcycle. If you’re not satisfied with the result, wait approximately 30 minutes and start the vehicle again. At the end, disconnect the jumper cables by first disconnecting the negative cables and then the positive ones, and you can ride your bike to any destination that you like as the battery is charged now.