How To Charge A Motorcycle Battery
Motorcycles provide cheap thrills for the price. But similar to cars, your bike needs a lot of tender loving care if you want it to last a long time.
With that in mind, you’ll need to know how to charge a motorcycle battery. Whether you’re planning to store your bike for the winter, or if your bike suddenly refuses to start, knowing the proper way to charge a motorcycle battery is a skill that every rider should know.
The motorcycle battery is a consumable part of your bike, meaning you will eventually need to replace it after a couple of years or so.
Maintaining a strong charge is the easiest way to preserve the service life of your motorcycle batteries. Neglect, incorrect storage, and improper charging procedures will send your battery to an early grave.
Might you care: How to Clean the Electrical Contacts of Your Motorcycle
Simply follow the steps below so you can charge your motorcycle battery like an expert.
Things That You Will Need
- Motorcycle battery charger or battery tender
- Pliers and/or socket wrench
- Hand gloves
- Battery acid (for new lead acid batteries)
- Distilled water (for topping old batteries)
- Old toothbrush
- Terry cloth towel
Step 1: Determine The Type of Battery On Your Motorcycle
There are 3 general types of motorcycle batteries: lead acid (conventional-type), maintenance-free (sealed type batteries), and gel-filled batteries.
1. Lead acid batteries – The battery number usually starts with the prefix YB, CB, GB, 6N or 12N. These types of motorcycle batteries have light grey or opaque casings with a black top and a row of either 3 or 6 stoppers. Remember that 6-volt batteries have 3 stoppers, and 12-volt batteries have 6 stoppers on top.
2. Maintenance-free batteries – The battery number starts with the prefix CTX, YTX or GTX. Sealed-type batteries have a black casing with a black top and a foil strip covering the 6 holes on top of the battery.
3. Gel acid batteries – The battery number starts with the prefix CT, YT, GT, YTZ, CTZ or GTZ. Gel filled batteries have either a black, blue or gray casing. These types of batteries DO NOT require topping up.
Simply open or remove the seat of your bike, and disconnect the battery terminals using pliers or a small socket wrench. Remove the negative terminal (blue or black) first before disconnecting the positive terminal (red).
Remove the battery from the case, and check the battery number to determine the type of battery you have. The charging procedures will differ according to the type of battery, so you’ll need to determine which one you have.
Step 2: Clean the Terminals
Before charging your motorcycle battery, it is a good idea to clean the terminals first. Now is a good time to wear hand gloves before cleaning the battery terminals.
Use an old toothbrush and a terry cloth towel to remove that white stuff on your battery terminals. That white stuff is actually congealed sulfuric acid, which will irritate your skin and eyes. You can also mix a small amount of baking soda with water to thoroughly clean the terminals.
Step 3: Refill The Battery With Battery Acid or Distilled Water
This procedure is for lead acid and maintenance free batteries. If you have a gel acid battery, proceed to the next step below.
1. Lead acid batteries – If you have a new lead acid battery, simply remove the packing and the stoppers on top of the battery and fill each hole with battery acid. If you have an old lead acid battery, top up the battery using distilled water.
2. Maintenance free batteries – For new sealed-type batteries, simply remove the packaging and the tin foil strip on top of the battery and invert the acid pack on top of the battery.
Step 4: Connect the Charger to Your Battery
Set the charger to the correct voltage before plugging it in. Keep in mind to never charge a battery at more than one-tenth the rating in amp hours. If you have a 20-amp battery, you should set the charger to no more than 2 amps over a 10-hour period.
If you’re using a battery tender or an automatic battery charger, the device will detect the correct ampere without burning or killing your battery.
Connect the charger clip to the positive (+) terminal, then connect the next clip to the ground terminal (-).
Plug in the battery charger to a standard electrical socket, and leave it on until the battery is fully charged.
How long does it take to charge the battery? Read on below.
Step 5: Disconnect the Wires
When the battery is fully charged, remove the clip connected to the ground terminal before removing the clip on the positive terminal.
Place the battery back in the case, reconnect the battery terminals, and put your motorcycle seat back in place.
You have successfully charged your motorcycle battery. Well done!
How Long Does It Take to Charge a Motorcycle Battery?
I’m glad you asked. However, the answer will depend on two things:
1. The current state of your battery before charging; and
2. The size/capacity of your battery.
If your battery was fully flat or empty, it will take anywhere from 4 to 24 hours before reaching a fully charged state.
You should also consider the size of your motorcycle battery. If you have a bigger battery with a large capacity, then it will take more time to fully charge than a small battery.
In general, it will take 4 to 24 hour to charge a motorcycle battery, regardless of the type of battery that you’re using.
Now you know how to charge a motorcycle battery properly. Remember to work in a cool and dry place, and please don’t smoke while working near batteries, chargers, and electrical sockets.
Many riders don’t know this, but keeping your motorcycle battery in tip-top form will make sure that your bike will always start the first time you push the starter button, whether in rain, summer, or even in cold weather.