Stranded in the woods. Battery gave me warning but very little warning.

dduelin

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My 2015 DCT had 30,000 miles on the original battery. The last few times I started it (over the most recent two week span) I had noticed it was a little slower turning over and the thought had entered my mind that the battery might be nearing the end of life but it continued to hold 12.6 to 12.7 volts when I checked it. Last weekend I was about 10 miles out of town on a dirt road when I stopped to change gloves. Just prior had been riding about an hour 3000 rpm or more (highway). Normally I select neutral prior to stopping the engine but this time I killed the engine with the side stand. When I went to start the motor the transmission self-selected neutral but when I pressed the start button the starter relay made one click noise then silence. Several attempts, same result. No repeated clicking like a deeply discharged or defective battery refusing to close the start relay - just one click then silence. The dash warning lights were on and normal for key ON and engine off. I took off the battery cover and put a screwdriver to the battery terminals - they were tight but I was going to loosen and retighten them when I remembered the heated grips were still on. I turned them off and the engine started on the next try, a little slow but "normal" as of recent. I finished my planned ride of 120 miles without turning off the engine. My on-board voltage minder indicated 12.9 to 15.1 at all times. When I got home I turned it off and restarted it and it cranked healthy and strong and a voltage check of the battery was 12.7 volts. I put on a float charge overnight. Two days later I checked it at work with a commercial motorcycle battery tester. Steady voltage was 12.63 volts but the battery did not pass a load test and the tester stated Replace Battery.

This is just a cautionary tale. Batteries can seem healthy right up until they are not and DCT bikes have no way to start the engine without a satisfactory source of power to the starting system. What to do differently? Check the battery with a load tester when it indicates any change in health and rely less on system voltage reported by voltage monitors. I guess I will invest in a portable jump battery device at some point.
 

670cc

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Thanks for reporting on your experience, Dave. As you point out, batteries often work right up until they don’t.

Due to the finicky nature of batteries, carrying a portable jump pack is just about as important as a tire repair kit, IMO.
 

Jt105

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Good catch with turning off the heated grips.
I got stuck at a gas station once. Same thing with the slower than normal cranking. I turned on the key to record my odometer and reset the trips. By the time I pressed the starter, the headlight drained the battery down enough to leave me stranded.
Lesson I learned is I now replace the battery as soon as it shows signs of weakness. Same with the car when cold weather hits. The first time it’s slow to start, I get a new battery.
Car batteries typically last me 5 - 6 years. Motorcycle batteries 3 - 4 years.

JT
 

Olythom

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Thanks for the tale Dave. I think we have now heard similar stories enough to admit that, if you even think it's turning over slower than normal, you need to beware the failing battery!!
 

SilverRocket

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Dave, that's very similar to the experience I had recently:
Bike won't start- all apears normal.

It's got me a little leery every time I go to start the bike, I used to start it up after I'd geared up, but now I make sure it starts BEFORE I put on my gloves and helmet.

My battery never gave me any warnings before and none since, though I have invested in a NOCO brick-sized backup power supply. It takes up about 1/2 the space inside my new Givi tank bag. Naturally, once I'd bought it I saw others at the bike show in Long Beach that were smaller.

Will you replace it with the same OEM battery? Yuasa IIRC.
 

Vinny

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The NC is new to me, very new... this thread opens up a whole new world of "what if's". Having come to the NC from touring bikes which I very seldom even hit a gravel road, getting out in the boonies on a dirt road or forest service road somewhere with very little traffic or chance encounters with others and in these mountains... possibly no cell service! Wow... time to pause and rethink backup plans before hitting those roads in the spring. Thanks for the post, Dave!
 

dduelin

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Dave, that's very similar to the experience I had recently:
Bike won't start- all apears normal.

It's got me a little leery every time I go to start the bike, I used to start it up after I'd geared up, but now I make sure it starts BEFORE I put on my gloves and helmet.

My battery never gave me any warnings before and none since, though I have invested in a NOCO brick-sized backup power supply. It takes up about 1/2 the space inside my new Givi tank bag. Naturally, once I'd bought it I saw others at the bike show in Long Beach that were smaller.

Will you replace it with the same OEM battery? Yuasa IIRC.
I replaced it the day after the incident. I changed jobs recently and our bike budget is very tight. I wanted the OEM YTZ12S Yuasa but with a good discount it would have cost me $120. I purchased a Firepower CTZ12S for $55.
 

drdubb

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Many years ago, I took my Nighthawk 750 to DMV to take the riding test for my endorsement. One of the first activities, is to cut the bike and restart quickly to simulate a stall in traffic. The Nighthawk went blank. Ended up having to get the truck and hauling her home. I did not suspect the battery because of the suddenness of the failure. I tore the electrical system apart looking for the problem. The battery gave me 12 or more volts on the VOM. After much prodding by friends, I pulled the battery and had it load tested....failed the test. Lesson learned.

I've got one of those emergency starters, need to start keeping it charged and carry it with me.
 

ste7ios

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The optimal charging voltage for an AGM battery is 14.4V. 15.1 V is within Honda’s spec for their R/R when the engine is warmed and at about 5,000 rpm but it’s unusual to see it. The highest I’ve seen is 14.6V with a LFP. Voltages above 14.6V can cause gassing i.e. electrolyte depletion.

I wonder why it’s so high. It can be an indication of bad charging system health...
 

dduelin

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The optimal charging voltage for an AGM battery is 14.4V. 15.1 V is within Honda’s spec for their R/R when the engine is warmed and at about 5,000 rpm but it’s unusual to see it. The highest I’ve seen is 14.6V with a LFP. Voltages above 14.6V can cause gassing i.e. electrolyte depletion.

I wonder why it’s so high. It can be an indication of bad charging system health...
My voltage minder is a color coded LED and it glows green when system voltage is >12.9 and <15.1. It is a Signal Dynamics Heads Up!

I didn’t mean to say the voltage was above known to be above 14.6, just that it indicates between 12.9 and 15.1.
 

Olythom

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This discussion made up my mind for me.... The morning startup of my Ram 2500 diesel has been sounding a little bit slow of late and I just told myself that it's because the mornings have gotten colder... In light of this thread I stopped at interstate batteries this afternoon and had both batteries tested. One failed horribly, showing 110 cold cranking amps when loaded. The moral is, if your machine tries to tell you something, pay attention. Thanks Again Dubb
 

SilverRocket

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Unfortunately, my battery has failed again.

So it got charged on Nov. 1 and has worked as it should for the past 18 days... and then guess what happened this morning that got me worried as I reached for the starter button? It was a cooler morning. About 10 degrees cooler. I just had a weird feeling that it wasn't going to work.
And it has never given any signs that it is weak until it refuses to work. Just doesn't seem to have enough juice to trigger whatever needs to get fired for a start up. No slow starting, no need to keep holding the start button down to get it to fire... it just gives the click of death.

So after taking the car to and from work, I got home and hooked up my new power pack to the battery inside the frunk. It took a while because the clamps are too big to work with the tight, small posts. Once hooked up, I turned on the charger waited about 30 seconds, and the bike started up as it should. Revved it up, let it idle, then shut it off and unhooked the charger. I then checked and it started up on its own, but I'm leaving the clamps in the frunk, just in case, for tomorrow morning.
Will be buying a new battery, hopefully one with a warranty. I'm guessing that the battery I have is the one that came with my bike, which was one of the first 2016 DCTs made. It was used as a demo, so maybe spent time not being ridden. Could have been put in service back in 2015?
Anyone remember when the reviews of the new 2016's were done?
 

Griff

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Thanks for the warning. Mine is displaying signs of imminent failure currently after only a little over a year. It can be laboured turning over the motor from cold. Resting voltage is 12.4 after a couple of days so a new battery is ready to go in. I have had Yuasas last at least 5 years so this is surprising after only 14 months.
 

ste7ios

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My voltage minder is a color coded LED and it glows green when system voltage is >12.9 and <15.1. It is a Signal Dynamics Heads Up!

I didn’t mean to say the voltage was above known to be above 14.6, just that it indicates between 12.9 and 15.1.
A reason that I don’t like this kind of monitoring, it can hide you precious detail. A permanently installed voltmeter will give you a much clearer picture of the charging system and battery status.
 

dduelin

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Unfortunately, my battery has failed again.

So it got charged on Nov. 1 and has worked as it should for the past 18 days... and then guess what happened this morning that got me worried as I reached for the starter button? It was a cooler morning. About 10 degrees cooler. I just had a weird feeling that it wasn't going to work.
And it has never given any signs that it is weak until it refuses to work. Just doesn't seem to have enough juice to trigger whatever needs to get fired for a start up. No slow starting, no need to keep holding the start button down to get it to fire... it just gives the click of death.

So after taking the car to and from work, I got home and hooked up my new power pack to the battery inside the frunk. It took a while because the clamps are too big to work with the tight, small posts. Once hooked up, I turned on the charger waited about 30 seconds, and the bike started up as it should. Revved it up, let it idle, then shut it off and unhooked the charger. I then checked and it started up on its own, but I'm leaving the clamps in the frunk, just in case, for tomorrow morning.
Will be buying a new battery, hopefully one with a warranty. I'm guessing that the battery I have is the one that came with my bike, which was one of the first 2016 DCTs made. It was used as a demo, so maybe spent time not being ridden. Could have been put in service back in 2015?
Anyone remember when the reviews of the new 2016's were done?
Contact any Honda dealer service department and give them the VIN number. They can give you the date the machine was sold which marks the date the battery warranty began. It would be out of warranty now of course but you will know how old it is..
 

Honda333

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If the voltage reads 12.74 v or lower for an AGM battery sitting for 2 hrs after charging it’s is on its way out. And I would not trust a battery for a bike past 3 yrs anyway.
 

ste7ios

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If the voltage reads 12.74 v or lower for an AGM battery sitting for 2 hrs after charging it’s is on its way out. And I would not trust a battery for a bike past 3 yrs anyway.
If you’re replacing your AGM battery at 12.74V or little lower you’re wasting your money. 12.74V means that it can keep more than 80% of its named capacity unless a load test tell us something different.

Time also tell us nothing. Other factors like environmental temperatures and for how long remains fully charged are more important. The same battery may survive for just one year or may live for about 6-8 years...

http://www.yuasabatteries.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/TechManual.x78244.pdf
 
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