Author Topic: Your out in the middle of no where and your battery dies... What do you do?  (Read 14033 times)

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Offline Steve

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So I was lucky enough to be visiting a friend today on a day trip ride when I decided to forget to turn off the key and leave the lights on for a couple of hours. I got back to the bike and was getting ready to leave when I saw the key was already in the on position. Confused I turned the key to the off position and found that the battery was completely flat and I wouldn't be able to get it back to the on position without power to the battery.

We easily jumped the bike and I was off. But now I have questions on this situation.

If I wouldn't have turned it off could I have pop started it? I am assuming not.

Is there an easier way to jump these bikes besides getting at the battery?

I don't think I will ever leave the house without a set of jumper cables now, if I wouldn't have been at his house I could have been stranded for a long time.
I am going to replace the battery in the spring since I have no idea how old it is anyways and draining them to nothing is usually never good for them.

They should have a safety disconnect like most cars do that leaves enough power in the battery to start the bike.

Offline Old Man on a Connie

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Dig out your member directory and make a phone call.
"I don't always ride street bikes, but when I do, It's a Concours. A C14 '11 silver to be precise." OTP 2017 Traveler. It was a Blast Baby. Still in it to Win it.

Offline cra-z1000

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The downside of technology , no more kick starters or push starts .
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Offline Zorlac

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To put a finer point on it, your battery didn't "die", you discharged it.  ::)
FWIW, once they're discharged below about 10V and then recharged their future is questionable.
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Offline gsun

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I did exactly that two years ago and my battery is going strong.

Offline Red Fox

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AAA with "RV" (recreational vehicle) endorsement. 
They'll start it, or tow it home if they can't.

I ride often in remote areas, so I have their "premier RV" coverage
which includes 200 miles towing up to 3X per year as part of the membership.
TryCities, WA.    2011  C-14, silver;  62,000 miles.

Offline Red Fox

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But, also, the simple answer is to not use your 'kill switch' except in a road emergency.
This will likely raise many complaints here, and I won't engage further in dialogue on it. 
TryCities, WA.    2011  C-14, silver;  62,000 miles.

Offline Sailor_chic

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AAA has an RV endorsement but is separate from Motorcycle endorsement


AAA with "RV" (recreational vehicle) endorsement. 
They'll start it, or tow it home if they can't.

I ride often in remote areas, so I have their "premier RV" coverage
which includes 200 miles towing up to 3X per year as part of the membership.
Nicole     Port St Lucie, FL.
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Offline jwh20

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First of all, I'll just put in a plug for an AMA membership.  They do a lot of good lobbying and promoting motorcycling but the membership includes roadside assistance.  It's a good deal!

I always shut my bike off using the key switch rather than the engine kill switch to try to avoid this scenario.  But if it happens by accident anyway, you probably won't get a C14 going by push starting.  As with most modern vehicles, you need more than 12V for the ECU, fuel injection, and other electronics critical to the engine running to work.  Unless you have a long hill and can get a pretty good run going, it will not start.

Jumping the bike using a cable and another battery or a vehicle is one option.  Another is to use a battery charger or battery booster.  Usually a few minutes on one of these will be enough to get you started.  A battery tender will do it also but it may take an hour or two to get enough charge in the battery.

Of course the best solution is vigilance in turning the bike off.  But I know it happens...
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Offline doebag

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But, also, the simple answer is to not use your 'kill switch' except in a road emergency.
This will likely raise many complaints here, and I won't engage further in dialogue on it.

I totally agree, the only time I use the kill switch routinely is to remind me I have a disc lock fitted when parking the bike.
'Dying a'int much of a living, boy'
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Offline wayne_jenkins_CT

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 I did that, shut the bike down using the kick stand kill switch , when I returned the Battery was dead. Sunday in a small Kentucky town nothing was open to charge the Battery, I had removed the Battery and was trying to catch a ride when a BMW rider stopped and he had a set of jumper   cables set up to hook up to his battery tender, which I had too, what a slick way to jump the bike. When I got home I made me a set to.

Offline Camper Dave

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If I wouldn't have turned it off could I have pop started it? I am assuming not.
I believe you are correct, those new fangled C-14s and their fuel-injection might not pop to easy. Maybe on a reallllllllllly loooooong hill??
I know on my LTD1000, if the battery was dead you couldn't even kick start it. But if you could get your friends to stop laughing and get off their Harley's to give you a push, it would start  :-[
<--- is there any mechanism in place to deal with a non- productive, antagonistic, former non- member such as this?

Offline gggGary

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Does the C14 have a PMA? Will a modern bike alternator ramp up without some 12 volt to start the process? Will a bike with a slipper clutch spin the engine with a "roll it down a hill and dump it in gear start"?   Can any machine ever be made truly "owner proof"?
« Last Edit: October 12, 2014, 11:17:52 am by gggGary »
new to me 08 C14 71K miles, Baraboo, WI

Offline cb900toconcours

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Someone already mentioned it that technology is great but when it goes bad it is retarded. I commission $30 million dollar machine and they are pact with technology, the ironic part the older machines have better control when things are iffy and gives the owner more options to react instead of waiting on the new system to charge back up or PLC reconfigured after a fault.
Be prepared and a friend phone list handy anywhere you go.
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2003 CB919 Honda
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2002 750 Shadow Honda
1980 440 LTD Kawasaki;2002 CB919 Honda;2002 250 Rebel Honda; 1980’s 750 CB Honda

Offline flivver

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We easily jumped the bike and I was off.

I've heard conflicting things about jump-starting bikes. Like, if you jump the bike from a car, you can fry your electronics. (For anyone reading this later, I have no idea if that's true).

What's the real story?  What can you jump from, and what can't you jump from (if anything), and why?
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Offline gggGary

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IMHO you can jump start from anything with a 12 volt battery BUT the donor vehicle should not be running.  That greatly reduces the chance of an electronics destroying voltage spike.
new to me 08 C14 71K miles, Baraboo, WI

Offline jwh20

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We easily jumped the bike and I was off.

I've heard conflicting things about jump-starting bikes. Like, if you jump the bike from a car, you can fry your electronics. (For anyone reading this later, I have no idea if that's true).

What's the real story?  What can you jump from, and what can't you jump from (if anything), and why?

There are many purely anecdotal stories on this topic and this board is by no means the only place where people say this.  But from an electrical engineering viewpoint from an electrical engineer, it's NOT going to happen.  If the voltage on the "donor" vehicle were such that it would fry the electronics on your bike, the donor vehicle would also fry itself.

There is nothing magical or mystical about jump starting and the #1 issue causing fried electronics is hookup up the cables incorrectly.  People hook + to - and - to + every day and fry their electronics.  ALWAYS the + goes to + and the - goes to GROUND on the dead vehicle.  Why?  Because you can get a spark when hookup up the last connection and you want that AWAY from the battery.  Why?  Because lead-acid batteries out-gas hydrogen and a spark can ignite that and cause the battery to explode.  That will certainly mess up your day.

Back to the donor running vs. not, it usually works best if the donor is running because you lose voltage through the cables which, if inexpensive ones, are not all that heavy.  A C14 as well as most modern vehicles with ECUs need MORE than 12V to run.  A battery may give you 12.5 V at the donor but less than that at your bike where you need it.  The running engine on the donor will give you a nominal 14.5V which will give you more voltage at the bike.

Will 14.5V fry your electronics? No, measure it yourself when the C14 is running.  Typically you have 14.5-14.7V when the engine is running.  That's normal.

Of course I know I'll be flamed because everyone has their own opinions.
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Offline gggGary

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Yeah a spike is low probability but odd things happen when you throw heavy draws with dodgy connections in and out of an operating charging circuit. Any modern car has a very powerful alternator that can attempt to dump a lot of power through a set of non fused jumpers. The bikes voltage regulator is a component that could be damaged by a powerful alternators amperage. Why take the chance? Not to mention hooking up jumpers in a packed engine compartment is safer if the engine isn't running.
It's more than anecdotal, the bobber chopper bike guys that run capacitors have fried many an electronic ignition from voltage spikes the regulator wasn't fast enough to damp.

"A C14 as well as most modern vehicles with ECUs need MORE than 12V to run"

I'm confused; where does the MORE than 12 volt come from when I am electric starting my "healthy" c14?
new to me 08 C14 71K miles, Baraboo, WI

Offline Bergmen

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We easily jumped the bike and I was off.

I've heard conflicting things about jump-starting bikes. Like, if you jump the bike from a car, you can fry your electronics. (For anyone reading this later, I have no idea if that's true).

What's the real story?  What can you jump from, and what can't you jump from (if anything), and why?

There are many purely anecdotal stories on this topic and this board is by no means the only place where people say this.  But from an electrical engineering viewpoint from an electrical engineer, it's NOT going to happen.  If the voltage on the "donor" vehicle were such that it would fry the electronics on your bike, the donor vehicle would also fry itself.

There is nothing magical or mystical about jump starting and the #1 issue causing fried electronics is hookup up the cables incorrectly.  People hook + to - and - to + every day and fry their electronics.  ALWAYS the + goes to + and the - goes to GROUND on the dead vehicle.  Why?  Because you can get a spark when hookup up the last connection and you want that AWAY from the battery.  Why? Because lead-acid batteries out-gas hydrogen and a spark can ignite that and cause the battery to explode.  That will certainly mess up your day.

Back to the donor running vs. not, it usually works best if the donor is running because you lose voltage through the cables which, if inexpensive ones, are not all that heavy.  A C14 as well as most modern vehicles with ECUs need MORE than 12V to run.  A battery may give you 12.5 V at the donor but less than that at your bike where you need it.  The running engine on the donor will give you a nominal 14.5V which will give you more voltage at the bike.

Will 14.5V fry your electronics? No, measure it yourself when the C14 is running.  Typically you have 14.5-14.7V when the engine is running.  That's normal.

Of course I know I'll be flamed because everyone has their own opinions.

I agree with everything you say here except the bold portion. Has this ever happened? I ask this because I worked for AAA back in the late 60s, early 70s and our shop (and me personally) jump started thousands of cars and charged thousands of batteries in our shop. Never had an issue with this and nobody else in the biz did either. The only exploding battery we experienced was because of a cross connection.

The amount of hydrogen in a battery cavity is very small and is not likely to be mixed with the proper oxygen ratio to produce anything more than a light "pop" like in science class.

I would like to know if anyone has actually induced a hydrogen sourced "explosion" in any lead/acid vehicle battery.

Dan
--2014 Yamaha FJR1300A--
--ZGRX 1200 Concours (sold)--
--SPOOFAK Inventor--

Offline hotshoetom

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We easily jumped the bike and I was off.

I've heard conflicting things about jump-starting bikes. Like, if you jump the bike from a car, you can fry your electronics. (For anyone reading this later, I have no idea if that's true).

What's the real story?  What can you jump from, and what can't you jump from (if anything), and why?

There are many purely anecdotal stories on this topic and this board is by no means the only place where people say this.  But from an electrical engineering viewpoint from an electrical engineer, it's NOT going to happen.  If the voltage on the "donor" vehicle were such that it would fry the electronics on your bike, the donor vehicle would also fry itself.

There is nothing magical or mystical about jump starting and the #1 issue causing fried electronics is hookup up the cables incorrectly.  People hook + to - and - to + every day and fry their electronics.  ALWAYS the + goes to + and the - goes to GROUND on the dead vehicle.  Why?  Because you can get a spark when hookup up the last connection and you want that AWAY from the battery.  Why? Because lead-acid batteries out-gas hydrogen and a spark can ignite that and cause the battery to explode.  That will certainly mess up your day.

Back to the donor running vs. not, it usually works best if the donor is running because you lose voltage through the cables which, if inexpensive ones, are not all that heavy.  A C14 as well as most modern vehicles with ECUs need MORE than 12V to run.  A battery may give you 12.5 V at the donor but less than that at your bike where you need it.  The running engine on the donor will give you a nominal 14.5V which will give you more voltage at the bike.

Will 14.5V fry your electronics? No, measure it yourself when the C14 is running.  Typically you have 14.5-14.7V when the engine is running.  That's normal.

Of course I know I'll be flamed because everyone has their own opinions.

I agree with everything you say here except the bold portion. Has this ever happened? I ask this because I worked for AAA back in the late 60s, early 70s and our shop (and me personally) jump started thousands of cars and charged thousands of batteries in our shop. Never had an issue with this and nobody else in the biz did either. The only exploding battery we experienced was because of a cross connection.

The amount of hydrogen in a battery cavity is very small and is not likely to be mixed with the proper oxygen ratio to produce anything more than a light "pop" like in science class.

I would like to know if anyone has actually induced a hydrogen sourced "explosion" in any lead/acid vehicle battery.

Dan

In case anyone wonders why there were no replies to Dan's implied question...the answer is the only people that did induce an explosion died so no witnesses left alive.... :rotflmao:
Its better to be in the car wishing u were on the bike than the other way around...adapted words of wisdom from my flight instructor.

Offline jwh20

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We easily jumped the bike and I was off.

I've heard conflicting things about jump-starting bikes. Like, if you jump the bike from a car, you can fry your electronics. (For anyone reading this later, I have no idea if that's true).

What's the real story?  What can you jump from, and what can't you jump from (if anything), and why?

There are many purely anecdotal stories on this topic and this board is by no means the only place where people say this.  But from an electrical engineering viewpoint from an electrical engineer, it's NOT going to happen.  If the voltage on the "donor" vehicle were such that it would fry the electronics on your bike, the donor vehicle would also fry itself.

There is nothing magical or mystical about jump starting and the #1 issue causing fried electronics is hookup up the cables incorrectly.  People hook + to - and - to + every day and fry their electronics.  ALWAYS the + goes to + and the - goes to GROUND on the dead vehicle.  Why?  Because you can get a spark when hookup up the last connection and you want that AWAY from the battery.  Why? Because lead-acid batteries out-gas hydrogen and a spark can ignite that and cause the battery to explode.  That will certainly mess up your day.

Back to the donor running vs. not, it usually works best if the donor is running because you lose voltage through the cables which, if inexpensive ones, are not all that heavy.  A C14 as well as most modern vehicles with ECUs need MORE than 12V to run.  A battery may give you 12.5 V at the donor but less than that at your bike where you need it.  The running engine on the donor will give you a nominal 14.5V which will give you more voltage at the bike.

Will 14.5V fry your electronics? No, measure it yourself when the C14 is running.  Typically you have 14.5-14.7V when the engine is running.  That's normal.

Of course I know I'll be flamed because everyone has their own opinions.

I agree with everything you say here except the bold portion. Has this ever happened? I ask this because I worked for AAA back in the late 60s, early 70s and our shop (and me personally) jump started thousands of cars and charged thousands of batteries in our shop. Never had an issue with this and nobody else in the biz did either. The only exploding battery we experienced was because of a cross connection.

The amount of hydrogen in a battery cavity is very small and is not likely to be mixed with the proper oxygen ratio to produce anything more than a light "pop" like in science class.

I would like to know if anyone has actually induced a hydrogen sourced "explosion" in any lead/acid vehicle battery.

Dan

Please notice I said "can" and not "will".  I agree it's a rare possibility but it can and does happen. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgfwH6zRmRA
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Offline jwh20

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Yeah a spike is low probability but odd things happen when you throw heavy draws with dodgy connections in and out of an operating charging circuit. Any modern car has a very powerful alternator that can attempt to dump a lot of power through a set of non fused jumpers. The bikes voltage regulator is a component that could be damaged by a powerful alternators amperage. Why take the chance? Not to mention hooking up jumpers in a packed engine compartment is safer if the engine isn't running.
It's more than anecdotal, the bobber chopper bike guys that run capacitors have fried many an electronic ignition from voltage spikes the regulator wasn't fast enough to damp.

"A C14 as well as most modern vehicles with ECUs need MORE than 12V to run"

I'm confused; where does the MORE than 12 volt come from when I am electric starting my "healthy" c14?

The 12V battery is a misnomer.  It's not 12V but a but more, 12.6V to be exact.  Seems like hair splitting but for an electronic device, 0.6V can be the difference between working and not.  It's not uncommon for there to be more than enough power (remember power is Volts * Amps) to run the starter which is a constant power device.  It consumes power based on the load on the shaft.  So if the voltage is low it will draw more Amps and this further loads the already weak battery.  That's what makes the ECU not function, you may be getting the starter cranking but there might only be 6 Volts at the load.

But in response to the idea that "power" can get "dumped" into a bike or car being jumped, there is just no mechanism for that.
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Offline gggGary

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Yup had a friend blow up a Corvair battery using a pair of channel locks as part of a jumper cable, coming out of a bar working on poorly lit street.  His eyes recovered, stitches closed the forehead wound, and the hair and burned skin grew back.  Washing your face with sulfuric acid is not for the timid. 
As I recall it; before any mention of jump starting was removed from car owners manuals it always cautioned the donor vehicle should NOT be running....  Maybe just lawyer talk...  Several owners in the Sprinter van group have reported destroying an ECM during a running donor jump start.  about $2500 for that part on a Sprinter.

Lets say in order of least to most risk
remove the battery, charge it with a motorcycle automatic battery charger away from the bike.
use a motorcycle specific charger on the battery in the bike.
jump it from any 12 volt battery (non running vehicle).
ditto, vehicle running.
attempt a down a hill, dump it in 2nd or 3rd gear start.

FWIW I have attempted every one of these methods at least a few times each on various cars trucks tractors and motorcycles of nearly every vintage, often successfully. 
I'm big on replacing any motorcycle battery that has been abused.  Batteries are so cheap compared to alternators and voltage regulators.

For the down hill; I haven't checked the sequence but perhaps removing fuses to the headlight circuit would improve the odds of a charging system ramp up?

new to me 08 C14 71K miles, Baraboo, WI

Offline jwh20

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Quote
For the down hill; I haven't checked the sequence but perhaps removing fuses to the headlight circuit would improve the odds of a charging system ramp up?

It just rarely works on a dead battery.  The problem is that alternators, which are almost universal these days, have no permanent magnets in them but have an electromagnet for the field.  It basically bootstraps itself using the battery to get the initial field going.  If there is no battery power to start with, you get nothing out of the alternator no matter how fast it spins.  Of course your tractors were much more likely to have a generator that doesn't have that issue.

A long hill might do the job because there often a residual magnetism left on the field core that might get the thing going.

You're right though, exploding lead-acid batteries are not often fatal but they spew hot acid all over the place causing burns and blindness.  Something to avoid IMHO...
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Offline KnoxSwift

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I've been considering this kind of setup for my long distance trips:

http://www.amazon.com/Lil-Lightning-Inc-Lithium-Start/dp/B00M88F2QY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413135828&sr=8-1&keywords=Rescue+Pak

Problem is I really just don't know if it will work or not. No reviews. Similar setups are Mixed Reviews.

Close to home just call a tow truck...LOL...