Technical Discussion Topics related to Technical Issues

battery choices

Old 07-30-2012, 05:06 PM
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battery choices

I've been reading threads here and trying to get up to speed with options and mods for the VTR. One mod is the battery. It looks like using the rechargeable batteries from tools combined to be a usable lightweight motorcycle battery. I also saw it at:
Daugherty Motorsports - Motorcycle Suspension Performance and Modification

Has anyone here ever used one of these?

ShoraiUsa - VTR1000F (all)
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Old 07-30-2012, 05:24 PM
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[QUOTE=twist;339082]I've been reading threads here and trying to get up to speed with options and mods for the VTR. One mod is the battery. It looks like using the rechargeable batteries from tools combined to be a usable lightweight motorcycle battery. I also saw it at:
Daugherty Motorsports - Motorcycle Suspension Performance and Modification

I am running the 8 cell one right now, no complaints yet. It's very small b/c it's just heat shrink around the cells and works really well if you're tight on space. The options for connectors and the price are nice...

I ended up dealing with the RB batteries guy, Dan, who was very quick with his responses.
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:08 PM
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Those batteries are really better suited for racebike application. They arent real happy with the type of discharge of a street bike. Also dont do well when its cold. Having loads like the fan and headlight isnt great for them.

I read my *** off on this and for me as a year round streeter, I dont trust it. I am thinking of the yuasa xb14-s which has more power than the stocker and is 15mm taller which I think can fit.

Oh yeah, the lithiums are supposed to be balanced when charged. They also burned a superhawkers bike to the ground. Shorai paid for it but for me no thanks.
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by smokinjoe73 View Post
Those batteries are really better suited for racebike application. They arent real happy with the type of discharge of a street bike. Also dont do well when its cold. Having loads like the fan and headlight isnt great for them.

I read my *** off on this and for me as a year round streeter, I dont trust it. I am thinking of the yuasa xb14-s which has more power than the stocker and is 15mm taller which I think can fit.

Oh yeah, the lithiums are supposed to be balanced when charged. They also burned a superhawkers bike to the ground. Shorai paid for it but for me no thanks.
Eh... Sorry... But that's about as wrong as you can get it, really...

They are perfectly happy in a street bike, in fact as charge/discharge curves, it's a lot better for the cells than constant high rev charging, that is likely to topcharge and unbalance the cells...

They are a lot less susceptible to cold than a SLA battery ever will be, one of those packs will start your bike down to the point where the oil freezes, since they are basically self heating, one turn of the starter and the cells have reached normal operating temperature internally, and pumps out the same amperage as on a hot summer day... Where as a SLA has to be externally heated to even give half it's capacity at low temperatures, and cannot be recharged without damage in the cold...

As far as low ampere draw loads, it makes no difference what-so-ever to these packs... Headlights, fans heated grips, you name it, no difference... In that respect they work the same as any other battery... There is one difference in how you need to think though...

A 10Ah SLA can start the bike, and run low heated grips or headlights for a certain amount of time... Then you get dimmed lights, or less heat... And you might possibly squeese out one last start before the battery needs charging... The LiFePO4 cells work a little different... You can start the bike with the last mA if you need to, but once they are flat, they are really flat, and it's not good for them to remain flat more than very temporary...

So while a 2.3 Ah LiFePO4 will start the bike, over and over, 100% reliable in the summer, and a 4.6 Ah pack has the ability to start a VTR in the middle of a snowmound, to use heated grips on a LiFePO4 pack and not risk deep discharge, you need overcapacity... Ie, double up again and get 9.2 Ah, and you can run just about whatever accesory you will ever need... And it's still going to be both lighter and smaller in size than the stock SLA... Not neccesarily cheaper though...

There is one thing though, that is not good for the LiFePO4 packs... And that's the 01 and newer displays with an LCD display that has a constant drain on the pack... Leave the bike sitting for too long, and you have a deep discharged pack that you can throw away... Same thing here applies, it happens to SLA's to, at the exact same rate for Ah ratings... The difference is on an SLA, you use a battery tender, which is not a good idea with LiFePO4... But use a quick disconnect, and you gain two things... A fully loaded pack every ride, and another anti-theft as the bike isn't easy to start unless you know the battery is unhooked...

However, if you leave the bike sitting for more than an month anyway, you really have no issue to complain... Ride the damned thing instead...

I ride my bike 9-10 month out of 12, everyday or atleast every other day... And I have been using the same 8 pack of LiFePO4 cells as I started experimenting with 4 years ago, day in and day out... The only two times I have been left stranded, it was by my own stupidity trying to crank with the killswitch... And then a running start solved the issue, since the pack is charged up enough to start the bike by the time I have ridden 3-4 blocks...

So any notion that these belong in race bikes only, is pure and utter bullshit...

And no, the Shorai didn't burn a bike to the ground... In fact, the resulting damage to the bike when the battery went into a complete short circuit was substantially less than what it would likely have been if it was an SLA that had short circuited... Go read the thread...

Last edited by Tweety; 07-31-2012 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 07-31-2012, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Tweety View Post
There is one thing though, that is not good for the LiFePO4 packs... And that's the 01 and newer displays with an LCD display that has a constant drain on the pack... Leave the bike sitting for too long, and you have a deep discharged pack that you can throw away... Same thing here applies, it happens to SLA's to, at the exact same rate for Ah ratings... The difference is on an SLA, you use a battery tender, which is not a good idea with LiFePO4...
This is what happened to me... I left the key in and turned overnight and it drained my homemade 8-cell battery. Once the LiFePO4 cells were out of balance the thing was worth dirt, so I threw it out and bought one of the RB ones. Figuring they had better equipment to solder the batteries together and the price difference was less than 20 bucks I had to try.
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Old 07-31-2012, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by 7moore7 View Post
This is what happened to me... I left the key in and turned overnight and it drained my homemade 8-cell battery. Once the LiFePO4 cells were out of balance the thing was worth dirt, so I threw it out and bought one of the RB ones. Figuring they had better equipment to solder the batteries together and the price difference was less than 20 bucks I had to try.
Really bad luck... But nothing you can really blame the battery for...

BTW, if you had told me, I could have helped you get it back to full capacity in a short while... You have a window to re-charge it and get it back, before the damage is permanent and it's lost...

My pack has been deep discharged three times now, and it's still as of last week when I measured it, giving me 98.6 % of the capacity it had the moment I completed it... I highly doubt a Yuasa will give 98.6% of new capacity after 4 years of use and three deep discharges, but I could be wrong...
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Old 07-31-2012, 09:31 AM
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I have a Shorai battery on my Tuono.

Tuono's are really hard on batteries. It's a know week point, a bit like CCT's on superhawks. I had a few issues when I brought the bike. Upgraded to the Shorai and have not had a single issue since. The thing weighs next to nothing and works really well.
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Old 07-31-2012, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Tweety View Post
Really bad luck... But nothing you can really blame the battery for...
Haha, not bad luck, more like just me being a bonehead. But yeah, I was so happy with the LiFePO4 cells that I got another one. Like I said, for less than $20 more than it would take me to make one with nice leads and at my door in less than a week, I gave the RB ones on J Daugherty's site a shot and am happy enough with it that I have recommended them to riding buddies too...

Didn't know you can resurrect them. I still have the other one (I didn't actually trash it), although I'm sure it's long beyond the window you're talking about. What would it entail? Taking the pack apart and pairing the cells up to re-balance them?
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Old 07-31-2012, 11:24 AM
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Tweety, whats your opinion on this last post from [email protected] ? I read good reviews on the Lithium Iron batteries, but would like to hear from you!
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Old 07-31-2012, 11:45 AM
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You can buy a Shorai if you want a nice box, or you can get the RB one's... Or you can make your own... It's all good choices...

Last edited by Tweety; 07-31-2012 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 07-31-2012, 11:50 AM
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Shorai is a LiFePO4 battery... It's the same chemistry, only in a prism package instead of a round tube...

Li = Lithium, Fe = Ferrite or iron, PO4 = Phosphate... So it could be called Lithium iron phosphate battery, or lithium ferrite phosfate, or by the chemical name, or by brand... It's still the same thing...

A suggestion though, since it's a good move to be able to unhook it easily, to not deep discharge if the bike is sitting, using Anderson battery terminals as a quick disconnect like I have done is a smart move... Can be put on any of the above options...

Last edited by Tweety; 07-31-2012 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 07-31-2012, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by 7moore7 View Post
Haha, not bad luck, more like just me being a bonehead. But yeah, I was so happy with the LiFePO4 cells that I got another one. Like I said, for less than $20 more than it would take me to make one with nice leads and at my door in less than a week, I gave the RB ones on J Daugherty's site a shot and am happy enough with it that I have recommended them to riding buddies too...

Didn't know you can resurrect them. I still have the other one (I didn't actually trash it), although I'm sure it's long beyond the window you're talking about. What would it entail? Taking the pack apart and pairing the cells up to re-balance them?
Nope, only hooking small balance leads to the cells individually, and then a lot of time and measuring as you balance them out... If you have stored that battery charged, in whatever unbalanced state, it's probably still a possibility... If you however left it uncharged, it's long dead...
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Old 07-31-2012, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Tweety View Post
You can buy a Shorai if you want a nice box, or you can get the RB one's... Or you can make your own... It's all good choices...
Hmmmmm! So I paid for a nice battery box? WTF!

Actually when I purchased that battery, I thought it was just a empty black box, it was so light weight?
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Old 07-31-2012, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Hmmmmm!
Actually when I purchased that battery, I thought it was just a empty black box, it was so light weight?
And after you handle them for awhile and pick up an old battery, you get a WTF moment... "why do I need a 10lb rock to start my bike?! Extra traction in the tail for bump-starting?"

Tweety, it was sitting at about 9.5V when I put it away. Don't think I'll get around to trying to charge it b/c I have other projects I'm using my time on at the moment.

I have a different thought along the same lines, though. I was thinking about making a battery for a larger motor (hypothetically, a Jeep 4.0 inline 6). I remember you said you had made a 12 cell a123 battery for a built V8 (I think). It may see some rougher roads... would this be a reasonable application or is there something I haven't though of?
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Old 07-31-2012, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by 7moore7 View Post
And after you handle them for awhile and pick up an old battery, you get a WTF moment... "why do I need a 10lb rock to start my bike?! Extra traction in the tail for bump-starting?"

Tweety, it was sitting at about 9.5V when I put it away. Don't think I'll get around to trying to charge it b/c I have other projects I'm using my time on at the moment.

I have a different thought along the same lines, though. I was thinking about making a battery for a larger motor (hypothetically, a Jeep 4.0 inline 6). I remember you said you had made a 12 cell a123 battery for a built V8 (I think). It may see some rougher roads... would this be a reasonable application or is there something I haven't though of?
Well... Yes and no... It was for a Hemi engine and it actually started on a 4 cell, just like the VTR... But the 4 cell it was in real need of charging after that one start... I did run a 16 cell for a while, which equates to 9.2 Ah of usable power... That however didn't quite have the reserve I needed... So I made an 8 cell 20 Ah battery instead, using these cells... 8PCS LiFePo4 Battery Cells Headway 38120S 3V 10AH new | eBay

It's been 100% reliable... And you could easily make a 20Ah battery out of the smaller cells as well, it would just become a bit more ungainly and cluttery... With the larger cells, it has roughly the same format as a standard SLA battery for the same car, so it fits nicely where the stock battery would go, but it weighs next to nothing... And taking a pair of cheap delrin cutting boards I made a nice box...
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Old 07-31-2012, 01:19 PM
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Ah man that's pretty cool! I may make a 10Ah pack to test on a little 22r Toyota motor. Looks like it even comes with little screw caps so I don't have to deal with soldering...
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Old 07-31-2012, 07:37 PM
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So tweety, for me, if I ride city only and the fan is pretty much always on, and also have an alarm and lcd dash, I would still be OK with a 9.2 ah unit? My understanding from what I read was that if you had constant drain you were at risk.

I am actually going to need a battery by summers end but for example, can I just put a lith battery on a regular float charger or only a tender? I dont want to have to always disconnect it and loose the dash memory.
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Old 07-31-2012, 11:52 PM
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A constant drain when the bike is on doesn't matter one durned bit as long as it's less than the charging current... That's what the battery is designed for, so ignore the fan and such, it's not part of the equation...

However if you have a constant on drain that runs when the bike isn't charged, that's bad for any battery really... It drains the battery down to absolutely 0V if you let it sit long enough, and that damages all types of batteries... The LCD clock and the odo memory is such a drain...

SLA or LiFePO4 doesnt matter much, the only difference is that when you deep discharge the SLA, it looses a couple of % of capacity since you damage the electrolyte and plates, but it almost always recovers no matter how long it sits... The LiFePO4 makes it if you catch it in a day or two at the most and charge it up, but left for a week, it's dead and gone with no coming back...

For all LiFePO4 batteries there is one thing in common, no battery tenders, no float chargers or any type that charges in a slow mode... You charge this type of battery with a high amperage or not at all... Slow charge at low amperage burns up the lifetime of the battery...

So then it becomes a simple math exercise... The manual of the VTR states that the LCD watch and memory for the odo should draw roughly 5 mA or less, but you could measure yours to use the true value... Then take the capacity of the battery (in mA), and divide it by 5 and you get the time in hours takes for the LCD to drain the battery completely from full...

But in general, the battery isn't 100% all the time, and it's also not a good idea to drain it below a certain point on a LiFePO4 battery, so lets take 80% of the nominal capacity as our number starting number, meaning the battery is ~80% full, which it will be at any time the bike is running... And then we want to keep 20% at the bottom for margin, 10% is fine for the battery really, but we are calculating worst cases here, so we use a larger safety margin... That gives us 60% of the capacity to work with, to get our timeline for possible battery damage...

If you aren't running any auxilary things at all, the 4.7 Ah 8 pack works fine for the VTR, but it has no extra margin for error... In our math example, 60% of the capacity is 3760 mAh, giving us 480 hours or roughly 20 days before the battery is in danger of being damaged... To have any starting capacity left, less than that obviously...

Since you are running year round, and need to have some extra starting attempts in cold weather, and some extra running time for the fan sitting in queues with not enough revs to charge, I'd recommend the 12 pack at 8 Ah as a starting point for you... Here the numbers are 960 hours, or 40 days...

A 18 pack at 9.2 Ah gives a margin for running aux stuff like heated grips and such, and ample starting reserve in all conditions... Here it works out to 1104 hours or 46 days...

Now, take all of these, and cut of say ten days at the bottom end and you can still start the bike... But even if the bike sits for the time I calculated, the battery will be just fine after a round on a quick charger, even if it won't have enough left to start the bike...

It's still a good idea to have a quick disconnect... And I always use it when I know my bike will be sitting for more than a week (business trips usually) but I don't use it inbetween daily/semi-daily trips to work or fun...
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:06 PM
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tweety, I really enjoy reading your posts and am learning a lot. I have been convinced that the shoria battery would be on the top of my to be replaced list, (after CCT and R/R). Now, after reading your post I'm thinking the RB is worthwhile, also. I'm confused about charging the battery. I ride 5 or 6 days out of the week and since I live in California at the coast, I ride all year, even in the rain. I like to ride, what can I say? I don't have the soldering skills to build my own battery but it's worth the money in my honest opinion. But, charging. I have had glass batteries but they use trickle charge. What is the best way to maintain these LiFePO4 batteries if the bike sits for more than a week? (2002 VTR)
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by twist View Post
tweety, I really enjoy reading your posts and am learning a lot. I have been convinced that the shoria battery would be on the top of my to be replaced list, (after CCT and R/R). Now, after reading your post I'm thinking the RB is worthwhile, also. I'm confused about charging the battery. I ride 5 or 6 days out of the week and since I live in California at the coast, I ride all year, even in the rain. I like to ride, what can I say? I don't have the soldering skills to build my own battery but it's worth the money in my honest opinion. But, charging. I have had glass batteries but they use trickle charge. What is the best way to maintain these LiFePO4 batteries if the bike sits for more than a week? (2002 VTR)
Just unplug it. For an extra 20 bucks or so Dan at RB batteries will attach a waterproof disconnect w/ mating connector that you splice into your wiring so you just unclick it an you're done. Or if you have the Shoria or don't want to splurge you can do what I do and just unbolt the connector old school style (I'm almost never off my bike for more than two weeks)..
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Old 08-02-2012, 01:17 AM
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Originally Posted by twist View Post
tweety, I really enjoy reading your posts and am learning a lot. I have been convinced that the shoria battery would be on the top of my to be replaced list, (after CCT and R/R). Now, after reading your post I'm thinking the RB is worthwhile, also. I'm confused about charging the battery. I ride 5 or 6 days out of the week and since I live in California at the coast, I ride all year, even in the rain. I like to ride, what can I say? I don't have the soldering skills to build my own battery but it's worth the money in my honest opinion. But, charging. I have had glass batteries but they use trickle charge. What is the best way to maintain these LiFePO4 batteries if the bike sits for more than a week? (2002 VTR)
The best way to maintain it is to not maintain it... Plain and simple, just effin leave it alone...

Trickle chargers raise the internal resistance of a LiFePO4 cell, so it shortens life span... And since the cells have absolutely zero voltage leakage, meaning they will still be 100% fully charged in a year from now if you disconnect them and put them on a shelf, the only thing you have to worry about is the same as smokinjoe...

And unless you plan on leaving the bike standing for more than a week at the time, just about any capacity of battery mentioned will have enough juice to start the bike and charge itself up while riding... So, riding daily, just put the battery in there when you get it, and go riding, and don't think about the battery... No battery minder/buddy/trickle whatever... Just ride... And if you are going to let the bike sit more that a week, just unhook the battery...

I mean it can't be that confusing really? 5 out 6 days riding means 24 hours sitting... 24 hours is less than 480/960/1104 hours, right? And the margin is big enough that it doesn't take much math to figure out it should be on the safe side really... A week is still less than any of the numbers... So the same thing applies... Once you go past that week though, either unhook it, or take a ride around the block to keep it charged...

IT'S THAT SIMPLE FOLKS, NOTHING MORE TO IT!

If you should happen to run the battery flat, despite how unlikely it is... Then the best way to charge it is to bumpstart the bike and ride it a couple of blocks... Then it's charged enough to re-start the bike if need be... The next best way is a normal, dumber than rocks charger, with no fancy charge profile or trickle charge... Plain 14.5V and 0.5 to 5A current, and a normal wrist watch is the best possible charger...

Last edited by Tweety; 08-02-2012 at 01:26 AM.
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