Author Topic: Sneaky AGM battery sellers  (Read 586 times)

Offline Tony Smith

  • Posts: 2274
  • Graduate, Wallace and Gromit School of Engineering
Sneaky AGM battery sellers
« on: August 13, 2020, 09:58:40 PM »
This rant is mainly relevant to Australian members given the supplier I am about to name, but the issue may extend further.

This starts in 2017 when I bought my R1150GSA.
Every year in around late June I attend a restorer's club meeting at a small seaside village 200km South of where I live.

On this occasion I carefully prepped the GSA (which I was yet to ride any great distance on at that point) and my Wife's G650GS. It was a lovely afternoon so we went for a brief ride up to Pt Douglas and then filled the bikes ready of the off the next morning.

The following day was a glorious Winter (well for Far North Queensland ) winter day, approximately 18 ~19 degrees.

The GSA wouldn't start and in fact showed all the signs of battery collapse. In something of a bad temper I pulled the battery - made more fun by the 34lt of fuel in the full tank. I then took the old battery to "Super Cheap Auto" 10km away where to my suprise they stocked teh same battery I had just pulled out.

Without thinking I bought one, fitted it and set off for Cardwell. I did think initially that the new battery was a little less than enthusiastic but put that down to it having sat on the shelf for a while.

I did notice when we go home that it seemed to make hard work of starting the GSA and I started to wonder if the starter was faulty.

Roll forward to 2020 and the GSA wouldn't start on a nice crisp winter morning. I measured ther voltage and it said 12.7 volts, so I suspected the starter. I bought a Valeo rebuild kit and a Chinese Valeo copy (on the basis of "what the heck, they are cheap"). Fitted the new starter and the bike started perfectly. It is of some later relevance that this was at around 3 in the afternoon and the temperature had risen to 26 degrees.

Went to set out the next day and the blasted thing would not start. I went into town and bought a Motobatt battery and it started perfectly and has continued to do so.

MEANWHILE

Last year I needed a new battery for the R65/80 and I bought another Century battery from Supercheap. It struggled to start the 860cc kitted engine which I put down to lack of as yet being run in. I did a couple of brief rides but as I became progressivley sicker with my cancer treatment I laid the bike up.

I did run it a few times and it started readily (relevently wthis was during summer).

So early July rolled around and the delayed restorer's club meeting was on.

Bloody hell, we got up to a bright clear morning at about 17 degrees and the damn thing wouldn't start.

I hooked up jumper leads and jump started it and off we went. When we go to Cardwell I did a couple of test starts and the battery turned the engine over willingly, my multimeter said 12,9 volts about an hour after shutdown.

The next morning the starter was very sluggish, but did start the bike. The following day I rang a different supplier and ordered a Motobatt battery. I fitted the Motobatt and it started willingly. I measured the Century battery and it was at 12.8 volts.

I took the Century into the shop that supplied the Motobatt and they reported that there was absolutely nothing wrong with it, however their comment of "you know that this is not a start rated battery don't you" caused my ears to prick up.

Pennies started to drop. Supercheap are selling batteries intended to be used in UPS and emergancy lighting setups as motorcycle batteries, a task to which they are no suited.

They do work perfectly well (sort of) when new and during warm weather, but slight age related degredation and cold weather causes them problems.

I should point out that at one stage the R65/80 wouldn't start and in disgust I took another bike, yet that afternoon it started happily having simply been left to sit in the sun for the day.

I rang Century and they disclaimed any knowledge of Supercheap selling their batteries as motorcycle batteries and seemed disinterested in doing anything - I guess Supercheap buy lots of batteries from them.

Anyway, here is a picture of the offending item. I can only suggest that before you buy a bettery you confirm with the manufacturer that they are rated and warranted as start batteries.

I have written to Supercheap suggesting they refund me $260 for the two most recent batteries bought from them. I won't hold my breath.
1978 R100RS| 1981 R100RS (JPS) | 1984 R65 | 1992 KLE500 | 2002 R1150GSA |

Offline Matt Chapter

  • Posts: 568
  • <insert witty remark here>
Re: Sneaky AGM battery sellers
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2020, 12:52:15 PM »
This is interesting, I have an AGM battery installed that I acquired from Batteries Plus (a battery reseller) that isn't rated for motorcycles at all.  It's similar to the one in the sticky post in the technical sub forum.  My last one lasted almost six years, but low temps only hit 30F / -1C.  I'm surprised the battery you installed had such trouble at moderate temps!
'86 R65 with '84 motor ~67000 miles. ?SS lines, Spiegler rotor, Progressive monoshock, Keihan silencers, a piece of Pichler fairing.
'76 CB400F ~26000 miles. ?Weepy SS lines, big dent in the tank.

Offline skippyc

  • Posts: 339
  • Shouldn't have sold them old bikes.
Re: Sneaky AGM battery sellers
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2020, 07:34:58 PM »
My bike came with a panasonic battery which was rated as an ups battery it was 6 years old and worked well untill i left the ligts on and flatend it.
It was recharged and continued to start the bike but i replaced it with a motobatt to be safe.
I have a motobatt in a Z200 which is 10years old and still going although it doesn't get ridden very much.

Offline Bob_Roller

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 8923
  • ? GMT -7 Hours
Re: Sneaky AGM battery sellers
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2020, 12:27:17 PM »
I used generic  18 ah AGM batteries that were for UPS applications for 15 years .
The local supplier raised the price to the point that I can get 22 ah  AGM's for less delivered to my home from other suppliers.

https://gruberpower.com/products/batteries/gps-series/battery-agm-gps-12-volt-18-ah-post/

Only issue I had was during the winter, the 18 AH battery wasn't up to the task of starting the oilhead after it had been sitting outside for 18 hours in sub-freezing conditions, I didn't help the situation using 20w50 Mobil 1 either .
I added a second battery where the ABS unit would reside, if the bike had it .
« Last Edit: August 16, 2020, 12:30:37 PM by Bob_Roller »
'81 R65
'82 R65 LS ?
'84 R65 LS
'87 Moto Guzzi V65 Lario
'02 R1150R
Riding all year long since 1993 .
I'll give up my R65, when they pry my cold dead hands from the handlebars !!!!!

Offline wilcom

  • Posts: 1485
Re: Sneaky AGM battery sellers
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2020, 02:01:01 PM »
Quote
I can get 22 ah  AGM's for less delivered to my home from other suppliers

Who would that "other" supplier be?

I have been using the Gruber Batts with no issues, Of course if the weather was freezing I would have no need to crank the bikes, unless of course I had lost my mind :o

The "start rated" would be a good bench mark for our batts but I have not been able to find anything on line as to what "start rated" is or would be? It is not a term readily available on the Net
Joe Wilkerson
Telephone man with a splash of Data
Menifee, CA

Present:
1984 BMW R65LS "Herr Head"
1982 BMW R65LS 
past:
1979 R65
1980 R65
1982 R80RT
1974 R90/6
1972 R75
1964 R50/2
19xx R27
ZX-11

Offline Bob_Roller

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 8923
  • ? GMT -7 Hours
Re: Sneaky AGM battery sellers
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2020, 02:12:52 PM »
I'll look to see if I can find the name of the company, got these last November .
I bought 6, so I got a discount also and no shipping charges .
I searched on Amazon, there are numerous companies selling them there .
« Last Edit: August 16, 2020, 02:14:09 PM by Bob_Roller »
'81 R65
'82 R65 LS ?
'84 R65 LS
'87 Moto Guzzi V65 Lario
'02 R1150R
Riding all year long since 1993 .
I'll give up my R65, when they pry my cold dead hands from the handlebars !!!!!

Offline BPT

  • Posts: 718
  • I Love YaBB 2!
Re: Sneaky AGM battery sellers
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2020, 08:51:51 PM »
So you've got  2 batteries connected at the same time BobRoller?
1983 R65 w/ Velorex 562 Sidecar

Offline skippyc

  • Posts: 339
  • Shouldn't have sold them old bikes.
Re: Sneaky AGM battery sellers
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2020, 06:49:36 PM »
Hi Tony
My mate has a modern BMW not sure of the exact model and he has trouble with batterys draining when not in use. I suspect its the computer be connected all the time.
I set him up with a solar panel to conect to it in the shed and since then all has been good.

Offline Tony Smith

  • Posts: 2274
  • Graduate, Wallace and Gromit School of Engineering
Re: Sneaky AGM battery sellers
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2020, 08:22:25 PM »
Quote
Hi Tony
My mate has a modern BMW not sure of the exact model and he has trouble with batterys draining when not in use. I suspect its the computer be connected all the time.
.

The 1150 will discharge a battery sufficient to make it unlikely to start in about a month. I have a battery tender to take care of that.

I do have panels and a controller I bought some time back intending to make a solar powered tender, but in the meantime I bought panels and batteries for the house so it made more sense to just buy plug in type battery tenders.
1978 R100RS| 1981 R100RS (JPS) | 1984 R65 | 1992 KLE500 | 2002 R1150GSA |

Offline tunnelrider

  • Posts: 321
Re: Sneaky AGM battery sellers
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2020, 01:23:35 AM »
Lazily I haven't investigated before posting what information batteries are sold with these days but I do recall seeing on batteries previously a CCA rating (Cold Cranking Amps) when I was looking for a new battery once (think it was for a diesel ute), surely this would distinguish a starting battery from a UPS battery?
'85 Black R65 / '74 GT185 / '83 Pantah 500 / '90 Super Tenere 750  / '01 DRZ400 dirt only

Offline Barry

  • Posts: 5014
Re: Sneaky AGM battery sellers
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2020, 01:45:55 PM »
Quote
I do recall seeing on batteries previously a CCA rating (Cold Cranking Amps) when I was looking for a new battery once (think it was for a diesel ute), surely this would distinguish a starting battery from a UPS battery?

Yes a starter battery would have a CCA specification.  Generic AGM batteries don't mention CCA.  I have such a generic battery and it has a very detailed data sheet but no mention of CCA.  There were two useful bits of information that satisfied me: Max discharge current 300 Amps for 5 secs and an internal resistance of 9 mOhms  which is decent enough figure.  It cranks the engine healthily even after 6 1/2 years.

A Bosch airhead starter is rated at 320 amps but in practice I'd be surprised if they drew more than a 100 Amps on a well tuned engine.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2020, 01:49:37 PM by bhodgson »
Barry Cheshire, England 79 R45

Offline dogshome

  • Posts: 116
  • I Love YaBB 2!
Re: Sneaky AGM battery sellers
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2020, 06:47:47 AM »
To add: There are 2 main sizes of battery in the R65. I have the smaller one which has a CCA rating of between 100 and 220 depending on manufacturer and cost. The larger one has a CCA of around 200 to over 400.

1. CCA is critical to cold starting and as found above, float rated 'duration' type batteries intended for long term low-current charging and low loads in UPS and alarms are very poor for that. Hence no rating.

2. The smaller 650 battery is marginal on an 860 conversion unless one of the higher cost Motobatt or top of the range Yuasa versions.

CCA is abasically the muscle you need to start. Lots of amps -well over a hundred and more as the capacity and compression go up or the temperature goes down. AH is how long the battery will provide a light load for e.g. without charging. It's almost irrelevant for starting power, but the ratings loosely follow. Bigger battery, more of each.

DC compound motors (starter motors) are quite interesting and relatively easy to understand. They are horribly inefficient,  speed-unstable, only short term rated (will burn out if ran for more than short periods) but brutally strong. Like a mini-Hulk :-)
肉(r?u)包(bāo)子(zi)打(dǎ)狗(gǒu) (meat+bun(2nd and 3rd)+hit+dog)
* Literally: To hit a dog with a meat-bun.:-O

Offline dogshome

  • Posts: 116
  • I Love YaBB 2!
Re: Sneaky AGM battery sellers
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2020, 06:55:36 AM »
This is a little job I did a few years ago. The flipper arms on the right of the hot metal is the kicker and this has a particularly brutal and nasty DC compound motor for tipping 30T steel slabs over.  I think it was only 37KW rated but built like a tank and with a stupid torque rating basically limited by the size of the 2.5MVA HV transformer and the motors aluminium cables i.e. 'the battery'.
肉(r?u)包(bāo)子(zi)打(dǎ)狗(gǒu) (meat+bun(2nd and 3rd)+hit+dog)
* Literally: To hit a dog with a meat-bun.:-O

Offline dogshome

  • Posts: 116
  • I Love YaBB 2!
Re: Sneaky AGM battery sellers
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2020, 08:35:40 AM »
THIS might have something to do with my low power starter on 860  :-[  :-[  :-[

D'Oh!  ;D
« Last Edit: October 06, 2020, 08:36:21 AM by dogshome »
肉(r?u)包(bāo)子(zi)打(dǎ)狗(gǒu) (meat+bun(2nd and 3rd)+hit+dog)
* Literally: To hit a dog with a meat-bun.:-O

Offline Barry

  • Posts: 5014
Re: Sneaky AGM battery sellers
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2020, 10:43:00 AM »
There are lots of us using similar generic AGM batteries and despite not being proper starter batteries they crank fine.  Mine has a detail spec sheet that says maximum discharge current is 300 amps for 5 secs which ought to be enough.

As long as the internal resistance is low enough (12 mOhms in my case) then a generic battery should work. The real difference between generic and starter batteries is how much high current abuse they will stand.  If the engine starts instantly on the button then I haven't found any practical difference between them. I'm 6 1/2 years in and expect it to last longer yet but to be fair it's only cranking 475 cc.  Perhaps a high compression 860 is a step too far.   
« Last Edit: October 06, 2020, 10:44:49 AM by bhodgson »
Barry Cheshire, England 79 R45