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Thread: Dead battery... Very odd

  1. #1
    Needs a bigger garage ckcondon's Avatar
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    Dead battery... Very odd

    My 2007 1200RT has been in the garage for about two weeks untouched while I was on vacation.
    Was going to ride to work yesterday and the bike was dead as a rock. I didn't have a battery tender or anything at all hooked up to the bike that would drain power.
    The bike has under 7000 mi.
    Would the battery just go south that quickly for no reason?
    My dealer is 100 mi away, so I hope to figure it out before having to trailer it to the shop!

    Any ideas are appreciated!

    Chris

  2. #2
    Registered User LONERANGER's Avatar
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    Take the battery out and take it to a local shop and have it checked. It might just need a charge. If it just needs a charge be sure and get the correct battery charger. I use a "Battery Doc" that I bought for around $50. I keep it connected to the bike when it is not in use. The "official" BMW battery charger is quite expensive.
    2008 R1200RT
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    2007 Moto Guzzi Norge

  3. #3
    Once there was a Tavern PAULBACH's Avatar
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    Always use a battery tender

    Even turned off the clock and other "parasitics" are drawing current from the battery. Add a pigtail directly to the battery and plug in battery tender after each ride.

    The pigtail can also be used for electric clothing during the ride.

    Paul
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  4. #4
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Smile

    Along with the good advice you have already received, keep in mind that the computer system on the RT draws power 24/7 to maintain correct time, memory, alarm and other functions.

    If I were not going to ride for two weeks, I'd put a charger on the bike. If you do not have a trickle charger, then a standard charger for several hours would be in order.

    Also, keep in mind that short rides of little duration or RPM's do not push much current back into the battery, thus recharging it.

    Every now and then, both the charging system and the engine 'needs to breathe.'

    So get out and ride some distance at speed - enjoy the bike!
    Kevin Greenwald - Touring Tips Editor
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  5. #5
    Needs a bigger garage ckcondon's Avatar
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    Thanks gang,

    I should have known the computer would drain the battery. My Ducati did the same thing.
    I'll pull the batt and have it tested. Hopefully I can recover it!

    Chris

  6. #6
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Actually - given the age of your battery- assuming it's the factory BMW/Exide one, it was due to fail right around now. When these batteries fail - they do so instantly.. one minute they work, next minute - stone/cold/dead.

    If it was me - I wouldn't waste time testing anything, or trailering the bike anywhere - I'd just order a new battery, pre-charge it before putting it in the bike (despite what the manufacturer/dealer says about them all being "charged"), and put it in and forgeddaboutit for another 3 years or so.

    I did mine preemptively back in March when our friendly local dealer was going heels up and had a deal on a Yuasa replacement.. the "old" one has been sitting on my battery maintainer since then, assuring the new one will never ever go bad.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
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  7. #7
    Registered User mpmarty's Avatar
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    With all this talk about replacing batteries I'm tempted to invest in a solar panel and large capacitor to take the space of the battery and park the dude outside in the sun (if it ever shows up here in Oregon)
    Marty - in the western Oregon mountains.'06RT, (gone '04RT, '86 Venture Royal, '81 Yamaha Virago920, '82Suzuki GS1100GK, '76 Suzuki GT750, Triumph 750 Bonneville, BSA Road Rocket 650, 61" Harley knucklehead)

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    Quote Originally Posted by PAULBACH View Post
    Even turned off the clock and other "parasitics" are drawing current from the battery. Add a pigtail directly to the battery and plug in battery tender after each ride.

    The pigtail can also be used for electric clothing during the ride.

    Paul
    I really would not think a clock or anything running in the background with the ignition off would drain a battery in a few weeks. My clock on the wall uses one double A battery about every year.
    Chad
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  9. #9
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by chadman View Post
    I really would not think a clock or anything running in the background with the ignition off would drain a battery in a few weeks. My clock on the wall uses one double A battery about every year.
    Been there....... did that.

    Trust me, it can.
    Kevin Greenwald - Touring Tips Editor
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  10. #10
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    I just had exactly the same thing happen to my Chevy truck. Ised it about two weeks ago and all of a sudden its DEAD. Not a glimmer of any kind. Trucks about 22 months old. I had them tow it in (it's under warranty). Check out showed the only problem was the battery. It apparently had a sulfated cell. It happens, evem with new ones. Batteries are relatively cheap when you consider the grief and aggravation of a dead battery when/where you least expect it. Just buy a new one. You'll be glad you did.
    '03 R1150R, '03 F650GS, '97DR200SE,'78 Honda CT-90, '77Honda CT-90

  11. #11
    Velocity Joint gwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
    Actually - given the age of your battery- assuming it's the factory BMW/Exide one, it was due to fail right around now. When these batteries fail - they do so instantly.. one minute they work, next minute - stone/cold/dead.
    Absolutely no warning! Rode the RT Sunday. Started to work in my 3 Series Monday morning, got about five miles when the fancy Selecto-shift whatever transmission decided it was the final mile and left me walking. Got back home thinking "No problem, I'll just jump on the RT and go!". Rolled it out of the garage, turned the key...Nothing! No lights, nothing at all. A buddy once told me, if you're going to drive BMW's, you have to be "Born Moderately Wealthy". Otherwise, it "Breaks My Wallet". Or, if you like to DIY, be sure to "Bring More Wrenches"!
    "You must be fast, 'cause I was hauling *** when I passed you!"

  12. #12
    Addicted to curves azgman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MPMARTY View Post
    With all this talk about replacing batteries I'm tempted to invest in a solar panel and large capacitor to take the space of the battery and park the dude outside in the sun (if it ever shows up here in Oregon)

    That would be one big ass capacitor... maybe something from a Tesla?
    MOA #107139
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  13. #13
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    The battery did not fail due to parasitic drain, at least not as the primary cause unless something is electrically amiss. More likely, it is worn or may have not been fully charged in a while due to short rides. My RT gets ridden most weeks but has sat unused for up to 3 weeks with no problems. I never use an external charger of any kind. Hooking up a charger every time you park the bike is a nuisance and totally unecessary IMO. If you ride only short distances or park the bike for more than a month or so, then it can be helpful. The owner's manual bears me out on this.

    The factory battery on my own RT still cranks as well as ever after 5 years and 60,000 miles, but I admit I am starting to get a bit nervous about its age.

    Jay

  14. #14
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    My RT sat for 1.5 months in December and the battery was fine. The electronics don't use that much power and won't drain a GOOD battery. But, like Don said, my BMW batter died just after 3 years of use and had no capacity. If you rode often, it worked, but would die if it sat a few weeks or if I left the emergency flashers on for 30 minutes.

    I replaced it with an Odyssey and it is just fine again.
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '05 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
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  15. #15
    Jeff cookie's Avatar
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    So allow me to clarify this thread. The battery may last 6 years or it may leave you stranded any time after 3. Charge the battery if you are not going to ride for two weeks or six months.
    My 08RT will have a new battery next spring if it does not leave me stranded by then.
    Jeff Anderson
    I ride a 2008 R1200RT

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