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Thread: When should one consider a battery tender?

  1. #1
    Registered User EricJRW's Avatar
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    Question When should one consider a battery tender?

    I asked the question here http://www.bmwmoa.org/forum/showthre...d=1#post669147, but then thought to create a new thread.

    Basically, at what point is a battery tender a good idea?

    I just replaced my battery (it was almost 7 years old), and wonder if that's good or if it would have lasted longer if I had kept it on a tender (and if I should consider a tender for the new battery)

    Thanks in advance,

    Eric
    '04 R1150RT (Biarritz Blue)

  2. #2
    Bob T
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    Without trying to sound like a smart *ss....

    The time to consider a battery tender is when one buys a motorcycle...

    It is just good for the battery...

  3. #3
    Registered User EricJRW's Avatar
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    Well that's what I was thinking too, but then as I was standing at the counter buying the battery and pricing the tender another customer said "Just ride it.", which also makes sense. So what is the "not enough riding point" to make a tender worth while?

    If I go on vacation for a week or two, is that long enough to justify a tender?

    Would it better if the battery was just always on the tender?

    I'm starting to think 7 years was a pretty good life for this battery, so I'm not even sure if a tender would have bought me anything.
    '04 R1150RT (Biarritz Blue)

  4. #4
    Bob T
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    Good point...

    "Just ride it" is not an option all year up here where I am...I guess in Texas it is...

    I also have two registered bikes at the moment and have had more in the past, so I just think it is normal to have one for every bike.

  5. #5
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EricJRW View Post
    Well that's what I was thinking too, but then as I was standing at the counter buying the battery and pricing the tender another customer said "Just ride it.", which also makes sense. So what is the "not enough riding point" to make a tender worth while?

    If I go on vacation for a week or two, is that long enough to justify a tender?

    Would it better if the battery was just always on the tender?

    I'm starting to think 7 years was a pretty good life for this battery, so I'm not even sure if a tender would have bought me anything.
    I have a Battery Tender Jr. for both of my bikes. I don't leave them on the bikes all the time. I put them on overnight every three or four weeks or until the light turns from red to green. The airhead's battery is over 11 years old and the 03 oilhead still has the original battery. I think the most important thing is to keep the battery at a moderate temperature. Mine lives in an unheated but insulated garage. The temps rants from around 40 to the low 80s at most.
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

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    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob T View Post
    Without trying to sound like a smart *ss....

    The time to consider a battery tender is when one buys a motorcycle...

    It is just good for the battery...
    Maybe. If the float voltage and current are both right for that specific battery. I just bought a new battery for my F650. The battery came with a page of notations and numbers about charging the battery.

    I've had the best luck with bike storage when I don't keep the automatic chargers on all the time. I give stuff a shot for 24 hours every couple of weeks. I have three or four chargers (depending) plugged into a power strip. I just turn the switch on and off to start and stop the charging.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://www.bigbend.net/users/glaves

  7. #7
    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    The AGM batteries don't lose charge as quickly as the traditional lead/acid bike batteries.

    I've used one of my electronic test bench power supplies to charge batteries for the last 40 years or so, but the battery tenders are a whole lot easier to carry out to the driveway when one of the bikes needs a boost. I bought a couple of them a few years ago when they were on sale.
    Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, AND LOOKING FORWARD TO 2014!

    -Tom (KA1TOX)

  8. #8
    Registered User EricJRW's Avatar
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    I like the concept of using it for period maintenance.

    I borrowed a tender from a neighbor and he cautioned me that this was the accepted "best" tender as others have the habit of burning up batteries. I suspect this has to to with matching the specs of the charger to the battery, but there could also be charger failures resulting in ruined batteries. So I think I will buy one, but only use from time to time.

    Thanks for the comments.

    Eric
    '04 R1150RT (Biarritz Blue)

  9. #9
    bkwags
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    How often do you ride.

    I live in WI and don't ride very often during the winter. So I have a tender for my bike. I would think if you ride more than 50 miles per month you would not need one. Also, if the weather does not get too cold for too long that also lessens the need.

    Tenders keep the charge up, during periods of little or no use. Which saves the plates inside. They are also an effective way of keeping batteries from freezing and cracking in very cold climates.

    7 years on a battery, sounds like heaven to me. I only get 3-4 on average. I would save the money and use it to buy more gas to ride as often as possible.

    If you do get a tender, make sure to match it to the type of battery that you have. They are no longer all the same.

  10. #10
    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkwags View Post
    If you do get a tender, make sure to match it to the type of battery that you have. They are no longer all the same.
    There are basically two types of battery chargers, one is constant current and the other is constant voltage. The newest types, like the Deltran "Battery Tender" brand add charge sensing circuits and can be used with any vehicle batteries, like the newer AGM types, as well as the older types.
    Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, AND LOOKING FORWARD TO 2014!

    -Tom (KA1TOX)

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    Registered User flat_twin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by osbornk View Post
    I have a Battery Tender Jr. for both of my bikes. I don't leave them on the bikes all the time. I put them on overnight every three or four weeks or until the light turns from red to green. The airhead's battery is over 11 years old and the 03 oilhead still has the original battery. I think the most important thing is to keep the battery at a moderate temperature. Mine lives in an unheated but insulated garage. The temps rants from around 40 to the low 80s at most.
    Wow, I know what would happen to me if I said anything out loud about having an eleven year old battery! You better start shopping for a new one now if Murphy was listening!

  12. #12
    OldBMWMaster JDOCKERY132445's Avatar
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    Every day

    I ride to work; but when I park my bike in the garage, it gets plugged in to the tender. It is a habit that pays off.
    Jerry Dockery
    309 N. 3rd. Ave.
    Kure Beach, NC 28449
    1996 R1100RT main bike & 1985 K100RS...too fast to believe.

  13. #13
    '02 1150 RT cardno7's Avatar
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    Battery tender; when it's parked at home, especially during winter layoff.

  14. #14
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommcgee View Post
    The AGM batteries don't lose charge as quickly as the traditional lead/acid bike batteries.
    True and that is fine if a fully charged AGM battery is left stored without anything connected to it, but the self discharge of an AGM battery ends up being a very small percentage of any drain current when the battery is connected.

  15. #15
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommcgee View Post
    There are basically two types of battery chargers, one is constant current and the other is constant voltage.
    Any 3-stage charger has the following modes: bulk mode which is constant current, absorbtion which is constant voltage and float mode.

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