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Thread: Odyssey batteries - how do you check their health?

  1. #1
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Odyssey batteries - how do you check their health?

    Ok, the first sign is that the bike won't start....

    But most literature on the Odyssey batteries claim a life of up to 10 years.

    I've been running these batteries for about 10 years, but have replaced in a "proactive maintenance" mode prior to a long trip, just to avoid the potential for a problem. Usual point in time is 5-6 years.

    While I've been told that these batteries do not need to be on a tender, in the winter months I typically rotate my tender between my three bikes.

    Recently, I rode in 30 degree temps on my airhead (with Omega charging system), running the Saeng driving lights and heated jacket. I was going to an event where you had to start and stop the bike frequently, and it got to the point of the dreaded click, click, click of the solenoid. A month later, everything seems fine.

    Changing the battery on an oilhead 1150 GS is a pain, you have to remove the tank. I happen to have the tank off, the battery is 6 years old, so I just ordered another, even though my LED battery "checker" read good.

    Thanks for any advice.

    Ian
    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
    ________________________________________________
    '67 Trail 90 || '86 R80 G/SPD+ || '00 1150 GS || '06 HP2e

  2. #2
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Ian,

    I don't have absolute numbers because they vary a little bit by battery chemistry, charging system voltage (is the system fully charging the battery?) and some other factors too. But:

    My quick check consists of three voltage measurements measured at the battery or as close to the battery as possible (like a SAE plug or outlet connected directly to the battery).

    Standing voltage - at least an hour after the engine is off or charger is disconnected. I am looking for at least 12.7 volts. If it is 12.3 or 12.4 the battery is suspect to me.

    Turn key on. What does voltage drop to loaded with the key on, not cranking. I want to see about 12v on a typical OEM bike setup. Driving lights and other accessories "on" when the key is on will drop this a little.

    Cranking: I want to see 11v, often see 10 something. Under 10 - wonder.
    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

  3. #3
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    Have it turn its head and cough......

    Or, test the battery under load. Charge the battery, put a volt meter on it and crank the bike (about 4 seconds if possible). You are hoping the voltage goes no lower than 10.5 volts; if it drops into the 9.5 or lower range it is toast. There are some folks on here that are battery smart guys/gals who may describe the procedure better, but that is how I believe it is done.
    Kevin Huddy
    Intrepid Incompetent
    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

  4. #4
    Registered User lkraus's Avatar
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    Most anything you'd need to know about testing the PC680 is probably in their technical manual. Most important factor in maximizing your battery life seems to be a charging voltage of about 14.7V, a bit higher than "normal".
    Larry
    2006 R1200RT

  5. #5
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Hey, thanks, guys.

    For the record, in case the referred tech doc ever moves, here is what it says:

    odyssey.png

    Here's the footnote copy...

    1The OCV of a battery is the voltage measured between its positive and negative terminals without the battery connected to an external
    circuit (load). It is very important to take OCV reading only when the battery has been off charge for at least 6-8 hours, preferably overnight
    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
    ________________________________________________
    '67 Trail 90 || '86 R80 G/SPD+ || '00 1150 GS || '06 HP2e

  6. #6
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    Voltage measurements certainly can tell you information, but for me, I look for good cranking in cold weather. I notice the battery begins to struggle to crank my engine when it is old and the weather is below 40 degrees.

    Right now I have about 5 years on my PC680. I was just up in the mountains and started the bike in the morning at around 34 degrees. It was strong and powerful, so I'm not worried about it for the rest of the year. But as soon as it struggles, in cold or warm, off it goes. (It will then become a battery for one of my other bikes that don't travel much beyond 30 miles from my home.)
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '10 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

  7. #7
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Visian View Post
    Here's the footnote copy...

    1The OCV of a battery is the voltage measured between its positive and negative terminals without the battery connected to an external
    circuit (load). It is very important to take OCV reading only when the battery has been off charge for at least 6-8 hours, preferably overnight
    I'm surprised they didn't also recommend that you remove any surface charge before checking the voltage.

  8. #8
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    A senior moment...

    Quote Originally Posted by Visian
    Changing the battery on an oilhead 1150 GS is a pain, you have to remove the tank. I happen to have the tank off, the battery is 6 years old, so I just ordered another, even though my LED battery "checker" read good.
    Quote Originally Posted by lkraus View Post
    Most anything you'd need to know about testing the PC680 is probably in their technical manual. Most important factor in maximizing your battery life seems to be a charging voltage of about 14.7V, a bit higher than "normal".
    One thing I couldn't find in the manual is whether the number on the top of the battery is an indication of manufacturing date. See the three pics below.

    While I am definitely going to do the Voltage Meter tests suggested above, does anyone know if the four-number code is the date of manufacture?

    I have CRS and *could* have mixed up in my mind which bike got a battery when. Of course, I *could* have written this down butt.....


    This is the battery on the airhead - manufactured October 2004? That would make it nearly 10 years old... and Odyssey's don't last much longer than this.



    This is the battery on the 1150.... made January 2010?



    And this is the battery I just bought. Made December 2013?


  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Visian View Post
    One thing I couldn't find in the manual is whether the number on the top of the battery is an indication of manufacturing date. See the three pics below.

    While I am definitely going to do the Voltage Meter tests suggested above, does anyone know if the four-number code is the date of manufacture?

    I have CRS and *could* have mixed up in my mind which bike got a battery when. Of course, I *could* have written this down butt.....


    This is the battery on the airhead - manufactured October 2004? That would make it nearly 10 years old... and Odyssey's don't last much longer than this.



    This is the battery on the 1150.... made January 2010?



    And this is the battery I just bought. Made December 2013?



    I think you are probably right about this being the DOM. I just looked at the PC 680 that I installed in my 06RT in February 2012, and the number on the battery is 0911, which should translate to September 2011 based on your assumption.

  10. #10
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    My strategy used to be to change my Odyssey battery out at five years as a precaution. The removed motorcycle battery got used in the lawn tractor where it could die with minimum aggravation (and it saved me the cost of buying tractor batteries). Now that I gave the lawn tractor to my son and have three bikes with PC680 batteries, I need a new strategy. Mine stayed on Batteryminder AGM 12118's winter and summer. This year I replaced the 12118's with Batteryminder 2012 AGM's.

  11. #11
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    2008 K12GT Battery Replacement

    My 2008 K1200 GT motorcycle battery died after 5 years' use, no warning. In the parking lot at Book City about 4 miles from my house. I had to had to call my wife: it was embarrassing. (if I had taken my old R90/6 I could have kick started it, but somebody else's bike was parked in the way so I took the K bike.} Once home I researched battery availability. A&S Cycles in California wanted $193 for a gel type battery, $167 for AGM type; free shipping. My son sent me dimensions of an acid battery he could get for $103, but the depth was a little larger and it was a little shorter than the OEM gel battery. This is the story of what happened when I went to mockup the less expensive battery and trial fit the mockup in the bike. Note that it was about 30 degrees F in the garage. I used a 2x4 and a 2"x3" piece of 1/16" plywood for the width check. I inadvertently dropped the plywood through bottom of the battery box - in sight but out of reach. Tried my grabber tool: it doesn't quite fit where the wood fell. Tried duct tape - no go. Fitted a needle on the end of a small diameter dowel and stabbed the edge of the plywood. This almost worked the first try but the plywood fell off when it contacted the narrow opening at the bottom of the battery box. On the second try the plywood splintered at needle penetration and I succeeded in moving the plywood from a visible location to a point about 8" lower and out of sight. Thought about this for a long time, then removed the right side fairing panel. At this point the plywood was almost visible as it appeared to be lodged between the two middle fuel injectors with a lot of cabling, tubing, and other structural frame members in the way. It couldn't be removed through this path. Thought about removing the fuel tank, but opted for checking access from the left side first believing this might provide easier access. Off with the left side fairing panel to reveal everything in the way but the kitchen sink: radiator reservoir and hoses, Anti-lock Braking System unit and controller and tubing, structural framing, electrical cables, and assorted dead grasshoppers and yellow jackets. Couldn't even see the offending plank, which had by this time had accumulated a colorful collection of nicknames we won't repeat here. Reconsidered my earlier approach of removing the fuel tank, and attacked the fuel filler cap, plastic tank cover, and side covers to reveal some heavy duty bolting holding the tank in place. Got some heavy duty tools for fastener removal, and then lifted the tank up about 4 inches (which is as far as it would go due to electrical connections and fuel lines) to reveal nothing since I was on the left side and all that other stuff I mentioned was still obstructing the view. However, I believe the kitchen sink was visible. Moving to the right side and again lifting the fuel tank I saw the elusive plywood just in front of the starter motor. As I reached under the tank to retrieve the wood, the tank (and about 30# of fuel it contained) repositioned itself pinning my hand underneath. Plan B: the grabber tool, which worked this time. After a couple of hours (including the time spent looking for a bushing I never did find and finally improvised) it was all reassembled. What I learned from this was that I wouldn't be able to successfully route a wet cell overflow tube if I bought one of those battery types. And I learned that trying to get other batteries with odd dimensions to fit and be constrained in place is hard if not entirely futile. In the end, I ordered an OEM gel battery from A&S Cycles for $193.12. In retrospect, biting the bullet would have been easier than trying everything else first and then biting the bullet.
    So that's what I've been up to lately.
    Last edited by polishvet; 01-30-2014 at 03:43 AM. Reason: copy/paste didn't work well for " and ' chaaracters

  12. #12
    Kbiker BCKRider's Avatar
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    Hey, polishvet, welcome to the forum! Very entertaining first post - and we feel your pain. Suspect there are few of us who haven't lost some small part in the bowels of our bike, never to be seen again. My most recent loss was a little plastic battery cover from the back of a digital thermometer. Your battery struggles though were epic. Don't feel you always need to rise to this level in future posts.
    Doug
    1992 K100RS

  13. #13
    Jammess jammess's Avatar
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    Now that was sad, really sad..kind of brought tears to my old eyes.
    Jammess

  14. #14
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jammess View Post
    Now that was sad, really sad..kind of brought tears to my old eyes.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by polishvet View Post
    My 2008 K1200 GT motorcycle battery died after 5 years' use, no warning. In the parking lot at Book City about 4 miles from my house. I had to had to call my wife: it was embarrassing. (if I had taken my old R90/6 I could have kick started it, but somebody else's bike was parked in the way so I took the K bike.} Once home I researched battery availability. A&S Cycles in California wanted $193 for a gel type battery, $167 for AGM type; free shipping. My son sent me dimensions of an acid battery he could get for $103, but the depth was a little larger and it was a little shorter than the OEM gel battery. This is the story of what happened when I went to mockup the less expensive battery and trial fit the mockup in the bike. Note that it was about 30 degrees F in the garage. I used a 2x4 and a 2"x3" piece of 1/16" plywood for the width check. I inadvertently dropped the plywood through bottom of the battery box - in sight but out of reach. Tried my grabber tool: it doesn't quite fit where the wood fell. Tried duct tape - no go. Fitted a needle on the end of a small diameter dowel and stabbed the edge of the plywood. This almost worked the first try but the plywood fell off when it contacted the narrow opening at the bottom of the battery box. On the second try the plywood splintered at needle penetration and I succeeded in moving the plywood from a visible location to a point about 8" lower and out of sight. Thought about this for a long time, then removed the right side fairing panel. At this point the plywood was almost visible as it appeared to be lodged between the two middle fuel injectors with a lot of cabling, tubing, and other structural frame members in the way. It couldn't be removed through this path. Thought about removing the fuel tank, but opted for checking access from the left side first believing this might provide easier access. Off with the left side fairing panel to reveal everything in the way but the kitchen sink: radiator reservoir and hoses, Anti-lock Braking System unit and controller and tubing, structural framing, electrical cables, and assorted dead grasshoppers and yellow jackets. Couldn't even see the offending plank, which had by this time had accumulated a colorful collection of nicknames we won't repeat here. Reconsidered my earlier approach of removing the fuel tank, and attacked the fuel filler cap, plastic tank cover, and side covers to reveal some heavy duty bolting holding the tank in place. Got some heavy duty tools for fastener removal, and then lifted the tank up about 4 inches (which is as far as it would go due to electrical connections and fuel lines) to reveal nothing since I was on the left side and all that other stuff I mentioned was still obstructing the view. However, I believe the kitchen sink was visible. Moving to the right side and again lifting the fuel tank I saw the elusive plywood just in front of the starter motor. As I reached under the tank to retrieve the wood, the tank (and about 30# of fuel it contained) repositioned itself pinning my hand underneath. Plan B: the grabber tool, which worked this time. After a couple of hours (including the time spent looking for a bushing I never did find and finally improvised) it was all reassembled. What I learned from this was that I wouldn't be able to successfully route a wet cell overflow tube if I bought one of those battery types. And I learned that trying to get other batteries with odd dimensions to fit and be constrained in place is hard if not entirely futile. In the end, I ordered an OEM gel battery from A&S Cycles for $193.12. In retrospect, biting the bullet would have been easier than trying everything else first and then biting the bullet.
    So that's what I've been up to lately.
    You had an Odyssey with out ever trying an Odyssey. Sorry, had to.

    Rod

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