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Thread: 12.5V to 13.1V - "A Good Charging Range"

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    12.5V to 13.1V - "A Good Charging Range"

    I know that its not, but can someone tell me how a company of a battery monitoring device can tell the consumer that anything between 12.5V and 13.1V...is a "good charging range".

    I just had to when I read the product evaluation on webBikeWorld.

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    Alex, there is a current thread on ADV in thumpers where several say/show their mtd meters for charge v's on their MC's-do you do that?
    (Side note question-just finished an article in new NG magazine on an area of Romania-have you ridden in that country? I've been in Hungary but not in Trannsylvania,etc..)
    "If I had my life to live over, I'd dare to make more mistakes next time...I'd relax,I'd limber up... I would take fewer things seriously...take more chances... take more trips...climb more mountains...swim more rivers...eat more ice cream." Jorge Luis Borges at age 85.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kantuckid View Post
    Alex, there is a current thread on ADV in thumpers where several say/show their mtd meters for charge v's on their MC's-do you do that?
    I'm not clear on what you are stating.

    Mtd meters? Is Mtd the brand name?

    And when you stated "do you do that"...do I do what? You might already know, but I have an actual LCD voltmeter on my R1150 GS as well as in my Porsche 993. I prefer to know actual voltages and not have some colored LED light up or flash telling me what voltage range I am in...plus having to remember what the colors and flashes mean.

    I came across the Clearwater Voltage Sentry review (on webBikeWorld) and what I read had me , so I went to the manufacturer's site and sure enough, the same info.

    This is what the LED indications signify:

    Flashing Red Indicates Less than 11.5 volts. Not a good condition for any battery. Get a charger on this battery ASAP and check to see if it will come back to life. Chances are, it may need replacing.

    Solid Red: Indicates between 11.6 and 12.0 volts. Weak battery, start and run the engine for a while or get it on a charger.

    Solid Yellow: Indicates between 12.1 and 12.4 volts. Acceptable battery condition, Poor to weak charging condition.

    Solid Green: Indicates between 12.5 and 13.1 volts. A good charging range. (are you kidding)

    Slow Flashing Green : Indicates between 13.2 and 14.6 volts. Excellent situation. Your alternator is doing it's job. (no its not)

    Fast Flashing Green: Indicates over 14.7 volts. Bad situation. The alternator is overcharging
    and may damage your battery. Have the alternator and or voltage regulator checked immediately. (why isn''t this a flashing red..as in red is BAD)

    All you have to remember is: "GREEN IS GOOD" (it is? 14.7V on a standard battery is GOOD?)


    "Your Comments and Feedback" are wanted on webBikeWorld, so I e-mail the editor with my opinions based on my knowledge of batteries and charging systems (happen to work in that field in a lab). Boy, did I get blasted. I guess I didn't tell him what he wanted to hear. Next time I'll just have to fabricate some untruths based on non-facts and e-mail him those.

    What a useless device-gimmick!


    Quote Originally Posted by kantuckid View Post
    Side note question-just finished an article in new NG magazine on an area of Romania-have you ridden in that country? I've been in Hungary but not in Trannsylvania,etc..)
    NG Magazine?

    I haven't been that far east yet. Spain, Portugal and western France are next on the list.

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    Does sound like an odd mistake for sure. Numbers don't seem to relate to much of anything other than being wrong..

    Voltmeter on my RT, not a lab grade, shows 14.1 -14.2 while running. Suppose I could get out my super sensitive Fluke for more accurate reading but as long as the battery cranks full bore I don't worry, much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by racer7 View Post
    Does sound like an odd mistake for sure. Numbers don't seem to relate to much of anything other than being wrong.
    That is the trouble with LED indicators...even if you programmed the comparator properly, you run out of colors that are meant to tell you something in detail. It like having no resolution...like a voltmeter that does not have .1V resolution.

    If I would put up with that type of voltage monitor, I'd want GREEN to be 13.8 to 14.4V (battery charge voltage tends to decrease at high temperatures due to the voltage regulator temperature compensation), RED below 13.8V and above 14.4V. And in the end, I still wouldn't know how bad a shape I am in when I see that RED LED indicator. Just give me a digital readout...period!

    I've really lost any respect for those on-line sites doing product reviews.

    Quote Originally Posted by racer7 View Post
    Voltmeter on my RT, not a lab grade, shows 14.1 -14.2 while running.
    About the same on my R1150 GS Adventure; 14.0 to 14.2V dropping to 13.9V if it is very hot out. My voltmeter is wired directly to the battery and I calibrated it prior to installation.

    My voltmeter with the battery maintainer in float mode.

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    Registered User chewbacca's Avatar
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    I would also say that led's aren't all that reliable. For me, I pull out my multmeter, measure the battery with the bike not running and if it is below about 12.5 or so, I measure it again disconnected in case I have some weird draw on it. If it stays low I'll keep an eye on it and measure it again after it has had a chance to get a full charge. Then I measure it with motor running. If it is 13.8 tp 14.1 without the aircraft landing lights, heated clothes and TV not connected, it's OK. Using a trickle or other external charger puts me into unknown territory, because IMO they vary quite a bit depending on type of charging and battery type.
    Old But Not Dead
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    Quote Originally Posted by chewbacca View Post
    If it is 13.8 to 14.1 without the aircraft landing lights, heated clothes and TV not connected, it's OK.
    In fact, even with most accessories "on" that riders use, your battery voltage should easily maintain 14V. Obviously not while idling, but at cruise RPM...say over 2000. Our alternators are rated 14V 50A 700W.

    One poster on another forum said his battery drops below 12V with his heated vest, heated grips, heated gloves and 2 sets of lights "on". I did a load analysis, and I doubt that. Maybe at idle, but then that would be normal.


    Quote Originally Posted by chewbacca View Post
    Using a trickle or other external charger puts me into unknown territory, because IMO they vary quite a bit depending on type of charging and battery type.
    "Unknown territory" is a good way of putting it for a few reasons. The battery is never at "rest" voltage plus with normal drains (clock), you never get to see the rate of discharge which should be about 0.1V in three weeks (I get to verify that pre riding season). Also, a weak battery artificially topped up by a maintainer will start your motorcycle at home, but sometimes won't at the end of the day when left in a parking lot.

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    Here ya go-mtd= mounted; do you do that?= do you have a volt meter on MC/car? When you peck you shorten words/sentences!

    Reviews always need to be searched beyond the immediate location for well rounded though/information. I have derived some interesting information from WebBikeWorld & some flaky as they seem to use a bunch of different people to do them. Doesn't justify "defiance"? from an editor though.

    So, whats a small/easily MC mountable,hopefully cheap but useful voltmeter to consider?
    "If I had my life to live over, I'd dare to make more mistakes next time...I'd relax,I'd limber up... I would take fewer things seriously...take more chances... take more trips...climb more mountains...swim more rivers...eat more ice cream." Jorge Luis Borges at age 85.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kantuckid View Post
    do you have a volt meter on MC/car?
    I do; one on the R1150 GS Adventure and one in my Porsche 993.

    I'm glad I do. When I had that Valeo starter failure last month, a quick check of the voltmeter told me I was pulling serious amps due to a short circuit.

    On the 993, I wish I had one installed when my alternator belt let go. Luckily I had just installed a new battery so I knew the Reserve Capacity of the battery was attainable. Next time I can just monitor the voltmeter and see how much longer I can go, instead of being surprised.


    Quote Originally Posted by kantuckid View Post
    So, whats a small/easily MC mountable,hopefully cheap but useful voltmeter to consider?
    The one I built and installed on both my GSA and 993.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GlobalRider View Post
    I know that its not, but can someone tell me how a company of a battery monitoring device can tell the consumer that anything between 12.5V and 13.1V...is a "good charging range".

    I just had to when I read the product evaluation on webBikeWorld.
    Perhaps it's the correlation between the cost of a real nice product divided by the ever diminishing level of real expertise in repairing things nowadays. I still like my Simpson 260's but yeah I know, they are from an older period. OM
    "Well they say.. time loves a hero but only time will tell.. If he's real, he's a legend from heaven If he ain't he was sent here from hell" Lowell George
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    Part of the Forum Threadside Assistance Program

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    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    I still like my Simpson 260's but yeah I know, they are from an older period.
    I've used them.

    And although we have some upper end meters (HP 3458, Keithley, etc), we still have an old Simpson.

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    Registered User chewbacca's Avatar
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    I've seen this type of thread in various forms on various forums and when I make the following comment I usually get flak from the peanut gallery but here goes. If you really want to know what is going on with the charging system "while on the move" you really need an ammeter and voltmeter. Kasan makes a nice unit complete with a shunt ammeter, but you can buy a shunt type ammeter for a lot less.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chewbacca View Post
    If you really want to know what is going on with the charging system "while on the move" you really need an ammeter and voltmeter.
    The ammeter portion really isn't necessary for the following reason.

    If I can maintain 14V at the battery while riding (motorcycle systems loading the electrical system) and have my accessories "on", then I know I am charging adequately to run all systems and keep my battery fully charged.

  14. #14
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    The challenge with a voltmter, especially a digital one, is that unless one is assiduous about reading the voltage numerals accurately and regularly, it may take a little time before one notices that the charging system isn't maintaining system voltage. An analog ammeter will show right now if one's drawing more than the alternator can produce. My first car with actual instruments had one, and I could see the needle move from + to - when I turned the driving lights on.
    David Brick
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbrick View Post
    The challenge with a voltmeter, especially a digital one, is that unless one is assiduous about reading the voltage numerals accurately and regularly, it may take a little time before one notices that the charging system isn't maintaining system voltage.
    Not really. You'll see a drop of a few tenths of a volt right away. That is enough to alert me and to monitor the voltmeter every few minutes and take corrective action. Worst case: I have the Reserve Capacity in minutes to ride.

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