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Thread: Need a battery

  1. #1
    goob Kev95gs's Avatar
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    Need a battery

    Hello All,

    I need a new battery for my 95 1100GS. Any suggestions ofa good source on line? Would probably like gel and not particular about "genuine" parts.

    Thanks
    Kevin

  2. #2
    Riding for the SON
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    Exclamation battery

    I would go for the BMW gel battery they used on the late 1150gs. Mine was about $5 more than a lead acid battery. They handle abuse well and should last about 8 years.

  3. #3
    Life Member SCJACK's Avatar
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    Odyssey Battery

    The Gel batteries have not proven to be nearly as long lasting as the Absorbed Glass Matte types like the Odyssey. Both are sealed but the Gel is much pickier about the type of charger that can be used on it and you can easily over-cook it if you use the wrong one. They also deliver more cold cranking amps than the gel or a lead acid battery. I own three Beemers and all three have the Odyssey and I have experienced ZERO problems.
    I have read many posts of others having the exact experience as mine on other BMW forums. Odyssey batteries are now being specified by the military because of their robust nature. They have a two year, full replacement warranty and it appears that they will last for 7-10 years if you keep it charged when you're not riding. As you can tell, I'm sold on their technology.
    You can buy the Odyssey on Ebay for around $78 including delivery to your door.

  4. #4
    Rally Rat
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    SCjack-I think the jury is still out on GEL vs AGM. You are correct that the GEL requires a charger that doesn't go above 14.4 volts; however, Battery Tender sells them for about $45 with a 10 year warranty--exact same charger with BMW logo can be purchased from BMW for somewhat more. I have a GEL and am going on 3 years with no complaints. The AGMs will behave better in freezing temps but the GELs will last longer without a charge. At the last BMW RA rally guy giving seminar on batteries and chargers wasn't really high on GELs vs AGM, but don't remember why. He did say he preferred Panasonic AGM over other brands--again I can't remember his reason. The fact that the military buys Odyssey batteries may be more about a low bid than reliability.

  5. #5
    Life Member SCJACK's Avatar
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    The biggest endorsement for the AGM vs Gel is bmwsporttouring.com. They have been a gazillion posts on their site in numerous threads where riders have had premature problems with the GEL battery that came as standard equipment in their new bike so they replaced them with the Odyssey and have experienced no problems with better starting than they had experienced with the GEL. They have over 9000 members and are a very active site re. BMW oilheads.
    I've had one of my Odyssey's for almost four years and it works like new.

    I haven't tried the Panasonic but I have read that it is also reliable, but I've only read of people using it on this site (and no others) which has a limited number of users compared to a couple of others.

    As for the military using the Odyssey. They are buying them due to the cold cranking amps and the reliability.

    Just passing along usefull info based on personal use and that of 1000's of others.

    I have no personal stake in whether you use it or disregard it.

  6. #6
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    SCjack,
    I regularly read posts on advrider and sportouring, and am familiar with the reported failures. I, however, am reluctant to paint the GEL with a broad brush as bad without a little more detail on why people reporting failures had a problem. Initially there were a lot of people with GEL batteries who did not understand the charging differences from wet cell and AGM--not sure I would consider those situations as a GEL failure. Perhaps with a little more info the gazillion you cite may be a more believable 100. Like yourself I've got no dog in the fight, and like yourself I've got a battery with which I've had no problems........ but it's a GEL. Years from now I may come back to this thread and say you were right, but only time will tell.

  7. #7
    Registered User RINTY's Avatar
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    need a battery

    I have an Odyssey in one of my RS's, an airhead, and it works well. I have been told that when the non-wet cells fail or come to the end of their service life, they give you no warning.

    Is there any truth to this? And how do you moniter remaining battery life?

    Rinty

  8. #8
    Unregistered user norton's Avatar
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    I bought the latest BMW Gel battery for my '97 RT 20 months ago along with the required new Battery Tender (less peak charging votage). Now the telltail signs of a bad battery are back. This is after and during a 300 mile ride. Slow crank, flashing ABS lights. I even put the Tender on overnight to rull out the alternator. This battery gave me less service than the Westco it replaced.

    Note to self: Order the Odyssey, mount it sideways

  9. #9
    Ozonkiller
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    My brother has been an electronics engineer for almost 40 years. While waiting on another assignment he did a brief stint in a division that made batteries and chargers. He is a great source of information and doesn't complicate making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, i.e. good practical smarts.
    So I posed the question about chargers and gel cells. "As long as the charger is reasonably sophisticated, at least as smart as the charging system on the bike, I should be OK". Those chargers that just cook along at 14 V without any regulation aren't good for any battery. He is a real fan of the Vector brand of chargers. I got one and really love it. The desulfation mode does help.
    As far as batteries go, AGM is the only way to go. That's why I'm on line, to figure out what brand and where to order the replacement for the 5 year old lead acid BMW brand battery I've got now,

    My two cents worth

    Tom

  10. #10
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    As far as batteries go, AGM is the only way to go. That's why I'm on line, to figure out what brand and where to order the replacement for the 5 year old lead acid BMW brand battery I've got now,

    My two cents worth

    Tom[/QUOTE]


    Just curious Tom, what was his expert opinion as to why the AGM was so much better? Or rather what was wrong with GEL?

    Thanks,
    Andy

  11. #11
    Ozonkiller
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    Forgive me if I don't exactly get this right as I'm kinda old and trying to remember the details of a conversation froma while back. I've slept since then, but the jist (sp) of it is the gel cell is very similar to a standard lead acid except the acid in the battery is in the form of a concentrated gel instead of the watery fluid. I'm sure that there are some other differences in the construction... The AGM is a sandwich roll of the lead and a impregnated or soaked material for each cell. If you unroll one of these cells you can get an idea of how much surface area there is compared to the "stack" of cells in a typical batteries.

    I'm gonna try to hook up my brother with this thread so he can straighten this out so that I don't screw it up to bad and we can all get it straight from the horses mouth.

  12. #12
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    Thanks Tom, that will be interesting. I knew what the physical construction differences were, I was very curious as to why he thought so emphatically that one outperformed the other. As you pointed out maybe it is the action of the surface area as that is where the chemical reaction would take place.

    Thanks again Tom,
    Andy

  13. #13
    Rally Rat
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    Rinty- I attached a very small digital voltmeter (C-volt. model CV100C http://www.i4cproducts.com/c-volt.htm) to my dash and it basically tells me when the bike is sitting the state of charge of battery and when running how well my alternator is doing. Can't say for sure because haven't had battery start to die; however, I suspect I'll either see the battery unable to fully charge or drop below normal when cranking ( now dips to about 10 V then jumps back up). If alternator is going i should see less than optimal charging when running or excessive drop in voltage when I turn on accessories.

  14. #14
    Ozonkiller
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    Andy
    You're right, surface area is the big part of the AGM. There is a lot of other "wisdom" that I hope to get from my way smart big brother that I'll try to pass along. One interesting thing that he mentioned is that he actually looks at the weight of a battery. Heavier being better. Kinda counter intuitive to a motorcyclist. By the way he rides an ST1100, but I don't hold that against him.

    Tom

  15. #15
    Rally Rat
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    Tom,
    I'm looking forward to input from your brother. My limited understanding of batteries is that even though we talk about a "wet cell", AGM and GEL, they are all wet cell batteries as opposed to a dry cell battery--like in your flashlight. Difference being that traditional wet cells have liquid sulfuric acid electrolyte between plates; whereas, AGM has the solution in a fiberglass-like matrix and GEL has a thick solution because of silica(?). I do not believe the surface area of the lead plates is any different, hence, why they are all 12 volt batteries. The advantage of GEL batteries, as I understand it, is they can tolerate a much deeper discharge without sulfation and because of this there prime use is in marine applications.

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