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Discussion Starter #1
How long does you battery last? I purchased a new Yaesu battery about 2.5 years ago. I drive the bike to work about 2-3 times a week (5 miles each way). So I didn't think I needed a battery tender. Last week the bike seemed to be straining to start. It started. I brought it home and put it on the tender for 48 hours. I don't really have a load tester. Any ideas on testing it?
 

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It's really quite easy. They last until you get at least 100 mile from home. Seriously my average is 3-4 years. I don't even think my tender adds any longevity to them.
 

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Batteries fail in a lot of ways but the most common is sulfating. Essentially, little crystals form on the plates. This occurs more readily when the voltage is lower, especially below 12.4v. That's what a tender does. It keeps the voltage above that level so the internal corrosion doesn't happen as much. They are most essential on longer stints of sitting but do help when used all the time. Although they can mask symptoms (i.e., your battery might be shot, but might start because of the tender keeping it topped up; but be flat when you want to ride home!)

5 miles isn't very long. Report back with how it behaves after you've had it on the tender. With the crude, primitive charging systems on our bikes I wouldn't be surprised if your 5 mile jaunts aren't resulting in a slowly more discharged battery. I wouldn't say for sure that's what's happening, but I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case. Gotta get out and ride more, man!

Generally speaking though, even if you just ride on the weekends, you shouldn't have an issue if you're riding EVERY weekend. But then, there are more caveats!

1) No surprises here, cheaper batteries don't last as long. And more expensive batteries aren't much better. Fact is, most countries don't want batteries made in them. It's a toxic, dangerous, heavily polluting process. So most of them come out of low-quality sweat-shop type joints. Not a lot of quality control here. It's NOT uncommon for batteries to fail early.

2) You could have a phantom draw somewhere, especially if you have accessories on the bike. Even when switched 'off' some things put a load on the battery. And as I mentioned, when it drops below 12.4v, the sulfating process picks up steam.

The only thing batteries consistently do is fail. My original battery lasted 7 years (I do use a tender, as did the previous owner). My wifes bike we bought band new and the battery was shot after 3 months. In cars I've had batteries go after 2 years and batteries last 12 years. I've never used a battery tender on a car. I probably should in the summer though; when my car sits a lot more.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'll put the tender on for 3 or 4 days straight and see if it can remove any sulfating. I'll post what I find. BTW. I do take it out for longer trips on the weekends when the weather is nice.

I'll also try to see if I can use my meter to check for a current draw when the key is off.
 

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I keep mine on a tender, but tend to replace mine every 4 or 5 years regardless. Last thing I need is a battery to go out on a trip somewhere in central Nevada or eastern Oregon. They don't cost that much compared to what it would cost to deal with a dead bike 100 miles from nowhere.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
:) - Yea, I don't think I would like to get stuck out in the middle of the Everglades at dusk, just when the gators are looking for a meal.

I keep mine on a tender, but tend to replace mine every 4 or 5 years regardless. Last thing I need is a battery to go out on a trip somewhere in central Nevada or eastern Oregon. They don't cost that much compared to what it would cost to deal with a dead bike 100 miles from nowhere.
 

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Mines original from 02 , load test , takes full charge. 13yrs.
 

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AGM ( absorbed glass mat ) is much better than lead-acid or gel or whatever those Walmart ones are because they have very low self discharge. AGM I can leave all winter in 10 degree shed outside and come spring I put the tester on and its still fully charged. Walmart cheapo would need to be on a trickle charger or would be deader than a doornail. All new bikes come with AGM batteries, that's all I will use with the highest CCA available.
 

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AGM ( absorbed glass mat ) is much better than lead-acid or gel or whatever those Walmart ones are because they have very low self discharge. AGM I can leave all winter in 10 degree shed outside and come spring I put the tester on and its still fully charged. Walmart cheapo would need to be on a trickle charger or would be deader than a doornail. All new bikes come with AGM batteries, that's all I will use with the highest CCA available.
AGM is still a lead acid battery. But you are right; they last a lot longer and don't discharge as much. They still benefit from battery tenders, but as you've discovered they are less "crucial". But even AGM batteries suffer from Sulfate buildup if they discharge below 12.4v or so.
 
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