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Since winter is getting here soon I've been told I should get a battery tender. Any recommendations?
 

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Since winter is getting here soon I've been told I should get a battery tender. Any recommendations?
How long will you not be riding at all ?
How old is the battery ?

Battery Tender is an actual brand; highly regarded but a little pricey.

I use Schumackers from WalMart; about $25. Comes with various "attachments".

Anything around that price that is "fully automatic" with a capacity of 1 to 2 amps should be fine.
 

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I'm going to be keeping my bike in the garage over winter in Chicagoland. No clue what temps will be - could be -70, could be +70. Last winter was warm so this winter could be stupid cold.
 

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Lots of people swear by them, but I usually just make sure the battery is fully charged before storage then disconnect the negative cable.

A fully charged battery won't freeze anywhere South of Northern Siberia and the cold temp slows the chemical reactions so self-discharge rate is negligible.
 

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What makes a good "Smart Charger" is the pulsing technology that is applied to the battery. There are a nuber of brands that are top performers in achieving battery longevity. "Battery Tender" & "Yuasa" are but two of them and their use can keep your battery quite happy. I don't believe in buying blindly or buying cheaply and especially blindly buying cheap !
Spend your money wisely and get top of line product. If the charger is just a trickle charger then the constant charge can damage the battery. I use both the tender and the yuasa and use them whenever the bike is going to sit for a few days or more and my last battery lasted 13 yrs. The OEM battery had soft lead terminals and they got so distorted after 13 yrs that I replaced it with a battery that had hard lead terminals to keep that critical connection.
 

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I live in Houston, so we don't have too much harsh winter here. Even in Dec/Jan I will probably ride at least 2-3 days a month.

Do I need a tender?

What else do I need to set this up?
Are there connections to the battery or do I need to add anything?

Thanks,
Rod
 

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Do I need a tender?
No. Not for continuous use anyway.

It is good to be sure it's fully charged before it sits for more than a few days though.

No special connections required. On most models, you can get to a good positive connection either at the battery or at the starter solenoid and the negative connection goes to bare metal frame.

If you have a "hot all the time" accessory connector, you can use that too.
 

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Rod,
It would be in your best interest to obtain and use a good smart charger. It comes with a pig tail to hook up at the battery terminals and then you can run it out and tuck it under a seat flap or the like and when it sits it is tended to ! It is the smart thing.
 

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I have the Craftsman smart charger from Sears and it works fine. I added the pigtail and have it strapped to the rear frame for easy access.
 

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Please understand that I am clueless:
What do you mean by a 'pigtail'?

What I am imagining is a something similar to my car battery charger, but connected to my motorcycle by some sort of wire to the battery that I don't have to remove the seat every time to get to it.

A device that I can plug in and forget about if I don't ride for two weeks; that I can forget about because it recognizes that the battery is fully charged and shuts itself off.

How far off am I?

Rod
 

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Please understand that I am clueless:
What do you mean by a 'pigtail'?

What I am imagining is a something similar to my car battery charger, but connected to my motorcycle by some sort of wire to the battery that I don't have to remove the seat every time to get to it.

A device that I can plug in and forget about if I don't ride for two weeks; that I can forget about because it recognizes that the battery is fully charged and shuts itself off.

How far off am I?

Rod
You're on the right track. The "pigtail" is attached to the positive and negative terminals of your battery, then you put it somewhere where you can get to it without removing stuff to plug in your Battery Tender. I've got a pigtail on all three bikes and when it's too snowy to ride I rotate the Tender from bike to bike. On my 900 I put velcro on the bottom left side of the tank and on the pigtail. It stays put until I need it and it's out of sight. You can use this pigtail to connect heated gear, also. I've got this one, but I only paid like 35 bucks for it online:

http://batterytender.com/products/motorcycle/battery-tender-plus-12v-at-1-25a.html
 

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Please understand that I am clueless:
What do you mean by a 'pigtail'?

What I am imagining is a something similar to my car battery charger, but connected to my motorcycle by some sort of wire to the battery that I don't have to remove the seat every time to get to it.

A device that I can plug in and forget about if I don't ride for two weeks; that I can forget about because it recognizes that the battery is fully charged and shuts itself off.

How far off am I?

Rod
The referred to pigtail is a section of wire hookup attached to battery and has a protected plug which can be easily stored or attached to the battery tender to service battery without removal of seat and or battery.

I just searched out and read what I could find on the SEARS smart charger and I am not impressed with it. The writeup both at sears and Diehard sites are piss poor to say the least. If it had the pulsing technology I'm sure they would have at least mentioned it. Leads me to believe it is nothing more than a gloryfied trickle charger and nothing more than an on off program. NOT IMPRESSED !
Generally any of the chargers that I have read up on bragged about their tech and proudly at that and if nothing is said then I feel it is not worth it.
 

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This is discussed quite a bit here and there. Basically, battery tenders keep sulfation at bay which keeps your battery lasting longer (unless some sort of fluke happens like an internal battery short)

If you ride year round it's probably not necessary, though some have reported using a battery tender any time the bike isn't being ridden and getting 10+ years on a battery. A good smart tender uses pulses of electricity to dissolve sulfates and I suppose it would make sense that the more it's used, the less sulfates build. But usually, sulfation is very minimal when the battery is fully charged.

Another advantage of a battery tender, especially on older bikes, is that some motorcycle charging systems won't fully charge a battery. They'll keep it charged enough to start the bike but won't keep the battery at it's 'peak' voltage, meaning the battery won't last as long (because the lower the batteries voltage, the more sulfation it endures, especially below 12.4v)

So there are definitely benefits. Necessary? That's up to you. If you ride all year ride or at least most of the year (like me, I'll ride spurts in the winter), you'll get 3-4 years out of a battery without a tender. But using a tender whenever the bike is stored for more than a few days will probably help you achieve 5-6 years or more.

There are even exotic battery de-sulfators out there that promise to restore batteries! When I was growing up my old neighbor was a mechanic/electronics junkie. My battery in my car (I was 16 at the time) was toast so I put a new one in. Anyway, he said he wanted my old battery. He had built this little contraption that used the batteries own energy to feed 16 volt pulses of electricity back into the battery. The battery was also plugged into a 1a automatic charger. After about 4 weeks of it being hooked up in his shed, he had me put it back in my car. That battery was about 6 years old when he did this, and wouldn't hold a charge. But afterwards, it did just fine and remained in that car as long as I owned it (2 more years). The brand new battery I had just bought was sitting in my garage on a shelf! There are all sorts of home-made battery de-sulfator plans out there. I don't know anything about them, except for this frankenstein setup that I saw bring an old lead acid battery back to life. (And I have no idea how he built it) But... the point is, these batteries CAN be extended in life by keeping sulfates at bay, so I do think they are a good thing for any motorcycle owner to own!
 

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Not to make a point of it, SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) has hundreds of approved SAE connectors. The standards reflect terminal spacing, insulation type/thickness and conductor sizing for load carried. We may be confusing him. Anyone have a PIC handy?
 

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Any decent brand of trickle charger will work. I have a small quick-disconnect cable sticking out under the seat. I pull into my shed, connect the charger, and that's it.
 

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Any decent brand of trickle charger will work.
Not for storage it won't.

It needs to be automatic.....and most that are called "trickle chargers" are NOT.

One that is not automatic will keep charging at a higher rate than is necessary and can cause all the water to "boil" out.......over a long period of time.

A trickle charger is fine for an occasional boost or even overnight if you run the battery mostly down but they are NOT good for long term use.
 

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Watch out on those SAE connectors. There are two brands (I don't recall the names, but I do recall a thread a while back where someone found out the hard way, and I recall someone looking it up and finding it out as well) that have the same style connector that fit just fine, but the polarity is reversed for whatever reason. In other words, match up the wrong brand tender to the wrong brand lead and it's gonna get messy.

You don't have to match brand for brand but just make sure that whatever leads you buy for your bike have the same polarity as the tender. You'd think they'd all be standardized, but, evidently not for some manufacturers.

I have a tour pak mouted on my bike and my lead is in that! You can buy accessories that plug into that lead, like a 12v power source. I plug my phone in that way to charge in the tour pak. But I can also unplug it and stick it on the tender through the tour pak if I wanted to :p

Also, +1 on an AUTOMATIC charger. Doesn't even have to be a little plug-in-the-wall type thing. If you have an automotive automotive charger that will do 1.2 or 1.5a (or I suppose 2a, but that would be pushing it, those batteries aren't very big and can't dissipate heat very well, if they get hot they will vent out and be ruined) will work.
 

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that have the same style connector that fit just fine, but the polarity is reversed for whatever reason. In other words, match up the wrong brand tender to the wrong brand lead and it's gonna get messy.
It is not just a "brand" thing.

For every "set" of connectors, the two sides have opposite polarity......so that you can't plug them in "backwards".

You have to be extra careful when dealing with one connected to a cigarette lighter plug, because that can be wired to connect a battery charger throught the cigarette lighter socket OR to provide power FROM the socket to other devices......and the polarity at the SAE connector is different for those two uses. Thankfully, there usually is an inline fuse inside the plug. ;)
 
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