Last weekend I attended my first Tech-Day at the Ottawa BMW Motorcycle Club. It was an excellent opportunity to meet some of the members and I also learned quite a it. For example, some of the items that I had not considered to carry in my portable tool kit were soap water to find hidden tire punctures and an extra valve stem. This kind of information was shared throughout the day and of course I was taking notes (mentally at the very least).
One surprising piece of information was the life of a battery in a BMW. The experts told me that if I get two years out of a battery I would be lucky and they also said that the battery should always be plugged in when the bike is not in use. It was I who asked about the battery since I was having battery issues. I believe it was because the previous owner of the bike did not use it much and most likely did not keep the battery plugged to a proper tender such as an Optimate.
I concluded that I am in need of a battery and also that I wanted to resolve the battery issue for the future. This is where EarthX comes in. I discovered that there is a completely new technology out there and EarthX has their own twist on Lithium batteries (http://earthxmotorsports.com/product-category/motorcycle/). You can purchase these in Canada at Motorcycle Innovations in Toronto (Contact Matt – he always treats you right!)
The EarthX batteries have patent pending technology that makes it the most advanced lithium battery; the highest cranking amp cells; and the only one with a built-in BMS for performance, safety and longevity! This is not an upgrade or optional feature but a REQUIREMENT for a lithium battery to operate correctly. They also have a very unique design with the terminals down the center so if you turn the battery 180 degrees, you will have the positive or negative terminals on the correct side of the battery box. As with all batteries, the positive to positive and negative to negative cable is required.
One issue with these smart batteries is that you will need to replace your battery tender/charger with one designed for batteries with a battery management system. However, I believe it is well worth the investment. When I removed the old battery and placed it next to the EarthX, I was absolutely shocked at the difference in weight and size:
EarthX = 2 Lbs 5.4 Ounces | BMW Original = 13 Lbs 6 Ounces
That is over 10-Lbs lighter removed from the top of the F700GS! Amazing. Furthermore, the size is quite different. In fact, they provide self-sticking foam blocks with the EarthX so you can build up the height to match the size of the original battery so that it fits to the terminal connectors.
They also provide adapters to move the terminals from the center to either side to match the original. All in all, the change over was simple and quick.
So what is the difference? This battery spins the starter motor immediately and faster than the new F700GS that my wife has. I am no longer fearful of having any future battery issues. Below is a list of benefits (reproduced from the manufacturer’s website):
The key advantages of our lithium battery over lead acid batteries are;
- Light-weight — 70-80% less weight
- Long Service Life — Up to 4000 charge / discharge cycles (~3-8 years), over 4 times the life of a lead-acid battery
- Longer Storage Life – due to extremely low self-discharge rate, no need for charging in the off-season
- Environmentally Friendly — non-toxic, non-contaminating, lead free and no hazardous materials
- Wide Operating Temperature Range (-30 C–+60C) — lithium batteries are dry cell technology and will not freeze
- Fast Charge — can be fully charged in less than a half hour
- Maintenance Free
- No Special Mounting Direction
- Safety and Reliability — internal cells are continually monitored by an integrated battery management system
The key advantages of our lithium batteries over competitors lithium batteries;
- Safety, performance and longevity are very important in the design of the EarthX battery and is the leader in the lithium market with the only battery management system included inside every battery to protect from over discharge, over charge, cell balancing, and excessive cranking protection.
- All our products are engineered in the USA
- We use American battery technology, the most advanced lithium battery technology in the world
- Our batteries are assembled, engineered and designed in the USA using US and foreign components.
- No expensive balancing charger needed.
- Flexible battery connection — our batteries can be used in either left or right side polarity applications. You also have the option to connect the battery leads directly to your vehicle.
- Integrity – our battery specifications are accurate. We won’t tell you our battery has 500CCA when it does not. We test all our batteries to industry standards (SAE, UL, CE).
Veronica Britton said:
Were you guys in Morrisburg today?
Sent from my iPhone
“The experts told me that if I get two years out of a battery I would be lucky”.
Unfortunately, these “experts” are the same ones you find on forums giving advice. If a battery lasts only two years, it is most likely due to the charging system not being up to spec or owner neglect of the battery.
The batteries in my motorcycles usually last at least 8 years and the batteries in my past two cars lasted 15 and 16 years.
By the way, the best and most useful accessory you can install is an on-board voltmeter that is wired directly to the battery for a true battery voltage indication.
I made my own using components. It is not switched for an always on condition so as you walk by your parked motorcycle, you know what the battery voltage. And it does not need to be switched since it draws less than 2 mA.
Those battery monitors that light up LEDs in colours and the ranges they light up in is a clear indication that the designer knows nothing about batteries and charging systems. Get one with a digital display.
Peter Sanderson said:
I think I might just install one of those… Thanks Alex!
I have one in my Porsche 911 and a ScanGuage II (shows battery voltage) in my VW Jetta TDI. I will be installing a voltmeter in my R100 GS when I get around to it.
Note the link when you click on my name.
Also note the charger tests I performed on both the CTEK and Optimate chargers (I have both). So much talk about how great these are on forums and on webBikeWorld when they really are nothing special. webBikeWorld is really a joke when it comes to product evaluations.
Peter Sanderson said:
How about something like this? http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Car-Motorcycle-DC-12V-24V-Voltmeter-Ammeter-Red-LED-Dual-Digital-Voltage-Meter-/351687460747?hash=item51e234c78b:g:ggwAAOSwQjNW9hLY
From the looks of it, that one uses LEDs which draw more current. So you either need to switch it off when the motorcycle is off or measure the current draw to see if it is acceptable for an always-on installation.
Plus I always connect a voltmeter directly to the battery for a true battery voltage indication and not somewhere tapped into the wiring harness.
Peter Sanderson said: