Buried deep inside (some much deeper than others) your motorcycle is an invisible countdown clock, otherwise known as your battery. Ride regularly, and/or keep your machine hooked to a slow charger, and the clock ticks very slowly. Don’t ride or maintain a charge and the countdown clock runs very fast. Unfortunately, when the countdown reaches zero, you don’t go.
The usual scenario for a kaput battery comes when preparing for a trip and your machine won’t crank. Even worse, it starts and you make it to the first stop and then…it doesn’t crank.
Most motorcycles no longer include a voltmeter that might warn of impending battery trouble, and by the time a warning light appears (if it does) it is usually too late.
What’s a motorcycle owner to do? Well, the pro mechanics option would be to take multimeter readings from your battery at three critical points (key on, during cranking and at partial throttle) to measure battery health.
A simpler and less expensive alternative is available from Deltran, manufacturer of the Battery Tender brand. Deltran’s Battery Tender Digital Voltage Indicator is about the size of a large USB flash drive. One end plugs into the same harness as a Battery Tender charger. The LCD display on the Digital Voltage Indicator provides numerical voltage readout. Also, lights flash stoplight style (green, yellow, red) indicating battery condition.
For accuracy, I tested the Digital Voltage Indicator on a 96-cubic-inch Harley (old battery), a Suzuki V-Strom 650 (new battery) and a Burgman 650 (medium old battery), comparing its readings against those taken with a multimeter. In each case they were right on.
Deltran says the Digital Voltage Indicator works on 12-volt flooded, AGM and gel batteries. It is available from Deltran’s website (in the Accessories section) and seems a bargain at $16.95. A quick search also finds it at a variety of online motorcycle products retailers. A simple but worthwhile accessory for motorcyclists to own.
For more information, call (877) 456-7901 or visit batterytender.com.