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That's an old saying on another Motorcycle forum I visit occasionally. The TBS has been hard starting lately. I always keep the Battery Tender on there over the winter. Even thought the tender's green light will come on after it's connected for overnight. The engine would not turn over very many times and the battery would be nearly dead.

A fresh battery today and all is well again. The old battery checks vine for Voltage, but I am sure it would not pass a stress test.
 

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That's an old saying on another Motorcycle forum I visit occasionally. The TBS has been hard starting lately. I always keep the Battery Tender on there over the winter. Even thought the tender's green light will come on after it's connected for overnight. The engine would not turn over very many times and the battery would be nearly dead.

A fresh battery today and all is well again. The old battery checks vine for Voltage, but I am sure it would not pass a stress test.
You don't say how old your battery is? They don't last forever of course, but do I detect a feeling on the forum that the classic triples are a bit harder on batteries?

One possibility, and I'm only tentatively suggesting this, is the charging system, or more specifically the wiring system. Let me explain...

I finally got bored of topping up the battery at intervals way shorter than I've needed to on any other vehicle. I wonder if these issues are related.

The reason for loss of water from the battery is the fact that it gets charged on a constant voltage regime to 15Volts, not the more usual 14.3 or so you'll find on every other vehicle. This latter voltage is deliberately chosen to be very near what's called the 'float' charging level, generally for lead/acid batteries considered to be 2.25volts/cell or 13.5Volts for a nominal 12volt/6 cell battery. At the 'float' level it does not have quite the nameplate full capacity available, but it will not 'gas' either, losing water. 15volts is very firmly in what's called 'boost' charge territory. Boost charging is only intended to be done periodically for short controlled periods. It helps to freshen up & 'equalise' the individual cells. This is the kind of regime you find for standby, battery back-up power systems (that I used to work on). You can see also that the 14 to 14.5 volts chosen for vehicle charging systems edges a little towards 'boost'.

I'm just speculating here whether this routine over-boosting of the battery to 15volts affects battery life. Another possibility that may be affecting batteries that spend long periods of time on Optimate type float chargers is that they don't get much periodic boost charging or agitation of the electrolyte that they'd get on a running bike. (Don't have the winter lay-up issue here, so haven't used a maintenance charger myself.)

Anyway, back to the 15volts business. There's a simple fix for this, as it's not the alternator regulator that's causing it. Of the two wires exiting the alternator, the White is the output, permanently connected to the battery thru' the main 30A fuse in the fusebox. The Brown comes from the the ignition switch circuit & is the (Alternator, integral) regulator supply & battery voltage sensing input wire. What's actually happening is that volt drop on the Brown wire circuit (quite normal) fools the alternator into thinking that battery voltage is less than in actuality - by about .5 volts. The alternator is regulating nicely to 14.5volts but the battery gets 15V. So the way to fix this is to bridge the the brown & white wires near the alternator connector. It needs to done via a relay (30Amp, with integral blade type fuse from any auto store), otherwise the circuit once made would backfeed & not switch off. And the relay coil must be fed from an independent 'ignition on' feed for the same reason. Luckily, there's an extra unused 'ignition on' feed from the switch. It's shown as the yellow wire going from ign switch to its connector block in the headlight shell, where it's otherwise unconnected further. (I had already used this relay setup to feed my heated grips, preferring not to add extra amps thru' existing wiring & ign switch.)

The result is that the battery terminal voltage drops to a more reasonable maximum of 14.5 volts.
 
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You don't say how old your battery is? They don't last forever of course, but do I detect a feeling on the forum that the classic triples are a bit harder on batteries?............

I'd have a tendency to agree on this, my TB battery gave out after 9 years, wonder what the warranty is on this ? ? :D

You're right on how they are looked after, temperate climate here, housed in a garage and ridden several times a week you get a good battery life ! They don't like being stored !


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Ride on ! :)
 

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I'd have a tendency to agree on this, my TB battery gave out after 9 years, wonder what the warranty is on this ? ? :D

You're right on how they are looked after, temperate climate here, housed in a garage and ridden several times a week you get a good battery life ! They don't like being stored !


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Ride on ! :)
Ah...land of the Kiwi..:)

9yrs ? That's shocking, send it back to Triumph :p:D
 

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l have one of the last TBS and it has the headlight on permently . Would this take off some of that excess voltage and improve the batteries longevity. l ask this as l put the battery on charge as soon as l bought it ( 6th march 09) and it was on charge for an hour before it went to mantain.
 

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l have one of the last TBS and it has the headlight on permently . Would this take off some of that excess voltage and improve the batteries longevity. l ask this as l put the battery on charge as soon as l bought it ( 6th march 09) and it was on charge for an hour before it went to mantain.
No better, maybe marginally worse as the lighting circuit draws off the brown (ign on) wire back at the fuse box (thru fuse #1) & will cause a little more volt drop on that line, depending on exactly where it's joined (on the way back from the ign switch) to the branch that goes down to the alternator.
 

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I can't draw well with a computer mouse, but here's what I did. The relay is 30Amp fused, single pole normally open, 12V coil. Keep the power wires short, I put the relay near the battery.
 

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lol....I got the cat to do that bit, likes playing with mice :D (groan :p)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The old battery was a BikeMaster AGM type Sealed Battery.
It was 3 years old. It never has been a real strong battery.

I think I will not buy another BikeMaster Battery.

They certainly do not like to be stored. And at that rate the Sam's club cheep ones are not so bad, they usually last at least 2 years, as long as I can get motivated to check the water level often enough.
 

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Just curious.. what do you mean, in the drawing, by "Wires 2.5 sq MM minimum" ? Forgive my ignorance, but is that somehow refering to the gauge of wire used? Either way, what gauge wire did you use? Thanks!
 

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Just curious.. what do you mean, in the drawing, by "Wires 2.5 sq MM minimum" ? Forgive my ignorance, but is that somehow refering to the gauge of wire used? Either way, what gauge wire did you use? Thanks!
Yes 2.5 sqmm is the gauge in metric - I think 12 gauge in awg sizes?
 

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Avoid Over-voltage battery charging Thunderbird

I have found the following link: www.electrosport.com/products/product-detail-557.php with a Nippon Denso Internal Regulator (partnummer ESR025) for replacement of the existing regulator in the Thunderbird Alternator, to avoid Over-voltage battery charging problems.

- Does somebody have experience with this replacement regulator?
- With a price of $86,- it's very expensive, does somebody know which components are installed, in order to build it yourself?
- Based on the idea to replace the existing regulator, is there somebody who has a alternative lay-out for a replacement regulator modification?

Please have a look into this replacement regulator and my questions.

Thanks and all the best for 2010.

Caspar
 

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I have found the following link: www.electrosport.com/products/product-detail-557.php with a Nippon Denso Internal Regulator (partnummer ESR025) for replacement of the existing regulator in the Thunderbird Alternator, to avoid Over-voltage battery charging problems.

Caspar
According to the write up, this component has nothing to do with the overcharging issue we are discussing, rather a direct short in the system....
 

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I have found the following link: www.electrosport.com/products/product-detail-557.php with a Nippon Denso Internal Regulator (partnummer ESR025) for replacement of the existing regulator in the Thunderbird Alternator, to avoid Over-voltage battery charging problems.

- Does somebody have experience with this replacement regulator?
- With a price of $86,- it's very expensive, does somebody know which components are installed, in order to build it yourself?
- Based on the idea to replace the existing regulator, is there somebody who has a alternative lay-out for a replacement regulator modification?

Please have a look into this replacement regulator and my questions.

Thanks and all the best for 2010.

Caspar
As Cafetbird says, their product seems to be about an improvement under certain fault conditions rather than a better charging regime. They don't seem to provide any output data (eg volts vs temp) that would inform us.

My earlier post concerned the wiring loom volt drop & it's effect on regulator output leading to increased 'gassing' (& water loss) from a 'wet' battery. It has occurred to me that such gassing will be worse under continuous highway riding than for shorter, stop/start journeys. For the former the battery will see the maximum alternator output voltage for much longer periods. There's something of a compromise here, as the higher voltage will ensure a slightly higher charge capacity available which could be useful for engine cranking, especially as the battery ages.

Triumph could well be aware of this, tho' I don't know why they wouldn't just fit more appropriate loom wire sizes & a regulator to suit that. (Check out the wire gauge changes across the ignition switch loom connector for power lines 'white' & 'brown'.) (Other makers seem as bad or worse - aknowledgements here are due to forum member DeCosse for his many informative posts on this & related issues. Thanks!)

There are Gel & AGM batteries available (albeit more $$$). Many riders are using these 'maintenance-free' (as far as topping up) units. In theory the alternator output voltage is a tad high for these (somewhat also varying with temp), but users seem to report good performance & longevity, & makers are happy to specify their products for use. They also offer more cranking amps & I'm thinking of fitting a Westco AGM battery myself before next winter.
 

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The old battery was a BikeMaster AGM type Sealed Battery.
It was 3 years old. It never has been a real strong battery.

I think I will not buy another BikeMaster Battery.
I had a Bikemaster battery in the Sprint. It failed after 6 months, right at the end of an Iron Butt run. I agree with you on this one, Denny - the internals on these are not up to par.
 
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