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Old 4th November 2011, 21:31   #1
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Default Lesson learnt: When the battery seems to be dead...

... get the regulator checked. Learnt it the hard way.

Last week, the battery on my motorcycle (TVS Victor - kick start) seemed to have died. The horn, indicators and console lights wouldn't work. So, I took it to a local battery guy and told him "horn not working". He looked, checked the voltage and said "battery dead voltage fluctuating, replace". The non-trusting me, took the bike to another battery guy, told him the same "horn not working" story, got "voltage low saar, replace". The third guy was the best, he looked at the battery and said "Not worth checking, replace".

My older battery lasted 5 years before dying so when this one died in 2 years I was amazed. Still, I thought I was in bad luck, went ahead and got the battery replaced with a sealed Amaron battery and paid Rs800.

Guess what? I noticed the same behavior in 2 days (no horn, no indicator). Now I realized I was cheated, and on googling the issue (why not earlier? ) realized it could be the "Regulator" going bad.

Took it to the TVS Authorized Service Center. Told them "Battery not charging" instead of saying "horn not working". They got what I was saying, diagnosed and found the regulator wasn't working, replaced for Rs500, and the story ends.

Lesson learnt:

When the battery seems to be behaving - no horn/indicator/console lights in "ON" key position:

a) Kick start the engine and check if these start working - horn/indicator/console lights. If they do (they might fluctuate with engine RPM), it means that your regulator is good and your battery is either :

1. Low on charge (long time, no use). Get it charged at battery guy/service center, or use your bike more often.
2. Low on distilled water (Rs5-10 effort at any battery guy)
3. Dead battery.

b) If the horn/indicators/ console lights don't work when the engine is running, get the regulator checked to see if it is outputting any voltage. Most probably it's not, so get regulator replaced or get wiring harness checked.

Hope this helps someone from not getting duped.

Last edited by hellmet : 4th November 2011 at 21:33.
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Old 4th November 2011, 21:37   #2
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Default Re: Lesson learnt: When the battery seems to be dead...

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellmet View Post
... get the regulator checked. Learnt it the hard way.
Hope this helps someone from not getting duped.
Very good and informative piece of information. Thanks! This proves that we might know the theory but go blank and don't do the research before hand rather than spending the money first in practical situations. Good you have pointed out the diagnostic steps too.
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Old 4th November 2011, 21:51   #3
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Default Re: Lesson learnt: When the battery seems to be dead...

Most batteries last around 5 years. IMHO The battery guys were incompetent/ lazy, not exactly cheats.
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Old 4th November 2011, 23:27   #4
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Default Re: Lesson learnt: When the battery seems to be dead...

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellmet View Post
... get the regulator checked. Learnt it the hard way.

Lesson learnt:

When the battery seems to be behaving - no horn/indicator/console lights in "ON" key position:

a) Kick start the engine and check if these start working - horn/indicator/console lights. If they do (they might fluctuate with engine RPM), it means that your regulator is good and your battery is either :

1. Low on charge (long time, no use). Get it charged at battery guy/service center, or use your bike more often.
2. Low on distilled water (Rs5-10 effort at any battery guy)
3. Dead battery.

b) If the horn/indicators/ console lights don't work when the engine is running, get the regulator checked to see if it is outputting any voltage. Most probably it's not, so get regulator replaced or get wiring harness checked.

Hope this helps someone from not getting duped.
There are three more things
4. When the distilled water has been topped up many time the acid of the battery gets low on gravity(More of water less of acid) so that time change the acid and distilled just ask the mechanic to do so.

5. My Apache would not electric start but the horns and indicators were all fine but on mechanic's insistence i changed the battery but after 4 days the same problem cropped up. On checking i found out the wires from the battery had so heavy deposits of carbon that the battery was not able to give a proper performance.
6. Check the fuse in the battery it might have tripped.
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Old 4th November 2011, 23:37   #5
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Default Re: Lesson learnt: When the battery seems to be dead...

^ I'm not sure how safe topping up acid is.
Ahh, thank you for reminding us of the fuse, it totally went off my mind. I only changed my fuse once in the last 7 -1/2 years.
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Old 5th November 2011, 04:09   #6
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Default Re: Lesson learnt: When the battery seems to be dead...

I am sure most of you know this but for the people who are new to dealing with a battery, if the fluid level has fallen, always use distilled water to refill it.

Although it is tempting to use regular water, the dissolved minerals in it will quickly ruin your battery.

Always keep the fluid level above the top of the batteries plates and do not overfill it above the "full" indicator.
During operation the battery produces hydrogen and this gas needs a place to escape so if you do overfill your battery, the acid/water will be blown out onto your motorcycle (or car body).
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Old 5th November 2011, 05:51   #7
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Default Re: Lesson learnt: When the battery seems to be dead...

How would the battery dying (not yet dead) will be applicable to Cars. My stock battery lasted seven years and last month it died and i replaced it. Before it actually dies it gave me enough and more time giving signals for me to understand and take action. Here are few of them

When you are driving at night with AC or Defogger on and press the window roll up switch in the end when windows are fully rolled up and if you keep the switch pulled up there is slight dimming of headlamps.

So basically if the load on the battery is increased it reduces output to all the devices and the easy one to check is the head lamps.
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Old 5th November 2011, 07:53   #8
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Default Re: Lesson learnt: When the battery seems to be dead...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
Most batteries last around 5 years. IMHO The battery guys were incompetent/ lazy, not exactly cheats.
Absolutely no way. You can check out GTO's thread on exide (Oh No! Exide battery woes again).

My OEM battery in bike: 2 years
My mom's car battery: 2 in 3 years (after the OEM lasted 2.5 years)
My colleague's car battery: 3 years

Got lot more examples like that.

Infact, hellmet you got me there bro. I changed a 3 year old UPS battery in my pulsar because I thought that the regulator just cannot go bad. In a week's time I realized that it can - but by then I had replaced a perfectly working battery

Infact, the battery vendor my mom used, they are idiots who sold her a minimum warranty battery which promptly died just out of warranty. This time she got a 3 year warranty battery. Vendors are often fleecing customers as well (got my colleague's car battery choice upgraded just as it was being delivered to her) by selling under specced batteries.
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Old 5th November 2011, 12:27   #9
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Default Re: Lesson learnt: When the battery seems to be dead...

A very good pointer for bike users.

However, for car users, if the battery is not charging, in most cars, the warning light glows during the drive. I guess this right in the RTR too.

So, basically, watch your car/bike closely.
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Old 5th November 2011, 15:59   #10
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Default Re: Lesson learnt: When the battery seems to be dead...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
Most batteries last around 5 years
I strongly agree with this; My WagonR's was changed to Amaron Pro during Jan 2007 & till date touch wood though I can feel the symptoms of ageing battery since last 4-5 months.
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Old 5th November 2011, 16:38   #11
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Default Re: Lesson learnt: When the battery seems to be dead...

My bike's battery (Pulsar 180 UG3) lasted me a good 4 years, and it was exide. The only sign i noticed during the last few days was that electric start wouldn't work, apart from that all lights worked. In future will make it a point to check the regulator

Now replaced it with some chloride brand battery, so far its going good. Lets see how long it lasts.
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Old 5th November 2011, 22:14   #12
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Default Re: Lesson learnt: When the battery seems to be dead...

Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
Absolutely no way. You can check out GTO's thread on exide (Oh No! Exide battery woes again).

My OEM battery in bike: 2 years
My mom's car battery: 2 in 3 years (after the OEM lasted 2.5 years)
My colleague's car battery: 3 years

Hitanshu,
Your examples only confirm that 5 years is a long life in battery terms. So if a dealer suggests battery change at 5 years, he is just being lazy and not testing more reasons for low charge.
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Old 6th November 2011, 14:15   #13
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Default Re: Lesson learnt: When the battery seems to be dead...

Thought to share my case hear..sorry if OT:

I have a Yamaha Gladiator SS 125. My biggest problem is battery looses charge very soon. Initially it would run fine, but now a days I find that If a get the battery charged at some place on a given day, 3-4 days later, my electric start doesn't work and the horn becomes erratic. How can the battery loose charge so soon. I drive easily more than 10-15 km everyday so the battery should stay charged.

Also just yesterday i found that my back red light is always on while riding (seems problem with the Front Brake lever). But since I drive all along for 10-15km, should the battery get discharged so soon?
Pls advise!
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Old 6th November 2011, 16:55   #14
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Default Re: Lesson learnt: When the battery seems to be dead...

Quote:
Originally Posted by justwheels View Post
Thought to share my case hear..sorry if OT:

I have a Yamaha Gladiator SS 125. My biggest problem is battery looses charge very soon. Initially it would run fine, but now a days I find that If a get the battery charged at some place on a given day, 3-4 days later, my electric start doesn't work and the horn becomes erratic. How can the battery loose charge so soon. I drive easily more than 10-15 km everyday so the battery should stay charged.

Also just yesterday i found that my back red light is always on while riding (seems problem with the Front Brake lever). But since I drive all along for 10-15km, should the battery get discharged so soon?
Pls advise!
Except for the Tail light being on,even my Dio's Battery fails after the electrolyte top-up and I ride it for over 26 Kilometers every working day.
The local mechanic asked me to get the Battery replaced under warranty but I'm too lazy to get the job done
And unlike you lucky Bikers,my scoot has it's kick lever at the back.So, every time the battery dies,I have to get off and apply the main stand and then Kick it into life
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Old 14th July 2016, 15:09   #15
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Default Re: Lesson learnt: When the battery seems to be dead...

OK, I am pretty much at my wit's end again! The battery is completely getting drained on my CBR 250R again. I charge it for Rs.50 and if I don't run the bike for 2 days, the battery dies! That means that the bike is not charging the battery when running. What is the exact part that needs replacement in this case? Is that the stator?
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