Battery 101: Charging Your Motorcycle Battery

Knowing how to take care of and properly charge your motorcycle battery helps ensure your battery enjoys a long life. Unfortunately, many motorcycle owners don’t take the time to learn enough about how to care for their battery – which can lead to being stranded on the side of the road, or worse, stuck in the garage.

Not All Motorcycle Batteries Are The Same

Just as with your car and other battery-powered items you use regularly, you need to have the right battery for the equipment. The best way to go about this is to make sure you follow the motorcycle manufacturer’s instructions on what battery will work best with your bike.

Once you know what kind of battery you need, you can determine how to best care for it. The battery manufacturer will have specific instructions regarding the charging requirements and other special instructions.

The Basics

Most motorcycle batteries are lead-acid batteries and should be charged in addition to the charge it receives from your riding. The fact of the matter is unless you are going for a road trip or will be riding continuously for hours, the alternator is not powerful enough to fully charge the battery.

Because of this, motorcycle batteries tend to become more deeply discharged than car batteries. The longer the battery is used without being recharged between uses shortens the battery’s life cycle.

The climate where you live and/or operate the motorcycle can drastically affect the battery’s life cycle as well. Because all batteries have a natural rate of discharge even when not in use, it’s important to maintain a charge as much as possible.

Float Charge

The best way to maintain your motorcycle battery charge is with a float charger. Very similar to a trickle charger, a float charger delivers a slow, consistent stream of low-voltage electricity, and turns off when it’s done.

This is best done over a longer period of time. One option for weekend riders is to put the battery on the float charger during the week and that way you are fully charged for a weekend of riding.

A good rule of thumb is to remove the battery from the motorcycle and place it in a cool and well-ventilated area. Despite the fact that a float charger will turn off when the battery is charged, you will still need to check on it regularly and make sure that everything is working correctly.

You can charge a motorcycle battery with a standard charger, however, you will need to make sure the voltage will not exceed what the battery can handle.

Delivering too strong of a charge or just delivering the charge too quickly can actually damage the battery if not worse.


  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when connecting the battery to the charger. By not following the directions you could cause irreparable damage to the battery and the charger.
  • If the battery gets really hot TURN OFF the charger and let everything cool down. Excessive heat is a good indication that something is wrong. Allowing the battery to overheat could result in an explosion.
  • If the battery is smoking or sparking, TURN IT OFF! If this occurs there is definitely something wrong.

Battery Maintenance

Lead-acid batteries will need to be refilled with water periodically. Doing this can help prolong the life of your battery and ensure peak performance levels.

Just as important as maintaining a charge and making sure the battery stays watered is the need to keep the battery clean. This can be especially true with a motorcycle battery.

The exposure to dirt, dust and other debris can increase the battery’s rate of discharge and lead to premature failure. Cleaning your battery can be as simple as using a clean, dry cloth to remove any dirt or dust build up.

Sometimes corrosion can build up which requires a bit more effort to remove but still worth it when it comes to prolonging your battery life.

A Quick And Easy Guide To Changing Your Smoke Detector Batteries

We’ve all experienced that annoying beep that wakes you from a dead sleep. You stumble around your house, waiting for it to beep again so you can rip the sensor off the ceiling and go back to bed. You’ll be happy to deal with it tomorrow.

Instead of having to sleepily slink around your house in the middle of the night like a smoke detector ninja, try these tips and tricks to help to avoid the beep.

Schedule Your Battery Changes

EIt’s highly likely you’ve seen the public service announcement from your local Fire Department telling you the best way to avoid a fire disaster is to make sure your smoke detectors are always in good working order. To do this you should change your batteries every 6 months.

But there is another really good reason to change the batteries every 6 months! Scheduling battery changes will also help you avoid the dreaded beep. The problem is few of us actually do this. It sounds good in theory, but who can remember to do something 6 months from now?

The answer is to pair it with something you would normally do anyway.

Twice a year the majority of the country has to move the clocks by an hour for Daylight Savings time. Let this serve as your reminder to change your batteries as well. This way you aren’t trying to remember some arbitrary date and you’ll be more likely to actually change the batteries.

Tips and Warnings

Just like with commercial applications, one important thing to know about your smoke detectors is what type of battery they use. There are some models that use a lithium battery and can last up to 10 years.

With this model of smoke detector, you do not need to change out the batteries every 6 months – however, when it is time to replace them you will have to replace the whole unit. Most smoke detectors are actually hard-wired to your house and only use the battery as a backup power source (on a much smaller scale than stationary back-up/SLA batteries!).

Sadly, there is a large number of fires that could have been stopped before they got out of control if the home would have working smoke detectors. There are those of us out there who simply disable the alarm and never bother to replace the battery. Don’t do this. Never remove the battery without replacing it. Fires can sometimes take out the electrical system in your house.

This means that the battery in the smoke detector is your only hope to get to safety and have the fire handled quickly. Safety first!

How To Replace The Batteries In Your Smoke Detector

  • Remove the Cover and Battery

Some smoke detectors have a hinge that you can flip down which makes changing the battery a lot easier. Most detector units actually detach from the base by turning the unit about half a turn. Remove the battery cover, if there is one, and remove the old battery.

  • Replace the Battery

Most smoke detectors require a 9-volt battery. Simply click the top of the battery into the battery clip and slide the battery into its spot inside the smoke detector unit.

  • Reattach the Smoke Detector

Close the battery cover if there is one to close and reattach to the smoke detector base. Most smoke detector units require you to line up the notches and then turn it half a turn to lock it into place.

  • Test It Out

You’ll want to test the smoke detector to make sure everything is in good working order. Press the button on the face of the unit. Doing this should produce your favorite beeping noise.

You have now replaced your smoke detector battery and you should feel a sense of accomplishment. Having a schedule all laid out to keep those batteries fresh should give you a sense of accomplishment as well.

Not only did you take a step to increase your safety, but you have defeated the beep that would otherwise haunt you for hours and steal your sleep.

Avoid Ruining Your Battery: How to Choose the Right Charger

You can have the best battery in the world, but without a good charger to keep it going, you’ll be left with nothing more than a really big paperweight. Countless users accidentally ruin batteries by making simple charging mistakes.

Now, this doesn’t mean you can (or should) run right out and buy the first charger you see and consider yourself home free.

The charger, battery, and the application must all be compatible, and unfortunately, many charger manufacturers don’t consider ease of use. To make sure you don’t fall victim to battery charing mistakes, let’s take a look at everything you need to know about chargers for your battery.

Slow Or Fast?

With chargers, you really only have slow, fast, or super fast to choose from.

Ultimately, the charging speed you need will depend on your battery and your application. If you’re looking for something to keep the battery in your hot rod charged over the winter, then low and slow will work just fine.

If you are looking for a charger to get your boat moving again if your battery dies in the water, well then you’ll definitely want to consider something with a little more juice.

The safest bet is to check out the recommendations from the battery manufacturer. Often times they will have specific guidelines to help you manage to best charging for their battery.

Pro-Tip: The faster you deliver the charge to the battery the warmer the battery will get. This can do a number of things, one of which is increasing the amount of off-gassing, which will require good ventilation to prevent harm.

So Many Options, So Little Time

You’ll run into many different types of battery applications, and lots of chargers on the market – very few are created equal. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Trickle Chargers

A trickle charger is designed to push a low voltage charge to the battery over a period of time. Many of them have an automated feature, meaning they will turn off once the battery reaches a specified maximum level of charge and then turn back on once the battery drops below a specified minimum level of charge.

These chargers are great for keeping your battery charged while in storage.

Smart Charger

A smart charger monitors the voltage level in the battery, and stops charging once it’s full. Many batteries have seen an early demise due to overcharging. Smart chargers prevent this and in turn help increase the lifespan of the battery.

Traditional Charger

Unless the charger is specifically labeled otherwise, it’s a safe bet that it’s a standard, regular old charger. This just means that it will push an electrical current to the battery until you unplug it.

Regardless if the battery is fully charged or not. The risk of overcharging is high and you’ll need to keep a close eye it. You’ll also want to test the voltage in the battery often to make sure that you don’t under or overcharge it.

Pro-tip: Before you run out and buy a charger, make sure you know your battery. The size, or amp-hours your battery stores, will help you figure out how long a specific charger will take to charge your battery.

Take the total amp hour rating for your battery and divide it by the amp rating on the charger.

Then, add 10% to figure in totally top off time. So for instance, a battery with 50 amp hours will take 6 hours to fully charge with a 10 amp charger.

Battery 101: Winterizing Car Batteries

Anyone who lives in a cold environment knows the strains winter imposes on your batteries. If the battery is weak to begin with, you can bet a hard freeze will leave your battery deader than a doornail.

Contrary to popular belief, the type of battery you have rarely makes a difference – Gel or AGM doesn’t matter. If your battery is weak and it’s cold, you’re asking for your battery to call it quits.

Winterizing your battery for the long winter months can go a long way in ensuring you will have a fully charged battery waiting for you when spring hits. Here’s how!

Charge It Up

The number one important rule before putting a battery away for the winter: make sure it’s fully charged. This doesn’t mean you can walk away and forget it. This means your battery needs to begin its time in storage with a full charge – and then you need to check on it periodically and recharge as needed.

One way to avoid having to come back and recharge every so often is to hook it up to a trickle charger. This will allow you to not have to worry about whether or not it’s charged. You still can’t just walk away and forget it, though. You’ll need to check on it to make sure that everything is working the way it should be.

Manage The Temperature

Believe it or not, batteries are susceptible to extreme temperatures just like you are. The hotter the weather, the faster the battery will discharge. The colder the battery is will cause freezing if the battery is not fully charged.

A partially charged battery will begin to freeze in temperatures as high as 20℉. When a battery is allowed to freeze, the damage done internally is irreversible. If the case cracks due to freezing, you could be looking at a big mess to clean up.

Your best bet is to make sure you keep the fully charged battery in a dry cool place. Out of sunlight, away from heater vents, and in an area that will keep the battery away from the dangers of the harsh cold or direct heat.

Get Rid Of The Dirt

The last, yet equally important, step to keeping your battery alive and well through the winter is to clean it and then keep it clean.

Dust, dirt, and corrosion are high on the list of reasons your battery discharges faster than it should.

Dirt and dust allow for the collection of moisture which can create an electrical current flow from one battery post to the other. This discharge pathway allows the battery to self-discharge at a rate faster than it would naturally.

By cleaning the battery before you put it away for the winter, and then keeping it clean while it’s in storage will keep your battery in tip top shape until you’re ready to use it again.

Storing your battery for the winter is a breeze as long as you know the how and the why. By keeping the battery charged you’ll be able to install your battery and go come spring. By keeping it clean you’ll be making sure that your battery isn’t draining faster than it should. And by keeping it out of extreme temperatures you’ll be ensuring that your battery avoids the discharge strain that can cause an early end to its life cycle.

So make sure you winterize your batteries this year and enjoy the boost of performance you’ll be sure to get this spring!