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batteries

derek

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
What is considered the best and reliable battery for the money. (12volt for Comet. Alton alternator).
Also what are your experiences with cyclon (bomb) batteries? Mine only lasted two years, but started playing up even earlier. After charging it drops to 10 volts with in two hours. Obviously an internal short! Derek.
 

Alan J

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
No simple answer here! A lot of well-known "brands" are now manufactured in China and are of dubious quality! Making batteries is a dirty business and no longer popular in Europe! Twice I have bought at auto jumbles and when they soon packed up ,could I remember who I bought them off? Another thought, is your "alton" over-charging?
 

roy the mechanic

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Mine runs alton+ japanese uasa battery, three years use to date. Don't forget to disconnect the battery when not in use or fit a cut-off switch or the battery will get flat when idle.
 

timetraveller

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
What is the likely suspect for draining the battery when everything is turned off? I have no 12v clock to be taking current and when the coil ignition is turned off, which also cuts current to the field side of the alternator, I have never noticed any current draining. Typically everything is left connected for weeks/months with no adverse problems. I suppose that a short somewhere (mice eating the insulation!) could result in a fire while the bike is unused so perhaps for safety reasons it might be wise but otherwise I suspect that there is something that you professional chaps are aware of that we amateurs are not. Help!
 

Pete Appleton

VOC Hon. Editor
VOC Member
VOC Forum Website Administrator
It is the voltage sensing circuit on the Alton reg-rec that draws a small amount of power if not isolated by an ignition switch.
 

roy the mechanic

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
alton

The instruction sheet which came with the alton advises the use of an isolation switch. Being a disbeleiving s o b, i did not include a switch. If i leave it idle for a week the battery has not enough power to sound the horn, if I disconnect the battery, the next time I return, connect battery horn+all works-go figure! But as i have mag ignition i don't really give a sh45t!
 
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timetraveller

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
OK, so now I understand. I have never owned or fitted an Alton so am unfamiliar with their foibles. The same would happen with a Walkernator, except that the battery would be flat in hours not days. So I always advise wiring it up to the ignition switch, if one is using coil ignition or some other system which takes a 12 volt supply. For those who are still using a magneto then it is vital to have an on/off switch in the feed to the regulator.
 

wmg73141

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
Non-VOC Member
The truth is that if you were to consult a battery the last place it would want to be is on a bike or in a car for that matter, heat, vibration, etc., just about everything calculated to kill a battery!

Lead/acid batteries when idle should, in an ideal world, be kept at a stable temperature and provided with a “float charge” i.e. just sufficient current to keep the battery at its nominal voltage, this will reduce the formation of insoluble lead sulphate crystals. It should also be noted that the plates in a battery actually change size depending on their state of charge and because modern batteries are made of “pasted plates”, essentially small particles pressed into a supporting grid, (it’s more complicated than that of course), but the upshot is that they eventually crumble so maintaining a constant voltage will limit this.

A lead/acid battery can loose charge over time due to “parasitic cells” within the plates, essentially impurities in the plates, all rather complicated but essentially you get what you pay for, better makers = better quality control = a longer life – it is to be hoped!

NiCad types on the other hand are usually best stored discharged, they are however mechanically far more robust and durable than lead/acid batteries but they do have their own quirks so the manufacturers’ recommendations should be closely followed. I have a battery made up from 'D' size NiCads on, (sorry about this!), a 57 year old scooter that is still working well 10 years on.
 

ClassicBiker

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
The instruction sheet which came with the alton advises the use of an isolation switch. Being a disbeleiving s o b, i did not include a switch. If i leave it idle for a week the battery has not enough power to sound the horn, if I disconnect the battery, the next time I return, connect battery horn+all works-go figure! But as i have mag ignition i don't really give a sh45t!
Clever 4+5=9 "i" being the 9th letter of the alphabet. Very good. Anyway I have Altons on both my Comet and Shadow. The Shadow having an earlier Alton the instructions did not mention isolating the battery. As you say within a couple of days everything is dead. The Comet having a later Alton the instructions mention isolating the battery which I did. It takes quite some time for the battery to go flat. So I have fitted a quick disconnect to both and when I park them up I disconnect and place on trickle (float) chargers. I first noticed this thing happening on my modern ('95) Triumph. Now I have trickle chargers on everything when I park, I plug it in.
Steven
 

bmetcalf

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
I have a 1999 or so vintage Alton and use a Podtronics regulator and don't have the discharge problem and I don't remember having it when I used the Alton-furnished regulator. I do put the battery on my Battery Tender occasionaly over the winter, but it shows full charge very quickly. Does the Podtronics have a no-leak design?
 
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