Are you living in an area with extreme weather fluctuations, or do you keep your vehicles unattended for more than two weeks, or do you live in extremely cold or hot weather? It’s high time you know about battery tenders then.
So, what are battery tenders? Battery tenders are devices that keep your motorcycle battery charged at the optimum level through an AC wall outlet. A battery tender is an useful tool to extend the battery life if you are leaving your motorcycle unattended for a long time.
It is an automated device. It begins charging your motorcycle battery whenever the battery goes below the optimum level and stops once it reaches the optimum level.
Whenever you store your motorcycle, just connect the battery tender to the wall AC outlet and connect the motorcycle battery to the battery tender. And there, your motorcycle will be ready to hit the road whenever you want.
This prevents the battery from draining off completely during storage. Also, your battery lasts longer.
Is Battery Tender Different From Battery Charger Or A Trickle Charger?
Battery tender is different from battery charger or a trickle charger. Battery chargers charge the battery even when battery is full. Battery tenders on the other hand automatically stops charging when the battery is full.
A Battery Charger charges the battery whenever you plug it in. It doesn’t stop charging when the battery is fully charged, instead, it keeps charging the battery until you unplug it. Because a battery charger is not designed to ‘understand’ whether your battery is fully charged or not, it does not stop charging even after the battery is full.
If you don’t turn off the charger, this leads to overheating of the battery and damages the battery.
So, if you are using a Battery Charger to charge your motorcycle battery, you must turn it off when the battery is fully charged and turn it on when the battery is low.
A Trickle Charger provides a very low voltage and thus takes a long time to charge the battery. But a trickle charger doesn’t turn off automatically when the battery is fully charged. Hence the overheating and battery damage does happen with the trickle charger as well if left turned on for longer periods.
When I say overheating it can be as serious as burning the battery or even your house. Yes! You read it right. Overheating can set your house on fire if not attended on time.
So, even though a trickle charger takes longer than a battery charger to charge the battery, it is necessary to turn it off once the battery is fully charged.
On the other hand, a Battery Tender charges the battery once it is below the optimum level and automatically stops when the battery is full. Unlike battery chargers or trickle chargers, you don’t have to monitor battery tenders manually. Because it is a smart device that monitors the level of the battery and turns on or off according to that.
Many people think that Trickle Charger and Battery Tenders are the same. But it’s not true, they are not the same.
- Trickle Charger charges at a constant rate regardless of the battery level. Whereas a Battery Tender works smartly by monitoring the battery level.
- With a trickle charger, there is a risk of overcharging which never happens with a battery tender.
A battery tender saves your battery from draining off completely as well as overheating by overcharging so, you can put your battery on a battery tender during winter or while in storage and take it out when you need it.
What Happens To The Battery When You Store Your Motorcycle?
Many people think that while storing their vehicle they can just remove the battery and store it. They think that the battery loses its charge only when it’s connected to the vehicle.
This is true if your motorcycle has a Lithium Battery. But most of the bikes have Lead-Acid Batteries which tend to lose a small amount of charge even when they are disconnected.
The minimum level for a Lead-Acid battery is 11 V and it is important to maintain it above the minimum level.
If you keep draining your battery or don’t maintain the minimum level, you will ruin your battery. Because, if you undercharge these batteries they undergo sulfation which leads to loss of their charging capacity. Once sulfation happens, it can’t be reverted. So, it would be better to keep those batteries fully charged to prevent sulfation.
Overcharging a Lead-Acid battery is also a bad idea. If these batteries are being overcharged for quite some time, they tend to degenerate slowly, which affects their efficiency. Also if you overcharge it until depletion of the electrolyte, it might explode.
How Important A Battery Tender Is?
The key to increasing the lifespan of your motorcycle battery is to maintain an optimum level. To prevent both overcharging and undercharging your motorcycle battery you have to use battery tenders, a ‘smart charger’ that understands the need of your battery and charges it accordingly.
Another most important feature of battery tender is that you can select the amperage that is perfect for your battery. This feature keeps you from worrying about high or low amperage. Because you get to choose the amperage that suits your battery.
Some tenders even come with automatic amperage selection. This comes in handy for people who are not so good with electronics.
But before using Battery Tenders you must know that,
- Battery tenders can be used if you are storing your motorcycle for a long period or on a daily basis if you are living in a place with high temperatures (high temperature can drain the battery).
- The battery should be in a good condition- if it has degenerated or sulfated already, don’t put it on a battery tender.
- Use a Battery Charger if your battery has drained completely. A Battery Tender can not charge a dead battery.
How To Use A Battery Tender?
Here are the steps to use a battery tender.
- Remove the battery (if necessary) and clean it. Use safety measures to protect yourself from the acid present in the battery.
- Connect the Quick Connect to the battery.
- Place the battery in the motorcycle.
- Leave the Quick Connect Terminal in a place that is easier to reach on your motorcycle.
- Now connect the Battery Tender Adapter to the Quick Connect Terminal.
- Plug the Battery Tender into a wall socket.
- Adjust the amperage or select automatic mode.
- Turn on the Battery Tender.
It might look tricky, but you don’t have to follow all the steps every time. You have to install the Quick Connect only once. Next time you just need to connect the Tender to the Quick Connect and turn it on.
Don’t forget to read the installation procedure provided in the manual. What I have mentioned above are the general steps but following the manufacturer’s instructions is advised.
What Features To Look For While Buying A Battery Tender?
Of course, every battery tender will do the same job of monitoring the battery level and charging it. But there are some features that you have to look for (other than just charging the battery) that will make your life easier. So consider looking for the following features before buying a battery tender.
- Lightweight- This helps you in carrying it around if necessary.
- Long cable- Comes handy if you don’t have enough space near the AC wall outlet to park your motorcycle.
- Indicator- Look for indicators that indicate the battery level.
- Amperage selection- Battery tender with an automatic amperage regulation is a better option. You can also select the one according to your battery amperage.
- Voltage regulation- It should regulate the voltage automatically to prevent battery damage by voltage fluctuation or overcharging.
- Quick Connect- This can save you from opening the battery and installing the connector every time you use a tender.
- Alligator Clip Connector- Becomes useful if you have to connect it directly to the battery.
- Compatibility- Make sure the tender is compatible with your battery.
- Minimum current withdrawal- It should withdraw zero or minimum current from the battery during a power cut or when disconnected from the wall outlet.
- Reverse polarity protection- This cuts the power supply if you connect the wrong terminals to prevent damage to the battery.
- Provides Constant Current- This ensures that constant current is supplied to the battery even during the voltage fluctuation.
- Charging Speed- Make sure the battery tender charges your battery at an optimum speed. Don’t choose the one that charges your battery faster, because it is not good for the battery.
- Short Circuit Protection
A battery tender is a handy gear. It is a must-have device for every rider. It is useful to extend your battery life if you leave your motorcycle unattended for long.
Battery Tender not only maintains your battery level but also monitors and adjusts the amperage, voltage and speed at which the battery is charged, which keeps your battery healthy.
So, if you want to extend the life of your battery then invest in a good battery tender. because battery tenders are cheaper than Batteries.