One of the most heartbreaking situations any car or motorcycle lover will experience is when you have beautiful riding or driving weather, are excited to hit the road, and the engine doesn’t turnover. The reason? Low battery power.
If you have a nifty gadget called a battery tender, you can recharge the battery and bring it back to life in no time. A battery tender is a friendlier alternative to traditional battery charges because of the technology housed within the device that is designed to prolong battery life.
Before you decide to buy a battery tender, though, let’s talk about what they are, what battery tenders do, and why you should have a maintenance charger for your motorcycle.
What Is A Battery Tender?
Also known as “float chargers” or “maintenance chargers,” battery tenders were first created by the U.S. company Deltran in 1965. What separates battery tenders from plain ol’ chargers is that these devices provide a constant voltage supply but also are controlled by processors. In other words, they are able to refrain from charging faulty batteries, use spark free technology, and have green and red indicators that help you understand what’s happening in just a glimpse.
A battery tender is the opposite of a trickle charger, an unsophisticated, less expensive option. Though the purpose is similar, a trickle charger doesn’t have microprocessor technology that prevents it from damaging the battery if you leave it charging for an extended period of time. Furthermore, you can use a battery tender when you plan on storing your motorcycle for several weeks on end, like over winter.
Keep in mind that a battery tender is not able to jump-start a long-dead battery. When this happens, you need a trickle charger.
For this reason, you can think of a battery tender as a trickle charge with a brain—the exact words of the original manufacturer, Deltran. Of course, there is more than one brand of battery tender available on the market.
For example, the DieHard Battery Charger/Maintainer is similar to a Battery Tender that employs things like Float Mode Monitoring to charge more than just motorcycles. Whichever model you choose, just make sure they have features like auto adjust amperage to help maintain the charge, easy to read indicator lights, and float mode monitoring.
Another good feature to look for is a quick connect pigtail that helps you connect to the terminal with ease.
Using A Battery Tender
Operating a battery tender is easy. To use a one of these devices, you just plug it into any standard AC outlet and use it to transfer power to the 12-volt battery in your motorcycle.
When preparing to use the battery tender, keep the AC and DC cords away from the vehicle. Keep the charger off until you have everything plugged in.
Depending on the motorcycle, the connections might differ, so refer to your owner manual. Once you have the battery tender connected to the correct posts on the battery, you can switch it on.
You should see indicator lights turn on, such as:
• Flashing red light – AC power and microprocessor is functioning properly. However, if the flashing continues, the voltage might be too low. Take a look to make sure the alligator clips are attached properly.
• Steady red light – The clamps are properly place and power is being transferred to your battery. The light will remain red until the battery is fully charged.
• Flashing green light – A flashing green light is often paired with a red light. This means the battery is about 80% charged and can be used.
• Steady green light – The charge is complete. You can keep the battery tender attached to the battery to help maintain the life of the battery if it will be sitting for an extended period of time.
Quick note: If your battery has less than 3 volts, the battery tender won’t start. The battery should produce at least 3 volts. On the same note, if you have a standard 12 volt battery that is defunct and is producing less than 9 volts, the battery tender won’t work properly.
Now, let’s clear up some frequently asked questions about battery tenders.
Many people ask, “Can I leave my motorcycle hooked up to a battery tender for a long time?” Although this was mentioned, it’s worth repeating: that’s what a battery tender is for. You can attach the tender and leave it alone without having to worry about the battery getting damaged. For example, you can go for a ride, return to the garage, attach the battery tender for a few days, then return two-three days later for another ride.
Second, you can also fire up the engine while the bike is hooked up to the battery tender. This is perfectly safe. If it’s on maintenance mode, though, you will want to detach the bike before starting it up.
Trickle chargers bring dead batteries back to life while battery tenders prevent batteries from losing power during periods of inactivity. Whether you use your bike every other day or less frequently, a battery tender will preserve the life of the battery to ensure your motorcycle is ready to ride whenever you need to hit the road. The straightforward usage makes it a wonderful investment for every motorcycle enthusiast.
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