How Many Volts Is A Motorcycle Battery? What You Need To Know!
Typically, motorcycle batteries are labelled as being either 6 volts or 12 volts, but these figures do not represent the voltage that the battery is charged at or runs at. You should find that a fully charged 12V battery has 12.5V or 12.6V while a fully charged and healthy 6V battery has 6.3 volts.
If, when fully charged, and your bike has been at rest for a few hours, your battery is showing at lower than 12.5V or 6.25V, it could mean that you have a problem with your battery and it may need replacing or, at the very least, it needs to be given a deep-cycle charge.
Properly maintaining your motorcycle battery will help ensure that it lasts longer, which means less frequent battery changes, and it will also help ensure that all critical components of your motorcycle are getting the level of charge that they need to be able to operate properly. Read on for more details on motorcycle batteries, including how to test them, how to charge them, and how to properly maintain them.
Batteries And Cells
Whether your bike battery is classed as a 6V battery or a 12V battery, it is made up of a series of 2V cells. A 6V battery contains three 2V cells while a 12V battery contains six. And, in all cases, these cells will show approximately 2.1 volts each. When in sequence, the cells would add up to be 6.3 volts or 12.6 volts.
The actual measured voltage of the battery will change according to how much load is placed on the battery and its level of charge. So, if the bike is running and lights and other electrical systems are being run, the battery will show a much lower voltage reading.
Lead-acid batteries need regular recharging. If you use your bike regularly, and everything including the battery is in good condition, starting and running the bike will recharge the battery. It can fully recharge during a 30-minute ride. However, if you don’t ride the bike frequently, you will need to give the battery a hand in recharging.
Experts advise that motorcycle batteries either need charging every 30 days or they should use a smart charger. A smart charger determines the current level of charge and whether the battery needs charging. If you do not charge the battery or start your motorcycle, you can expect a modern battery to die after about four months, but it is best not to let the battery get anywhere near this stage of depletion.
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Measuring Battery Voltage
You can measure the voltage of your battery using a voltmeter. This measures the potential difference in an electrical circuit: in this case between the positive and negative points of the battery. Use a digital voltmeter for accurate and reliable results and follow these steps:
- Remove the positive terminal cover and clean away any excess gunk before checking for signs of corrosion.
- Attach the positive lead from the voltmeter to the positive terminal on the battery.
- Remove the negative terminal cover and, similarly, remove any dirt and check for corrosion.
- Connect the negative lead from your voltmeter to the battery’s negative terminal.
- Check the reading. A fully charged 12v battery should read between 12.6v and 12.8v. If the voltmeter shows anything above 12.4 but below 12.9, your battery is in good health.
- If the meter reads 12.9v, it means that the battery is overcharged. Turn on the full beam headlights to drain excess voltage.
- If the meter reads below 12.4v recharge it. A reading below 12.2v would benefit from a slower, trickle charge, because it will be less likely to cause excess heat.
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Maintaining your motorcycle battery and keeping it in good order will help prolong its life and ensure that you always have power when you need it. Check your battery every few months, at least. Keep terminals clean by wiping away gunk and dirt. Also check the terminals are not loose and ensure there are no leaks coming from the battery.
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Motorcycle batteries are usually sold as 6V or 12V, but a healthy battery that is fully charged and is not under load should read at 6.3V or 12.6V respectively. You can test your battery using a voltmeter, charge it routinely to ensure that your bike starts, and your battery won’t die early, and maintain the battery to prolong its life and prevent having to buy new batteries. A typical, modern motorcycle battery should last approximately four years.
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