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Old 02-22-2018, 11:32 AM   #1
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Default Battery vs. charging system in Shovelhead

Hey guys. I'm in the final stages of my build and need to decide on which type of battery to go with so I can build my tray and locate it where it needs to be. Now here's my problem. I'm not on the up and up when it comes to electrical systems. Iv got a 1970 shovel with a cycle electric 22 amp alt/ regulator/rectifier. It's not the original part that is called for the motor. It's the kit for the 80's shovels if that makes any difference. Iv got dyna S ignition. Headlight and tail light with switch to shut them off while starting. Now I emailed ballistic for advice on a battery. He said the 4 cell would work fine for me but I needed the modern charging system for a lithium battery. What is considered modern? If I have to go agm route that's fine. I'll just get one of the battery's for emergency exit signs and what not that's about 1.3-2.5 amp hr. So my question is which would work the best for me for my charging system or will the lithium even work at all? And is the amp hr. On the agm battery even an issue with my charging system? Just need the smallest battery possible so I can tuck it away on my frame. Any advice will be appreciated. Thanks
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Old 02-22-2018, 11:33 AM   #2
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That is the charging system I am running
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Old 02-22-2018, 01:41 PM   #3
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Default Re: Battery vs. charging system in Shovelhead

Your setup should be fine to charge a lith battery.

That said, I have a bundle of experience with those batteries, personally and professionally. They do not like vibration at all, which is a bit of a problem on a Shovel.

I use a little AGM Yamaha Zuma battery in my Shovel on a 32A charging system out of an Evo, and it does fine if I burn the headlight. I'm coming into my third year on that little battery, and it's only a tad bigger than that Ballistic 4-cell.

I think lithium batteries are far more trouble than they are worth at this point in time.

Fucking great for race bikes, though.

YMMV. I will be curious to see what JAWS thinks. He's pretty sharp with electrical.
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Old 02-22-2018, 02:17 PM   #4
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After reading reviews for the past few weeks or so I'm leaning more towards an agm battery. Just with my lack of electrical knowledge I'm not sure how big Ah wise or if I need to burn an old halogen to burn off extra voltage or what. I'd like to get a small say 2.5 to 5 ah agm battery. Led tail lights and blinkers with standard Harley headlight up front. Switch to turn them all off while starting and of course my dyna ignition. Would this be a good combination ? Also does anyone know how well those cheap agm batteries hold up. I heard the little terminals break off easily but thats about it. It's going in a rigid frame, so it's not gonna be nice to my battery.
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Old 02-22-2018, 04:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: Battery vs. charging system in Shovelhead

I kinda middle aged at 63. But I've always been lucky with lead acid, many lasting 8 years, and a few saw 9 years. That being said I do check and maintain the electrolyte level.
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Old 02-23-2018, 08:52 AM   #6
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Default Re: Battery vs. charging system in Shovelhead

Electric start was not mentioned in your original post. They, require way more AH than what you want to buy. For kick, even a old wore out battery that will hold 12 volts, and take a charge will work.

One thing to consider, is how often you want to walk home. Because if you run the small battery, that is easy to conseal, you take the chance of it burning out. AGM is great, but remember, the price you pay for a battery, is equal to the amount of time it will last. Cheap, burns out faster than one of equal size, and amperage. I don't do much custom work, except on customers bikes. So I am not very well schooled in the "new tech" items a lot of home builders like to use. I have replaced a few of the dry cell units, and it is always ugly. So, you may have to sacrifice a little ugliness, to get a good service from the battery.

That, by the way, is 100% necessary for it to run. A alternator bike will still run below 12 volts, but not below about 10.5. Then, it sounds like it has a rev limiter on it, until you try to let it idle. Then, it amazingly goes silent, and you are calling a truck or trailer to get you, or pushing.

This is not really so much a opinion, as a factual set of things you can bet on will happen, if you get it wrong.
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Old 02-23-2018, 08:53 AM   #7
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Default Re: Battery vs. charging system in Shovelhead

Three things..
1. Im not sold on litho batteries. Had too many not be reliable in a bike setup, not even on a buddies hyabusausage.

2. Lead acid is the original and most tried and true.... however the vibrations for some reason break the plates and/or the lead can fall out of the plate’s wafer holes prematurely. Its called sluffing off and it happens anyway over time. Problem is the plates will all still be connected through the bars, in what ever condition they are in, but the surface area is greaty reduced. That means the toal cell voltage will/can be at maximum potential but the available current will be short lived. Solution level is critical as is cell equality. 2.2 volts per cell fully charged and a battery is only as good as its weakest cell as the others wil seek to conpensate for its level.

3. AGM is less susceptible to the issue of breaking cell plates because they are a “mat” and in a “gel”. Think jello and a washcloth. Also they dont like to charge too fast or get to hot. Jello turns to liquid and it boils. Aerated liquid is foam and foam make the transfer difficult from plate/mat to solutuion and the reverse for power output.

Last thing, so I guess thats four..... NEVER let the battery move and NEVER let the connections at the battery be under tension or strain. The posts will break on any battery.
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Last edited by JAWS; 02-23-2018 at 08:59 AM.
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Old 02-23-2018, 09:46 AM   #8
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Default Re: Battery vs. charging system in Shovelhead

Your alternator and regulator are every bit as important to consider as the type of battery. As has been discussed, good quality AGM or lead-acid batteries seem to be the most dependable, and lead-acid is more forgiving of poorly controlled charge voltage (as long as you keep an eye on the water level in the cells they will stand up to a good bit of over charging.) AGM do not take over charging as well, as Jaws so clearly stated, and Lithium based chemistries require very tightly controlled charging voltage to provide good service life. (they even call for special chargers because a normal battery charger from a few years ago won't have enough control to prevent damage.)

What this really means is that you need to have the best regulator available in order to get the most out of whatever battery you decide to run. A cheap regulator can burn out a good lead-acid battery in no time if the water isn't monitored. Bottom line, don't buy cheap charging system parts and then blame the battery for crapping out. Bite the bullet and spend the money up front for quality parts for the entire system.
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Old 02-23-2018, 10:04 AM   #9
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Default Re: Battery vs. charging system in Shovelhead

I recently asked the local "MOTO" shop about the "anti-gravity" batteries as they are now a dealer. I was told the batteries are great..BUT, your charging system has to be top notch or the battery will have issues.. knowing the charging systems on some of my old bikes are are eneamic at best.. I didn't ask much more.
I had a 84 shovel.. when the magnets let go and pretty much destroyed the charging system.. I "up graded" it to a newer "Evo" style..more output. The starter drew a bunch of amps so I had to used the biggest CCA I could fit.
Later after being able to start with the kicker (had wrong ignition), I changed bulbs to LED (to include headlight).. so draw was minimal on system..
Never pulled the plug on a "newer" (non-lead acid) battery..
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