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Thread: Replacement Battery for R1200RT

  1. #1
    BMWNUT grw's Avatar
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    Replacement Battery for R1200RT

    I inadvertently left a device plugged into an unswitched socket in my glove box (my USB power converter for an iPod) and ran the battery down on my R1200RT. It's so dead that my BMW charger comes up with an error condition and won't even try to charge it.

    Any suggestions for replacements other than another stock battery? I can't find any battery application charts that list the 2006 R1200RT. I checked WestCo and Enersys' Odyssey.

    My next step is to go pull the dead battery and head over to one of the local battery specialty shops to see if there is something better than the stock battery for around the same price (or maybe less). The list for the R1200RT battery is $120.
    ----------------------
    Gary Wasserman
    MOA#38120 DoD#0216 Airheads#12166 BMWRO
    '85 K100 / '83 R80RT

  2. #2
    Getting lost...
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    You'll need a charger with higher output to bring it back. None of the float chargers will even attempt to charge a dead battery.

    If you are set on a new battery the Hawker (Odyssey) line has been highly recommended for previous generation RT's. I have one in my R. Not certain if they will apply to newer RT's but I would consider one.
    Unfortunately, the cost is about the same as a BMW battery. Since you already have the charger you may just want to stay with that.

  3. #3
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    I also would try a higher output charger (6 or 10 amp) to try to revive it. You aren't going to hurt it as it is not good the way it is.
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  4. #4
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    +1...

    A suggestion - if you have an old manual 10A charger hanging around.. hook a 12V bulb (a brake light bulb is good.. something about 20-30W) in series with the charger and the battery. The bulb will work to help regulate the charge going to the battery a bit. With the battery discharged - the bulb will burn brightly, limiting current going to the battery. As the plates start to reform in the battery and the internal resistance drops - the bulb will get dimmer. You should be able to safely leave it connected like this overnight (removed from the bike and somewhere away from flames.)

    In the morning if the bulb is dim - disconnect the charger and bulb and connect up your BMW automatic charger - see if it will now complete the charge cycle.

    Chances are fairly good on reviving the battery - and if doesn't work - you haven't lost a thing.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

  5. #5
    BobT bobthomson98230's Avatar
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    The BMW battery is a good one, superior technology. Try to revive it. The type of charger is irrelevant, float or otherwise. The problem with the BMW charger is probably that it has a protection feature that impedes it so it won't charge into a very low voltage or no voltage. Some other chargers will have this same feature -- they need to see some voltage on the battery leads to get them going. This is inteneded to prevent them from charging if they are hooked up reverse polarity. Your best bet will be a really cheap charger, which probably won't have this protection feature. If one charger does not bring up the voltage, try another one! Hopefully you have a voltmeter that you can connect to the battery to confirm if the voltage is rising (ie. the charger is charging). Incidentally, if the battery is really severely discharged, as would happen if you left a load connected for a really long time, then the voltage on the battery will initially go high, because it's acting like an open circuit and not accepting a charge. Given time the voltage will drop, the charge rate will rise, and eventually it will be charged. If it has not been damaged too much by the deep cycling, there's a good chance you will have dodged the bullet!
    Bob_T
    2007 BMW R1200RT
    2007 Yamaha YZF-R1
    2006 Yamaha XT225

  6. #6
    BMWNUT grw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
    +1...

    A suggestion - if you have an old manual 10A charger hanging around.. hook a 12V bulb (a brake light bulb is good.. something about 20-30W) in series with the charger and the battery. The bulb will work to help regulate the charge going to the battery a bit. With the battery discharged - the bulb will burn brightly, limiting current going to the battery. As the plates start to reform in the battery and the internal resistance drops - the bulb will get dimmer. You should be able to safely leave it connected like this overnight (removed from the bike and somewhere away from flames.)

    In the morning if the bulb is dim - disconnect the charger and bulb and connect up your BMW automatic charger - see if it will now complete the charge cycle.

    Chances are fairly good on reviving the battery - and if doesn't work - you haven't lost a thing.
    Good point (and to all of you who suggested reviving the battery). I'll give it a shot. The only reason I hesitated was because I didn't know if there was a hazard in attempting to revive it with a conventional charger.

    I'll post my results here.

    BTW there do not appear to be a lot of (maybe any?) 12V 19Ah batteries of this size on the market. My guess is that a 17 or 18Ah would be fine if it fits and if the positive terminal is on the right side.

    -Gary
    ----------------------
    Gary Wasserman
    MOA#38120 DoD#0216 Airheads#12166 BMWRO
    '85 K100 / '83 R80RT

  7. #7
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    Dead Battery

    I had the same problem, but I took the battery out and took it to my dealer who happily replaced it under warranty. I also have the R1200RT. I am sure it is still covered under warranty..Jim

  8. #8
    BMWNUT grw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grw View Post
    Good point (and to all of you who suggested reviving the battery). I'll give it a shot. The only reason I hesitated was because I didn't know if there was a hazard in attempting to revive it with a conventional charger.

    I'll post my results here.

    BTW there do not appear to be a lot of (maybe any?) 12V 19Ah batteries of this size on the market. My guess is that a 17 or 18Ah would be fine if it fits and if the positive terminal is on the right side.

    -Gary
    OK - So good news!

    I pulled out the ReallyOld(tm) Sears 10/2 Amp 12V car charger I've had for years. Left it turned onto the 10A setting overnight. The next day when I removed the clips I noted a spark at the battery terminal. Very good sign. Voltmeter dutifully registered something between 12 and 15 volts (its analog and I'm lazy).

    I hooked up the BMW smart charger (the little gray one that wants to be wall mounted) and instead of going into error mode it came up in full charge mode showing the battery as discharged.

    Hopefully by tomorrow I'll be back in business.

    Thanks to everyone who had more faith than I did in the battery. If the bike starts and runs after this I've just dodged a $120 bullet (for now).

    -Gary
    ----------------------
    Gary Wasserman
    MOA#38120 DoD#0216 Airheads#12166 BMWRO
    '85 K100 / '83 R80RT

  9. #9
    Getting lost...
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    Good deal. Glad it work out for you. Just keep a close eye on it.

    Draining a battery completely can ultimately shorten its life.

    Hopefully, you will get away without replacing it for a good while.

  10. #10
    BobT bobthomson98230's Avatar
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    Glad your battery revived. Now if you want to find out if it's really any good (which means if it has good "capacity", which is measured in amp-hours) here's a way to test. Disable the ignition so the engine will not start. Sorry, I am not familiar enough to tell you how to do this on your bike -- just don't do it by unplugging the spark plug leads (becasue that will potentially destroy the ignition coils) unless you ground the leads carefully! Hook up a voltmeter to the battery. Crank the engine for 10 seconds. The voltage should stay above 10 volts for the duration of the cranking. If it does not, either your battery is discharged, or it has low capacity and is at the end of it's usefull life. If the capacity is diminished like this, you will soon go to start the engine one cold morning, and it will just collapse. This is a great method of testing the battery on any engine, not just motorcycles.
    Bob_T
    2007 BMW R1200RT
    2007 Yamaha YZF-R1
    2006 Yamaha XT225

  11. #11
    BobT bobthomson98230's Avatar
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    Test that battery

    Glad your battery revived. Now if you want to find out if it's really any good (which means if it has good "capacity", which is measured in amp-hours) here's a way to test. Disable the ignition so the engine will not start. Sorry, I am not familiar enough to tell you how to do this on your bike -- just don't do it by unplugging the spark plug leads (becasue that will potentially destroy the ignition coils) unless you ground the leads carefully! Hook up a voltmeter to the battery. Crank the engine for 10 seconds. The voltage should stay above 10 volts for the duration of the cranking. If it does not, either your battery is discharged, or it has low capacity and is at the end of it's usefull life. If the capacity is diminished like this, you will soon go to start the engine one cold morning, and it will just collapse. This is a great method of testing the battery on any engine, not just motorcycles.
    Bob_T
    2007 BMW R1200RT
    2007 Yamaha YZF-R1
    2006 Yamaha XT225

  12. #12
    Let's Ride! RocketCowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bthomson View Post
    If the capacity is diminished like this, you will soon go to start the engine one cold morning, and it will just collapse.
    That's what happened to mine. After my ride out to California to do a Russell Ride-in, I left all my electrics on after I pulled the bike back in the garage. Four days later I hear "honey, you left the voltmeter on on your bike". Hmm ... the voltmeter isn't switched on it's own circuit, that means .... Yup, voltmeter was showing a fraction of a volt (0.8V) across the battery when I discovered the problem.

    I was able to get the battery recharged, and it will start the bike on warm days or from inside the warm garage, but leaving the bike out in the cold and she had significant problem starting. On the voltmeter she looks good, holds a good 13.2V or so before I go to crank, but she's low on cranking amps to get that cold motor to turn over.
    Charlie: IBA, AMA, MOA
    2006 BMW R1200RT
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  13. #13
    BMWNUT grw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grw View Post
    OK - So good news!

    I pulled out the ReallyOld(tm) Sears 10/2 Amp 12V car charger I've had for years. Left it turned onto the 10A setting overnight. The next day when I removed the clips I noted a spark at the battery terminal. Very good sign. Voltmeter dutifully registered something between 12 and 15 volts (its analog and I'm lazy).

    I hooked up the BMW smart charger (the little gray one that wants to be wall mounted) and instead of going into error mode it came up in full charge mode showing the battery as discharged.

    Hopefully by tomorrow I'll be back in business.

    Thanks to everyone who had more faith than I did in the battery. If the bike starts and runs after this I've just dodged a $120 bullet (for now).

    -Gary
    Actually for a bunch-o-reasons I didn't get around to putting the battery back in the R12 until last weekend. The bike fired up after a few tries and seems fine. Rode out to Cascade Locks from Portland on Sunday with no problems. I did hook up the charger when I got back. Looks like the wrap-up on the dead battery is that with a little tinkering it could be brought back to life and put back into service. With my old open celled batteries this would have been game over. I guess my opinion of the new technology is improving!

    -Gary
    ----------------------
    Gary Wasserman
    MOA#38120 DoD#0216 Airheads#12166 BMWRO
    '85 K100 / '83 R80RT

  14. #14
    Cage Rattler wezul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grw View Post
    I guess my opinion of the new technology is improving!

    -Gary
    With all the negative kharma circulating of late let's dance this one again. Sometimes new isn't bad, ya'all listening?!

  15. #15
    LR56 tomlombardini's Avatar
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    Same subject only different

    Hello everyone,

    Regarding the RT, I have an '06 and do have the BMW Charger that you use through the onboard socket however, can I use a Battery Tender hooked directly up to the battery while connected to the bike? I've gotten a lot of input on this suggesting that it is not a problem. I've had people tell me they've been doing it for years and have had no problem. Someone recently received an e-mail response from Deltran, the makers of the Battery Tender saying it is fine as long as it is hooked directly to the battery.

    My problem is that paragraph in the manual stating that due to the CANBUS system, you cannot charge the battery while it is connected to the bike. You must use the BMW charger (which as I mentioned, I have) through the onboard socket. Using common sense, I see no reason why it wouldn't be fine. It's not sending anything into the bike that's not already being sent by the battery, right?

    I just got an F800ST and would like to get the Battery Tender with the two leads but, as I said, I'd like to be absolutely, positively, without a doubt sure!

    Anyway, I'm of the thinking that it is fine however, being the type of person I am, I am a bit paranoid.

    Thanks!

    Tom L.

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