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messes with the chemical balance in the electrolyte. An LFP battery discharged below 13 volts is unlikely to even start the motorcycle, which would lead many riders to try to jump or bump start the bike. This is a mistake; the unique charging require- ments of an LFP battery (see the next myth) mean that bump starting the bike and engaging the motorcycle’s onboard charging system is likely to damage the LFP battery’s cells, causing them to eventually overheat and possibly catch fire.


Myth: Any charger will do for LFP


batteries. If you buy an LFP battery for your motor- cycle, don’t cheap out on the charger. It is critically important to buy a charger that is optimized for use on LFP batteries for a number of reasons. The most important reason is that the proper charger “under-


stands” the LFP battery’s unique charging requirements, which are not the same as those for a lead-acid battery—and that includes AGM batteries, which use the same basic electrolyte as your grandfather’s vintage pickup truck’s battery. Bikes with “always on” electronics (clocks, alarms, etc.) will discharge an LFP battery fast; remem- ber that while the lead equivalency may be high, the actual amp-hour capacity is low, and while a good LFP battery charger can bring a discharged battery back from as low as one volt, it has to be done properly, by using low current until the LFP is above 12.8 volts, when it can then be hit with higher current for faster charging. A lead-acid bat- tery charger uses high current at low volt- age, which could easily damage that expensive LFP battery.


Both AGM and LFP batteries benefit from being on a charger when the


motorcycle is not being ridden, but it is more important for the LFP batteries, which also MUST use a purpose-specific charger. If you have a mix of AGM and LFP batteries in your motorcycle fleet, that means you need more than one charger, and don’t mix them up. In the words of Ghostbuster Dr. Egon Spengler, “That would be bad.” It’s important to note that BMW Motor-


rad does not spec LFP batteries for their new motorcycles; they continue to use AGM batteries, even on the standard S 1000 RR. While I’m certainly not opposed to updating my motorcycle with new technol- ogy, the battery is one of the things that I don’t mess around with and tend to stick close to the OEM specs. Nobody wants to look down while they’re riding and see flames between their legs.


www.cardosystems.com


October 2017 BMW OWNERS NEWS


41


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