All batteries, whether always in use or not, gets discharged; thus it requires to be re-charged at some point. Knowing how long it will take for you to charge your motorcycle’s battery is critical in planning your maintenance activities.
The key here is to know the specifications of your battery and your chosen charger and only then will you get an idea of the length of time it requires to be charged.
So how long does it take to charge a motorcycle battery? A motorcycle battery would need to be charged an average of 24 hours at most. The simple calculation you can apply here is battery capacity (AH) rating divided by the chargers Amp rating (A).
Do consider that there are a lot of dependencies before we can accurately or adequately determine how long a charger can charge your batteries. They depend on the following:
1.) The Battery’s Capacity
Become familiar with the amps, amp hours, watts and voltage of your battery. You would need such information to determine what type of charger is necessary for your battery. Some of them can be found in your battery manual while some needs to be measured manually.
Here’s a quick example of how to determine charge time. If you have a 10 Ah battery, a 1 Amp charger is recommended. This was calculated using Amp per Hour (AH) divided by 10. Why is it divided by 10? Charging of batteries should not be at more than one-tenth the battery’s current rating in amp per hour (AH).
2.) The Level Of Discharge Of The Battery
The more discharged the battery, the longer it will take you to charge the battery. Do not let your motorcycle batteries be on a discharged state for a long time. They do not do well in this scenario. If your battery always gets discharged, expect to buy a new battery soon.
It is preferred that batteries are slowly charged. These means charging at 10 amp or lower. Fast charging is not recommended because it may overcharge the battery and reduce the lifespan.
3.) The Output Current Of The Charger – Measured In Amp Or A
Battery Charging at 1 amp. This is generally done with a trickle charger and would generally take 24 hours or more with a drained battery. This is recommended for small batteries. Do note that most trickle chargers are rated at about 1.25 amps. (Know more about trickle chargers by reading further below.)
With charge at 1 amp, a 10 AH battery would take about 10 hours to be fully charged.
Battery Charging at 2 amp. This is the most recommended value when charging motorcycle batteries. This provides steady power to your batteries. If you have a 10 amp/hour battery with a 2 amp charger, It would take 5 hours for the battery to be fully charged.
Battery Charging at 6 amp. The standard for batteries is that you should never charge a battery at more than one-tenth its current rating in amp hours (AH). Simply put, if you have a 20 AH battery, a charger with no more than 2 Amp is needed.
Since most motorcycles batteries only have about 21 AH, charging with a 6 amp charger is not recommended. This will cause your motorcycle battery to deteriorate in its performance.
Battery Charging at 10 amp. You might be thinking, the higher the current, the faster it will charge. In essence, yes but it would also certainly damage your motorcycle battery. Avoid charging your motorcycle battery at 10 amp as it would definitely overcharge/overload your battery.
4.) The Discharge Rate Of The Battery – Measured In C
Measures how much current the battery can deliver. If you see a battery labeled with 2.2 AH and 20 C rating, it means it can provide 44 A. The formula is – Ampere per Hour AH multiplied by C rating = Amount of current that the battery can deliver in Ampere A.
Too much information, right?
I feel you. First off, for you to have a better idea, you would need to learn a few things about motorcycle batteries. Good thing for you, I have done a bit of research to help you understand motorcycle batteries better.
Motorcycle batteries should be able to serve you for around three years. They could be able to serve you for more than that if you have a well-maintained battery. If you read further below, I have included in this article some of the easiest ways to maintain your motorcycle battery.
Let’s familiarize ourselves with some of the technical terms. Definitions have been included here to help you better understand batteries.
Amp Rate Of The Charger
Measured by Ampere or A. Unit used to describe how much electrical current is flowing.
Amp Per Hour (battery)
Measured by Ampere per Hour or AH. A measure of capacity used to estimate the amount of power the battery can hold. In other words, if you have a battery with 3 AH, it means it can supply 3 Amps for 1 hour.
For a 12-volt nominal battery, A fully charged battery would have a voltage measured at 12.60 volts. Always measure the voltage of a battery when it is not connected to any electrical load. This is called an open circuit voltage. A fully discharged battery would have a measurement of 10.5 volts. Voltage can be measured by a voltmeter.
Battery life is determined by this formula:
Capacity (Ampere per Hour AH) divided by Load (Ampere A) = Battery life (Hours H)
You would typically encounter these terminologies if you plan on reading and learning more about batteries. These should help you on your way.
It does take a lot for us to accurately know how long it will take to charge the battery, but simple battery maintenance would help make do without all of these calculations.
Here are a few easy steps on proper motorcycle maintenance:
1. Regularly ride your motorcycle.
2. Check voltage output weekly using a voltmeter. Reading should be 12.5 volts to 13.5 volts with a 12-volt battery. With a 6 volt battery, reading should be 6.5 volts to 7.5 volts.
3. If you are planning to store your motorcycle, remove the battery and plug it to a trickle charger.
4. Clean your motorcycle battery every month to prevent corrosion and sulfation.
Some safety precautions:
1. Always remove the battery from your motorcycle prior to doing any tests or activities with it such as charging and measurements.
2. Do not use a charger with a higher voltage than your battery.
3. Do not use a charger with a higher or equal to the amp amount of your charger.
4. If the motorcycle is in a garage, open the garage door or bring the motorcycle outside prior to charging and performing any battery activities.
Different Types Of Chargers
Different chargers are available for your different charging needs. Identify the needs of your battery prior to charging it. This is the key to ensuring your battery can be able to serve you longer.
Trickle chargers are not meant to charge batteries. They were made to maintain a charge on your motorcycle batteries. Trickle chargers are customarily used on batteries put in storage for a long time. This is commonly done by most of us during the winter season.
This type of charger does not have an automatic shut off feature if your battery is fully charged and for this reason, you would have to monitor the charge levels.
This type of charger provides a constant and gentle current to the battery. They have an automatic shut off feature should your battery be charged entirely already. Float chargers are also used on batteries put in storage for a long time. Another great thing about this is that it turns back on if your battery requires re-charging due to self-discharge.
If you are using a standard motorcycle charger, you would need to constantly check if charging has been completed. Failing to do so might cause your battery to overcharge and cause irreparable damage. For this reason, I highly recommend that you purchase a smart motorcycle charger.
What Is A Smart Motorcycle Charger And What Does It Do?
From the word “smart,” these chargers can intelligently control the amount of charge it gives your batteries, therefore, preventing it from overcharging. With a smart charger connected, there is no need to constantly check if your battery is already full. You can leave it overnight and sleep without any worries.
Motorcycle batteries take a shorter amount of time to be charged compared to car batteries. On average, motorcycle batteries would require a good 24 hours to be fully charged. Without knowing the specifics of your battery and charger, your batteries can be damaged.
There is a lot to learn, and it can be pretty overwhelming. Should you want not to be bothered by all of these, I’d recommend for you to exercise proper maintenance of motorcycle battery.