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If you’ve ever had to disconnect or connect a motorcycle battery, you might feel like you’re about to disarm a bomb.
But it’s not as dangerous as it looks – as long as you do it properly.
Tune in to discover:
- The correct, SAFE procedure to connect and disconnect a battery
- 3 common things to pay attention to while you’re servicing your battery
Hello, and welcome to another episode of 30-minute motorcycling – a podcast for those riders who are at the beginning of their own Dual Wheel Journey, where you’ll discover something new about how your motorcycle, moped, or scooter works – in less than 30 minutes.
And now, it’s time to talk more about your battery – specifically how to look after it.
But we’re also going to talk about the order in which to safely connect and disconnect a battery – because, yes, it’s not as straightforward as pulling out a power chord.
Before we talk about any of that, however, we need to talk about the lead-acid battery itself.
While we’re saving a more in-depth look at the battery and even a comparison between lead-acid and lithium batteries for a future episode, you need to know this about a lead-acid battery – it stores electricity which powers either the electrical system or, in the case of electric two-wheelers, the motor at the rear wheel.
Aside from that, the battery’s also responsible for providing the electricity to make the spark that the spark plug needs to ignite the fuel mixture in an internal combustion engine
Because the battery plays such an important role, it must be serviced at least twice a year.
And if you’re going to do this yourself, make sure that you wear gloves and safety glasses to protect yourself from battery acid.
But first and foremost, the battery must be disconnected to prevent you from getting an electrical shock.
If you look closely at the battery, you’ll notice that it has two cables connected to it – a red one and a black one.
The red cable is known as the “positive lead,” while the black one is known as the “negative lead.”
Now, pay attention because this is extremely important – when you go to disconnect the battery, it’s crucial that you disconnect the negative cable first.
This will break the electrical circuit and ensure that no electricity can flow from the battery.
I once made the mistake of disconnecting the positive cable first, and when the positive connector accidentally came into contact with a piece of metal, sparks were flying – dangerously close to me too, I might add.
So learn from my silly mistake – remember to disconnect the negative connector first.
Once the battery is safely disconnected, there are a few things you should do when you’re servicing your battery.
The first thing is to inspect the battery’s terminals.
If they get dirty, it causes increased resistance, which causes the battery to have a poor ability to charge and supply power.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to clean the terminals and even add some corrosion preventative – while the battery’s fully disconnected, of course.
Also, while wearing properly insulated safety gloves, check if the terminals themselves are loose. If they are, retighten them.
Speaking of tightening things, make sure that the battery itself is fastened down properly. If it comes off while you’re riding, it could cause a short circuit in the entire electrical system.
If you need to charge the battery – do you need a motorcycle charger? Or can you use a car charger?
I live by a code when it comes to this – if in doubt, don’t.
It’s also important that if you’ve got a scooter or a small motorcycle with a 6-volt BATTERY, NEVER use a 12-volt charger.
So now that you’re done replacing or servicing your battery, it’s time to put in onto your bike – which includes reconnecting it
First of all, make sure that you connect the cables to the correct terminal – i.e. the red cable on the positive terminal and the black cable to the negative terminal.
Fortunately, it’s easy to tell which is which, as most batteries have a plus and a minus symbol carved next to the terminal.
As you may already have figured out, the minus character indicates the negative terminal, while the plus character indicates the positive terminal.
So, you now know where to connect your cables. But in what order should you connect them?
It’s easy – it’s the reverse order of when you took them off. In other words, you begin by connecting the positive cable to the positive terminal. Then, you connect the negative cable to the negative terminal.
And that was how to look after your battery at a basic level, as well as how to connect and disconnect a battery safely.
If there’s a topic about motorcycle maintenance and mechanics you’d like me to cover on this podcast, battery-related or otherwise, please send me an email at email@example.com
But with that in mind, we’re not done, because there’s plenty more to cover about batteries, including differences between lead-acid and lithium batteries, and flooded and maintenance-free batteries.
But that’s a topic for another day.
Until then, keep your helmet on and your eyes on the road. Bye!