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  1. #1
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    Default Speaking of batteries? AGM battery seems to be Fubar. Anyone else have this issue?

    So, the application is a Hardley Dangerous Sportster, so might get moved to the American bikes section, but the topic is batteries,, And my weird issue.

    So, application could be anything, But recently bought 3 batteries for projects, so anything that rolls on 2 wheels is applicable, Not that its a HD Sportie. (Year 2000 883 evo)

    So my old AGM battery lasted about 5 years and I bet if I had been more diligent about battery tender and maint, I could have gotten longer, But excuses excuses, the last 2 years have been eventful!

    So, a good AGM battery is not cheap,, good ones tend to be over $100 for my application, so rolled the dice on a eBay special good deal. See: https://www.ebay.com/itm/203037313209
    " 12 Volt 20Ah YTX20L-BS GEL Power Sport Battery
    Dimensions: 6.90" x 3.50" x 6.00" (L x W x H)

    Cold Cranking Amps (CCA): 340A

    Replaces: YTX20L-BS, YTX20HL-BS, GTX20LBS

    Gel batteries are injected with Gel Electrolytes, creating a completely "maintenance- free" operation.

    Batteries come fully charged and ready to use. Advanced design works right out of the box and requires no maintenance, yet offers the option to prolong the standard life by adding extra electrolytes.
    These batteries are one of the most trusted and highest reviewed sealed lead acid batteries on the market. It's rugged construction is made up of non-conductive ABS plastic, which is resistant to shock, vibration, chemicals, and heat. It features AGM technology which allows the battery to be spill-proof and maintenance-free. Our batteries come with a 30 day worry-free return policy on all defective items, along with a one-year limited warranty! For inquiries, feel free to contact us. ​​​​​​​"

    Sounds awesome right? I researched and thats excellent CCA of 340a for that size-class of battery. Good feedback and high volume seller, Even better,,, Price! $55.98 and free 3 day shipping! Such a deal!

    So I installed it in late June, Did a bunch of other work, service and some cosmetics. 4 moderate rides and then I ended up leading a vintage club ride, took "Old Reliable" instead of one of my British bikes, But apparently the Sportie caught a virus/infection from the Prince of Darkness British bikes.

    (Joseph A Lucas-A Gentleman does NOT motor about after dark!. The Prince of Insufficient light).

    So, Ride was country roads, fairly brisk pace, 120 mikes of variable terrain, lots of bumps and a very firm suspension setting. (Shake rattle & roll!)

    Towards the end climbing out of a canyon, My turn signals were intermittant, and Speedo on-off and flicker, same with lighting.

    At a short rallypoint, There was nothing, I wiggled wires, pressed on terminals, But it bump started on a hill. Made it to the end. Died after Lunch at the Pub on my way home.

    But it surged if I flicked between Hi-Low beams, and occasionally lights came on and starter turned over. Other times the lights & indicators on the dash would fade in and out like a bad connection. I figured I had a pinched wire, short, or bad connection. Tore it apart on roadside.. Could bump start and Idle but flub-flub-flub when revving it.

    I pulled the headlight and tail lights and no change... A guy stopped and had a powerbox, and no change when jumping it. Again, figured I had bad grounds, or shorts.

    At home, checked the voltage and had 13.58 volts across the battery, But wiggling wires,, No Ooomph and wouldnt turn over.

    Tore it all apart, tested the regulator, grounds, terminals. Cant find anything wrong. Tried another battery... it starts and runs perfectly And good charging output well within factory manual specs.

    Just checked it again, and top is see thru,, looks like all the acid is gone. Boiled dry? Again, Alternator and regulator are within specs. Another battery 12.78 at rest, at Idle flickers between 13. 75 to 14 volts and steady 14.25 to 14.50 volts at 2000 RPM with lights on.

    Again, after I got home,,, it had 13.58 volts at rest, which is freakishly high, just checked it and cycles between 10.50 and 11.25 volts on my meter. My Smart charger freaks out and all the lights blink.

    I emailed the seller, But I am inclined to pop off the top and add acid, and try charging, see what it does,. But I think the whole thing internally shorted out.

    I CANT find anything wrong with the bike. Never saw such weird behavior. Anyone else experience this?

    11.32 volts... Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	104741 Smart charger wigging out, cant get a read on that freaky battery... Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	104742

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    Default

    I have found that the USA-made AGM batteries are pretty reliable, BUT do not recover well from a full discharge. Any of the import (Chinese these days) are hit-or-miss at best and worthless junk at worst. I have been buying American made AGM batteries from AutoZone the last few years that have been decent. They appear to be of Deka manufacture, but I don't know that for certain. Tried an import small AGM battery in my kicker FX, but could not get any life out of it. A season at best.

    Lesson: Buy American

    Jim

  3. #3
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    Default

    I went ahead and ordered a new AGM battery, Still waiting on the ebay seller, although a big vendor, I think I can get a refund or partial. Careful scrutiny shows its not a true AGM and is instead a Gell cell, The reason I went with it, besides the good feedback was cheap price...I know right?
    BUT the #1 reason was actually the CCA of 340. I did a ton of research and thats the highest amount of CCA I could find without going to a bazillion dollar specialty battery like a Optima.

    I ordered a regular AGM and will be here Monday. Slightly less CCA but still decent, Still 20 Ah, and slightly less CCA at 330.

    *Always look for the highest CCA and Ah for any battery the same size, Generally a indication of quality and internals.

    You are correct about Deka. Harley uses or did use Deka batteries but brand them as their own, But you pay 2x-3x the price. Deka is a well made US quality product.

    Lowes Hardware stocks them, but you can buy online many retailers from Battery Warehouse, to Amazon at a fraction of what a Harley dealer charges.

    Are Napa batteries Deka?
    Napa batteries have been made by DEKA since 2009. They are being manufactured by East Penn.
    Who makes Deka battery?
    East Penn Manufacturing, the parent company behind the Deka brand, is known for their expert research and development in the power sports industry.

    Walmart is evil,,,, but if on a roadtrip, well, make a deal with the devil.
    Who makes batteries for Walmart?
    EverStart batteries are manufactured by Johnson Controls, the sole supplier of these batteries to Walmart as of 2021. Johnson Controls is a major battery manufacturer and its EverStart batteries are low-maintenance, of high quality, and last for long. These cost between $50-$130, depending on type and size.

    A lot of Harley true believers debate the Deka vs Harley brand on forums,,, Its a bit silly, But Deka makes them as well as for other companies, However sometimes the terminal connection is different.
    From a Harley fanboy forum.......

    " I hate to add to this topic a few weeks after it was brought up, but for those curious about the terminal specs and design, I might be able to shed some light on. I'm one of the 8,500+ employees of East Penn Manufacturing (Deka batteries), I actually work right here in the heart of the manufacturing complex in the little town of Lyons, PA.
    I've been employed here for 6 years now, working in our small retail store for the last 5 1/2. We see the H-D batteries come through here all the time (though we can't sell them to the public), we have to sell our Deka ETX30L batteries for the touring bikes. And like everyone has said, the recessed terminals are a slight pain in the butt because they come with the brass D shaped washer to make that terminal flush to the case. Same issue with the Big Crank, Diehard, Duracell lines and etc.
    What I've personally been told is that we can't replicate that terminal design for anything other than a Harley branded battery. This follows suit with a contract that we have with H-D which makes the Harley batteries unique and more "user friendly" because you don't have to worry about that spacer.
    I know it's not the best answer, but I don't have access to the contracts we have with our customers to see exactly how it's worded."

  4. #4
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    Default

    I always recommend a battery straight from Harley if they have one that fits your particular application.
    Expensive yes , but they have always been excellent batteries for me. I’ve gotten at least 5 years and a couple of friends have gotten 7.
    I recommend buying the manufacture’s brand battery for whatever vehicle you own .
    Why ?
    Because in my experience their not going to skimp on quality control in this area.
    The number 1 thing their products have to do is start !!!!
    I switched off from buying aftermarket car batteries 35 years ago when the 5 year batteries were good for about 1.5-2 years. Started using AC Delco or Motorcraft and viola!!!! Battery problems went away.
    Some things they get right.

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