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Battery Jump

This is a discussion on Battery Jump within the Motorcycle Safety forums, part of the General category; johnnybelinda says it best : I would suggest adding to your bring along Tool Kit a MC-Sized (is a smaller ...


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Old 12-03-2009   #11
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johnnybelinda says it best :
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I would suggest adding to your bring along Tool Kit a MC-Sized (is a smaller gauged cable with smaller sized Alligator Clips) set of Jumper Cables. Mind it has been many years since I've needed a jump (I'm saying MC charging systems are much better / stronger these days - ditto for Gel/AGM Batteries) but at the very least you can render assistance to someone else if needed?!
Electricity is not magic. Voltage is best understood as 'pressure' (think water pressure inside a garden hose). Current or amperes is best understood as 'flow' (think water flowing from the garden hose). And Ohms is best understood as 'resistance to flow' (think hose size - a garden hose can't flow as much as a fire hose which is larger). The universal hazard is 'arcing' or sparking. When electricity is abruptly stopped or started, it can spark. (A spark is a visual phenomina of electricity with nowhere to go. In water its called 'water hammer' which is the sound you hear when you shut the water off too fast.) More importantly, it spikes the circuit it is attached to. A spike can destroy electronics (read the Triumph story above). The safest way to avoid damaging spikes or surges is to recharge the dead battery with the key off. Disconnect the cables and try to start the bike without the cables connected.
The lesson to be learned here is not that we shouldn't jump bikes, but to do it safely. Always avoid making or breaking connections with the donor or bike running or with key on. If you succeed in starting your bike, but your cables are still hooked up, either shut down first or disconnect from the donor first (that stops flow).
Finally, if your bike is a late model and has a "Check Engine" light - electronic engine controls - NEVER EVER make or break jumpers with the key in the ignition!

Last edited by Olds13; 12-03-2009 at 08:54 PM.
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Old 05-16-2010   #12
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old man dirt,
i've jumped my bike several times from a car engine and never had a direct problem from it, then again i have gone through three batteries a regulator rectifier, indicators blown, dash computer has problems and is now in the shop getting this engine coil thing replaced. basically everything electrical, and its a triumph.

i dont know if this is common with triumphs but i've had a lot of bad luck and i'll be going back to a japanese bike after this
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Old 05-17-2010   #13
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remember the well deserved saying "Lucas Prince of Darkness". Some things British are best left on the other side of the pond... One would reason that after a century of building electrical systems, the Brits would have figured out how to make a reasonably reliable system. Ahh, but the old saying "Tradition is that which we continue to do, having forgotten the reason why" - and the British are known for their 'traditions'. They, at least, have finally figured out that negative earth is more universally accepted, even though they still (correctly) argue that electrons flow from negative TO positive. But then, of course, they still drive on the wrong side and measure weight in stones.
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Old 05-22-2010   #14
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Hi Johnny675
Bottom line: Using jumper cables from a car involves possibility of sparks and bursts of excessive or reverse voltage, which are the deadly enemy of electronics. The newer bikes have more electronics. Even LEDs used for signal lights can be instantly killed by reverse voltage.

I don't think it is a good idea to use a negative ground car to boost a positive ground battery anyway.
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Old 05-22-2010   #15
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[QUOTpositive ground batteryE][/QUOTE]? Lamimartin, surely you are refering to "Positive Ground (earth in Brit-speak) systems". Those pesky electrons always charge FROM negative TO positive, but the way the system is wired decides how the battery will be connected as in positive earth (English) or negative ground (the rest of the world).
In no event should one ever connect without first being sure that at the battery, negative is to negative and positive is to positive (regardless of systems in separate vehicles). Mistaking positive earth and negative ground systems as a battery configuration will confuse the novice and potentially cause massive failures, even fires when hooking up 'in reverse'.
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Old 05-22-2010   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olds13 View Post
[QUOTpositive ground battery? Lamimartin, surely you are refering to "Positive Ground (earth in Brit-speak) systems". Those pesky electrons always charge FROM negative TO positive, but the way the system is wired decides how the battery will be connected as in positive earth (English) or negative ground (the rest of the world).
In no event should one ever connect without first being sure that at the battery, negative is to negative and positive is to positive (regardless of systems in separate vehicles). Mistaking positive earth and negative ground systems as a battery configuration will confuse the novice and potentially cause massive failures, even fires when hooking up 'in reverse'.
This is correct, UK 12 volts systems are Positive ground as opposed to the rest of the world which is based on negative ground systems. Connecting battery to battery would work but increases the risks of hydrogen explosion if a spark occurs on the battery getting charged very quickly. Hydrogen is odorless and VERY explosive ! This is why it is safer to make the last connection to the ground instead of the battery pole when boosting a weak battery. When ground is not the same polarity, I seriously doubt it is safe to even attemp such battery boost.
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Last edited by lamimartin; 05-22-2010 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 05-24-2010   #17
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You are almost right, Lami. Scroll back to my 12/09 sharing and you will read a brief analogy of how electricity works. Simply put; It's not the SIZE of the battery that is the risk, but the difference of 'voltage' between systems and the ability of the donor to flood the lower system with electrons ('amperes'). The rationale for making and breaking 'ground' first then last is based on safety of the vehicle's system. Almost universally, motor vehicles use their chassis for a common 'ground' to conserve wiring and simplify circuits. When the chassis is 'ground', this means that the connection you are wrenching off will not spark if the wrench you are using touches a metal part nearby. In addition, when jumping batteries, understanding that voltage differences causes a stampede of electrons (amperage flow)(potential for spark) it is always recommended that the last connection be made away from the last battery connection and with systems at rest (key off).
Think of 20 people waiting for the elevator(big battery). The door opens and the elevator car is empty(dead battery). We've all seen it - the crowd pushes to all get in at once, with the urgency of having that pesky door close before they are inside(spark). Trouble is, the capacity of the elevator is 12 people!(static voltage) and the other 8 will have to wait for the next ride. But wait... the big WWF guy (operating charging system) in the back wants in and starts pushing(the difference between dynamic voltage vs static voltage producing amp flow) and the waiting crowd squeezes toward the still open door and even more people are forced in. People are complaining and tempers flair (ohms) and people start sweating (overcharging). Now the door tries to close, but someone's tush is in the way(spark) and finally the offending tush is sucked in or pushed out(spark again) and the elevator goes to it's destination.
(boy! that was fun!!!) --I don't mean to sound like a nerd, but I am a wrench and I like to blog... No offense intended and none taken I sincerely hope!

Last edited by Olds13; 05-24-2010 at 12:58 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 05-24-2010   #18
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Dear Olds13,
You are a talented story teller and teacher.
I'm not a mechanic, and It is quite entertaining to read you explanations.

Thanks
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Old 07-02-2010   #19
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I haven't had to jump my bikes but a couple of times. I think the issue with jumping from a car battery in not the volts. It is the amperage the car is capable of supplying.That is whats blowing the rectifiers gauges alternatoers and such. 12 volts IS 12 volts ,but a car give give a lot more amps than most bikes will take. It's not a good idea to jump a Cadillac with a smaller car battery (back in the day).
I get around the problem by using not car cables but a household extension cord. Strip the ends, (make sure you keep them straight positive and negative attach them with the car off(duh) then start the bike. You will see the cord physically jump when you press the button on the bike. No worries. Bike starts, disconnect and fold the cord under the seat just in case. The small size of the extension cord acts as a resistor and lowers the amperage,but still gives the 12 V needed to start the bike.This has worked for me. Check my theory wih an electrician. I think you'll find it sound.
I also used to own a 67 Norton with Lucas "backwards "electronics" .I feel your pain

Last edited by grendl; 07-02-2010 at 04:24 PM. Reason: Mistake in my 'facts"
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Old 07-02-2010   #20
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OK Grendl, I'll try to explain electricity a different way for you!
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Electric current is the rate of charge flow past a given point in an electric circuit, measured in Coulombs/second which is named Amperes. In most DC electric circuits, it can be assumed that the resistance to current flow is a constant so that the current in the circuit is related to voltage and resistance by Ohm's law. The standard abbreviations for the units are 1 A = 1C/s.
(quoted from Webster's study on Electric Current)


Simply put: Voltage is pressure (think water pressure in the pipes of your house) Ohms is resistance to flow (think fire hose vs garden hose) and Amperes is electric current or rate of charge flow (think volume of water exiting the hose)
Ohms law dictates that given the same voltage, increasing the resistance of a circuit (using extension cord wire) will reduce the current flow proportionately. This assumes that the terminus of the circuit will be less than the origin. The error in your assumption is that voltage is the antagonist that gets you in trouble, but in fact it is the differential between a fully charged battery and a dead battery.
Imagine connecting a clear hose at the spigot that you use to water your garden. You turn on the tap and water flows out in abundance. Now you take that same hose which is still connected to that spigot and you walk into your utility room and hook it up to your tub faucet. When you turn on the garden spigot, very little water moves because it can't go anywhere. You turn on the utility tub faucet and water still doesn't move! Why? Because the pressure in the pipes throughout the house is the same.
That logic applies in electricity. 12 volts can only be significant if there is a difference between power and ground. Flow can only be significant if the resistance is low enough to allow flow (providing the flow has somewhere to go!)
So you see, using small wires is nice but not the answer.

I hope this makes sense for you. Otherwise, please refer to the previous postings.

Last edited by Olds13; 07-02-2010 at 05:05 PM.
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