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flat battery after rain, mist, condensation

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' at netrider.net.au started by Rad, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. Greetings to all,

    1. Rain & heavy fog.
    2. Start bike & ride in rain & heavy fog.
    3. Return & put my cheap, non-breathable, cover on bike.
    4. 2 days later remove cover & find much condesation over all of bike.
    5. Not enough power in battery to start.
    6. Push start, rides fine.
    7. 20min ride into town, park, buy aust motorcycle magazine & A-team season 1 DVD (I watched the show in the '80s)
    8. Not enough power in battery to start up again.
    9. Covert little push-start in middle of town, rides fine.
    10. Back at home, park, barely any power in battery.

    NB: This is the second time that this scenario has occured. I replaced the battery after this happened the first time after condensation found over bike.
    Tested new battery with multimeter, 12.6V then 13.5Vish when engine off then running respectively. Doesn't seem to be feared Honda reg/rec issue.

    Is there anyone out there who would agree that the condensation has caused a short somewhere along the line and is draining the battery and stopping it from charging, if indeed both are possible?

    Thanks for your time,
  2. Check your fuse block, make sure the fuse on the return line to the battery is not blown.

    Park it in the sun for a day or two, and when satisfied that its dry, recharge the battery. If it is a battery that has screw tops, make sure that there are no exposed plates before you start to charge it, and if you need to fill it, don't over fill. Use demineralised water if you need to top it up. Make sure it sits flat before you charge it, and also with the caps in, lift the battery about 3 inches off the bench, and just let it slide through your fingers and give a bit of a thud against the bench. A few gentle knocks can break down any formations on the plates that can be causing a short.

    See how you go after these things.

    If it still does it, then maybe time to look for a short.
  3. The battery has died internally. Coincidentally when the bike was covered.
    No amount of condensation will prevent the battery being charged when you have readings like that on a meter.
    The 13.6 with engine running proves reg/ rec is working and TRYING to charge the batttery, if there was problem with circuitry you wouldn't see the voltage rise.
  4. next step

    Thanks VTRaffair & Ducfreak,
    Clarification; those readings12.5V & 13.5Vish, where on the new battery after the initial occurence of this event. Only today will I investigate the readings on this battery in it's present state. I'll have to push start her to get down to the local auto shop to purchase charger.
    Sadly, when the weather is miserable here, it stays that way for a while such that the plan to dry her out will have to be postponed for a couple of days.
    Will report back soon,
  5. test results

    Was too dark to test battery last night when I got back. Assumed it was flat as when I turned the key after returning last night & shutting her down, there was barely any power coming to headlight and certainly not enough to get her started again.
    (BTW - not a screw top battery)

    This morning however, 12.8V. "That's odd", says I.
    I checked the main fuse - no problem.
    Did notice some oxidisation on the tips of a pin on one of the 4-pins on the connector adjacent to the main fuse.
    "I wonder if it'll start this morning?"
    Yep, she started without a hitch.
    14.2V running.

    It's parked outside as I don't have undercover parking for a few months. But last night I left the cover off.
    Thick fog all of last night.
    Bit clearer this morning.
    Still a bit of condensation throughout the bike, however.

    Conclusion: for me, I reckon the condesation is causing a short somewhere. Why? Because the moment before each of the two occassions that this has happened I've taken the cover off and thought, "Wow, that amount of condensation can't be good." My man/machine instincts have told me that something wasn't right.

    Will post here if happens again & see if my man/machine instincts were accurate.

    Thanks for your input,
  6. More likely than battery going flat is that the battery is OK, but the power is not getting where it should due to a bad connection. I'd look for loose connections at the battery, earth strap to frame, then follow main positive lead from battery to starter solenoid and ignition switch. Loosen bolt on connections/pull apart plug-in connectors and check they're clean, spray with WD40 and re-tighten. Also give ignition switch a spray.
  7. +1 Definatley sounds like a bad connection to either the main earth or main positive at the battery.

    In addition to the above post, there is a grease you can buy, that protects electrical connections from condensation, you dont want to get it everywhere, but smearing a little on any connections that are previously forming corrosion, can help keep them a1.


    See how you go with that.

    Best of luck.
  8. Positive connection

    Thanks for that tip VTRaffair. Will stop in at the local auto shop and ask for some.

    Odd: after I started her last week, I switched her off, returned to enter my last post, & when ready to start her again - no luck. "Why did it work last time, I asks meself?" Hmmm, I had the seat off to connect the multimeter. So I took the seat off and, yep she started. The only electrical part of the bike that came close to being in contact with the seat was the positive/main fuse connection. Pulled it apart again & set it back together - it worked. I made sure that it sat correctly in it's shallow housing so that the seat didn't touch it when placed back on the bike.

    Hasn't been problem since but as the weather has been foggy & wet again, I'll post here again if the problem arises.