Do Lithium Motorcycle Batteries Need a Special Charger?

If you’re looking for a lithium battery charger for your motorcycle, it would be a fantastic idea to pick up a charger that provides some versatility. Nowadays, you can find several motorcycle battery charger models that offer several modules. Many of the lithium motorcycle battery chargers you can purchase today can work with several vehicles and provide several different charging modes.

Do lithium motorcycle batteries need a special charger? Yes, most lithium motorcycle batteries utilize an external-powered BMS charger that does need to be rebalanced from time to time. However, lithium motorcycle batteries are currently evolving, and Ultrabatt now offers a lithium motorcycle battery that does not require an external charger. 

Since there isn’t much information available on the Internet today covering lithium motorcycle battery chargers and their special charging requirements, we decided to create this article to help you out. Below we’ll cover the difference between smart chargers and balance trickle chargers and how you can choose the best lithium power charger for your motorcycle. 

Lithium Motorcycle Battery Chargers 

For many years, motorcycles have been required to use external chargers for power. However, one motorcycle battery charger manufacturer, Ultrabatt, recently came out with a new design that could revolutionize the world of motorcycle battery chargers.

With an Ultrabatt motorcycle battery, you will no longer be required to buy an external powered BMS charger. That means you won’t have to spend the time and agony rebalancing your cells. Instead, Ultrabatt’s battery uses a multi-function microprocessor and that internal BMS system helps control the charge that’s occurring within the battery. So, instead of worrying about an external BMS charger, Ultrabatt solved the problem by putting the BMS charger inside the system. 

Ultrabatt’s built-in BMS batteries make it easy for you to charge your motorcycle without an external charger. You can plug your lithium battery right into your motorcycle’s alternator. Whenever you do this, there will be no detrimental life-shortening problems. 

Microprocessor-Controlled Battery Devices

Lithium Motorcycle battery

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Internal BMS system batteries are a relatively new thing in the motorcycle world. That means purchasing an internal BMS system battery might be out of your price range if you are shopping on a budget. However, even if an internal BMS system battery is out of your price range, there’s still fantastic news for you. There are still plenty of other lithium motorcycle battery charger options out there for you to choose from.

For instance, instead of trying to come up with the cash for an internal BMS system battery, you could consider a microprocessor-controlled device for your battery charger. A microprocessor-controlled battery charger will have three or four different charging preset options for you to pick from, making the charging process simple. The preset options you’ll typically have to choose from include:

  • Float mode
  • Bulk charging
  • Initialization
  • Monitoring
  • Desulfation

Of all of the methods on our list above, the most important one to have is a desulfation mode. While purchasing a battery charger with a desulfation mode might also cost a bit more, it’s nowhere near the price of an internal BMS system battery. Desulfation means the battery can pulse charge at a high frequency, meaning the charger can revive a battery that has completely died in most cases. 

Whenever you take the time to reinvest in a new battery and battery charger, make sure you are using your purchases. If you leave your battery sitting and unused for a period, your battery might experience a lead sulfate buildup on its plates. 

When that happens, the battery isn’t able to hold as long of a charge as it previously could. However, if you have a battery with a desulfation mode that you leave sitting for a while, the desulfation mode can help bring the battery back to life. That’s because the desulfation process helps do the following:

  • Breaks down the crystals
  • Cleans the lead plates
  • Increases the charge span on the battery. 

Smart Chargers and Trickle Chargers

Motorcycle battery charger

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When you start shopping around for a motorcycle battery charger, two of the more common types of chargers you’ll come across are known as smart chargers and trickle chargers. If you are shopping on a budget, you might feel instantly attracted to trickle chargers since they offer cost-effective pricing. Unfortunately, a trickle charger really won’t do the trick for you over the long haul when it comes to effectively powering up your motorcycle. 

The main problem with some, although not all, trickle chargers is that they continue to direct current into your battery even when the battery is already full. If you are around to watch your motorcycle battery’s charging routine, then this type of trickle charger might work out okay for you as long as you are willing to put in the time and effort. However, most people would rather have that time to themselves, because it will cost you several hours each time you do this.

However, it really depends on the type of trickle charger you purchase. Some trickle chargers work effectively like smart chargers and do not continue to charge up your battery. To figure out what type of trickle charger you might be buying, make sure you read the manufacturer’s directions and product description. That way you can tell if you’ve purchased a trickle charger that will detect when the battery is full and shut off, or if you purchased a continuous trickle charger. 

Smart chargers are capable of recharging lithium motorcycle batteries because they are entirely automatic. Keep in mind that certain trickle chargers can also do this, but all smart chargers always do this. That means you’ll never have to waste your time monitoring the battery charger while it does its work. Instead, you’ll be able to leave your motorcycle battery on the smart charger, and the battery charger will take care of everything else. 

Differences Between Smart Chargers and Trickle Chargers

To make the differences between these two types of motorcycle chargers a bit clearer, we are going to break down the differences between smart chargers and trickle chargers below. Smart chargers and trickle chargers are different because:

  • Smart chargers and trickle chargers have different power charging times. A smart charger feeds current to the motorcycle battery much faster than a trickle charger. 
  • Trickle chargers have to be monitored and then removed once the battery reaches a full charge. If you don’t perform these actions with a trickle charger, then you’ll wind up decreasing your battery’s charging capabilities because the battery’s bank will be overfed. A smart charger, however, automatically adjusts the current and does not need to be monitored. 
  • Smart chargers work much more quickly than trickle chargers do. With a smart charger, the battery will be able to start the engine after you’ve plugged in the charger. However, a trickle charger won’t be nearly as powerful, and you’ll have to leave the trickle charger on for a while before you can start the motorcycle. 
  • A trickle charger can only fill half full power banks. However, a smart charger can supply all of the power banks and balance them out automatically, saving you a lot of time and effort. 

Solar Chargers

Motorcycle solar charger

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Another charger option you’ll have when it comes to your lithium motorcycle battery is a solar charger. However, if you are shopping on a budget, a solar charger might be a bit expensive. Still, purchasing a solar charger isn’t a bad idea, because you’ll eventually get back the money you invest in your motorcycle over time. That’s because you won’t need to use your electricity to power up your motorcycle battery.

If you are the type of person that parks your motorcycle in your yard or garage and covers it while you aren’t using it for long periods, then a solar battery charger might be an excellent option for both you and your bike. A solar battery charger on a motorcycle trickle charges your motorcycle’s battery using the energy it pulls from the sun. Solar chargers are capable of keeping a motorcycle’s battery healthy while charging it during the offseason.

Solar chargers are excellent options for people that often park their motorcycles in areas that don’t have easy access to electricity. Do you like taking your motorcycle on camping trips, for instance? If that’s the case, and you like to hit the road for days at a time, then spending the extra money on a solar charger would be an excellent idea. You’ll never have to worry about charging your motorcycle while you are on the road for days. 

Plus, solar chargers also come with weatherproof connectors and are built to do well in extreme climates. Keep in mind that the use of a solar charger won’t be a fast process when it comes to charging up your motorcycle. However, it’s still a very effective way to maintain a healthy battery.  

Can You Use a Standard Automotive Trickle Charger?

Some people wonder if they can charge their lithium motorcycle battery with a standard automotive workshop trickle charger. The answer to that question depends on a few things. You actually can use a standard automotive workshop charger with your lithium battery if your lithium battery’s manufacturer says that you can. So, to find out the answer to this question, you’ll need to look at the guidelines and instructions you received with your battery. 

In most cases, however, unless your battery manufacturer’s guidelines state you can do so, you otherwise won’t be able to use a standard automotive workshop trickle charger with your lithium motorcycle battery. To help you understand how to maintain your lithium motorcycle battery better, we’ve included a few tips below.

  • When you are storing your battery during the winter, you want to ensure that you’ve fully charged it. Your charge should be at 13.2 volts or more. If your battery isn’t at that charge yet, then you’ll need to recharge it. 
  • If your smart charger is in a desulfation stage, remember to keep it plugged in until the entire desulfation process is completed. Disconnecting too soon during the desulfation process can do irreparable damage to your battery. 
  • Also, when storing your battery, you’ll need to make sure you remove the negative battery cable because that can drain your battery life. Throughout the winter, you should check the voltage of your battery monthly while it remains in storage. 
  • If you decide you need to charge your battery back-up while you are storing it for the winter, then you should think about taking your motorcycle out for a spin. After that, recharge the battery. Actively using the bike before a battery charge means you’ll extend the lifespan of your battery. 
  • If you want to keep your charge healthy and active in your lithium battery, then you should ride your bike often. Riding your bike and using your battery helps maintain better battery life and performance, keeping your motorcycle’s charging system functioning correctly.

The Best Power Chargers for Your Motorcycle

So, how can you pick out the right type of battery charger for your motorcycle? Don’t worry; we’ve got a list of points below that should help you out. 

  • Understand your type of battery. Motorcycle batteries can be lead-acid, but most of the new batteries are lithium. There are many smart feeding battery charger options out there that can work with either type of battery. 
  • Understand how to review your volts and amps on your battery. You need to select a voltage for your bike battery charger that matches what your battery’s capabilities are. By doing this, you’ll get the best performance level out of your battery. Also, your battery will discharge at a slower rate and last much longer. When considering amps, selecting any charger starting at 0.75 amps should do the trick. 
  • If your bike has been idling for a long time, then you’ll want to reconnect it to a battery charger. If you charge the bike while it idles, you’ll wind up sending fewer amps into the battery, which decreases the possibilities of overheating or damaging your battery. A smart battery charger will do wonders for this process. 
  • Also, consider a jump starter for your motorcycle. Jumpstarters provide an excellent way to get your bike going when you don’t feel like waiting. 

How Lithium Batteries Charge

Lead-acid batteries use a very different method for charging compared to lithium batteries. In a lead-acid battery, the internal resistance of the battery cell goes up when the battery is being charged. Sometimes, one cell can start charging faster than the others. When that happens, it creates a higher resistance that slows down the charging rate of the battery cells. So, lead-acid batteries often limit their charge rates. 

On the other hand, lithium batteries work in a very different manner. When a cell in a lithium battery charges, the internal resistance of the battery’s cells goes down. When one cell picks up a faster charge compared to its counterparts, it’s resistance then goes down. That means the charging rate will speed up because there isn’t much resistance. However, that also means most lithium batteries won’t balance themselves out as they charge.

That’s why you should consider purchasing a smart charger instead of a trickle charger with your lithium batteries. If you use a smart charger for your lithium batteries, the smart charger will balance the lithium battery’s cells out automatically and quickly. 

Other Factors to Consider

When you start your motorcycle battery charger shopping, you can opt to pick up a battery charger that can charge your battery in multiple ways. It’s helpful to find a motorcycle battery charger that comes with standard clamps as well as O-ring connectors. It’s nice to have those connectors when you need to charge your battery for a lengthy period. 

If you know you need to pick up a charger for your car, too, then you might want to consider a device that has a few DC plugs. That way, you’ll never have to worry about not having enough outlets or places to charge. Also, using chargers with DC plugs is typically a cleaner process as well for those of you that don’t want to take a shower after each motorcycle battery charging attempt. 

You may also want to purchase a charger that has an LED light indicator display, too. Older model chargers lack this feature. However, more recent motorcycle battery chargers now feature this display, which will tell you if the battery is charging, how much of a charge you have, and if you’ve got a problem with your battery. 

Conclusion

There are some very fancy chargers out there that will tell you just about everything you’d ever want to know about the battery charging process while it’s in progress. These battery chargers often feature diagnostics as well. If you feel that these features would help you, then consider spending the money to purchase a charger that offers these options.

Remember that you’ll also need to consider safety factors when you purchase your motorcycle’s battery charger. So, ensure you are buying a charger that also features spark-proof connectors and short-circuits protection. With those extra safety features on your battery charger, you shouldn’t have to worry about anything distressing happening. If you wind up purchasing a solar charger, you’ll wind up with more safety features than normal. 

However, if you can’t afford a solar charger, simply purchase a battery charger that works for you and your budget, and that has safety features. That way, both you and your motorcycle battery will stay safe whenever you need to perform a charge. 

1 thought on “Do Lithium Motorcycle Batteries Need a Special Charger?”

  1. My friend purchased a motorcycle the other day and he told me that he saw a couple of ads regarding battery chargers. He asked me for help, and after reading this article I learned there is now a way for you to charge a motorcycle’s battery without an external charger! I should share this with him so he could consider purchasing one for his brand new bike.

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