Scorpion batteries, BatteryStuff.com, voltage and CCA

ZoneIII

Supercharged
Joined
Mar 7, 2016
Messages
271
Location
Northern Illinois
Ride
2015 Triumph Rocket III Touring
I figured it was time to replace the original five year-old battery in my R3T, not because it was bad but simply as preventative maintenance. After reading some reviews, I decided to order a 320 CCA Scorpion battery from BatteryStuff.com. The battery arrived in two days from across the country.

I did a quick test of it with my Fluke DVOM and my Topdon conductance tester before installing it. Voltage was fine but it failed the conductance meter’s tests. I thought maybe it was just because it had been sitting for a while and needed charging so I installed it. I always plug my Optimate 6 in my Rocket when not riding. I seemed to notice that it hesitated slightly when starting and cranking slightly slower but I thought it might be my imagination so I didn’t give it much thought.

Fast forward less than two months when the temperature dropped to 40F. The engine only cranked twice feebly and gave up. I tested the battery in the bike. It passed the voltage tests (unloaded and loaded) but failed the conductance test. I contacted BatteryStuff and they emailed me a test procedure for me to follow and then send the results back to them. The battery passed all their tests but they only tested for voltage. Voltage tests can tell you if a battery is bad but they can’t tell you if a battery is good. Voltage is only part of the story. My conductance tester showed the battery only had 150 CCAs even after a full charge. After performing all BatteryStuff’s tests I did my own tests. Voltage was checked with my Fluke DVOM. In addition to the load test while cranking in the bike, I did a load test with my carbon pile load tester on the bench and I also did a conductance test. Short story: all BatteryStuff’s tests would indicate the battery was good but it was really bad. Very bad!

For comparison, I did all the same tests with my old battery that was to be replaced. It passed all tests with flying colors and, in fact, after five years had more CCA than it’s rated 270 CCA!

I contacted BatteryStuff with the results. Sarah at first didn’t seem to think my test results were valid because I did other tests IN ADDITION to their tests but once she understood what the situation was, she immediately sent me a new battery. (Great customer service! Thanks, Sarah.) Unfortunately, the replacement battery was bad too. Sarah kindly sent me two return labels to return both batteries for a refund at no charge to me.

The moral of this story for me is this: Batteries that come with the electrolyte installed from the factory may have been sitting unused for a long time and that can cause sulfation from what i understand. (My Optimate 6 attempts to correct that but no luck in this case.) So, when I order another battery, I’m going to order one that comes with the electrolyte separate that is to be installed by me. In the past, that’s how batteries were sold. You’d go to a parts store and someone would fill the battery you were buying with electrolyte. I don’t know if anyone does that with car/truck batteries anymore but I do know that some motorcycle batteries are sold that way and that’s good.

If you don’t have a conductance tester and you do your own work like I do, I suggest you get one of these great tools. They've come WAY down in price. They are incredibly fast and easy to use. They also test charging and starting systems. Mine even tests the diodes in an alternator. It’s so easy to use that you don’t even have to read the manual. If I didn’t have one, I couldn’t prove that the battery was bad (except for the fact that it wouldn’t turn over the Rocket!) and I might be stuck with a useless battery.
 

1K9

Big Cruisers 4 Me
Joined
May 24, 2016
Messages
3,688
Location
Clear Lake / Houston, Texas
Ride
2007 Rocket III
Yeah... the Beast that will turn over but not start is an impending doom sign for battery failure. A battery sitting on a trickle charger is not immune to failure. Not in a Rocket.
 

Joesmoe

IMOKUR2
Staff member
Joined
Aug 3, 2014
Messages
4,914
Location
Fairfax, Virginia
Ride
Triumph: 2014 Rocket III Touring
"quite useless" is a pretty strong adjective.

I've been using trickle chargers for nigh on twenty years after I used to suffer from going out on cold days and having hard or no starting, and the trickle chargers put an end to that.

The only negative I would offer about them, is they mask a degraded battery, such that the bike will start right up, then go somewhere thinking all is well, park the bike, return after work to find the bike will not start, until jump assist.

I have several bikes and backup generator on trickle charges, and all start, every time.
 

Jason Jurgens

Ons gaan nou braai...
Joined
Jan 21, 2018
Messages
1,036
Location
Narre Warren North
Ride
R1100GS, R1200GS, PX150
"quite useless" is a pretty strong adjective.

I've been using trickle chargers for nigh on twenty years after I used to suffer from going out on cold days and having hard or no starting, and the trickle chargers put an end to that.

The only negative I would offer about them, is they mask a degraded battery, such that the bike will start right up, then go somewhere thinking all is well, park the bike, return after work to find the bike will not start, until jump assist.

I have several bikes and backup generator on trickle charges, and all start, every time.
Yes, I agree...a bit harsh on my part. In the old days batteries were made quite differently with more material in the plates. In the last few years any “event” in the batterie’s life could quite easily mean the end. I remember as a young man picking up old batteries and draining them, giving them a chemical wash and refilling with acid and they’d be good as new after a charge and go on and work for years. Doubt that the modern battery would be able to!
 

Gregger

Nitrous
Joined
Nov 2, 2013
Messages
1,409
Location
Timmins, Ontario
Ride
2012 Rocket Roadster
Just a bit of clarification about Trickle Charger vs Smart Charger...

A trickle charger will not stop charging your battery after it is full. Someone who leaves or forgets this kind of charger on a battery will eventually toast it. It doesn't have the smarts to shut off. It has to be done manually.

A smart charger either in a trickle format or larger capacity will shut itself off when fully charged and turn itself back on if the battery voltage drops. It is something you can install on a battery and forget. I leave one on my bike all winter while it's in storage. Battery is 7 years old and still works fine. Also leave one on the boat and riding lawn more batteries. Have several for that need.
 

Tripps

Retired superhero
Joined
Oct 9, 2010
Messages
7,852
Location
Florida and NY
Ride
R3T,Sprintona,K1200GT, Blackbird,r/65 hack
Even the cheap $20 ones I see are all smart chargers, I'm guessing trickle chargers are a relic of the past
 
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