Friday, October 03, 2008

Airheads and Heated Grips

Yesterday I found out the hard way that using one's heated grips on Brigitta, my 1987 R80 Beemer, on a short ride is probably not such a good idea.

The temperatures were in the high 40s to low 50s during my 11 mile commute to work and I turned on the heated grips on low. They really felt nice and warm and my medium gloves were all I needed. I made sure to turn off the heat of course once I parked Brigitta in the work parking lot.

The work day over, I go out to her, gear up, get on and tried to crank the engine. I could hear it turning sluggishly. Damn, I thought...so I tried half choke, almost caught but then just a weak turning over of the engine. Full choke, same thing. I checked the throttle and choke cables and they seemed OK.

I placed her on her sidestand, checked for fuel in both carburetor bowls and they were full so probably not a fuel issue. Another rider had come out while I was doing this and asked if my battery was dead. I told him I did not think so as I put Brigitta up on her centerstand and made another quick check of all the connections to the coil and spark plugs.

I went to crank her one more time while still on the centerstand and this time she cranked over and caught! I quickly gave it some throttle to keep the revs up and breathed a sigh of relief.

I am thinking I just drained the battery enough so that it would not crank the engine when I first tried. Either that or I flooded the engine with the multiple attempts. Could be either. Must be more careful about both. These Airheads are known for having pretty weak charging systems after all. I think my alternator puts out just 280 Watts when new, as opposed to Maria my R1150RT which I believe has an alternator with a 700 Watts output.

I took Brigitta over to the local auto parts shop and had them put a battery tester on her. The tester declared the battery good, with a 12.89 Volt Charge and 165 Cold Cranking Amps. So I know for sure the battery is good.

I do recall that I'd not put the battery on the trickle charger the last couple of days before yesterday so that perhaps did not help things. I usually rotate the trickle charger between both my motorcycles to keep their batteries topped off.

So, moral of the story? Break out the heavier gloves for the early morning rides and avoid using the heated grips unless on long rides where the alternator has a chance to recharge the battery!

2 comments:

cvstan said...

280A or 700A coming out of a motorcycle alternator are insanely high numbers. Perhaps you mean Watts instead of Amps??

Charlie6 said...

whoops, thanks for the correction cvstan, I did indeed mean watts and have corrected the posting.