It's getting close to that time of the season again and protecting your battery is always a <ahem> hot topic as the weather threatens to shut us down............. except for CG that is.....
So here's a quick project to make a trickle charger.
What you need
[list=1][*]A cheap 12 Volt DC at 1 Amp wall cube supply[*]2 alligator leads, one with a red cover and the other black[*]10 Ohm resistor rated for 1 Watt power dissapation[*]A simple plug in light timer[*]A soldering iron or gun and electronics solder[*]A cheap voltmeter[/list=1]
OK the voltmeter and the soldering iron aren't part of the project as such but you'll need them. If you do any amount of work on your bike at all, other than washing it and changing the oil, then you owe it to yourself to have at least a simple $20 tester and a soldering gun. Think of this stuff as an early Christmas present for your bike......
OK, the first thing is to cut the connector end off the wire from the wall cube and bare the wires. Plug it in being careful not to let the wire ends touch and use the voltmeter set up to read 15 or 20 volts.
With the leads on the correct way with the red lead on the positive of the supply you'll see the needle go up. If it tries to go backwards then reverse the tester leads and see what the voltage is. It's probably between 14 to 16 volts. If it's much higher then you're going to need a different wall supply or a higher value resistor. It it's up around 18 volts then you'll have to get a second resistor.
With the Positive lead identified for certain go ahead and solder the black alligator lead on the OTHER lead. Now we will put on the red clip but with a difference. You will solder the resistor to the lead and then solder the wire to the other wire of the resistor. What you're doing is making the power go through the resistor before it goes into the battery. Tape or heatshrink it to prevent bending strain or short circuits and you're done.
There's two ways you can use your trickle charger.
If the battery is low hook the red lead to the positive terminal and the black lead to the negative terminal and plug it in without the timer at all. Over 2 or 3 of days the tender will bring up a low battery so that you can run your bike. No it's not a fast charger but it's kind to the battery.
For winter care you hook up the leads as per above and plug the cube supply into the timer and the timer into the wall. Set the little buttons so the timer turns on the power for an hour per day. With a good battery that's near full charge this is all you need for it to stay up all winter. And with it being just a trickle it's not going to dry out your electrolyte like a higher power charger can do.
Just remember, positive to positive and negative to negative. I'm not resposible for Cajun motorcycles.........
It's warm enough around here that you don't need to bring your battery inside for the winter but if you park your bike in a parkade with no outlets then you'll have to take it out and bring it into the apartment. Don't worry about hydrogen like when you fast charge a car battery. The tender described here is so gentle that there isn't any chance of enough hydrogen coming off the battery to be in any way dangerous so you can set this all up on the shelf of a closet or whatever.
If there's enough intrest in this I could arrange with one of the local electronics outlets to put together a little kit of parts. Probably cost around $15 for the supply, resistor, clips and a couple of bits of shrink tube (the timers can be had almost anywhere). Either PM me or post here if you're interested in this. If we can get 15 or 20 I'll call around and then you guys can just drop by and pick them up at your leasure.
And if you're reading this and have no idea of how to solder, what an Ohm is or think that alligator clips are short movies from the everglades of florida then just ignore this post and go shopping at the parts boutique for a tender. You can still do the timer though.