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Non-Triumph batteries and battery charging.


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Again, I appeal to the Common Room of Sideways Uni. for advice and guidance.

I have an electric go-kart, bought second hand for my grandsons to enjoy.    It had a knackered battery, that would hold no charge, so I got another online, and fitted that.    Seemed to go well!    I keep it in an outhouse, with the charger plugged in via a timer, so that it gets a charge for an hour every day.      My grandsons' visits are maybe a month apart, and of course much less in the last year, and the last time one came, the kart's charge was pitiful!   It would barely get down the garden path when he rode it around the block last time.   What's wrong?

Is it my charging method/practice, the wrong charger (I just used the same transformer plug that it was originally equipped with), a cheap ebay battery?

Should I invest in a better battery (something like this?  https://www.hardwarexpress.co.uk/rec10-12-yuasa-battery-12v-10ah-3813-p.asp?dfw_tracker=32547-hardwarexpress3813&gclid=Cj0KCQiA1KiBBhCcARIsAPWqoSpyX3q37NEqPFO0WZYsOn_COkQ5R5sqY-iOX03PDXTENXT72v1fS9saAkEIEALw_wcB)   I've seen Litium batteris of the right size for sale, for  a lot more!   Would one of those be a better choice fpr intermittent use?

And would that need a different charger?

How else can I ensure that when my young Hamilton visits, he can use the kart?

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Edited by JohnD
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What charger are you using?  You need to be a little careful with these smallish AGMs that you don't over-cook them.  Shouldn't need an hour a day once charged eitherI have a similar one for my ride-on mower which I charge once or twice during the winter using my Lidl "smart" charger on motorbike setting.  That seems to work.  On the other hand one of my parish council colleagues has murdered one of the similar AGM batteries for the village speed indicator sign by using his old-school car battery charger.  I think the issue is that their minimum current is too high so will cause damage if left on after it's charged.

Lithium battery performance is likely to be far superior but that definitely needs the right charger to match.

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For the smaller, motorcycle type batteries, a car type charger with fast charge function should not be used unless as a last resort. There are plenty of bike specific chargers on the market that are designed to monitor and administer a charge when required.

My bike is kept plugged into one of these but I only switch it on once a month, as from experience they do have a habit of over charging and compromising the lifespan of the battery.

Gel type batteries (motobat brand type) are quite common on bikes now and may be treated the same as lead acid. A trend towards lithium batteries is growing (shido brand type) but these require a different type of charger. The user experience is a little different as well, requiring a load applied to them to 'warm' them up before they operate normally. This can be extended cranking time or leaving the lights on for a while.

For the gokart, have you tried a heavy discharge tester to see what the condition is? 

 

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Thnak you, Nick, and Ade!

Sounds as if I've been overcharging it, and should only give it a boost after it's been used, and before a visit.     The clock timer was so convenient, it seemed a good idea, but visits are rarely unheralded.      A Lithium battery would cost more than I paid for the kart, so that's over the top too.

I don't have a discharge tester.  The battery shows 3.5V when it is rated at 6-7V, so it is clearly damaged.   It is Chinese,but the manufacturer's name includes "HuaWei" so should have been good to start with.

Thanks for the advice.

John

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It’s probably boiled a couple of cells dry. In theory, and if you can get the top off, they can be topped up with distilled water, though it is hard to judge the amount as if you get any free water showing you’ve put too much in. In my limited experience any fix achieved is short lived and not worth the hassle.

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