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2005 Suzuki S50
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
** Fair warning. I tend to over-explain, so this might be long. ** Readers' Digest version in bold.

After a nice ride last Tuesday, I didn’t get another chance to ride until Sunday. Went to start the bike and it didn’t. Cranked a little, then less and less, until nothing. After some cursing and head-scratching, I decided to hook up the smart-charger and see what’s what. I plugged it in and after a time the 0-50% charged light went from blinking to solid, then the 50-100% light began blinking as it should. But it never went solid. Next day it was still blinking.

So I took it off the charger as I wanted to see if anything would drain the battery on its own. Next day, the bike started right up without a hitch. Shut it down and let it sit again overnight. It was nice this afternoon so I figured I’d take a ride. Started right up as if nothing was ever an issue. Crossed my fingers and rode for an uneventful hour and decided to pick the collective brains here for possible answers.

If it helps, here are some numbers.
• No key, multimeter shows 13.93 volts.
• key on, multimeter shows 11.88 volts.
• engine running, multimeter shows 13.81.

All the above numbers fluctuate a little, but those are pretty much accurate.

Battery is a YUASA YB16B-A1 installed by dealer for the previous owner in October of 2019 at 5609 miles. It's now three years later and the bike now has 20,900 miles.

One other thing. I was almost hoping the charger itself was the problem, but I hooked it up to the 12v battery in my generator and it went from 0-50% for a few minutes right up to the 50-100% solid light. So I’m pretty sure the charger works. Well, I know the charging part works because it did charge the bike’s battery.

Frankly, if not for the fact that the 50-100% light never went solid, I wouldn’t even be wasting everyone’s time here.

Thanks for reading this far. Any thoughts?
 

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** then the 50-100% light began blinking as it should. But it never went solid. Next day it was still blinking.

• No key, multimeter shows 13.93 volts.
• key on, multimeter shows 11.88 volts.
• engine running, multimeter shows 13.81.
You should have stopped at: "Next day, it was still blinking."
Your whole story is a classic case of the battery wearing out.

Notes:
No battery reads 13.9 volts when not connected to a charging source.
Anything below about 12.3 with just "key on" is suspect.
Your 11.8 is a RED flag.

So now you need a new battery.
IF......you had kept your battery tender, which is what your "smart charger" really IS, connected during periods on non-use, the battery probably would have lasted longer than 3 years. But maybe not.
 

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2005 Suzuki S50
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply, Easy Rider.

In the nice weather, I was riding nearly every day. And for the last two off-seasons it was always put on the tender a couple of times a week until the 100% light stayed solid. This was the first time it's ever not started or even struggled to start. In any event, my new (Motobatt) battery should arrive Saturday. I may well just leave it in the house and not even install it until Spring.
 

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A battery has it's longest life if it is FULLY charged ALL the time.
Installed or not, your new battery needs to be kept fully charged.

Except maybe for a lightening storm or other freak accidents, there is no good reason not to leave the battery connected to your tender all the time during your "off season".

Changing the battery is an S50 is no picnic and you shouldn't be doing it more often than necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Changing the battery is an S50 is no picnic and you shouldn't be doing it more often than necessary.

And that's the main reason I haven't already bought one up to this point. NOT looking forward to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
A quick little follow up.

Of course, I bought a new Motobatt AGM battery, but figured I'd stick with the older lead-acid YUASA as long as it still started the bike, waiting to install the new one until next season. I knew today was going to be the last nice day to ride for the season, so I put it on the tender yesterday just to make sure it would be okay today. Well, as luck would have it. I went out to take my ride a little after noon today and all the lights on the tender were solid. It took the full charge. I took an hour and a half ride and came back home to get the bike set for storage. Washed it, changed the oil and filter, checked the coolant, etc. I did pull the battery and brought it into the house and plan on putting the tender on both the old and the new one alternately, just because. In the Spring I'll probably install the new one since I have it already.

I think it's worth noting that as much as I was not looking forward to dealing with battery removal and replacement, I have to say it really wasn't that bad. In fact, I was going to wait until coming out of storage to install the new battery, but as I was topping off the tank with stabilized gas, I realized I never ran the bike with the petcock off to drain the carbs of fuel. So I got the change to re-install the battery just to start it up and do that (yeah, I know I could have just drained the carbs, but this was worth trying). Anyway, while it was mildly inconvenient, it wasn't nearly the horror show I was expecting.

So now the long wait begins for Spring. :(
 

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Just exactly what is involved with the battery removal....all the bikes I have had over the years have been under the seat and a straight lift out....except for the few old British ones I owned and they were even easier
 

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Just exactly what is involved with the battery removal....all the bikes I have had over the years have been under the seat and a straight lift out....except for the few old British ones I owned and they were even easier
The S50 has several design "quirks".
The battery drops out the BOTTOM of the frame.
Even if you could get it out the top from under the seat........the seat is a ***** to get off too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
And just so you get the full idea, here's a nice video I found that pretty much explains it all. I just rolled the back tire over a 2x6 for the added height and put another 2x6 under the kickstand.

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
And one more follow-up. Now that the battery is out of the bike and I can see the levels more clearly, I decided to top of the cells with some distilled water. Sonofagun. They were pretty much dry. I obviously should have been more diligent in checking over the past few seasons. That was a $100+ lesson learned.
 

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. That was a $100+ lesson learned.
Here is the lesson that you SHOULD have learned:
One should NEVER put a conventional wet cell battery in a bike.
AGM only.

As the gas and water vapor escapes a conventional vented battery, it carries with it acid fumes which
can corrode things nearby.

I REALLY hope that you did NOT put that battery back in the bike. :oops:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Just saw this reply, Easy Rider.

First of all, that Yuasa battery came with the bike when I bought it and was brand new, installed by the previous owner's dealer in October of 2019. I got three uneventful years out of it, but yes if I had taken better care of it I probably could have gotten a couple more out of it.

I REALLY hope that you did NOT put that battery back in the bike.

No, I pulled that battery and have already bought a replacement Motobatt AGM for the Spring. But here's an interesting tidbit. In my research about this bike and batteries and jumping, etc., I remember reading in some comment on some forum that "...the S50 wasn't mean to use an AGM battery" or some such nonsense. I wish I could find it now just so I could quote it accurately.

It's sometimes amazing to me how much bad/wrong information is out there. Yikes.
 

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If you can find a Deka battery in the size you need you would have a good battery. Made in USA but sizes are limited. It's the stock battery in Harleys.
 

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I remember reading in some comment on some forum that "...the S50 wasn't mean to use an AGM battery"
The Internet is great. It allows good information to travel at the speed of light to all corners of the world.
Unfortunately, it also allows BAD information to do the same thing.

One needs to be able to identify the BS to keep from making some serious mistakes.

In general, NO vehicle was designed specifically for an AGM battery because it isn't THAT much different electrically.
 
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