Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dead Battery on the Ural #2

Low Voltage Ural Battery

It was the coldest day of this winter at 15F, but my garage was still in the 40s for some reason. I put on my gear very methodically making sure to seal out all the usual draft areas: neck, zippers, wrists, etc.

I opened the door and went into the garage. The Ural looked ready to go. I had just ridden it two days earlier, and it ran fine. I tossed my laptop into the trunk, and closed it with a clang. I do enjoy having such a large luggage area. It really makes things easy.

I began my normal starting ritual. Remove the battery tender cable. Shift the transmission from reverse to neutral. I moved the kick starter several times to lube up the engine. Pull out the choke on the left carburetor, and then on the right side. Turn the ignition key to the run position while noticing the green and orange lights normally on the dash. Thumb the engine stop switch to on, and press the starter while squeezing in the clutch lever. “grrrr…. “ then darkness. 

No headlight, no dash lights, no life it seemed was in the beast. I turned everything off and reset all the switches and tried again. Nothing. No lights. Damn. I grabbed my voltmeter and saw the battery was at 8.5v, and not the normal 12.x. Not enough juice to kick start either. Not good at all. I’m a bit sweaty now; I’m dressed for riding at 15F not for standing around in 40F. I played around some more, but to no avail.

My wife stepped into the garage to leave for work. I asked her for a ride. I’m now late. I stripped off my riding gear and leave it in a heap as I dashed out the door. Now we’re both late.

Could it be an electrical short like the last time I had battery trouble? Maybe it’s a dead battery like when I first bought my Ural? There is an HD battery in there is now three years old, and unfortunately has been deep cycled a couple times. I have a new Odyssey PC680 on order. Ural dealer isn’t going to warranty an HD battery. Sure I could have gotten another battery to fit, but I want a reliable brand like Odyssey in my Ural. They make robust, reliable batteries.

I need some free time to figure it out which I hope I will have tonight. I checked, and it looks like the R1150GS battery is the same size as the Ural. I might swap those tonight. I guess the GS might be useful after all.

I’m very thankful I have a wonderful wife who can chauffer me to work while I fix the Ural.

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  1. Chauffeurs are great aren't they? That Odyssey battery looks like it'll do the trick, with a 2 year warranty and 8-12 year design life... wow.
    I had issues with the Tiger awhile back and bought a Megaboost battery with a lifetime warranty from CycleGear. It has served me well for two years now and when it eventually dies I 'hope' to get a free replacement, we'll see.
    Those Urals sure look like fun, can't wait for the winter write-ups, ride safe.

  2. Glad your wife had good timing and was able to give you a ride.

    Electrical gremlins are no fun. I hope it was just a bum battery and there are no other issues.

  3. It would have to be a relatively large draw (more than an amp) to pull it down even when the battery tender was connected. More than just corrosion like the last time.

    I put in an Odyssey PC925 battery mostly due to claims of long life. The recommended battery was a PC680 but I found that the larger PC925 will also fit if you put it in sideways. Odyssey also recommends a higher charging voltage so I installed an adjustable regulator and cranked it up to 14.4v at 4K RPM per their recommendation. I read that this may shorten the life of the headlight bulb. So far, no issues.

  4. I hate to blame the Urals crappy electrical system but... You have to wonder...

  5. Chris:

    Thank goodness for your back up system. Hope it is just the battery.

    Riding the Wet Coast
    My Flickr // My YouTube

  6. Check your ground...and relays....and kill switch. :)

    The voltmeter kinda tells the tale though.

    Hope that new battery gets there soon!