battery ratings (CCA)

Discussion in 'Sportster Models' started by TomH65, Feb 3, 2015.

  1. TomH65

    TomH65 Active Member

    I am about to buy a new battery for my XL1200 when the riding season over here in the UK comes around.
    There seem to be many options put there quoting CCA,or Cold Cranking Amps.
    The last battery I bought a couple of years ago stated 'High cranking capacity'. It now loses its charge quickly, but when it was fully charged, the whole bike jolted on starting with a loud noise as if something had overloaded.
    Has anyone got any idea why this happened?
    Is high CCA important?
    Any recommendations which brand of battery is good?
    All information will be very useful,
  2. fin_676

    fin_676 Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    I have had my sportster 10 years now it came with an hd agm battery and it is still going I have had the dyna for nearly 7 years and it came with a hd agm battery and still going
    Softail came with a dead cheap battery so I fitted an agm battery don't remember what it was but a failed regulator cooked the battery at 4 years and for the last 3 years had a motobatt battery yellow battery seems to do the job well
    I have a optimate charger fixed to the roof of each of the bike sheds and hook the bikes up a few times during the winter just to keep the batteries alive but as my bikes are older there is no drain on the batteries when the bike is off

  3. biscuit

    biscuit Junior Member

    It's pretty much the power (electrical) output of a new healthy battery relative to temperature. Have no idea why such a cold temperature is the baseline. Arctic use probably---. Especially when things are hard to start and engines crank and crank and---

    This is a bit from one of my old Electrical textbooks:

    "--- standard for defining starting power is Cold Cranking Amps (CCA). The battery’s ability to perform is measured by the amount of current the battery can deliver at -18°C over 30 seconds, while maintaining a voltage equivalent of 1.2 volts per cell or higher."

    Batteries with a higher CCA have a better(higher) output at very low temps.Probably about where you live.

    Other batteries have a 'CA" rating (Cranking Amps) which is a test performed at 0°C and will give a higher output reading at the much warmer temperature.
    Makes this Battery appear more powerful at first glance.

    So some people use the CA method and others use the International Standard (CCA) to showcase the Electrical power of their batteries.
    While the CA rating shows higher output, the CCA rating is an empirical result of Manufacturers testing their product to the same standard.And Is probably a better rating because of that reason.

    Depending whether you live in Warm or Cold climes will decide your choice of Battery.
    I tend to buy the battery with the best warranty. My current unit came with a two and a half year REPLACEMENT warranty. No questions asked if within that time!
    Think it was around 500CCA and cost 40 Bucks more than the 12 month warrantied one. The money versus peace of mind is a one sided argument to me.And we all know Harley's are expensive Mistresses.

    Dunno what would make your bike go bang though.I would think it'd be a Mechanical thing.Does it have a compensator like a Big Twin?
  4. dbmg

    dbmg Experienced Member

    Could the noise be that the starter skipped out of gear while cranking do to drop in battery capacity ?
    As to all the different specs you need to adhere what the manufacture states that vehicle needs to properly start over a wide range of temperatures.
    There are many different options but like Fin my 2008 EG still has O.E. battery and is going strong.
    Are you using a battery tender device when not riding and using on a regular basis?
  5. TomH65

    TomH65 Active Member

    Thanks for your input guys.
    When I get it back out of the garage, I will have the starter checked for overload etc., The last battery I bought was a Varta that lasted 2 years. The one in there when I bought the bike was a HD branded battery but I don't know how long it was in there for.
    I do have an Oxford optimiser battery charger / conditioner, but don't have power in my garage, so I removed the fuse before storing my bike, but the battery still drained.
    I am wondering if there is something else causing the power drainage, like a short circuit somewhere - that would cause battery failure?
    That said, I was having a low power problem last Autumn when the bike was left standing for over a week at a time without being run.
  6. biscuit

    biscuit Junior Member

    Easy enough to check for Current drain ; IF you have an Ammeter.

    There are 2 types. Easiest to use is the Clamp -on type. Has jaws that open and close and you merely open them up,put them around your Active wire (positive or power wire),set the scale to milliamps and DC and see if there's any current flow ( some sort of reading). Some of the better ones don't even require the operator to set them for the Current OR voltage. That's taken care of by the instrument.

    The second type and probably more common ,are those with Red and Black leads that are plugged into the unit and then across terminals or whatever it is you're testing.

    This type-like all Ammeters save the Clamp-on units, MUST be connected in SERIES.
    That is, you will have to disconnect the Positive /Red/ Power lead from your battery, join/hook up/connect the Red Ammeter lead to the just vacated battery terminal and then join/ hook up/ connect the end of your lead that you've just taken off the battery to the black lead of the Meter.

    The end result of this long-winded tale is that ANY current draining from your idle battery WILL flow through the Meter and hopefully you'll get a reading. In milliamps of course.

    Do you have a Fuel Injected bike? The engine UCU will drain a battery as will an alarm system. They're both always "on". Passive, but still on.
    How about any accessories that have been wired direct to an Active or power wire.Radios, or CB's or GPS's or such .Even a clock will drain a battery given enough time.

    I would doubt a Short Circuit is the cause. In electrical terms a Short Circuit has huge current flow (compared with the "normal"operating current) and really should blow the Fuse protecting the circuit. And probably cause smoke, noise and a pungent burning smell.

    You really should remove, scratch brush your battery connections-both the terminals and the lugs on the cables that go away to the bike- and put Dielectric grease on the nice shiny bits and tighten them all back up.
    Wouldn't hurt to do the same to the other ends of the battery cables as well.
    You do not want any high resistance joints in the starting system.

    Go buy a "ctek charger" and hook that battery up to it.-even if you have to take it out of the bike.

    Not intending to lecture you-if you're aware of this then sorry.
    If you're not, maybe it will help.
  7. dbmg

    dbmg Experienced Member

    Some really good advice Biscuit. The only addition that I would make is to get a for real battery type maintainer Install the pigtail to battery and use tender every time you park bike for it appears that the product the OP is using is a trickle charger and not a floating type maintainer and possible you are frying your battery causing it to fail and there maybe nothing wrong with bike.

    Product Description Oxford Oximiser 600 - the essential 12-volt motorcycle battery charger


    Quickly charges battery at 600mA/hour until full and maintains a gentle trickle charge to keep battery optimized. Quick-connect leads included for easy coupling to the Oximiser between rides. Wall Bracket and extra long cables make for ease-of-use in your garage.
    • Plug-in Battery care for 12V lead-acid batteries up to 30Ah
    • Suitable for all 12V battery types up to 30Ah including: Gel, MF and acid batteries
    • Recovers deeply discharged batteries
    • Protected against short circuit
    • 2 year guarantee

    Oxford Oximiser motorbike charger and conditioner, suitable for all 12v motorcycle batteries as well as for other applications such as quad-bikes, jet-skis, golf carts, cars, motorhomes, caravans, commercial vehicles and boats.

    It comes complete with crocodile clips to connect the charger to a loose battery, a connector which can be permanently fitted on any motorcycle or car and a wall-mount holster type bracket for easy storage.
  8. TomH65

    TomH65 Active Member

    Thanks Biscuit, I will try that with the Ammeter. The built in security on the bike will be active though won't it? Will that affect the reading? Or should I remove the main fuse? I ask this because when I store the bike, I remove the fuse to immobilise the bike and chain it to the ground and walls for security, and the battery still drains.

    DBMG: The Oxford product I use to charge the battery in the Oximiser 900, almost exactly as described in your reply. I use it to fully charge the battery as and when required. Is it better to regularly leave on trickle charge?

    Thanks again.
  9. dbmg

    dbmg Experienced Member


    You need a battery maintainer device. You have a trickle charger that never stops charging battery which battery is probably being overcharged and you are sulfating battery which is shortening the life of battery.
    Here a good read that may better help in understanding differences in chargers.
    Car Battery Trickle Charger vs Float Charger
  10. Hobbit

    Hobbit Active Member

    DBMG the oxford optimiser is as it says a battery tender/maintainer and can be left plugged in like the datatool, optimate and the harley battery tender , its designed to maintain a battery not just charge it.

    Halfords | Oxford Oximiser 900

    So to the OP you can like i do with my optimate 3 leave it plugged into the bike just do not remove the fuse, and if its a UK bike it should have an alarm/imboliser as stock i know every one of my sporties had some for of alarm