Martin Human, CEO and CTO of TecMate, answers a common question - why is a different battery charger needed for a lithium battery if it works in a motorcycle that originally came with a lead-acid battery?
As with many things to do with battery types and motorcycle electrics, diagnostics and charging, the answer is not as simple as many people expect.
The safe working voltage range for both lead-acid (Standard lead-acid, AGM and Gel) and lithium LiFePO4 (LFP) battery types is 12.8V to 14.5V. As long as voltage is within that range, yes, a lithium battery works fine in the same system as a lead-acid battery, but below this safe voltage range, lithium and lead-acid batteries need different care.
An over-discharged lithium battery will accept charge at low voltage, but the healthier cells demand all the charge and weaker cells keep on falling behind. Charging at high current will damage that battery. A gentle low current pulse charge brings all cells back to good health simultaneously - once above 9V-10V the battery is ready to receive normal charge.
An over-discharged lead-acid battery is unable to accept charge at low voltage due to a high concentration of lead-sulphate that inhibits the ability of all cells to accept charge. To ‘convince’ the battery to once again accept charge, a higher pulsed voltage is required to break through.
A single battery charger that can differentiate between battery chemistries and deliver the right recovery method for the connected battery would be ideal, and fortunately the OptiMate 1 DUO fits the bill.
OptiMate 1 DUO recovers batteries from as low as 4V; the smart programming automatically figures out which recovery program is right for the attached battery, never mind the chemistry. A deep discharged lead-acid battery receives a higher voltage pulsing mode up to 14.5V, so it remains safe for lithium, and a deep discharged lithium battery receives a mild pulsing current that gently recondition the cells until they are equal and the battery recovers to above 9V - then a suitably higher charge current is delivered.
Here is a valuable tip learned from many years of experience - below 4 volt batteries need care from a chemistry-specific charger; OptiMate Lithium 4s 0.8A can safely recover lithium batteries from as low as 0.5V and test battery health as it does so. The best option for lead-acid batteries is the OptiMate 4.
OptiMate 1 DUO’s 24-7 maintenance program is also adaptive, it can sense what is required. In a parked vehicle a lithium battery needs protection against total discharge by that vehicle’s system and the OptiMate 1 DUO delivers when needed. On the other hand, an AGM battery - the most popular lead-acid in powersport – receives hourly maintenance to remain at full charge and prevent lead-sulphate build-up that weakens the battery.
Best of all is that the OptiMate 1 DUO has no buttons, no need to guess what battery is in the motorcycle. Simply connect to the battery and let that smart charger do the thinking.
In today’s world everyone wants ‘easy’. OptiMate 1 DUO is as EASY as connect and forget, no more battery problems - and that is what people want and need these days!
As time goes on, more and more reputable brands are choosing to partner with OptiMate 1 DUO for their diagnostics, maintenance and charging - the latest to offer the OptiMate 1 DUO is Moose Racing - and the Moose Racing OptiMate 1 DUO is distributed by Parts Europe, Parts Unlimited and Parts Canada.