Motorcycle Battery Relocation

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About: I am a British chap living in China. Watch this space for half-baked ideas and dubious innovation. Often aided and abetted by my power-tool wielding daughter.

I have no choice but to store my motorbike outside and the climate where I live is fairly extreme. It is often 35°c and more in the summer and -10°c or less in winter. Neither is particularly motorcycle battery friendly. Consequently I find myself having to remove and replace the battery two or three times a year to store off the bike when not being used. This is a real bore as the bike I own appears to have been designed with battery removal as a low priority. It involves removing both front and back seat elements (six bolts) and then two side panels (six screws). Only then can you access the battery compartment from where the battery needs to be slid out. Removing the terminal clamps can also be difficult because of the length of the cables and the location of the bolts. Faced with this task when it is freezing cold outside, I often simply don't bother and then find that I have a dead (and unreviveable) battery come the spring.

So I decided to relocate the battery.

Looking online, the only resources I could find about battery relocation were from the cafe racer community - concerned to create a minimal look in the frame. This is not something I am worried about, so I thought I would create this instructable to help others who, like me, have less aesthetic and more practical requirements related to battery removal and replacement.

This instructable is entered in the Make It Move Contest. Please vote if you like it, Thanks!!

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Step 1: What You Will Need

This will depend on a lot on your specific project, but as a general guide:

Plugs:

The plugs you want to use are called Anderson Plugs.

These are a clever invention with the following features:

1. Can handle the current we are dealing with;

2. Can provide a reliable vibration-proof connection;

3. The plugs/sockets are identical and interchangeable;

4. Cannot be connected incorrectly;

5. Relatively simple to fit;

Wire:

This can be a contentious area. As you can see from the pictures I am using 8 gauge. The bike is a modern 250cc and has quite an efficient starter. Some people will tell you that you need 6 gauge or even 4 gauge wire from the battery, but 8 is more than enough for this bike. Maybe with a much bigger engine the starter will be drawing more current. This is up to you.

Crimping Tool:

As you can see from the pictures I am using a huge crimping tool which has jaws that swivel according to the size of crimp needed. This is somewhat overkill. A smaller tool can do the job just as well, but I bought this as I was experimenting with crimping wire rope as well.

Heat Shrink Tube:

Various sizes so that you can effectively insulate the terminals where they attach to the battery connectors.

Battery Connectors:

These are the copper connectors that connect to the battery. They have a hole through which they are bolted to the battery terminals. Get the thickest ones you can.

Step 2: Work Out Your Battery Position and Cable Routing

The ideal place for my battery was the rear pannier. These are fixed to the bike and allow the battery to be placed low down. Depending on your bike you might want to locate the battery elsewhere. If you are replacing with a smaller lithium battery you have more options.

I wanted to put an Anderson plug near to the battery so that I could simply unplug it. In the end, I put the plug between the existing cables and the new ones as I didn't have time to rewire all the cabling. I might go back and remedy this at a later stage.

The wires go under the seat, through the bodywork and into the panniers through a small hole. It goes without saying that it is important not to put strain on these cables, not to route them through anything that will rub on them and to keep them clear of the exhaust.

Step 3: Crimp Your Cables

Using the crimping tool, crimp your cables to the wire and heat shrink the tube over these.

Step 4: Test and Enjoy

Test your connections with the battery. Insulate the terminals with the rubber boots taken from the original terminals.

Depending on where your battery is now located, you should work out how to secure it in place. On my previous bike I used some shock cord (bungee) to keep the battery from moving around. You could also add some form packing. The panniers on my current bike have a very convenient battery-sized space and is prevented from moving by other stuff in the pannier. Obviously you should be careful not to pack anything in here that has the remotest possibility of causing a short.

Relocating the battery also allows you to use the original storage area for something rarely used but battery-sized like an emergency tyre inflator. I have a small box of spare parts such as fuses, puncture kit, nuts and bolts etc. (see pic)

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