Battery Types

Question

  • Why do sealed batteries cost more? Why are there different battery types? What is the difference between a sealed battery and an unsealed battery type? {John Jr, UT 1985 CB125 broken}

Answer

Motorcycle batteries come in 2 types, Sealed or Gel and Vent or Flooded. There is no such term as an "unsealed" battery. Really, they are all un-sealed. If they were truly sealed, they would explode.

The older type is the vented or flooded. They are sold in a kit. You have to open the filler caps on the battery & pour in battery acid, then charge it. They have a vent tube to let the acid vapor, that is created when the battery makes electrical current, out. If it did not vent, it would explode from the build up of pressure.

Older bikers will tell you to check your battery level & put in some water if it is low. That's why older bikes with liquid lead-acid batteries when stored outside or in a barn during the winter, will have cracked batteries.



The newer type is a sealed or gel battery. They are not truly sealed, they have a valve that lets vapors out if the pressure inside requires it. No vent tube. The reason they are called sealed is because you (or the shop) no longer have to fill them with acid when purchased. The acid is already inside, in a gel form. Its like acid Jello.

Note:

Some gel batteries are still shipped dry.  A shop or dealer must fill them with gel for you.  Read the product information carefully before you purchase. 

They are safer than the flooded type. If you knock it over you are much less likely to have anything spill out. They are also smaller and lighter. This means they can be installed in a smaller, not necessarily upright space.

Your bike uses a Yuasa YB2.5L-C battery. That's a YuMicron, vented, liquid acid type. There is no equivalent in a Yuasa Maintenance Free, Sealed Gel battery.

Let's use a 1986 Honda VT1100C V65 Magna as an example. It uses a traditional, vented, lead-acid YuMicron battery, number YB18-A. If you wanted to get a new, sealed Maintenance Free Yuasa battery instead, it would be number YTX20-BS. It weighs a little more, but is smaller and costs more. The difference in cost is about $25.

Is it worth $25 to you for a sealed gel battery? It is up to you. They last just as long. You never have to check the acid level or add water. The manufacturers also say that they retain more of a charge over longer periods of storage than the vented type.


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