A motorcycle standing idle for an extended period of time may leave its battery powerless. Often, motorcyclists opt to perform the charging process indoors to save themselves and their bikes from inclement weather. But is it safe to charge a motorcycle battery indoors?
What are the risks associated with indoor charging and what is the correct method to charge a motorcycle battery indoors?
You will find answers to these questions in this post. There is more information regarding motorcycle battery charging so continue reading till the end.
Is it safe to charge a motorcycle battery indoors?
Yes, it is safe to charge a motorcycle battery indoors provided you follow the proper processes and take the necessary precautions to avoid risks associated with indoor charging.
It also depends on the method you follow for charging. Some motorcyclists remove the battery and keep it on charge and some connect the charger to the battery on the motorcycle itself.
Either way, you have to take certain considerations into account before commencing the charging process.
Some of the factors that need attention while charging are the type of charger you use, the condition of the battery, the ventilation options, and the outside temperature.
To make the indoor charging process risk-free it is important to know the…
Risks of charging a motorcycle battery indoors
Harmful gases – The release of hydrogen gases are quite common while charging motorcycle batteries. An automotive battery is designed to generate hydrogen and oxygen gases as part of an evaporation process due to sulfuric acid and water chemical reactions.
There is a risk of inhaling these harmful gases in an enclosed space while charging. Since the charging process takes longer the effects of harmful gases could be dangerous to your health.
It is best to charge the battery in a well-ventilated area especially a garage with a door/window open. This will ensure the gases are evaporated further through the ventilation space making your charging effort risk-free.
The risk of harmful gases is negligible if your motorcycle is equipped with sealed gel or maintenance-free batteries.
Fire risk – Harmful gases around a motorcycle battery are highly flammable. The risk of fire is inevitable when these gases come in contact with other ignitable sources such as a cigarette spark.
If you are using an indoor space close to the kitchen for charging the risk of fire increases tremendously.
On top of that, if you use a low-quality battery charger on a fully drained or dead battery it can create sparks that could lead to a potentially dangerous situation while charging indoors.
Overcharging – A low-quality battery charger also means that you have to monitor the charging process till the battery is fully charged. There are no alerts, indications, or alarms that will automatically save your battery from overcharging.
In the overcharging scenario, a motorcycle battery is overheated. The excess heat and sulfuric acid gases of a battery become sparking sources that could result in fire and explosion.
Precautions to take while charging a motorcycle battery indoors
After taking the risks into consideration if you still want to charge a motorcycle battery indoors then here are the precautions you must take before doing it:
Ensure proper ventilation – Choose a place that is well-ventilated. Leave the windows or spaces open for proper ventilation.
The buildup of gases and heat produced while charging will evaporate equally through ventilation sources reducing the risk of fire.
Keep a fire extinguisher – The risk of fire is reduced with proper ventilation but not completely eliminated. Therefore it makes sense to keep a fire-fighting unit such as a fire extinguisher ready.
Related Read: Best Motorcycle Fire Extinguisher
In the event of any fire, a fire extinguisher will come in handy to protect your indoor place. Alternatively, remember the emergency numbers for dialing if you are not familiar with using a fire extinguisher.
Use protective gear – Wear protective gear such as eyewear, hand gloves, and overall protective clothes while charging.
An automotive battery contains highly flammable gases which may spill accidentally or negligently making you vulnerable to injuries, burns, etc.
Ensure suitable weather conditions – If you are charging the battery indoors it is important to ensure proper ventilation. The weather outside should be suitable to allow ventilation as too much heat outside is not good for the health of your motorcycle battery.
Hot temperatures increase the evaporation process of sulfuric acid and any attempt to charge the battery in such conditions brings sparks and fire into the picture.
On the other hand, if the weather is too cold you may have to perform charging under closed doors which again is risky and dangerous due to lack of ventilation.
Use dedicated charging units – Make use of the dedicated battery charges such as smart charges with advanced features.
Battery charges that are specifically designed for charging will help reduce the risk of overcharging. Some chargers have an automated shut-off feature once the battery is fully charged so that you don’t have to monitor the charging manually.
You can also find desulphurating chargers made to charge batteries that are completely dead. Then there are trickle chargers useful and risk-free to charge batteries in idle conditions.
Make sure you know the process – Lastly, it all comes down to your knowledge and experience in charging automotive batteries.
Some of the things you should be aware of while charging is:
- The process to remove and install the battery from a motorcycle,
- Condition of the battery (knowing if it is too old or brand new),
- Types of battery that you are charging (sealed gel, maintenance free, lead acid, etc.)
- Correct positioning and terminals of the battery (positive and negative),
- The proper way to connect the charger with the battery (incorrect connection could lead to reverse current flow)
If you don’t know the process it is better to seek professional guidance before deciding on a place to charge the battery.
How to charge a motorcycle battery indoors?
Once you have taken all the precautions to avoid the risks of charging a motorcycle battery indoors here are the steps to perform the charging process:
- First, locate the battery on a motorcycle. Most motorcycle batteries are under the seat (saddle).
- Remove the seat completely, and disengage other structures surrounding the battery.
- Uninstall the battery and place it in a space away from flammable sources. Make sure the instruments you are using to loosen the parts do not touch with other metal parts of a motorcycle.
- Identify the battery terminals correctly.
- Next, connect the available adapters and connectors to the battery charger.
- Now, connect the battery charger to the motorcycle battery. Ensure correct positioning and connection of wires and terminals.
- Leave the battery on charge as per the guidelines and instructions in the battery charger manual.
- Once the battery is fully charged test the voltage with a testing instrument such as a multimeter.
- If everything looks fine replace back the battery and other parts of the motorcycle securely.
Here is a small video to help you understand the process of charging a motorcycle battery indoors using a trickle charger:
Is it okay to charge a motorcycle battery while still connected?
You can charge a motorcycle battery in a connected position but it is not recommended. A motorcycle battery provides power to all the electrical components taking its own current from the alternator.
Since it is interconnected with the motorcycle’s electrical system any sparks, or electrical hazards generated during the charge can damage all the associated parts.
It is therefore necessary and sensible to disconnect the battery from the motorcycle to charge it.
Can you charge a motorcycle battery while on the motorcycle?
Under normal circumstances, an automotive battery gets charged through an alternator connected to the electrical system.
So, a motorcycle battery functions the same way to remain charged while you are on the motorcycle riding it.
Automotive batteries are not primarily designed to charge indoors because of the flammable gases, ventilation issues, and challenging weather conditions.
The risks of overcharging, fire, and explosion are there still, but you can successfully perform the process of charging by taking proper precautions, using appropriate instruments, and following the correct method to charge.
If you are concerned about safety while charging the motorcycle battery indoors, then ensure to follow the information and guidelines from this post.