Motorcyclists rely on different electric devices to meet basic needs for a better and more enjoyable ride. For instance, the mobile device needs to be on for the Global Positioning System (GPS) to work. And if your smartphone is running low on battery, a USB port on the bike can come in handy. But the question is, will a USB charger drain a motorcycle battery or not? And if so, how much?
A USB charger will drain a motorcycle battery if you charge a connected device while the bike is not running. However, the amount is relatively small.
What Are Motorcycle Batteries?
Motorcycle batteries are mostly lead-acid batteries. Because these batteries can hold up more charge and can vary in size, they are perfect for motorcycles. Other than lead-acid batteries, many motorcycles come with lithium-ion batteries, AGM batteries, dry cell batteries, wet cell batteries, and gel cells.
Though there are various types of batteries, they all have similar features that make them ideal for bikes. The items displayed on the bike dashboard use a specific shred of battery power, though minimal. And some amount goes to crank up the engine.
Hence, adding external elements such as USB outputs will cause a drain on the battery of your bike. But it is essential to know the capacity of the battery first and then find out what kind of add-ons are best for your bike.
What Are The Different Types Of Motorcycle Battery Usb Connections?
There are different ways to make USB connections to your motorcycle battery. Each connection is distinct from the other. And, these connections also have a different impact on your battery and its discharge rate, amongst other factors.
1. DIN Connection
Otherwise called the German Institute for Standards, a DIN connector is an electrical connection widely accepted as a standard since the ’70s.
DIN connectors have 3-14 pins carefully arranged in circular patterns. They are mostly used in analog video/audio output and other electrical connections.
One way of making a USB connection to your motorcycle is by using A DIN connection. A DIN connection with a USB port can be connected to an already existing port. Some vehicles and bikes might have an existing power port. For example, a cigarette lighter socket in a car is an excellent example of a current power source.
DIN connections are good because they can withstand high electrical currents. DIN can also perform better under the motorcycle’s beating. They are smaller and shorter in diameter than existing car lighter plugs.
2. Direct Battery Connection
Direct battery connection is a simple connection strategy. It is perhaps the simplest method of connecting your motorbike’s battery to a USB charger outlet. This method does not require any technical troubles. It is as simple as clicking the USB accessories to the battery to complete the connection. Hence, many people choose this option by creating a direct USB connection to the bike’s battery.
3. SAE Connection
Like the direct connection method, SAE connections are also connected to the battery.
The SAE cable possesses both positive and negative terminals. The positive terminal of the cable is to the negative terminal of the battery. In contrast, the negative terminal of the cord is connected to the positive end of the battery.
It is very easy to make a complete connection. With the help of an SAE cable, a USB connection to the barrage of a motorbike is seamless.
However, one issue with lead-acid batteries suffers from short circuits. So, it is recommended to buy good quality SAE cable.
Will USB Charger Drain Motorcycle Battery?
A USB charger does drain a motorcycle battery, especially if the connection is not done through a switch but done directly to the battery. Though the charge loss is very minute.
However, this should not be a cause for concern, especially if the bike is up and running. The only reason to get worried is when the bike has stayed for weeks or months without any operation.
So, how do you determine how much energy is being drained from your motorcycle battery?
Factors affecting motorcycle battery drainage are discussed below:
The effect on your bike’s battery depends on the type of device connected to the USB cable and the time frame. Different devices will draw different amounts of power based on their capacity. For example, a GPS device will impact the battery in a quite different way than a radio. The same is true when you compare a mobile phone’s influence to listening to music while riding a motorcycle.
the battery age will also play a vital role in the rate at which the battery gets drained. An old battery will tend to suffer more battery drain than a relatively new one. Hence, it is ideal not to connect external bike accessories via USB to the battery. As the battery drainage continues even when the ignition is off.
Generally, USB cables have an average of 0.5A or 1A amperage. These amperes in most cases are too small to cause any noticeable difference in the battery. However, if there is a device connected for an extended period, the battery will drain faster.
Reports abound of motorists who plugged their devices for days and weeks and found their motorcycle battery drained. Some users even complained of the battery drain while using an LED lighting bulb. They stressed that leaving the power lights on even while using the bike leads to battery drain.
The point to note is that if you connect your device while running, there won’t be any notable drain on the battery.
Still, when you plug in your various devices while the bike is not running, this is where the problem lies. There could be a drain in the battery power little by little until it culminates into something big.
How To Avoid Motorcycle Battery Drainage While Connecting USB Chargers
To avoid, or at least reduce motorcycle battery drainage with a USB connected, you should-
Remove USB Connections
Remember to permanently remove the USB connector or charger when the engine is not running. It is vital not to forget this. Most people tend to forget and leave their devices still connected to the battery while the engine is not running. Making such mistakes will cause a drain on your battery.
Avoid Direct Connection
Do not connect your USB charger directly l to the bike’s battery. You should use a relay switch. Power can not flow in the USB charger with the relay. Connecting the USB charger to the ignition will make the connected devices turn off, so long as the ignition is off.
Limit Connected Devices
Avoid fitting too many electrical accessories to your bike. External add-ons to your bike should be as minimal as possible. These excess additions drain your motorcycle battery. Only the important ones like a GPS device or a phone charger can be used. Extra additions draw out the very life of your battery over time.
Always check out for connected devices when the engine is not running. It is likely you may have forgotten it while the engine is off. Conscious checks of the bike will be a safe measure. Thus avoiding plugging devices into the battery for extended periods. The frequent checks will, in turn, ensure the longevity of the battery.
Use Low Energy Consuming Devices
Avoid connections that consume a lot of power. A mobile device, for instance, is just moderate hence will not consume too much battery power. Opposed to high-powered machines like the LED lights that function when the ignition is off are needless.
Parasitic Battery Drainage
Check for any form of parasitic drain. Parasitic drain occurs more often with old bikes. Some of these old bikes have improper connections. As a result, this parasitic drain causes power shortages and can drain your battery entirely if not addressed.
Factors To Consider Before Buying A Usb Charger For Your Motorcycle
You should consider the following before obtaining a USB charger for your motorcycle:
- Safety and Quality: Buy a resistant USB charger and protect its units from debris, rain, dust, or other electrical faults.
- Charging Ports: Consider the available number of charging ports before buying a USB charger. You might want to charge multiple devices at the same time. It is better to go for the dual ports when purchasing one.
- Checking for technical details: It is good to check for power and voltage capacity. Not all USB cables are compatible with all devices.
- Power Switch: Go for USB chargers with a power switch. Power switch gives a level of control and assure more safety to your connected devices and your battery.
How to Check Motorcycle Battery Health?
You can check out the performance of your motorcycle using a voltmeter or multimeter. When the engine is not running, the voltmeter reading should be roughly 12.5 volts. With the engine running, the voltmeter reading should be around 13.2 volts. With the battery unplugged, the task is to do so should not be less than 0.1 volts greater than when connected.
It’s only natural to wonder how will a USB charger drain motorcycle battery. As many motorists have been asking, you must have gotten the correct information you sought. A USB charger is likely to drain the motorcycle’s battery, especially when connected directly to the bike’s battery and when the engine of the bike is not running. However, if you keep the devices, power consumption, and usage time to a minimum, using USB ports on your bike won’t pose any issues.