While riding a motorcycle, you may want your phone to stay running, or your GPS device working or you might want to use an audio system during your bike rides. But it could be an annoying situation when they run out of battery and won’t work.
In such cases, you might want to mount a USB charger on your bike to keep those devices running.
But is it a good idea to use a USB charger on your motorcycle?
Will USB charger drain motorcycle battery? or it doesn’t cause any harm? How to use the USB charger to protect your motorcycle battery.
This article explains you everything regarding the usage of USB charger while connecting it to your motorcycle battery.
Firstly what is your motorcycle battery?
Even though technological advancements brought us different types of motorcycle batteries, they are mostly lead-acid batteries only. They are available in many forms such as wet cell batteries, gell cell batteries and AGM batteries.
In spite of all the variations, they face similar problems such as sulfation in cases of undercharging and excessive discharging.
Even leaving your motorcycle just turned on without cranking the engine for long periods can cause strain on the battery. The bike dashboard that displays various indications could also cause strain on the battery.
Hence adding external electrical accessories with a USB connector could surely cause a strain on your motorcycle battery.
But it is important to understand the point. how much strain and drain is being caused?
Types of USB connections on a motorcycle
There are various ways in which you can make USB connections to your bike battery. Each connection is different and each of it can cause a different impact on your bike’s battery.
1. DIN connection
Some of your bikes might be having existing power port. For example, a cigarette lighter socket in a car is a pre-existing port.
A DIN charger with a USB port can be connected to the existing port and this is one way of making a USB connection on your motorbike.
2. SAE connection
SAE connection is made directly to the battery. But it is made with the help of an SAE lead.
This mode of connection is mostly safe from all kinds of short circuits. The connector has two terminals, both positive and negative which are connected to the positive and negative terminals of your bike’s battery.
3. Direct battery connection
This is the most simple method of connecting your USB charger to your bike’s battery. As this connection does not involve any technical difficulty, many people make a direct connection of a USB charger to the bike battery.
You just connect your USB accessory to your bike’s battery and thus the connection is complete.
Impact of USB charger connection on your motorcycle battery
Different devices that are connected your USB will have a different impact on your motorcycle battery life.
You cannot expect a phone, a GPS device and a bright led light to cause the same amount of strain on the battery.
The battery drain depends upon the accessory that you have connected to the USB connection and the duration you use it without cranking the engine.
Along with it, the health of your battery also plays a major role. An old battery which is already subjected to a moderate amount of sulfation may get drained easily when fitted with external accessories. Whereas a new battery may not get drained so easily like an old one.
The external accessories such as USB connections come with many advantages and hence people prefer to add them to their motorcycles.
But why would you connect a device to your USB charger and leave it while the bike is not running? Because you might want to charge your device or you might have forgotten to unplug it.
When you charge your device while the bike is running, there would be no issue at all. But if you use your USB charger when your bike is not running, then do not expect a zero drain on your battery.
It is not a good idea to use a USB charger for prolonged periods of time when your motorcycle engine is not running. It could surely cause drain your motorcycle battery. Even though the drain is minimum, there exists a battery drain.
Hence it is always advisable not to use your USB charger for prolonged periods while your bike is not running.
Does the USB charger drain a motorcycle battery quickly?
How long does it take to drain the battery?
If you connect your phone to the USB charger before going to bed and check your bike’s battery in the morning, you might not notice much difference. You wouldn’t find any extra drain on your battery.
Because these USB chargers have an amperage of 0.5A or 1A, which is too less to cause a noticeable drain on a healthy battery.
But if the USB charger is left connected for days or weeks together, it could surely drain your motorcycle battery.
I have heard from people, who left their devices to their motorcycles for days and weeks together and found their motorcycle batteries drained completely. Some people even complained of the battery drain while using devices such as led power lights. Leaving the devices turned on for even a few hours caused a considerable amount of drain on their batteries.
Hence, irrespective of the time period, you should always remember not to keep your USB charger running while the ignition is off, to avoid the drain of the battery.
5 Ways to avoid battery drain
1. Always remember to unplug the USB charger or connector when the engine is not running. This is important as most people forget this. Leaving the connections for extended periods can surely drain your battery.
2. Avoid fitting too many additional electrical accessories to your bike. They drain your motorcycle battery. Although some important ones such as a phone charger or the GPS device can be allowed. Adding too many will consume more juice from the battery. Thus excessive addition of electrical accessories should be avoided.
3. Connect the USB charger to a relay switch instead of connecting it to the battery directly. Simply, connect it to an ignition feed rather than connecting it directly to the battery. This causes the device to turn on only when the ignition is turned on.
4. Avoid connections that consume a lot of power. A device like a mobile phone may not consume excess power. But what about devices that could cause an excessive drain? I have seen people who got their bikes modified and fitted with additional high power led lights that function even when the ignition is turned off. These kinds of heavy appliances could drain your battery completely. Hence avoid such appliances.
5. Check for any form of parasitic drain. This usually occurs with old motorcycles with improper wire connections. This parasitic drain causes unnecessary battery discharge and can drain your battery completely.