If you love your motorcycle but get to use it less often than you would like, the last thing you want to find when you do get a chance is that the battery is flat and it wont start!
No Mains Power? Use Solar!
Maybe your motorbike is stored in a garage, shed or passageway with no mains power or maybe it's just on the drive. Getting power to a normal mains powered battery charger / trickle charger in these circumstances can be difficult and messy with trailed cables and the problem of weatherproofing 230V electrical equipment.
So the obvious answer is to use solar power - but what size solar charger do you need and how do you know it's going to work and not going to damage your bike or battery?
What's the Best Solar Charger?
There are some very small solar chargers on the market (typically around 1.5W). These will work in good conditions but will struggle if they cannot be positioned perfectly (south facing, angled to face the midday sun, in an un-shaded position). Because they are small they don't normally have a regulator (charge controller) that will protect the battery and build quality is sometime rather poor. Many are not even weatherproof and in real life use they tend to struggle due to lack of power.
Slightly larger solar chargers are also available typically in the 4W to 6W range. These can vary in quality and some do not have charge controllers which becomes more important with a solar panel of this size as it has the potential to damage your battery through overcharging. Weather resistance can be a problem with this size of charger as many are made for cars and have beed designed to be placed inside on the dashboard (not great but hey). Again if the panel is poorly positioned, shaded or becomes dirty over time it can struggle to provide enough power.
So for the reasons above I strongly suggest you use a motorcycle solar charger of at least 10W and possibly even 20W if the panel is going to be poorly orienatated or positioned in a shaded spot. That said your solar charger MUST have a charge controller otherwise it WILL damage your battery through overcharging. Having a charge controller has other benefits as well as it will manage the charging process - providing the correct voltages to recharge a depleted battery (bulk/absorption) and maintain it once fully charger (float).
OptiMate Solar Chargers for Motorbikes/Motorcycles
The OptiMate 10 and OptiMate 20 solar chargers are perfect for motorcycles as they are large enough to do the job required, they incorporate a good quality charge controller and are very easy to install and connect and disconnect. They also provide charging status and battery state of charge information, come with a wide range of accessories and completely weatherproof!
So if you want to keep your 12V bike battery ready for action, do the job properly, do it once and never be dissapointed by a flat battery again!
The following 12V Solar Chargers are perfect for charging and maintenance of all 12V motorcycle batteries:
The Otimate 10 will be fine in the majority of situations as 10W is ample for most 12V motorcycle batteries. If the position of the solar panel is poor (orientation/angle/shading) or there are constant loads on the battery when the bike's not in use consider going for the 20W.
If you're really not sure, give me a call or get in touch and I will be glad to offer friendly advice!