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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
When I bought the super cheap automatic battery float charger for $16.99 from harborfreight.com I didn’t realize what a pain in butt it was going to be actually hooking it up to the ST3 battery, since you have to remove one of the side panels. And since I still ride the bike during winter whenever the weather allows, I wanted an easier way to charge the battery. Like plugging the trickle charger in to the bike’s accessory plug. But those trickle chargers cost way more than I wanted to spend.

So I bought a Powerlet Basic Plug PPL-001 for $7.95 from derbycycles.com and in half and hour I had a easy way to trickle charge the ST3 for under $25.



Powerlet Basic Plug PPL-001



STOCK float charger, before modification



1 Take plug apart
2 Remove clamps
3 Strip wires



4 Place wires in to the plug, and assemble the plug
5 Check the polarity with a meter



Easy plug & charge trickle charger
 

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Harbor Freight is now selling these chargers for only $7.49!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
CapnJack52 said:
Harbor Freight is now selling these chargers for only $7.49!!
I got mine at the outlet store for $4.99, but they are listed on the website for $16.99, they are always on sale.
 

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VIVID1 said:
I got mine at the outlet store for $4.99, but they are listed on the website for $16.99, they are always on sale.
Amazing - the conversion plug winds up costing more than the charger!! In any event, you've come up with a very inexpensive way to keep your battery healthy ... well done!
 

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Anna;
I was just looking at those chargers today at a store nearby. I already have a battery tender jr. with a powerlet plug, but I was amazed at how cheap those harbor freight chargers were. Do they automatically shut off when the battery is at full charge? I was saying to a friend that I dont know how I would feel about leaving such an inexspensive unit hooked-up to my bike. I've heard stories from some guys about fires and overcharging with no name trickle chargers. My guess is they are made in China, whats not these days, so let us know how good they work. Maybe I'll buy one as a back-up. Rob
 

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bebopdontstop said:
I already have a battery tender jr. with a powerlet plug, but I was amazed at how cheap those harbor freight chargers were. Do they automatically shut off when the battery is at full charge? I was saying to a friend that I dont know how I would feel about leaving such an inexspensive unit hooked-up to my bike. I've heard stories from some guys about fires and overcharging with no name trickle chargers. My guess is they are made in China, whats not these days, so let us know how good they work. Maybe I'll buy one as a back-up. Rob
Anna, good mod, Ive done the same.

My take on cheap chargers is a bit different. It's always nice to save a few bucks but I have to question the wisdom of charging a $60-$90 battery with a $8 charger. Might be penny wise and pound foolish? A quality charger will last a long, long time so I had no issues forking over the $60 or so for this nice little marine unit:

http://shop.sailnet.com/product_info.php/products_id/5547

Looks like the price has gone up since I bought it four years ago but it works very well. I'm still on the OEM battery after over four years and 25,000 miles. Others I know have gone through two batteries in the same amount of time using a cheap charger. My take on cheap chargers is it's luck of the draw, voltage is not well regulated and varies from unit to unit. The Guest 6203 is microprocessor controlled and shuts the current down to micro-pulses when fully charged. It also goes up to 3 amps charge current which is a good thing if your battery is low when hooked up.
 

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Nice write up Anna, I really appreciate your photographic talents.

I have and use a few of those cheep Harbor Freight Float Chargers myself and would hesitate to call them battery chargers, more like battery maintainers. They only supply milliamps so would be hard pressed to recharge a drained battery, and provide just under13 volts which should preclude boiling a battery dry. In my experience though, they do a good job of maintaining a charge and keeping my various batteries fresh. I’ve used one for a couple years now and never noticed it get more then warm, certainly not hot enough to catch fire. As with any low priced item however, quality is always suspect, so I’d recommend keeping an eye on them.
 

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Mike said:
Anna, good mod, Ive done the same.

My take on cheap chargers is a bit different. It's always nice to save a few bucks but I have to question the wisdom of charging a $60-$90 battery with a $8 charger. Might be penny wise and pound foolish? A quality charger will last a long, long time so I had no issues forking over the $60 or so for this nice little marine unit:

http://shop.sailnet.com/product_info.php/products_id/5547

Looks like the price has gone up since I bought it four years ago but it works very well. I'm still on the OEM battery after over four years and 25,000 miles. Others I know have gone through two batteries in the same amount of time using a cheap charger. My take on cheap chargers is it's luck of the draw, voltage is not well regulated and varies from unit to unit. The Guest 6203 is microprocessor controlled and shuts the current down to micro-pulses when fully charged. It also goes up to 3 amps charge current which is a good thing if your battery is low when hooked up.

I've been using the Harbor Freight/Chicago Electric Float Charger for 4 years now. It kept the battery on a 94 FZR600R freash til the bike's "death" in August 2005. I have 4 bikes in the garage on these floaters, a 91 GS500E, my 2005 ST3, wife's 2005 620 Monster and a 2004 GSXR600. These units will not "charge" and dead or dying better, they allow to extend the life of your battery. I went a slightly different route on my setup, I float my battery thru my tan bag, via a splitter which has a standard cigarette socket, I used a standard male plug, from a old portable B&W TV, not dangling leads on either Vivid's setup or my, no removing fairing, or fishing under seats or panels looking for lead hook ups, just plug into you bikes power outlet.
 

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ok, stupid question, but I have power at the accessory outlet even when power is off.. when I plug the powerlet into the plug the red light goes on, on the charger. Is this normal?
 

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Are you all saying that you can trickle charge your battery through the power outlet instead of connecting to the battery its self?
Bruce
 

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Yup. As long as the recepticle is "live all the time", you can pull juice out of it, or push a charge current into it.

I do the same with my Corvette. Same is not true for some Japanese cars which tend to have the outlet live only when the key is turned to "ON".
 

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VIVIDI1,
Hey no rocket scientist here, if anyone has one of these gadgets all ready to go let me know how much you want for it shipped to CO. Hell we trickle charge out here all the time, stare at the bike most of the time and ride some of the time. Hate removing the cowling to get at the battery.
Thanks,
Brian - [email protected]
 

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Another worth while thought (for me)

Somewhere out there on the net is a description and advice on drilling a hole in the side vent panel behind the fairing. It's not hard to figure out anyways and the benifits are great.

Basically it consists of a +/- 1" hole directly above the positive battery terminal. When done correctly you can't see it and it gives you direct access to the terminal without removing the fairing(s).

I did the mod long ago, before I bothered with a trickle charger. I love my bike... but I still like the idea of being able to jump start directly to the battery terminal when (if) I need to.

As a plus, when I finally did connect charger wires, this access provided a location for the connector splice to be slipped through, so I could use the supplied charger cables without grafting the BMW plug. ANd I know there is a direct connection to the battery. :rolleyes:
 

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i have 15 of the harbor freight maintainers, i have never had one fail. i use them on cars and even a diesel tractor with amazing results. i go down to the auto parts store and buy a 2 prong connector. (like a trailer connector) i cut them in half and put one half on the maintainer and the other half on the battery. i wire them all the same so whichever maintainer i use it will work. i live 6 months in florida and 6 months in new mexico and have bikes and cars at both locations, so maintainers are a staple for me. they produce 400 milli amps of current and that will maintain most any healthy battery. sometimes harbor frieght puts them on sale for $4.95. i paid $6.95, but i've seen the in the catalog for $16.95. you figure. i don't know how they work, but they have outlasted all other maintainers i have ever bought. i just hate they don't make a 6 volt model for my antique bikes. for 6 volt bikes i use a 1 amp 6 volt charger on a timer to let it charge for 1 hour per day at 1 amp. that has worked so far.
 
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