How To Charge ATV Battery

ATVs or other vehicles do end up with a dead battery if the vehicle hasn’t been used for a long time. After several months when you want to set off on an impromptu adventure, the dead battery would ruin your impulsive cravings. 

This is one scenario that you are in the house and having trouble starting the ATV but if your ATV shows these battery issues in the middle of a muddy trail or any remote location like in the woods then it would give rise to a lot of worries. 

But that doesn’t mean you immediately need a mechanic to sort things out. You can do it yourself and get the lovely ATV raging through again. Recharging the batteries is a basic process that every ATV owner should learn because ending up with a dead battery is rather a common issue with old ATVs.

Knowing the requirements to charge an ATV Battery

Even sometimes a brand new vehicle might need help with the battery and will require you to recharge it accurately.You may even need to charge the ATV battery often as the Quad’s own charging system that is present in most ATVs sometimes fails to balance the draining battery. 

If your battery goes dead very often then you should try to get behind the reason for it first. The common reasons can be the age of the battery, the low fluid level in batteries, A loose connection with the ground cable, and even a sulfated battery.

For charging the battery of your ATV you would need to know the tools and process well enough to not mess up. But before diving into the conventional battery charging techniques you should know a few ATV kick-starting techniques that might just work and don’t have to wait until you finally notice that your battery is fully charged. 

You might often have questions in your mind like how long does it take to charge an ATV battery? Or what setting should I charge my ATV battery at? all the answers will be given here later on.

A group of ATV riders driving together in the desert, which is safer
A group of ATV riders driving together in the desert, which is safer


Tricks to kickstart without recharging

As the heading says, first you will learn here how to make the ATV battery work again. But that’s not it, you will also learn how to recharge the battery properly later on. Many people who know the ways to recharge the battery might not know these tricks and suffer the peril of unnecessary labor and time. The tips and tricks are as follows:-

 

Make it work by compression initiation-

This is an old-school technique that requires you to make the vehicle roll down the road by pushing or pulling and it might kick start the engine into action. So by tricking the engine to start you have sparked the engine system into fixing the battery itself. The system would recharge your battery while you keep driving down the trail. Well at first you need to switch the key and bump the first gear. 

The battery might not start recharging if you don’t put the vehicle in second gear mode. Use the clutch and make the atv drive at least 10 mph. The additional trick with this process is to release the clutch and hit the gas just at the moment you hear the engine trying to start itself. There remains more than one trick to charge an atv battery which is mentioned below.

Kickstarting into action

This battery kickstarting option will only be feasible if you are not riding alone. You will be needing a good battery of the same kind which means another ATV to help out your vehicle. Usually, people do ride in a group or at least with a partner so this might be a good option to consider.

In this process first, you need to connect cables to the good battery. Cables should be the crocodile clip-induced ones which you can easily plug in the positive and negative points. The ground wire which will come in a black color cable is recommended to be attached to the frame of the battery as earthing.

With the batteries or around the engine you won’t be dealing with a lot of space so using the frame for the ground wire will be a good option. After the red wire is properly attached as well you need to start the battery of the active vehicle and let it stay in that state for a while, a couple of minutes would be best.

After that, you need to try starting the inactive vehicle’s battery. If luck is on your side the inactive ATV would start and wipe off your troubles. But still, the process wouldn’t be totally complete. 

You can definitely celebrate a little but then you need to carefully remove the red wire and then the black wire. Touch the insulated parts only while attaching and removing. After removal of the wires let the ATV which had an active battery always just stay turned off for a while.

 

A rider unscrewing the battery of the engine slot to get it fixed
A rider unscrewing the battery of the engine slot to get it fixed

Using a car battery

This is very similar to the previous kickstarting process mentioned but instead of an ATV battery, a car battery can be used to start the dead battery. Use the same crocodile clip-induced cables to connect the active car battery to the dead ATV battery. Use the frame of the battery for the black cables and then use the red cable to connect the actual battery. 

Keep in mind that you should not start the Car battery immediately as, unlike the ATV batteries, a car battery is much more powerful.So you need to turn on the ATV without starting the car. The dead battery should be working then and your ATV will be good to run. Safely remove the cables as mentioned in the previous technique. Experts always recommended checking your ATV battery before leaving for an adventure as it can save you lots of trouble.

Recharging in a conventional way

The amount of current which can be provided by the built-in system of charging in the ATV is low in amount. So the use of an external battery charger is the only option sometimes to make your ATV battery come to life. Some tools are needed to be used for the recharging purpose which includes a battery charger of a low ampere, eyewear protection, and gloves of latex. 

Try to keep the ATV somewhere well-ventilated as it will reduce the risk factors by intensity. If you overcharge by mistake some hydrogen gas might release from the batteries. The air circulation would prevent the gas from causing any harm. 

A garage can be considered the ideal kind of atmosphere for battery recharging. If you are unable to provide such an environment for the ATV battery recharging process to take place then you must remove the battery from the ATV by unscrewing the battery from its place. A medium-sized screwdriver would serve well enough. The process in detail are as follows:

Inspection and identification

Not in all ATVs you will find the battery in the open as soon as you pop the hood. Some atvs have a battery lid of plastic which is present as a protection cover for the battery. So you need to remove the plastic cover for inspection. 

The prime objective for inspecting the battery is to find any damaged portion or cracked parts if present. If you find them do not even try to charge the battery. Call for a mechanic and the professional will take care of it, most probably your ATV will need a new battery in that case.

Details of the battery

You should know the category of battery your ATV has. Some batteries do need a specific kind of battery recharger to charge them. So it is advised to know your battery type beforehand and keep the specific compatible charger along with you. Determining the battery type is very easy. 

A label is present from the first on the battery body or if somehow you are checking many months or years later the label might not be having the name anymore. In that case, you need to use the part number on the ATV by searching it on the internet.

 

Different types of new ATV batteries are stocked together for replacing damaged ones
Different types of new ATV batteries are stocked together for replacing damaged ones

The suitable charger

Using the right kind of Battery Recharger is very important. Not using the manual charger correctly is also essential. If you don’t abide by the rules you might easily damage the battery. Either you have to use an intelligent charger of great quality or in some cases, a manual bench-style charger is also important. 

The charger most common is 12V as most batteries are also 12V. The charger should be of the category that dissipates a low ampere rate of charge which will be between three to one ampere. The correct type of charger for each type of battery are as follows:

i)Gel-Cell batteries- 

In the case of ATV gel cell batteries, you cannot use the AGM or flooded charger as it will damage the gel electrolyte in the battery.

You should also not use a manual charger with constant current flow. The one I should use is a gel cell complying with an intelligent charger. The charger to recharge the battery should have features like voltage regulation, a proper mode for gel-cell, and temperature sensing with reliability.

ii) Lithium-ion Battery- 

Lithium-ion batteries are modern and unique batteries with different features. These batteries do charge very fast and require a higher voltage input than other batteries.

If you use a manual charger you need to charge more than usual and it would be difficult for you to calculate the timing as you will be using a different charger according to the battery.

So general intelligent chargers or conventional manual chargers are not recommended as the lithium-ion battery may get some damage due to repeated undercharging. A specific lithium-ion compatible charger is suggested to be only used.

iii) AGM and SLA batteries

These are sensitive batteries to some extent and the full name stands as Absorbed Glass Mat and Sealed Lead Acid batteries. The battery charging for this category should be done using a manual charger although it is not ideal. This is because if you connect a manual charger you need to precisely check the process until the battery is fully charged.

Overcharging in AGM or SLA batteries can cause the production of hydrogen gas or reduce the fluid levels which will disturb the functionality of the batteries. Using a smart charger with a provided AGM charging mode will be the ideal charger for these batteries. As both the AGM and SLA are similar types of batteries. The same charger will do for SLA batteries. The battery charger should be having a 12-volt input to the batteries.

A battery getting fixed with a battery recharger
A battery getting fixed with a battery recharger

 

iv) Flooded lead-acid (FLA) battery

This is the most versatile battery among all in terms of charging because about any type of battery recharger will fit along with the FLA batteries. If the battery gets overcharged in this category of batteries you have nothing to worry about.

Just add distilled water in a proper amount and the battery will be good as before. Any smart automatic charger or manual charger would be enough to provide a recharge but make sure the voltage input is matching with the battery. The dissipation of ampere should be low too.

Checking voltage using a multimeter

Once you get familiar with the process it won’t take you long to charge your atv battery. Before you jump into the actual battery charging mechanism there remain some steps to be completed before it. When using a manual charger that provides a constant current value you need to find the voltage of the battery. 

The voltage value will help you in setting the right mode of charge and eye on the whole charging process. You need to find the open-circuit voltage of the battery using a multimeter to know what is the exact condition of the battery and how much charge it will need. The meaning of the voltage value differs to some extent depending on the type of battery. Refer to the chart given below to know about the values of voltage depending upon the battery kind.

 

The chart for voltage reference according to battery type
The chart for voltage reference according to battery type

 

When checking with voltmeter is not required

If the charger is a smart one or a fully automatic feature then this step of multimeter checking is not necessary. These kinds of charges would select the right kind of voltage profile and you won’t have much work to do. The charger will disconnect the supply of power automatically. If your battery was completely dead and was at zero percent charge then it might take a little more than sixteen hours, otherwise, it would take much less than sixteen but more than twelve usually.

 

An ATV battery getting checked by a multimeter
An ATV battery getting checked by a multimeter

Ensuring the connection before plugging

To know the details to the question of How do you bring a dead ATV battery to life? First, you need to understand the basics of the charging process. As you might already know the charger you will be using will have two terminal cables. The cable with the red clip will be the positive wire and the black one would be the negative or ground wire. You can identify the positive terminal of the battery by a positive or P symbol.

The other symbols used are POS written over or the color red is used on one of the caps. Clean the positive terminal with a cloth with a wire brush and wear your protective eyewear beforehand. Attach the remaining black cable to the metal part of the frame, using the large bolts is a great option. The negative cable is being suggested to be connected with the frame instead of a negative terminal or ground terminal already present in the battery is only to be extra safe. 

 

The rough technique to using the cables of the multimeter
The rough technique to using the cables of the multimeter

Cable connectivity

After charging when the first plug is or the ground plug is being removed there is a small chance of a spark. So if the sparks occur away from the battery then it is the best. But with modern intelligent chargers, it will not happen as the batteries are designed not to get charged more than necessary.

First connecting the positive cable is recommended by experts and then the ground cable. After connecting the head clips of the cables properly it’s time to plug in the charger to a socket. For a manual type charger, the charge rate or current flow needs to be set manually. The battery charging should never be supplied with a three-ampere current. The ideal power output from the charger should be 1.5 A.

The ATV battery getting charged by the electrical socket through cables
The ATV battery getting charged by the electrical socket through cables


Types of ideal charger based on the battery type

When using a smart charger or intelligent charger it is required to set the correct mode of the charger. If you choose the wrong mode it might overcharge or undercharge the battery causing some problems with the battery later on. The modes to be chosen according to the battery are as follows:

  • You will find a dedicated Lithium-ion mode for Li-ion batteries using only those lithium-ion batteries.
  • You will need a Gel mode for a GEL cell battery and set that in the charger.
  • For categories of FLA and SLA, you will have to choose the lead-acid mode with low ampere specification. Make use of the user manual and set the charge rate as above 1/10th of the battery ampere rating.
  • AGM mode is not always available in every charger. So you can use the lead-acid mode.

When you are charging the battery with a charger it’s required to get the battery fully charged. The other safety rule that you should abide by is to never start the vehicle when the battery is getting charged externally by a charger. When the process of charging is going on you need to check if the battery is getting overheated or not. If you check the battery is getting very warm, switch off the plug and fan the battery area to cool it down and let the gases leave the room.

Conclusion

The ‘battery charging’ is not that complicated if you charge an atv battery with knowledge and follow the process of charging. When you charge your atv battery on your own you also save the charge of a mechanic. The process of battery charging is something that you can easily learn and execute. The duration of charge will depend on the battery condition and also the type of battery. If you follow the rules, bringing a dead battery back to life won’t be a tough job.

 

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