MXA TEAM TESTED: KTM LI-ION BATTERY CHARGER/TEST UNIT

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WHAT IS IT? Every KTM and Husqvarna owner should have a dedicated battery charger for the Li-ion batteries used on their bike’s starting circuit. KTM offers two different battery chargers: an inexpensive, constant, current/voltage trickle charger for around $40 and the more expensive Acctiva Easy 1202 charger with digital readout, charge status bar graph, Alternator tester and automatic conservation mode. MXA tested KTM’s high-end Acctiva battery charger/test unit.

WHAT’S IT COST? $159.99.

CONTACT? Your local KTM dealer or look in the KTM PowerParts catalog.

WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the KTM PowerParts Acctiva battery charger/test unit.

(1) Concept. KTMs have used electric start since 2007. Initially, KTM used a Yuasa lead-acid battery, but in 2016 KTM switched to a much lighter and smaller Samsung C22S lithium-ion battery. Battery terminology can be confusing, but the KTM and Husqvarna batteries are more accurately called lithium-iron phosphate batteries. These batteries are also referred to as LiFePO or LFP batteries, but those are just acronyms for “lithium ferro phosphate.” Do not confuse lithium-iron phosphate batteries with the lithium cobalt (Li-cobalt) batteries used on most consumer electronics. They are quite different, even though they are both technically lithium-ion (Li-ion) systems.

(2) LiFePO. The advantages of using a lithium-iron phosphate battery over a lead-acid battery is that it has a higher resistance to thermal runaway, a longer calendar life, quick recharge rate, five times as many available discharge cycles, higher peak-power rating, a lower price and weighs less. Additionally, a LiFePO battery contains no poisonous lead, acid or toxic gases (as lead-acid batteries do). In short, a lithium-iron phosphate battery weighs 2 pounds less, delivers a more powerful punch and costs less than a lead-acid battery.

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(3) Battery issues. KTM and Husky motocross bikes use electric starting exclusively. They do not have a kick-starter. If the battery goes dead, starting becomes problematic. MXA has had very few issues with dead batteries, but in cold weather the small, light Samsung C22S battery can easily be ground down, which is why MXA test riders preheat the Samsung battery by engaging the starter button, without starting the engine, several times in cold weather. What does that do? Lithium-iron phosphate batteries get stronger as they get warmer (the voltage actually increases as you get the fuel pump to hum). If that fails, you can jump-start a KTM from your car battery

(4) KTM battery charger. As a rule of thumb, you should not charge a Li-ion battery with a conventional automobile battery charger. Not that it won’t charge the battery; the problem is that it won’t stop charging the battery, which can lead to overheating and Hoverboard-style fires.

(5) Charging. Built by Fronius in Austria, the PowerParts Li-ion battery charger has a fully automatic charging circuit that uses a programmed curve to get maximum power out of the battery. Better yet, after reaching maximum capacity, the KTM charger automatically switches over to conservation mode to avoid self-discharge. There is also an LCD display that charts the charging level on a bar graph.

WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? For the average motocross racer, who might need to charge his battery once a year, the $160 price tag is too high, which is why KTM offers a simpler, less complicated Li-ion battery charger. The bells and whistle are cool, but you’ll never use them.

MXA RATING: KTM’s Acctiva Easy 1202 battery charger is as good as a Li-ion battery charger can get, but it isn’t a good choice for the average KTM or Husqvarna owner. This battery charger is best suited for dealer and shop use. It’s reverse polarity guard, short-circuit cut-out and digital diagnostics are all great features, but they don’t come cheap. KTM power parts offers a lower cost charger that will work for what the average KTM or Husqvarna owner wants it for.

 

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