RC51 + ebay A123 batteries = fail... - Honda RC51 Forum : RC51 Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-10-2011, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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Thumbs down RC51 + ebay A123 batteries = fail...

Hi, just wanted to share my experiences with the 8-cell A123 batteries you can buy on ebay for about $100... don't waste your money.

They first appeared from a seller in China, I decided to take a gamble and ordered one. It came with a quick disconnect and weighed about a pound. I thought, sweet! and hooked it up as soon as outdoor temps rose above 45 degrees overnight. It lasted 3 months of weekend riding, then one afternoon, it was about 90 degrees outside, and it ruptured while I was cruising home at 25 mph. Battery juice all over the battery box, but no other damage. Rectifier still worked fine. I had the thing wrapped in a hand towel to reduce vibration, so I thought maybe that was my mistake, that it overheated.

So a new seller pops up on ebay, he's from the US, and the price is competitive. I decided to give it another go, and ordered one. When it arrives, it's the same, except the cables are about twice as thick as the ones on the Chinese battery. I thought, sweet! and hooked it up, this time I drilled a dozen holes in the bottom of the battery box and zip tied it in place, no towel or foam or anything. This was two weeks ago. I rode the bike about 5 times, and today, about a half hour from my house, the engine cuts out, I stop, and smoke is rolling out from under my seat. I rip the seat off and have a small fire to put out. Here's the aftermath shot...



It was only about 80 F outside today. Not sure if my rectifier got fried or not. The bottom of my seat is pretty melted, and the battery box is a mess again. I guess I'm lucky my ass didn't catch on fire...

Anyway, I'm going back to a Yuasa until somebody figures this stuff out a little better. I thought about getting a Shorai, but I've read about a few people burning those up as well. The point of this post is, those ebay batteries are definitely not plug and play with the RC51. They work great at first, then dramatically fail.
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-10-2011, 11:19 PM
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Fail........................
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-10-2011, 11:42 PM
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thats terrible....the A123 lithiums are not meant for bikes as they do rupture. There are a few other companies out there that make rupture proof lithiums. i think speedcell and another company similair but with carbon fiber case with a light blue logo.....cant remember the name. Sorry to hear about the damage to the bike, could have been worse though. thanks for posting this up, may have saved a few people.

2001 Honda RC51 SP1
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-10-2011, 11:45 PM
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full spectrum was the other company i was thinking of.

2001 Honda RC51 SP1
1996 Honda CBR 900RR
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 11:55 AM
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Sorry to see the damage that was done.
Looks like a rear wiring harness replacement might be needed.

I tried some of the earlier A123-based LiFe batteries and at the time, the capacity just wasn't there for a twin.

The Shorai batteries are specifically designed for cycle applications, so while anything is possible, I would say it's less likely these will have problems.

Plus, because the cranking amps are higher with a twin (especially in the winter), I went with the highest capacity battery Shorai mades for the RC51, the LFX18A1-BS12.

Last edited by SubSailor; 07-11-2011 at 11:58 AM.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry to see the damage that was done.
Looks like a rear wiring harness replacement might be needed.

I tried some of the earlier A123-based LiFe batteries and at the time, the capacity just wasn't there for a twin.

The Shorai batteries are specifically designed for cycle applications, so while anything is possible, I would say it's less likely these will have problems.

Plus, because the cranking amps are higher with a twin (especially in the winter), I went with the highest capacity battery Shorai mades for the RC51, the LFX18A1-BS12.
How long have you had the Shorai for?
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 02:52 PM
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Only for a short time.
Due to the earthquake (Japan), they were out of stock for some time.
I noticed one day that the 18 AH battery (which was what I wanted) was back in stock, and I quickly placed an order.
Apparently it's still hit and miss as they show out of stock on both 12 AH and 18 AH this afternoon.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 09:19 PM
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The problem is that many of the A123 on eBay and elsewhere from China are FAKES...and this is the result...
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 10:29 PM
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I have had my dewalt battery for about two years.

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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-12-2011, 01:12 AM
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I'm tempted with the shorai batteries, my old lead batt in the RC is almost done.

Wont be buying those cheaper heat shrinked ones on ebay, that picture is the reason!
I dont think a home built one is worth the risk either,people say the cells are only $5 each, yeah for the fake ones, genuine a123 are more like $15 each.Plus all the talk about you should not solder them.I think a shorai will be cheaper in the long run.

Last edited by mondo; 07-12-2011 at 02:13 AM.
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