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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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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.
 

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full spectrum was the other company i was thinking of.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
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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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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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.
 

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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.
I for sure like mine.
 

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Man! :mad: That sucks!! Sorry that happened to you. Im just thinking if I bought a battery and it blew up like that, I'd be all over ebay and pay pal looking for a little retribution. It's bad enough the product friggin expolded, but all the damage it caused? Sheeesh!
Consider filing complaints and asking for a refund. Paypal, if you used them for this purchase, does have some teeth to its policies. So, if they decide in your favor at least you'll get your money back.

I'll keep buying my batteries from my local BatteriesPlus. I exchange business with him, so knowing the guy helps too. If something like that happened to me, then at least I got a solid business in my area whose gonna try to make that right.

Now I'll step down from the pulpit.
 

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...Sorry to see the damage that was done.
Looks like a rear wiring harness replacement might be needed...
If you do need rear harness, I saw these. I know nothing about the sellers, but the one had an impecible rating. cycleoutlet1 (Feedback Score Of 3444)
99.9% Positive

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/02-03-Honda-RVT1000-RC51-Rear-Wiring-Harness-_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQhashZitem5adfb3ce0dQQitemZ390300159501QQptZMotorcyclesQ5fPartsQ5fAccessories

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Honda-RC51-RC-51-RVT-00-Rear-Main-Wire-Wiring-Harness-_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQhashZitem3cb9373f18QQitemZ260805443352QQptZMotorcyclesQ5fPartsQ5fAccessories
 

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That really sucks, but at least you were able to put the fire out and the bike wasn't a total loss. There was a guy with a shorai that also had a fire on his Superhawk. The the guy's r/r actually fried and overheated the battery. Shorai has fixed what allowed the battery to overheat in all their other batteries. He was compensated by shorai above and beyond the damage to his bike, even though it wasn't actually the battery that caused the problem (and it would have likely been worse with a lead acid battery). I'll see if I can find the thread.

The problem is that many of the A123 on eBay and elsewhere from China are FAKES...and this is the result...
Exactly. It's pretty common to find the rejects or all out fakes on eBay. The unfortunate result of manufacturing things in china. A123 Systems is supposed to be opening up a manufacturing plant soon in Detroit, so hopefully we will get some jobs and quality products made here in the states. One of my professors at my university is good friends with one of the higher-ups in A123. It's sad that he can get pallets of cells donated, yet it's hard to find legit people selling them individually.


For those of you thinking about full spectrum, I would think again. They are the same batteries as other brands, just marketed a little better. The owner of the company (Jason, who goes by Eye-p on many forums) was a distributor for speedcell a while ago. He then started to make his own batteries and selling them under the speedcell brand name without permission and went so far as to set up his own website speedcell.com (the real website is speedcell.us). He was eventually sued by Josh, the owner of speedcell and here was the result: http://www.speedcell.us/pressrelease.html

I don't know about you, but I don't like giving my money to dishonest people. While he didn't actually steal the idea of making batteries out of a123 cells, he made a bad decision to steal a brand name and the hard work of another individual. He may be marketing better and be getting his batteries into ama bikes, but that doesn't excuse his actions.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
OK, so I have to update this, even though it's a bit embarassing. I found a huge short circuit due to a mis-routed wire that got pinched and vibration gradually abraded the insulation off. I'm sure this problem caused both A123 battery failures.

So, these batteries may or may not be a good idea if your wiring is perfect. The failure mode is too dangerous for me to keep using them. I think I will get a small Shorai for the track eventually.

Just so this thread is not completely worthless, here a pic of my RC after I got her put back together:

 

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That really sucks, but at least you were able to put the fire out and the bike wasn't a total loss. There was a guy with a shorai that also had a fire on his Superhawk. The the guy's r/r actually fried and overheated the battery. Shorai has fixed what allowed the battery to overheat in all their other batteries. He was compensated by shorai above and beyond the damage to his bike, even though it wasn't actually the battery that caused the problem (and it would have likely been worse with a lead acid battery). I'll see if I can find the thread.



Exactly. It's pretty common to find the rejects or all out fakes on eBay. The unfortunate result of manufacturing things in china. A123 Systems is supposed to be opening up a manufacturing plant soon in Detroit, so hopefully we will get some jobs and quality products made here in the states. One of my professors at my university is good friends with one of the higher-ups in A123. It's sad that he can get pallets of cells donated, yet it's hard to find legit people selling them individually.


For those of you thinking about full spectrum, I would think again. They are the same batteries as other brands, just marketed a little better. The owner of the company (Jason, who goes by Eye-p on many forums) was a distributor for speedcell a while ago. He then started to make his own batteries and selling them under the speedcell brand name without permission and went so far as to set up his own website speedcell.com (the real website is speedcell.us). He was eventually sued by Josh, the owner of speedcell and here was the result: http://www.speedcell.us/pressrelease.html

I don't know about you, but I don't like giving my money to dishonest people. While he didn't actually steal the idea of making batteries out of a123 cells, he made a bad decision to steal a brand name and the hard work of another individual. He may be marketing better and be getting his batteries into ama bikes, but that doesn't excuse his actions.
I use Speedcell batteries made by Josh in all of my bikes with great results. Because I know he's not willing to compromise on quality I'm happy to pay a little more for them.
 

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I just purchased an MOTY Design 8 cell after my old battery died.. Heard nothing but good things and it's working great so far. Weighs about 1.4lbs and they run 160 shipped. Not a bad deal by any measure.
 

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Seems the Shorai is the way to go for reliability mitigating the failure risk.

codermyers you are one fortunate bastard you are. I am glad the fire issue didn't turn out worse than it did.
 

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OK, so I have to update this, even though it's a bit embarassing. I found a huge short circuit due to a mis-routed wire that got pinched and vibration gradually abraded the insulation off. I'm sure this problem caused both A123 battery failures.

So, these batteries may or may not be a good idea if your wiring is perfect. The failure mode is too dangerous for me to keep using them. I think I will get a small Shorai for the track eventually.

Just so this thread is not completely worthless, here a pic of my RC after I got her put back together:
Looks good! You should paint some flames on it.:D

At least you found the problem. Those wires have always been an issue. Honda made a mistake by making a lot of the wiring that goes into the tail and under the back of the tank just a little too short and it causes rubbing and shorts. I've been trying to keep the same thing from happening on my bike in a few places too.
 
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