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What is the difference between a normal battery and maintenance free battery. Is a maintenance free battery really free of maintenance or just it requires less no of charge cycles.

I currently own a 2wheeler automatic (Honda Activa 2007 model) which is currently having an Exide battery. Its charge goes down after almost every 1 month. For which I need to bring it in the service centre to get it charged.(Although when the fuel meter is above the red marking then it starts normally on the battery and if the fuel is less then it needs a compulsory kick start).Due to low charge in the battery the indicators stop working sometimes, horn goes week and sometimes even the headlights dim down. The problem of starting get's worse if there is some humidity in the climate or just some rainfall.(It takes 2-3 mins to start)

I am planning to go in for a maintenance free battery of the same company exide as it might not provide that much trouble of monthly charging it.

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"Maintenance Free" doesn't have anything to do with charging rate or charging frequency. "Maintenance Free" means that the manufacturer didn't provide any means of maintaining the water/acid level in the battery, which means that if a battery boils dry you can only replace it instead of refilling it yourself with water or acid, whichever is appropriate (probably water).

If your Activa loses enough battery charge to require charging from an external source, then one of the following is true:

a. You don't ride it for great enough distance, on average b. Your charging system (in the bike) is failing or has failed c. The battery is just getting too old and should be replaced

If your bike is a 2007 and it still has the original battery in it, then that battery is really getting pretty old.

  • I had it replaced in 2013 and still get the same problem.It has done around 35,000 kms with servicing done only by the dealer although it's difficult for me to give it for servicing after every 2 months. – user285oo6 Aug 21 '14 at 5:54
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    Ok, so that battery is still pretty young. In that case, I suspect that either you don't ride it for a long enough distance to recharge the battery. Try to ride it at least 3 miles (about 5km) each time you start it. If it STILL loses battery charge, then strongly suspect your bike's generator/alternator. – TDHofstetter Aug 21 '14 at 6:13
  • Agreed !!! Ride enough to recharge battery 6 km .if steel its loses battery charge, then strongly suspect your bike's generator/alternator – user13220 Nov 16 '15 at 9:30
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    They sure make it sound like it's an advantage. More like "maintenance unsupported". – I have no idea what I'm doing Nov 16 '15 at 10:48
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You have another issue

The battery doesn't sound like to the core issue that you are experiencing. I propose that your stator or rectifier have gone bad thus you are experiencing a situation where you have to have your battery serviced. The motorcycle should be 'servicing your battery' and charging it as you ride the motorcycle.

You will want to test your stator and your rectifier to discover the root cause of the issue rather than treating the symptoms. This will require a multimeter.

Testing Your Stator

There are three yellow wires that come from your stator. They come out of the left side crankshaft cover and route into your sprocket cover and out along the cast bottom portion of your frame on their way to your rectifier. They connect directly to the rectifier. You can disconnect them from the rectifier and test them with a multimeter. Your first test will be static. The engine is not running. Be sure to disconnect from the rectifier and not just try and pierce the wires with the multimeter end. They are special wires and insulated a bit more, these are one of the few wires on the motorcycle that carry AC current.

  • Static Test Set multimeter to ohms and test between all the leads in pairs. The reading 0.1 to 1.0 max resistance.

  • No Load Test Dynamic Test Set your multimeter to AC Volts and start the bike. It should be cold. Have a friend hold the RPM's at 5,000. Test between the leads. You should see more than 70V. If it's below that, you may need a new stator. I would replace, but I'll get to that later.

Testing Your Rectifier

Your rectifier has diodes in it. Diodes are one way valves for electricity, think of a reed valve in a two stroke in-take. Since this is a three-phase charging system you need diodes to join the AC current into a single output and convert to DC. I could get more detailed but I want to keep it simple.

  • Rectifier Resistance Test Using your multimeter set to ohms connect the multimeter to the ends of each of the diodes and check the resistance in both directions. You should have low resistance in one direction and higher in the opposite direction. Generally, you will want to see 5 - 40 ohms of resistance in the forward bias direction, and infinite resistance in the reverse bias direction.

  • Procedure Attach the black probe (-) of the meter to the ground side of the rectifier (black wires) and the red probe of the meter to each of the three contacts for the stator. Record the numbers. Then swap around the meter leads (red and black are swapped) and take the readings again. You have thus measured the ground side of the rectifier.

If you have lower resistance in both directions (5+ ohms) then you must replace it.. If you have infinite in both directions you will need to replace the rectifier.

I hope this gives you some troubleshooting tools to remediate your issue. Best of luck.

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