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Ideal spark color of a spark plug

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Ideal spark color of a spark plug

sudhirLibra
Being a Sunday, thought of a routine check of the bike and started from the battery. Voltage reading with ignition off was around 12V and on idle was ~13V(used an old analog meter, so cudnt find the accurate read).
Almost all cells of battery(12V, 5AH, about 3 years old) do not show any electrolyte on shaking the battery. So do i need to replace this one?

Then went on with the spark plug's spark strength. Held the plug close against the cylinder and cranked a few times. The spark color was kind of orange and seemed weak. However, the bike still starts on the first kick. Now what's the best way to check if the ignition coil has enough juice or not?

I am curious, would the battery state impact the performance ?

Cheers
Sudhir

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Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug

Al-101
   Suhir, a fully charged lead-acid battery, in a fully charged state, should
give a voltmeter reading of 12.6V. A reading of 12.0V would indicated a severely
discharged battery. A battery in that state of near full discharge should enable
the voltage regulator to direct the alternator to apply current with a reading
of around 14V with the engine running at 2k rpm. And so, I would take a reading
at that engine speed to confirm the proper operation of the alternator. 

   I am most concerned about your statement that the cells, "do not show any
electrolyte on shacking the battery". I interpret this to mean that you cannot
see any electrolyte above the battery's plates. If so, this is a very bad thing
as the portion of the  plates exposed to atmosphere are almost immediately
ruined and the battery's ability to store charge is severly lessened. Needless
to say it is extremely important to regularly check the level to insure against
this.

  Blue is the ideal color  of the spark across the plug's gap. This would
indicate a high intensity spark resulting from a fully charged battery, good
contact made by the breaker points, and a properly functioning ignition coil.

  While I suspect that your coil is in no way a problem, if you wish to check
current flow to the coil's primary an ammeter would need be placed in series
with the 12V supply leading to the positive terminal. This is rather cumbersome
and I think such a test, while being interesting, is in your case really not
needed. By the way, the reading in such as test should be about 1 to 2 amperes
---closer to 1.

   Sudir, methinks you need an new battery based on what you  seemed to say
about electrlye level and terminal voltage reading.


      Al in Philadelphia  






________________________________
From: sudhir <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Sun, March 13, 2011 9:19:30 AM
Subject: [Enfield] Ideal spark color of a spark plug

 
Being a Sunday, thought of a routine check of the bike and started from the
battery. Voltage reading with ignition off was around 12V and on idle was
~13V(used an old analog meter, so cudnt find the accurate read).
Almost all cells of battery(12V, 5AH, about 3 years old) do not show any
electrolyte on shaking the battery. So do i need to replace this one?

Then went on with the spark plug's spark strength. Held the plug close against
the cylinder and cranked a few times. The spark color was kind of orange and
seemed weak. However, the bike still starts on the first kick. Now what's the
best way to check if the ignition coil has enough juice or not?

I am curious, would the battery state impact the performance ?

Cheers
Sudhir





     
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Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug

sudhirLibra
Ah, well guessed pretty much so.
I totally forgot to check the battery fluid level, been some 6months and think three years is its life served anyway.
Will install a new one and do the spark test again.
And to confirm your words, the reading did show ~14V when I raised the throttle. But then I took it for the error on the meter's part.

Thanks!

--- In [hidden email], Al <k3eax@...> wrote:

>
>    Suhir, a fully charged lead-acid battery, in a fully charged state, should
> give a voltmeter reading of 12.6V. A reading of 12.0V would indicated a severely
> discharged battery. A battery in that state of near full discharge should enable
> the voltage regulator to direct the alternator to apply current with a reading
> of around 14V with the engine running at 2k rpm. And so, I would take a reading
> at that engine speed to confirm the proper operation of the alternator. 
>
>    I am most concerned about your statement that the cells, "do not show any
> electrolyte on shacking the battery". I interpret this to mean that you cannot
> see any electrolyte above the battery's plates. If so, this is a very bad thing
> as the portion of the  plates exposed to atmosphere are almost immediately
> ruined and the battery's ability to store charge is severly lessened. Needless
> to say it is extremely important to regularly check the level to insure against
> this.
>
>   Blue is the ideal color  of the spark across the plug's gap. This would
> indicate a high intensity spark resulting from a fully charged battery, good
> contact made by the breaker points, and a properly functioning ignition coil.
>
>   While I suspect that your coil is in no way a problem, if you wish to check
> current flow to the coil's primary an ammeter would need be placed in series
> with the 12V supply leading to the positive terminal. This is rather cumbersome
> and I think such a test, while being interesting, is in your case really not
> needed. By the way, the reading in such as test should be about 1 to 2 amperes
> ---closer to 1.
>
>    Sudir, methinks you need an new battery based on what you  seemed to say
> about electrlye level and terminal voltage reading.
>
>
>       Al in Philadelphia  
>
>
>
>
>
>
> ________________________________
> From: sudhir <sudhir_perla@...>
> To: [hidden email]
> Sent: Sun, March 13, 2011 9:19:30 AM
> Subject: [Enfield] Ideal spark color of a spark plug
>
>  
> Being a Sunday, thought of a routine check of the bike and started from the
> battery. Voltage reading with ignition off was around 12V and on idle was
> ~13V(used an old analog meter, so cudnt find the accurate read).
> Almost all cells of battery(12V, 5AH, about 3 years old) do not show any
> electrolyte on shaking the battery. So do i need to replace this one?
>
> Then went on with the spark plug's spark strength. Held the plug close against
> the cylinder and cranked a few times. The spark color was kind of orange and
> seemed weak. However, the bike still starts on the first kick. Now what's the
> best way to check if the ignition coil has enough juice or not?
>
> I am curious, would the battery state impact the performance ?
>
> Cheers
> Sudhir
>


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Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug

Pete Snidal
In reply to this post by sudhirLibra

>Almost all cells of battery(12V, 5AH, about 3 years old) do not show
>any electrolyte on shaking the battery. So do i need to replace this one?

Top up the cells with DISTILLED water


>Then went on with the spark plug's spark strength. Held the plug
>close against the cylinder and cranked a few times. The spark color
>was kind of orange and seemed weak. However, the bike still starts
>on the first kick. Now what's the best way to check if the ignition
>coil has enough juice or not?

Check your points for clean and gap.  Check all ign connections by
"jumping" coil (+) to batt (+) directly.  If this cleans spark up to
bright blue/white (nirvana!) start looking at each element in the ign
system in turn.
Start with the GROUNDS! (Bat, coil, and engine to bat (-)


>I am curious, would the battery state impact the performance ?

Yup!  You want to see 12.8 - 12.9 V at standstill with ign off.

otoh, if it works, ..........
ps www.enfield.20m.com



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Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug

Al-101
 Pete, a few comments to your reply to our friend Sudhir. But first a question for you: Do you read the previous postings in a thread before you jump in with one of your replies as it seems not? Also, did you not notice Martin's request?

  You suggested to our friend Sudhir that a reading of 12.8 to 12.9 or so would indicate a fully charged battery. This is not so Pete as that reading would indicate an over-charged battery the result of a poorly functioning voltage regulator. This over-charging results in the loss of electrolyte through a rapid evaporation, the result of the fluid over-heating and in some instances even boiling. And so Pete, as I said in my initial reply to Sudhir, a reading of 12.6V indicates a fully charged lead-acid battery and not 12.8V to 12.9V. The one caveat to insure an accurate reading to be observed here and that is remove the battery's "surface charge" with a few seconds use of the horn or starter motor to insure an accurate reading.

  Your suggestion that distilled water be added to a battery whose electrolyte level had fallen below the plates would seem to offer hope that the battery could in some way be saved. While this would save the battery from additional deterioration it could in no way revive the battery.

  Also, Sudhir told us that his reading at the battery's terminal was 12.0V indicating extreme discharge That would account for reddish spark in itself. Now, his relating that the bike would start even in with the battery in that condition would indicate that the points and plug were in good condition.

  Let me say this to you Pete in open discussion. Read the entire thread before you reply and heed the moderator's requests.

  Al in Philadelphia







--- In [hidden email], Pete Snidal <snidey@...> wrote:

>
>
> >Almost all cells of battery(12V, 5AH, about 3 years old) do not show
> >any electrolyte on shaking the battery. So do i need to replace this one?
>
> Top up the cells with DISTILLED water
>
>
> >Then went on with the spark plug's spark strength. Held the plug
> >close against the cylinder and cranked a few times. The spark color
> >was kind of orange and seemed weak. However, the bike still starts
> >on the first kick. Now what's the best way to check if the ignition
> >coil has enough juice or not?
>
> Check your points for clean and gap.  Check all ign connections by
> "jumping" coil (+) to batt (+) directly.  If this cleans spark up to
> bright blue/white (nirvana!) start looking at each element in the ign
> system in turn.
> Start with the GROUNDS! (Bat, coil, and engine to bat (-)
>
>
> >I am curious, would the battery state impact the performance ?
>
> Yup!  You want to see 12.8 - 12.9 V at standstill with ign off.
>
> otoh, if it works, ..........
> ps www.enfield.20m.com
>


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Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug

Royalenfield
It is a good job you dont work for Lucas, as you would have just got the Sack.
Try 12.75v as the mean average for a fully charge battery in all 12v 'Brit' m/c's.  The Enfield is no different.
Do your home-work Al...

Tim
N.Z.


>
>   Let me say this to you Pete in open discussion. Read the entire thread before you reply and heed the moderator's requests.
>
>   Al in Philadelphia
>
>
>

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Re: Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug

Al-101
    Tim, the figure given for testing a lead-acid battery is always a
nominal12.6V. Yes a battery recently brought up to full charged may read a bit
higher until the suface charge is dissipated as I recommended in my reply to
Pete. The figure Pete put forth was 12.8 to 12.9. While this might be valid for
sealed- gel or glass-mate batteries it certainly is not for the lead-acid in
question.

    May I add that it's all to obvious that the real intention of your posting
is to again, this time in less obvious but more churlish sort of way, vent  your
overflowing anger with me.

    Al in Philadelphia


________________________________
From: timbusby <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Wed, March 16, 2011 5:56:33 AM
Subject: [Enfield] Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug

 
It is a good job you dont work for Lucas, as you would have just got the Sack.
Try 12.75v as the mean average for a fully charge battery in all 12v 'Brit'
m/c's. The Enfield is no different.
Do your home-work Al...

Tim
N.Z.

>
> Let me say this to you Pete in open discussion. Read the entire thread before
>you reply and heed the moderator's requests.
>
>
> Al in Philadelphia
>
>
>





     
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Re: Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug

laxt57

Hi
Let me give a my bite in this dog fight.
Really
Ya,all are talking about two tenths of a volt.
Chinese meter, crummy leads, dirty battery terminals
Really
Jeri






-----Original Message-----
From: Al <[hidden email]>
To: royalenfield <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wed, Mar 16, 2011 6:24 am
Subject: Re: [Enfield] Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug


 



    Tim, the figure given for testing a lead-acid battery is always a nominal12.6V. Yes a battery recently brought up to full charged may read a bit higher until the suface charge is dissipated as I recommended in my reply to Pete. The figure Pete put forth was 12.8 to 12.9. While this might be valid for sealed- gel or glass-mate batteries it certainly is not for the lead-acid in question.

    May I add that it's all to obvious that the real intention of your posting is to again, this time in less obvious but more churlish sort of way, vent  your overflowing anger with me.

    Al in Philadelphia

From: timbusby <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Wed, March 16, 2011 5:56:33 AM
Subject: [Enfield] Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug

 
It is a good job you dont work for Lucas, as you would have just got the Sack.
Try 12.75v as the mean average for a fully charge battery in all 12v 'Brit' m/c's. The Enfield is no different.
Do your home-work Al...

Tim
N.Z.

>
> Let me say this to you Pete in open discussion. Read the entire thread before you reply and heed the moderator's requests.
>
> Al in Philadelphia
>
>
>








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Re: Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug

Al-101
  Jeri, presuming accuracy of the meter, a tenth of a volt is very significant
in determining state of charge. And so when using a known good meter -- I use a
Fluke -- for testing those tenths are significant. Also when speaking about
standard reference or test figures,  accuracy to the tenths place is extremely
important.


   Al


     
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Re: Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug

laxt57

Hi Al
So, next Saturday morning(it will be beautiful here in the Ozarks)
I go out to my Bullet, and do a walk-around
I note that my battery reading is 12.8 instead of the 12.7 nominal.
So I should go into fault finding mode instead of going for a buzz
down to the local adult beverage outlet for a quick one?
Tear apart my charging system and perhaps prime the jeep?
Gee whiz Louise thats what I'm gonna do
Really?
Its a Bullet, not a linear accelerator.
Jeri





-----Original Message-----
From: Al <[hidden email]>
To: royalenfield <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wed, Mar 16, 2011 8:14 am
Subject: Re: [Enfield] Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug


 



  Jeri, presuming accuracy of the meter, a tenth of a volt is very significant in determining state of charge. And so when using a known good meter -- I use a Fluke -- for testing those tenths are significant. Also when speaking about standard reference or test figures,  accuracy to the tenths place is extremely important.


   Al

 





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Re: Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug

Al-101
  Jeri, the batteries used in automotive and motorcycling application s are know
as "floating charge types"  as  opposed to the deep-cycle types of lead-acid
used in other applications. The floating charge battery is never intended to be
used with the sate of charge falling below 90%. Should it fall be low 90% of
capacity, the batteries service life is shortened.  A reading of 90% of charge
capacity indicates that the charging system is functioning properly. It is this
90% minimum state of charge that is the target focus of a  voltage reading taken
to confirm proper operation. While a reading in the vicinity of 12.7 may be
found on a battery having been freshly changed in the shop, it is rarely found
on a battery in service. And so, the 12.6V is stated as indicating an
operational full charge. 

  If I may ignore your expected crude attempt at provocation, I sincerely doubt
that that the reading you suggested that you might take will be anything in
excess of 12.6V.

      Al


     
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Re: Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug

laxt57

Hi Al
So whats the connection between 2 tenths of a volt and  the 90% parameter?
I don't get it.
Al I am not attempting provocation( that would be ez)
What I am doing is disagreeing with you.
Saying that a tenth of a volt on a M/C means something
is like saying picking gnat shit out of pepper does some good
Jeri






-----Original Message-----
From: Al <[hidden email]>
To: royalenfield <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wed, Mar 16, 2011 9:23 am
Subject: Re: [Enfield] Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug


 



  Jeri, the batteries used in automotive and motorcycling application s are know as "floating charge types"  as  opposed to the deep-cycle types of lead-acid used in other applications. The floating charge battery is never intended to be used with the sate of charge falling below 90%. Should it fall be low 90% of capacity, the batteries service life is shortened.  A reading of 90% of charge capacity indicates that the charging system is functioning properly. It is this 90% minimum state of charge that is the target focus of a  voltage reading taken to confirm proper operation. While a reading in the vicinity of 12.7 may be found on a battery having been freshly changed in the shop, it is rarely found on a battery in service. And so, the 12.6V is stated as indicating an operational full charge.

  If I may ignore your expected crude attempt at provocation, I sincerely doubt that that the reading you suggested that you might take will be anything in excess of 12.6V.

      Al





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Re: Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug

Al-101
    Jeri, I suggest that you turn to the web for a few articles on lead-acid
batteries. 

     Al



     
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Re: Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug

laxt57

Hi Al
Sure I will do that very thing just for you.
But is any of them gonna tell me that 2 tenths of
a volt means a crap?
Jeri






-----Original Message-----
From: Al <[hidden email]>
To: royalenfield <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wed, Mar 16, 2011 9:54 am
Subject: Re: [Enfield] Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug


 



    Jeri, I suggest that you turn to the web for a few articles on lead-acid batteries.

     Al






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Re: Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug

Al-101
 Yes indeed! And I expect you to return to the group, after you've done your
reading, and explain just how very important each tenth of volt is significant
in determining a battery's state of charge.

     Al 




________________________________
From: "[hidden email]" <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Wed, March 16, 2011 11:58:11 AM
Subject: Re: [Enfield] Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug

 
Hi Al
Sure I will do that very thing just for you.
But is any of them gonna tell me that 2 tenths of
a volt means a crap?
Jeri




-----Original Message-----
From: Al <[hidden email]>
To: royalenfield <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wed, Mar 16, 2011 9:54 am
Subject: Re: [Enfield] Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug


 
    Jeri, I suggest that you turn to the web for a few articles on lead-acid
batteries. 

     Al





     
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Re: Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug

laxt57

Hi Al
Think I will just practice my open e-cord instead
Jeri






-----Original Message-----
From: Al <[hidden email]>
To: royalenfield <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wed, Mar 16, 2011 10:14 am
Subject: Re: [Enfield] Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug


 



 Yes indeed! And I expect you to return to the group, after you've done your reading, and explain just how very important each tenth of volt is significant in determining a battery's state of charge.

     Al



From: "[hidden email]" <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Wed, March 16, 2011 11:58:11 AM
Subject: Re: [Enfield] Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug

 

Hi Al
Sure I will do that very thing just for you.
But is any of them gonna tell me that 2 tenths of
a volt means a crap?
Jeri






-----Original Message-----
From: Al <[hidden email]>
To: royalenfield <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wed, Mar 16, 2011 9:54 am
Subject: Re: [Enfield] Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug


 


    Jeri, I suggest that you turn to the web for a few articles on lead-acid batteries.

     Al








Hi Al
Sure I will do that very thing just for you.
But is any of them gonna tell me that 2 tenths of
a volt means a crap?
Jeri






-----Original Message-----
From: Al <[hidden email]>
To: royalenfield <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wed, Mar 16, 2011 9:54 am
Subject: Re: [Enfield] Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug


 


    Jeri, I suggest that you turn to the web for a few articles on lead-acid batteries.

     Al














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Re: Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug

Aspencade
In reply to this post by Al-101
 
-------Original Message-------
 
From: Al
Date: 16/03/2011 14:14:28
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [Enfield] Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug
 
 
  Jeri, presuming accuracy of the meter, a tenth of a volt is very
significant in determining state of charge. And so when using a known good
meter -- I use a Fluke -- for testing those tenths are significant. Also
when speaking about standard reference or test figures,  accuracy to the
tenths place is extremely important.


   Al
 
If we are going to be so pedantic about one tenth of a volt should we also
not state that the reading will be affected by the temperature of the cells
being read.



 

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Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug

Dave Murray-2
In reply to this post by laxt57


--- In [hidden email], laxt57@... wrote:

> But is any of them gonna tell me that 2 tenths of
> a volt means a crap?
> Jeri
 
Jeri,

No.

Because it doesn't in the real world. Yes, while in theory, .2V would correspond to a certain charge level, that fact is useful only as a fetish for mechanical mental masturbation.
We put a battery in a bike to start it, run it, and power the accessories. If it does, it's a good charge. If not, perhaps a difference of 1-2 volts might be useful in troubleshooting, but any mechanic who said "Well, here's your problem, your battery reads .2V low" I would lock up and feed through the keyhole.
DWM

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Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug

Al-101


 Dave, in the real, real world where problem vehicles need be diagnosed, the state of charge as measure by a reading of battery terminal voltage is EXTREMELY important. Here's why, as the load on a battery is increased  ---- as is that case in in starting ---- the terminal voltage is reduced. The amount of this reduction can be foretold by the diagnostic technician who previously read the terminal voltage as an indication of state of charge. In simple terms, a greater voltage reduction will be seen with a battery at a lower state of charge. On a modern engine with electronic controls, a source voltage that lowers with load can present all sorts of driveability problems.

 Now admittedly with low tech breaker point equiped Bullet driveability/rideabilty problems  might not surface. But I dare say with the new B/5, C/5, and G5 Enfields as well as with earlier series RE's equiped with solid-state ignitions, the measurement of terminal voltage as an indication of charge is  an important diagnostic step.

 Now in regards to .2V being insignificant, my recollection has it that that could represent as much as a 25% discharge of the battery.

  Al in Philadelphia




 
> No.
>
> Because it doesn't in the real world. Yes, while in theory, .2V would correspond to a certain charge level, that fact is useful only as a fetish for mechanical mental masturbation.
> We put a battery in a bike to start it, run it, and power the accessories. If it does, it's a good charge. If not, perhaps a difference of 1-2 volts might be useful in troubleshooting, but any mechanic who said "Well, here's your problem, your battery reads .2V low" I would lock up and feed through the keyhole.
> DWM
>


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Re: Ideal spark color of a spark plug

Dave Murray-2
Stand away from the keyhole, Al.
DWM

--- In [hidden email], "k3eax" <k3eax@...> wrote:

>
>
>
>  Dave, in the real, real world where problem vehicles need be diagnosed, the state of charge as measure by a reading of battery terminal voltage is EXTREMELY important. Here's why, as the load on a battery is increased  ---- as is that case in in starting ---- the terminal voltage is reduced. The amount of this reduction can be foretold by the diagnostic technician who previously read the terminal voltage as an indication of state of charge. In simple terms, a greater voltage reduction will be seen with a battery at a lower state of charge. On a modern engine with electronic controls, a source voltage that lowers with load can present all sorts of driveability problems.
>
>  Now admittedly with low tech breaker point equiped Bullet driveability/rideabilty problems  might not surface. But I dare say with the new B/5, C/5, and G5 Enfields as well as with earlier series RE's equiped with solid-state ignitions, the measurement of terminal voltage as an indication of charge is  an important diagnostic step.
>
>  Now in regards to .2V being insignificant, my recollection has it that that could represent as much as a 25% discharge of the battery.
>
>   Al in Philadelphia
>
>
>
>
>  
> > No.
> >
> > Because it doesn't in the real world. Yes, while in theory, .2V would correspond to a certain charge level, that fact is useful only as a fetish for mechanical mental masturbation.
> > We put a battery in a bike to start it, run it, and power the accessories. If it does, it's a good charge. If not, perhaps a difference of 1-2 volts might be useful in troubleshooting, but any mechanic who said "Well, here's your problem, your battery reads .2V low" I would lock up and feed through the keyhole.
> > DWM
> >
>


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