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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
Another newbie to the BMW world (and CANbus) question -
What are the differences between the 2 trickle-chargers 'types' or 'kinds',
Which are significant enough to make you spend 4+ times more money on a compatible-with-BMW-CANbus trickle-charger vs. a plain - non-compatible-with-BMW-CANbus - $10 trickle-charger ?
 

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2020 R1250R
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I have been using a Deltran Battery Tender for ALL of my bikes for years. It kept the 2016 GS battery fully healthy over the winter and there are no CANBUS issues at all. My dealer always installs a short fused SAE connector to the battery, called a "pigtail". I use it to charge the battery and to power my inflator amp in case of a roadside flat tire repair.
 

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The easy way to avoid CANBUS issues is to never tie into the harness for new circuits other than as a signal wire. Pigtail SAE connector to the battery and any standard battery tender works.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
... Pigtail SAE connector to the battery and any standard battery tender works.
I have been using a Deltran Battery Tender for ALL of my bikes for years. ...My dealer always installs a short fused SAE connector to the battery, called a "pigtail". I use it to charge the battery and to power my inflator amp in case of a roadside flat tire repair.
Thank you both, this is the setup I have.
But then again - given this fact - what compatible-with-BMW-CANbus trickle-charger benefits are still important enough to justify the 4+ times cost involved in purchasing it over a plain/simple trickle-charger ?
 

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I’ve always used a Battery Tender on my Triumphs. Worked fine. My BMW dealer said he would install the connector to the battery but showed me the plug for an Optimate on the right side.This looked pretty neat, no wire hanging out, so I bought an Optimate 4 for BMW on Amazon. Compared to the cost of the bike, the difference between the Battery Tender and the Optimate is insignificant.
 

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I have been using a Deltran Battery Tender for ALL of my bikes for years. It kept the 2016 GS battery fully healthy over the winter and there are no CANBUS issues at all. My dealer always installs a short fused SAE connector to the battery, called a "pigtail". I use it to charge the battery and to power my inflator amp in case of a roadside flat tire repaIr.
By the way the Battery Tender is a good product. I wouldn’t call it a simple trickle charger. Maybe it is but I’ve never used anything else.
 

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Very cheap chargers will simply apply 14V to the battery; more sophisticated chargers can analyse the battery, desulfate and recondition.
107093

The rider manual specifically warns against charging the battery with a non-authorised charger without first disconnecting the battery from the bike, for fear of damaging the bike’s electronics. Having said that, many owners testify that they have done just that for many years without damage.

To connect a charger through the accessory port on the side below the seat (via Merit/Hella plug) the charger will need to be CANBUS compliant. That socket is normally switched off by the chassis computer 30 seconds or so after key off; such a charger needs to keep that circuit awake, and not ‘upset’ the chassis computer in any way.
 

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The rider manual specifically warns against charging the battery with a non-authorised charger without first disconnecting the battery from the bike, for fear of damaging the bike’s electronics. Having said that, many owners testify that they have done just that for many years without damage.
Good to know as I’ve used the battery tender to power the bike while messing with stuff (GPS and other issues) because the battery capacity is so poor that a few minutes of sitting while on without the engine running will drop things under 12 volts.
 

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I've always used NOCO Genius chargers, usually plugged into a harness connected directly to the battery, on all my bikes (and lawn tractor battery, and the Porsche(s) over the winter) and have nothing but good results. On the R12R it's plugged into the accessory port, again, works perfectly. They're a great product and not excessively expensive.
 

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BMW motorcycles normally come with a power outlet somewhere. That outlet normally shuts down a few seconds after you turn off the bike. That means it's electrically disconnected from the battery, and plugging an ordinary battery charger into it will have no effect. The OEM chargers and at least the Optimate 4 "Canbus" chargers understand and use the Canbus protocol to 'wake up' that outlet so that the charger can connect to battery. If you want to use a "non-Canbus" charger, you need to have another way to connect it to the battery - separate pigtail, clamps, another directly-connected outlet, whatever.

I normally keep all of my bikes on a charger when they're parked in the garage, and have never had an issue with charging any of them either way. And I've had many. Currently I have two BMWs. On one of them I've installed an extra Powerlet outlet and use a non-Canbus CTEK charger on it. I've also used a NOCO Genius charger without any issues. For the other bike, I decided to get an Optimate 4 and just use OEM power outlet. The Canbus-compatible Optimates are not terribly expensive, probably not any more than a similar non-Canbus Optimate or NOCO or CTEK plus an extra Powerlet power outlet.
 

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I have two bikes with Canbus and use an optimate 3 with pigtails connected directly to the battery without any problems.
 

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OP, welcome. The canbus approved charger is the way to go. You can go with the pigtail direct to the battery, but why play around? BMW charger or the Optimate 4CANBUS like I have been using since 2017 is the best choice. Just remember that the bikes power port has a ECU timer, so here is how I do it. Get the bike in the parking spot, switch off, and within a few seconds plug in and turn on the charger. Also if you have a home electrical power failure, remember to recycle the ignition, cause the BMW system may have turned off the port during the shut down.
 

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The Optimate 4 BMW manual says “Disconnect AC power supply before making or breaking DC/ battery connections.” I assume this means that if there is a problem with the AC power source, the Optimate rather than your bike will get fried.
 

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The Optimate 4 BMW manual says “Disconnect AC power supply before making or breaking DC/ battery connections.” I assume this means that if there is a problem with the AC power source, the Optimate rather than your bike will get fried.
That’s usually to avoid arcing and current surges when connecting to the battery, which can be dangerous to both the charger and the bike.
 
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