How to Convert a Motorcycle to Battery Power


Converting a motorcycle to rely strictly on its battery to power the ignition and various electrical components (also known as a "total-loss" electrical system) is a practice commonly found on race bikes. Rotational mass is reduced by removing the motorcycle's electrical stator or alternator, resulting in less gyroscopic forces that resist steering inputs and make the bike more maneuverable. Converting to a total-loss system is not a permanent modification for most motorcycles and requires basic electrical skills. However, you should be familiar with your motorcycle's charging system components.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver, Phillips-head
  • Socket set
  • Socket wrench
  • Electrical connector
  • Electrical wiring
  • Obtain a wiring diagram specific to your year, make, and model of motorcycle. Wiring diagrams can be found in an appropriate service manual that is available from your local dealer.

  • Locate the the alternator, or stator, and voltage regulator/rectifier on the wiring diagram. You will need to obtain a male connector, which will replace the connector for the alternator and voltage regulator/rectifier to supply power directly from the battery. In most cases, you will need a male 3- or 4-pin connector to match.

  • Remove the alternator, or stator, and voltage regulator/rectifier from your motorcycle and install the new connector. Run the output wire from the alternator

  • Connect the new connector to the wiring harness where the regulator/rectifier was. Locate the output wire from the alternator or stator. This wire will connect to the negative (–) terminal on the battery. Next locate the input wire from the voltage regulator/rectifier; this wire will connect to the positive (+) terminal on the battery.

  • Route both wires through the motorcycle's frame to the battery, taking care to avoid any moving parts to prevent damaging the wires. Connect the positive (+) wire to the battery first, followed by the negative (–) wire.

  • Test start your motorcycle to ensure proper operation.

Tips & Warnings

  • Refer to a wiring diagram specific to your motorcycle for wire locations and color codes.
  • Charge your battery with an automatic battery charger/maintainer when the motorcycle is not in use.
  • If you do not feel comfortable performing this task, have the work performed by a qualified technician.
  • Do not cut the factory wiring harness at any point, unless you intend this modification to be permanent.
  • Do not operate a motorcycle with a total-loss system on public roads or highways. The battery can discharge completely as the motorcycle runs, leaving the motorcycle inoperable, and may lead to an accident.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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