Does A Motorcycle Alarm Drain The Battery? The Surprising Truth

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Many people want to install an alarm on their motorcycle to give them some security for when it is parked somewhere. But these alarms are all aftermarket and have to splice into your existing wiring, which raises questions for consumers.

Does a motorcycle alarm drain the battery? Yes, motorcycle alarms are constantly pulling current from the battery, which will eventually drain it. If your motorcycle is only sitting for a short period of time this will not have any negative effects on your battery, but over the course of a week it can drain your battery.

Are there any negative side effects to using these systems? The only real con is that it will drain your battery. If you are not regularly starting your bike, these systems can completely drain the battery and force you to have to jump start it next time you want to ride. There are ways to prevent this as we will explore further into this article.

Why An Alarm Can Drain A Battery

So, why does a motorcycle battery get drained by an alarm? There are several different reasons why this may happen. The drainage is largely dependent on the type of alarm that you are using. Many different types of alarms function very differently.

Many different aftermarket security systems are available. Many of which will use proximity sensors in order to know when someone is getting too close to your bike. If they get too close or start touching the motorcycle, it can set off an alarm that will hopefully scare them away and bring attention from others.

If you use a security system that utilizes a proximity sensor, the sensor itself will require a constant voltage in order to power it. This will be a small power draw on your battery constantly. While this may not drain your battery immediately, over time this can drop your battery voltage too low for the motorcycle to start.

Many alarms systems are also what are known as two-way systems. This means that there is a transponder that you would keep on you. This would allow you to press a “panic” button if you wanted to. These systems will send out a signal to the transponder on a predetermined interval just to verify communication. This will also draw some power as your motorcycle will constantly have to be powering the alarm system.

Depending on the type of alarm system, there could be other things drawing on your battery. If you are looking into purchasing a new alarm system, it is good to understand how that specific alarm system works. This will give you an idea of the power draw that you can expect and ways to get around that if necessary.

If you leave your motorcycle parked out in public, you might start to worry about it when you are not around. People can easily damage your motorcycle or vandalize it. You may want an extra level of security to give you some extra piece of mind.

How To Prevent Battery Drainage From An Alarm

So how can you prevent your battery from draining when you have an alarm connected? There are actually a couple of tricks that you can use to still utilize alarm systems without worrying about the drain on your battery. This will let you keep peace of mind that your bike is safe but also have peace of mind that you will not try to start up a drained bike.

The first trick would be to use a battery tender when you are not riding your motorcycle. These devices will keep your battery voltage at a constant voltage. It will slowly charge the battery as it is being drained to keep the voltage up. One major con to this is that it must be plugged into a power outlet somewhere. If you are out somewhere where you cannot plug it in, there is not really any benefit to this.

Another helpful trick is installing a simple toggle switch from your battery to the alarm system. This will allow you to essentially turn the alarm system on and off when you want to. That way if you go downtown for the night, you can leave your alarm on. Then if you head back home and will not ride your bike for a few days but you are sure your bike is safe; you can just turn the alarm off.

Installing a simple toggle switch hidden somewhere on the motorcycle will prevent any drainage from the battery at times like this. This is an incredibly cheap and simple fix. Just make sure that you remember to turn the alarm system back on when you head back out.

What To Do When The Battery Has Been Drained

So, if you come out to your motorcycle and realize that you have a drained battery, what should you do? You are going to need to charge your battery back up. Depending on where you are, you may do this differently. The simplest way is just jump starting it.

If you are away from home, this may be your only option. If that is the case, you will need some jumper cables and then to find someone who can help you out. Just connect the red cables to both positive terminals and both black cables to the negative terminals on the two vehicles, give it some time to charge, and then start it up. This is a quick and simple way to get your battery fully charged again.

If you are home and not in any hurry, you can use a battery charger to do the same thing. There is one big advantage to this. Many of these battery charging systems allow you to control the amperage sent to the battery. This will allow you to charge the battery with a much lower current. This is always the ideal scenario as it will help maximize the life of your battery.

Your battery’s life is always shortened when it deep cycles. When the battery is completely drained and completely recharged, it shortens the battery’s life. If you quickly fully recharge the battery, it is worse for the battery than slowly recharging it.

So, if you are capable of slowly charging the battery overnight, that is always the best case. This will largely depend on where you are when you get a drained battery and how long you have before you need to ride your motorcycle again.

Other Ways To Keep Your Motorcycle Safe Without Installing An Alarm

Taking extra measures to secure your motorcycle is always a smart idea not only for your motorcycle, but also for your wallet. Motorcycle insurance companies will often give discounts when motorcycle riders take these extra measure to secure their motorcycles. You can see our other page here that lists insurance companies near you and compare quotes that work with your budget.

Perhaps you want to secure your motorcycle but do not want to deal with the hassle of an alarm system draining your battery. What can you do? There are quite a few different types of motorcycle security devices out there that you can use instead of an alarm system. These will make sure that no one takes your motorcycle without the possibility of draining your battery.

The first of these is a ground anchor. This is a strong thick strap that goes through the wheel of your motorcycle and anchors to various surfaces. They make anchors that connect to walls, into concrete, and that bolt into various surfaces. This system can be installed to make sure that no one ever steals your motorcycle from your house. Unfortunately, you will not be able to use these systems anywhere else that you go.

Something similar that you can use out in public is a chain with a padlock. You can use this exactly the same, but you can just wrap the chain around the rear wheel so no one can roll the motorcycle.

Another cool invention is a disk lock. These are locks that connect to the brake disk on your motorcycle. This will prevent the wheel from turning. These are convenient because they are very small and simple to install and remove. They are very easy to store when not being used.

As you have seen, there are lots of different ways that you can keep your motorcycle safe when you are not around. It is up to you to decide what you want to use and how you want to implement it. The motorcycle market is so big that there are lots of options available to you.

This article has been reviewed in accordance with our editorial policy.

Kyle Cannon

Kyle currently works as a mechanical engineer and graduated with a minor in automotive engineering. He loves restoring motorcycles, has a vast knowledge of how they work, and has sold his restoration projects to customers from all over the United States.

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