Capsule Review: Antigravity Batteries Battery Tracker
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2015 GTS 300 Super (Melody)
Joined: 22 Apr 2015
Posts: 2678
Location: Asbury Park, NJ
Mon Dec 28, 2020 5:58 pm quote
Problem: Melody has always been a bit cold-blooded in Winter. Not having a garage, she normally nestles between our house and our neighbors' to our left, toward the back of our driveway. Normally, this is the next-best thing to a garage, since Mel is mostly-sheltered from high winds and prying eyes. She also has a decent-quality cover (which is actually due for replacement…five years is long enough), which is great for rain and assorted Cosmik Debris, but when the thermometer goes below freezing, it gets rough: it takes anywhere between five and fifteen tries to get her fired up. Yes, she does eventually come to life, runs crazy-strong afterward, and pops to life instantly throughout the day, even if left outside a few hours.

Even though the battery is relatively new (replaced last Winter), I was nearly stranded a few times late last year before replacement, and I've been vigilant ever since: Finally got myself a proper battery tender (installed in the basement last night), but also wanted something that would help me keep tabs on the battery's condition. Generally, in regard to modern Vespas, there have been two approaches: the cheap-but-not-too-convenient option was to buy a doohickey that connected to an SAE plug to measure battery output (or: install an SAE plug on the bike with a built-in color-coded indicator light performing the same function). Upside: it's cheap. Downside: Twofold: first, in either case, you need to install an SAE cable, attaching leads to the battery; and, you need to get on your knees in order to take a reading with either setup, whatever the weather.

The way-more-convenient-but-way-pricier option comes from Piaggio themselves: a two-piece module that installs in the bike, including a Bluetooth module that works with a smartphone via an app. The (obvious) upside here is convenience: just open the app, and you become privy to much of your ride's nervous system, including battery/charge status; no more hunkering-down to find out anything short of tire pressure. The (obvious) downside is price: some $300 for the hardware plus dealer installation (installation by the end-user is not recommended, but I know several folks here have DIY'd it anyway). Plus, a lot of the info this system offers on-screen isn't exactly critical (lean angle? Maybe if I was into doing track days, but…no).

But now, there's a nifty third way that splits the difference between the first two: Antigravity Batteries' Battery Tracker is a compact, Bluetooth-equipped box that connects to a bike's battery terminals, and communicates via an app (available for both Android and iOS). You can check voltage level, cranking power, and charging level (both at-idle and under load), to check on how well your alternator is really working.

Installation is…interesting. Connecting the unit is, as the Brits say, a doddle. But, here's the issue, at least if you're putting this thing in a Vespa GTS: once you attach the leads to the battery, you attach the unit to the side of the battery via the included velcro-pad set. Problem is, if you do this, you can't get the battery back into its perch - the entry-point is too narrow, as I discovered the hard way. There's plenty of room inside, however, so what I ended up doing was dangling the Tracker by its leads while dropping the battery back into the plastic basket sitting at the bottom of Melody's belly. This took a few tries, however, since I was jostling with both the regular leads to the bike's vitals plus the AES connector-leads my dealer retrofitted some months earlier. In the midst of this, I made the unfortunate choice of installing all this outdoors, late in the afternoon…with about 45 minutes of daylight left. The fact that I only lost one of four metal clips that help secure the top cover for the battery compartment was something of a miracle.

But, I got it properly installed, and yes, it works as advertised. The app works in a straightforward manner, presenting vital stats clearly and concisely. Plus, one cool trick I don't think even Piaggio's system offers: it will alert you if your battery's output dips below a level where things still start up. (You can preset two thresholds of voltage in the app.) I'd say this alone makes for a Killer App.

Bluetooth operating distance is listed at 30 feet; my tests confirm this.

Highly recommended. (Yes, you want this.)

The unit itself. (Photo: Antigravity Batteries.)

On the Phone: Pretty much everything you need to know, literally at your fingertips.

Screenshot_20201225-174801_Battery Tracker.jpg
Screenshot: One of several parameters you can track (and be updated about at intervals of your choosing).

Molto Verboso
2006 LX150 (carbed) | 2007 GT200
Joined: 29 Jun 2016
Posts: 1175
Location: Toronto
Mon Jan 11, 2021 5:26 am quote
Interesting device - thanks for sharing. I'd be curious to hear your impressions as time goes on.

I don't think you mentioned price of this option, but it looks to be around $40.
2012 LX150ie
Joined: 28 Jul 2018
Posts: 119
Location: Austin Texas USA
Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:11 am quote
I am bored...
I think I will get one. $34 on Amazon Prime today.
2016 Sprint S 150 (his), 2016 Sprint 150 Blu Gaiola (hers), 2006 GTS 250 Excalibur Gray (hers), 2006 GTS 250 Black (his), 2012 GTS 300 Daring Plum (he
Joined: 21 Oct 2016
Posts: 937
Location: Vermont
Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:50 am quote
Any idea what the current draw is for this device? I know it will be very small but is still a parasitic draw on top of others in the system
2010 ThunderFly 190, 2008 250 GTS
Joined: 29 Apr 2011
Posts: 2794
Location: Springboro, OH
Mon Jan 11, 2021 10:58 am quote
Interesting device, does the module fit in the battery compartment? I can see it would be pretty convenient.

My solution was a bit different. I bought the Battery Tender voltmeter attachment. It plugs into the tender lead same as I would to charge a battery to give me a reading. But I can also plug it into the alligator clip lead that came with my tender so I can check multiple batteries fairly easily. $16 on Amazon right now

Battery Tender voltmeter.jpg

S150, Beo 500ie
Joined: 14 Aug 2019
Posts: 437
Location: Bermuda
Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:18 pm quote
Interesting device. I can see it being useful for short periods on any 12V vehicle. I don't really see it being too useful permanently - your battery and charger are going to be perfectly fine and uninteresting the vast, vast majority of the time.

Why not just wire it into an SAE connector?
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