When you’re in the market for a new ATV battery, you will notice that the batteries are labeled with various numbers and letters. While these markings seem confusing, it’s time well spent learning the basics of what they mean. These codes can tell you just about everything there is to know about any specific battery.
Battery reference code or model name
All batteries have a reference code that will tell you a lot of useful information about the battery, as long as you know how to read it.
Different types of batteries structure the reference code differently. This post covers conventional lead-acid batteries, high-performance conventional batteries, and AGM batteries.
If you want to learn more about ATV battery types, head over to this post.
To provide the most accurate information, we base this post on what Yuasa, as one of the major Powersports and ATV battery producers, tells us about the designation of battery type numbers.
We use the same example-codes as used by Yuasa in their battery application guide.
AGM battery example code: YTX14 A H L–BS–1
YTX14 A H L–BS–1: Indicates the battery series
The letters at the beginning of the battery reference code tell you what series the battery belongs to.
Battery manufacturers produce various types of batteries that each offer unique features for that series of batteries.
As an example, we can look at the various series of high-performance Powersports AGM batteries offered by Yuasa:
- Low range Ah capacity
- Compact size and lightweight
- High CCA / power density
- Ideal for sportbike applications
- Medium range Ah capacity
- Improved CCA
- Low-temperature performance
- For universal use
- High range Ah capacity
- Highest CCA
- Heavy-duty application
- Designed for the USA market
- Full range Ac capacity
- Improved CCA
- For universal use
Within each battery series, there is a range of battery models featuring different dimensions and Ah capacities to match all the various ATV models.
Note that several sources online state you can identify the battery manufacturer from the first letter of the battery reference code, but that is not correct. While it is true that Yuasa offers a YTX series of batteries, so does Mighty max and probably others. Any manufacturer is free to name their series of batteries as they want. Hence, the letters alone are not enough to provide an identification of which manufacturer made the battery.
YTX14 A H L–BS–1: Battery performance classification
This number indicates the power output of the battery. Within each series of batteries, you may find batteries with different performance classifications.
A higher number means higher power output. The battery of my Polaris Sportsman has a performance classification number of 20.
YTX14 A H L–BS–1: Designates unique battery case size
Not all manufacturers or batteries have this letter in their battery reference code. Those that do use it to designate a unique battery case size.
YTX14 A H L–BS–1: Increased power (CCA)
Batteries with the letter H in the code let you know it’s a higher CCA battery. According to Yuasa, their H-series of batteries offer up to 30% more cranking amps.
YTX14 A H L–BS–1: Polarity location
Yet again, not all batteries have this letter in their battery reference code. But when it’s there, it tells you the polarity location. L = Left, R = Right.
YTX14 A H L–BS–1: Factory activated of bottle supplied
A battery typically leaves the factory either in the form of “factory activated” or “bottle supplied.”
FA: Factory Activated
A factory-activated battery is filled with electrolyte, sealed, and charged at the factory. It is ready to be put straight into use without any further action required by the buyer.
The remaining service life of a battery starts decreasing as soon as it is activated. Therefore you should put a FA battery in use within a specified period; it cannot be stored for too long.
BS: Bottle Supplied
Bottle supplied batteries leave the factory as a kit with one dry battery and the electrolyte in a separate plastic container.
The buyer needs to put the electrolyte fluid inside the battery to activate the battery according to the supplied instructions. The battery then needs to be charged.
Dry AGM batteries have a shelf life of 5 years as long as it remains properly sealed. As soon as the seal is broken, a dry battery must be filled with electrolyte and charged. Otherwise, the internal plates will begin to oxidize. This gradually reduces the battery’s capacity until it reaches a point where it can no longer take or hold a charge.
If you have a battery that won’t charge or you can’t get to hold a charge, you will find a complete troubleshooting guide over at this post.
Note that many sources online will tell you BS stands for Battery Sealed, but that is inaccurate. Yuasa batteries have provided the above definitions.
YTX14 A H L–BS–1: Designates a unique terminal style
If the battery reference code ends with a number, it tells you that the battery has a unique terminal style. ATV and Powersports batteries come in 14 different terminal styles. It’s essential to get the right style that hooks up correctly with your bike’s connectors.
Conventional battery example code: 12 N 12A–4 A–1
12 N 12A–4 A–1: Nominal voltage
The nominal voltage tells you if you have a 6V, 12V, or 24V battery. It does not reflect the exact battery voltage, as it may vary slightly. A healthy 12V battery is typically 12.6V or higher under no load.
12 N 12A–4 A–1: Conventional battery
The N tells you it’s a conventional lead-acid battery.
12 N 12A–4 A–1: Size of the battery case
12 N 12A–4 A–1: Polarity location
12 N 12A–4 A–1: Exhaust/vent location
12 N 12A–4 A–1: Terminal style
High-performance conventional example code: YB16A L–A2
YB16A L–A2: High-performance conventional battery
The letters YB tells you it’s an high performance conventional battery.
YB16A L–A2: Battery case size
YB16A L–A2: Polarity location
YB16A L–A2: Terminal and exhaust/vent location
Amp-hour rating Ah
The Battery Ah rating of a battery is typically labeled in a format like this: 18.9 Ah (20HR)
Ah is a unit where 1 Ah equals the charge transferred by a current of one ampere flowing for one hour.
A battery with an Ah rating of 18.9Ah (20HR) as the one in the picture means it can provide 18.9 Amps when discharged in 20 hours. It can provide 18.9A/20H = 0.945 Amps continuously for 20 hours.
Typically if a battery is loaded with a higher current, the battery capacity will decrease. The same battery as in the above example can only provide 18A when discharged in 10 hours. And if you added 18.9A of a draw on an 18.9Ah battery, it would not last 1 hour.
That’s why they add an “H” rating of typically 10H or 20H. It bumps up the battery’s Ah rating to a higher value.
Cold-cranking amps (CCA)
The CCA rating is a number that indicates the number of Amps (Amps = strength of an electric current) that a 12V battery can deliver at –18°C (0°F) for 30 seconds while maintaining a voltage of at least 7.2 volts.
ATV engines, just like most other engines, are harder to start in colder climates. If you ride in sub-zero temperatures, make sure your battery has an adequate CCA rating.
A battery with a higher CCA rating is better able to start the engine in cold temperatures.
All batteries have a label that indicates the nominal voltage. Most ATVs are 12V. If you put a 6V battery in a 12V ATV, it will not start.
SAE is short for the Society of Automotive Engineers. It tells you that the American standard was used to estimate the battery’s CCA rating. The American and European norm differs slightly.
[PP]>PP< tells you the battery casing was made with a polypropylene-polyethylene copolymer.
Some but not all batteries are marked with the proper charging currents.
Most chargers have settings that allow you to switch between lower charging currents for cold or standard charging or higher currents for a faster charging-cycle.
Never charge a battery at a higher rate than these ratings, as it may overcharge and possibly damage the battery. Head over to this post to learn how to charge any ATV battery properly.
Recycle symbol in conjunction with the letters “Pb”
Pb is the two-letter identifier for lead in the Periodic Table of Elements. This tells you how to recycle the battery after use properly.
How many amps should an ATV battery have?
ATV batteries are typically 10 Ah to 20 Ah. Larger engine displacements (cc) usually require a battery with more amps than smaller engines.