battery on lawn tractor

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I just had to replace the battery on my #1 lawn tractor. Since it doesn`t have a generator or alternator I`m wondering what keeps the battery charged? I have found that you get what you pay for. Wal-mart has a battery for $24.95 and it will last about 2 yrs. Tractor supply has one for $38.95 and it will last about 4 yrs. I went with the good one.
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Herb Eneva wrote:

What kind of lawn tractor doesn't have an alternator/generator? Does your tractor have a long electrical cord?
--

dadiOH
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On 9/25/2011 8:09 AM, Herb Eneva wrote:

You have to stop buying your lawn tractors from the dollar store.(lol)
It should have an alternator somewhere, you just haven't found it. Post the make and model, and we'll find it for you

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the starter may do double duty as a generator.
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Jim Yanik
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On 9/25/2011 12:10 PM, Jim Yanik wrote:

True, but it's got to be pretty old to have a starter/generator setup

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On 9/25/2011 12:44 PM, RBM wrote:

The 2 garden tractors I have with starter/generators are _only_ about 42 years old. My newest one that I use to mow the lawn is about 38 years old and it has a built in alternator and an external voltage regulator.
They are all Bolens "tube frame" tractors. I normally leave the cutting deck on the newest one, a big ass rototiller on another and either a sickle bar or plow on the third one.
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On 9/25/2011 1:18 PM, Tony Miklos wrote:

I hear ya. For years I used an original 1962 Cub Cadet, that I restored when it was about 30 years old. Personally, I loved the starter/generator system on those things, and the fact that, like the old Bolens, they were practically indestructible.
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On 9/25/2011 7:09 AM, Herb Eneva wrote:

If older, it was common to have combination starter/generators instead of separate starter and generator or alternator for space-saving reasons...
Otherwise, there certainly is one somewhere.
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On Sep 25, 7:09am, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Herb Eneva) wrote:

So the flywheel generates electricity as a magneto I think, google Battery Sulfation, all batteries of that type Die early from low voltage when stored over winter, keep a battery maintainer on it in winter
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On 9/25/2011 8:48 AM, Stormin Mormon wrote: ...

somebody needs to proofread their postings.
I'd suggest going for the goodest quality he can find...
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On Sun, 25 Sep 2011 09:42:31 -0500, dpb wrote:

Or the qualitiest. :-)
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Many of the small lawn tractors have magnets on the flywheel. Often there is also a magnet on the outside that passes the coils that go to the spark plugs to fire them. Then around the flywheel ( often inside the fly wheel) attached to the frame is a coil of wire. Also a diode to convert the AC to DC to charge the battery. There is no voltage regulator as the ammount of current put out is not very large. If you ever do run the battery down to where it will not start the engine, you will probably have to put the battery on a charger to build it back up . It seldom gets enough of a charge off the built in generator to do more than just build it back up from a normal start. If the mower is hard to start and you start it several times you may have to put the battery on a charger.
The battery is not used except for starting and sometimes the headlights. There may be a seperate set of windings on the coil of wire to run the headlights. Many thing depend on the exect mower you have.
This is differant from a car where the alternator puts out way more than enough current to just build a slightly discharged battery back up. Do not use a large capacity charger ( like one of the 10 to 20 amp ones) as it may boil too much water out of the small battery.
Guess that I am living on borrowed time. I have a 'home owners version' of a John Deere I bought new 6 years ago and it still starts the mower. Do you live where it gets very cold and the mower gets very cold for long periods of time ?
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Herb Eneva wrote:

Get a float charger from Harbor Freight. Can be had when on sale for as little as $5.00.
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On Sun, 25 Sep 2011 08:09:44 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Herb Eneva) wrote:

It has a flywheel alternator/magneto combination inside the flywheel, and a rectifier/regulator module.
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I've found that batteries dont last as long if they are mounted in something that vibrates a lot like your average cheapo big-box junk lawn tractor.
If you have a something that runs smooth, like a Honda or Kohler CommandPro motor, then the battery will last a long time.

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On Sun, 25 Sep 2011 18:37:48 -0400, Richard Trethaway wrote:

Interesting. What actually causes them to fail? (I mean the vibration, yes, but what's the actual process within the battery that results in them no longer working?)
cheers
Jules
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On 9/25/2011 10:37 PM, Jules Richardson wrote:

in the case of vibration damage, the lead plates (which are kind of like screens) physically break and lose connectivity with the adjoining cell. In the case of winter abuse (not keeping it charged in winter) the dead battery will freeze and the resulting "heaving" of the plates will break them. Overcharging (common with small cheap charging systems) causes the plates to deteriorate, and when the electrolyte runs low, the plate will then "sulfate" and become brittle and break.
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Steve Barker
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On Sun, 25 Sep 2011 22:50:04 -0500, Steve Barker wrote:

Aha, thanks; I wasn't seeing how it'd really make a difference (and I assumed the batteries would be built to withstand it).

Yep... as mentioned in my other post, that's part of the reason I don't bother with a battery on the tractor - I can't be bothered keeping it on charge over the cold season (which is a long time up here in MN :-)

Now that did cross my mind - I can well believe that cheaper tractors don't have the kinds of charging systems that might be present on the more expensive ones, and that might be responsible for early failure; I was just surprised that the vibration could play a part, too.
Maybe it's worth putting a piece of rubber mat, mouse pad, or something like that under the battery to help dampen the vibration...
cheers
Jules
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On Mon, 26 Sep 2011 03:37:33 +0000 (UTC), Jules Richardson

The "active material" flakes off the plates and settles to the bottom, shorting the battery out. And sometimes the plate connectors just break.
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On Sep 25, 11:37pm, Jules Richardson

sitting for months with tractor not run causes the plates to sulphate, and the battery to fail.
worse if tractor is stored in a very cold or very hot place, your typical shed
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