Battery Problem

Battery in my yard tractor is acting screwy. I cleaned all the posts. Checked for low water in the cells (they were not low). Then I charged it to full charge, leaving the 10A charger on for a full day. It showed fully charged when I removed the charger. The tractor started. I ran it for about 10 minutes and shut it off. An hour later it would not start, only clicked the solenoid. I had not left the ignition on nor the lights. I put he charger back on and it showed about 5 amps on the charge meter. I left it charge for about 2 hours and the tractor started again. I only moved it so it only ran about 2 minutes. A half hour later I tried to start it again and it would not turn over. I began to think there is something draining the battery, so I took off the NEG cable, and charged again. This time it charged all night. The next day it started. I only ran it for a minute to check it and shut off. This time I removed that NEG cable again, so nothing could possibly drain it. A few hours later I tried to start it, and again the battery is nearly dead.
This eliminates anything draining it, and it was fully charged. Does this mean there is an internal short in the battery? Otherwise, where is the power going? Either way, it's looks like its time for a new battery, but normally they dont take a charge when they die. This one charges, starts the engine if I use it right away (with charger disconnected), yet in a hour or so, it's dead. I cant say I ever seen a situation like this before.
By the way, the battery is only about 2 years old, but it's from Walmart, and their car batteries have proven to be the worst batteries I have ever used, so I dont doubt these tractor ones are from the same manufacturer.
Nathan
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Hi, First of all, how old is the battery? To check if something is drawing durrent when engine is shut off, you put a little 12V bulb in series with battery cable. If it lights up, that's trouble. I think your battery is shot(internal short most likely) if you keep trying to use it, you may damage the charging circuit component(s). What is the voltage when it is fully charged? What is charging voltage? Tony
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I can't speak to the quality of Wally World batteries.
I suggest you do have a "battery drain" which is discharging it. Your battery may have been damaged by being left in a seriously discharged condition for a good time.
IOW: you have two problems.
You didn't say (or I missed) whether this is just a garden tractor or a farm tractor or whether this is a "car/truck" battery or a motorcylcle battery. But you can do simple "stand alone" battery tests where you charge it on a bench and monitor the voltage while putting it to a moderate load (like some lights, etc.) and then check it for self discharge. My guess, however, is that it's toast.
If you don't have one already get a cheap VOM (Volt Ohm Multimeter) and with the battery disconnected you can use the resistance function to see if there is a discharge path with everything off. With the battery partyly connected you can see if there is any leakage. Be careful here as you can easily ZAP your meter. Try a high current scale first and then work down. Don't do anything silly like turn on the lights while you have the meter on a high sensitivity current scale.
At the other extreme it's possible that you have damaged your battery by overcharging. A lawn tractor doesn't have a particularly sophiscated charging circuit. When the battery is being charged the maximum voltage should be 13.2 volts or less. When a charged battery is under no load but not being charged the voltage should be 12.6.
But if I were better money I would say that a new battery would solve most of your problems. If you suspect a current drain, still a quick disconnect for your battery and use when you put the machine away at the end of the day. If you suspect over charging, leave the light on even during the day when you run the tractor.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

You likely need a new battery. I bet you leave that tractor stored each winter for months with no charger. Two years sound about right for a cheap battery under those conditions.
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Lawrence wrote:

Pretty simple. If you charge a battery up, leave it disconnected, and it's dead a couple days later, the battery is kaput.
I agree with the above too. If you don't put a battery tender on a battey and instead just leave it over the winter, a couple years life is not unusual.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

My lawn tractor sits all winter in the shed (around here, about 5 months). It fires right up in the spring. I don't charge it over the winter. It's going on 7 years and still has the original battery.
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The symptoms you described are not unusual for a bad battery. Holding a charge for only a short length of time, sometimes only a few minutes, is a very common failure.
--
Every complicated problem has a simple solution that doesn\'t work.

Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

This frequently happens in the Spring and Fall when the temperature is changing. It's due to the resistance of a microscopic layer of oxide on the terminals. You must remove the wires and brush with a battery terminal brush, both inside and outside. Put the terminals back together with a grease-coated felt washer under each and cover the terminals with some grease to seal out the air.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

As others have said the battery is probably dead from having set too long without being charged.
See:
http://www.uuhome.de/william.darden/carfaq.htm
Section 13
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I agree with most of the other posters that your Walmart battery is most likly toast. You should be aware that most these batteries should not be exposed to a charge of 10 amps. Even when new, the shop will give it a zap to help along the "dry charge" It is claimed that this and other instances of 10 amp charge will shorten the life of the battery. 2 amp charging is recommended by the makers of most of these small batteries. The battery tender is the best way to maintain top charge.

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The test is to charge the battery with one or both battery cables unhooked. Leave the battery still unhooked, overnight. If the tractor won't start in the morning (remember to reconnect the cable) then replace the battery.
--

Christopher A. Young
You can't shout down a troll.
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His lead-acid battery is probably sulfated and not capable of being charged properly.
Vector makes chargers that allegedly desulfate and recondition L-A batteries,but I've not tried them myself. The charger would cost more than a new battery,that is certain.
Of course,you could buy a Vector charger,try it,and sell it on Ebay as bearely used if you aren't satisfied with its desulfating results.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
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Jim Yanik wrote:

Desulphation chargers give a high voltage for a time to break down the sulphation they should not be too expensive try www.batteryworld.co.uk
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countybattery wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Yes, your old battery is probably bad, especially after being on charge all night at 10A. BTW, a 10A automatic charger won't fully charge a U1 (lawn tractor) sized battery. It builds a float charge too quickly, and starts pulsing on and off. Those pulses can be worse for the battery than the 10A cooking.
An electric PTO clutch can kill a battery in less than 30 minutes if the charging circuit in the engine has failed, or wasn't sized properly by a cheap manufacturer who ordered a low power alternator to save money. Also, if the charging circuit has failed on a cheaper machine, the alternator could be killing your battery. Most do not disconnect the alternator through the switch, but wire it directly to the battery lead at the solenoid.
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