Garden Tractor Batteries

What type of preparation is necessary for a sealed, so-called maintenance free 12-volt battery for garden tractors?
Seem to recall reading somewhere that it has to be charged first. Can you give me some more details as to amount of time, etc? My charger doesn't have the safety feature that prevents overcharging. Any other prep necessary?
Thanks, Mary
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Like auto batteries, most of the time such batteries come either precharged, or the dealer charges them for you when you buy them.
So stick it in the tractor and see if it starts it.
If not, stick it on your charger for 4-6 hours, and that should start the tractor.
Once the tractor is running mow the lawn and let its alternator/generator top it up.
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Charge it by voltage, I think 12.65v-12.8 is full charge, clean the case good with soap and water a dirty case conducts electricity alowing it to self discharge. Always keep it charged or the plates sulfate and life is shortened. Put in distilled water if it is low and not sealed. Clean the inside of the tractor terminals and battery terminals. If it is new just check voltage.
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On Mon, 20 Mar 2006 18:18:18 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (m Ransley) wrote:

I think it is fast recharges that cause sulfating. That might be a likely result of letting a battery get discharged and recharging it with a high amp charger, or by the tractor itself (I don't know what output the tractor has). Best to recharge as slowly as feasible. But it's not letting the battery get or sit discharged that is the actual cause of sulfating.

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(m Ransley)

I think you think wrong. Better Google " battery sulfating" and see what you get.
example;http://www.europulse.com/eng/technology/index.shtml
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My description was too short to be complete, but so is the description on the site above.
On this site I think they've over simplified it because they are trying to sell something "Patented pulse technology reverses sulfate accumulation in your existing batteries. More importantly, it prevents sulfation from ever developing in new batteries. By pulsing DC current into the battery, it re-energizes crystallized sulfates deposited on the plates and returns them to the battery acid as active sulfur molecules. With the plates in the battery kept clean, it will provide more power, faster recharge speed, cooler charging temperatures and longer battery life."
It's 2AM. I'll try to get back with a longer ansewr tomorrow or the next day.
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(m Ransley)

From what I've read on the 'Net,sulfation is from both under AND overcharging,and also occurs when the battery is left *unused*. The lead sulfate is formed normally during discharge,is initially soft and dissolves back into the sulfuric acid electrolyte when recharged,but eventually crystallizes and does not re-dissolve under ordinary charging,and the cell's internal resistance increases.
There are many sites covering LA battery sulfation,and they pretty much agree with what I've said.
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Jim Yanik wrote:

A sulfated battery might be helped with an "Equalization Charge".
Real good coverage at
http://www.batteryfaq.org
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