Lawn Tractor Battery

My last battery (12 V, 340 cranking amps) until recently when I replaced it, never required a charge during the summer mowing season after two full seasons and this season until recently.
For about the past month, I had to recharge it after every mowing, and even then by the time I was about 2/3 through the mowing, if I turned off the blade engagement clutch, it would not turn on again due to not enough battery power. If I turn it off for awhile, then next time the blades will engage.
So a little over a week ago, I bought a new battery, same make/model (Sears).
The brand new battery is exhibiting identical symptoms to the old battery at the time I felt compelled to replace it.
Could this be a bad new battery, or could it be a different issue not related to the battery? When I recharge it, the blade engagement clutch works fine (for awhile). If not the battery, then what could this be?
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On Mon, 4 Jul 2011 21:52:57 -0400, "Dimitrios Paskoudniakis"

term for "not working for some reason". Most likelyu the rectifier/regulator unit has a problem. (also "pooched".)
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On Jul 4, 10:51 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

check voltage at terminals with engine running it should be at least 13. volts
if its below that the charging system is out.
if you find normal charging voltage you may have bough a brand new bad battery that set in stock too long
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Dimitrios Paskoudniakis wrote the following:

You shouldn't have to recharge the battery in a tractor unless it has sat for a very long time without use. Probably the starter/alternator unit is bad. I had to replace the one in mine when it would not charge the battery during use. The starter part did work when the battery was charged.
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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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Dimitrios Paskoudniakis wrote:

When your car is running, part of the energy derived is used to charge the battery via the alternator/generator in conjunction with the voltage regulator. If that charging system fails, the battery will eventually go dead because it isn't being refreshed. The same thing is true in your mower.
IOW, the mower's charging system is bad.
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dadiOH
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On 7/4/2011 8:52 PM, Dimitrios Paskoudniakis wrote: ...

More than likely it's either the regulator (which may be internal, not external) or the charging unit itself as others have posited. _BUT_, I just fixed a problem yesterday on the old JD 112 that had been the cause of apparently draining battery on it for some time but finally showed up as a stronger symptom...a lead from had worn thru insulation by rubbing somewhere on frame and finally had enough of a connection/bare spot that when charged and tried to start it had path with key in "On" position that starter tried to continue to run and pulled enough power that wiring began to overheat thru switch at dash. Took a while, but eventually found the bare spot and repaired it; all is back to normal. Before, I'm suspecting while the insulation was thin or a very tiny area the leakage current was so low that the symptom wasn't apparent except that the battery would discharge between mowings for no obvious cause so I had concluded battery was culprit, too, as it had some age on it. Turns out, I think it has some life left altho may be shorter by the continual discharge for the last year; I had tried to keep limping on as long as possible before replacing it...
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Try wearing silver socks while mowing. This will help.
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On Mon, 04 Jul 2011 21:52:57 -0400, Dimitrios Paskoudniakis wrote:

Charging system is weak.
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