Lawn tractor battery question

Page 1 of 2  
Helo gurus,
For the winter I have generally just disconnect the battery on my lawn trac tor and leave the tractor in the garage. In the spring I usually have to j ump the lawn tractor anyway to get it started - not necessarily because the battery is dead, but because starting it the first time in the spring is a bear and usually takes a lot of cranking (and the tractor battery runs dow n before I can get the tractor started). However, once I've started it and got her running for a while, I can start it from the battery without too m uch trouble for the rest of the season.
This spring, I jumped it and it started right up. I let it run for a while , but then when I went to turn on the blades, it sputtered and died. I had to jump it again, but this time started the blades with it still connected to the car battery - no problem. After disconnecting, I tried starting an d stopping the blades a few times with no trouble, but then after sitting a couple of minutes, again the engine died when I tried to start the blades.
Finally, I jumped it, started the blades and then mowed for about an hour - figuring this would both charge the battery and loosen up any tightness in the blades. Afterwards, same problem - and I also couldn't start the engi ne from off.
I'm thinking "new battery time". I just measured the voltage (tractor off) and got 12.2. It's a 12 volt battery, but I'm not sure if that's a decent voltage or not - that was after a few unsuccessful cranks by the way. I s wear I've never had a problem starting the blades once I got the tractor is running, so I'm wondering if the problem is something else (or if there ar e multiple problems). Like maybe the blades are sticking and things need t o be greased and the extra oomph required to start the blades is too much f or the battery - just like it can kill your engine if you go too quickly th rough grass that's too high. Or maybe the battery's not charging properly while the tractor's running. Is there a good way to diagnose the problem o r should I just get a new battery and worry about it later if that doesn't solve things?
The only reason I'm asking now instead of just figuring it's the battery i s that it seems to me that in the past when the battery had died, once I ju mp-started the mower, I had no problems turning the blades on/off - it was only starting the tractor that was a problem.
Thanks.
-J
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 5/20/2013 7:16 PM, J wrote:

and leave the tractor in the garage. In the spring I usually have to jump the lawn tractor anyway to get it started - not necessarily because the battery is dead, but because starting it the first time in the spring is a bear and usually takes a lot of cranking (and the tractor battery runs down before I can get the tractor started). However, once I've started it and got her running for a while, I can start it from the battery without too much trouble for the rest of the season.

but then when I went to turn on the blades, it sputtered and died. I had to jump it again, but this time started the blades with it still connected to the car battery - no problem. After disconnecting, I tried starting and stopping the blades a few times with no trouble, but then after sitting a couple of minutes, again the engine died when I tried to start the blades.

figuring this would both charge the battery and loosen up any tightness in the blades. Afterwards, same problem - and I also couldn't start the engine from off.

and got 12.2. It's a 12 volt battery, but I'm not sure if that's a decent voltage or not - that was after a few unsuccessful cranks by the way. I swear I've never had a problem starting the blades once I got the tractor is running, so I'm wondering if the problem is something else (or if there are multiple problems). Like maybe the blades are sticking and things need to be greased and the extra oomph required to start the blades is too much for the battery - just like it can kill your engine if you go too quickly through grass that's too high. Or maybe the battery's not charging properly while the tractor's running. Is there a good way to diagnose the problem or should I just get a new battery and worry about it later if that doesn't solve things?

that it seems to me that in the past when the battery had died, once I jump-started the mower, I had no problems turning the blades on/off - it was only starting the tractor that was a problem.

battery is just not up to the task. You could try putting the battery on a charger and see if it recharges and holds a charge, but if it's been in the tractor for over 5 years or so, it's probably got a bad cell.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Leaving a battery like that will usually shorten it's life. Batteries will slowly self-dscharge and having it sit around partially or fully discharged leads to sulfation and failure. You can buy a battery tender that you can put on it to keep it fully charged during the winter.
 In the spring I usually have to jump the lawn tractor anyway to get it started - not necessarily because the battery is dead, but because starting it the first time in the spring is a bear and usually takes a lot of cranking (and the tractor battery runs down before I can get the tractor started).  However, once I've started it and got her running for a while, I can start it from the battery without too much trouble for the rest of the season.

 I had to jump it again, but this time started the blades with it still c onnected to the car battery - no problem.  After disconnecting, I tried s tarting and stopping the blades a few times with no trouble, but then after sitting a couple of minutes, again the engine died when I tried to start t he blades.

in the blades.  Afterwards, same problem - and I also couldn't start the engine from off.

That is a reasonable value. But then measuring voltage on an unloaded battery doesn't tell you the whole story. That's why pros use a battery tester that puts a load on it.
 It's a 12 volt battery, but I'm not sure if that's a decent voltage or not - that was after a few unsuccessful cranks by the way.  I swear I've never had a problem starting the blades once I got the tractor is running, so I'm wondering if the problem is something else (or if there are multiple problems).  Like maybe the blades are sticking and things need to be greased and the extra oomph required to start the blades is too much for the battery - just like it can kill your engine if you go too quickly through grass that's too high.  Or maybe the battery's not charging properly while the tractor's running.  Is there a good way to diagnose the problem or should I just get a new battery and worry about it later if that doesn't solve things?

I jump-started the mower, I had no problems turning the blades on/off - it was only starting the tractor that was a problem.

Once the tractor starts, it should be supplying it's own power to keep it running. Might be an interlock switch or sensor that's bad that gets involved when you move the handle to engage the blades.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

but then when I went to turn on the blades, it sputtered and died. I had to jump it again, but this time started the blades with it still connected to the car battery - no problem. After disconnecting, I tried starting and stopping the blades a few times with no trouble, but then after sitting a couple of minutes, again the engine died when I tried to start the blades.

figuring this would both charge the battery and loosen up any tightness in the blades. Afterwards, same problem - and I also couldn't start the engine from off.

that it seems to me that in the past when the battery had died, once I jump-started the mower, I had no problems turning the blades on/off - it was only starting the tractor that was a problem.

When I had camping trailer, I used to hook up a solar powered trickle charger on the batteries during winter. Did not have any premature battery failure. If ever ice(or slush) forms inside the battery. That will finish it.
Id solar panel is impractical for the stored battery, I'd hook up a small current draw load, like a LED and AC powered trickle charger.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
'J[_6_ Wrote: > ;3065323']

> tractor and leave the tractor in the garage. Better to charge it periodically over the winter. I always keep a spare car battery in my boiler room and charge it with a trickle charger for about 12 hours every month or so.

> started - not necessarily because the battery is dead, but because > starting it the first time in the spring is a bear and usually takes a > lot of cranking (and the tractor battery runs down before I can get the > tractor started). That's probably cuz of lack of compression. The thin film of oil on the cylinder walls drains away during the winter, and it's the lack of an oil film that results in hard starting because of insufficient compression by the piston rings. Next time, take the spark plug(s) out and squirt some oil into each cylinder before cranking the engine over. Leave the spark plugs out while cranking. The oil will spread out onto the cylinder walls as you crank and you should find the engine is much easier to start once you put the plugs back in.
On a car, if you have aluminum cylinder heads, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS use antiseize compound on the spark plug threads before putting the spark plugs back in.
--
nestork


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
J wrote:

I can't imagine why the battery would be involved once the tractor is running. Nevertheless, if it is, you want a FLOAT CHARGER, not periodic charging or any variation of a trickle charger.
A FLOAT charger supplies charging current to the battery. When the battery reaches full charge, the float charger shuts off. But the float charger continues to monitor the charge on the battery and, when the charge level drops below a minimum acceptable value, the float charger re-engages with more charging.
This on-off-on-off sequencing prevents over charging, which will boil off the electrolyte and under-charging which causes shorted cells due to sulphation. A Float Charger may remain connected to a battery indefinitely.
Here's one for less than ten bucks: <http://www.harborfreight.com/battery-float-charger-automatic-69594.html> Here's another (I don't know the difference) <http://www.harborfreight.com/battery-float-charger-automatic-69594.html> Since you've got the whole summer to obtain the right kind of charger, simply monitor the HF website. HF periodically puts this item on sale for $6.95 and $4.95. I've got two: one for the riding lawnmower and one for my electric wheelbarrow. The one for the mower has been in use for about three years.
For more information, look up "float charger" on Wikipedia. There are lots of articles and examples of use.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 5/21/2013 7:31 AM, HeyBub wrote:

Uh, detecting the difference may be extremely difficult (other than to say, "this is one, and this is another one [of the same thing]"
You seem to have posted the same link twice.<g>
These do work, however. I have used one of these for a couple of years now to keep the battery topped off on my standby generator. Probably got it for $6 or $7 while on sale.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I used to have a HF float charger. Left it clipped on to a marine battery. A couple months later, the battery was down on water. Too 1 1/2 quarts to fill it up. The battery did not survive. If you use such a junky charger, please put it on a 24 hour lamp timer, and run it an hour a day. . Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org . .
news:519b6fb7$0$9472

<http://www.harborfreight.com/battery-float-charger-automatic-69594.html>

<http://www.harborfreight.com/battery-float-charger-automatic-69594.html>
Uh, detecting the difference may be extremely difficult (other than to say, "this is one, and this is another one [of the same thing]"
You seem to have posted the same link twice.<g>
These do work, however. I have used one of these for a couple of years now to keep the battery topped off on my standby generator. Probably got it for $6 or $7 while on sale.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tuesday, May 21, 2013 12:23:28 PM UTC-4, Stormin Mormon wrote:

fill it up. The battery did not survive. If you use such a junky charger, please put it on a 24 hour lamp timer, and run it an hour a day.
The harbor freight charger is incapable of producing enough current to boil off a battery. That charger would burn up producing enough current to boil off a battery.
You had some other problem, probably a shorted cell.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I've probably put that HF charger in the trash, and the battery has long since been exchanged in. So, we'll never know. As for me, I'm not going to take that chance again. . Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org . .
On Tuesday, May 21, 2013 12:23:28 PM UTC-4, Stormin Mormon wrote:

quarts to fill it up. The battery did not survive. If you use such a junky charger, please put it on a 24 hour lamp timer, and run it an hour a day.
The harbor freight charger is incapable of producing enough current to boil off a battery. That charger would burn up producing enough current to boil off a battery.
You had some other problem, probably a shorted cell.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 21 May 2013 16:26:31 -0400, "Stormin Mormon"

been exchanged in. So, we'll never know. As for me, I'm not going to take that chance again.

couple months later, the battery was down on water. Too 1 1/2 quarts to fill it up. The battery did not survive. If you use such a junky charger, please put it on a 24 hour lamp timer, and run it an hour a day.

a battery. That charger would burn up producing enough current to boil off a battery.

high enough
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On May 21, 4:54 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

to take that chance again.

to fill it up. The battery did not survive. If you use such a junky charge r, please put it on a 24 hour lamp timer, and run it an hour a day.

oil off a battery.

But how high can the voltage be on a 12V tractor battery? 15V? That's 30W. Can 30W boil a battery that size?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 21 May 2013 15:43:46 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

since been exchanged in. So, we'll never know.  As for me, I'm not going to take that chance again.

A couple months later, the battery was down on water. Too 1 1/2 quarts to fill it up. The battery did not survive. If you use such a junky charger, please put it on a 24 hour lamp timer, and run it an hour a day.

off a battery. That charger would burn up producing enough current to boil off a battery.

The issue isn't power. It's the voltage. It's not "boiling" anything, rather electrolysis.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If the battery is discharged and high impedance, 20 volts might not be high enough. If a battery is fully charged, .015 A can cause slow bubbling. .1 A is starting to get excessive. I used to charge large cells with clear walls, so you see inside. I've charged batteries in the military, at NASA, and at home. I did one stupid thing in the army van. Dropped screwdriver across terminals. The caps were off. I jumped out. Steams of fluid hit the ceiling.
Greg
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Yes.
The energy put in, can go to one of three things. 1. charging 2. heat 3. electrolysis (boiling).
After the battery is full charged, any further current input has pretty much one thing to do, which is electrolysis.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org . .
But how high can the voltage be on a 12V tractor battery? 15V? That's 30W. Can 30W boil a battery that size?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 21 May 2013 11:50:18 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

couple months later, the battery was down on water. Too 1 1/2 quarts to fill it up. The battery did not survive. If you use such a junky charger, please put it on a 24 hour lamp timer, and run it an hour a day.

a battery. That charger would burn up producing enough current to boil off a battery. Nonsense. The amount of current available to "boil off" a battery simply relates to how fast it will do it. The issue is the voltage and profile.

You're assuming facts not in evidence.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It will put too much charge in a battery. It will boil. I was going to measure the exact current and supply a resistor. 100 ma. Is too much. I know these types of chargers will charge an almost dead battery to full charge in 3-4 months. That's two 120 amp hour batteries in parallel, in our case.
Greg
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Again, it's *not* "boiling" anything. It has nothing to do with heat and the bubbles are not H2O vapor, rather H2 and O2; *very* combustible.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On May 21, 2:50 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

to fill it up. The battery did not survive. If you use such a junky charger , please put it on a 24 hour lamp timer, and run it an hour a day.

il off a battery.

any lead acid battery that has a bad cell will overheat on charging and boil off the liquid.
my best friend has a windmill that charges a bank of car batteries.......
he monitors the temperature of each battery to detect bad ones
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I've been using HF float chargers for several years. Recently I took one off and measured the output voltage. It had failed and there was no way it could maintain a charge to the battery.
These devices when used to maintain the charge on a fully charged battery, do a fine job. But they have mortality rates just like any other electronic device, and power line spikes and surges can help then into the afterlife.
Every so often, maybe a couple times a year, disconnect one and stick a voltmeter on the output. If it isn't above 12 volts, something in it has given up it's ghost..... Stuff happens...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.