After sitting all winter, my Toro riding mower won't key start (have to pull
start it). Turning the key, it just clicks continuously. I checked the
obvious stuff -- the wiring, contacts, etc. It's all fine. The battery is
fairly new, but I'm not sure how to test the charge or recharge it (don't
want to start screwing around with jumper cables, without knowing what I'm
doing). Seems that would be the place to start. I'm willing to buy a new
battery, but don't want to do that only to find out it's something else. Any
for 72 hrs. in the start of the season and then 24 hrs. each month...
the inst. manual says that the mower recharges it, but i dont believe it
as i was using it pretty much and unlike a car the battery was dead
without putting it on a plug in the wall charger.....
my battery is a 12 volt and i will use the car to crank it over(at least
i did with the old key start toro which was also 12 volts.. so i guess
you can use a 12 volt car battery jump to get it to crank and find out
if the battery is bad(or will not crank) it might just need a charge.
your manual should be able to guide you to do what you want to the
mower, if you dont have one then go to www.toro.com and look up the
owners manual.. they sell them(see if they got a toll free number and
maybe you can find out how much and if its worth it to you....
i got the owners manuals and about 4 books on small engine repair and
never had the reason to put a mower in the shop to get fixed......
thats been going on 35 yrs. now...
Nothing magical about batteries; they are a device that stores electricity
chemically and so can be affected by high/low temperatures and abuse.
If the battery was left all winter at a low state of charge and especially
if it froze it's probably junk.
You can try
a) Charging it with a typical car battery charger; it will probably take six
to eight amps at first and then drop back to three to four amps.
However just because it takes that charging current it doesn't mean the
battery is good. Try that for four to five hours. If the battery gets warm
and still won't start the machine it almost 100% certain it's ruined.
b) You can try 'boosting' from your 12 volt auto. Positive to positive,
negative to negative etc. but if your not sure get someone who understands
to do it, because an uncharged battery can start gassing and under certain
circumstances cause an explosion. I've see that. Do the boosting outdoors.
c) If the mower will start manually and the battery doesn't recharge, the
battery is either ruined or the machine is not charging (should be around 14
volts while charging).
A lot of batteries are spoiled every year by being left in campers, boats
and garden equipment. But it's not safe either to put them continuously on
charge; that can also ruin them by 'overcharging'. As mentioned there are
special chargers that just float the battery along to prevent it from
running down; these don't charge the battery, just maintain it at a voltage
just under 13 volts.
You should also check other obvious items e.g. that the starter is not
'stuck' after sitting idle; is that 'clicking' coming from the starter is
there a relay that is clicking in the control circuitry somewhere but not
completing the circuit to the starter etc.
When you get your battery charged, buy a "maintenance" charger from Harbor
Freight or someone like that. They run from $5.95 to $15.95, depending on
quality. When you're finished using the mower, hook up the charger - - it's
just a float charger that will maintain the optimim voltage and won't
overcharge or damage the battery. Been using them on my boat and antique
sports cars for years - - really save batteries.
Probably cheaper and more reliable to buy new batteries. An always-on
float charger (or any other device) costs you about $1/watt per year in
power. Check the wattage and thus that cost, perhaps $15 or $25 per year,
times the life of a battery of perhaps 3 years, you may be paying $75 to
make your $30 last an extra year or two.
Following that advice, you'll be buying batteries every year. Auto
type batteries are not meant to be discharged a significant amount of
their total capacity, or even worse left that way for an extended
period of time. The deeper and longer the discharge, the more damage
that is done.
I've seen one year old batteries go bad by allowing them to sit
discharged for 6 months.
Just for grins, I put a meter on my battery tender and its drawing a
whopping .1 amps. That works out to $5.50 for six months worth of
constant use during the winter. Very cheap compared to the cost of a
new battery, not to mention the agravation of not having things start
when you go to use them or the time and work involved in putting in
It's your battery. You'll need to get a new one. Those aren't maintenance
free. You need to keep the cells full. If you don't, the battery life is cut
short and can't typically be recharged for any length of time once they
reach the point you're at. A new battery is only about $40 or so.
I'll second that. My tractor batteries last 2 years (regardless of warantee
period), and have to be recharged
first time in the spring. Had one particularly good battery last 3 years.
Tractors are really hard on them,
they sit all winter without being charged.
manual tells you that it recharges when being used(i guess it is just
like a car for the battery to be recharged when driving it) but the
manual also tells you to use the little a/c adapter to charge the
battery for 72 hrs when you first get it, 24 hrs. each month and 72 hrs.
in the start of the season.... this is probably what you have to do...
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