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Battery Corner

battery charging charger specific gravity voltage load testing multimeter winter battery storage

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21 replies to this topic

#1 marlboro180 OFFLINE  

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Posted October 26, 2012 - 08:38 PM

Okay fellas, here it is on the brink of winter once again, and no doubt some of us are pulling our batteries from machines that are not used in our winter machines....Right?

We will then place them dutifully on our chargers ( be it smart tenders, or one's we should check once in a while) Right?

And then when spring comes, our chargers and batteries will have lives through yet another happy winter, sitting dutifully on the shelf, wainting for yet another year of service.


WEll, if you are like me, I have too many darned machines to pull every battery, but I try to keep them in service. I lose a couple once in a while, but such is life. No doubt, with the cold coming on throughout our country ( and elsewhere ) that there will be an inundation of questions and answers about whether it is the starter, solenoid, or battery at fault for a tractor's no- start condition.

I aim at clarifying what what are the basics of understanding how to diagnose a good vs. bad battery, with simple tools that are readily at hand, and reasonable cost. I hope you all can chime in for my omissions, but feel free to chime in.

Please keep in mind this is a work in progress, but then again, ain't just about everything....

Edited by marlboro180, October 26, 2012 - 09:23 PM.

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#2 marlboro180 OFFLINE  

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Posted October 26, 2012 - 08:42 PM

I start with this....

How old is the battery we are dealing with, and if it unknown, has it been gining good service of late?

Are the date stamps actually stamped? Or did Mr . Joe down the block sell it to you , and it was " known to be good the last time he used it "?

Is it charged, and I mean not off the unknow charging system off the motor, but off a charger that plugs into the good old wall outlet ?

#3 Titus OFFLINE  

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Posted October 26, 2012 - 09:00 PM

Volt meter and load tester will help you out a ton.

#4 ol' stonebreaker OFFLINE  

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Posted October 26, 2012 - 09:06 PM

Volt meter and load tester will help you out a ton.


x2 on the load tester!! The little $8 float chargers from HF have worked well for me. I say this in spite of the HF batt charger I just returned due to it's inability to tell when a batt is charged.
Mike

#5 marlboro180 OFFLINE  

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Posted October 26, 2012 - 09:13 PM

Aww, 15 min of typing, and "Poof" !

Here it is , the short story-

What is the voltage of yer battery? A multimeter is cheap. An analog meter from a rummage is even cheaper.

That failling, a hydromter is also cheap, often cheaper that a multimeter. I think mine cost me 5 bucks.

Have you load tested the battery? If not, please do so. If one does not own a load tester, many auto shops have one, and some auto parts stores will load test yer battery for free. Mine cost less than 40 bucks , well less than a quality LGT battery and saved moe than that is just running around time.

Once the battery is charged by a smart charger i.e " Battery Tender" , or one you have to look after once in a while , i.e dumb charger with a timer- do the results look the same? Volts Vs Amps?

If all is well, and your battery looks to be within spec for your machine and it still does not start, it is time to look down the line, especially with the cold winds coming along across the country.


Here is my battery corner, Digital MM, though it is only ever set to DCV, a charger or 5, some batterys, and the Schumacher Battery Load tester, a couple of normal Schumacher 6 and 12 V chargers and some other esoteric LiPo chargers, some NiMh stuff for tools,,,, all of it is handy.

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Edited by marlboro180, October 26, 2012 - 09:20 PM.

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#6 IamSherwood OFFLINE  

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Posted October 26, 2012 - 09:15 PM

A good battery, can be left in the tractor. Disconnect the ground lead, and walk away.

If it was charged up, before it was disconnected, and is dead in the spring, it's junk.

#7 marlboro180 OFFLINE  

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Posted October 26, 2012 - 09:22 PM

K, we got a vote for a floating charger ( smart charger), a load tester, and a disconnected ground in fall. What else can we do?

#8 ol' stonebreaker OFFLINE  

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Posted October 26, 2012 - 09:36 PM

Whether it's left in place or moved to a winter storage space, any dirt or debris should be wiped off as this can, not necessarily will, discharge the batt by providing a small current path between the + and - posts, thereby discharging the batt over a several month period.
Mike

#9 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted October 26, 2012 - 09:42 PM

I used to do the start and run thing periodically (no smart charger, just a dumb operator) Got to be a day long event and even worse than that, I was having more carb issues. I've gotten to the point that it's OK to just leave them in there. I haven't disconnected batteries in anything that doesn't have a known mystery drain and been happy. Next spring will be a good test. Several of the batteries will be hitting the three year mark and will let me down if I'm wrong...

I keep watching for a load tester at the flea markets... A VOM only tells half the story.
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#10 ol' stonebreaker OFFLINE  

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Posted October 26, 2012 - 11:03 PM

I've had a HF load tester for several yrs and it has worked excellent. As far as I'm concerned it's the only sure way to know the condition of a batt.
Mike

#11 Cvans OFFLINE  

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Posted October 26, 2012 - 11:24 PM

I'd say if your battery was fully charged in the fall when last used and your temps don't fall below 0 degs. you can probably get away with just cleaning the top of the battery and leaving them in the tractor. Here it is not uncommon for the temps to hit close to -30 degs. so I try store mine in warmer conditions. The ones that get left outside will have battery tenders on them to prevent any chance of freeze damage. Nothing like a swollen battery to void the warranty.
Please remember that charging batteries generate hydrogen gas which is explosive. Acid burns are painful and do a lot of damage.
Another note, since starting to use those red and green felt discs on the battery post I have had no problems with corrosion. The only exception was one set that was dried out. I put them on all my batteries.
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#12 marlboro180 OFFLINE  

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Posted October 27, 2012 - 12:40 AM

So, Cvans, with all them batteries out in the cold, hooked up to 50 dolllar "battery tenders " what do we do? No way in hell I am hooking a 50 buck tender to each unit...( did ya see the battery corner, and that is with only one GT bttery in the mix, 1 of NINE...) But I digress, this post was was suppsed to be a simple one,,,,,

BTW, I have noticed fewer problems over the years since using the battery terminal spray, and looking forward to using the felt discs....

Edited by marlboro180, October 27, 2012 - 12:48 AM.


#13 Farmlife OFFLINE  

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Posted October 27, 2012 - 05:52 AM

A good battery, can be left in the tractor. Disconnect the ground lead, and walk away.

If it was charged up, before it was disconnected, and is dead in the spring, it's junk.

AGREE!! I never take my batteries out....never have an issue. And at Walmart for $29 you can buy a marine charger that has a speed load, slow charge, and trickle charge settings on it. After charging for a short time it will also tell you, (by another flashing light) wether the battery is any good and able to accept a charge.......works like a charm...

#14 Reverend Blair OFFLINE  

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Posted October 27, 2012 - 06:00 AM

I should try some of the felt discs on the 420...corrosion even with semi-regular use.

I bring batteries I'm not using inside and keep them in the basement. It's below freezing here from Halloween to April with lows of -20 C being normal and -40 C not unusual. Even good batteries can fail in weather like that. I also keep a spare deep-cycle charged up for boosting duty.

For testing it's pretty simple. If a battery won't hold a charge for the time it usually sits, it's trash. If a battery is swollen, it's been frozen and is trash.

#15 Cvans OFFLINE  

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Posted October 27, 2012 - 09:31 AM

So, Cvans, with all them batteries out in the cold, hooked up to 50 dolllar "battery tenders "

In your case it would not be reasonable. I on the other hand have less than 10 batteries and only 3 or 4 are outside in the winter.
By the way, Harbor Freight now has the battery tenders on sale for $9.99 through Nov. 30th. So far I have had good luck with these.
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