Generator Battery Issues- Need help please


Old 11-06-11, 11:04 AM
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Generator Battery Issues- Need help please


Ok, I've been though several rounds with this darn generator and I've run out of thoughts. I have a Briggs and Stratton propane stand-by generator which generally works pretty well when I can start it. The issue is the battery.

Almost every time I go to use it, the battery is dead and it needs to be jumped. The last battery was bad and I got a replacement 2 months ago. Last week we were having a snowstorm so I started it the day before and no problem. The next day during the storm...dead.

Here is what I know:
1. It has a trickle charger as part of the unit which I thought was not working. But today I checked it with a volt meter and the leads with no battery attached were reading 12 vdc and about 4.8 amps.

2. The "new but dead" battery had a charge of 12vdc before I charged it again with my Sears charger and now reads charged at 12.8 vdc.

3. This is the same old, same old with at least 2-3 other batteries. They last a very short time and never hold a charge. I am not good at remembering to start it once a month which that, plus the cold Maine winters, I thought was my problem. But this newest battery was dead after only 2 months during moderate temps, and with what seems to be a functioning trickle charger on the generator.

4. Based on who is working at the desk when I buy another battery I get varying advice on the battery to use. It came with a lead core, deep cycle battery and was given similar replacements in the past. This last time, the guy told me not to use that type of battery which is designed to be drained completely down before being recharged. This time I was given your basic lawn tractor battery which is designed to be constantly recharged. Both battery types don't really last anyway.

You would think that a battery that started a generator one day would be fine the very next day, especially if it was being charged when not running.

Any help would be appreciated. It is a good generator but they darn thing never starts when you need it.
Old 11-06-11, 12:26 PM
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Sounds like something on the generator is draining the battery when the generator is not being run. If you can insert an amp meter between one side of the battery and the line to the generator's 12v circuit that might tell you if there is a constant drain.
Old 11-06-11, 03:46 PM
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A fully charged battery is 12.75 volts.

I have a wood splitter with a battery and there is nothing using any electricity when I am not using it (simple start switch is all it has). I charge that up in the fall, then it sits all winter, then starts right up in the spring.

Then I have a truck which I rarely use. It has computers and such always using a bit of electricity. Just left by itself, it will not start after just a couple of weeks. With an automotive trickle charger I bought at an auto parts store, it barely stays charged.

If you can charge the battery and it is 12.8 volts. Then you leave it disconnected from the generator and it is still 12.8 volts or thereabouts, then it is holding a charge. No need for replacement.

Seems to me your trickle charger does not have enough amperage to supply the electricity for the constant load on the generator (electronics or whatever) and charge up the battery. If you connect the battery to the generator and trickle charger, you should see the voltage slowly going up if it was discharged a bit. If the voltage is decreasing over a period of hours or days, then the trickle charger is not high enough amperage for the job.

Another option would be to charge the battery, then leave it disconnected. Then connect it when you need to use the generator. But the generator would not start automatically.
Old 11-06-11, 05:12 PM
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Thanks guys. I will check those things and report back. I would think that the trickle charger that came with the unit would be designed to keep the correct battery charged as needed. I wonder if the trickle charger is somehow not working properly.
Old 11-06-11, 06:06 PM
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Have you contacted Briggs & Stratton yet. It might be worth your time.

Contact Us | Home Generator Systems | Generators & Pressure Washers | Briggs & Stratton

What size generator do you have? Here is a typical manual if you don't have one. I see where it says to NOT jump start the generator on page 17. Do you have a manual and if so, have you read it?

Last edited by CasualJoe; 11-06-11 at 07:10 PM.

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