Simplicity Mower Battery Discharging while ignition is off

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Old 05-08-09, 05:45 AM
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Question Simplicity Mower Battery Discharging while ignition is off

Simplicity Broadmoor Model 1694429 Tractor with 16 HP B & S twin Cylinder Engine - The Battery discharges, over night it gets very weak, two days it is dead. This spring, I replaced the Battery with a new 360 amp from TSC, 2 new spark plugs, and new fuel filter. The engine starts very well when jump-started from my car. After running awhile and then stopping the tractor, a meter check at the battery terminals shows 12 V with the ignition off and about 14 V after restarting the engine. If I disconnect the battery cable, the battery holds a charge overnight. I need to know what and how to troubleshoot this problem. The dealer wants $40 to get the mower & bring it back plus $60/labor hour to find the problem.
I have read through much of the forum and found a post dated 6-23-03 that sounds similar (but a different engine). Hope you will be able to help out here. Thanks.
 
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Old 05-08-09, 07:37 AM
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To troubleshoot a battery draw, get a cheap test light. disconnect the negative cable, and hook the test light between the end of the cable and the negative terminal on the battery. If you're having a drain the test light should light up.

Assuming it does, it's just a matter of disconnecting accessories or switches until the light goes out. It could be just about anything grounded out.

If nothing shows up that's obvious, follow the charging system wire back from the battery to the rectifer/voltage regulator and disconnect that one. If it goes out you have a charging system problem with the stator or rectifier - probably rectifier.

If your charging system is keeping the battery charged while you run it though, it shouldn't be in the charging system.
 
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Old 05-09-09, 04:32 AM
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Thanks for your reply. More info since the original post...I tested for battery drain from the negative terminal to the hot wire off the solenoid and found none. Using a 'Snap-On' brand tester, I checked the battery again after it had set overnight. It said "Low" and to charge battery and retest. So the tractor barely had enough power to start but it did, and I let it run about 1/2 hour at medium throttle. Using the snap-on battery test again, the green & red lights were flashing and the code says the battery is over-charged. I took the battery (Huskee 360 amp) out and exchanged it for a new one at TSC where I bought it. They said the battery looked like it had been overcharged and cooked or fried. I installed the new battery and my meter said '12V' with the engine not running. After I drove the tractor awhile, the meter read 14.5-15V. I talked to the service men at the Simplicity dealer and they said they doubted if the regulator could be overcharging the battery. However, I need to know that because I don't want to "cook" another battery. The only other conclusion would be if the first battery was defective to begin with. Is there a way to check the regulator output or should I just replace it at about $40?
 
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Old 05-09-09, 06:12 AM
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You have 2 different problems.
1). You have a draw discharging the battery when not in use.
2). You are frying the battery when the engine is running.

Problem #1. Test it they way marbobj said.
"get a cheap test light. disconnect the negative cable, and hook the test light between the end of the cable and the negative terminal on the battery. If you're having a drain the test light should light up."
The way you tested will not show anything. Are you leaving the lights on? Leaving the key in the "ON" position?

Probhlem #2. Did you check your meter while the engine was running? It should be 14.5 volts when running. Does your tester have an amp gauge? You should be testing the amps the charging sytem is putting out. And yes, it is possible for the regulator to fry the battery. A voltage regulator goes bad in 1 of 2 ways. Either it does not let any voltage through or it lets too much through. Letting too much through can and will fry a battery.
 
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Old 05-09-09, 06:26 AM
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I have a feeling the problem isn't overcharging, but just a bad battery. I don't know what specifically the TSC guys were looking at. I have had bad batteries out of the box.

As far as replacing the regulator I would be more inclined to put a charging meter (if not already on it) on it to see if the charging system is shutting down when it should. Those aren't too expensive and you can monitor the charge.

I have seen a couple of farm tractor regulators stick on in past years, but those were the coil/point types where the points pitted, heated up and stuck closed.
 
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Old 05-10-09, 12:06 AM
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I agree... the regulators don't commonly fail. I think you had a bad battery. 14.5 volts is fine.
 
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Old 05-13-09, 04:18 AM
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First, thanks for the replys. I did get the battery replaced and I bought the tester ($6.99). Test between the negative cable and the negative post on the battery showed no battery drain with the ignition, lites, PTO etc. off. With the tractor not running, my Radio Shack meter shows 12.5 volts between the battery posts. While running, it shows a strong 15 V. One respondent suggested to measure the amps not just the volts, or use a charging meter. My meter has a DCmA setting on the function selection dial, but I do not know if that would be what I need or not. The meter booklet says I can measure amps but it does not say exactly where or how to do the test. I would appreciate some additional input. (Maybe I did just have a 'bad' battery.) Thanks, Ken
 
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Old 05-14-09, 12:02 AM
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I wouldn't be concerned with measuring amps... lawn tractor charging stators are generally not capable of producing too much amperage for the battery. Most are 15 amps or less.

When you say "a strong 15v"... do you mean it is over 15 volts, like 15.8? Or just a steady 15, maybe 15.2? If it is much over 15, you may be overcharging a bit.
 
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Old 05-15-09, 05:52 AM
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Answer to 'Cheese' on voltage question - My meter ranges are 0-15V, then 150V is the next setting. So on the 0-15 scale, the reading is just over the 15 mark, then if I switch to the 150V scale, the reading is on the far Left Hand part of the scale, and I don't know what the value is there. (Does the scale represent 0-150 or 100 to 150?) The booklet that came with the meter says that a reading on the far left of the scale should be ignored. Tractor is running fine and starting well since I put the replacement battery in.
 
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Old 09-02-10, 05:39 AM
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In one post, possible over-charging was mentioned. What would cause that, and how would it be fixed to not over-charge? This is the same tractor I posted about in post today 9-2-2010.
 
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