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Tractor battery - how long to charge for?


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04-29-17, 08:48 AM   #1  
Tractor battery - how long to charge for?

I have a airens ride on mower and it does not start (had it for 4 yrs) never charged the battery before. I want to charge it to see if it helps.

I know it's a 12v battery and I "assume" I charge it @ 3amps but not sure for how long.

The product spec from the manual says...

Charging system: 3 amps battery
5 amps head light

Battery: amp/hr 28
Min CCA 230
Case size U1R

I've been reading online and I hear about "trickle charge " and "fast charge" why do I do?

Thank you

 
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04-29-17, 08:56 AM   #2  
You can charge most small batteries on a trickle charge. The charger will automatically fall of when the battery reaches its peak charge. If you need a quicker charge, then up the charge rate and do it for a few hours, keeping an eye on the charge gauge.

 
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04-29-17, 08:58 AM   #3  
But do you know how long I should charge it for? So I know when to unplug it. I don't want to unplug it too soon.

I'll leave it on trickle if that's best... what's the 28 mean for my amp/he mean

Thank you


Last edited by rdn2424; 04-29-17 at 09:00 AM. Reason: Edit
 
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04-29-17, 09:05 AM   #4  
28 amp/hr is the amp rating for the normal use of the battery. Nothing to do with the charging. The CCA are the cold cranking amps. The higher this number is, the better and longer the starting capabilities.

At the risk of being redundant, you can use the higher setting, but keep an eye on the gauge. Several hours is usually enough. The trickle charge is best if you don't need the battery right away. BTW, a 4 year old tractor battery is almost EOL, and will need replacement soon, so plan on that, too.

 
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04-29-17, 09:27 AM   #5  
What type charger do you have?

For a trickle charge < 3amps 12-24 hours should be good. If you plan on using it soon, then you can jump it or use a higher charge rate then while you run/use the mower, it should catch up the charge on a good battery.

As mentioned, 4 yrs is a good life expectancy for Lawn&Garden battery.


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04-29-17, 01:47 PM   #6  
Posted By: rdn2424 I have a airens ride on mower and it does not start (had it for 4 yrs) never charged the battery before. I want to charge it to see if it helps.
Um, sounds like the battery's the symptom of cranking an engine that won't start.

Fuel, air, spark.

I'd take off the air cleaner, make sure it's not filthy.

Try starting it.
If it still cranks over, see if it starts.
If not, jump from a car battery, simple red-to-red black-to black connections are sufficient.
If it fires up, then you need a new air filter.

Next, while the air cleaner's off, open the choke, spray in a shot of starter fluid (a cap full of rubbing alcohol also works). Close the choke.
Try starting again.
If it fires right up, you most likely have water in the old gasoline.
Get some new gas, and pickup some "dry gas" additive, and starting fluid.
Drain the old gasoline into a gas can, add dry-gas.
Fill the tank with new gasoline.
Open the choke, spray some starting fluid in, close choke.
Try cranking.
It should start on the starting fluid, you want to run it run long enough to pull
left over watery-gasoline through the fuel line, and get new gasoline to the carb.

Once the engine is warmed up, it should run on the old-gas + dry-gas.

 
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04-29-17, 01:52 PM   #7  
I didn't buy the charger yet .. gonna look on Lowe's/homedepot... any suggestions?

Also how do I change the charge rate? You mean increase the amps? If so, what do you recommend ?

 
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04-29-17, 02:15 PM   #8  
Except for a dedicated trickle or maintenance charger, most chargers have a knob that you set to the desired charging rate. Many will have a 2 amp and 10 amp setting although the better ones will have more/higher settings.


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04-29-17, 03:33 PM   #9  
Like Mark mentioned..... 2A and 10A settings. Craftsman used to sell that exact type for $39.

Get a battery charger with a meter so you can see what's going on. Based on what I see around.... this is the charger I'd recommend.

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04-29-17, 04:00 PM   #10  
battery charger can be handy to have but I would expect you will be buying a battery anyway.

 
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04-29-17, 05:18 PM   #11  
Thank you all for your replies let me mentions two things...

1. Even though my mower says to charge at 3 amps, are you saying I can charge it higher (10amps) will tjat damage the battery?
2. Forgot to mention , when I try to turn it on, the engine does NOT make any cranking sound. It's dead silent. Should it be cranking on a low charge battery?

 
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04-29-17, 05:59 PM   #12  
Posted By: rdn2424 1. Even though my mower says to charge at 3 amps, are you saying I can charge it higher (10amps) will tjat damage the battery?
When the mower is running, it recharges the battery itself, at 3amps.
A stand alone battery charger will be able to recharge the battery faster.

Posted By: rdn2424 2. Forgot to mention , when I try to turn it on, the engine does NOT make any cranking sound. It's dead silent. Should it be cranking on a low charge battery?
That just means the battery is discharged. Not necessarily dead in my experience.

Basically, running the mower recharges the battery.
If you could jump start the mower, then just using the mower recharges the battery.


Last edited by Hal_S; 04-29-17 at 07:19 PM.
 
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04-29-17, 06:25 PM   #13  
typically your better off using a lower amp setting when charging batteries but it does take longer.
I know many that replace there lawn tractor batteries about every 2 years cause they just don't last very long most likely due to not being used all winter. so the fact this battery is 4 years old chances are good it may not start the mower even after charging but they are fairly inexpensive to replace.

 
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04-29-17, 07:40 PM   #14  
Posted By: alan73 I know many that replace there lawn tractor batteries about every 2 years cause they just don't last very long most likely due to not being used all winter.
What? Tractor batteries last 7-10 years.

End of mowing season, you disconnect the positive wire;
you wipe the dirt off the top of the battery so it doesn't self discharge.

If you're worried about the battery freezing, you take it out of the tractor,
stick it in a cardboard box, and set it in a cool dry place, like a basement.

When the tractor won't turn over, I usually clean the terminals, check fuel-air-spark,
use starting fluid or jump start from a car, and generally after 2 hours mowing the lawn,
I find that the battery is recharged and working, enough, to go another season.
If the air cleaner is clean, the gas is fresh, and the plugs are clean and gapped correctly,
in my experience a law tractor only cranks 3-6 times before it starts.
That means minimal cold cranking amps, which you can get from a years old battery.


Last edited by Hal_S; 04-29-17 at 07:57 PM.
 
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04-29-17, 07:40 PM   #15  
Get yourself a new battery and save the hassle after 4 years it should get a trophy for lawn equipment batteries. Have a good one. Geo

 
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04-30-17, 01:12 AM   #16  
Lol, 7 to 10 years for a lawnmower battery is unheard of, especially a U1R series. Two years is about it. U1-3 batteries sometimes get 4 or 5 but they cost more and have more lead, more cranking amps. Heck, car and truck batteries don't even last 7 to 10 years.


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04-30-17, 03:08 AM   #17  
The last battery on my 76 ford truck lasted 11 yrs but it doesn't have much in the way of electronics.

A charged battery shouldn't freeze. The only freezing danger I'm aware of is if you add water and don't charge the battery before it gets cold.

Personally I wouldn't want to be with out a charger but I agree that it's highly likely that your battery needs replacing. A charger can help an old battery work a little longer but won't make it new again.


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04-30-17, 03:35 AM   #18  
Not in lieu of, but concurrent with charging or replacing the battery, disconnect and clean the terminals and cable ends. The connections at the battery are the most critical ones in my opinion, but I do the same at the starter and where the negative cable bolts to the frame on an annual basis or if there is a problem. At 4 years, odds are that you would be ahead of the game, from a money standpoint, to skip the charger and replace the battery. But you are going to want a charger at some point anyway, so it's a good investment, and maybe it will give you another year or two out of the battery that you have. If it won't start after charging, your local auto parts store or lawn equipment dealer can load test the battery and tell you if it is good or bad.

 
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04-30-17, 03:50 AM   #19  
Good chargers are always nice to have if you have multiple cars, tractors, lawn mowers, etc. Finding a good deal is even better. I ran across this one on a garage sale a few weeks back for $35. Couldn't ask for a better one, so check that out too.

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04-30-17, 04:26 AM   #20  
Lots of good advice here.

To make it simple....... if your tractor is working properly and there is no sound when you try to start it the battery can not be charged to it's original capacity and should be replaced.

A 12 volt, 2/10 amp charger would be an all around good size and make sure it says "automatic" meaning the charger will shut off automatically when the battery is fully charged.


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04-30-17, 04:39 PM   #21  
Posted By: GregH To make it simple....... if your tractor is working properly and there is no sound when you try to start it the battery can not be charged to it's original capacity and should be replaced.
Still an open question isn't it?

If OP kept cranking a motor that won't start, that will drain the battery.
Doesn't meant the battery's "dead", just discharged.
You can usually revive a drained batter, by recharging it.
I consider a battery that won TAKE a recharge is dead.

If a drained battery can be recharged to say, 90% of capacity,
and still reliably starts the tractor, who cares?

 
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04-30-17, 08:47 PM   #22  
I, too, think that your battery is toast and needs replacement.

An "automatic" battery charger will not start if the battery voltage is less than about 8 volts.

Tractor batteries last 7-10 years.
The battery that came with the riding mower I bought many years ago lasted about two years.

The last battery on my 76 ford truck lasted 11 yrs.
The battery (first replacement, after about eight years on the original) on my 97 Camry was still working when I sold it last summer. I did tell the woman she should replace it before winter.

The battery that came with my Yamaha generator, similar to a riding mower battery, failed in two years. The replacement is still fine, at least eight years now.

 
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05-01-17, 04:32 AM   #23  
I don't remove my lawn mower batteries for the winter; but I do check the electrolyte levels and add distilled water (if needed) in November.

Then, I try to trickle charge them for a few hours twice during the coldest periods of winter, say once in January and again in March (if I think of it); and I haven't had discharged or frozen batteries in well over 10 years despite many extended temperature dips down to -50⁰F and below.

 
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05-01-17, 04:35 AM   #24  
extended temperature dips down to -50⁰F and below.
brrrrrrr glad it doesn't get that cold in the south


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05-01-17, 05:18 AM   #25  
As long as the power stays on, and the water line doesn't freeze, it's okay.

And besides, it's a "dry" kind of cold.

I will say this, sometimes my windshield washer fluid freezes up because it only remains liquid down to -30⁰F, and then you can't see !

 
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05-01-17, 11:26 AM   #26  
This must be a bit confusing.
A good all around charger for occasional use would be the type Pete shows in post # 9..........
2/10 amps and automatic.

It was mentioned that this charger will not charge a dead battery but normally if the voltage drops below 8 volts and especially in freezing weather the battery will have to a certain extent been damaged.
There are automatic chargers that have a switch for dead batteries.

A U1 lawn tractor battery will charge just fine at a 10 amp rate.


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