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Garden Tractor Battery

Old 09-10-2005, 11:47 PM
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LarryC
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Default Garden Tractor Battery

I have a garden tractor battery that I bought from the local big-mart for less than $20. It sees a lot of use running starters, charging small lipos, etc. It works well for all of these things, so long as you remember to recharge it after charging lipos.

Does anyone know what the amp-hour rating of this type of battery is? They are only marked with a cold-cranking amp capacity.

Larry
Old 09-11-2005, 09:14 AM
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Red Scholefield
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Default RE: Garden Tractor Battery


ORIGINAL: LarryC

I have a garden tractor battery that I bought from the local big-mart for less than $20. It sees a lot of use running starters, charging small lipos, etc. It works well for all of these things, so long as you remember to recharge it after charging lipos.

Does anyone know what the amp-hour rating of this type of battery is? They are only marked with a cold-cranking amp capacity.

Larry
There are quite a number of different batteries in the garden tractor class. Can you give us some numbers on yours?

Old 09-11-2005, 09:25 AM
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LarryC
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Default RE: Garden Tractor Battery

Red,

This is an Everstart, part number U1R-7

Markings are 225 cranking amps @ 32 degrees
275 Cold cranking amps

Distributed by Johnson Controls.


Larry
Old 09-11-2005, 07:41 PM
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BillS
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Default RE: Garden Tractor Battery

My garden tractor battery is used mostly to power the fuel pump with an occasional electric starter use.

I started out charging about once a month but ended up at the field with dead battery several times. Now it gets recharged after every flying session. I suspect the batteries were designed to give high amps during starting and then be recharged. The need for frequent recharge was unexpected.

Bill
Old 09-13-2005, 01:16 AM
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Default RE: Garden Tractor Battery

I work for Sears and we sell the garden tractor batteries from Johnson Controls as well. Ours are marked DieHard instead of EverStart, and the internals of the DieHard are better reinforced. While tractor batteries are great for starting motors, they lack the deep cycle capability that other batteries have, such as sealed lead acid batteries. The reason that the tractor batteries will last for several seasons in a tractor is due to the charging circuit that is built into the mower. This works a lot like an alternator in a car. Engine runs, battery charges. I can't tell you how many batteries we end up making warranty claims on at the beginning of Spring because people didn't leave the battery on a trickle charger over the winter. The tractor batteries don't have the deep cycle capability, the battery ends up dead. Sure tractor batteries are cheap but they end up leaving you flat. I have a sealed lead acid battery in my flight box that provides 7 Ah at 12 volts, much like the starter batteries you see sold in your LHS. Being HAM radio operator has taught me a lot about batteries, as well as working in automotive. Do yourself a favor and dump the tractor battery. Invest, yes it is an investment, in a sealed lead acid battery. They hold their charge much, much longer, and are far more reliable.
Old 09-16-2005, 01:19 AM
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KB9STD
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Default RE: Garden Tractor Battery

I also use a 7amp/hour sealed battery in my flight box,But that's not the point I want to make.I bought a "Maintenance charger" at Wal-Mart(Actualy, I bought it for my Mother's lawnmower.But the mower died,and Mom got too feable to do yard work.) I found it is perfect for keeping my flight box battery ready to go.I put banana plugs on the leads,and just plug it into the "Starter" jacks.It charges the battery,then stops and kicks back in whenever the battery voltage drops a bit.I plug it in as soon as I return from the field and leave it alone until the next flying session.I even leave it connected during the "Off SSeason"(Winter).I've used it arund 5 years now,and never have to give the flight box battery a second thought.
Old 09-21-2005, 05:42 AM
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Default RE: Garden Tractor Battery

KB,
The charger you describe sounds exactly like what I have been looking for.
Can you give me more information...
Did you find it in the automotive or garden section of Walmart?
Do you remember appox price?
Can you give me the name on the box?
Thanks!
JLK
Old 09-21-2005, 11:19 AM
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Rodney
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Default RE: Garden Tractor Battery

These garden tractor batteries will give you good service as long as you never deep discharge them. Always recharge as soon as the "under Load" voltage falls to 11.9 to 12 volts.
Old 09-21-2005, 11:51 AM
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Default RE: Garden Tractor Battery

They go under the name of battery tenders this is Sears version. Most car stores sell them too.
http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/produ...id=02871220000

Couldn't find one on Wall Mart's web site.

John
Old 09-22-2005, 04:09 PM
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Default RE: Garden Tractor Battery

FYI: Harbor Freight often has the battery tender I use on sale for $9.99.
Old 09-22-2005, 04:37 PM
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Default RE: Garden Tractor Battery

John,
Don't have a Sears here in rural Iowa...[]
I went to Walmart and bought a Black & Decker battery maintainer for $17 something.
It works great and is what I was looking for.
Thanks!
JLK
Old 09-22-2005, 07:29 PM
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AS-EE
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Default RE: Garden Tractor Battery


John,
Don't have a Sears here in rural Iowa...
I went to Walmart and bought a Black & Decker battery maintainer for $17 something.
It works great and is what I was looking for.
Thanks!
JLK





Or if you have electric knowledge like me you could get a center tap transformer and convert its output to DC with full-wave rectification with an output voltage of about 14.4 volts to charge sealed lead acid batteries.
Old 09-22-2005, 07:37 PM
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Default RE: Garden Tractor Battery

Oh crud!!!!!!!!
[X(]
Why didn't I think of that?????????????????
[sm=bananahead.gif]
JLK
Old 09-22-2005, 07:59 PM
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AS-EE
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Default RE: Garden Tractor Battery




Use 1N5408 rectifiers and find a center tap transformer that measures 15 volts at CT (center tap).


Old 09-22-2005, 08:32 PM
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Default RE: Garden Tractor Battery

AS,
I really appreciate your help but you have to understand you are dealing with a complete electrical nimcumpup (sp?).
I wish I even knew what a centertap transformer was.
I have always admired folks that were good at this stuff.
I am willing to learn if you want to try to teach me.
Thanks!
JLK
Old 09-22-2005, 09:07 PM
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AS-EE
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Default RE: Garden Tractor Battery

http://img190.imageshack.us/img190/7548/sch29qw.jpg



I hope this helps out.
Old 09-23-2005, 05:12 AM
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Rodney
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Default RE: Garden Tractor Battery

Beware, The circuit shown above could get you in trouble and ruin your battery. To properly charge a SLA or any lead/acid battery, two requirements exist to prevent damage. 1. Limited current (there is a maximum current you can put into the battery without harming it) and 2. Constant voltage must be maintained to prevent overcharge and again ruining the battery. That value is somewhat temperature dependent but a relatively safe value is 13.6 volts. The circuit shown does not include either of these safeguards.
Old 09-23-2005, 11:59 AM
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Default RE: Garden Tractor Battery

AS-EE
ORIGINAL: AS-EE
Or if you have electric knowledge like me you could get a center tap transformer and convert its output to DC with full-wave rectification with an output voltage of about 14.4 volts to charge sealed lead acid batteries.
Actually AS-EE there are quite a few EEs on the site. The problem is communication - showing an electrical schematic to someone who has no knowledge is the same as showing Egyptian Hierogliphics to me. Then you have the problem of safety, soldering, circuit layout etc. Much more of a can of worms than I want to open! This is why I much prefer whenever possible to offer a solution that has a commercial "as in buy it of the shelf" solution.

John

PS You should have least fused it.

Not a slam, but I concur with Rodney that I would not use this circuit on a sealed lead acid battery.
This is something more along the lines of what I'd use.
http://www.uoguelph.ca/~antoon/circ/bcgla.htm
Old 09-24-2005, 12:36 AM
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Default RE: Garden Tractor Battery

Beware, The circuit shown above could get you in trouble and ruin your battery. To properly charge a SLA or any lead/acid battery, two requirements exist to prevent damage. 1. Limited current (there is a maximum current you can put into the battery without harming it)

Yes limited current. Thats why YOU CHOOSE A LOW CURRENT transformer (or multitap primary to select current charge) or set up a current limiting resistor. I choose the low current transformer method

and 2. Constant voltage must be maintained to prevent overcharge and again ruining the battery. That value is somewhat temperature dependent but a relatively safe value is 13.6 volts. The circuit shown does not include either of these safeguards.
Umm the final output voltage if you know what math to apply to center tap full wave rectification is at .636(15v RMS/(Sqrt 2/2) - .7v) = 13.0464 volts CONSTANT

FYI

Also guess how a damn Sears charger works? THE EXACT SAME WAY. THERE IS NO SPECIAL CIRCUITRY AT ALL TO PROTECT THE BATTERY. THE CURRENT SELECT IS DONE BY SELECTING DIFFERENT TAPS OF THE TRASNFORMER AT THE PRIMARY SIDE WITH A SWITCH. THE SECONADARY SIDE IS A CENETR TAP WITH TWO RECTIFIERS FOR FULL WAVE RECTIFICATION THAT CONNECTS TO BATTERY CABLES.


Old 09-24-2005, 01:07 AM
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Default RE: Garden Tractor Battery

I would like to add one more thing....Many people know not to leave a battery on a el-cheapo Sears or Wal-mart charger or for that matter any charger that never shuts off. Why do you think they have amp gauges on their chargers that shows a green area that indicates that the battery is done charging? That's because it lets the layperson know that hey this battery is fully charged and the layperson should remove it from the charger or it will be damaged.

I understand the caution you bring, but you should have wrote,"the above circuit is not for a Layperson since they may not know when to remove the battery from the charger since there is no amp gauge to indicate that the charge is full or if the layperson has no knowledge with electrical instruments to know if a battery is fully charged".

Do you see how much better that is?
Old 09-24-2005, 06:53 AM
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Default RE: Garden Tractor Battery

AS-EE,

I'm not trying to push your buttons. We can always use more help answering questions. Please realize your audience - most the people asking the questions here are layman. I believe that was the whole point of Rodney's post. They would not know to use a low current transformer because you didn't specify it in the first place. Just saying low current still doesn't qualify it adequately - 5 amps - 3 amps - 1 amp? Personally on a 7 Ah gel cell I would limit the current to 700 mA.

Second Rodney said that
2. Constant voltage must be maintained to prevent overcharge and again ruining the battery. That value is somewhat temperature dependent but a relatively safe value is 13.6 volts. The circuit shown does not include either of these safeguard.
AS-EE As I'm sure you know, your reply does not take into account the common variations we see on our line voltage coming into the house. I have no problem with your math. It just depends on your point of view but as you well know the quickest way to ruin a gel cell is to overcharge it. I just prefer an active regulated design that can be left connected indefinitely.


John
Old 09-24-2005, 11:51 AM
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AS-EE
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Default RE: Garden Tractor Battery

AS-EE As I'm sure you know, your reply does not take into account the common variations we see on our line voltage coming into the house. I have no problem with your math. It just depends on your point of view but as you well know the quickest way to ruin a gel cell is to overcharge it. I just prefer an active regulated design that can be left connected indefinitely.


If your that worried then don't even use the charger that came with Hot wheels or for that matter any charger like that because they work the exact same way. There is only a transformer and diodes with nothing more. Also throw away your old sears charger as they do not regulate either.
Old 09-24-2005, 01:19 PM
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Default RE: Garden Tractor Battery

Actually with lawnmower batteries there isn't enough difference between one retailer to another to be of any concern. One battery is pretty much made the same as any other battery, regardless of the retailer or the manufacturer. Deep cycle batteries have stiffer plates, because when you discharge a battery low enough the ends of the plates tend to warp or bend and that pierces the seperators between them, causing short circuits within the battery.
The differnce between sealed batteries and others is that sealed batteries have an acid gel in them. The only real advantage with gel cell batteries is that you can tip one over and it won't leak acid. Personally I prefer liquid acid over gel because the liquid will circulate around the plates and that makes the battery last longer.
A battery that isn't being used or charged will only have a shelf life of approximately six months, because they will go into sulfation, which also shorts out the plates. Charging helps to keep sulfation burned off, thereby greatly extending the life of the battery.
Freezing will also ruin a battery so keep it in a place that doesn't get terribly cold. Heat is also an enemy of batteries as that speeds up the chemical processes which will basically "wear out" the acid and cause the water to evaporate from it.
The main thing is to simply keep the battery charged or buy a maintainer and plug it in when not using the battery. I've had my starting battery for about seven years, all due to the maintainer.
I'm also a 22 year employee of a major battery manufacturer.
Old 09-24-2005, 02:51 PM
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Default RE: Garden Tractor Battery

AS-EE

If your that worried then don't even use the charger that came with Hot wheels of for that matter any charger like that because they work the exact same way. There is only a transformer and diodes with nothing more. Also throw away your old sears charger as they do not regulate either.
Umm the final output voltage if you know what math to apply to center tap full wave rectification is at .636(15v RMS/(Sqrt 2/2) - .7v) = 13.0464 volts CONSTANT
Plus 10% = 14.3 volts. Minus 10% = 11.7 volts and your charger just stopped working. Not quite the constant voltage in bold letters that you used to reply to Rodney. Sorry you've just lost all credibility from me. I gave up Hot Wheels a long time ago. Any engineer worth his salt worries about line voltage variations.

My Sears charger is an automatic taper charger and contains more than just a transformer and two diodes. Even the most basic chargers you are alluding to contain a circuit breaker as well. You are starting to sound like a young man defending his turf at all cost. Don't you worry about someone copying something you've incompletely posted on the Internet and hurting themselves?

Most well designed commercial chargers now use a switching power supply rather than a full wave design. The switching design has gained favor because you don't need that huge hunk of iron transformer and they taper the charge as well as the voltage to suit the battery. This increases the life of the battery.
Old 09-24-2005, 04:16 PM
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Default RE: Garden Tractor Battery

In layman's terms, get a battery maintainer Then if you're using it properly and your house still burns down you can sue em You can't get any damages for using a charger for anything other than it's intended purpose. All those hotwheels chargers say to only leave your battery on for a set period of time. A battery maintainer can be plugged in and forgot about. If you let a battery over charge and you do it long enough, depending on the size of the battery it can have anywhere from the strength of an M80 to a small bomb [X(]
One of the jobs I've done at the plant was to test batteries by putting a high voltage jolt through them momentarily (high rate machine) and testing for open circuits. One day the top and three sides came off the battery from the force of the explosion and it sent me to the Dr with ringing ears and a messed up hand. It wasn't even a very big car battery. It was what we call a 26 group battery for small cars.
Don't mess around with batteries unless you know or have a good idea that you're doing it properly.

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