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  • Lead Acid Battery Replacement?

    My lawn tractor wouldn't crank yesterday and I had to get my quick charger/starter battery (Lithium battery) out. Then it started up fine. Something didn't seem quite right, just an annoyance of something. I cut grass for about 30 minutes and cut the mower off for a few minutes. Again it would not crank. I checked the acid level and it was fine. Then I tapped the battery connections with a good jolt of the closest pliers and it started. The fittings were tight enough that I could not move it with my hands and I squirt it with WD-40 at least 3 times a year, but it wasn't making a good connection. Anyway it is working.

    NOW the to the Title. During the time I boosted it off at first and the time I found the problem, I got to thinking - Is there a solid state battery of some kind that replaces lead acid batteries and does it reliably? IF not, there should be. Are we headed in that direction yet?

    Your comments.


    As an added note along this line, back in the mid-70s, I made a comment to a mechanic friend who was a pretty good electrician also: "I'll sure be glad when they make a battery load tester or analyzer that doesn't need to run a full load across it to figure out if it is good or not or how much power it has." My friend stated "That will never be. Load test results will always require full load tests to be effective." My thoughts were: "He is living in the dark ages and doesn't know it."

    I am just trying to look at the future and hope it gets here soon, battery wise!






    Hank Lee

    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

  • #2
    Just a note on the WD-40. It is in no way a preservative, coating, or lubricant. Years ago, when I was racing sailboats, I would get to the boat early and would free up all the snap-shackles and sliding toggles with WD-40 on the foredeck to prevent calamities during sail changes. It finally occurred to me to wonder why I needed to do this every week. The gear would be stuck again in a week. I figured out that WD_40 was evaporating away after it had done it's job as a penetrant. After applying a lubricant, the need for constant maintenance caused by WD-40 went away. It's just OK at what it does, but the stuff is limited in usefulness. Better to buy that extra can of Boeshield from Pappy

    Comment


    • #3
      Not sure what you mean by a solid state battery , but Optima batteries are a spiral wound gel electrolyte technology. They are still lead acid batteries, but zero maintenance, sealed units. When my Ryobi RM480e rider had a battery issue last year, I took the four 12 volt, 75 Ahr. SLA/AGM batteries to a local battery shop to have them load tested. The unit they used had a dial load, so the tech. could ramp up the load from zero to when the battery failed or he hit the max for the battery. We quickly found the bad battery, which Ryobi replaced under warranty.
      Click image for larger version

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      Jim Frye
      The Nut in the Cellar.

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      • #4
        The battery on my Ridgid generator is 4 years old and still going strong. It is a sealed battery, It is a small battery but it cranks the 10hp Yamaha engine on the generator like it was mad at it, I presume it is an AGM battery It stays parked in the house garage near the 2 lawnmowers and every couple of weeks I hook up the small battery tender to each battery. At the time I got the generator I didn’t plan on replacing the battery with the same kind, probably the cheapest lawn mower battery Walmart offers, but seeing how long it has lasted I may consider exact replacement since these sealed batteries are used in jet skis, motorcycles and other recreational vehicles.... and some actually cost less than the common lawn mower battery. I believe the secret to a long life on an unused battery is keeping a battery tender with a slow & low recharge. When I was houseboating everyone used a small solar panel charger, like HF sells, and the batteries lasted many years.
        Click image for larger version

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        • #5
          My current mower battery is in its 5th or 6th year. The one prior to that was about 10 years old. I put a solar charger on it in the winter and it usually starts up.

          d_meister; thanks for the tip. You are right - if it doesn't last long, then it is evaporating. I will use some form of oil from now on.

          Capncarl, Next time I need a lawn tractor battery, I will look at the sealed ones. Thanks.

          Jim, I am wondering when a "lithium" type of battery will be ready as the starter battery in cars. My 2009 Camry Hybrid has nickel metal hydride as its hybrid battery but has the normal wet cell for starting. Toyota went to Lithium on some hybrids beginning in 2015. I was surprised when I learned that most hybrids until 2015 had nickel metal hydride. Those batteries did not last very long in cordless tools, IIRC. Knowing that, I was surprised how effective they have been for Toyota.
          Hank Lee

          Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

          Comment


          • #6
            Car manufacturers have recently begun using SLA/AGM technology for starter batteries for the no maintenance issue. However, there is a risk associated with that implementation. If you completely drain an AGM battery, you will likely kill it. My Son’s Wife’s Grand Cherokee was driven after the warning message came up to stop driving the vehicle due to the alternator failing. The new battery was $330. The electronics in my Ryobi rider mower limit the discharge down to 36 volts. It will completely shut down when the pack voltage drops below that point. This is done to maximize the number of recharge cycles and to keep from killing the four batteries. The mower is always plugged into the charger when not in use and the processors in the mower and charger monitor pack voltage and automatically do a maintenance charge when needed. Last winter’s storage cost me $0.91 for five months of non-use time. Lithium technology is still pretty expensive, so car makers are avoiding it for starter applications to keep costs down. Lithium batteries that would replace the $600 SLA/AGM pack in my mower would cost a bit over $4,000 now. I paid $2,500 for the entire mower. FWIW, a Tesla pack replacement runs north of $19,000, but they are about to start using batteries that will last a million miles.
            Last edited by Jim Frye; 06-15-2020, 09:10 AM.
            Jim Frye
            The Nut in the Cellar.

            Comment


            • #7
              Motorcycle batteries are notorious for going bad. Most are only warrantied for 6 months to a year. I run Duracell AGM batteries in my Harley (Batteries + warranty is 2 years) and I average about 5 years on a battery. I keep a Battery Tender Jr. on it al the time. They are inexpensive float chargers that sense when the battery is charged and shut off so as not to overcharge the battery. I started using them when I was drag racing bikes and they ran off the battery. (The stator and rotors were pulled to reduce weight and HP drain on the motor.)
              Don, aka Pappy,

              Wise men talk because they have something to say,
              Fools because they have to say something.
              Plato

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              • #8
                I've used LiFeP04 batteries in several motorcycles and love them. Expensive, but they hold a charge during the summer when I just don't ride at all, and have extremely fast cranking ability. They also weigh practically nothing are are super small.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by d_meister View Post
                  Just a note on the WD-40. It is in no way a preservative, coating, or lubricant. Years ago, when I was racing sailboats, I would get to the boat early and would free up all the snap-shackles and sliding toggles with WD-40 on the foredeck to prevent calamities during sail changes. It finally occurred to me to wonder why I needed to do this every week. The gear would be stuck again in a week. I figured out that WD_40 was evaporating away after it had done it's job as a penetrant. After applying a lubricant, the need for constant maintenance caused by WD-40 went away. It's just OK at what it does, but the stuff is limited in usefulness. Better to buy that extra can of Boeshield from Pappy
                  Well, It didn't crank this morning. Checked it and the bolt was corroded almost through, would not tighten. I got a new bolt, nut and washer and did as you noted. I used some heavy red grease, coated everywhere and tightened it. I coated the other post and hopefully it will last much longer than the WD-40 does. Thanks for the insight. Should have noticed that myself.
                  Hank Lee

                  Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I was thinking about something that I learned (but never used) from an older gentleman that was a customer at the dealership I worked at. I was a mechanic in my 20's and the only one on the line that didn't mind customers watching me work. Looking at the battery terminals on a car, there was a thick coat of sealer that was completely set like glass. I looked at the owner with apparently a question mark on my face, and he said, simply: "Black Strap Molasses". He had all kinds of farm tricks for automotive care.
                    Pinhole leak in a radiator? Black pepper.
                    Crack or leak in a fuel tanK? Rub it with a bar of soap.
                    Funny thing is he was a sales rep for power distribution system products. He gave me a spray can of a product that's like today's CorrosionX. It would have been just the thing for his battery terminals.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Engineer's perspective.

                      We have been spoiled by the rate of advance in computers power - something dubbed Moore's Law in which a sustained doubling of performance; that is combined memory size, cost, speed, occurs every 18 months.

                      But for everything else technical the generally noted rate of advance is about 5% per year. that works out to a compounded rate of doubling in 14-15 years.
                      Consider cars. IS the car you buy now say 4 times better than the car you bought in 1990? Safer, more powerful, more fuel efficient, and more tech features? Probably yes.
                      Consider batteries: are the batteries you use today for you EV car and cell phone four times better than the batteries from 1990? Yes, I would say that progrssion of NiMH and lithium have improved battery size and capacity four times since 1990.

                      So I don't think there's going to be a dramatic, smoking change in battery breakthroughs. We've been working on it for many years and there are just so many elements on the periodic table to work with and no more (that aren't exotic out of this world materials) so there will just be small incremental improvements. Noting to suddenly jump the capacity by 4 times in the same space and weight.
                      Similarly, Hank, full load testing reasonably can only be done with full loads.
                      We can only have weight lifting contests by making weight lifters lift weights.
                      Loring in Katy, TX USA
                      If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                      BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think battery technology is about to change dramatically. By a factor of four? Not sure, but there is an awful lot of work being done to make battery power larger, lighter, and cheaper. Tesla has been extending the range of their vehicles over the last couple of years. They are about to begin implementing batteries that will last for a million miles of use, more than doubling the life span. Lithium technology has been undergoing changes to lengthen the run times of battery cells. Brushless motors are offering more power, longer run times, and longer lifespans. IBM is working on battery technology that doesn’t use the expensive and scarce cobalt that current lithium technology does. One major factor in driving battery technology is cost of operation. I’ll use my Ryobi riding mower as an example. The mower costs $0.21 an hour to run. A comparably sized ICE mower uses a gallon per hour of gas to run. At today’s prices, the electric mower costs 1/10th to run, and that doesn’t take into consideration the extra maintenance costs of the ICE powered mower. My neighbor recently replaced his 95 mpg Ford C-Max with a Chevy Bolt that is giving 125 mpg and has a longer range. Saving my pennies for a Rivian R1T. 750 whp, 300 miles on a charge, and 0 - 60 in 3 seconds.
                        Last edited by Jim Frye; 06-20-2020, 08:03 PM.
                        Jim Frye
                        The Nut in the Cellar.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by LCHIEN View Post
                          Engineer's perspective.
                          Similarly, Hank, full load testing reasonably can only be done with full loads.
                          We can only have weight lifting contests by making weight lifters lift weights.
                          Loring, I'm glad you caught that and would like for you to weigh in on it, not for arguments sake but for clarification sake - i.e. a teaching moment. In the past I have used and have now a full load tester, but my mind is befuddled by testing instruments that tell all kinds of information on batteries and electrical generating devices.

                          Example: https://www.amazon.com/OTC-3180-Batt...s%2C221&sr=8-4

                          vs
                          https://www.amazon.com/FOXWELL-BT705...s%2C221&sr=8-2

                          I have a simple older HF one similar to the top one and it is what I call a load tester. However, the bottom one will do the same thing (won't it?) with less meat on the wire, i.e. electronically.

                          Thanks for taking the time to explain the difference.

                          Maybe the word "load" should be defined in context of electrical testing.
                          Last edited by leehljp; 06-20-2020, 09:41 PM.
                          Hank Lee

                          Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by leehljp View Post

                            Loring, I'm glad you caught that and would like for you to weigh in on it, not for arguments sake but for clarification sake - i.e. a teaching moment. In the past I have used and have now a full load tester, but my mind is befuddled by testing instruments that tell all kinds of information on batteries and electrical generating devices.

                            Example: https://www.amazon.com/OTC-3180-Batt...s%2C221&sr=8-4

                            vs
                            https://www.amazon.com/FOXWELL-BT705...s%2C221&sr=8-2

                            I have a simple older HF one similar to the top one and it is what I call a load tester. However, the bottom one will do the same thing (won't it?) with less meat on the wire, i.e. electronically.

                            Thanks for taking the time to explain the difference.

                            Maybe the word "load" should be defined in context of electrical testing.
                            Looks like the first one is a traditional one with an internal load like the one I have.
                            The second one, apparently watches the battery voltage change while you start the engine and doesn't have an internal load. You can clearly tell by the size and length of the wires/cables used to connect to the battery which one has the internal load and which does not.

                            Neither one actually displays the current drawn under load BUT the first shows the CCA equiv by the amount of voltage drop when under load and the second displays a value of CCA probably from the voltage drop detected during the start,
                            Either way the battery is under some sort of load for this test.
                            Last edited by LCHIEN; 06-22-2020, 12:01 PM.
                            Loring in Katy, TX USA
                            If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                            BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

                            Comment

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