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Discussion Starter #1
Is it normal for an original equipment battery to go bad after two years? My
i1042 has a weak or dead battery most of the time. I am hoping I do not have alternator problems. Can these batteries be load tested?
 

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The Magnificent
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They most definitely can be load tested. Any Auto Parts store will do it for free.

But, yes you should get several years out of your battery. You have another problem draining your battery.
 

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Collector of many tractors
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Depends on your charging system... If you want it to last much longer put a battery tender on it...
 

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Former MTF Admin.
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Depends on your charging system... If you want it to last much longer put a battery tender on it...
:ditto: the battery on my L120 is 7 years old and never fails to crank strong, been using a battery tender on it year round since the first year :fing32:,
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I ran the tractor over the winter plowing snow. This spring and summer the battery began showing signs of not cranking very long. The charging system is whatever is on that Kohler courage engine. Of course there is zero information in the owners manuals. I think it is probably a flywheel alternator, but I don't know. It does not appear to have a separate alternator, only a starter motor.

Shouldn't the tractor charging system keep up the battery with 1-2 hours full throttle work per week? The battery monitor does not show low voltage - a light is supposed to come on if there are battery issues.

The battery tender sounds like a good idea. Incidentally my 70's vintage simplicity (in the avatar) with the corroded, worn out battery cables, started right up after sitting all fall, winter and spring without any charging - go figure!

Thanks for all the replies. I think I'll start by taking the battery down to my local NAPA guys.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
p.s. First rule of battery and charging system maintenance: CLEAN THE BATTERY TERMINALS AND CHECK ALL THE CONNECTIONS, even if they look clean! I need to start there.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
p.p.s. That's an AC-710 in the avatar. I tend to call it a Simplicity because that is where all the information and parts can be found.
 

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The voice of reason !
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:ditto: the battery on my L120 is 7 years old and never fails to crank strong, been using a battery tender on it year round since the first year :fing32:,
:ditto: Thats the best way to keep you batteries fresh and prolong their life.

If you have more than one that you need to keep charged you may want to look at a multiple outlet model like the one in the picture.

I use this one to keep 2 motorcycles, a boat and my tractor fully charged when not in use.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I took the battery to NAPA. It was marginal, so I bought a new one. When I took it out of the tractor, the neg terminal was not very tight, so hopefully that was the source of not charging up.

Thanks for all your input. I need to keep travel trailer, tractors, generator, etc charged up, so the battery tender would be a great idea!
 

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The voice of reason !
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I took the battery to NAPA. It was marginal, so I bought a new one. When I took it out of the tractor, the neg terminal was not very tight, so hopefully that was the source of not charging up.

Thanks for all your input. I need to keep travel trailer, tractors, generator, etc charged up, so the battery tender would be a great idea!
Thats not great news because of the new battery but I think the negative terminal being loose is an easy fix.

The float charger I posted is a really good unit and the best part is you can charge 4 batteries at the same time so I guess the price isn't too bad $149.00,
you save a little over buying 4 of the smaller units 4 x 39.99 = 159.96 ?
 

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Is it normal for an original equipment battery to go bad after two years? My
i1042 has a weak or dead battery most of the time. I am hoping I do not have alternator problems. Can these batteries be load tested?
With my old Craftsman 12/38 I went through three batteries in 19 years. I didn't buy the cheapest battery I could find. Took it out every fall and kept it in the basement so it wouldn't freeze. Trickle charged it once a month to keep it from going dead. Kept the terminals clean. In fact my brother has the machine now and as far as I know is still on that third battery.
 

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As for the seemingly short life of OEM 9original equipment manufacturer) batteries. It has been my experience that 2 years is average. A decent replacement battery will be of higher quality construction and the service life will usually be better. The overall life of a battery is contingent on may factors so accurately predicting the life is rather difficult.

To answer your second question: yes small equipment lead/acid batteries can be load tested.

The "alternator" on the Kohler is indeed a flywheel type, with a rectifier inline to clip the wave off the AC current and produce a battery friendly DC current. No voltage regulator in the system so the battery is constantly being charged. The charging amperage is low so the battery doesn't boil over but does lose electrolyte in the process.

Yes, 1-2 hours per week of WOT operation will keep the battery charged, possibly overcharged (see previous paragraph). You are correct, the idiot light will only illuminate when there is a total failure in the system. The circuit is merely a lead from the battery B+ through the light to the stator ring of the alternator. Whenever one fails the voltage of the other will overcome the potential and go to ground. Simple enough, it simply works on the principal that equal voltages will cancel each other out while unequal voltages will act as ground. On my i1050 the "information center" shows the standing voltage of the battery when the key is first turned to the ON position and for the first several seconds of operation after starting will display the charging voltage before switching to the hour meter.

The battery tenders were all the rage at the SEMA show a couple of years ago. DO some homework on them before you invest money. Some of the low end units are nothing more than a "trickle charger" that produce a standing current at all times, while the better ones will "read" the battery condition and float the current as required by the battery's condition. Keep an eye on the electrolyte level as the charge will drop it over time. Call me "old fashion" but I keep distilled water to replenish the electrolyte. Tap water and well water contains minerals that may be detrimental to the battery.

In numerous conversations with the production folks at Johnson Controls (largest producer of lead/acid batteries) several failure scenarios have come up with overcharging/low electrolyte levels being the leading culprit. Another point of interest is that the heat of summer seems to be the may contributor to battery failure as opposed to the cold of winter. The summer heat damages to battery but the failure shows up when the cold of winter requires the battery to respond while in a temperature induced weakened state.

My i1050 (an older one that was from a dealer that went out of business) was delivered to me with a NAPA battery as the OEM had failed in storage. My dealer also owns a NAPA store. I was pleased to get an decent battery in the deal along with a few other "sweeteners" to get me to take the NOS mower.

As usual, your mileage may vary, batteries not included, salesman may call, some assembly is required, and free advice is worth exactly what you paid for it.
 

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You don't need to keep them on the battery tender all of the time. I use one battery tender to keep 2 motorcycles and 3 tractors charged through the winter. I just go out to the garage and move it from one to the next every few days. I haven't replaced a battery that was less than 5 years old since I've been doing this. Some of the batteries are over 7 years old and still going.
 

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The voice of reason !
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As for the seemingly short life of OEM 9original equipment manufacturer) batteries. It has been my experience that 2 years is average. A decent replacement battery will be of higher quality construction and the service life will usually be better. The overall life of a battery is contingent on may factors so accurately predicting the life is rather difficult.

To answer your second question: yes small equipment lead/acid batteries can be load tested.

The "alternator" on the Kohler is indeed a flywheel type, with a rectifier inline to clip the wave off the AC current and produce a battery friendly DC current. No voltage regulator in the system so the battery is constantly being charged. The charging amperage is low so the battery doesn't boil over but does lose electrolyte in the process.

Yes, 1-2 hours per week of WOT operation will keep the battery charged, possibly overcharged (see previous paragraph). You are correct, the idiot light will only illuminate when there is a total failure in the system. The circuit is merely a lead from the battery B+ through the light to the stator ring of the alternator. Whenever one fails the voltage of the other will overcome the potential and go to ground. Simple enough, it simply works on the principal that equal voltages will cancel each other out while unequal voltages will act as ground. On my i1050 the "information center" shows the standing voltage of the battery when the key is first turned to the ON position and for the first several seconds of operation after starting will display the charging voltage before switching to the hour meter.

The battery tenders were all the rage at the SEMA show a couple of years ago. DO some homework on them before you invest money. Some of the low end units are nothing more than a "trickle charger" that produce a standing current at all times, while the better ones will "read" the battery condition and float the current as required by the battery's condition. Keep an eye on the electrolyte level as the charge will drop it over time. Call me "old fashion" but I keep distilled water to replenish the electrolyte. Tap water and well water contains minerals that may be detrimental to the battery.

In numerous conversations with the production folks at Johnson Controls (largest producer of lead/acid batteries) several failure scenarios have come up with overcharging/low electrolyte levels being the leading culprit. Another point of interest is that the heat of summer seems to be the may contributor to battery failure as opposed to the cold of winter. The summer heat damages to battery but the failure shows up when the cold of winter requires the battery to respond while in a temperature induced weakened state.

My i1050 (an older one that was from a dealer that went out of business) was delivered to me with a NAPA battery as the OEM had failed in storage. My dealer also owns a NAPA store. I was pleased to get an decent battery in the deal along with a few other "sweeteners" to get me to take the NOS mower.

As usual, your mileage may vary, batteries not included, salesman may call, some assembly is required, and free advice is worth exactly what you paid for it.
:ditto: Nuff said !
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks ROG02 for the good info! The OEM battery was a "maintanance free" model with no way to check electrolyte. It may have been older than two years, too. The OEM's have a "recharge date" on a tag, meaning the dealer should recharge it if it is not sold by then. That date is about when I bought the tractor, so it may actually be 3 or 4 years old. I, too, bought the i1042 on a last one, close-out, screamin' deal sale at HD.
The new NAPA version does have caps. The explanation about the alternator lash-up and gauge helps, too. I like the old-school ammeter on my AC to keep track of the battery and charging system.
 
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