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battery issue maybe

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8x56mn
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 167 Watkins Glen NY
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2009-04-18          162145


Well this seems to be my week for problems with equipment. I always keep a can of wasp spray on my tractor for the occasional yellow jacket and wasp encounters. Well the other night I looked down beside my seat as I was moving and caught the glimpse of sparks coming from underneath the spray can that had fallen down and was lying across the battery terminals. I quickly grabbed the can and noticed fluid leaking from a couple of holes that were burned through the can. The first thing that come to mind was that I was very lucky the can didnít explode, tossed the can aside on the ground and kept working my manure pile, everything seemed ok.
The next night after work I went to start the tractor and the battery was dead and I had to jump start the tractor. I ran it for about 2 hours and shut her down and tried to restart and the battery was still dead. I took the battery out and put it on my ďsmart charger over night and put it back into the tractor and started her up with no apparent problem. Last night I go out after work to start the tractor and same thing dead battery, I took the battery out and recharged over night. The charger indicates full charge this morning, but have not put the battery back in. Do you all think this is battery problem or have I somehow damaged the tractor electrical system with the shorting out of the battery or is a battery alone the issue? I donít have anyway to test the amps.:(


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battery issue maybe

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auerbach
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2168 West of Toronto
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2009-04-18          162146


Likely just a battery issue. A full discharge damages the battery (less so if it's a "deep discharge" design). The newer the battery the better it can mostly recover from a draining. ....

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battery issue maybe

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greg_g
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1816 Western Kentucky
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2009-04-18          162148


Quote:
Originally Posted by 8x56mn | view 162145
I donít have anyway to test the amps.:(
But for five bucks or less, you can test the specific gravity. Get a little bulb-type hydrometer from an auto parts store. If any one or more of the cells fail, you can figure the wasp spray mixed with the sulphuric acid and shorted out one or more lead plates. If the can itself shorted the +/- terminals for an extended period, that too can have damaged one or more plates. When that happens, you can sometimes see heat distortion the battery case.

I doubt there's any damage to the electrical/charging system. But just to be on the safe side, check your tractor's wiring diagram. Some have a fuse between the alternator and the battery. If that blows, there's no way for charging voltage to get back to the battery.

//greg// ....

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battery issue maybe

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8x56mn
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 167 Watkins Glen NY
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2009-04-18          162150


Thanks, was not sure about maybe a melted wire causing a dead shoert or something. Reason I say that is the battery just went dead over night after charging. One thing that bothers me is I have a charger that does a complete check of the battery and it charged fully and gave me a read out saying that the battery was good and fuly charged. I didn't think about this morning before I left for work, but I should have restarted the charger to see if it had drained again after completeing the charge cycle last night. If it has then I would think that the battery is toast. Frankly I would rather it be the battery and someing within the tractor. ....

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battery issue maybe

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8x56mn
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 167 Watkins Glen NY
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2009-04-18          162151


One thing I just thought of my charger will check the alternator for output as well when the tractor is running. That would tell me if I have a blown fuse. ....

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battery issue maybe

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2009-04-18          162152


While you have the battery out take it to an auto parts store and have them put it on the load testers. The specific gravity test can tell you a lot but it won't tell you if the battery has an internal short or can't hold up under load. ....

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battery issue maybe

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greg_g
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1816 Western Kentucky
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2009-04-18          162155


Quote:
Originally Posted by kwschumm | view 162152
While you have the battery out take it to an auto parts store and have them put it on the load testers. The specific gravity test can tell you a lot but it won't tell you if the battery has an internal short or can't hold up under load.
I agree that it's nearly as easy to take the battery in for a load test - than to make the trip just to buy a hydrometer. And the load test will tell you if the battery is no longer usable. But what if it passes the load test? Then you're reinstalling the battery and still don't have an answer.

Without even disconnecting the cables, specific gravity testing CAN in fact ISOLATE an internal short to a specific cell or cells. Each GOOD cell contributes about 2.2v to the overall 13.2v available from a typical 12v lead acid battery. Each cell has an internal connection to the + and - posts. These connections are on plates that form the cell boundaries. Current flowing between the plates is what keeps the specific gravity within spec. When that current stops flowing, it can no longer keep SG at spec. And each cell failing the SG test is longer providing it's full 2.2v to the combined output.

SG testing is simple, cuz you can do it right on the vehicle. If all six cells pass, look for the starting problem elsewhere.

//greg// ....

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battery issue maybe

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2009-04-18          162157


Greg, I spent a few years as manager of a tire and battery store and disagree about the significance of SG testing. I have personally tested many batteries that measured full battery voltage and failed the load test due to internal shorts. On the flip side, if a SG test showed a weak cell the battery could still pass a load test and start the vehicle. I never saw a battery that passed a load test fail to crank a car that had good cables, connections and a working starter.

....

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battery issue maybe

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8x56mn
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 167 Watkins Glen NY
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2009-04-20          162170


Well when I got home from work I restarted the charger and the battery had drained which tells me the battery was in fact toast. Went down to Car Quest and got a new Champion 52 series battery, put her in and now things seem to be fine. Thanks to evryone for the great advice. ....

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battery issue maybe

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greg_g
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1816 Western Kentucky
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2009-04-20          162174


Quote:
Originally Posted by kwschumm | view 162157
Greg, I spent a few years as manager of a tire and battery store and disagree about the significance of SG testing.
Completely understandable, those parent corporations don't specify SG testing for what's almost certainly an acid liability issue. Plus, it's easier to convince a customer they need a new battery with a big fancy load tester that it is with a little eye dropper hydrometer. Those stores have the big bucks load testers, and the customer brings the battery to them. My advice was from the customer point of view; that is, how to get a fair idea of the battery health with a five dollar home tester - rather than carry the battery into a retail joint, so they can send him home with a new one.

I've got a dozen various lead acid starter batteries around here, and always do a SG test as part of routine home troubleshooting. The main reason is just to narrow down the scope of a starting issue. If the SG is suspect, only then do I justify taking the battery into town to confirm battery health by load testing. And then only by someone that I can trust doesn't have their finger on the scale.

//greg// ....

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battery issue maybe

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2009-04-20          162175


We had hydrometers and used them on new batteries before installation to make sure there were no weak cells. It just seemed sort of pointless for troubleshooting since good SG was no guarantee that the battery would hold up under load.

It's sort of like a D-cell. Who cares what the chemistry of a D-cell is if it won't light the flashlight? :) ....

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