1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Battery maintainers

Post in 'The Gear' started by Joful, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    6,529
    Loc:
    Philadelphia
    This might be a question for the Green Room battery guys... but it's gear related... but it's not "wood gear"...

    Each year my mower (Deere 757 ZTrak) sits out the winter in a shed, which is dry but cold. I have never done anything with the battery other than just leave it in the mower. Every year, someone tells me that battery will be dead by spring, but every spring I go out and fire up the mower, and it just starts with no trouble.

    Now, maybe I shouldn't mess with what's been working, but my FIL gave me a battery maintainer last week. I'm thinking of hooking it to the ZTrak for the winter, but have this feeling in the pit of my stomach that this will be the thing that finally kills my battery.

    What do the experts say?

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Messages:
    5,394
    Loc:
    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    Can't speak to your mower, but i keep a battery tender on my bike all winter & I've never had a starting issue, ever. Course I don't keep a bike longer than 3 years, so I can't tell you if long-term damage will occur.
  3. KB007

    KB007 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    494
    Loc:
    Ottawa, Canada
    I put a solar trickle charger on my tractor battery in the winter. Store my bike in my workshop in the basement, so nothing needed there.

    Battery failure depends mostly on ust how cold it gets. I'm guessing Philly don't get many -30C nights, so battery prolly ain't gonna cack.
  4. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    6,529
    Loc:
    Philadelphia
    I'm in the cooler suburbs NW of Philly, and we often get one or two nights most years where it dips just a bit below 0F, perhaps as low as -20C. But that's about it, and I doubt it gets quite that cold inside the shed, with a concrete floor to moderate temps a little. More often, our January overnight lows are around -5C or -10C, with daytime highs 0C to +5C.
  5. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2010
    Messages:
    2,306
    Loc:
    Western PA
    Typical battery warranties these days are 3 years and maybe 5 if it's a good one. Unfortunately anything you get past that, even in good conditions, is a bonus.

    Very cold weather isn't the only enemy of your battery. Simply allowing it to sit for many months can lead to weak starts and even a dead battery. You have done well with your current battery, but I think you have been fortunate. If it's a good maintainer/trickle charger, then it can only help.

    I've been using maintainers on our tractors and they do a very good job. Springtime starts and coldest winter starts haven't been an issue since I've been using them.

    Battery Tender Plus 021-0128 12V Battery Charger
  6. ErikR

    ErikR Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2013
    Messages:
    100
    Loc:
    northern WI
    I don't have a lawn mower with a battery, but there are 3 motorcycles in my garage. I leave the batteries in the bikes all winter. Each bike has a harness wired onto the battery. Each "garbage day" I swap the Battery Tender Jr. to the next bike. I've never had a problem with cycle batteries. My 2006 FJR is still on the original battery. My garage is attached to the house and it doesn't usually get much colder than 10 degrees in the garage. I'm sure others will have things to say, YMMV...
  7. Stegman

    Stegman Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Messages:
    317
    Loc:
    Sterling, MA
    +1

    I bought a $8 job at Harbor Freight and it works like a charm on my quad battery. After killing off the battery that came with the quad by doing nothing the first winter I had it, I had been using a regular charger to charge the new battery once a month or so. But that didn't even cut the mustard. On a few occasions the battery just didn't have enough juice to start it. So I charged it up and put the cheapie HF unit on it and it starts every time now.
  8. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    15,657
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    Haven't done anything to the battery on the Cub Cadet that sits outside in a shed since I bought it a number of years ago . . . 2005? 2006? . . . That said, watch . . . this Spring will be the year it dies on me.
  9. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2010
    Messages:
    2,306
    Loc:
    Western PA
    Heh, that's usually how it works.
  10. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Messages:
    1,658
    Loc:
    WI, Milw
    Battery maintainers are ok as long as they some sort of overcharge protection circuit. There have been reports of cooked batteries from these, maybe they have been improved as that was a few years back. I have never had a problem provided when stored that battery was able to hold a full charge and not have some type of compromising issue internaly or some sort of bleed due to circuits on equipment. I generally disconnect them for the storage time. Some of those bells and whistles provide a constant , albeit tiny, current draw. Anti theft circuits in car/trucks are one type.
  11. Boog

    Boog Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2012
    Messages:
    592
    Loc:
    NE Ohio
    I'm 58, so I've been dealing with various batteries a long time............... I have found that the best thing to do is to remove them from those outside storage locations and bring them into the basement for the winter. Stored there, I then put a trickle charger on them "off/on several times" over the winter. Works for me :cool: .
    TreePointer likes this.
  12. Redbarn

    Redbarn Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    208
    Loc:
    SE PA
    I use battery maintainers on all my tractors, antique cars and infrequently used vehicles over the winter.
    Seldom have a problem with anything starting come Spring.
    Oldest battery in these vehicles is 12 years. I check all the distilled water levels before winter storage and they are fine.
    All my battery maintainers have indicator lights so I do a biweekly "tour" of the stored vehicles and investigate any that are "lights out".

    I actually loose more batteries in summer. I've found heat and infrequent use lowers battery water levels and batteries die. AGM batteries are better in this respect.
    I'm starting to amass some solar chargers for maintaning charge during the summer on infrequently used vehicles.
    Joful likes this.
  13. xman23

    xman23 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    Messages:
    891
    Loc:
    Lackawaxen PA
    As Boog said, best to remove the battery and store in a warmer basement. Trickle charge for a few hours a few times during the winter. These small batteries can't take quick charging. Many of the trickle chargers can't be left on 24/7 without frying the battery.

    I went to sealed gell batteries in my ATV's and motorcycle's. All are 5 years old and haven't touched them.
  14. ErikR

    ErikR Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2013
    Messages:
    100
    Loc:
    northern WI
    There's a difference between a "Battery Tender Jr." and a "trickle charger"....... I would never just attach a trickle charger onto a battery and leave it there for the winter. That would be bad. The Battery Tender brand chargers are designed to perform that very task.

    This was cut and pasted right off the Battery Tender web site.............. I hope this helps some..



    "The Battery Tender® Junior (BTJR) battery charger has microprocessor controlled power electronic circuitry which enables it to preform and safely control a number of sophisticated charging functions, well beyond the capability of inexpensive trickle chargers. Some legacy marketing literature refers to the BTJR as a “Trickle Charger with a Brain”. That description was based in context on two parts, first the relatively low output current, and second, the reduced level of charge control sophistication on earlier BTJR models relative to the BT Plus. Since mid-2006 the only major functional difference between the BTJR and the BT Plus is the maximum amplitude of the charger current, 0.75 and 1.25 amperes, respectively. Even though the marketing description may still be applicable, again, in a limited context, we can say now that the BTJR has a larger brain that enables it to create maximum charge effectiveness with minimal output current amplitude.

    After connecting the BTJR to a battery and then applying AC power, it first conducts a number of checks during Initialization Mode to ensure that the battery functioning normally. Then it will deliver its full charge at a constant rate of 0.75 amperes. This is called the Bulk Charge Mode. The battery voltage will rise and when it reaches a predetermined level the BTJR will hold the battery charge voltage constant at that level, allowing the charge current amplitude to drop. This is the Absorption Charge Mode. The Absorption Charge Mode is complete when the battery charge current drops below a very low value, usually below 1/8 ampere. Some BTJR models have timers to limit the duration of the Absorption Charge Mode.

    After the current drops or the allotted time expires (typically several hours), the BTJR automatically switches to a Float / Maintenance Charge Mode. The purpose of the Float / Maintenance Charge Mode is to maintain the battery voltage just slightly (typically between 1/10 and ½ volt) above where it would be if it were fully charged and sitting at rest. This keeps the battery topped off at voltages well below the gassing voltage of a lead acid battery.

    Based on price alone, trickle chargers often appear to be a better economic choice for the typical consumer, but trickle chargers do not have the advantage of sophisticated electronic control. Therefore, as they allow the value of charge current to trickle down to what appears to be safe levels, the output voltage of the charger may very well rise to an unacceptably high level, sometimes even going higher than 16 VDC depending on the charger type and the battery that is connected to it. This magnitude of voltage is far above the gassing voltage of a lead acid battery. If the battery remains connected to this high level of voltage for an extended period of time, extreme damage may be done to the battery. Without Battery Tender® type electronic safety controls, what appears to be an initial cost savings for the charger may actually cost several times the charger price in replacement batteries."
    CenterTree likes this.
  15. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    Messages:
    3,527
    Loc:
    Salisbury, MD
  16. Pdesjr

    Pdesjr New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2013
    Messages:
    25
    Loc:
    CT
    I,m an Interstate battery dealer and ErikR is correct.You want to use a battery maintainer and not a trickle charger for long term.Also a battery maintainer is not designed to charge a dead battery but to maintain the charge on a good battery.
    TreePointer likes this.
  17. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    29,086
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    Is that what my "float chargers" are?
  18. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2011
    Messages:
    567
    Loc:
    Shingletown, Northern California (elev. 4000 ft.)
    I had that happen with one of the HF battery maintainers. Boiled the battery dry and severly reduced its capacity.

Share This Page