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hufhouse

Battery & Charging

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hufhouse
I've gone through all the old posts about dead batteries and charging problems. The ones that I understood didn't seem to describe my problem. The ones that probably would help me the most I just didn't completely understand! I can fix anything mechanical, but the electrical system on my 7117 is a mystery to me. I don't own an electrical tester (other than one of those little lights that you use to make sure you don't get zapped when you change a switch or an outlet)! However, I can replace electrical parts if someone can just give me a hint where to start. Here's my problem...when I turn the key, all I get is a rapid clicking or buzzing sound from right behind the dash. This happened before (a year ago) and I dug into it and changed the circuit breaker, just because I had one laying around, and when I put everything back together the problem stopped. However, it started again just this past week. I used the tractor to push snow over the winter, so it hasn't been sitting idle all this time or anything. What should I check first? I was thinking about taking the battery (only about 10 months old) to have it tested, but I really doubt the battery is the problem. Many of the posts talked about the solenoid being bad. Is that what I should try replacing? They don't look that expensive. I can start the mower by jumping it with the truck, and it runs fine. However, it doesn't matter how long I run it, the next time I start it I only get the rapid clicking. The ammeter shows about 0-2 Amps when it is running. I have cleaned both battery connections. I replaced the ignition switch with a new Simplicity one about two years ago. So, the battery, circuit breaker and ignition switch are all fairly new. That's all the info I can think of. I know that "Batteries" and "Charging" has been talked about many times, but none seem to address this problem or they are past my technical abilities. Thanks!

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PatRarick
Your description of the problem indicates poor battery connections. When you jump the tractor and you are essentially bypassing the poor connections. The apparent "dead battery" condition shows that the alternator is working. You have battery ignition. The fact that the engine runs fine, points to the probability that the alternator is working and is providing the electrical power for the ignition. The low charge rate on the ammeter points to the probability of a poor battery connection that is not allowing full charging ability to the battery. How you connect the jumper cables to the tractor will tell you which connections you are bypassing. Direct to the battery and you are bypassing the battery connections only. Connecting the positive to the battery and the negative to the tractor frame will bypass the entire negative cable. In that case you also need to check the connection of the negative cable to the engine block. Pat

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Guest
The clicking sound is your "solenoid", that part allows takes the high current needed to turn over the starter. The older tractors used a push button which could take the high current, thus not needing a solenoid. All that is so you can use a key switch which uses "low gauge" (small wires) to turn over your starter; same as in your car. I agree with PatRarick that it sounds like connections or dead battery. First, I'd clean my connections, Second I'd try a different "known good" battery, even if you take a car battery and place it next to where your battery mounts. Come back and tell us your results and we can work on steps 3,4,....

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hufhouse
Thanks! I'll tell you what I'll do. Just to be sure, I'll take the battery to "Auto Zone" and see if I can get it tested, then I'll clean everything up completely before I reinstall it. Since I'm into the thick of Easter church stuff, it might be a couple of days before I get time to play around with this.

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Agricola
Please remember that every battery cable has two ends. We often clean the one that is on the battery and fail to do the same to the frame or block and cable. A good hydrometer will check the battery for you. Are the cells all the same specific gravity? If you jump the solenoid, will it crank?

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hufhouse
Easy for you to say! I might be able to jump the solenoid, but not while it's on the tractor. It's up too high. I know, dumb joke, but I really am dumb about the electrical side of all of this. For example, one of the posts that talked about using a test meter said to test across the battery to see if it registers 12v. My guess would be that I would put one test thingy on one post of the battery and the other test thingy on the other side, but for all I know that would blow up the tester.:) Why do those testers have all those different settings anyway? Listen, if cleaning the posts and testing the battery doesn't solve my problem, I hereby solemnly swear that I will buy a cheap tester and allow you guys to guide me every step of the way whilst I use it. [:0] I'll let you know what I find!

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Agricola
Guy, If you lived one state closer I would be there to give you a demo on the meters and a quick course on how to use them. They are not magic, just a tool, like a wrench. If you jump; the solenoid, from large post to large post, you don't have to be sitting on the tractor. Just be sure it is not in gear. If you want some help in understanding the stuff, make me an offer and I will see what I can do to get a presentation together for the group.

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RickS
Guy, With electrical stuff, the best approach is to be slow and careful. Remember just because a connecion looks good and clean it may not be. You need to take the connection apart and look at the pieces. I have seen many connection that appear to be clean, but once apart the area is full of dirt. Rick........

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Ronald Hribar
A word of caution when you jump across the solenoid, it will spark, and if you do not have heavy enough wire it will get very hot and very quick. There is also a danger of blowing the battery up if you are working over the top of the battery vents. But i agree that either you have a bad connection or a bad solenoid. As for using meters a $10 meter will get you in the game. Try testing a flashlight battery so you learn how to check for voltage.

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BLT
quote:
Originally posted by hufhouse
Ron, You really know how to encourage a guy to get involved in repairing electrical problems! :) Guy
PM me your E-mail address and I'll send you some reading about it. Also when you get circuit testing equipment get the least expensive DIGITAL multi meter. Meters with sweep needles will store high voltage in their capacitors and will damage electronic equipment if you are not aware of it.

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powerking_one
quote:
Also when you get circuit testing equipment get the least expensive DIGITAL multi meter. Meters with sweep needles will store high voltage in their capcitors and will damge electronic equipment if you are not aware of it.
Bob, Sounds like you and Herb have been sharing your electronics knowledge here (LOL, no offense)! Analog meters as you are referring to will not/cannot damage electronic components, especially on engine ignition & charging systems by their design. Their input resistance was usually 20,000 ohms per volt. This means they could "load down" a very high resistance circuit and yield a very inaccurate reading on some vacuum tube circuits especially. All DVM's (digital volt-ohm meter) typically are rated at 10,000,000 ohms input resistance or more. Hence they don't add any appreciable load to the circuit in test by comparison. Remember: V=I*R, P=I*I*R, P=V*V/R. Tom(PK)

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hufhouse
Well, I was able to take a little extra time at lunch today and I took the battery to Auto Zone. It tested fine. While I was there, I bought some corrosion cleaner and some dielectric grease. Tonight, I really cleaned the terminals and connectors. I also checked all the connections I could see behind the dash. I didn't find anything loose, although I did remove and reconnect several things just to make sure they were on good. I put everything back together and it started like it was a race car. The ammeter went up to about 10 amps and stayed there. I let it run a little while, shut it off, and started it again. Like a charm. I can't believe that was caused by corrosion. I mean, there wasn't really a lot of corrosion there. There was a little rust and just a little bit of green stuff, but it wasn't caked like I've seen it on some batteries before. But now, it's clean as a whistle with a nice coating of dielectric grease. I also made sure the connections at the other end of the cables were tight and clean, too. Could someone explain this to me, though? When the tractor wouldn't start the other day, I went to jump it and saw that there was a good bit of corrosion on the positive terminal of the battery. Before I jumped it, I made a paste of baking soda and cleaned it, removing the connector from each terminal. I rinsed them off and reattached them, but I wasn't quite as careful as tonight and I didn't use dielectric grease. I ran the mower for three hours mowing the lawn and the ammeter never went up past 2. When I shut the mower down, it wouldn't start back up. Why didn't it charge while I was mowing the lawn? I guess I'm just afraid that the only reason it started tonight was because Auto Zone charged the battery for me today. I'm afraid it will start for awhile and then not have enough juice to start again. How do I know that it is recharging now? Does the fact that the ammeter is up to 10 tell me that it is recharging? Is everybody still confident that this was just a bad connection to the battery?

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rokon2813
Yes it more than likely was the connections. Yes the ammeter going up so high shows that it is charging now. Why it wasnt chargeing before is the same reason it wouldnt start. The corrosion. It wouldnt start because you couldnt get enough "juice" out of the battery through the corrosion and in return, the charging system couldnt put any back either, thus your 2 amp reading before.

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UCD
Sometimes the corrosion on electrical terminals don't show it is like a clear film. The corrosion on a lead battery terminal sometimes shows as just darkened lead but it causes enough resistance to prevent current flow. Nice and shiny connections are always the best. Even if they look clean, clean them anyway. The soda pase only nutralized the corrosion and acid. Lead terminals should be scraped untill they shine bright.

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Ronald Hribar
If you had a meter,you could check for continuity between the battery clamp and the post and the same on all your connections. The tester is a tool just like your wrenches. You just have to learn to use them. I had a battery cable on my truck that the wire broke off at the junction of the wire and the cable end. By checking continuity between the and the cable end, I was FINALLY able to learn that all my problems were a bad battery cable. This was a problem on a lot of the Explores and Rangers. Cable was a little short and caused premature failure. Cable looked brand new. I think your problems have been solved. And I agree that you scrape the inside of the cable end to get a shiny surface, battery post also.

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