Battery Pack Range Reduction

Drive motor and electrical issues

Re: Battery Pack Range Reduction

Postby mfrerking » Thu May 30, 2013 1:39 pm

You might try doing a full cycle charge with the stock charger.

As you have measured the pack after charging and reported full voltage, it seems as though the pack has lost significant amp/hr capacity. If they were six or seven years old, I would say this is normal. If the fluid level ever dropped below the top of the plates, this can cause a reduction in capacity as well.

Have you measured each battery's voltage at the end of a mowing (before re-charging)? What sends you back to re-charge? Speed of mower motors? Do the batteries seem almost dead? Gauge indication?

If you start with a fully charged pack, mow for your 1.25 acre, batteries measure 75% DOD, then it might be time for a new pack... :cry:
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Re: Battery Pack Range Reduction

Postby Bushman » Thu May 30, 2013 2:47 pm

I measured the pack voltage once after mowing the last time. If I remember right, it was down to 35.somethingV. I go back to recharge when the tractor almost can't move with any speed while the deck is ON. I can tell while mowing that the deck seems to quiet down (may be an indication of the voltage dropping and motors slowing down.) Like I said before, just rebuilt this deck and it runs SMOOOOOTH. The Fuel Gauge indicates almost absolute empty with everything on at the end of my mowing cycle, before going in to recharge. Of course, when I shut the deck off and stop moving, it comes up above the red. When the charger is running after a mow, the gauge indicates real close to the white line, and when "fully charged," the gauge indicates well into the white CHG section while the charger is on and just below the white/green line when the charger is off and batts have stabilized. While mowing, the Power Use meter indicates just up into the yellow a little bit, so i'm not overdrawing.

I think I will remove the charge controller and try the stock setup for a while, taking measurements on the pack as I go along. I may need a real good equalization charge, but I am worried that I have lost capacity over the winter. Water levels never dropped below the plates that I can remember since I purchased the batteries.

I might have to ask Harry for some of my money back and return some of these controllers. I'm not impressed with the operation and components. It kind of works, but if I can really only use it for a top-up charge over the winter, I'm in the garage enough to turn the timer on for a few hours. Honestly, just using the stock charger, I was probably overcharging up to 39.5-40V or so. I tried to keep the timer setting down to a minimum, but at least I was able to mow the whole yard on one charge and then some.
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Re: Battery Pack Range Reduction

Postby roberttroll » Thu May 30, 2013 3:27 pm

As Mark has said, i would test a few things. First charge up the pack using conventional means.

Once charged let it sit overnight and measure the voltage of each individual battery the next day. You may find one or two batteries are weak.

Then i would go out and mow half of what you normally do. Stop, let the batteries sit for an hour or so, and measure the voltage of each individual battery.

If something does not pop out at you here, then continue to mow as you normally do. Then let them sit again for a few hours and measure each battery individually.

I am almost thinking that your pack is out of whack since they probably never equalize and as Mark said you have lost range. This is why i like to use different chargers on a battery every once in a while, they all operate a little differently. It is like switching exercise machines at the gym. Change things up a little.
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Re: Battery Pack Range Reduction

Postby Bushman » Thu May 30, 2013 5:06 pm

Thanks guys. Will change a few things and take more measurements. I do believe that since I had been undercharging for a while and now just barely charging up to the resting voltage, that it has caused various capacity issues and they need a few good boost charges to get them back up to par. I think I will try to do what Jeff did and install a toggle switch to flip between stock charger and controller operation.

If you're still reading Jeff, did you install a low amperage switch with SPDT relay, or just a 15/20 amp switch?
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Re: Battery Pack Range Reduction

Postby Jeff Antonucci » Fri May 31, 2013 2:34 am

I'm here but have not had time to adjust the charge setting yet (or do much of anything else it seems). It's a high current Cole Hersee switch, but its 15A AC at 115 volts, so not as bad as 15A DC at 36V if I'm thinking correctly. Attached is my circuit diagram.
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Re: Battery Pack Range Reduction

Postby DH1 » Fri May 31, 2013 11:52 pm

Could you just hook up the Landis controller in parallel to the factory timer contacts?
That way which ever one is on the charger is one.
Pug in the charger turn on the timer and when it's finished the Landis controller takes over.
Thanks
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EGT200 x2, E12, E12M, E15, ET2
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Re: Battery Pack Range Reduction

Postby Bushman » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:52 am

Exactly what I plan to do Doug, except I don't have the original charger connector on there anymore, so i'll have to tie in the AC for the timer motor again. Too many grad parties and other side jobs this weekend, so maybe tomorrow night. Although, seems like the second solid-state relay has gone bad. Charger didn't, and wouldn't, run all weekend with only the Landis, so I may send Harry an email and find out what's going on with that.

I think what really needs to happen with a controller is for it to kick on when the voltage drops down past the resting voltage, but only shut off when the current has dropped down below the normal maintenance charge level. Putting the logic together myself may not make sense to everyone else, and it would have been much easier to just buy a smart charger and wire it in, but i like to live by the principle of KISS and try to save a little money when it seems to be convenient, but not to the point of causing inconvenience or shortcomings.
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Re: Battery Pack Range Reduction

Postby fwilliams » Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:00 am

One of the interesting things about hauling my tractor to the Little Guys show was that afterwards the batts seemed to be rejuvenuted in capacity to some degree ( 8 year old sealed ) . The electrolyte was obviously stirred a little. For some interesting reading look at the specs for the retired Oberon class subs . Batt connector cooling and electrolyte mixing .
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Re: Battery Pack Range Reduction

Postby fwilliams » Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:27 pm

My copy of LG 1001 refers to a full equalization by factory charger being needed weekly in summer use . With the proviso that the temp is under 110 degrees . The lower the better on temp to keep gassing down and also that water level be kept midway between plates and top . Much the same info in Oberon declassified info . The confusion comes in for maintinance or float voltage for winter storage to keep gassing down . The cells need the mixing action that equalization gives but not to excess.
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Re: Battery Pack Range Reduction

Postby TLB1 » Tue Apr 15, 2014 2:01 pm

Greetings, I have a similar issue, I started out in 1972 with a new E15, easily mowed 1 acre on a hill, even after 10 years. Dad sold it in '81. Still looking for it. Obtained a E12M 6 years ago, hadn't been used since 86, Stored outside, covered. Restored it, changed it to accept front mt mower, now the problem, I can only get a half acre on a charge, Motor does not turn as fast as it should, least from what I remember, on board charger has an issue to repair, at the moment I use a B & D smart charger on the 12 volt, 3 sets. I know the batteries are not top of the line, holds volts, but does not seem to have the amps. Any ideas?
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