Zeon "Range" troubleshooting?

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Zeon "Range" troubleshooting?

Postby Evblazer » Mon Nov 30, 2015 5:25 pm

Short story is I am down to 23 minutes per a cycle before one or two of my battery crash. I expect I'll have to get another new set of batteries for next season but was hoping to trouble shoot anything else it may be with the current set so I didn't have a new set sitting 6 months or so till it might be time to mow. Any ideas of things I can check/recheck or measure?

Earlier this year I replaced my pack, hooked the new one up to my minnkota 4 bank charger and the 4 individual battery voltage displays I have. I am local to a battery place to the Trojan 31XHS were only $150 a piece out the door and the other dealer has us batteries which would have fit fine except the back battery due to the post position.
I tried to break them in nicely doing very low draws the first 20 cycles or so which made mowing take forever and then progressively getting more aggressive till I'm doing 11 volts under load on the weakest battery which still shows half full or more on the built in meter.
I now have two weak batteries and am being a little more aggressive as I try to get mowing done. Battery 4 will usually be .2 volts lower when I start out than the rest unless I charge it additionally with a 12 volt NOCO charger I got. If I don't put extra charge on Battery 4 then Battery 2 will be the first to crash. And by crash I mean I'm mowing along at just over 11 volts on most with one of them at 10.8 or so when I sometimes miss a quick drop low into 10 then 9 within seconds. I shut down the blades and everything battery goes back to mid 11s and I head back and plug in the 4 bank charger. I look at the original meter on the mower and it showing half or more full. Last I tried I did 4 cycles over the weekend and the last one wasn't that much better than the first.

Is the only way to troubleshoot to get an ampmeter or perhaps figure out it my old emeter I had stashed could work? I have a killowatt meter somewhere I could hookup to try and track how much power is going in if that could help?
I've watered them when needed but really not all that much water has gone in. The blades are sharp and balanced, the tires have the recommended tire pressure, mower is clean from debris, the connections seem good and the wires aren't hot.
Last edited by Evblazer on Tue Dec 01, 2015 5:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Zeon "Range" troubleshooting?

Postby Jeff Antonucci » Mon Nov 30, 2015 9:36 pm

I've noticed that this time of year the range on my Lead Acid batteries goes way down. I'm sure its temperature related. It magically gets better in the spring.
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Re: Zeon "Range" troubleshooting?

Postby Evblazer » Tue Dec 01, 2015 5:28 am

While temp would be a problem now I've always had poor range. My new set of batteries over the summer never got much over half an hour on the fourth to fifth back to back charge/mow cycle. On other threads it seems common to get 2-3 times that on the same batteries in what many times is a once a week mowing.
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Re: Zeon "Range" troubleshooting?

Postby roberttroll » Tue Dec 01, 2015 9:03 pm

If you can rule out the batteries, you must have some sort of heavy draw in the system. I would either install or borrow an ammeter.

Possibly try to rule out the drive motor and the deck motors by running each separately and checking SG of each battery. The on board meter could be faulty as well. Not knowing the machine, perhaps you could run one of the deck motors at a time to compare draw?
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Re: Zeon "Range" troubleshooting?

Postby Jake » Wed Dec 02, 2015 12:54 am

Can you eliminate any unbalanced charging by the Minn Kota through swapping battery pairs 1 - 2 and 3 - 4 on the charger connections? I would think that starting out with 0.2 V difference at a full charge state is on the high side, maybe indicating batteries 2 and 4 have been continuously undercharged this year.

I've kept an eye on the 31XHS batteries in my Zeon and after 2 years of use the voltage difference across all 4 batteries is less than 0.04 Volts. I'm still charging and discharging them in series with the 48 V charger though.
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Re: Zeon "Range" troubleshooting?

Postby Evblazer » Wed Dec 02, 2015 2:48 am

Thanks for the ideas and confirmation that my batteries really should be much closer together.
I'll see if I can find my nice glass sg gauge from a couple moves back and measure them all and see if I can find something.
Then I'll swap battery 4 and 3 and see what a few cycles do to voltage and sg. Battery 4 has been a little odd it'll drop much faster to 12.6 after the charge cycle compared to the other batteries that tend to be over 13 for a long time.
Those two should be the easy ones but I still want to check the amp draws and really always have but this may finally be the reason for it and checking on everything else. I'm wondering now if the outlet it is plugged into is weak or has a bad connection. The charger I have may not deal well with low voltage since they keep hyping in print how the new model deals so well with it.
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Re: Zeon "Range" troubleshooting?

Postby Evblazer » Thu Dec 03, 2015 3:12 am

All batteries were sitting at 12.6v when I checked which was good.
Using a glass hydrometer check some sg
Battery 3 was almost all 1.26 or so
Battery 4 had 5 cells at 1.23 and one close to 1.20
I ran out of time but will access and track all of them before I shuffle the batteries. I want to see if putting battery 3 in the 4th slot kills it too after some cycles pushing leaves around. Hopefully I'll find my shunt to hook up a gauge by then. The lawn is still wetlands from the rain so it may be a while before I can move it.
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Re: Zeon "Range" troubleshooting?

Postby Evblazer » Mon Dec 21, 2015 7:54 pm

I recently put on a zeon mulching kit which comes with the plate to block the edge of the deck, mulching blades and a center piece to partially make two chambers. I've ordered it a couple times before but it always gets rejected due to false stock but they sent it this time and it fits really nicely.

This weekend I installed my old link10 emeter with a prescaler and isolated dc/dc. I got it mostly setup but I have to review the old documents again to make sure. Just sitting still in the yard with the mulching kit setup and blades on the amp draw sits around 27 amps. When I'm moving the mower without blades it hops all over the place from 10-35 amps depending on terrain and speed. I mowed leaves for a little while and was mostly around 50 up to 75 amps if I hit a big pile of leaves. I used an estimated 37ah before my batteries were at voltages of 11/10.7/11/10.6 under load and then I stopped. I'm going to try a few more runs just mulching up leaves and will looks closely at the wheels/tires to make sure nothing is causing an issue there but the blades don't seem to be using too much power. In comparison I put on some megmo blades without the mulching kit and just spinning them up used 55amps but they have a ton of lift and I had hoped they might protect the motor since the blades aren't fixed and would flip back if they hit something. Looks like they use too much power to mow with though.

12/22 update: Very slowly drove over some loose leaves. 47 minutes of slow chopping up some loose leaves and 40ah out before the two weak batteries were down under 10.8 under load.
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