Tractor lawn mowers are great lawn care tools. In good shape, their batteries should last 5-10 years, but they'll need charging up from time to time, especially after periods of rest. Here's what you need to know to charge them safely.
1. Match Your Charger to Your Tractors Voltage
First a quick word about electrical terminology: voltage and amperage are related but distinct measurements. They both describe the flow of electricity, but voltage measures the pressure on the electrons, and amperage refers to the volume of electricity.
Most battery-powered lawnmowers use 12-volt batteries and their chargers max out at 10 amps. At full power, you might be able to get a full charge in an hour, although you may opt for a slower trickle charge as described below.
Always use a charger that matches the voltage of your machine.
2. Charger Features
Some chargers come with additional features that help prolong the battery's lifespan. It also helps improve its convenience and charging safety. For instance, there are chargers that come with jumpstart settings that help revive dead batteries. Others automatically shut off once they detect that the battery is fully charged.
Some of the other features to look for in a charger include:
Multiple mode settings, like slow charge, fast charge, and float mode
Changeable amp rates
Built-in charging timers
3. Trickle Charging
Time permitting, you should generally trickle charge your battery to keep it in excellent condition. This process runs at just two amps, so it can take several hours, but it minimizes wear and tear while charging the battery to full capacity.
Keep an eye on your charging operation or set a timer to check back in. If you leave it plugged in for too long it will eventually start to wear down, and eventually it'll die completely.
Safety Note: Overheating some batteries can create flammable and poisonous gasses. Don't leave this process unattended for long.
Follow Safety Guidelines
Out of an abundance of caution, wear safety goggles and protective clothing when charging your battery. This helps prevent injury in case of electrical mishaps.
It's also a good idea to check your mower's electrical system for any signs of damage during the charging process. For instance, a bloated battery, frayed connections, and other visible damage suggest it's time for a replacement.
Locate the Battery
Most lawnmower models have their batteries safely hidden under the seat. To access it, gently lift the seat and look for a negative and positive battery terminal.
Keep in mind that not all movers have the same build. Specifications vary from one model to another. If you're having challenges using your battery, you can check the user's manual for clarification (you can almost always find this online).
Connect the Cables
Connect the red charge cable to the positive terminal and the black one to the negative end. Always start with the positive terminal when connecting the cables.
Rest the Battery Before Disconnecting
When a battery is charging, it tends to produce gases. These gases can significantly damage your machine and your health if you don't give them time and space to disperse.
It is a good idea to charge in an open or well ventilated area, and to wait for around five minutes after charging before detaching your cables.