Tractor battery fault?

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Tractor battery fault?

Postby jules » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:34 am

What do you think ...

Tractor battery, Century 86Z, 85Ah, 25kg in weight so fairly substantial, outside warranty period so my question is more a matter of interest.

If this battery is fully charged it will start my tractor and turn the starter motor vigorously.
If I leave the tractor for a day or two it will still turn start ok though the starter motor is slower.
If I leave it for a week the voltage drops to 11.5 or less, so no chance of starting.

BUT

If I put the battery on charge [trickle charger, less than 2 amp] the voltage [still connected] jumps to 13.5 within ten minutes.
Using the same charger it takes 48hr to achieve "green light" value.

My feeling is, that with a "normal" aged battery the voltage comes up slowly often won't pass a certain point.

Could it be, that this battery has a weakness in one cell only and that this cell drains quite quickly while others hold their voltage? [In retrospect, I think this battery has always had a tendency for its voltage to fall when out of use for a period but I've attributed slower speed turnover of the starter motor to cooler weather and the like]
Primary system: .8KW Trina panels; Plasmatronics PL40; 1,000Ah VRLA 12X2V battery bank; 1.7KW Selectronic inverter. Off grid for 30 years.

Spares; 5 x 12V, 1,000 Ah batteries plus a couple of regulators
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Re: Tractor battery fault?

Postby davidg » Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:17 pm

The battery has had it, it should only loose approx 3 to 5% per month of it's charge, batteries do not like sitting for long periods where they slowly discharge.

You would be batter off putting it on a smart charger to keep it in proper float when not in use, or a solar "smart" charger doing the same thing.

I'm assuming that there is no continuous drain on the battery while it's not in use, if there is then resolve it and see how you go, although the other suggestions will help the battery to last longer.
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Re: Tractor battery fault?

Postby lantern » Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:01 am

With your next battery use a 5W solar panel to keep it in good condition.
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Re: Tractor battery fault?

Postby jules » Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:50 am

Yes davidg and lantern, I will be setting up a permanent charging system using a spare panel and a spare regulator ... the benefits of various different solar systems over the years :D Being on a farm and having outlived many batteries [as well as my solar batteries] I'm familiar with the normal process of ageing under varying circumstances but this tractor battery has failed prematurely to my mind, hence this post.

I've come to the conclusion from testing, that 5 cells in the battery are in very good condition while one has a fault, possibly a small internal short. I've had this happen before with a Century battery, inside the warranty period. At the time I was told it was an extremely rare fault but after this recent experience I have my doubts. I won't be getting a refund but I won't be buying another Century battery either.

Thanks again for the suggestions!

Jules
Primary system: .8KW Trina panels; Plasmatronics PL40; 1,000Ah VRLA 12X2V battery bank; 1.7KW Selectronic inverter. Off grid for 30 years.

Spares; 5 x 12V, 1,000 Ah batteries plus a couple of regulators
jules
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Posts: 331
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:32 pm
Location: Port Macquarie, NSW


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