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John Deere Tractors Discussion Forum

battery tender?

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Nick M

02-18-2013 05:17:32

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Has anyone ever run a battery tender on a tractor that sits through the winter? I haven't started my 71 4320 since october. If I do put one on it, do I need two 6 volts(one for each battery )or one 12 volt on the battery that feeds the starter?

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02-19-2013 17:32:18

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 Re: battery tender? in reply to Nick M, 02-18-2013 05:17:32  
I use 24v tenders for the 730 and 830. Works great. I can go out and fire up either one any time.


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02-19-2013 16:53:19

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 Re: battery tender? in reply to Nick M, 02-18-2013 05:17:32  
I use a Noco Genius Wicked Smart charger. It charges and maintains. Good for 6v and 12v.

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02-19-2013 10:17:09

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 Re: battery tender? in reply to Nick M, 02-18-2013 05:17:32  
I have been using these maintainers made by black and decker for a few years now. They are under $20 and have a setting for 6 and 12 volts. We leave em on all winter as we dont get to our land much during that time. In Jan we went to pick up our snow machines and I started my AR which had been sitting untouched since mid November. It was a 20 degree day and the battery whipped the starter like it was brand new.
Hope this helps someone!

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02-19-2013 09:06:29

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 Re: battery tender? in reply to Nick M, 02-18-2013 05:17:32  
Anyone here know enough about batteries to render a judgement regarding Batteryminder's claim, and other brands too I suppose, of, after the charge is complete, going into a de-sulphating mode to clean and prolong the life of the battery/plates?

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Lee B

02-19-2013 15:47:10

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 Re: battery tender? in reply to leon, 02-19-2013 09:06:29  
Other brands don't always claim to de-sulfate or even have that mode, but if you are asking if it's a real problem the answer is YES. Does their system work? YES again, but how well will always be an opinion.

It seems to be a slam dunk, maintainers work. How much better would a de-sulfating one work would then be pretty hard to tell, I would think. But I don't think it's just a case of the warm and fuzzy feelings you get thinking about your batteries being sulfate free at 3 AM when you can't get back to sleep. It should actually help the life of the battery and more than just a normal maintainer. This technology supposedly works by sending a voltage spike into the cell followed by a normal charging voltage/amperage burst. The high voltage spike is supposed to bridge the gap between disconnected chunks of sulfate that have formed and separated, but have not yet fallen to the bottom of the cell. Once electrically connected again, the sulfate chunk begins to charge and re-joins the battery system as a whole.

How high the voltage spike is or how often would be proprietary information of which I know little. Just the theory.

The most positive cell in a battery is usually the one that goes dead first and this is due to sulphate formation. The sulphate then drops off the positive plate in chunks or flakes to the bottom of the cell eventually and no longer supports any battery functions again. If you will perform a biopsy on your dead batteries you will find that the rest of the battery can look quite good but the positive plates of the most positive cell will be found to be lacking a great deal of material within it's pure lead grid system that actually holds the lead oxide/sponge lead which are the working parts of the battery. Just exactly how the most positive cell knows it's the most positive cell and then behaves in this manner beats the heck out of me. It would seem they all should do it and to the same amount - but it's not like that in the real world.

IF (big if there) one were to use up half the life of a battery and then be able to use the negative post for the positive, then one could in essence start over with that battery's life clock after using it 3 years let's say. And that would get you 8 years instead of the average 5. That's a sizable increase and I used to do exactly that. But it's such a hassle I won't recommend it to anyone, and that's the only reason I don't do it anymore myself. I guess you could say I proved my point a couple of times and then I got lazy and tired of the debate.

You just turn your lights on and drain the battery down to NOTHING (2 or better 3 days). Hook it up backwards and charge it back up backwards using a 4 amp battery charger (2 days). Lead acid batteries can be reversed people, it's a simple case of physics even if it's not a commonly known one.

The very first lead acid battery was just two lead plates in sulfuric acid. The guy got better and better results each time he charged it back up backwards until it started to carry quite a charge. Replacement batteries at Niagara holding New York's first street light power during the day had to be 'cycled' like this for weeks before they would hold enough charge to join the grid. Since the 20s or so they now build plates with the oxide as a paste and as well as the sponge lead - but they still need a real good first charge, and battery makers won't take the time to do a good job of that anymore. They charge them, but it's quick and hot - it's not a through overnight 4 amp charge. So you might get a little more life out of yours if you supply the gentle overnight charge a new battery should have.

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02-20-2013 04:40:23

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 Re: battery tender? in reply to Lee B, 02-19-2013 15:47:10  
Lee, very interesting information. I'd never thought about the possibility of reversing the polarity of a lead-acid battery, but there is no reason it can't happen. I had to go back to my old chemistry texts to refresh my memory of the details of the process.

When fully discharged, the "positive" and "negative" plates are actually lead sulphate (PbSO4) and the electrolyte is mostly water. So, when charging occurs, electrons are forced from the positive plate which is converted from PbSO4 to PbO2, and the negative plate gains the electrons and is converted from PbSO4 to Pb (pure lead). And, the SO2 ions from this process create more sulphuric acid in the electrolyte, so the specific gravity (and acidity) increases.

Accordingly, when completely discharged, the battery doesn't care which plates are forced to be positive or negative. The polarity is established upon charging (assuming the battery is COMPLETELY discharged prior to charging).

Neat information. Thanks for the insight.

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02-18-2013 22:31:43

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 Re: battery tender? in reply to Nick M, 02-18-2013 05:17:32  
I also have a 71 4320. I'm out of the country a month at a time and when I get home I hook up a cheap 12v tender pos cable to the pos terminal on the r/h battery and the neg cable to a bolt on the r/h brake valve, so charging both 6v batts in series. Usually takes a couple of days for a full charge, but hey, it takes me a couple of days to unwind from my trip. I have newer JD Stongbox batts.

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02-18-2013 13:54:29

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 Re: battery tender? in reply to Nick M, 02-18-2013 05:17:32  
I've got a couple of Battery Tender "Juniors" that seem to do a pretty good job, and I do rotate them between 4 or 5 batteries on various pieces of seasonal equipment.

For those who are interested in technical details, the folks who make the "Battery Tenders" have a lot of information on their website about batteries and battery charging - probably more than the average person wants to know.

See the link below.

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02-18-2013 10:23:40

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 Re: battery tender? in reply to Nick M, 02-18-2013 05:17:32  
I run them on all of my tractors, lawn mowers, atv and etc. They do extend the life of batteries that sit idle for long periods. I have the harnesses permanently installed on them so I just plug them up when I park for the day. They are a little pricey but so are batteries, so they save money in the long run.

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02-18-2013 07:17:18

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 Re: battery tender? in reply to Nick M, 02-18-2013 05:17:32  
I also use a 6V and 12V 6 on my 45 "B" and 12 on the "A" and "AO" Start easy in the spring. I think they are worth the money. I also rotate between Tractors a few weeks at a time.

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02-18-2013 05:21:40

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 Re: battery tender? in reply to Nick M, 02-18-2013 05:17:32  
I've been using both 6v and 12v Batteryminders for several years now, rotating them around from battery to battery especially in the winter. I have no scientific proof, but it's seeming to me that they may extend battery life.

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