Battery Life/Charge

lmichael

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Kubota G2160
Apr 23, 2021
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Rockford IL area
So yesterday for the first time in about 2 weeks (maybe a little more) because it's been drier than the Sahara here, I went out to run the G2160 and mow the lawn a bit. My battery was new this spring. But this has been the longest the machine has sat without starting/running. I noticed when I went to crank it over the starter was a bit slow. The machine ran the glow plugs fine and it's always been a very fast starting engine (thankfully). But it definitely did not spin the starter with the vigor I had been seeing. Also the engine coughed and died on first attempt with a bit more smoke than I usually see. but second attempt it fired right up, cleared it's throat and idled right down.
First diesel and first Kubota. Seem normal? Wondering if I know it's going to be a long time between starts if I should buy a float charger for it?
 

GeoHorn

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Exhaust smoke has nothing to do with the starter or battery. That has to do with fuel and/or injectors. What color smoke? Black is OK…so if it was black…it was probably just an anomaly. Be happy. Go mow.

The starter being “a bit slow” is so subjective as to be not very useful info. The engine would be “dry” and perhaps need a bit more effort to turn over.

After you mowed….did you try a restart the next day? and if so… was it still ”a bit slow”…?? or does it seem “normal”..??

A battery maintainer is always a good idea for long periods of disuse. You don’t need high dollar special maintainers. You only need a “smart” charger and those can be had for less than $20.
I have SIX of them I keep on two airplanes, a boat, a lawn-mower, an off-road vehicle (Kubota RTV) and my Kubota tractor during winter when I don’t need to maintain my runways, and a spare car used only about twice a year.
Five of them cost me $10 at WalMart and I keep them on everything but the car.
One of them cost me $20 and I keep that on the spare car.
Here’s the ones I use…. they trickle-charge the battery …then SHUT DN and MONITOR…. and when the battery drops below it’s top-charge they wake up and top-off the battery.
Warning: cheap trickle chargers from HF, etc will continuously charge and will “boil” your battery. Don’t use a trickle-charger. Use a maintainer that only monitors and only re-charges when the battery drops below full charge.
You also don’t need any “special type-of-battery” maintainer either. It makes no difference and don’t fall for the hype about flooded cell vs AGM vs Deep-charge vs etc etc. needing only a special charge-rate etc. (Think about this: If their “special” battery is designed to go in your car/tractor/ATV/etc…… and if your car/tractor/ATV/etc doesn’t have a “special charge-rate” charging system…. they Why do the special-battery-makers claim their battery will fit your ordinary charging-system vehicle..?? Doh.)

I have 5 of these:

I have one of these:
 
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RCW

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GeoHorn said it all very well.

I’ve heard an AGM needs a “smart charger”?

Is the typical “maintainer” a “smart” charger? I don’t have AGM, so not an issue for me, but heard it a few times when I considered an AGM.

I’ve been using a maintainer for years also.

Got 11 years on a Harley Davidson battery using a tender. Thought that was exemplary, especially in upstate New York.

Replaced an 8+ year old battery on the Kubota a few weeks ago. Battery was fine, but didn’t want any surprises in January with a foot or two of snow on the ground.

Good investment
 
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fried1765

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Kubota L48 TLB, Ford 1920 FEL, Ford 8N, SCAG Liberty Z, Gravely Pro.
Nov 14, 2019
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Eastham, Ma
Exhaust smoke has nothing to do with the starter or battery. That has to do with fuel and/or injectors. What color smoke? Black is OK…so if it was black…it was probably just an anomaly. Be happy. Go mow.

The starter being “a bit slow” is so subjective as to be not very useful info. The engine would be “dry” and perhaps need a bit more effort to turn over.

After you mowed….did you try a restart the next day? and if so… was it still ”a bit slow”…?? or does it seem “normal”..??

A battery maintainer is always a good idea for long periods of disuse. You don’t need high dollar special maintainers. You only need a “smart” charger and those can be had for less than $20.
I have SIX of them I keep on two airplanes, a boat, a lawn-mower, an off-road vehicle (Kubota RTV) and my Kubota tractor during winter when I don’t need to maintain my runways, and a spare car used only about twice a year.
Five of them cost me $10 at WalMart and I keep them on everything but the car.
One of them cost me $20 and I keep that on the spare car.
Here’s the ones I use…. they trickle-charge the battery …then SHUT DN and MONITOR…. and when the battery drops below it’s top-charge they wake up and top-off the battery.
Warning: cheap trickle chargers from HF, etc will continuously charge and will “boil” your battery. Don’t use a trickle-charger. Use a maintainer that only monitors and only re-charges when the battery drops below full charge.
You also don’t need any “special type-of-battery” maintainer either. It makes no difference and don’t fall for the hype about flooded cell vs AGM vs Deep-charge vs etc etc. needing only a special charge-rate etc. (Think about this: If their “special” battery is designed to go in your car/tractor/ATV/etc…… and if your car/tractor/ATV/etc doesn’t have a “special charge-rate” charging system…. they Why do the special-battery-makers claim their battery will fit your ordinary charging-system vehicle..?? Doh.)

I have 5 of these:

I have one of these:
I am afraid of the el-cheapo maintenance chargers.
I have a fear of fire from cheap electrical components, and I leave my equipment unattended for months at a time, so I invest in only brand name chargers (no Walmart or Harbor Freight etc.)
I have 4 Battery Tender 1.25Amp. units, 6 Battery Tender .75 Amp. Jr's, and 4 Battery Minder 1.5 Amp. #1510 units.
I have not bought any in a while, but have watched pricing on these things go crazy in the past few months!
 
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lmichael

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Kubota G2160
Apr 23, 2021
246
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Rockford IL area
The smoke was black. I had just never left it alone this long. I don't have a fancy battery. Just a plain old Interstate I got from Costco. FWIW I have never had good luck with that brand but it was half the price of anything else I found for the group size the machine called for. ($75 vs $150 everywhere else).
I need to find a maintainer for it I guess. BTW later on it did start/run perfectly. Was just that initial start after sitting nearly 3 weeks. I guess I will need to buy 2 of them. One for my tractor and the other for my nephew's car. It will be parked in my dad's garage for likely a year while he's away.
 

fried1765

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Kubota L48 TLB, Ford 1920 FEL, Ford 8N, SCAG Liberty Z, Gravely Pro.
Nov 14, 2019
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The smoke was black. I had just never left it alone this long. I don't have a fancy battery. Just a plain old Interstate I got from Costco. FWIW I have never had good luck with that brand but it was half the price of anything else I found for the group size the machine called for. ($75 vs $150 everywhere else).
I need to find a maintainer for it I guess. BTW later on it did start/run perfectly. Was just that initial start after sitting nearly 3 weeks. I guess I will need to buy 2 of them. One for my tractor and the other for my nephew's car. It will be parked in my dad's garage for likely a year while he's away.
I have found that the best battery bang for the buck is the Walmart "Everstart Maxx".
They do not sell the "Maxx" in all sizes though.
I got stiffed by Interstate while traveling in Canada, and will never buy another Interstate!
Interstate is all about advertising hype.
 

lmichael

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Kubota G2160
Apr 23, 2021
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Rockford IL area
Well only place I will buy an Interstate from is Costco. They'll stand behind what they sell. But yeah they are pretty much crap batteries. Thing is the Wally World version was $150 and the Costco version $75
 

Dave_eng

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M7040, Nuffield 465
Oct 6, 2012
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Well only place I will buy an Interstate from is Costco. They'll stand behind what they sell. But yeah they are pretty much crap batteries. Thing is the Wally World version was $150 and the Costco version $75
What were the Cranking Amps rating for each of these two batteries?

Dave
 

fried1765

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Kubota L48 TLB, Ford 1920 FEL, Ford 8N, SCAG Liberty Z, Gravely Pro.
Nov 14, 2019
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Eastham, Ma
What were the Cranking Amps rating for each of these two batteries?

Dave
"Wally World" does not sell any batteries that carry the Interstate name.
Walmart's batteries are made by Johnson Controls to Walmart specifications.

What must be remembered here is that there are only 3 major battery manufactures in the USA.
Those manufacturers will put any name requested on the batteries they make, and will manufacture to whatever specifications the retail merchant is willing to pay for.

When you buy the highly advertised Interstate name, you have simply succumbed to Interstate's expensive advertising hype.

Buy the battery that weighs the most, and you will very likely be buying the battery that will last the longest.
Use a battery maintainer if at all possible.
 
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GreensvilleJay

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BX23-S
Apr 2, 2019
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Respectfully, have to disagree about the 'any charger will do 'thread.... A properly designed 'battery charger' is needed to get the most life and energy out of any battery. Decades ago, I used Gates Slealed Lead Acid batteries for my remote energy control systems. Good enough for American nuke subs, good enough for me. Gates had a specific method to charge/maintain their SLAs, o I built my chargers using their specs. I could get 8-10 years of FULL POWER, out of them, before they'd get below the 80% 'life'
The reason a car alternator/regulator can recharge 'any' battery is ,well brute force but it doesn't get maximum power over maximum time
 

lmichael

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Kubota G2160
Apr 23, 2021
246
94
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Rockford IL area
"Wally World" does not sell any batteries that carry the Interstate name.
Walmart's batteries are made by Johnson Controls to Walmart specifications.
Yes I know this. But JC makes the Interstate. Specs between the Wally World branded one and Costco Interstate very close (within 50 CCA) but $75 is still $75. I would NEVER put an Interstate battery in my cars. Been through more hell with them than I care for. Being left stranded at least 4x with nearly brand new Interstate batteries in various cars I've owned. Most common failure? 3 out 4 entire battery post came out. But worst case scenario with the tractor? I won't get the grass cut that day. So no big deal. But believe me I know all about the battery brands and how they're marketed and made.
Oddly even though the Wally World and Interstate brands come out of same factory Wally World never left me stranded. Best batteries I have used recently are Toyota OEM branded. Made by Panasonic. Come to think I am coming up on 4 years in my Toyota Highlander and may just have the battery done "just because". I usually replace batteries every 3 to 4 years regardless in my cars
 

fried1765

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Kubota L48 TLB, Ford 1920 FEL, Ford 8N, SCAG Liberty Z, Gravely Pro.
Nov 14, 2019
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Eastham, Ma
Yes I know this. But JC makes the Interstate. Specs between the Wally World branded one and Costco Interstate very close (within 50 CCA) but $75 is still $75. I would NEVER put an Interstate battery in my cars. Been through more hell with them than I care for. Being left stranded at least 4x with nearly brand new Interstate batteries in various cars I've owned. Most common failure? 3 out 4 entire battery post came out. But worst case scenario with the tractor? I won't get the grass cut that day. So no big deal. But believe me I know all about the battery brands and how they're marketed and made.
Oddly even though the Wally World and Interstate brands come out of same factory Wally World never left me stranded. Best batteries I have used recently are Toyota OEM branded. Made by Panasonic. Come to think I am coming up on 4 years in my Toyota Highlander and may just have the battery done "just because". I usually replace batteries every 3 to 4 years regardless in my cars
I am of the opinion that Interstate batteries are sourced from Brookfield Business Partners, some from Exide, and perhaps some also from Johnson in Mexico (source likely depends on where you live in the USA).
We are certainly of similar opinion Re: Interstate.
Interstate is simply a battery marketing company, ......and sadly a lot of folks buy their hype!
 

lynnmor

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B2601-1
May 3, 2021
620
422
63
Red Lion
2 to 3 weeks of non use is nothing. If you run the engine once a month long enough to fully charge the battery, no charger/maintainer is needed. Of course one is needed if you have a season where the equipment isn't used. I like the Battery Tender brand, many of the others cant be trusted to perform as well even if they are a name brand. I rotate the Battery Tenders between equipment, leaving it on each about 3 days per month. Less than 3 days will give the green light, but the battery will take on a bit more charge if left on longer.

What you should have is a voltmeter so you can check the charging voltage when you suspect a problem, typically you should be getting 13.5 to 14.5 volts with the engine running above idle. You should have done this check after the slow start.

I have had my fill of Walmart batteries, after repeated leaks and failures I have come to the conclusion that the Walmart buyers beat every last nickle out of their supplier so they in turn cut every corner. Yes, they replace under warranty, but what good is that when the battery tray is destroyed, the windshield washer pump is eaten and there is a real mess to clean up and paint? Yes, that happened several times on two different trucks.
 

Fordtech86

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L3200
Aug 7, 2018
3,021
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Pineville,LA
Yes I know this. But JC makes the Interstate. Specs between the Wally World branded one and Costco Interstate very close (within 50 CCA) but $75 is still $75. I would NEVER put an Interstate battery in my cars. Been through more hell with them than I care for. Being left stranded at least 4x with nearly brand new Interstate batteries in various cars I've owned. Most common failure? 3 out 4 entire battery post came out. But worst case scenario with the tractor? I won't get the grass cut that day. So no big deal. But believe me I know all about the battery brands and how they're marketed and made.
Oddly even though the Wally World and Interstate brands come out of same factory Wally World never left me stranded. Best batteries I have used recently are Toyota OEM branded. Made by Panasonic. Come to think I am coming up on 4 years in my Toyota Highlander and may just have the battery done "just because". I usually replace batteries every 3 to 4 years regardless in my cars
The replacement battery from Toyota wont be a Panasonic most likely. I have experience with another Japanese brand that has Panasonic as the OE battery…replacement batteries come from the local Interstate dealer. They have plain black case batteries they put whatever manufacturer sticker on them they need. They aren’t shipping Japanese batteries overseas for replacement. Have heard the same of Kubota.
 

Bark

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and the other for my nephew's car. It will be parked in my dad's garage for likely a year while he's away.
If I know that a vehicle or piece of equipment is not going to be used for more than a month even with a Battery Tender I disconnect the negative terminal while it is stored. It seems to keep corrosion from forming on the terminals and seems to keep the batteries alive longer (that may be an illusion though).
 

lmichael

Active member

Equipment
Kubota G2160
Apr 23, 2021
246
94
28
Rockford IL area
Leaving a modern car with no power for a long time is not good for it. Just ran into this issue with a car I worked on for my buddy. His uncle's car. Left sitting for 4 years IIRC, maybe 5. Lots of computer issues. So my nephew's Honda Accord will get a tender put on it.
Re, Die Hard tender. Expensive because of the name being paid for. Not because it's likely better quality than much else.
Having gotten 2 batteries now from our Toyota dealer I can tell you these are NOT plain black box batteries. Whether they are in fact Panasonic made I am not 100% though as near as I can tell speaking with other Toyota enthusiasts dealer supplied OEM branded ones are in fact Panasonic made.
My guess is as well, had I bought a better brand of battery than Interstate for my tractor odds are when I left it recently for over 3 weeks odds are it would not have exhibited the slow crank/start I experienced. But again, as I noted earlier. If the battery goes bad on it. I am not going to be at the mercy of a tow truck. I will simply go back to Costco with it and get a new one for free.
BTW have never had a Wally World battery "fail" in any way. Whether leaking, not holding charge, etc. They've always simply gone to where I felt they'd run their clock out and I simply replaced them due to being 3 or 4 years old.
But, then, same holds true for batteries I buy at Farm & Fleet. No issues with them either. Just prior to Sears' demise I did have tons of trouble with Die Hard. So that brand like Interstate was gone from me using them.
Yes I DO have test equipment and have tested the charging system on my Kubota (as well as if I have trouble with a vehicle). So I know the ins and outs of battery maintenance, charging systems and the like. The only thing prompting my question was this being my first ownership of anything with a diesel for which I have no experience or baseline.
 

GeoHorn

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M4700DT, LA1002FEL, Ferguson5-8B Compactor-Roller, 10KDumpTrailer, RTV-X900
May 18, 2018
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Texas
I am afraid of the el-cheapo maintenance chargers.
I have a fear of fire from cheap electrical components, and I leave my equipment unattended for months at a time, so I invest in only brand name chargers (no Walmart or Harbor Freight etc.)
I have 4 Battery Tender 1.25Amp. units, 6 Battery Tender .75 Amp. Jr's, and 4 Battery Minder 1.5 Amp. #1510 units.
I have not bought any in a while, but have watched pricing on these things go crazy in the past few months!
I agree with “fried1765” on avoiding poorly-designed, low quality trickle chargers which are advertised for battery maintenance purposes.

I never recommended “el cheapo” battery chargers. I only point out that one does not need to spend $50 - $100 or more to get a quality maintainer. The ones I linked to above have been continuously on my rare and expensive airplanes year-round, both of which are equipped with AGM batteries. Those airplane batteries are expensive…and those airplanes are exceptionally reliable. I‘ve also hosted/attended maintenance ”seminars” at which the mfr’s representative of a popular battery “maintainer/tender” has given a magnificent presentation in which charts and graphs purported to represent the special needs of different battery-systems need his company’s special high-priced “maintainer/tender…. and he offered dramatic illustrations of how catastrophic damage will be done by “el cheapo” (by which he meant “any other brand”) battery chargers.

LET ME STATE SOMETHING: Most people use their vehicle batteries to START their machines.

Although we also may use the battery to start the airplane…that is NOT THEIR TRUE PURPOSE!
The True Purpose of an airplane battery is to have a Reliable Source of Emergency Electrical Power
when the airplanes’ source of generated electricity fails In-Flight!
If you are inside an airplane, flying at night, in bad weather, and the nearest airport is miles away You Need electricity to run the avionics so you can navigate through an instrument approach while still running essential equipment such as lighting to see the instument panel, operate the radio transcievers to communicate your emergency to Air Traffic Control, operate the Radar Transponder so ATC can provide assistance, and still have enough stored electrical power (I.E. Batttery) to get the Landing Lights operating while keeping the anti-ice protection or whatever other equipment is necessary to get safely back on the ground somewhere…. THAT IS WHAT A BATTERY IS FOR in an Airplane!

Ordinary vehicle and tractor owners are only concerned about getting the engine started… but a QUALITY BATTERY MAINTAINER is a MANDATORY piece of equipment for an airplane operator.

The ones I linked to above are every bit as “quality” and have the same components as the expen$ive ones with all-the-Hype of an Interstate battery. They’re what have kept my valuable airplane batteries properly conditioned year-round now for the last decade.

PS: While I’m not an electrical engineer…. I authored the Service Manual on Electrical Systems for the classic airplane club which has been THE source of info for that particular airplanes type-club (collectors club counterpart for antique auto clubs) for two decades now. I only point that out to support that the statements I’ve made in this thread are not simply personal anecdotes.

Hope this helps.
 
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lmichael

Active member

Equipment
Kubota G2160
Apr 23, 2021
246
94
28
Rockford IL area
Do you own any West Germany manufactured Weatherby rifles?
Who? and what does the question have to do with the subject matter? If the question is to me than no. BUT, I do own a 1938 or 39 Mauser rifle. The history of which (because it's .22 LR) is rather interesting. Seems the Germans used this weapon for dual purpose. One because it was built with the same barrel, stock, bolt and so on as the larger caliber ones it was used as a training weapon. But, also because of all those same qualities it was used as a sniper as well. The history I have read about it is they were used to snipe Allied tank commanders because they're "tack driver" accurate and VERY quiet. My father in law brought it back when he left the service in WWII