Battery maintenance is something that a lot of people don't think about very often - at least, not until it is flat and you can't get the engine to start.
If you want a battery to be reliable and last a long time, you need to look after it. This is especially important with powered machines that are used seasonally.
One solution to keeping batteries in tip-top condition is the CTEK XS800 switch mode charger with pulse maintenance. It is intended for seasonal vehicles with batteries up to 100Ah. It easily charges smaller 12V batteries common to motor bikes, jet skis and, yes, mowers and lawn tractors.
Maintenance charging is important because it will ensure that the machine starts after a period of rest and it prolongs battery life. The CTEK fully automatic battery charger analyses, fixes, charges and maintains the battery. It works in pulses and you can connect it as soon as you store the mower for winter and forget about it until you need the machine in spring. All that time it will be working away to ensure that the battery is fully charged and ready for use.
Without maintenance charging, batteries can be completely discharged between seasons. Batteries used in mowers and similar kit usually cannot handle a deep discharge. If the battery discharges by more than 40 per cent, it can result in the acid stratifying - where the undercharged sulphates separate from the overcharged corrodes in two distinct layers.
Trying to charge such a battery with a normal charger leaves the acid stratified, making it difficult to restore the previous power level. The CTEK takes care of this by reconditioning deeply discharged batteries, reducing the acid stratification and restoring the charge.
The CTEK is easy to use - just connect like a normal charger. At the start of charging it delivers maximum current to constantly increase battery voltage to a set level. Then the voltage is regulated and kept constant as the charging current is successively lowered. Once it has dropped below 0.4A, the charger automatically switches to maintenance charging.
The charger has two lamps. The first indicates charging and the other indicates maintenance charging. When the maintenance charging lamp is lit, it means that the battery is fully charged and a pulse is sent to the battery when the voltage drops.
The charger can also indicate various conditions. For instance, if the two lamps flash alternately, it means that the battery is badly sulphated or has a high self-discharge rate and probably needs replacing. For more details, visit www.ctek.com. Expect to pay £35 to £40 including VAT.