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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Are you grinding your teeth at the subject?

One of the most frustrating things about ATV, M/C, small tractor batteries is longevity. I'm no newbie to batteries as I've lived off grid for many years with an Outback system and a 48vdc bank of RE16s. I give those batteries a lot of love and they have served me well, x2. But so also do I give a lot of love to the starting batteries in small equipment.

It doesn't follow that detailed maintenance to a small equipment battery increases its life compared to the big 'uns. I've done charts, I've done SGs (except for M/C batteries as it cells are too shallow with electrolyte) and I've done the battery monitor/chargers. Nothing seems to extend the life to a respectable degree.

This subject likens to the best oil or best fuel arguments. But if you can't start the damn thing none of that banter matters not.

For my solar, the batteries are exercised each day - high to NOT low but monitored with an autostart genset if needed.

For the small batteries, I could go weeks before restarting the unit. Whether or not the battery maintainer was plugged in it makes very little difference to the overall life. Our most used vehicle is the 6x4 diesel but that damn battery has about the same life as the little used eqmt while being "maintained."

So where is the silver bullet? Screw not being able to get fuel/oii; - if you cant start the machine, what do you do?

So what do you do, again? How long has it been since you could tow a machine and it would start and run. Dang, those days are done. And how do you extend the life of a small starting battery?

Best,
JRH

BTW, I've pondered a mod to put a deep cell into the gator. Dang they are expensive in that size battery. And I don't think the charging system and it would get along. Has anyone else tried this?
 

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As you know all battery maintainers are NOT equal.

I have used “Battery Minder” Products for over 10 years, all with excellent results.

https://www.batteryminders.com

My use includes lawn mower, Gator 825i, JD 3520, RV and automotive batteries.
 

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Lead acid types gradually discharge. The trickle charge maintenance units do work well to extend overall life. However, if you have deep pockets, the Lithium Iron products out there are a league apart. 10+ year life, 2% discharge a month, and 1/3rd the weight. They even make models that have the main and a backup battery in the same case. If you leave something on and run it dead, just push a button on the battery, start up and go. You just have to decide if you're buying all your battery life up front as these units go for around $600.
 

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On my 01 6x4 diesel, I added a second identical battery, doubling the cca, and leave it on a 3 watt solar charger, had good luck with that arrangement so far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I appreciate the input. As a catch-up, I when my home system lead Trojans last got tired I went with SimpliPHI lithiums. I couldn't be happier. But there is a world of difference in the batteries in an off grid system and an ATV/UTV. The home system can be tuned to the lithium - the UTV/AVT can't. As in lithium's don't like to float or absorb. When charged to the top it should stop. In an automotive or toy they can't use the same voltage regulator that was made for lead batteries.

I have both my old Kubota B7100 battery at end of life this year. Also the Buck 500 which has the dang M/C type battery. The 6x4 diesel Gator is still good but its getting close. And yes, Brad, the BatteryMinder units work good and have helped to extend the lives. The Buck is still a major PITB to get the water level correct and also in the Gator. Ya just can't see the water level. I have a syringe for the each of the batteries with a tube that is blocked off so I can squirt in and suck overfill back out and move to the next cell. That's the best I can do without removing them.

But they still live fast and die young.

Anyone experiment with lithium batteries in their rigs? For what I spend in starting batteries and with my experience with the off grid system I have to ask.

Dang I hate starting batteries.
 

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There are LIPO4 batteries that can be considered. At $600 a pop, the up front costs are obviously higher. That is offset by at least 10 year life, 70% weight reduction, and one major plus for the UTV crowd. Several of them come with a back up battery in the same case. If you leave something on out in the sticks and drain the battery, no worries. Push a button on the battery and the back up has plenty to get started. I'll likely make the leap when the JD battery in my 865R starts dying in a year or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
There are LIPO4 batteries that can be considered. At $600 a pop, the up front costs are obviously higher. That is offset by at least 10 year life, 70% weight reduction, and one major plus for the UTV crowd. Several of them come with a back up battery in the same case. If you leave something on out in the sticks and drain the battery, no worries. Push a button on the battery and the back up has plenty to get started. I'll likely make the leap when the JD battery in my 865R starts dying in a year or so.
I've dismissed the LI option. Instead of an extension cord to a batteryminder or trickle charger it would be for a battery heater so the machine would be able to start, run and charge in cold weather. It doesn't get real cold here but definitely drops below 32F and we do get cold fronts where it can drop into the teens and some single digits over night. When I went with LIPO4 for the house solar I moved the battery bank inside the house for that reason. Unfortunately my shop isn't heated.
 
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