winter battery care

Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:38 pm

Now that my '51 cub is parked for the winter I have purchased a "Schumacher Speed Charge Maintainer," 1.5 amps, to try and save the battery. I have been advised to just leave it plugged in for the winter but the instruction manual says not to over charge the battery. What does this mean? Can I leave it plugged in until April? Does it make any difference if I leave the termimals attached while the charger is attached?

Re: winter battery care

Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:53 pm

It is a Battery Maintainer. It was designed to provide a trickle charge when required to keep the battery fully charged as long as the maintainer is connected. I have left mine on all winter and never had a problem with either my 2 6 volt batteries or my 12 volt battery. I intend to put my JD on the 12 volt maintainer as soon as it goes away for the winter in a couple of weeks. I keep Granny my '47 on a maintainer all winter as well as Ellie my '48. The only time the maintainer is turned off with Ellie is when I am using Ellie to plow snow but is reconnected when I put her back in the barn.


Looks like the models that I have.

Re: winter battery care

Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:39 pm

Just me. I would start the tractor and drive it around bit, once a month or every 6 weeks. Depending on the weather. That's what I do with my tractors that are not frequently used during the winter. Batteries hold up.

Re: winter battery care

Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:54 pm

Thanks guys and I agree, starting it up a couple of times a winter is probably a good idea.

Re: winter battery care

Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:56 pm

I agree with Eugene, if your electrical charging system is working properly and your battery is good, you should not need a trickle charger if you start and run your Cub periodically.

Re: winter battery care

Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:59 pm

This is by no means the ideal solution-- but it is better than nothing. 12 volt maintainers are easy to find-- 6 volt units are not easy to find. If you have two 6 volt tractors, park them near each other, make light duty jumper cables of 14 gauge wire and connect the 6 volt batteries in series for use with a 12 volt maintainer. It is not necessary to remove any battery cables. The tractors are available for use within seconds.

Re: winter battery care

Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:09 pm

The Schumacher Charger/Maintainer works for either 6 or 12 volts.

Re: winter battery care

Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:58 pm

Bus Driver wrote: If you have two 6 volt tractors, park them near each other

I saw a battery tending system which really impressed me.

It was in a pole building storing automobiles and tractors. 12 volt vehicles lined up side by side down one row, 6 volts across the isle down the other.

Above each row of vehicles were two half inch copper pipes mounted to the rafters on plastic standoffs.

The pipes were mounted parallel to each other about a foot apart with each vehicle having its own set of custom length leads with inline diodes to prevent backfeeding clamped to the bus bars. 14 gauge wire if I remember.

The bars were connected to chargers on Intermatic industrial timers which powered up the chargers once every 24 hours for a short period of time at a calculated rate of charge.

Additionally, a battery rack was located near the chargers tending some boat batteries.

This system works well, an actual commercially manufactured tending system for a multi vehicle hookup like this was reported to me as being cost prohibitive, the owner determined he would be money ahead to buy a battery now and again.

I've considered duplicating this system myself but is still penned on the project list.

Re: winter battery care

Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:02 am

Two of my Schumacher's are 6 volt and 12 volt. The only 12 volt battery maintainer I have is one on clearance from Princess - for $15.00 bucks a cheap insurance package. The Schumacher's are usually around $39.00 - not cheap but when they come on sale it can be from $19.99 to $29.99 so that is when I get them - hopefully for the $19.99 price.

The reason I use them is pretty basic - the weather. Up here it can get cold. Not as cold as when I grew up - back then -60F was normal in Northern Ontario. Here is gets to -35C a number of times during the winter with wind chills even colder. It is also a damp cold... brrrrrr. But I love winter so that is cool :) One of the things we have always had to deal with was trying to start our cars/trucks etc., in the winter. Usually had battery blankets, block heaters hooked up to help keep the battery warm and the oil fluid. Warm batteries and warm blocks make starting a whole lot less difficult.

Battery maintainers do something similar. It keeps the battery at full charge and whilst doing that there is circulation in the cells which helps keep the battery warmer. Inside a barn out of the wind, this is a big help. Before getting the maintainers I would have to put the battery charger on to help start Ellie. Since I have the maintainers, I no longer worry about difficult starting in the winter. Pull the starter and poof, Ellie is running. Of course this is predicated on all the other start factors being in good shape. I haven't had a no start issue due to a battery in about 3 years now since I have the maintainers.

They are good insurance, don't use much power, cost little and best of all they work. Oh yeah, for those of us with CRS - we don't have to try to remember to go out and start all of our tractors once a week or so..... :lol:

Of course as in all things this is JIMHO.

Re: winter battery care

Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:35 am

Here is the one I have couple of. For $20 it does the job. I also have a couple older ones that look more like the Speedcharge but had a manual switch for 6/12 volts. It is unclear to me what the extra $5 gets you with the Speedcharge. They are both good for 1.5 amps.