carbon pile battery load tester

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John *.?-!.* cub owner
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carbon pile battery load tester

Postby John *.?-!.* cub owner » Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:02 pm

I have wanted one of these for years, but the price was always more than I could justify for my needs.
2017-02-10_0153.JPG


They have a stack of carbon disks and you vary the current by turning the knob to clamp them together tighter or looser depending on the battery. It is calibrated for 12 volts, and the amp meter has various scales you use to set the current, the basic formula is the current draw should me adjusted for 1/2 the CCA, or 3 times the AH, depending on whether starting type or deep cycle, and it should stay above 8 volts for 15 seconds.
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The voltmeter is even calibrated to allow for temperature.
2017-02-10_0154.JPG


To use it on 6 volts, it is necessary to disregard the 2 bottom scales and adjust the amp meter according to the formula above. Unfortunately 200 amps was the highest I could get it on any of my 6 volt batteries, but still it is a much better test than the load testers we normally use. They are not adjustable, and are normally a 100 amp load at 12 volts, but that is only 50 amps at 6 volts. For the voltage readings on 6 volt, the pass fail is 1/2 the volt readings for 12 volts.

Friday I tested 4 tractor batteries (6 volt), and the 2 batteries in my scooter, my ZTR, 8500 watt generator Escort, and Escape, Ranger, plus one under my bench that provides power for my Sirius radio, and anything else I need to run. Some of them were over 5 years old, but all passed with flying colors except for the ones in the golf cart and Escort. The Escort battery was so weak I put my jump starter pack in the trunk just in case, but there was no need, it failed to start today before I left home. The battery in my ranger was original (6 years old), but tested good, so it is now in my 18 year old Escort, and the Ranger has a new Battery. The golf cart requires such a small amount of current to crank the little 2 cycle engine, and never gets far from home, so I will just run it till it finally dies.

The local Harbor Freight had the tester on sale for $50 during it's grand opening.
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Re: carbon pile battery load tester

Postby RonT » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:13 am

I have had my HF load tester for a couple of years and use it to test batteries each time I change oil or suspect that it is degrading. It has held up well.
A big benefit in this tool is the analog volt meter which is essential for checking generator charging system voltage. Anyone who has tried to check one of our old charging systems using a digital meter knows what I mean.

Ron Tyrie
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Stanton
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Re: carbon pile battery load tester

Postby Stanton » Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:18 am

Nice buy, John. Looks like you got a good tool at a great price!
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Gary Dotson
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Re: carbon pile battery load tester

Postby Gary Dotson » Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:20 am

I used this type of tester a lot, years ago. We had a Sun analog and later, a Peerless digital. I didn't know Harbor had one available. I sometimes see used ones at swap meets and flea markets but you can't tell if they are good or not. We sometimes had problems with the Sun unit, broken carbon discs and such. If you find one that's been used in a truck shop, and tested a lot heavy batteries, there's a good chance it will be damaged. That is a great tester, though.

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John *.?-!.* cub owner
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Re: carbon pile battery load tester

Postby John *.?-!.* cub owner » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:59 am

This one is supposed to go up to 500 amps on 12 volts, which would make it 250 on 6 volts, but I would have had to crank it extremely tight on the carbon disks, and I have spent my working life repairing electronic equipment, including test equipment that has been abused, so I decided not to push it that far. One thing I would strongly recommend on this unit is to back the control knob off when not in use so the carbon disks are not stored under pressure.
If you are not part of the solution,
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John *.?-!.* cub owner
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Re: carbon pile battery load tester

Postby John *.?-!.* cub owner » Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:18 pm

Been using the battery tester for a couple months and happy with it until last Friday. I went down to help a neighbor that was having battery problems with his Twin battery (875CCA each) Dodge diesel dually, and while I was checking the second battery the tester started smoking, and before I could disconnect it there was quite a bit of flame inside it around where the Positive cable comes through the grommet in the side. I jerked both clamps loose and through it on the ground a few feet away, and the flames soon went out. My wife and daughter had planned a trip to Farmington today, so I went along and took it along with my original receipt back to Harbor Freight. I told them what my problem was and showed them the burnt area and they asked me if I wanted another of the same model or my money back. I got the replacement. I do not yet know if it was defective or if I should have let it cool longer than I did when checking 2 batteries that large in a row.
If you are not part of the solution,
you are part of the problem!!!

Gary Dotson
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49 Leader "D" (Princess)
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48 Leader "D" unrestored
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Location: OH West Mansfield

Re: carbon pile battery load tester

Postby Gary Dotson » Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:37 am

I've noticed that Harbor has had these listed in recent sale fliers. The price is reasonable enough. Yes, you probably overworked it on those two big diesel batteries. But hey, Harbor made it right!

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Re: carbon pile battery load tester

Postby brichter » Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:21 am

Hey you old cheapskate:

you get what you pay for in electronics. (and most other stuff).
If you're gonna dream or steal, do it BIG

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Stanton
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Re: carbon pile battery load tester

Postby Stanton » Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:35 am

John *.?-!.* cub owner wrote:...My wife and daughter had planned a trip to Farmington today...


Did you eat at the Catfish Kettle while there??? Good stuff.
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Jim Becker
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Re: carbon pile battery load tester

Postby Jim Becker » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:25 am

Gary Dotson wrote:I've noticed that Harbor has had these listed in recent sale fliers. . . .

By any chance was it listed as a fire sale?

I generally avoid buying sparky stuff from Harbor Freight.

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John *.?-!.* cub owner
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Posts: 23644
Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2003 2:09 pm
Zip Code: 63664
Tractors Owned: 47, 48, 49 cub plus Wagner loader & other attachments. 41 Farmall H.
Location: Mo, Potosi

Re: carbon pile battery load tester

Postby John *.?-!.* cub owner » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:18 pm

Jim Becker wrote:
Gary Dotson wrote:I've noticed that Harbor has had these listed in recent sale fliers. . . .

By any chance was it listed as a fire sale?

I generally avoid buying sparky stuff from Harbor Freight.
I seldom buy electrical items there either, but decided to try this one.

Local farm supply store also has a branch that is in a flood area and has on a couple occasions had flood sale items from there. They use different colored tags to mark prices, and on the register receipt it lists the item by the color of the tag. I realized after I had gotten home I had bought a couple of "YELLOW FLOOD" items. :cry:
If you are not part of the solution,
you are part of the problem!!!

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Re: carbon pile battery load tester

Postby Jim Becker » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:37 pm

John *.?-!.* cub owner wrote:. . . I realized after I had gotten home I had bought a couple of "YELLOW FLOOD" items. :cry:

I thought of a couple comments. I'll just go with the observation that they might want to reevaluate that approach.


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