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Old 02-25-2007, 04:22 PM   #1
Jamowie
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Unhappy 12 volt battery mistake... anyone else do this??

Mistakenly put 12 volt batteries in a 4450 (originally had 6 volt batteries) and didn't notice for 6 months. I wound up destroying the alternator but something else is wrong with the tractor. The battery gets drained in a short amount of time. There's a constant resistance on the battery cables and I'm trying to find out where it's coming from.

Anyone else have this happen to them? Any help or ideas where to look for the short or problem would be appreciated.

Paul in NJ



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Old 02-25-2007, 06:36 PM   #2
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Welcome to Tractor Forum Paul! I can see me doing something like that. I have done some real duzzies in my time too.

I take it that you have changed out the batteries and have the proper batteries installed now. Are the current batteries new?



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Old 02-25-2007, 07:42 PM   #3
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You can use 1 12volt to replace 2 six volt batteries. Not familuar with the 4450 so if it's 12 volt 2 six volts will give you more cranking power.
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Old 02-25-2007, 08:05 PM   #4
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Paul, Welcome to TF

Diesel right? No coil Right? (a coil gets temperamental if it is fed different voltage as they are resistance specific)



My only question is in clarifying your terminology and did you hook each set or (battery singular now " The battery gets drained in a short amount of time") in [B]series or parallel [B/]?

The main advantage of using two 6 volt batteries connected in series is long life. They generally last about two times longer than 12 volt batteries. This is because 6 volt batteries have bigger and thicker plates that can better withstand the effects of deep cycling.

The main advantage of using two 12 volt batteries connected in parallel is backup. If one battery goes down, you will have the other battery to keep your system running. With two 6 volts, if one goes down then your entire 12 volt system is down.

Dean

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Old 02-26-2007, 01:43 AM   #5
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The new batteries were installed the same way the 6 volts were connected (didn't notice they were originally 6 volt batteries). 24 volts is what the system was getting for the time after the replacement. Now the 12 volts are hooked up in parallel(??) (+ to + on the batteries to provide the original 12 volts to the system). I think something got cooked in the tractor while the 24 volts were flowing in and it's now killing the 12 volt batteries when sitting with the key and engine off. There appears to be a constant drain on the batteries somewhere either in the alternator (unlikely since the alternator is new) or somewhere else in the harness.

I figured I couldn't be the only one to do this, and maybe someone else would be willing to admit their mistake and what they did to fix it.

Paul in NJ

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Old 02-26-2007, 07:30 AM   #6
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Paul,

With something like this, you may luck out and find something like a shorted wire or cab light left on but more likely it is going to be a start at the beginning and work you way back. If you can't find an obvious problem like above, I would suggest testing each battery with a load meter and hydrometer. A battery with a shorted (read warped cell plate) cell can run the entire bank of batteries down. Check all of the connecting cables to ensure none are rubbing on something to cause a small short drain.

Do the batteries run down if you disconnect them from the tractor? If not, you will have to isolate and troubleshoot the electrical system in the tractor. Pay close attention to the wires going to the starter as these are alway hot. Check to ensure none are rubbing on something and causing a short or rubbing together and shorting to one another.

Another area to pay close attention to is the alternator area. If the system worked fine before you replaced the alternator, could be something is a foot in this area. The cables and wires to the alternator are always hot as well, ensure none are rubbing on each other or the tractor causing a short. Double check to ensure you have the alternator wires and cable correctly hooked up.

For there work your way back to the cab and rest of the tractor.

If the tractor has been setting for any length of time, mice, rats, or other rodents could have built a nest somewhere and chewed on some wires causing a problem.

Anyhow, just a few ideas to throw out there to get you started with and areas to look. Let us know how things go.

One other thing........I am not familiar with the 4450 charging system. Does the alternator have the voltage regulator built into it or is the voltage regulator mounted separately? The higher voltage could have damaged the regulator.

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Old 02-26-2007, 02:51 PM   #7
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Thanks for the input Chief.

I was hoping the answer would be along the lines of: "oh, when you run 24 volts into a JD you usually burn out the DESCRAMINATOR so take a look at that as the cause of your current problem." (pun intended) I know it was a long shot but still worth it.

I have not investigated the batteries as the cause of the problem yet but that is now on the list. They drained down to about 2 volts output after a couple of days of sitting in the tractor but took a rechage initially. I've got to see if they're still holding a charge.

Looked at the alternator and I believe the regulator is built in, read new/replaced, so that should not be the problem.

I've got a JD 4455 to compare the 4450 to but they are significantly different.

I've been working from the batteries cables forward so everything is suspect at this point. Next step is to take the panels off in the cab to see if any relays are locked or if anything else jumps out as being burnt. Wish me luck.

(by the way a DESCRAMINATOR is a fictional part of the tractor)

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Old 02-26-2007, 07:50 PM   #8
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Welcome to TF Jamowie.

Have you load tested the batteries since reversing the hook-up?
If the new 12 volts were hooked like the original 6 volts- which appear to have been hooked in parallel which then sends 12 volt to the starter- you could have damaged the batteries along with the alt. If the batteries are hooked + to + and - to - now they are hooked in series.
The initial reversing could have created a dead short in one battery that is draining both.

Disconnect both batteries, charge to full charge and use a load tester to test each battery seperately.

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Old 02-27-2007, 08:10 AM   #9
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Having fun yet?

I think the info Chief gave you was pretty good. Only a couple things I would add. You want to keep those batteries charged, especially when it's cold out ( they can freeze ). Until you get your draw thing figured out, they should stay disconnected when your not working on it. Sounds like you have a Delco alternator with an internal regulator. when you have the engine running, you don't want any sparks or arcs in the system that will kill the little electronic components of the reg. Unless you fried the wireing somewhere, I would put my money on the alternator. Just disconnect it and see if your test light goes out. The test light needs to be in series between the starter and the batt pos terminal or the ground and the neg batt term. The alt is polarity sensitive and must be neg ground or it smokes. Maybe test everything with only one batt hooked up until you get the draw figured out. Don't let it fluster you, be systematic, one wire or appliance at a time.

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Old 03-01-2007, 11:16 PM   #10
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update

I have not come up with a complete solution yet but I'm getting there. Thanks for all your support by the way.

Anyway, things keep getting more interesting as I keep on digging. One of the batteries has REVERSED polarity! I did not think this was possible but there happens to be a thing called "cell reversal" when discharging a battery beyond a certain amount. This tends to happen with cells in a series. Not sure if this is the case here but it sure was weird to put my tester on the battery the right way and come back with a negative charge!

So regarding the draw on the system....I could not track it down to the exact spot but I've narrowed it down to either the sprayer controls or the corn planter controls. I was tooling around with the tractor for a few hours today but had to stop late tonight because of the rain.

I'll let you guys know how I make out in the end. Thanks again for your input.

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Old 03-02-2007, 06:27 PM   #11
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"Cell reversal"

So interesting to me that I had to find out how to fix it, as I had not encountered it before!! I apologize for the wordy info but it was a fascinating concept and someone else might benefit from it!!

Thanks for posting your find!!

Dean

In case you want to know this is what I found!!

"14.14. MYTH: Once formed, batteries will not change polarity.

False! If a battery is fully discharged and continues to have a load, for example leaving the headlights on, it is possible for one or more cells to reverse polarity. When the battery has been recharged with reversed polarity the polarity can change. This is referred to as "cell reversal". To change polarity, fully discharge the battery and recharge it with the correct polarity.

Link

More stuff and the link for the following!! here

Charge memory and discharging batteries
All rechargable batteries are composed of several cells wired in series. Lead-acid cells are 2V each, so a 6V battery has 3 cells. NiCad and NiMH cells are 1.2V each, so a 6V battery has 5 cells. You should never completely discharge a rechargable battery of any kind. This can lead to cell reversal. This happens when one cell has slightly less capacity than the others (a common occurrence due to small manufacturing variations). When the capacity of the weaker cell is exhausted, the other cells continue to happily pump current into it in the reverse direction, thus destroying the cell. This in turn destroys your battery, unless you can take it apart to replace the offending cell.

This is worth repeating: Do not ever completely discharge your NiCad, NiMH, or lead-acid battery. Once the lights go yellow or dim, turn them off.

Some people think that NiCad batteries should be completely discharged now and then to prevent loss of capacity via the "memory" effect. This is not the case. To explain why, I'll discuss "memory", and what you can do to avoid it.

Most people think NiCad "memory" comes from recharging your batteries after only partial discharge. The folk lore is that the battery somehow "remembers" the smaller capacity that was used, and only allows you to use this capacity in the future. This is rubbish. This effect has never been documented in any consumer system, in certainly not in bike lights.

However people in the battery industry use the term "memory" to apply to another phenomena that NiCad batteries do exhibit, which is more properly called voltage depression. Voltage depression is caused by overcharging NiCad cells at a slow rate (typically, the rate given by cheap AC/DC converters provided as chargers by light manufacturers). Once the battery is charged, the additional energy being added to the battery is converted into heat, and the heat changes the crystal structure of nickle and cadmium alloys, producing a different kind of crystal that produces less voltage than the desired crystal structure. When the battery is then discharged, the presence of the bad crystals means that they voltage of the battery is lower than it ought to be. The result is a somewhat dimmer, more yellow light, where before they were whiter and brighter.

Please note that voltage depression only results from overcharging your battery at a low rate. If you overcharging your battery at a high rate, you will do irreparable damage to the battery.

There are two ways to avoid "memory". (I must admit that I hate the term memory as applied to voltage depression, because it has nothing to do with what most people think of a NiCad "memory", and because the battery isn't "remembering" anything, it has just been overcharged.) The best way to avoid it is to get a charger that doesn't overcharge the battery, namely a smart charger that switches to a very low current when it detects that the battery is full. See here for more info on smart chargers.

An alternative, if you really don't want to invest in a smart charger, is simply not to worry about it. The main symptom of a battery that is suffering from voltage depression is that after using your lights for awhile they start to go slightly dimmer and yellowish, but then remain this way for quite some time rather than continuing to get dimmer and dimmer. The dimmer light is due to the battery discharging its energy at a slightly lower voltage (about 0.1V/cell) than it should. If you continue to use your battery through this slightly-dimmer phase, the problem goes away, as the less desirable crystals give up their energy. When the battery is recharged, the better crystals are re-formed. If you do this, please keep in mind that when the light starts to get dimmer and dimmer as the battery capacity reaches its end, you must turn off your lights. If you discharge the battery to lower than about 1 V/cell, you run the risk of damaging the battery through cell reversal.

The fact that doing a deep discharge (down to about 1 V/cell) of your battery cures the problem with voltage depression is probably what lead to the myth that you should always discharge the battery before recharging it. However, somehow the concept of "deep discharge" has gotten mixed up with "full discharge" (down to 0V/cell), which is quite likely to damage your battery. In this case, the cure (a full discharge which can result in cell reversal) is far warse than the disease (voltage depression, which only gives you slightly dimmer lights the first time you use the battery after it developes the problem).

This may be not what you are used to hearing about NiCad memory. The problem is that misinformation (the idea that NiCad "memory" is a loss of capacity caused by recharging after only a partial discharge) is so prevalent that many bike light manufacturers believe in it and propagate it. However, NiteRider at least some has some pretty good info about battery care. (Even here there is conflicting information. They suggest that "To prevent OVERCHARGING: Do NOT charge your battery until it has been fully drained (or charge it only enough to replenish it)" although they make it clear just below that you should not drain the battery beyond the point where the light turns yellow/dim. I presume they're hoping that the customer will figure out that "fully drained" means "until the light turns yellow/dim".)

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Old 03-02-2007, 08:35 PM   #12
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"Cell reversal"

I spent 20 minutes rechecking the battery when I first noticed it had reversed polarity. I pulled the step off the JD 4455 to make sure I wasn't nuts and doing something wrong. I still have not found a witness to verify that I had the leads on the tester correct, but I am confident that I was doing it correctly.

Still kinda throws me off thinking about the polarity reversal so I was hesitant to mention it to anyone until I verified that it was possible...I look like a fool enough with the whole 24 Volt thing and all.

Everyone that I mentioned this to never heard of it before. I never heard of it before.

As far as I can recall, at this point the battery is producing -10 Volts. The math tells me that's 5 reversed cells and one dead one?? Doesn't matter now since I have no plans on salvaging this battery...it's been abused enough in my opinion.

It's almost fun since I don't need the tractor today, but come planting season I'll be a little PO'd if she's not in the field.

Paul in NJ

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Old 03-02-2007, 09:05 PM   #13
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"I look like a fool enough with the whole 24 Volt thing and all."

The only fool there is, is the one that thinks he has seen it all!!



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"Flashlights are tubular metal containers kept in a flight bag for the purpose of storing dead batteries."

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Old 03-02-2007, 10:30 PM   #14
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If you hook a light or some resistor across the terminals and leave it ( in a place above freezing ) for a day or so, the cells should all be dead. Don't know or care why, but sometimes you have to put a resistance in series with the charger to get it to charge again, sometimes not. If it charges and load tests good, it should be OK. Don't know or care why, but sometimes the preceding doesn't work.
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Old 03-03-2007, 12:42 AM   #15
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Thanks WASS!! I'm so glad to see someone who took care of a battery themselves!

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Old 03-29-2007, 11:31 AM   #16
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Jamowie,

Have you found the problem and got her running out in the field yet?

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Old 03-29-2007, 02:46 PM   #17
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Talking IT'S ALIVE!!

The corn planter controls got fried sometime during the process and are currently at the shop being looked at. It's an electronic gizmo so the shop may or may not be able to fix it.

If not, there are brand new replacements available that I can easily put on my credit card! Hoping to find out that there's some resistor inside the corn planter controls that they can replace but I don't have my hopes up.

Anyway, the reversed-cell battery was replaced with a new battery and the mysterious discharge was tracked down so all I've got to do now is fix every other piece of equipment on the farm: grain dryer bottom bearing, grain dryer control panel, burner on scalding tank, relay on combine auger, starter relay on combine, muffler on the AC 6060, etc., etc., etc., ...

I think you know what I mean!!

Thanks again for all your input...It's always nice to get some ideas on how to fix a problem!!

Paul in NJ

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Old 03-29-2007, 02:53 PM   #18
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Glad things are moving again. Sounds like that situation around my place. Be careful out there and have a good season. Don't be a stranger!



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