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Old 13-08-2005, 06:35 PM
 
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Default Replace mower or just mower battery?

I bought a Craftsman rechargeable mower (Model 917.386401) in 1998.
Recently it doesn't recharge very well, although it still cuts grass
for about 10 minutes, at lower speed than before. I think it's time to
replace the battery. The service center guy says it costs $150 plus
about $30 shipping. That's still much cheaper than buying a new mower
(about $400). One newsgroup message says the battery model may no
longer be available and a replacement doesn't fit perfectly.

If I want to check the battery with a multimeter, how do I do that? The
owner's manual doesn't say whether or how to check the acid level. Is
it needed? Could other parts such as the electric motor be near their
lifetime? Should I just buy a new mower? Thanks for any advice.

Yong Huang
Email:yong321ATyahoo.com

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Old 13-08-2005, 07:32 PM
Cereus-validus.......
 
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Did you call around for a better deal on a replacement battery?


wrote in message
oups.com...
I bought a Craftsman rechargeable mower (Model 917.386401) in 1998.
Recently it doesn't recharge very well, although it still cuts grass
for about 10 minutes, at lower speed than before. I think it's time to
replace the battery. The service center guy says it costs $150 plus
about $30 shipping. That's still much cheaper than buying a new mower
(about $400). One newsgroup message says the battery model may no
longer be available and a replacement doesn't fit perfectly.

If I want to check the battery with a multimeter, how do I do that? The
owner's manual doesn't say whether or how to check the acid level. Is
it needed? Could other parts such as the electric motor be near their
lifetime? Should I just buy a new mower? Thanks for any advice.

Yong Huang
Email:yong321ATyahoo.com



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Old 13-08-2005, 09:03 PM
 
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wrote:
I bought a Craftsman rechargeable mower (Model 917.386401) in 1998.
Recently it doesn't recharge very well, although it still cuts grass
for about 10 minutes, at lower speed than before. I think it's time to
replace the battery. The service center guy says it costs $150 plus
about $30 shipping. That's still much cheaper than buying a new mower
(about $400). One newsgroup message says the battery model may no
longer be available and a replacement doesn't fit perfectly.

If I want to check the battery with a multimeter, how do I do that? The
owner's manual doesn't say whether or how to check the acid level. Is
it needed? Could other parts such as the electric motor be near their
lifetime? Should I just buy a new mower? Thanks for any advice.

Yong Huang
Email:yong321ATyahoo.com


Yong,
Regarding checking the battery, a 7 year old battery is probably in
need of a replacement. You didn't mention how it was stored, or other
details, but it would not completely be a surprise if it does need
replaced. If it's not holding a charge, then checking it with a
multimeter probably won't help much other than to verify that it is
losing its power.

Searching on
www.sears.com, I only get 3 "electic" mower choices and
each of them are corded. It is possible that the expensive cost to
replace the battery is because the product is no longer available.

If you'd like to follow up on the battery itself, one option would be
to call a battery company rather than the service center. Have the
specifications of the battery handy (including dimensions) and see what
they can do.

Another option is that since Craftsman is a Sears brand, you could call
the local store to see if they have any in stock or if you could order
one to pick up.

I would have a hard time paying $180 for just the battery. If nothing
else, if I absolutely had to have an electric mower, I would buy a
corded mower with a long extension cord rather than pay that much for a
battery on a mower that may have other problems in the near future.

Dave



  #6   Report Post  
Old 13-08-2005, 10:08 PM
Warren
 
Posts: n/a
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wrote:
Regarding checking the battery, a 7 year old battery is probably in
need of a replacement. You didn't mention how it was stored, or other
details, but it would not completely be a surprise if it does need
replaced. If it's not holding a charge, then checking it with a
multimeter probably won't help much other than to verify that it is
losing its power.

Searching on
www.sears.com, I only get 3 "electic" mower choices and
each of them are corded. It is possible that the expensive cost to
replace the battery is because the product is no longer available.

If you'd like to follow up on the battery itself, one option would be
to call a battery company rather than the service center. Have the
specifications of the battery handy (including dimensions) and see what
they can do.

Another option is that since Craftsman is a Sears brand, you could call
the local store to see if they have any in stock or if you could order
one to pick up.

I would have a hard time paying $180 for just the battery. If nothing
else, if I absolutely had to have an electric mower, I would buy a
corded mower with a long extension cord rather than pay that much for a
battery on a mower that may have other problems in the near future.



I agree that paying so much for a battery raises some flags. Searching for a
better price is a good idea.

But after seven years, $180 for a new battery compares well to the cost of
annually servicing a gas engine. Sure, a corded electric mower has even
lower maintenance costs, but then you have to deal with that damn cord
that's always in the way, or is getting caught on something.

Each kind of mower has it's own best application. I'd advise someone who
needs to get a new mower to consider all the pros and cons as they relate to
their specific situation. I'd never simply say that a corded mower is better
than a cordless mower any more than I'd say a sedan is better than a coupe.
It all depends on the specific situation.

And none of them have zero maintenance costs.

To the OP: From what I've been able to find out, the mower you have probably
has a Tecumseh motor, so you may want to check with any authorized Tecumseh
repair shops in your area, as well as specialized battery stores.

--
Warren H.

==========
Disclaimer: My views reflect those of myself, and not my
employer, my friends, nor (as she often tells me) my wife.
Any resemblance to the views of anybody living or dead is
coincidental. No animals were hurt in the writing of this
response -- unless you count my dog who desperately wants
to go outside now.
Have an outdoor project? Get a Black & Decker power tool::
http://www.holzemville.com/mall/blackanddecker/



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Old 14-08-2005, 02:33 AM
 
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Default


Warren wrote:
I agree that paying so much for a battery raises some flags. Searching for a
better price is a good idea.

But after seven years, $180 for a new battery compares well to the cost of
annually servicing a gas engine. Sure, a corded electric mower has even
lower maintenance costs, but then you have to deal with that damn cord
that's always in the way, or is getting caught on something.

Each kind of mower has it's own best application. I'd advise someone who
needs to get a new mower to consider all the pros and cons as they relate to
their specific situation. I'd never simply say that a corded mower is better
than a cordless mower any more than I'd say a sedan is better than a coupe.
It all depends on the specific situation.


Warren,
Where did I say that a corded mower is always better?

Dave

  #9   Report Post  
Old 14-08-2005, 03:24 AM
Salty Thumb
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Treedweller wrote in
:

On 13 Aug 2005 09:35:58 -0700, wrote:

I bought a Craftsman rechargeable mower (Model 917.386401) in 1998.
Recently it doesn't recharge very well, although it still cuts grass
for about 10 minutes, at lower speed than before. I think it's time to
replace the battery. The service center guy says it costs $150 plus
about $30 shipping. That's still much cheaper than buying a new mower
(about $400). One newsgroup message says the battery model may no
longer be available and a replacement doesn't fit perfectly.

If I want to check the battery with a multimeter, how do I do that? The
owner's manual doesn't say whether or how to check the acid level. Is
it needed? Could other parts such as the electric motor be near their
lifetime? Should I just buy a new mower? Thanks for any advice.

Yong Huang
Email:yong321ATyahoo.com

I've seen a sign at Batteries Plus (a chain store--I don't know how
far they reach) that they will rebuild a cordless drill battery.
Perhaps this would be an option for you battery?

k


First figure out what kind of battery e.g. lead-acid, sealed lead-acid
(SLA) you have and proceed from there. There is a good website for
batteries, I think it is
www.batteryuniversity.com or something like
that. To me $130 for a battery is insane, but cheaper than a H-HW
battery (hampster-hampster wheel) and better emissions I bet. Around
here, you pay more if you don't bring the old battery (regular lead-acid)
to trade-in. SLA and others should recycled at RBRC participating
retailers.

I went to batteries plus to get a SLA for my trimmer, price was $20 more
than same or similarly named website price, but I bought anyway. tempus
est pecunia.

most cordless stuff will use NiCd, NiMH or lithium, not really cost
effective for a large stuff like a mower, but i guess it's possible.
  #10   Report Post  
Old 14-08-2005, 02:55 PM
SVTKate
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Not meaning to sound like a smart aleck, but if you have to replace the
batteries so often and they are so expensive, why not just buy a gas mower?
Seems to me that the maintenance costs are much lower.

I have an 11 year old cheapo MTD gas mower that has only had one spark plug
and two air filters in all that time that was well used for the first ten
years.
Nowadays it sits allot becaue it is only used for touchups but still...

Waste batteries are bad for the environment too... so I am not thinking it's
ecology. Why drag a cord around?

Kate


wrote in message
ups.com...
: wrote:
: I bought a Craftsman rechargeable mower (Model 917.386401) in 1998.
: Recently it doesn't recharge very well, although it still cuts grass
: for about 10 minutes, at lower speed than before. I think it's time to
: replace the battery. The service center guy says it costs $150 plus
: about $30 shipping. That's still much cheaper than buying a new mower
: (about $400). One newsgroup message says the battery model may no
: longer be available and a replacement doesn't fit perfectly.
:
: If I want to check the battery with a multimeter, how do I do that? The
: owner's manual doesn't say whether or how to check the acid level. Is
: it needed? Could other parts such as the electric motor be near their
: lifetime? Should I just buy a new mower? Thanks for any advice.
:
: Yong Huang
: Email:yong321ATyahoo.com
:
: Yong,
: Regarding checking the battery, a 7 year old battery is probably in
: need of a replacement. You didn't mention how it was stored, or other
: details, but it would not completely be a surprise if it does need
: replaced. If it's not holding a charge, then checking it with a
: multimeter probably won't help much other than to verify that it is
: losing its power.
:
: Searching on
www.sears.com, I only get 3 "electic" mower choices and
: each of them are corded. It is possible that the expensive cost to
: replace the battery is because the product is no longer available.
:
: If you'd like to follow up on the battery itself, one option would be
: to call a battery company rather than the service center. Have the
: specifications of the battery handy (including dimensions) and see what
: they can do.
:
: Another option is that since Craftsman is a Sears brand, you could call
: the local store to see if they have any in stock or if you could order
: one to pick up.
:
: I would have a hard time paying $180 for just the battery. If nothing
: else, if I absolutely had to have an electric mower, I would buy a
: corded mower with a long extension cord rather than pay that much for a
: battery on a mower that may have other problems in the near future.
:
: Dave
:




  #11   Report Post  
Old 17-08-2005, 06:04 AM
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Salty Thumb wrote:

I went to batteries plus to get a SLA for my trimmer, price was $20 more
than same or similarly named website price, but I bought anyway. tempus
est pecunia.

most cordless stuff will use NiCd, NiMH or lithium, not really cost
effective for a large stuff like a mower, but i guess it's possible.


Thank you, and all others that replied to my message. I found that
Batteries Plus is right in town, Houston, TX. I took my batteries in
and the guy tested them saying they're fully charged and were also good
in load testing. I went ahead and bought new batteries anyway (and left
old ones there). Came home and installed them. I finally finished
cutting very tall grass!

Now the problem I find is that I can't recharge. I plugged the charger
into the mower (with new batteries) and plugged in charger power cord.
The charger light doesn't show either red or green. I doubt it's my
charger because my old batteries were fully charged according to the
guy. But I remember if the mower end is unplugged, the charger red
light should light up. Now it doesn't. I'm going to bring the charger
to the shop tomorrow and see if they can test it.

Yong Huang

  #12   Report Post  
Old 18-08-2005, 03:14 AM
Salty Thumb
 
Posts: n/a
Default

"SVTKate" wrote in
ink.net:

Not meaning to sound like a smart aleck, but if you have to replace
the batteries so often and they are so expensive, why not just buy a
gas mower? Seems to me that the maintenance costs are much lower.


Electric mowers are quieter and produce less emissions than a gas mower.
Electric power plants produce emissions too, but the emissions are
centralized and can be managed more efficiently, athough in practice, I
think many power plants just do the minimum required by law. I also
don't think electric mowers require oil changes, oil filters, air
filters, spark plugs, gas removal/stabilization procedures (when storing
the mower) or the accompanying labor involved.

I have an 11 year old cheapo MTD gas mower that has only had one
spark plug and two air filters in all that time that was well used for
the first ten years.
Nowadays it sits allot becaue it is only used for touchups but
still...


Did you not change the oil? What do you use for non-touchup work?

Waste batteries are bad for the environment too... so I am not
thinking it's ecology. Why drag a cord around?


Yes waste batteries in a landfill are bad, which is why you should
recycle them. They are heavy and the energy density of a lead-acid
battery doesn't compare well with gasoline and yes power cords are a
nuisance. If it were all good, you wouldn't need to choose.

  #13   Report Post  
Old 18-08-2005, 04:11 AM
SVTKate
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Salty Thumb" wrote in message
news:ciRMe.15805$%K4.10205@trnddc09...
: "SVTKate" wrote in
: ink.net:
:
: Not meaning to sound like a smart aleck, but if you have to replace
: the batteries so often and they are so expensive, why not just buy a
: gas mower? Seems to me that the maintenance costs are much lower.
:
: Electric mowers are quieter and produce less emissions than a gas mower.
: Electric power plants produce emissions too, but the emissions are
: centralized and can be managed more efficiently, athough in practice, I
: think many power plants just do the minimum required by law. I also
: don't think electric mowers require oil changes, oil filters, air
: filters, spark plugs, gas removal/stabilization procedures (when storing
: the mower) or the accompanying labor involved.
:
: I have an 11 year old cheapo MTD gas mower that has only had one
: spark plug and two air filters in all that time that was well used for
: the first ten years.
: Nowadays it sits allot becaue it is only used for touchups but
: still...
:
: Did you not change the oil?

Actually maybe a few times... the poor thing has been sadly neglected but
keeps on going like a champ.

:What do you use for non-touchup work?
The MTD was the primary mower when we lived out west, for 9+ years.
These days I mow about 6 acres, three with my Husquvarna 22/48 lawn tractor
and three with a bush hog attached to the tractor. The MTD is only used down
by the pond in places where either of the other two might be unsafe to
operate. I wish I had a bigger, zero turn mower. Maybe when the Husky wears
out. Oh and I DO maintian the Husky. I baby it like I do my car.

How about you, what do you use?

:
: Waste batteries are bad for the environment too... so I am not
: thinking it's ecology. Why drag a cord around?
:
: Yes waste batteries in a landfill are bad, which is why you should
: recycle them.

I even recycle my used AA batteries I'm a good girl.

They are heavy and the energy density of a lead-acid
: battery doesn't compare well with gasoline and yes power cords are a
: nuisance. If it were all good, you wouldn't need to choose.

Gotcha. I appreciate you treating my query as it was intended, a real desire
for another view.

:


  #14   Report Post  
Old 18-08-2005, 05:38 AM
 
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wrote:
Thank you, and all others that replied to my message. I found that
Batteries Plus is right in town, Houston, TX. I took my batteries in
and the guy tested them saying they're fully charged and were also good
in load testing. I went ahead and bought new batteries anyway (and left
old ones there). Came home and installed them. I finally finished
cutting very tall grass!

Now the problem I find is that I can't recharge. I plugged the charger
into the mower (with new batteries) and plugged in charger power cord.
The charger light doesn't show either red or green. I doubt it's my
charger because my old batteries were fully charged according to the
guy. But I remember if the mower end is unplugged, the charger red
light should light up. Now it doesn't. I'm going to bring the charger
to the shop tomorrow and see if they can test it.


I need to make corrections to my yesterday's posting. Today I called
Batteries Plus and talked to another guy. He pulled my old batteries
out of his storage room and tested again. They were bad. He said
yesterday his associate didn't do the load test right.

Another correction. I thought if the charger was unplugged from the
mower but the other end is still on the wall outlet, the red light
should come on. Now I think that's wrong. I got a cordless electric
trimmer that still works. When I unplug the charger from the trimmer,
neither red nor green light is on on the charger.

Since I got the trimmer and its charger working, I used that as a
comparison. I measured voltage between the inside of the little hole of
the charger plug (which goes to the trimmer), and the outside metal.
It's 19.56 volt (even though the trimmer is 12 volt per the manual). If
I measure voltage this way on the mower charger, it's 0. So I think my
mower charger is bad. Unfortunately the trimmer charger can't plug into
mower charging port; the latter is a little too big. Otherwise I would
use the same charger to charge both. Anyway, I don't understand why my
mower batteries and charger went bad at about the same time.

For those curious, I bought two Werker batteries for $86. I printed a
10% off coupon from their Web site.

Yong Huang

  #15   Report Post  
Old 19-08-2005, 12:45 AM
Salty Thumb
 
Posts: n/a
Default

"SVTKate" wrote in
nk.net:

The MTD was the primary mower when we lived out west, for 9+ years.
These days I mow about 6 acres, three with my Husquvarna 22/48 lawn
tractor and three with a bush hog attached to the tractor. The MTD is
only used down by the pond in places where either of the other two
might be unsafe to operate. I wish I had a bigger, zero turn mower.
Maybe when the Husky wears out. Oh and I DO maintian the Husky. I baby
it like I do my car.


How about you, what do you use?


Right now I am using a Scotts 2000-20 push reel mower. Powered by
processed doughnut lard. I've had it for about a year or two and I'm
pretty satisfied. Takes less time mow (although I do mow more often) and
much less irksome to operate. It doesn't cut cylindrical grass very well,
usually knocks it over instead of cutting it. I guess those are rye seed
stalks. Usually hit them again at an angle, pull them out by hand, hit
them with a weedwhacker later, or just leave them. With my old cheapo gas
mower (which also still works) I would just back up and park over them for
a few seconds to make sure they got cut. Anyway, I doubt a manual push
reel mower is a very good choice for people with 6 acres to mow. ;-)
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