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How to test 12 V battery.


Travis

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There's several ways to test, and most only tell part of the story. I use a special eye dropper, that has tiny floating plastic balls. This thing is supposed to measure specific gravity, or something. What it does is tell you about the condition of the battery acid. The instructions are on the side, and it's very simple to read. It's exactly like the ones that measure anti freeze, by counting how many balls are floating. Don't know for sure, but I doubt if they're interchangeable. But they only cost about two bucks at walmart, so it doesn't really matter. 

  Also check voltage. AutoZone, and the like, will do this for free. But I use a cheap tester from harbor freight. It's one of those that use led lights, and costs about five bucks.

  Put a good charge on that battery, and test it. The easiest way is to turn on the lights for a minute or so, to break the surface charge, then test. Or just test it after it's set up a day, after charging.

  Buy a battery tender at walmart, then you'll have a battery maintenance charger. But it won't charge a very low battery. It's not really a charger, it's a maintainer.

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A battery tender it the ticket with these Mules. I go several weeks at times without using mine and since I have started using a battery tender, my battery is usually ready to go. My Mule is a 2005 model and am on my third battery. Probably could be only two, but I did replace the original battery after I put my winch on, upgrading to a battery with more reserve amps and cranking amps. I felt the original battery didn't have the amperage to operate my 3500 lb. winch in a hard pull. I just bought a cheap 3/4 amp battery tender (not the name brand) at Tractor Supply on their reduced section. Actually bought every one they had once I saw that they did work. I have one on each of my riding mowers, my tractor, 4 wheeler and my Mule.  All work great, unfortunately I haven't seen them since at Tractor Supply.  These do not charge a dead battery, just keeps your battery topped off and ready to go. They do not harm the battery in over charging like a higher amperage charger left on does. 

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