Mower Battery Hooked Up to Wrong Terminals. Lawn mower battery cables

Mower Battery Hooked Up to Wrong Terminals?

I recently was given a 2012 Cub Cadet Ltx 1040 for free. I was looking to figure out what’s wrong with it when I came across the fact that the battery was hooked up wrong. I can only assume they tried starting it like that. What parts do I need to replace as I believe something must be fried.


This blows fuses, and sometimes the computer. Check the fuse first. if computer you may have a bigger issue!

This could also affect the alternator. The battery should be fine but the alternator/charging system is very likely shorted out.

This is a common enough problem that people who know such things advice that you first try to start it, and once started, use a meter to check the voltage, which should register at 12.5 volts dc. If the voltage is dropping, you will need to replace the charging stator, which is located under the flywheel.

For instructions on changing the stator (after acquiring the right model, which looks to cost between 60 and 90 product.asp), see instructions in link below.

Shorting out the alternator, starter and some fuses are all likely if a person has hooked up the battery wrong on anything. You will need to test the cable, the electrical system and heck to see if the switch under the seat has been tripped or not. This can also happen and the switch will need to be reset.

Basically use a volt meter and test the electrical system on the movwer and trace down the short. My guess is the starter will need to be replaced and so will the cables for the battery if they are burned or damaged.


Ask a Question Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

Question: Hooked Up Mower Battery to Wrong Terminals?

I did a very bonehead thing. In the fall I disconnected my standing mower battery, as I should, neg (black) first, then positive (red). However over the winter I did not remember how the battery fit into the slot. I put it in, as I logically thought it should go. However, I did not confirm neg to black, pos to red, I just used the cable lengths to “logically” put them where I should.

So, I then managed to hook the the red to the neg terminal and the black to the positive terminal. Now that I recognize my problem, I am not sure which to carefully disconnect first. The black cable on the positive terminal, or the red cable on the neg terminal. There were a few sparks.

I know you are rolling your eyes, but I do not want to harm the mower. I am going to go and try putting a rubber mat under the terminal to cover the locations that would spark, wear gloves, and move very slowly, so as to not cause a spark or shock myself or hurt the mower.

Needless to say, I did try to start it, even though I could not close the battery compartment (first sign) and it would not start. I hope I did not hurt it.

Thank you for any help. “feeling like a bonehead”

My Lawn Mower Battery Keeps Dying – Easy Fix

Lawnmowers are complicated pieces of power equipment necessary for maintaining a lawn properly. However, each component of a lawnmower needs to be working as intended for the lawnmower to function correctly. One particular component that can be problematic is the lawnmowers battery.

The function of the lawnmower’s battery is to start the lawnmower and to provide power for the lawnmower’s electrical functions. These functions included engaging and disengaging the lawnmowers cutting blades.

If a lawnmower’s battery is not functioning correctly the mower will usually not start. However, in cases where the lawnmower was able to be started, the battery may not be able to keep the PTO clutch powered and the lawnmower will die. A working battery is absolutely critical in the operation of a lawnmower.

A dead or weak lawnmower battery can be attributed to loose battery cables, a dead battery cell, a malfunctioning stator, or a bad regulator.

Lawnmower Battery Cables Loose

One of the most common causes of a dead or weak lawnmower battery is a loose battery cable. If a battery cable is loose on either the positive or negative side the battery will not start the lawnmower in most cases.

If your lawnmower battery is not responding to the ignition key the first thing to check is how tight the battery cables are connected to the battery. If the cables are able to move at the connection point of the nut and bolt on the battery terminals then your cables are not tight enough. Simply get the appropriately sized end wrench and tighten the nut and bolt. The typical size end wrenches for battery cable nuts is 7/16″ and 1/2″.

Lawnmower Battery has a Dead Cell

Everything we use will eventually fail or wear out. Lawnmower batteries are not exempt from failing like any other product.

If your lawnmower battery will not maintain or take a charge of over 10.5 volts chances are your lawnmower’s battery has a dead cell. If this is indeed the case the only way to fix this is by replacing the lawnmowers battery with a new one. In my experience lawnmower batteries typically last for around 2 years. There are cases where a battery can last longer but the norm is about 2 years.

Lawnmower’s Charging System Not Charging

The battery on a lawnmower has to be maintained by the charging system of the lawnmower. If there was no charging system on the lawnmower the battery could not maintain its charge and the lawnmower would not be able to operate.

The charging system of a lawnmower is comprised of a stator and regulator. Both of these components are required for the charging system to function.

The stator is essentially the alternator of the lawnmower. The stator is located under the flywheel of the lawnmower’s engine and generates its power from the rotating magnets of the flywheel.

A typical stator on a lawnmower engine outputs around 27 to 30 AC volts.

The AC volts generated by the stator need to be converted to DC volts for the lawnmower’s electrical system. This function is handled by the lawnmowers regulator.

The regulator takes the 27 to 30 AC volts being output by the stator and converts it to DC Volts. Once the AC volts are converted to DC Volts the power is then fed back to the battery to keep it charged.

There are some cases where the above-listed issues may not be the cause of a dead battery. Some lawnmowers route the charging circuit through various components such as ignition switches and PTO switches.

If none of the issues above correct the problem check to see if your particular lawnmower routes the charging circuit through one or more components like an ignition switch. The easiest way to determine this is by looking at the lawnmower’s electrical schematic. In most cases, the electrical schematic can be obtained in the owner’s manual.

What keeps draining my Lawnmower Battery?

The battery of a lawnmower needs to be constantly recharged while the lawnmower is in use. If the battery is not being recharged properly it will eventually die.

The biggest drain on the battery of a lawnmower is the electric PTO clutch. Typical PTO clutches draw approximately 4 to 5 amps when engaged.

If the lawnmower’s charging system is not feeding power back to the battery sufficiently the PTO Clutch will drain all the power from the battery.

Do Lawnmowers have Alternators?

Automobiles have alternators to keep their batteries charged but what about lawnmowers?

Lawnmowers do have alternators similar to cars but they are called Stators.

The Stator is the circular copper wound part that is located under the engine’s flywheel. As the flywheel turns its magnets interact with the stators copper windings to generator AC volts. The AC volts are then sent to the engine’s regulator to be converted to DC volts to power the lawnmower’s electrical system and keep the battery charged.

Wrapping Up

The battery of a lawnmower is a critical part of the machine. If the battery is dead or not staying charged the lawnmower is nothing more than a giant paperweight.

The most common causes of a dead lawnmower battery are loose battery cables, dead battery cells, or a non-functioning charging system that is composed of a stator and regulator.

When troubleshooting a dead battery I always start by checking to see if the battery cables are able to be moved by hand. If they can be moved that’s more than likely the cause of the dead battery.

If the cables are tight I use a battery tester to check and see if the battery has a dead cell.

In the case that the battery is testing good I move on to checking the charging system with a voltage meter. Set the voltage meter to AC and check the stator’s output, which should be 27 to 30 AC volts.

If the stator is checking good I move on to the regulator. Set your voltage meter to DC volts and check the output of the regulator. Typically the output of a regulator is 13 to 14.5 DC Volts.

If the battery charging problem is still not corrected you probably have a malfunctioning switch. Typical switches that can cause charging issues are ignition switches and PTO switches.

If you cant pinpoint the source of the problem you may need to take your lawnmower into a service shop.

Have a great day and be careful operating your power equipment.

I have been part of the chainsaw and outdoor power equipment business in one way or the other for over 35 years. There are not many things that I have not seen in the business. From repairs, sales, equipment operation, and safety I can help you with your questions.

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What Battery Cable Size Should I Use?

mower, battery, hooked, wrong

One upgrade RVers and boaters often make is to their battery systems. Whether you’re adding an additional battery or a whole new solar power system, choosing the correct battery cable size for your system is critical. Let’s jump in and talk about why it’s so important to select the right cable size and, more importantly, how to do it!

What Size Wire Is A Battery Cable?

Cables coming directly from your battery are the main artery of your RV electrical system. Since they come directly from the battery, they typically carry more current (measured in amps) than any other cables or wires in your RV. As a result, your battery cable size will need to be rated for the highest current and ultimately the thickest.

What size wire you need for your battery cabling depends on how much power your RV requires. There isn’t one correct answer to this question.

Below we will discuss how to figure out how much power your RV uses and how to use that information to select the proper cable size for your batteries.

mower, battery, hooked, wrong

What is Wire Gauge?

Wire gauge is the measurement of a wire’s diameter or thickness. The US standard for measuring wire gauges is the American Wire Gauge scale, or AWG for short.

In the AWG system, the higher the number of the cable rating, the thinner the wire and, therefore, the less current it can carry.

For example, if you look at the chart below, you will see that 12 AWG, which has a diameter of 2.05 mm, can carry 20-25 amps up to 4 feet. 14 AWG, which has a diameter of 1.62 mm, can only carry 15-20 amps the same distance.

mower, battery, hooked, wrong

Wire Size Requirements: Determining Factors

Thicker wires can carry more current for longer distances. Without getting into the math behind it, the reason for this is that a cable’s resistance increases as its diameter decreases or the length increases.

Therefore, the size cable you need depends on two things: how much current you need to carry and how long your cable runs need to be. This is why the AWG sizing chart lists the different current capacities at various lengths. As the cable length increases, so does the required cable thickness.

Wires have a maximum voltage rating as well. However, since your RV battery cables will only be 12 volts, you do not need to worry about the voltage rating when determining which battery cable size to use.

mower, battery, hooked, wrong

What Happens If The Battery Cable Size Is Too Small?

As we mentioned earlier, thicker wires have lower resistance. Resistance in a wire causes two main things to happen as current passes through it.

Voltage Drop

The first is that a voltage drop occurs. This means that the voltage at the end of the wire is lower than the voltage at the battery. If you have too much drop in voltage, your electronics will not work.

The voltage drop in a wire is calculated using Ohm’s law, V=IR. V is voltage drop, I is the current passing through the wire, and R is the wire’s resistance. As you can see, if you increase the current, the resistance, or both, you will increase your voltage drop.

Resistance in a wire is dependent on both the thickness (the gauge) and the total length of the wire. If you undersize your battery cables, one issue that can occur is an excessive voltage drop that may prevent your electronics from working.

Wires Get Hot

The second thing that happens as current passes through a wire is that heat is generated. Much like voltage drop, more resistance in the wire results in more heat being generated. If wires are undersized, they can get so hot that the casing melts and can cause a fire. Fires are much more catastrophic than too much voltage drop and are the main risk in choosing too small of a battery cable.

RV fires often lead to the complete loss of not only the RV but also its contents. Having wire that is overrated for the amperage helps protect wires from overheating and potentially igniting. While it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to wire gauge, going too big has some drawbacks as well.

What Happens If The Battery Cable Size Is Too Big?

There are three main drawbacks to choosing a battery cable wire gauge that is too big: cost, weight, and ease of use.


Probably the most significant consideration is cost. Thicker wire gauges cost more. If you are only running a few feet of battery cable, the additional cost will be insignificant. As cable runs get longer, cost becomes more of a consideration.

Weight Ease of Use

Similar to cost, as the wire gauge increases, so does the weight. Again, if your cable runs are short, the added weight will be negligible.

The last drawback to using thicker cable is that working with it is more challenging. Trying to bend and manipulate overly thick cabling in an RV’s small cramped compartments is not a fun time.

The drawbacks to oversizing your battery cabling are much less risky than choosing cables that are too small. However, choosing excessively thick cables can add unnecessary cost, weight, and frustration to your project. While it’s smarter and safer to choose too big rather than too small, just picking the thickest cable you can find isn’t a great strategy either.

How Do You Figure Out How Many Amps An RV Will Be Using?

Calculating your current requirements is pretty straightforward. Most appliances and electronics in your RV will have a current and power rating. If all of your electronics run on 12 volts (the same as your battery system), you simply add up the current ratings for each to determine your total current draw.

mower, battery, hooked, wrong

If you have appliances and electronics that run on 120 volts, the same as the power available in your home, you will need an inverter. An inverter converts DC power (from the battery) to AC power (like in your house). The process for calculating your current requirements with an inverter is simple as well.

You first need to add up the total power requirements (in watts) of each appliance in your RV to determine what size inverter you need. For example, if the combined power requirement of all your appliances and electronics is 2,500 watts, you probably want a 3,000-watt inverter.

Once you know your inverter size, the calculation to figure out the current draw is easy. Simply divide the watt rating of the inverter by the input battery voltage. In our example above, you divide 3,000 watts (the inverter rating) by 12 volts (the battery voltage), giving you a maximum current draw of 250 amps.

What Gauge Wire Size Should Be Used For Battery Cables?

Remember that choosing the correct wire gauge for your battery cable size is based on two factors: current and distance.

Now that you know how to calculate your current requirement, you just need to figure out how far you need to run your cables. Remember, shorter is always better. Less cable means less weight and lower cost.

After you know both the cable length and the current, you can quickly look up what size battery cable to use. The wire sizing chart below helps you choose the correct wire gauge for your RV batteries. From this table, it’s easy to see that lower current and shorter distance allow for smaller cables.

mower, battery, hooked, wrong

You’ll also see that as current or distance increases so does the required cable thickness. Reach out to an expert if something becomes confusing; guessing which wire gauge is not the solution to your problem.

Picking The Correct Battery Cable Size

RV battery cables are a small but essential part of a complex and integral system in your RV. Choosing the wrong size battery cable can lead to extra cost, frustration, and potentially even a fire.

However, picking the correct battery cable size for your system doesn’t need to be stressful. Use the tips above or reach out to a Battle Born expert with any questions to help make your RV battery upgrade project a success!

What Keeps Draining My Lawn Mower Battery? Possible Reasons

“What keeps draining my lawn mower battery?” is a question most gardeners have asked in frustration, even when they regularly charge it on time. We understand how frustrating it is to see the battery charging percentage decrease faster than it should.

mower, battery, hooked, wrong

The battery might be draining for several reasons such as poor maintenance, faulty cables, an old charger type, or a defective voltage regulator.

Find out why the mower battery might not hold the charge as needed, along with the easiest possible solutions here.

  • What Factors Keep Draining Your Lawn Mower Battery?
  • – Cables Attached Loosely
  • – Faulty Battery Cables
  • – Battery Needs Maintenance
  • – Accidentally Leaving the Engine Running
  • – Alternator Gone Bad
  • – Faulty Voltage Regulator
  • Mower Is Not Run at Full Throttle
  • – Incorrect Charger
  • – Electronic Drain
  • – Battery Has Gone Bad

What Factors Keep Draining Your Lawn Mower Battery?

The factors that keep draining your lawn mower battery include damaged, loose, or corroded cables, an electronic drain, or cables that are attached loosely. Sometimes, it is as simple as the battery needing some maintenance. Other plausible reasons are faulty alternators, voltage regulators, and battery chargers.

– Cables Attached Loosely

Sometimes, the battery seems to be draining fast by something as simple as loose cables. Mostly, mower batteries are connected to the engine through two main cables. The black one attaches to the negative terminal, while the red one goes with the battery’s positive terminal.

Gain access to your battery first to check if the cables are attached properly. The battery is usually placed in a deck near the handle in push-type mowers. In riding lawnmowers, the battery is located under the seating of the mower.

Once you have access to your battery, follow the cables to the solenoid. Make sure they are securely attached on both ends. Before touching the battery to correct loose connections, turn the ignition switch off and take the key out.

– Faulty Battery Cables

How long has it been since you last took out your battery for inspection and maintenance? The terminals of battery cables often get corroded, draining the battery like nothing else. Turn off the engine, gain access to the battery and check these terminals for yourself.

During the checkup, follow the cables from one end to another to see if they are damaged or corrupted anywhere. In most cases, the terminals get corroded from leaking blue-green fluids. If the positive or the negative cables have been damaged, they might need to be removed.

mower, battery, hooked, wrong

Take the battery out first, making 100 percent sure that the mower engine is turned off. Always remove the negative terminal first to break the circuit, followed by removing the positive terminal. Once the battery is out, you can replace faulty cables with new ones or eliminate corrosion.

A baking soda solution is an effective homemade remedy to eliminate corrosion and clean the battery. Add five or six full teaspoons of baking soda in four cups of distilled water and then use this paste to get rid of the corrosion products formed on the battery terminals.

Battery Needs Maintenance

A lawn mower battery requires regular maintenance just as much as your car, albeit less frequently. Most of the time, the batteries in our mowers are lead-acid. with sulfuric acid as the electrolyte. While using the mower, the battery gets heated and gasses are produced, which eventually decrease the charge-holding capacity of the battery.

The good news is that maintaining a healthy battery is quite straightforward. In a few simple steps carried out carefully, you can easily restore a battery to its former glory.

  • The mower battery needs to be taken out of its case for proper maintenance. Before you do that, ensure you have worn thick rubber gloves, goggles over the eyes, and full-sleeved clothes.
  • Unscrew the locks keeping the battery in its place within the mower, disconnecting the negative terminal and then the positive terminal.
  • Carefully lift the battery and place it on a flat, clean surface. Inspect the battery cells and check the level of fluid present within each. If fluid levels are lower, use distilled water to raise them to the required levels.
  • Sometimes, it’s best to drain the old fluid from each cell and refill it with a brand-new solution. Be careful not to give yourself a burn when removing the lids from the cells and draining the electrolyte into an appropriate container.
  • Clean the battery cells using a DIY baking soda and distilled water cleaning solution. For removing corrosion products, you can use sandpaper with 300 to 400 grit.
  • Make your battery fluid using a saturated Epsom salt and distilled water solution. Use a dropper or a funnel to pour this fluid into each newly cleaned cell.
  • Before placing the battery back in its place, charge it for 24 hours at a rate of two amperes per hour. You will see how improved your battery’s performance becomes after each maintenance session.

– Accidentally Leaving the Engine Running

The lawnmower battery might not be holding a charge for the appropriate amount of time when the engine is not turned off properly. This often happens with mowers that turn on and off using a key. The key to these mowers needs to be turned all the way through and then preferably taken out.

The same goes when you must remember to turn off the lights and leave the engine partially running. This is common even with mowers that turn on and off using buttons. Don’t worry; nobody will judge you for sometimes being forgetful with the mower.

Just be aware that doing this often can cost you the battery life of your precious lawn mower. Whenever you are done cutting grass, always double-check to see that all the lights are off and that the engine is also completely off with the key taken out.

– Alternator Gone Bad

The alternator is an important engine system that keeps the battery charged while the engine is running. If the alternator becomes faulty and damaged, the battery loses charge faster than normal. Lucky for you, it is quite simple to check the condition of a mower’s alternator.

Here is how to check the alternator. Start your mower and turn its lights on, then leaving the lights on, turn the mower’s engine off.

mower, battery, hooked, wrong

If the lights dim once the engine stops, your alternator is in good shape. However, the alternator must be replaced if the light intensity stays the same even after the engine is turned off.

In this case, the battery bears most of the load while not being recharged during work. This constant draining could potentially and permanently damage the battery. It would be best to call in your mechanic and have them replace the alternator right away.

– Faulty Voltage Regulator

When the voltage regulator of the battery stops working, it starts draining charge faster than ever. The voltage regulator’s job is to keep the voltage of the battery constant regardless of fluctuating inputs and outputs.

Most modern lawnmowers keep their battery voltage regulated to 12. while some older designs still run on a six-volt battery. Before you take your mower engine to the mechanic for repair, here is how to ensure the problem lies within the voltage regulator.

  • You will need a multimeter to check whether the voltage regulator is working properly. Set it in voltage reading mode and ignite the lawnmower’s engine.
  • Turn the ignition key partially, so the lights are on before connecting the multimeter to the battery.
  • The positive terminal of the multimeter is to be attached to the battery’s positive terminal.
  • Next, attach the multimeter’s negative terminal to the battery’s negative terminal.
  • The reading on the multimeter’s screen should read somewhere between 13.8 to 14.5 volts in the case of a standard 12 volts battery. Your voltage regulator must be fixed if the readings are out of this range.

– Mower Is Not Run at Full Throttle

How many of us think riding lawnmowers lower than full throttle is good for our mowers? Many people are guilty of thinking this, even though it is completely wrong. Mowers are designed to be used at full throttle, and not doing so starts draining the battery.

The battery must recharge properly when the motor is not rotating at its prescribed RPM, so do not hesitate to put your foot down and use the mower at its full potential. This is what this machine was built for and how it functions properly. It would also make your job so much easier because the mower will now be able to cut grass faster and quicker.

– Incorrect Charger

When the charger of your electronic lawn tractor mower is faulty, it will not be able to charge the battery fully. It will begin doing the opposite and draining the battery instead.

This happens mostly when the charger is of the old type that is not automatic or is without a voltage regulator. If you are not cautious with this type of charger, you will end up overcharging the battery of each type. When the battery is overcharged again and again, it will lose its ability to hold a charge and will begin to drain faster than ever.

mower, battery, hooked, wrong

Fortunately, this is the one condition with the easiest fix. Throw away this old charger and buy a new one. Only this time, the new charger needs to be automatic so that as soon as the battery is recharged, it shuts down automatically.

The charger needs to have the option of being put on slow trickle charging. Fast chargers are all the rage, but they harm the battery. Your charger needs to be adjusted to slow settings so it can charge the battery in 24 hours.

– Electronic Drain

Unbeknownst to you, your battery might be suffering from a parasitic electronic drain that keeps eating all of its charges up. so even when you have turned the engine off and parked the mower for the day, some parts of the engine keep draining the battery.

A parasitic electronic drain is notoriously difficult to diagnose and might soon lead to a dead lawnmower battery if not treated on time. If you have exhausted all other possible causes of a draining battery, you must consider this one seriously.

One way to test for a parasitic drain is to set the multimeter to ammeter mode and then connect it to both terminals of the battery. Make sure that the engine is turned off while you do this. The only way to resolve this problem is to take the mower to a mechanic or the manufacturer for complete top-to-bottom fixing.

– Battery Has Gone Bad

If the battery refuses to charge beyond 12 volts even after charging for several hours, it has simply outlived its lifespan. This is inevitable if the battery is several years old and has not been well maintained.

mower, battery, hooked, wrong

Still, charge this battery with a trickle charger for a day to ensure it is dead. Afterward, turn the ignition key and the spark plug off, and disconnect the cables attached to the battery. The black one is always removed before the red one breaks the circuit properly.

Take the old battery to the store and buy a new one. Most stores will give you a good discount for depositing the old battery even if it is completely dead. You get to save upto 15 to 25, which is a good deal.


You have finally reached the end of this comprehensive guide on why mower batteries drain so often.

We have discussed a lot of possible reasons on why your mower’s battery keeps draining, so here are some key points you need to remember as we conclude tihs guide.

  • The most common factor that keeps draining your battery is cables that are broken, corrupted, or not attached properly.
  • In the case of a lead-acid type of battery, you should improve its fluid level by adding distilled water.
  • If the engine’s voltage regulator or the alternator is defective, get it fixed by a professional to keep the battery charged.
  • Not using the mower at full throttle drains the battery’s charge and is not recommended to be done frequently.

Every time you face the problem of a battery draining too rapidly, think back on this list to diagnose the root cause of the problem. We are confident that you will not only be able to figure out the cause, but also fix it in no time!

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