Redneck Battery Lifter

by Ben N on May 16, 2013


I found myself today to be terribly frustrated. That is, until I took the Redneck approach to battery upgrades!

Spring is finally here and the grass is growing…. FAST!

Last week, I mowed, and could tell that my old electric riding lawn mower battery pack was getting old. I couldn’t mow for more than 15 minutes at a time, and my lawn takes about an hour of mowing total.

Checking with my volt meter, I could tell that one of the batteries was REALLY bad, with two others being merely bad.

I do have some other batteries around from various projects, and although they aren’t quite the same size, will work much better than the bad ones.

The only trouble is that I had NO WAY to pull the batteries out.

Oh sure, the first one wasn’t so bad. Disconnect the power, remove the cables, and lift straight up on the handle. Boom, battery is out!

However, on two of the FRONT batteries, they had no handles! The size of those batteries is just perfect to fit cross-wise inside the lawn mower. The handles are mounted on a tab that EXTENDS width-wise BEYOND the edge of the batteries. So to originally fit them in, I had to hack off the battery handle tabs.

Which makes it easy to get the batteries in, and NOT so easy to get them back out. Besides the lack of handles, there was NO spare room on either side of the batteries. I had a little room front to back to work with, but there was nothing to grip with my fingers.

This is EXACTLY what a BATTERY LIFTER is designed for. Too bad I don’t have one. I thought I had one. I was SURE I had one. Maybe I lost it, maybe I never owned on in the first place, but I sure as heck couldn’t find it today.

So that’s when I have to start getting creative. I looked at the battery to see if there was someplace OTHER than the sides to get a grip. Sure enough, there was – the battery posts themselves. Flooded Marine batteries usually have both automotive-style AND threaded posts.

If I could connect some sort of handle to the threaded posts and hold it down with a nut, I could then pull the batteries right up!

I went behind the seat in my truck (where I have all sorts of tie-downs, bungie-cords, and straps) and found some heavy cord. It would be thin enough to tie around the posts, but strong enough to lift the battery.

I tied a half-knot around each post and then put a large washer and nut over it and tightened them down. I gently lifted the battery straight up, until I could get a real grip on it and properly carry it with both hands.

Wow, mark that one up to working WAY BETTER than I thought it would! The rope did NOT slip off and I did NOT drop it on my toes! WIN!

After that, it was pretty easy to install the new batteries and cable them up.

I was able to mow part of the lawn tonight before it got dark, and it felt like the mower was powering along much better. Checking my voltage afterwards, the individual batteries were all higher than the old ones would have been. I put the mower back on charge so that tomorrow I can finish the lawn.

So, I wouldn’t recommend general carrying of batteries this way, as it might be stressful on the posts, but it sure worked great in a pinch!


PS: Please don’t use steel aircraft cable for this little trick. Think about it.

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