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Craftsman Riding Mower Won't Hold a Charge

I have a Craftsman riding mower. Every time I use it after about 15 minutes of cutting, it cuts off. It drains the battery which I then have to recharge. I have replaced the battery, ignition switch, had the starter rebuilt, solenoid switch replaced, and seat wiring. Any suggestions?



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June 7, 20151 found this helpful

Check the part called "Protection Wire Loop". This nothing more than a diode that allows the stator (from your starter unless your model has a full blown alternator) to send one half of the a/c electrical signal (IE: just the positive part of the the alternating current (a/c) sign-wave) back to the battery to charge it. It's a simple way for getting "dc" voltage from an ac source and therefore recharging the battery. IF the diode is bad the battery can't be recharged.

Look at a wiring diagram for your mower and it will probably be labeled something like "Charging System Output." It may even state the rating - IE: 3 Amp @ 3600 RPM.

It's a cheap (maybe as little as 10 cents) part at Radio Shack or order one online for a few bucks. It's an easy cheap thing to check for a fix. My diode had a part number of 1N5404. Hope that helps. Good luck.

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September 12, 20160 found this helpful

Would a bad diode also explain the stalling?

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November 14, 20160 found this helpful

I believe I have a ranchero by MTD, it won't hold a charge on the battery while it's running.

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June 10, 20150 found this helpful

In my previous answer I thought they were using the stator from the starter. This is incorrect. The stator is part of the overhead flywheel assy. However, the diode issue is still likely the problem. The diode on my mower was located in the wire harness on the right side at the back of the engine. Trace the wire coming from under the left side of the flywheel around the back of the engine. Begin to open the wire harness just before it joins into the main harness.


You will find the diode spliced into a wire. The diode starts the split so that one wire (the continuous one) runs the lights and the diode goes to recharging the battery. The diode will likely be broken and literally fall apart.

I apologize for the misinformation. I'm surprised ThriftyFun does not allow for editing ones own post. Hope that corrected information helps someone.

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February 19, 20180 found this helpful

To stop the battery from discharging when not in use install a toggle switch on the ground wire of the battery negative post and turn the switch off when mower is not in use

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July 19, 20171 found this helpful

Hi NS, I believe you will find that your alternator is not keeping the battery charged as it discharges. For example, the electro-mechanical clutch used to engage the mowing blades consumes roughly 3 to 5 amps when engaged. As the battery voltage drops, there isn't enough electrical power to hold the electronic fuel shutoff solenoid. The solenoid will then close and block fuel from entering the engine. If you have headlights running with 1156 bulbs, which draw 28 watts x 2. To round it off, lets call it 60 watts. 60 divided buy 12 (volts) is roughly a 5 amp draw. A fully charged battery has the capacity of 12.67 (2.12 amps per cell) generally have a 25 amp hour rating.


If the amperage draw causes the battery to under 10 volts, the fuel solenoid no longer has enough volts to keep it open after roughly 30 minutes or less when you factor in a 75 amp draw to start the engine. So, to verify, using a voltmeter, start the engine and run it about half throttle or more and take the voltage reading at the battery terminals. If charging properly the voltage should 13.6-14.2 volts. if it is staying at 12 volts, the most likely reason is a defective voltage regulator or a bad connection in the red wire exiting the voltage regulator. Unplug all connectors of that red wire and clean them and if the unit is still not charging, replace the regulator. Hope this helps!
Kevins Small Engine 03908

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