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A few days ago I purchased a Toro 22" Recycler mower to replace a 15 year old Toro that finally couldn't be revived this season. My question is about the self-start feature (BTW, I love it!)

The manual states that after the initial 24 hr charge (which I've done) to charge the battery monthly (every 25 starts). Well, these aren't quite equivalent for me, i can restart 10 or 12 times during one mowing of my lawn. So my questions are:

1) How do I tell when the battery needs charging -- is it as simple as "when it won't turn the engine over?"

2) Will the battery be harmed if I charge it too frequently, say just plugging it in the night before I'm going to use it? Or should I always let it "run down" before I recharge it?

3) Can it be accidently overcharged it I neglect to unplug it?

4) How long might it be before it will no longer hold a charge?

I'm just remembering the early days of rechargeable hand tools when you could either damage or shorten the life of batteries if you didn't follow certain exact procedures...also, I'm asking this in the general forum -- even though I'm speaking about a specific brand the questions themselves seem pretty generic.

Thanks!
 

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Lot of those questions depend on the type of battery and charger it uses. Some chargers will protect against over charge and others will not. Generally it is bad to let a battery go completely dead. But as in the case of the old ni-cads you could also develop a "memory" if you did not run them clear down on occasion.

It does sound like by the manual that you should really only charge it when it starts to get sluggish but not leave it plugged in any longer then needed to get it back up to full charge. Probably going to be one of those things where your going to have to play with it until you get a routine setup of knowing when and how long to leave it plugged in judging by how sluggish it appeared the last time you started it.
 

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One thing you could look into if you wanted to is a Battery Tender. They are different than your normal charger in the way that they charge the battery up to a certain point, and hold it at that constant rate. Unlike a regular charger, it does this without over charging it and putting a constant load of stress on the battery, yet always keeps it at a "fresh" ready to go rate that will extend the life of the battery and not ever let it go dead.
 
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