Bass on Bass

Saturday, April 29, 2017

My Old / Newer SLA battery Rotary Mower Love


    This is what my Neuton CE-5 14" 24 volt cordless electric mower looks like. Neuton says it's the quietest on the market and I have no evidence to the contrary after 15 years of using this and prior to it the same size and battery pack Neuton EM 4.1 mower. It sells as a 2 in 1 mower. As seen it is in bagging mode but it comes with a mulching plug that inserts in the back of the mower  with the bag removed. It can also do side discharge operation with the separately available chute that is mountable in place of the bag as well.
   One advantage of this and their CE-6 19" 36 v mower is that they use Sealed Lead Acid batteries. That's what your cars and trucks have but these are in use removable /replaceable battery packs that contain 2 (24v) or 3 (36v) 12 volt standard scooter batteries. A simple fact of rechargable batteries is that the devices they are used in ALWAYS outlive the batteries by 2-5 times. These SLA packs, unlike the more common today Lithium battery packs in cordless yard equipment, can be rebuilt with new 12v batteries. A replacement pack for my CE-5 costs in the $100 range but the replacement 12v batteries to rebuild one can be bought for as little as $18 ea. quite often from a wide array of on-line and local bricks and mortar vendors. I have accumulated 4 packs. 

An EM 4.1 like mine

Neuton CE-6 

      Another advantage of the Neuton mowers is that the new Neutons have a battery status meter on the top of the handle. It's a simple 3 zone analog meter with red, yellow, and green zones. All else being equal simpler is almost always better. 
    Speaking of simpler, That battery rebuild for the Neutons is BY far the simplest of all of the available SLA battery powered mowers on the market. The video below is about the CE-6 packs but the CE-5 packs are identical but for 2 vs 3 batteries enclosed. It takes me ~ 10 minutes start to finish when I have everything in front of me for the task. 

     The battery chargers are an issue these days however.  My EM 4.1 came with a "dumb" charger 14 years ago. As I said the CE-5 uses the same battery pack. A "dumb" charger is one that has NO auto-shutoff at full battery charge. For a few years after the CE series came out Neuton shipped "smart" chargers with the auto-shutoff feature but reverted back to "dumb" ones by the time I bought my CE-5. I bought one of the "smart" ones back when they were carried by Neuton. Why is that a big deal you may ask. Simply put overcharging ANY rechargeable battery wreaks havoc on available runtime and lifespan of the battery. "Smart" chargers don't let that happen and "dumb" ones do.
    This is a source for a smart charger usable with a 24v Neuton mower.  They sell 36v models too that are good for the 19" CE-6. Note: you need the ones with the "Axial" battery pack connector. 1  to 1.6 Amp models should suffice. See the "This is an automatic battery charger which stops charging and goes into float mode when the charging cycle is complete to prevent overcharging" In the product description that defines them as "smart".


Willyvon1 said...

Neuton's DUMB chargers:
This is the text of my last e-mail communication with Neuton tech support prior to a replay by me that was just a share of this blog post:
Neuton Mower ownership entails a tether of the owner to your battery charger ENTIRELY because your company has chosen a head in the sand attitude toward one and only one charger supplier who for unknown reason stopped making an auto-shutoff battery charger. NO alternative source was pursued when many exist and WE Neuton owners are IGNORED on this matter! Great way to pursue demise of the product! No other explanation seems logical to anyone with ANY engineering background!

Willyvon1 said...

The battery status meter:
In use one is well advised to keep an eye on this mater. When the meter pointer is sitting at the edge of the "Red" zone and tripping into it under heavier load it's time to swap battery pack. As I alluded to, having that spare battery pack is EXACTLY like having a gas can to refill the tank of a gas mower. Also it is best to run the battery down to the state I just mentioned as all rechargeable batteries provide best performance, runtime and lifespan when they are routinely run to optimal full discharge AND NOT BEYOND and charged to optimal full charge AND NOT BEYOND in each charge / discharge cycle.