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jamis last won the day on July 19

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  1. I mowed today for 1.3 hours by the meter, 81 minutes by my phone, used 3.7 volts of the available charge, with 2 bars out on the BLM, and 82% of the charge left. The recharge took 2,380 watts and 4 hours to complete. Cost was $0.31 at my $0.13 per kilowatt hour cost.
  2. One of things I've learned is these batteries seem to get "lazy" (for the lack of a better term) when they are not used. During winter storage, the batteries in my mower have required maintenance charges more often as time goes by, but the charges are smaller in wattage. Then when the mowing season begins, the first few runs seem to use more charge than normal. However, once usage gets into the normal rhythm of mowing every 4 or 5 days, the batteries return to their normal performance. Indeed, this year with all of the rain we've had (the area is almost 9" over norm), the batteries are performing better than previous years.
  3. Gotta brag. We have been inundated with rain for the last couple of weeks and mowing has become a task to get done between storms. I recently mowed two 10,000 sq.ft. lawns and the 16,000 sq.ft. lot next door on a single charge. Total run time was 2.3 hours and I mowed until the deck motors shutdown. When I got back to the charger, the BLM was at one red bar, 9% available, and 42.2 volts. Beginning voltage was 51.5 volts. Also, since the hour meter has been 7% understated, the actual run time was 2.5 hours. Not bad for a 35 month old mower with 97 hours of run time and 195 charge cycles that is supposed to run for up to 2 hours. The recharge consumed 4,050 watts, which cost me $0.53 in electricity and took 9 hours to complete.
  4. So far, the BLM mod has shown me that the bars out is directly related to the percentage left. 0 - 9% = 0 bars out, 10 - 19% = 1 bar out, and so on. I still can't figure out how the meter calculates the percentage remaining. I can't correlate time, voltage, temperature, recharge watts, ground speed, or mowing conditions to percentage. What I can determine is that charge usage is highly variable based on several factors, so I can mow the same sq.ft. and get different readouts on the BLM.
  5. For those out there that are modifying the BLM to display volts, %, and hours run; be prepared to be confused unless you are an electrical engineer. After four mows with the mod., I still can't equate usage to how much battery charge is used with each use. However, I mowed today for 1.6 hours, used 2.8 volts of the available charge, and the BLM showed 78% left with 3 bars out. Last week, I mowed the same 26,000 sq.ft. of lawn for 1.4 hours, used 4.7 volts of the available charge, and the BLM showed 58% left with 5 bars out. Confusing, but given the mower is 35 months old with 137 mows, 97 hours of use, and 193 charge cycles, it still mows as well as it did new. The RM480e is supposed to be good for two hours of run time and mine just did 1.6 hours with waaaay more than half of the available charge left.
  6. The last time I looked, the Trojan lithium batteries that would fit were out of stock and incredibly expensive compared to the SLA/AGM batteries (like by a factor of four). The Leoch LPC12 batteries are NOT proprietary as they are used in wind farms, solar arrays, golf carts, UPS installations, and mobility devices. The batteries supplied in these mowers are SLA/AGM industrial grade batteries. In addition, the electronics in these mowers will NOT work with lithium technology. It's been stated so by Ryobi and someone who tried it. You would have to change all of the controllers/processors in the mower and get a new charger. The supplied batteries in these mowers are rated to do 1,500 - 1,700 charge cycles. By comparison, the lithium batteries in the new Ego 42" zero turn rider are rated by Ego for 1,000 charges. Tesla stated back in March that the current batteries in their cars are rated for about 1,600 charge cycles. HD is now selling Mightymax SLA/AGM batteries in group 24 and 31 case sizes which will fit in these mowers. I'm trying to get Mightymax to state the charge cycle counts for these batteries. Leoch has a new model (LDC12) of SLA/AGM batteries out that are rated for 1,700 - 2,000 charge cycles.
  7. For nearly three years, I've been trying to figure out how the Battery Level Meter works with no help from Ryobi and I hope this meter mod will provide the additional data to accomplish that. I've been recording volts used, time mowed, bars out, recharge watts, and turf conditions plugged into a spreadsheet to reverse engineer how the meter decides when to turn a bar LED off. So far, I can link nothing, or see a pattern to things.
  8. The switch is a Normally Open, miniature push button switch. I got mine from my neighbor who is an electronics maven, who bought them off of the internet. He is my neighborhood Radio Shack, which is where I would have gone if we had any of those stores left around here. The electrical values are of little importance as there is no measurable current between the ground lug and the one used for cycling the meter. I measured things with a digital VOM before I attempted the project. Literally, any miniature switch you can find that fits in a 1/4" hole will be sufficient.
  9. Here's a picture of my modified BLM meter. The console on my mower was held down with seven screws and I figured the one between the key switch and meter was not really needed as newer mowers don't have that screw. The screw hole was exactly the right size for the miniature push button switch I used per the video. I've only used it for three mows so far, but it works really well. The meter defaults to hours every time you switch the key on though.
  10. Ryobi has the BLM set up to show only the hours run. There are at least three different versions of the meter on the RM480s. One version has a mode button on the back of the meter that switches between the three modes. Another version has no button, but has an unused lug on the back of the meter that can be shorted to the ground lug to switch modes. A third version does not have the three mode lights on the face of the meter and I'm not sure if it can be modified to switch modes. There is a YouTube video that shows how to modify the meter with the three mode lights so you can use a NO momentary switch button to cycle through the modes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ny5R9DvjkCk
  11. Remember that the system will not let the Depth Of Discharge (DOD) exceed about 30% (down to 36 volts) before it shuts the mower down. So if you run the charge down to 50% on the meter, the real DOD is about 15%.
  12. This 100%/70% display is a common issue with the Ryobi ZTs. Contact Ryobi at the number on the label under the seat. Also have the model number, manufacturer number, and the serial number from the label handy when you finally get through to a support person. Some users have had their meters replaced under warranty, with mixed results. The Ryobi instrumentation on their mowers has been sketchy since they came out. Better instrumentation would have driven the cost up, so we live with it. I have been measuring the pack voltage at the beginning and end of each usage ever since I discovered the weakness in the meter. The bottom two contacts in the charging port are positive and negative. I started using a digital volt meter, and switched to an onboard volt meter plugged into the charging port, and just modified the meter on my RM480e to display volts, percentage remaining, and hours. The beginning voltage should be above 52 volts at the end of the charging cycle, but the batteries will self discharge a bit just sitting. After nearly three years, my batteries will be around 51 volts a week after a full charge cycle.
  13. Great news Kurt. Hopefully it's fixed and you have good performanc with it for a long time. Today, I ran my RM480e longer than I ever have in the 35 months I've owned it. I mowed for 1.5 hours non-stop, used 4.7 volts of the pack and the meter showed 42% of the charge used. Not bad for a mower that's almost 3 years old and supposed to run for 2 hours.
  14. I was just reviewing the Ryobi Troubleshooting manual for these mowers and there is nothing in the manual concerning testing the battery pack. The procedures start with testing the main fuse and continues on through the remainder of the system and its components. I have no idea why (and I don't expect Ryobi to explain it) the battery pack is left out of the process, but over the years, the preponderance of problems reported publicly have been with reduced run times and there is nothing in the manual to address it. Probably why the service centers don't know what to do with it. There are four RM480s on my street of 16 homes with a fifth coming and the nearby (1.5 miles) service center hasn't touched one since they came out in 2017. A failing battery can fully charge and then quickly discharge under load and cause reduced run times until it fails completely and leaves the mower immobile. Anyway, the first step to do if your run time has degraded is the following: 1. Pull the battery tray per the steps outlined in the owner's manual and don't forget to disconnect the thin black thermister wire at the back of the pack prior to pulling the tray out. You will need an 11 1/2" high support capable of supporting 200+ pounds. 2. Disconnect all battery wiring from the batteries recording how they were connected. 3. Individually charge the batteries with an automotive style 12 volt charger, preferably one with a deep cycle setting. Pay attention to the charge times as a failing battery can take longer to reach full charge. 4. Load test each fully charged battery. I took mine to a local battery shop for this. 5. If all test good, go on to other test procedures. If one or more test bad, call Ryobi for assistance in sourcing replacements. Don't forget to have all of the numbers on the label under the seat handy for reference to the support person.
  15. AFAIK, the AUX position of the key switch has never worked on these mowers. According to the troubleshooting manual and my mower, there is nothing connected to the AUX lug on the bottom of the switch. Run time is going to be affected by the ability of all of the batteries to hold a charge under load. It only takes one of the four batteries to bring the system down. Since the system shuts down when the pack voltage drops to 36 volts, if one battery fails to hold a charge under load, you can see reduced run times. Therefore, measuring the voltage at the beginning and the end of any usage will help you understand what's going on. My 34 month old batteries can sit for a week or more without needing a maintenance charge this summer, but they will still mow for over an hour and a half before getting into the red zone. My batteries have 195 charge cycles on them also. It's really too bad Ryobi decided not to utilize the voltage and percentage functions of the BLM. The information would be most useful for owners.
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