I want real headlights for my lawn tractor

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by Videoking, May 28, 2013.

  1. Videoking

    Thread Starter New Member

    May 28, 2013
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    My Craftsman lawn tractor has a poor excuse for headlights - a couple of 1156 bulbs that vary in brightness with the engine speed. I happened to have a couple of halogen fog lamps sitting on the shelf. So I installed them in place of the 1156 bulbs, but haven't connected them as yet. To power these brighter lights, I thinking of running a separate circuit connected to a second smaller battery - a motorcycle battery. However, I'm wondering if the power that was going to the previous 1156 bulbs (I assume a magneto) could now be directed to charge the second battery. If so, what do I need in the circuit to make the current flow in one direction only from the magneto to the second battery?

    Am I wrong about that being a magneto? I don't know what else would cause the power delivery to vary with engine speed.

    Yes I know. I'm not supposed to be cutting my grass after dark, but the reality is that I end up cutting the grass late into dusk. ;)
     
  2. ramancini8

    Member

    Jul 18, 2012
    442
    118
    An alternator or generator without a working regulator delivers power dependent on motor speed. You don't tell enough about the tractor to let us help you. Model, year, starter mechanism, regulator, etc. The Sears electrical diagram for the tractor is needed.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2013
  3. Videoking

    Thread Starter New Member

    May 28, 2013
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    0
    Thanks for responding. I don't have the schematic handy, but I will get it.
     
  4. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    I think a better overall strategy would be to just make sure the system can handle the new bulbs. It could be as simple as ... nothing. Maybe it will work fine as-is. Maybe you just need a beefier battery, not a second one. The bottom line is that if your bulbs draw more power than your charging system can keep up with, you'll draw down the battery.
     
  5. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    The following is a retrofit LED for the 1156 socket. This one is designed as a spot light instead of an omni-directional light. It only requires 4 watts so it won't load down your charging system.

    The stats on the Cree LED (80 lumens/watt) gives you about the same total lumens as an 1156 bulb but will appear about 4x brighter because LEDs are directional - not spherical like incandescent.

    eBay
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2013
  6. bountyhunter

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    I think 1156 bulbs are ballpark 15W each, so you could run a single car low beam on that power budget. get a halogen H6024, pretty bright.
     
    GopherT likes this.
  7. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    General Electric rates them at 27 watts on 13 volt power supply (automotive charging system). So 2 x 27 hits the magic 55 watts for a single headlight. Good idea!
     
  8. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,087
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    As for the power budget, many Craftsman tractors show (in the owner's manual) a charging system capacity of 8A, 5A for the lights and 3A for the battery. So a single auto headlight should be fine. Two might be a strain on the charging system, depending how it's designed, but would probably work as long as it's not continuous duty for long periods.
     
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