In which Rocketeer's troubleshooting skills are not in evidence

This afternoon I got out the lawn tractor to mow the lawn. Everything went well, until I stopped to cut some blackberry vines. The engine died while I was nipping vines. Hop back on the tractor, turn the ignition key, nothing. Oops.
It felt like a dead battery to me. On a car, when the engine dies and then won’t crank, I usually suspect the charging system; that is, the engine runs until the battery dies, because the charging system isn’t charging the battery as you drive.
So I spent an hour and a half dicking around trying to confirm that. I pulled the battery and put it on the charger; I spent some time locating and checking a master fuse; I did this and that. Finally I figured the thing to do was to get it running and then check the voltage across the battery; 13.5 volts or higher would indicate that the charging system was okay.
The battery charger indicated that the battery was fully charged. Odd; it’d only been on the charger for half an hour or so. So I put it back in, hoping to start the engine and do my charging system check.
Turn the key, nothing happens. I’m sitting there, confounded, and then I notice the lever that engages the mower blades is in the Engage position.
I put it in the Disengage position, turn the key, fires right up.
A safety interlock to prevent you from starting the mower with the blades engaged. Arrrrrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhhhh:smack::smack::smack:

I guess you’ve already bypassed the seat interlock?

Most people do. It’s by far the most irritating.

They’ve even added crap like this to cars. My mom’s car won’t start unless her foot is pressing the brake pedal.

The mower blade interlock is a good idea.

At least you figured it out before loading it on a trailer and hauling it to the small engine repair place. You only wasted an hour or so.

I spent more time then I should have wrestling with a key that wouldn’t come out of the ignition.

Has has been true for almost as long as I’ve been driving, the automatic transmission must be in Park before you can take the key out.

Been there, done that. Sadly, more than once.

Once I joined up with my parents to take an out of town vacation. This was about 20,25 years ago.

We had breakfast in the hotel on my last day. My parents were going to drive me to the airport afterwards.

It was cold out that morning so my dad went out to start the car to warm it up. He came back and reported that it wouldn’t start. I went out, opened the car door, leaned in and tried it myself. Yep, it wouldn’t start.

We started freaking out. We decided I’d take a cab to the airport so I wouldn’t miss my flight. Luckily, my dad called the rental car company before I left. The person at the rental company asked us a few questions then gently reminded us that this particular car wouldn’t start unless the brake pedal was depressed when the key was turned.

Which is something we always did without thinking about. But our “starting the car to warm it” routine consisted of opening the door and leaning in without ever getting in the car.

Many, many years ago, I learned a valuable lesson. I was taking my RV out to the lake where my brother had his cabin. I didn’t take the car, because my wife needed it. The RV typically sat all winter with the battery disconnected so it would still be viable in the spring. The lake was about 170 miles from Anchorage, and by the time I made the turnoff, the coffee was telling me it wanted out. So I pulled into a wide spot, shut off the engine and took care of business.

Got back in, turned the key. . .nothing. Tried again. . .nothing. WTF? Popped the hood, checked the distributor wire and battery cables. . .nothing. So here I am in the middle of nowhere, where there is almost no traffic, wondering what to do. Meanwhile, my brother had come to the near shore in his boat, expecting to meet me. After waiting awhile, he heads down the road and finds me sitting there. I told him what was going on, he pulls out his Gerber tool, pulls the negative connector off the battery, and says “Come here, dummy.” He points to the corroded battery post, scrapes at it with his knife, reconnects it and says “Now try it.” Vroom. I felt like an idiot, and he never let me forget it.

Guess what the first thing I do in the spring is now?

Yeah, I had a lot of trouble with corroded battery posts on a '41 Plymouth I owned once, so that’s always on my suspect list.
The lawn tractor battery spends the winter in the garage with a smart battery charger (Battery Tender Jr) hooked to it, warm and cozy while the tractor sits out in the carport.

Call your brother? :smiley: