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Test starter by using jumper cables from negative pay on battery to a good ground (bare metal on the frame somewhere) and positive post to starter post ( should be a thick red wire attached to starter post. Be careful because the starter will turn bypassing all safeties. You should have the key off, parking brake on, blades disconnected. If starter turns, starter is good.
the battery is just probably low,, make sure it has a full 12 volts or better, check to make sure the battery posts are clean and making good contact ,,, riding mowers charge slowly, and if the current can't charge the battery , then the mower is just draining it as you run it, hitting a large clump of grass could stall out the motor, But I doubt it Blew it up,,
check those items ,,
With the key in the run position, using a jumper cable, jump from the positive post on battery to terminal on starter motor. If it runs you have a solenoid or ignition switch problem. (assuming all electrical connections are clean). If it doesn't crank the battery is the culprit.
The frame of the tractor is the same thing that starter grounds to,so yes ,put the ground any where on the frame or engine block to test the starter.An easier way to test everything is to cross over the large posts on the solenoid with a screwdriver and if it turns then the starter is not the problem.Then you will need to put power from the post on the solenoid that has the battery positive connected to it ,to the post on the solenoid that should come live with the key,if it starts then then you likely need an ignition switch if not you need the solenoid.
It sounds like either the battery has failed and no longer has enough power in it or else the battery ground wire, or power wire have become disconnected, the easiest way totest the battery is to run jumpers from the battery posts to the headlights (it does not matter which wire connects where as long as all other wires are removed from the lights)and see if the light, light up and if so how bright, if it does not the battery is not holding a charge and will have to be tested to find out if it is bad or the charging system on the tractor is bad, If they light then the next thing is to connect jumper cables from the battery to the starter solonoid and ground, following color code (positive to positive, negative to negative)and then try to start it, if it does there is a break or something is disconnected between the battery and the starter solonoid. If it does not start then most likely the starter is in need of replacement. Hope This Helps Don
check the wires from the back of the ignition and also the small wire that connects to the starter, if you get a 12v test light check each wire individually by holding the test light on the wire and have somebody turn the key, the test light should come on if the power is going through the wire.
If there is no power the ignition may need replacing