Recent activity with batteries in my several Model "T's and one Model A, prompts a question:
Is it true, or just sorta' an "ol' wive's tale" that a battery should not be left for any length of time on a concrete floor?
I have a couple extra batteries, one 6-volt and one 12-volt, that I am charging up (and plan on maintaining for an extended period with good quality battery tenders) and leaving them on the concrete floor of my carport storage shed, however, it isn't any more trouble to lay a couple short 2"x4"s down first for the batteries to set on, but in doing so, I have to wonder if that's really necessary or not. Certainly won't hurt, but just curious if it REALLY makes any difference, and if so, why......??? Thanks,......harold
It has always been nonsense. People believe that if someone said something it is true. This is not the case. A nasty, persistent old wives tale.
I am not so sure about it being an old wives tale. It is certainly not true with respect to modern batteries that have plastic cases but the older batteries with the tar tops were not supposed to be left on concrete. The battery dealers kept them off the ground but do not bother to do that today.
Don't forget the that the old cases were hard rubber (?) and it may have been true for them.
Both the old hard rubber cases as well as the newer plastic cases are excellent insulators so I'm not buying the "ol' wives tale" either.
The worst thing you can do to a battery is to allow it to sit while discharged. This will make it sulphate in short order.
Remember to that a lead acid wet battery will self discharge at 5 to 10% a month and as the battery discharges sulphation increases. Store a battery without a trickle charger and it will loose considerable capacity in just a year (maybe sooner if its in a warm climate).
In the "OLD DAYS" batteries had glass separator plates.
If you set one down too quickly on concrete you could easily break a glass separator and in a few days you'd have a dead battery.
If setting batteries on concrete causes them to go dead isn't an old wives tale he it is just a BS story.
I let a new group 24 battery set on concrete under a work bench for 6 months and when I pulled it out and set it in a '57 Chev V8 the car turned over good and started. The battery lasted just fine after that.
I have read a couple of times from instructions that came with a new battery that if it will be for stationary use it would be best if the battery could be encased in concrete.
Scientifically how can concrete make a battery go dead?
I have one stubborn customer that has about 15 cars. I work on them at his place.
He always sets the batteries on the chairs.
The first couple of years I did work for him the asses got eaten out of some of my coveralls.
Now I have taken steel folding chairs to his shop and with black ink marker I wrote, "NO___Batteries" on them. I couldn't find concrete chairs!
It always peed me off as there was NEVER A PLACE TO SIT in the whole shop.
I did not read the article posted by Joe before I did the above post.
I always wondered, if a concrete floor could run down a battery, why wouldn't a steel battery mount run one down? It seems to me that the steel would be more "conductive" than concrete. I put that tale right up there with the 200 MPG carbs in the fifties up through the eighties that the oil companies kept buying up, and the railcars full of (insert favorite brand)cars that were left on an abandoned siding somewhere in the "boonies" that were found years later. I have been hearing these stories for sixty years. I'm sure there are more, but I don't recall them now. JMHO Dave
Most batteries discharge by gradually shorting through the muck that accumulates through the charging and discharging process on the top of the battery. Keep the top clean and there is minimal loss of cranking power over time. I've set batteries on the concrete garage floor many times and always had them hold plenty of power if the tops were kept clean. I never take my batteries out of any of my vehicles or "toys". Just charge them every 3 months in storage to keep them fresh and never had a problem when it came time to start up and drive or play.
"Most batteries discharge by gradually shorting through the muck that accumulates through the charging and discharging process on the top of the battery."
You know I've always wondered about that. My grandfather had a 56 Buick and every morning he would go out and wipe the top of the battery. If I remember right, the original battery lasted some 15 years. The family was taking bets as to when gramps would have to buy a new battery.
Thanks for that observation Kevin, we all thought gramps was nuts. ;o)
Well my goodness - THERE IS HOPE. Thankfully nobody in the above thread is buying into the wood block necessity. I agree one should keep the battery top clean but I kinda question the loss of 5 to 10 percent of the charge in a month. I think this may be what is measured in a modern car sitting for a month but that has nothing to do with the battery itself but rather that there is a somewhat large "parasitic drain" on the battery from all of the electronic devices that have memory that needs to be kept refreshed. Now that drain could cause a higher loss for sure. I leave the battery in my T all winter (about mid November till first warm day in May) and it does not go dead and it is well over 10 years old at this time. It has never been deeply discharged like with something left on or brake light stuck. Deeply discharging a car battery to total dead takes serious life out of it but if you can prevent that from ever happening you can get a very long life out of tractor supply el cheapo batteries when used in a Model T especially if the T runs on mag and has a gentle charging system that doesn't overcharge the battery. I am proud of you guys spreading the truth about batteries since in general there is more BS about batteries and their chargers than any other topic. I think the wood block story probably started with a guy who ran a battery shop out of an empty spot in his lumber yard back in the twenties.
It's the change in case material. I've never personally tested it but it was standard lore years ago. I forgot where I read about the case business but it concerned a similar question as the poster asked. It's not relevant today.
Could it have something to do with the dampness of the concrete floors back in the day and the wood outer case?
Fact or fiction, I set mine on wood because it makes ME happy!
Yet I would use detergent oil in an old engine and know that antifreeze does not cause leaks and doesn't eat the babbitt plus I have a water pump on my T!
Wooden case batteries can be affected by rising damp. But what kills modern batteries by placing them on rough concrete is the roughness. Wears a small hole in the plastic on the bottom and the acid leaks out. So if the floor is smooth and you don't move the battery around it should be ok.
I would never put a battery on a concrete or any kind of floor. It hurts to much to bend over to pick it up.
Back in the late 1980's I sat a car battery on a concrete floor in my garage. It ate into the concrete. I never sat a battery on concrete again. I couldn't tell you if it was discharged, plastic, rubber, wood, or ??? but it sure left its mark!!!
It was an old wives tale when tar top batteries were new too.
You know I can really see this being a problem with a wood case battery none of which I've ever seen. I can also see a problem with it in a high moisture area where a circuit might come into being due to water condensing on the case. So just maybe there's some truth to it.
I think the real back story here was when batteries were stored on concrete and they leaked (causing the battery to fail)it was noticed that the concrete showed signs of damage due to the lime in the concrete reacting to the acid, so it was assumed that the concrete had caused the problem. I really suspect that they whole myth was started to protect the floor rather than the batteries.
Now THAT makes sense!
"Typically, among rechargeable batteries, Li-ion absorb the least amount of self-discharge (around 2–3% discharge per month) then lead-acid at 4-6%,"
That quote was taken from the Wikipedia site here:
My experience has shown it can be a little higher if the battery is stored under unusually warm conditions.