Battery reconditioning

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2015: Battery reconditioning
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Noel D. Chicoine, MD, Pierre, SD on Saturday, December 19, 2015 - 06:55 pm:

I've a number of batteries for various vehicles, hydraulic trailers, and of course my T's. Some are standard and some are deep cycle. I haven't kept many of them on trickle chargers or battery tenders and they tend to go bad, especially when stored out of the cold over the winter. I've been reading about various techniques to recondition lead-acid batteries and reverse the sulfation that occurs. Some techniques involve overcharging with a special type of current, while others recommend either epsom salt or other solutions. Do any of these products work or they just "snake oil"?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Alexander in Albion, Maine on Saturday, December 19, 2015 - 07:17 pm:

I am involved with a railroad in Maine and we do sulfonation on our locomotive batteries each winter. A person goes in to the shop on does the cycle a couple time a month. We have excellent service from our batteries that are 8 years old. I also had him do all my 6 volt T and A batteries last year. They too are old. No failures at all. I guess I would recommend the same to you. He uses a standard charger that he got on line to do the work.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Kopsky, Lytle TX on Saturday, December 19, 2015 - 07:21 pm:

I tried the Epsom Salt on three batteries. One it worked the other two didn't. The one that did work was pretty new but sat for about three years without use. The other two were old and well used. It was worth a try on the tractor battery as it's a 4DLT and in the range of $150 or so. The other that didn't work went to a dozer/crawler. I got a $48 replacement at Wally World. Too close to Christmas to pop for the $150 battery so the tractor is down for a while.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kevin Holland, Utah on Saturday, December 19, 2015 - 07:41 pm:

If a battery gets too low a charger will not charge it. With jumper cables hook a good battery to the low charged battery. Same volt battery 6 volt battery to 6 volt battery; 12 volt to 12 volt.Put the charge on the jumper cables. Charge on high setting about an hour. Unplug charge and take jumpers off the low battery. If it has come up in volts then your good. If it has not come up the low battery is junk. So if it came up . Put the set up back on until the voltage in the low battery comes up too close of what it should be 6 volt would read 6 volt if this is the case. Put the battery charger on the low battery and bring up to full charge; around 7 volts. If it is a 12 volt then you need it to read 12 volts and put the charger on to bring it up to close to 13 volts. Hope this helps.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kevin Holland, Utah on Saturday, December 19, 2015 - 07:45 pm:

If a battery gets too low a charger will not charge it. With jumper cables hook a good battery to the low charged battery. Same volt battery 6 volt battery to 6 volt battery; 12 volt to 12 volt.Put the charge on the jumper cables. Charge on high setting about an hour. Unplug charge and take jumpers off the low battery. If it has come up in volts then your good. If it has not come up the low battery is junk. So if it came up . Put the set up back on until the voltage in the low battery comes up too close of what it should be 6 volt would read 6 volt if this is the case. Put the battery charger on the low battery and bring up to full charge; around 7 volts. If it is a 12 volt then you need it to read 12 volts and put the charger on to bring it up to close to 13 volts. Hope this helps.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bud Holzschuh - Panama City, FL on Sunday, December 20, 2015 - 12:54 am:

There is a device called a battery desulphater that actually does work. It supplies very short pulses of high voltage DC (usually around 400 + volts). The theory being that these voltage spikes can physically remove small particles of sulphation fromthe battery plates.

I have a homemade version of this which seems to work fairly well. Several of the companies now making battery chargers have incorporated a desulphating circuit in their chargers.

Here's an example of one commercial charger with a desulphater:

The Schumacher SSC-1000A Ship 'N' Shore SpeedCharge Charger is a versitile, fast and efficient 12-volt battery charger/maintainer suitable for use with a variety of lead-acid battery types used in everything from tractors, motorcycles, jetskiis and snowmobiles, to those found in cars, trucks and SUVs. It features fully automatic microprocessor control; automatic multi-stage charging allowing for ease of use; three charge rates: 2-amp, 6-amp and 10-amp; and the ability to choose the type of battery being charged. Addtiional features include a built-in voltage tester, a DESULPHATION MODE, a retractable handle and clamp/cable stowage compartment.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tony Bowker, Ramona, CA on Sunday, December 20, 2015 - 01:03 am:

I was very interested in the desulphation mode, then I read:
" Item SSC-1000A is not available for sale in California or Oregon due to CEC restrictions. The CEC compliant equivalent item is SSC-1500A-CA. This product cannot be shipped to Oregon or California"
Typical, all the good stuff cannot be sold here.....


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Noel D. Chicoine, MD, Pierre, SD on Sunday, December 20, 2015 - 09:14 am:

Thank you, gentlemen. I'll try to pick up one of the Chargers that incorporates a desulfator and maybe one for our 48 volt solar system as those 6 volt monsters are expensive and don't seem to be working as well as they did 6 years ago even with "equalization".


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Roar Sand on Sunday, December 20, 2015 - 09:38 am:

Beware!
If you use the "RECONDITION" mode on a battery in a modern car with electronics, make sure the battery is disconnected from the car. Otherwise it will fry the engine control module, and it is expensive to replace. Don't ask how I know!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Robert Brough on Sunday, December 20, 2015 - 09:42 am:

If the water level is low, I would certainly use the distilled water and epsom salt solution to replace it. It wouldn't hurt while you are trying to descale the plates. I wouldn't dump the acid and replace with the solution, but I'd top off the cells with the solution to assist with the cleaning of the lead plates.

I use the water out of my dehumidifier in the basement for this purpose. I run battery maintainers on all my 6v stuff when not in use.


Most of the new technology chargers will not start charging until they record a voltage reading to prevent wrong connections. When I was searching for a charger to use on my electolocist parts cleaner set up, I did find some "dumb" chargers still around. The kind that will charge without needing a initial voltage.

Good luck and report back.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John C Codman on Sunday, December 20, 2015 - 11:45 am:

Why would the water out of your dehumidifier be any cleaner then your tap water?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Dufault on Sunday, December 20, 2015 - 12:39 pm:

John,

There's a lot of "junk" in tap water.

Google "contents of tap water" and take your pick!
i.e. http://freshlysqueezedwater.org.uk/waterarticle_watercontent.php

Dehumidifier water is pretty much "distilled" water - pure water.

(Message edited by adave on December 20, 2015)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les Schubert on Sunday, December 20, 2015 - 02:31 pm:

I have a couple of 1 amp unregulated battery chargers. I have had good luck "resuscitating" batteries with them. Because they are not regulated, even if the battery is absolutely flat they will still work. It sometimes take 2 or 3 days. I usually remove the caps and make sure the cells are full with distilled water (available at the supermarket for use with irons etc. (cheap and available)). I have easily gotten 10 years or more and I live in the "frozen north".
The Chargers I have are Schumacher brand


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John T. Tannehill III, Hot Coffee, MS on Sunday, December 20, 2015 - 03:10 pm:

There is a product that really works well called the optimate 5 for 6 & 12 volt that is available on Amazon now a few years back it was really expensive but now it's available for about the price of a good battery.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By keith g barrier Savannah Tn. on Sunday, December 20, 2015 - 07:01 pm:

I have used the Epsom salts several times. First check each cell to make sure none are completely dead as it would be a waste of time to try on one like that. I have had pretty good results through the years and got some more life out of a battery when I couldn't afford a new one. The Epson salts that you have left over can be used to soak your aching feet or for a laxative as the case may be. remember "waste not want not". KGB


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Sullivan on Sunday, December 20, 2015 - 07:40 pm:

How are you supposed to use Epsom salts? I'd try it. Dave in Bellingham, WA


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By keith g barrier Savannah Tn. on Sunday, December 20, 2015 - 08:42 pm:

David, I use one pound of salts to one gallon of distilled water. Warm water helps to dissolve the salts better. Dump the old electrolyte out in a safe container using the proper precautions, ie glove face shield and such have some water mixed with baking soda to neutralize any spills on you are clothing. clean the outside well with said soda water the fill cells with Epsom salts mix, charge on a trickle charger for at least 24 hours then check voltage. If it checks well then charge another 24 hour period. I use a 1 and a half charger. You don't have to dump and refill with new acid as most of the electrolyte remains in the blotters between the plate any way. I have one on the 24 now that has been going for the last two years. Be careful and good luck. I assume no responsibility for any misshaps, KGB


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Kossor - Kenilworth, NJ on Sunday, December 20, 2015 - 09:59 pm:

Here is an interesting article on battery Sulfation and how to prevent it:

http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/sulfation_and_how_to_prevent_it


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John C Codman on Monday, December 21, 2015 - 10:08 am:

Hi Dave, Re dehumidifier water - perhaps there are more sophisticated dehumidifiers then the one in our basement, but all of the portable types that I have seen are essentially an air-conditioner over a bucket. The evaporator cools the air passing through it, the cooler air can't hold as much moisture, the moisture collects on the fins of the
evaporator and drops into the bucket. Unless the bucket and the evaporator fins are sterilized regularly, and there is a HEPA filter on the unit's air intake, The water can't be any cleaner then the intake air, the bucket, and the fins. Early this fall I had to fill my dehumidifier's tank with water and bleach to clean it. It was positively gross. My test for battery water is this: Would I drink it from the container that it's in? I'm damned if I will put cleaner water in my batteries then I will in myself. The basement dehumidifier water fails that test.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By ALAN FAIRCLOUGH on Monday, December 21, 2015 - 12:06 pm:

My experience with three cars, two planes, one lawn tractor and a golf cart is that batteries are not what they used to be.
The batteries in old electric submarines are worked over time and time again and can still hold power. Ten years ago a Concorde aircraft battery would last nine years. Now the same battery costs twice as much and lasts two years at best. The same with car batteries. I used to buy DELCO batteries and they would last a solid 5 years. Now two is about average. There are fewer battery manufacturers in the USA and they have found a way to make the same batteries with different separators so they degrade after one year, two years , three years etc. and sell them for different prices. The separators are sheets of glass fibers that keep the plates from shorting out and they crumble with time and the battery dies about two days after the warranty expires. when you pay the higher price for a longer warranty battery, all you are paying for is a little thicker separators which practically cost nothing.
I am hoping in the next few years the new generation of batteries will replace the lead-acid batteries and then we really will be screwed, because they will not be cheap.
So yes, a better lead-acid battery can be made, but it is not good for business.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Dufault on Monday, December 21, 2015 - 01:24 pm:

John,
You make a good point. To each his own. Without a closed system, surely there are air contaminants that will find their way into the water – dust particles, etc. (To really see a “gross” scene, look inside the water tank that holds your toilet flushing water….the inside of the tank is probably coated with a sludge layer…and this is the water that you drink, no?)
Batteries and radiators do not like mineral deposits. “Regular” tap water usually has those as well as chemicals. Liquid from a still (be it booze or water) does not contain said minerals. A dehumidifier resembles a still in that the finished liquid has no minerals.
Surely many folks use tap water in their batteries…..as do many folks eat fat and sodium laden fast food. Thankfully, we in America are still free to do some things……smoking tobacco products included. Good for us????


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By ALAN FAIRCLOUGH on Monday, December 21, 2015 - 01:33 pm:

I would not use water from the A/C system.
Even though it is condensed from the environment, a lot of air and fin dust go through the condenser and get trapped by the water. You may have more dirt in the runoff of a condenser than in tap water.
Rainwater may be better of just go for a one dollar gallon jug of distilled water.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John C Codman on Monday, December 21, 2015 - 02:29 pm:

I'll agree with Alan. If you are a real purist (no pun), distilled water isn't expensive enough to worry about. BTW: I'm not a Wal-Mart fan, but their batteries are as cheap (read less expensive)
then just about anywhere else. They seem to last about as long as anyone's. I'd love to know if it's possible to purchase an exact copy of the battery that came with my 2005 Dodge. It's still going strong after 124,000 miles.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Sullivan on Monday, December 21, 2015 - 08:18 pm:

Thank you all, I always wondered. Dave in Bellingham, WA


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By lloyd barberree on Friday, December 25, 2015 - 12:06 am:

Hi Noel.
If a lead acid battery is charged too fast it will burn off the sulfation and will fall to the bottom of the battery and short out the cells. Lead acid batteries must be charged slowly to a value of 15.2 volts to successfully charge a battery. A 600+ page book written in 1923 explains the charging and discharging process along with care and repairing batteries. Another book with the similar info is another book Solar Secrets by Peter Lindemann.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Doug Kahler- Springfield, MO on Friday, December 25, 2015 - 03:02 am:

Here is a thought
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUfYDYrvs70

I have not tried this yet!


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