BU-804b: Sulfation and How to Prevent it

Sulfation occurs when a lead acid battery is deprived of a full charge. This is common with starter batteries in cars driven in the city with load-hungry accessories. A motor in idle or at low speed cannot charge the battery sufficiently.

Electric wheelchairs have a similar problem in that the users might not charge the battery long enough. An eight-hour charge during the night when the chair is free is not enough. Lead acid must periodically be charged 14–16 hours to attain full saturation. This may be the reason why wheelchair batteries last only two years, whereas golf car batteries deliver twice the service life. Longer leisure time allows golf car batteries to get the fully saturated charge.

Solar cells and wind turbines do not always provide sufficient charge, and lead acid banks succumb to sulfation. This happens in remote parts of the world where villagers draw generous amounts of electricity with insufficient renewable resources to charge the batteries. The result is a short battery life. Only a periodic fully saturated charge could solve the problem, but without an electrical grid at their disposal, this is almost impossible. An alternative is using lithium-ion, a battery that is forgiving to a partial charge, but this would cost about six-times as much as lead acid.

What is sulfation? During use, small sulfate crystals form, but these are normal and are not harmful. During prolonged charge deprivation, however, the amorphous lead sulfate converts to a stable crystalline that deposits on the negative plates. This leads to the development of large crystals, which reduce the battery’s active material that is responsible for high capacity and low resistance. Sulfation also lowers charge acceptance. Sulfation charging will take longer because of elevated internal resistance.

There are two types of sulfation: reversible (or soft sulfation), and permanent (or hard sulfation). If a battery is serviced early, reversible sulfation can often be corrected by applying an overcharge to a fully charged battery in the form of a regulated current of about 200mA. The battery terminal voltage is allowed to rise to between 2.50 and 2.66V/cell (15 and 16V on a 12V mono block) for about 24 hours. Increasing the battery temperature to 50–60°C (122–140°F) further helps in dissolving the crystals. Permanent sulfation sets in when the battery has been in a low state-of-charge for weeks or months. At this stage, no form of restoration is possible.

There is a fine line between reversible and non-reversible sulfation, and most batteries have a little bit of both. Good results are achievable if the sulfation is only a few weeks old; restoration becomes more difficult the longer the battery is allowed to stay in a low SoC. A sulfated battery may improve marginally when applying a de-sulfation service. A subtle indication of whether a lead acid can be recovered is visible on the voltage discharge curve. If a fully charged battery retains a stable voltage profile on discharge, chances of reactivation are better than if the voltage drops rapidly with load.

Several companies offer anti-sulfation devices that apply pulses to the battery terminals to prevent and reverse sulfation. Such technologies tend to lower sulfation on a healthy battery but they cannot effectively reverse the condition once present. Manufacturers offering these devices take the “one size fits all” approach and the method is unscientific. A random service of pulsing or blindly applying an overcharge can harm the battery in promoting grid corrosion. Technologies are being developed that measure the level of sulfation and apply a calculated overcharge to dissolve the crystals. Chargers featuring this technique only apply de-sulfation if sulfation is present and only for the time needed.

Comments

On March 8, 2012 at 3:06pm
Odd Styrmo wrote:

On the market I have been offered a gadget named Megapulse (www.megapulse.net) . Australian made and supposed to reduce/remove sulfation.
Do you know anything of these ?

On March 9, 2012 at 6:21am
Carl wrote:

In a sulfated battery, which is so heavily sulfated, beyond desulfation, is it possible
to drain the electrolyte and using a rotary tool, cut the battery top off and lift the battery out of the housing and clean the plates, reinstall the battery, replace the electrolyte, reseal and charge it? Is this possible? I have one that was used in my PV system in which I was forced to replaced.

On April 5, 2012 at 1:28am
John Fetter wrote:

Odd Styrmo - Megapulse makes and markets pulse desulfators. While they claim their pulse units can desulfate batteries, they are unable to explain how this is achieved - which is not surprising because pulsing does not desulfate. However, their units seem to be able to keep batteries from dying prematurely, so obviously something beneficial is happening. I tried to discuss this aspect with them but they weren’t interested.

Carl - It is obviously possible but is it worth doing? I think if you approach the task with an open mind, you will become more observant and less likely to see things that aren’t really there. Assuming you are dealing with a 12V car battery: Personally I would put the battery on a slow charge for a week. This can be done with an ordinary car battery charger, plus a light bulb connected in series with the mains input. Select 25, 40, 60 watt for very low, low and moderate current. Then you test the battery. If it has not improved, do as you suggest - open it up, clean the elements and reassemble. Then, at the end of the experiment you will know for certain whether, or not, it is possible to recover a sulfated battery.

On April 8, 2012 at 9:06am
Chris C. wrote:

Odd Styrmo: I am always suspicious of companies that hide their ‘secrets’ with marketing BS. If there was anything there, they wouldn’t be afraid to publish the basis for their claims and have a patent for it.There are more reputable companies out there that don’t hide their ‘secret’ and tell you, just like the author here, that the benefits exist, but are limited.

Carl: cutting off the top is possible, batteries used to be glued together with a tar-like sealant, but it’s a dangerous job if there is any remaining charge on those plates should you cause a short while cutting. If you’re adventurous you could use a booster cable and connect the free ends well away from the battery, in open air, to see if it will spark wink .

Have you tried emptying the cells from the top and rinsing them first? This can remove the mud that accumulates at the bottom and can be a cause for sulphation inducing shorts. It will not remove chunks of lead, though. For that you could try drilling a hole in the bottom and flushing the cell from the top, this could remove fairly large sized chunks. Apparently, hot glue makes an effective plug, but I doubt it has sufficient mechanical strength to seal the battery top to the case, like you are planning to do.

On April 8, 2012 at 11:48am
Carl wrote:

John, Chris,
I had a couple of deep cycle batteries that were sulfated heavily. I had a thought about cutting the top completely off and cleaning the plates. However, you are correct concerning charge remaining on the plates. I decided a few weeks ago not to take that route. Instead, I replaced them. I had a third battery suffering minor sulfation. This battery would not hold a complete charge. It would only charge to 90%. With a 1A load the battery discharged rapidly within minutes. This is a 90 AH battery. Therefore, I purchased an XTREME CHARGE DESULFATOR 12V. www.xtremecharge.com and Within 3 weeks of of continuous pulsing and charging, that battery was back to full capacity. I did not connect this unit to the heavily sulfated batteries, because I did not have the XTREME CHARGE DESULFATOR at that time. If I did have this unit at the time I found the other two batteries heavily sulfated, Naturally I would have connected it to those. Well, as the saying goes, can`t win them all.

On April 8, 2012 at 6:04pm
John Fetter wrote:

Carl - How did you determine the batteries were sulfated? Chemical analysis? Had a look inside, saw some whitish stuff and made an assumption? It seems the the battery was not functioning properly and you assumed it was sulfated. Your description of the battery that did not do well with a 1A discharge and then responded to 3 weeks of pulsing is typical of another type of defect. Did you know that there has never been a satisfactory explanation on how pulsing is supposed to desulfate a battery?

Lead-acid batteries have been in use for well over a century. It was only in 1991 that the first pulse “desulfator” was patented. No one can tell me that not one inventor ever thought of pulsing a battery before 1991. Of course they tried. Over and over and nothing happened. Something happened inside the batteries in the 1980s. Batteries became low maintenance and maintenance free. How was that achieved? The manufacturers changed the alloy composition of the battery grids. The new alloy that they used is the cause of the problem that pulsing seems to be able to treat.

The original alloy was lead-antimony. The new alloy is lead-calcium. An ultra thin oxide layer forms between the positive grid and the positive active material. Eventually the battery does not accept charge, does not deliver amps. Battery manufacturers have a few names for this condition: (1) “open circuit” and (2) “antimony-free effect”. Pulsing breaks down this oxide layer.

On April 9, 2012 at 7:03am
Chris C. wrote:

John,

This is the first I’ve read on this issue - pulsing breaking down an ‘oxide layer’ between the positive grid and the positive grid material. As we all know, the positive material IS made of lead oxide(s). What type of oxide are you talking about between that and the positive grid itself, that would interfere to that extent with battery capacity?

I understand that lead acid chemistry is complex and not fully understood, and there is little hard evidence (at least online) to directly relate desulfation to pulse conditioning; but I have not found significant evidence that pulse conditioning does not increase battery capacity and reserve as measured in the conventional manner, by load testing and electrolyte concentration measurement.

So, if not sulfation, what phenomenon are you talking about that pulse conditioning seems to cure and could you supply some references?

On April 9, 2012 at 1:58pm
John Fetter wrote:

Chris C. - Lead-acid chemistry is most definitely well understood. There is plenty of excellent literature, Handbook of Batteries by David Linden; Lead-Acid Batteries by Hans Bode; Electrochemical Power Sources by Monty Barak and, of course, Storage Batteries by George Wood Vinal and so on.

There is an abundance of information on so-called pulse desulfation at the United States Patent & Trademark Office, uspto.gov/patents/process/search. Use their boolean search facility. Start with “lead acid” in field 1 and run through “sulfate”, “sulfation”, “pulse”, “pulsing”, etc. in field 2. A picture soon emerges. The patents are all written by inventors who describe their own version as correct and all previous versions as flawed. You will find at least 70 patents if you look long enough. There is not one explanation that holds water.

Lead-acid battery manufacturers are fully aware of the problems with low maintenance and maintenance free batteries. They all make the same type and therefore the consumer cannot avoid the problems. Two out of every three batteries sold are replacement batteries. The industry relies for its very existence on the replacement market. A bright young engineer in a battery factory would be ill advised to go to his boss with a new idea on how to make batteries that last longer. Not a career enhancing thing to do.

Pulsing must provide at least some benefit, otherwise there would not be thousands of desulfation pulse merchants making a living around the world.

The positive active material is lead-dioxide. Lead-dioxide is a semi-conducting material. When it is housed in a lead-antimony grid, the antimony and dioxide remain firmly in contact. When housed in a lead-calcium grid, an ultra thin oxide layer of a different kind builds up over time between the grid metal and the lead-dioxide, which takes just long enough for the battery to survive a couple of years. Manufacturers add a little tin to try and prevent this problem but it is not very effective.

The term sulfation is overused. No one bothers to check whether it actually describes what has really happened inside the battery. Most of the people who work on pulse equipment are electronics oriented. Do not really understand batteries very well. They assume the other guy knows what he is talking about. It is not unusual to have millions of people convinced they know what is going on and then one day to discover they were all wrong.

I am a lone voice in the wilderness. I am perfectly content to be so.

On April 9, 2012 at 10:33pm
Chris C. wrote:

Thank you for your thorough response, John. I can’t help but wonder what your area of expertise is, because you seem to know a lot and have apparently done extensive research on the subject.

Although I tend to dismiss conspiracy theories when it comes to engineering advancements, when you stop and really think about it, is does make sense: by making a product ‘maintenance free’ you also make it ‘maintenance proof’. By taking away the human factor responsible for a lot of errors leading to failure, you also end up with a product that cannot be maintained effectively.

When I studied lead acid battery chemistry in junior college 40 years ago, my chemistry professor said the lead acid battery chemistry was actually much more complex that the usual simplification that was used to describe the reaction, that it wasn’t fully understood and that the actual process likely included many intermediate lead oxide and lead/sulfur compounds. So I’m looking forward to read up more on the titles you mentioned smile

On April 10, 2012 at 2:03am
John Fetter wrote:

Chris C. - My background is industrial electronics, power converters, some of the equipment quite large. Thirty years ago I decided I could design and build an electric car. I teamed up with a large automobile manufacturer and a large battery manufacturer. The car was great, the commercial prospects dismal. The marketing director of the battery manufacturer made a suggestion. If I can put together the resources to build an electric car, I can do even better designing and manufacturing certain auxiliary products for batteries for his company. The commercial prospects looked good, so I went ahead

One learns a great deal more working alongside, not inside an industry. People are inclined to discuss things differently. One day someone suggested instead of purifying battery refill water, it might be a good idea to find a way of putting something into the water to make it suitable for refilling. I decided it was worth a try. Made a few preparations and tried them out on some golf-cart batteries. One of them had an unexpected effect. It reduced water consumption.

Decided to commission an independent laboratory to run carefully controlled tests. Their testing showed the same reduction in water consumption. They carried on testing until all the had batteries had worn out. The batteries that had been fed the treated water lasted between 40 and 60% longer. The water treatment not only worked, it had done so beyond all expectations.

I have been unable to find one battery manufacturer prepared to discuss this discovery coherently. 

Decided to study the deepest inner workings of lead-acid batteries in some serious detail to find out what it was that the treatment was doing right. In the process also worked out how pulsing worked.

It seems I found a gold mine in the main street of town - but everyone just keeps walking past it, refusing point blank to look.

On April 11, 2012 at 10:10pm
Andrew M wrote:

John, what was it that you introduced to the battery that reduced the water consumption?

Also, on the subject of desulfation and reducing water loss what is your view on chemical products like China depot, probat,  and resurex? 

There has to be someone willing to spread the info needed to further understand the pulse technology and why/how it works. The way I understand it… and help clear it up if I am wrong… by pulsing at the correct frequency or a variety of frequency this would help shed sulfation. Because the crystal sulfate grows on the plate during discharge as small to large crystals and we know everything has a resonant frequency, by using a specific frequency or a variety of frequency that would induce that crystal to vibrate and break down or atleast help shed from the plate.  Correct? Or way off?

On April 12, 2012 at 12:28am
John Fetter wrote:

Andrew M - It took years to develop and to test the material that can reduce water consumption and extend battery life. The testing alone cost $80 thousand. When one extends the service life of a $3500 motive power battery by 40%, it translates into a $1400 saving. In 2010 there were $11 billion worth of motive power batteries in use worldwide. I think you will agree there is no useful advantage to be gained by shouting out its identity.
It does not appear to serve any purpose to discuss individual “desulfators”. Most of the concepts rely on belief, rather than technical merit. Hundreds of billions of dollars worth of merchandise are sold annually worldwide purely on the basis the purchaser believes there is a benefit.
3.26 MHz resonant sulfur frequency desulfation makes no sense to me. It is impossible to maintain this frequency on the required resonance among thousands of batteries by discharging an inductor into a battery. Circuit capacitance is not fixed. Resonance in an oscillating circuit depends on L and C.
If the pulsing looks like a damped sine wave, the energy is NOT going into the battery but is being dissipated by the resistance of the circuit. Energy can only be transferred into the battery by fully damped, single pulses.
If the battery treatment causes material that is allegedly sulfate to be shed from the plates, then this amounts to ampere-hours being cast off permanently. 

On April 21, 2012 at 3:13pm
Joe Clack wrote:

I hear that some times about an ounce of Acetic acid (white Viniger) added to each cel of a 12 Volt Battery can “De-sulfate a battery…..Is there any truth in this??

Joe

On April 21, 2012 at 3:43pm
John Fetter wrote:

Joe Clack - I doubt whether the acetic will desulfate a battery but I suspect it might help to recover a battery that is suffering from an ultra thin oxide layer between the surfaces of the positive grids and the lead dioxide active material. This is known in the battery trade as “open circuit” or the “antimony-free effect”. It is quite common. Modern SLI batteries have lead-calcium alloy grids. Older batteries have lead-antimony.
When the calcium type of battery is operated too long at low charge, an insulating oxide layer develops at the lead-calcium and lead-dioxide boundary. The acetic dissolves some of the lead at the surfaces of the grids and also the boundary oxide, helping to reestablish contact. Fortunately, only a small amount of lead will be dissolved before the acetic is eliminated. Lead-antimony batteries do not suffer from this problem. Their particular disadvantage is high water consumption.
Why not try it in the interest of science?

On May 1, 2012 at 1:06pm
Mike Rosera wrote:

I also would like to know what you can add to a battery - I think there is a useful advantage to share with some of those who wish to know (send it to mrosera@new.rr.com) - I’d like to experiment with my deep cell. Thanks!

On May 1, 2012 at 4:45pm
John Fetter wrote:

Mike - There have been hundreds of battery preparations and electronic aids. Advertised according to the “AIDA” principle; sold at modest prices. No one has ever succeeded in this line of business beyond the cottage industry level. Giving away the formula sounds even less attractive.

On May 4, 2012 at 1:43am
Malcolm wrote:

Somewhere I heard that a pinch of Magnesium sulphate will help rejuvenate a sick battery it seems to work however I haven’t done any in depth scientific tests.

On May 4, 2012 at 4:50am
John Fetter wrote:

Malcolm - People have been proposing and using sulfates of many metals. The most common being aluminum, potassium, sodium and magnesium. There have been scientific tests done by the US National Bureau of Standards under George Wood Vinal more that half a century ago. The Institute proved every single battery remedy containing these metals had no meaningful effect. Their findings caused an uproar. MIT got involved. There was legal action. The US Congress got involved. In the end, the Institute’s findings prevailed.

What they definitely did help to demonstrate is that people who promote these battery preparations will go to almost any lengths to stay in business.

 

On May 13, 2012 at 7:03am
Ofer R wrote:

Andrew M. - In regard to your remark about the resonant frequency of sulfate crystals, I gather you were referring to mechanical resonance and if so I would suggest enacting mechanical pulses such as sound or ultrasound waves rather than electric pulses. The water based medium inside the cell is perfect for conducting these waves.
I see no logic in trying to breakdown a mechanical structure with an oscillating voltage, which probably affects the cell at the chemical level.

On May 13, 2012 at 9:11am
John Fetter wrote:

Ofer R - Are you suggesting that sending high frequency sound waves into the battery eliminates sulfation? If so, it would be very instructive if you can explain how this works. There are billions of dollars worth of batteries being scrapped world-wide every month because of sulfation.

On May 13, 2012 at 1:19pm
Ofer R wrote:

John Fetter - I apologize if my post was misleading. I do not claim to know how to breakdown sulfate crystals with sonic waves. I do know quite a bit of physics and have experience in R&D of certain devices. I was merely pointing out that the notion of pulsing voltage spikes on the battery terminals at the crystals resonant frequency has very little to do with mechanical damage done to them.
I think the battery companies go to great lengths in order to limit the life of lead-acid batteries. This is not a conspiracy, it’s just business. The only green that motivates industry is money (sadly), everything is designed for a certain amount of cycles.
You however seem quite knowledgeable in this field, I doubt you need my help. If you wish to share ideas though, I’ll be more than happy.

On May 13, 2012 at 5:31pm
John Fetter wrote:

Ofer R - I thought perhaps you knew how sonic achieved desulfation.
My theory is that it is predominantly self discharge that causes batteries to sulfate. One can attempt to overcome sulfation and gain commercial reward by selling product that addresses the end of the process; or go to the front and reduce self discharge to as near zero as possible. (There is more to sulfation but one has to start somewhere.)
Batteries are sold nowadays purely on price. Batteries are a grudge buy. Manufacturing batteries has become a very low margin industrial activity. Comparing the size of battery manufacturers with the size of their customers, the ratio is often one to one hundred. I think battery manufacturers have, at best, only limited influence.
This would seem to imply that outsiders can be reasonably assured of unimpeded progress if they are determined to improve battery life. However, I do not believe this can be achieved by tinkering with over-the-counter consumer products.


On May 19, 2012 at 9:50am
David A. Mead wrote:

The very essence of the chemical interaction that produces electricity produces lead sulphate. When fully charged all the sulfuric acid molecules are bonded to water molecules (H2) to create battery acid or electrolyte (H2SO4). When a battery delivers an electrical current the sulfuric acid molecules break their bonds with the water and combine with the lead dioxide (PbO2) in the plates creating a new chemical compound known as lead sulphate. Therefore, whether a battery discharges through use or self discharge sulfate is always created. The damage comes when the lead sulphate compound is not reversed by recharging relatively soon.

I have taken batteries over 5 years old that only delivered 30 minutes of discharge “run time”. By recharging them and applying a pulse technology desulphator I increased the run time to 34 minutes, 44 minutes, 49 minutes and so far just over 55 minutes. My conclusion is that as the sulphation is removed form the lead plates there is now more capacity to re accept the molecular exchange that produces an electric current this evidenced by the significantly increased run time. I use the BatteryMINDer battery maintainer desulphator for over 13 years always with good results.

On May 20, 2012 at 12:03am
John Fetter wrote:

David - There is a desire to attribute healing properties to desulfation products in all of us.
However, the description you have provided is a good fit what happens when one uses a pulse charger or a plain charger. Repeated charging, discharging acts progressively on the lead sulfate crystals in the negative plates, helping to convert more and more into lead metal crystals plus sulfuric battery acid, at the end of each successive charge. (Positive plates do not suffer from permanent sulfation.)

On June 3, 2012 at 1:51am
Vic wrote:

I am about to install 6x8 volt trojan deep cycle batteries in my golf cart.I get approx 525 rounds, 4.5years live out of these batteries. HYow can I get an improved life from the new batteries I am installing.I recharge immediately after every round and maintain the batteries properly.

On June 3, 2012 at 4:12am
Oscar Ormond wrote:

@Vic
I have been told you can get 50% Xtra cycling if you use the stuff described on batteryvitamin.net

On June 3, 2012 at 9:48am
tampajym wrote:

@Vic
I have been told you can get 50% Xtra cycling if you use the stuff described on batteryvitamin.net

It would seem after a brief review of the aforementioned site that this substance is similar to that invented by John Fetter.  Am I in error, John?

On June 18, 2012 at 9:12am
zed wrote:

“I understand that lead acid chemistry is complex and not fully understood,”

Are you kidding me? You can’t be serious.

This isn’t nuclear physics. It’s simple elemental chemistry. Because of that one idiotic statement this entire website becomes dubious at best and dangerous at worst. It matters not who wrote that rubbish, owner or guest, but allowing that statement to stand is what matters.

I urge everyone to take everything here with a grain of salt.

On June 18, 2012 at 1:54pm
Oscar Ormond wrote:

@ zed

Get off your soapbox. U can buy reading glasses real cheap at any pharmacy/drugstore.

On June 18, 2012 at 4:32pm
tampajym wrote:

@vic, where are you located.  I may be able to help you.

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On September 1, 2012 at 5:31pm
King wrote:

Add some graphene into the battery.  Would it help ?

On September 7, 2012 at 4:19am
John Fetter wrote:

King - Great idea. Graphene is the ultimate high performance carbon. I suspect you’ll need to add something to keep the graphene in suspension. It is unlikely to cause any problems. Hopefully fix lead-acid problems such as sulfation. Is it cost effective?

On September 8, 2012 at 10:15pm
Terry t wrote:

I remember that you used to be able to buy a recondition battery when i was younger (30 years ago ) i was told that they applied a high reverse charge on the battery then then drained the power then recharged it the proper way anyone ever herd of this before? Nobody ever really finished answering the question about splitting the battery open then cleaning the plates ,would this work or not ?

On September 8, 2012 at 11:36pm
John Fetter wrote:

Terry t - You can buy reconditioned batteries today for about $29.95 to $39.95. Reconditioners take in scrap batteries, work on them, about 30% respond and these receive a new label and are sold . People used to want to buy good stuff. Nowadays they want to buy cheap. Caveat emptor.
There are plenty of old wives tales about reconditioning batteries. There are enough people who, deep down, believe anything when the story is well told.
Splitting a battery open to clean it out is a natural inclination - the inside of an old battery looks messy, so why not clean it out? Does it work? Use you imagination.

On September 22, 2012 at 3:11pm
Oscar Darwin wrote:

I live in a very hot climate where battery life is often measured in months rather than years. My assumption is that short battery life here is largely the result of the extreme ambient temperatures combined with poor maintenance and the poor quality of water being added to the batteries. I’ve begun using one of the more well-know powdered chemical additives for de-sulfation. (the name was mentioned briefly in another post) Regardless of what has been said here regarding these products…it’s hard to argue with success. I’ve been taking large industrial batteries that were discarded as scrap…and subsequently doubling the life of many of these batteries. I’ve also discovered that I can greatly extend the life of batteries if this product is added BEFORE it begins to reach it’s end-stages of life. I also discovered some old military documents from the 1950’s that document a mixture of chemicals used to dissolve sulfation in aircraft starter batteries. So if the US military was doing it back in the 50’s…I don’t understand why you say it can’t be done today…and even improved upon????  As I said…it’s hard to argue with success. I plan to continue using this particular product!!

On September 22, 2012 at 8:52pm
Chris C. wrote:

Are you a troll or are you just looking to scam people with some mystery snake oil? All that hush-hush about your so-called ‘product’ and the obscure military papers you ‘discovered’ sounds very suspicious to me…

On September 22, 2012 at 10:56pm
John Fetter wrote:

Chris C.- I agree with you. “it’s hard to argue with success.” “I plan to continue using this particular product!!” Obviously a salesman’s pitch.

On September 23, 2012 at 5:34am
Oscar Darwin wrote:

When a web site representing itself as a serious scientific research and information resource descends into name-calling in a public forum…and the moderator condones such juvenile behavior…it speaks volumes about your academic qualifications and calls into question every conclusion therein. The military documents I referenced are in the public domain and readily accessible to anyone with basic research skills. I noted with great interest that you didn’t ask for a link to the documents but merely dismissed them out-of-hand with contempt. Perhaps your research skills were acquired at the same place you acquired your objectivity, scientific qualifications, common courtesy and manners!! For my part…I think I’ll now take the advice of a previous poster who admonished others to take everything here, “with a grain of salt.” After all…you’ve earned it!! Have a nice day.

PS - I also have a PDF transcript of a lengthy 1956 court case that challenged the claims of another battery “snake oil” remedy. In his decision, the judge states, “In view of the CONFLICT IN THE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE, the hearing examiner deemed the user evidence attesting to product merit to be particularly significant and he, accordingly, held the complaint’s allegations to be unsustained by the greater weight of the evidence.”

That document is also in the public domain but I’m certain you wouldn’t be interested in the link since it doesn’t fit your template. Happy hunting!!!

On September 23, 2012 at 5:57am
John Fetter wrote:

Oscar - Old news. Been there, done that. The 1956 court case involved Jess M Richie, bulldozer operator, and his magic potion AD-X2. I posted something on this on this website some time ago.

On September 23, 2012 at 6:05am
Oscar Darwin wrote:

Good for you!!  Then you should have no trouble finding the military docs as well. I’m sure everyone is anxiously awaiting your polite, scholarly and objective report on those as well. Everyone except me that is. Fare thee well.

On September 23, 2012 at 7:34pm
Chris C. wrote:

Take it easy, Oscar, these are legitimate objections! When you make claims, you have to be ready to back them up with FACTS. Come on, it’s Science 101!

You gave us NO LINKS to back up your affirmations. It would therefore seem to me that you have only yourself to blame for “name-calling”, as unsupported affirmations do indeed “speak[s] volumes about your academic qualifications”.

If, however, you are trying to protect a market, why not say so?

On September 29, 2012 at 4:59am
Pau C. wrote:

John Fetter- As you are well instructed in the battery desulphation and as you said….
“3.26 MHz resonant sulfur frequency desulfation makes no sense to me” therefore what would be the best frequency to operate in order to desulphate a battery?
And what should be the maximum peak of that pulses, would that be related to battery capacity or voltage? If you pulse that battery along the time how the pulses would have to act along the time related to battery impedance also would the peak decrease?

I would be appreciate much your opinion on the questions as I see you very experienced on the subject.

On September 29, 2012 at 5:21am
John Fetter wrote:

Pau C - I consider the 3.26 MHz concept to be an idea rooted in magic. Weird.
Just about any type of pulsing seems to work for batteries than are marginally sulfated.
Pulsing will not budge 100% sulfated batteries.
Pulsing seems to be something that could be described somewhat colorfully as “equalization charging on steroids”.

On October 16, 2012 at 12:02am
Jerry Malinski wrote:

I’m a seventy year old retired engineer and I’ve been following you comments with great interest. I’m in the process of going off the grid and plan on depending entirely on solar power. I started researching desulfation about three years ago and have learned a few things.  One is that it works with electronic pulsing. Two, even some shorted batteries can be brought back into service with a simple flushing process.  I use electronic circuits that are simple to make and monitor.  I’m not selling anything.  I will give the information to anyone who wants it for free.  It’s the battery companies who don’t want this information out there.  Pulsing is like sandblasting the crystals.

On October 18, 2012 at 12:20am
Jerry wrote:

Jerry you can write me at pcurrius@gmail.com about the electronic circuits to desulphate this 2V-48V banks of batteries. Thanks

On October 19, 2012 at 5:19am
Jerry Malinski wrote:

I don’t need any circuits.  I think I can design that part of it. The key is the frequency of the sulfate crystals.  The whole pulsing process is designed to bombard the crystals with a pulse at the right frequency (kind of sandblasting the crystals at a molecular level). This in turn breaks them up and allows them to go back into solution. At least that’s the theory.  If the crystals haven’t expanded and damaged the plates, they can be pulsed back into solution.  This is different than using an additive that breaks the crystals off the plates allowing them to fall to the bottom of the battery.

On October 19, 2012 at 6:03am
John Fetter wrote:

Jerry Malinski - Everything that has been said about lead sulfate having a resonant frequency and pulsing at that resonant frequency in order to desulfate a battery is anecdotal and empirical.
Marketing desulfation product 101. Step 1. Invent a problem. Step 2. Invent an explanation. Step 3. Create a product. Step 4. Sell the product.
Some people want to believe in miracles. Their minds will make the desired miracle happen.
Don’t get me wrong. A percentage of lead acid batteries get sulfated. A percentage of those sulfated batteries respond to pulsing. There are now so many desulfator entrepreneurs trying to sell their products, they gotta say something clever in order to stay in business. Caveat emptor.

On October 19, 2012 at 6:40am
Pau wrote:

So Jerry what’s the frequency you can think of the best? Or will it be a range of it?

On October 19, 2012 at 2:07pm
Jerry Malinski wrote:

John Fetter-I’m not trying to sell anything, anything I discover that will help restore my lead acid batteries and give them additional life I will share with the world for free.  No one invented the problem of sulfation, it’s a fact of science.  You seem to have a bitter taste in your mouth about this subject. In my seventy years on this planet I discovered manufacturers build products with a life span profitable for their business, not for the consumer.  If I can extend that life span I will, not with a miracle but with research and hard work.  My desulfating has worked, albiet slowly, but worked.

On October 19, 2012 at 2:14pm
Jerry Malinski wrote:

Pau-My son works for a large auto parts store and he gets me batteries people trade in for new ones just by paying the core charge.  He just gets batteries that won’t hold a charge.  He passes on the ones with shorted cells or if there is bulging.  The frequencies I’ve been experimenting with range from 900hz to1650hz. It seems between 1100hz and 1350 is a sweet spot but it can take up to a month and a half to bring one around. Lately I have been trying different amplitudes at these frequencies to see if that speeds anything up.  Jerry

On October 19, 2012 at 5:07pm
John Fetter wrote:

Jerry Malinski - If a lead-acid battery is used correctly, it does not become sulfated. If it is used in a way that results in the battery receiving insufficient charge, it is likely to end up becoming sulfated. These are the lead-acid battery “facts of science”.
The majority of desulfation product merchants make the claim that batteries become sulfated with age. There is not a single battery manufacturer who agrees with this - saying batteries wear out due to positive plate corrosion and shedding.
I have personally tested ways of de-corroding and de-sulfating batteries. I found both can be made to work.
There are many hundreds of battery manufacturers around the world. If there is one who makes batteries that last longer, curiously, no one could care less. That is because the overwhelming majority of people who purchase batteries will buy only the least expensive batteries. Automobile manufacturers are interested only in rock bottom price. Motorists are either looking for convenience or for the best price when they need a replacement. Batteries are a commodity. Batteries are a grudge buy. Manufacturers have no option. Make cheap batteries or perish. That is the battery business dynamic. The consumer, not the manufacturer, decides how long batteries last.
I have found pulsing works, in terms of desulfation, up to a point. It is ineffective on deeply sulfated batteries. Cadmium is slightly better. Switching the charger on and off, plus cadmium, for three weeks or longer seems to be the best.

On October 19, 2012 at 5:21pm
Carl wrote:

It seems as though battery sulfation, shorted and open cells, adding distilled water, and swelling of battery housing will be a thing of the past. I believe the following will render batteries obsolete. It is SUPER CAPACITORS! Battery University has an interesting article on SUPER CAPS. Below, are a few links that may be of interest, beginning with Battery University. Check these bad boys out! Oh, they are expensive!

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

http://www.ultracapacitors.org

http://www.maxwell.com/ultracapacitors

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoWMF3VkI6U

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsV3uqcAZzA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snMaqeZRgUw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpy8G3yBeJ4

On October 19, 2012 at 6:53pm
Jerry Malinski wrote:

John Fetter-I believe batteries become sulfated because of poor maintenance and neglect also, but that is an advantage for me. Being retired and on a fixed budget these rejected batteries are helping me build a solar bank without a huge expense. And it gives an old man something to do. Their garbage is food for my cat, so to speak.
And Carl your absolutely right, Super capacitors are the future battery.  I believe that is the answer for electric cars.  As a retired electrical engineer, who was around for the birth of the transistor and the microcontroller, I can see it coming. Jerry

On October 19, 2012 at 11:49pm
John Fetter wrote:

Jerry Malinski - My budget has let me study the subject of battery life unhindered by constraints. I have a reasonably well equipped lab. I have managed to figure out the lie of the land, in a manner of speaking, with regards to batteries.
If you can convert batteries that other people discarded into cash, that’s absolutely wonderful.
You might find the following useful. A percentage of the discarded batteries will respond to plain charging. A percentage will respond to pulsing. A percentage will respond to cadmium. And a percentage will not respond at all.
You can obtain cadmium in the form of cadmium oxide from electroplating suppliers.
A high percentage of these batteries will be low maintenance, zero maintenance calcium alloy.  They will be suffering from “open circuit”. They will respond to pulsing.
To obtain maximum return on your work, treat your batteries with cadmium, then pulse charge. The spiky pulsers are useless. You need something that pushes out proper power. You cannot desulfate without supplying the batteries plenty of EXTRA energy.
Carl - Think about this. The amount of energy held in a tankfull of gas translated into its electrical equivalent, would require nine out of ten existing electricity consumers to be disconnected to allow the ten percent of electric car owners to recharge their batteries.

On October 20, 2012 at 1:57am
Jerry Malinski wrote:

John Fetter- I have a pretty good lab too, acquired over the years, Is there a formula or mix for the cadmium additive?  After looking at some of the Super capacitor links Carl posted I’m tempted to throw one of them into a pulsing circuit. That would sure shake the crystals out of the sockets.  Of course, standing a safe distance away. rea Jerry

On October 20, 2012 at 4:08am
John Fetter wrote:

Jerry Malinski - I researched this subject in considerable detail. I read the scientific papers and books written by acknowledged battery experts and read the anecdotal, empirical garbage. I have posted quite a few comments on the various pages devoted to lead-acid on this website’s pages.
Fifty percent of the active material that is put into the plates does not participate in the battery reactions. It provides conduction. There is no other way the other fifty percent can work. Sulfation of the active material is normal. Without it batteries cannot work. Sufation crystals growing beyond a reversible size is a wonderful story. I have been unable to find any evidence in support.
The “unused” fifty percent sits underneath, out of sight, out of mind. It becomes sulfated when the battery is neglected. That then leaves the active active portion in a precarious situation. I believe that is the true cause of “irreversible sulfation”
It is not difficult to work out what to do from an electrical, electronic, chemical perspective about this problem. The electrical transmission path has gone high resistance. That can be overcome by application of high voltage. Well, almost. Better still, infiltrate the now-sulfated support material with electroplating. That is where the cadmium comes in. It grows like fine grass onto the negative grids, in every direction. Helps to improve conduction. It is important to switch the charger on and of cyclically, to reabsorb and replate the cadmium. Takes many weeks.
One level teaspoon cadmium oxide per 60 Ah cell. Cadmium oxide is not soluble. It reacts with the acid, slowly forming cadmium sulfate.
Carl - Super capacitors designed for supplying energy cannot not store more than a tiny fraction of energy compared to lead-acid. That is why many are built into lead-acid batteries. Identical positives, dual negatives. Half being lead-acid, the other half capacitor. Very good at supplying and absorbing very high currents for short periods. Very good at controlling sulfation. Very expensive. Batteries do not obey Moore’s Law, like semiconductors. The problem that besets batteries, limited energy storage, cannot be solved. However, there are some ingenious ways around the problem. Right now, peoples’ emotions are getting in the way of accepting these solutions.

On October 20, 2012 at 12:17pm
Jerry Malinski wrote:

John Fetter= The only problem with electroplating with cadmium is “Cadmium is subject to the spontaneous growth of Cadmium whiskers. The propensity of Cadmium to grow whiskers appears to be lower than that of zinc and especially tin. Cadmium whiskers (like tin whiskers) grow spontaneously and are capable of causing electrical failures ranging from parametric deviations to sustained plasma arcing that can result in catastrophic short circuits.”. It is also a cumulative poison. What gases would be released when mixed with sulfuric acid.  Jerry

On October 20, 2012 at 12:43pm
John Fetter wrote:

Jerry Malinski - Oh yes. But you want the whiskers. Cadmium is useless in lead-acid batteries without the whiskers. Whiskers can only grow so far before the cadmium that is in solution becomes depleted. Then you switch off the charger and wait. The cadmium goes back into solution. Then you switch on again. And so on until conduction is restored. You need to take the cells up to 2.6 volts each time. When you have finished, the density of the cadmium whiskers will be so dispersed, you won’t notice a thing.
Putting metals into sulfuric can liberate hydrogen. Putting oxides into sulfuric liberates water.
Things are relative. Cadmium is a poison. So now lead is not a poison? Comparing a couple of grams of cadmium with over 10 kilos of lead. The tyranny of numbers.
I am not promoting this cure. You were saying I have a bitter taste in my mouth about this subject. I have tried every desulfation trick. I found this one to be the best. That is all I am saying. I personally believe there are far, far better ways of getting the most out of batteries.

On October 20, 2012 at 1:25pm
Jerry Malinski wrote:

John Fetter- I posted cadmium being a cumulative poison not so much for you but for the internet audience who will take our comments and experiment without any research, Some clown will probably sell it on eBay as a battery cure-all without explaining its dangers. My “bitter taste” comment wasn’t derogatory, it was pointing out that your distaste for the “Medicine men desulfator salesmen” was coming across loud and clear. Most of the stuff they sell is worthless and that’s why I started my study.  My goal of acquiring and maintaining my solar battery bank is progressing nicely and I thank you for your help with that.  I will experiment with cadmium and see where that takes me.  Jerry

On October 20, 2012 at 1:52pm
John Fetter wrote:

Jerry Malinski - Lead-acid technology is a bad choice for solar. These batteries are operated partially charged. The problem is sulfation. Conventional lead-acid is doomed to a short service life unless you can bring them all the way up to full blown gassing charge at reasonably regular intervals. The correct choice is probably nickel-iron.

On October 20, 2012 at 2:15pm
Jerry Malinski wrote:

I agree with you a 100%. NiFe batteries are the best for solar applications.  But I just can’t afford that right now.  The Edison battery would eliminate all the other problems.  Jerry

On October 20, 2012 at 9:40pm
Chris C. wrote:

The discussion in the past months on this site has been nothing short of astonishing. Kudos to John, Jerry and Bevan for keeping this subject alive and under active research.

I do agree with John that its is difficult and certaib=nly not cost effectiive to reverse lead plate sulfation. Lead acid battery chemistry, although ubiquitous and made with inexpensive materials hence inexpensive, is far from ideal for true energy storage as it works best only if it is not called upon to be used at all wink

I have been using automotive type “deep cycle” batteries for the past 12 years now in my truck and to be honest, performance improvement in heavy use (read: with accessories using power with the engine off) has been modest at best. Do I feel it is an improvement upon standard start batteries? Definitely. Are these so called deep cycle batteries less prone to sulfation? Definitely NOT! Their only redeeming quality, IMO, is the fact they can actually be filled with deionized water for the purpose of gassing them off for equalization purposes, and that they can be restrored to working condition with lots of effort. But if you’re the type who likes to fit it in and forget it… You’ll quickly find out they need much more maintenance than regular start batteries.

But making batteries last more than 5 to 8 years and be easily recharged after an accidental complete discharge? That hasn’t happened with thee “deep cycle” batteries and John’s explanation that internal grid compounds probably are the culprits and do get sulfated, explains the problem very well.

I therefore suggest that perhaps the problem with sulfation really lies with current grid design. Maybe it would be time to get back to a sheet design, where reactions are limited only to the surface, rather than the current powder/sponge design. Hey, congratulations, I just reinvented the Optima battery design wink

On October 20, 2012 at 11:22pm
John Fetter wrote:

Jerry Malinski - There are numerous patents for pulsing solar powered lead-acid batteries. A patent does not automatically mean a technology works, it merely reflects the inventor’s ability to think outside the box. I found more than 70 patents related directly or indirectly to pulsing lead-acid batteries for the stated purpose of desulfation.
If you are still looking for a way of making lead-acid solar powered batteries last longer, it suggests that you have not been able to get any of these “technologies” to work. Is my assumption correct Jerry?

On October 21, 2012 at 4:18am
Jerry Malinski wrote:

John Fetter- No, your assumption is incorrect. I have a circuit that has brought six different batteries I acquired from between 50 and 60% to a near new condition. I also had one battery with a shorted cell that i dumped the acid into a container and flushed out the battery with distilled water and poured the acid back. This was a new battery put in a car and sat for a year.  When the car went back into service the cell shorted out and it was given to me. That battery is in like new condition now.  My problem isn’t that it’s not working (the pulsing) but that it is so slow. Weeks, sometimes months. Leading me to believe the frequency or the amplitude or both are wrong.  Jerry

On October 21, 2012 at 4:53am
John Fetter wrote:

Jerry Malinsky - Let me try again. On October 16 you said you are in the process of going off the grid and going solar. It might be a good idea not to let any car battery issues interfere with the solar situation, just yet. I have been under the impression your objective is keeping your solar lead-acids free from sulfation and that what you managed to achieve is short of what you believe you need. Alternatively, are you acquiring discarded batteries and hoping to get them working well enough to be used in your proposed solar system?
Perhaps you would like to share some information about what you have tried. Then we can try to work out some kind of solution.

On October 23, 2012 at 5:48pm
Ev Rea wrote:

Hey Guys - Would there be any benefit or harm done by zapping a 12 volt battery with 24 volts for very short periods?

On October 27, 2012 at 3:38am
John Fetter wrote:

Carl Gali received a patent for pulse desulfation in November, 1991. He was the first “desulfation pulser”. Robert Gerbman received a patent for pulse desulfation with a pulse rise time between 200 and 500 nanoseconds, (5 MHz - 2 MHz) in February, 2001. He spoke of 3.26 MHz as the resonant frequency of sulfur crystals (?) and implied that zapping these crystals at 3.26 MHz would restore a sulfated lead-acid battery. According to the best sources of information available, there are no sulfur crystals in lead-acid batteries. It is convention either to to disclose the source of information on which a technology described in a patent is based or to describe its function. Significantly, Gerbman does neither, reducing the value of his patent, in terms of genuine intellectual property protection, to a fat zero.
Gali’s patent is reasonably credible, although not strong. Gerbman’s patent is pseudo-science.
Certain people with a keen eye for opportunity and a strong desire for profit have been turning the Gali and Gerbman patent disclosures into products, with impunity.
The suggestive power of advertising copywriting has people scrambling for the optimum frequency at which to desulfate batteries.
The reputation of desulfation cures deservedly continues to plummet.

On December 1, 2012 at 6:41am
John Davies wrote:

The people who vouchsafe for pulsing batteries seem to me to come across as the same mentality as people from the early days of medical science.

Just give the patient a good electrical shock. That will cure almost anything that ails him..

Very interesting discussion though and I totally agree with John Fetter’s comments about battery failure and compacted sulphation.

On December 7, 2012 at 1:02am
Lee wrote:

EDTA, which is ethylenediaminetetraaceticacid - tetrasodium salt,also known as N,N’-1,2- Ethanediylbis[N-(carboxymethyl)glycene] tetrasodium salt is used to dissolve sulfate deposits from lead acid batteries. The pulse chargers simply give the battery a higher than normal charge voltage for a brief period which “helps” break up the sulfation from the high voltage but doesn’t overheat and gas them because it’s cycled on and off. They don’t tell you why (assuming they actually know) because it’s so simple. I do the same thing by hitting the “jump start” button periodically.

On December 7, 2012 at 1:26am
John Fetter wrote:

Lee - EDTA does not dissolve but sequesters lead sulfate. The lead sulfate is taken out of service permanently - equivalent to stripping out portions of active material.  It is bad science.
Some of what you say about pulse charging is undeniably correct. Batteries that have been slightly neglected and are “mildly sulfated” respond well to being given a pulse charge. Seriously sulfated batteries absolutely do not respond to pulsing. Maintenance-free batteries that have died suddenly often suffer from another problem altogether. A PbO/ sulfate insulating layer between the positive grid and PBO2 positive active material. Pulsing gets rid of this barrier and the affected battery regains most of its former performance.

On December 7, 2012 at 1:50am
Lee wrote:

John Fetter, If you spent half the time that you flap your jaw here and simply research the web you would say “WTF is Fetter talking about?” The sulfuric acid reacting to the battery plates when a load is placed on the battery deposits the sulphate on those plates, that’s the delivery of power part that also lowers the hydrometer reading (less acidic), charging simply reverses the process, but if not recharged enough to clear the sulphation and allowed to go thru a few charge/discharge cycles allows new sulphation over the existing then off the existing sulphation with those charge/discharge cycles and that “soft” sulphation gradually builds up layers and becomes “hard” sulphation, like the anodizing process does to aluminum when sitting in acid/distilled water + volltage/current application. If you pour out the electrolyte, fill with distilled water only and cycle it a few times (charge/discharge) and the water ph level starts going up/acidic, from the electro/chem charging, removing sulphation from the plates and depositing sulfuric acid in the distilled water. Didn’t mean to type so much and still didn’t totally describe it…..

On December 7, 2012 at 2:18am
John Fetter wrote:

Lee - Thank you for sharing the information you picked up about lead-acid batteries recently.
There is a difference between information acquired through reading and information acquired through hands-on experience. However, one needs to do both in order to get a proper handle on the subject.
(As an aside, I noticed a curious relationship between 555 IC timers and lead-acid batteries. The more people profess to know about 555 timers, the less they seem to know about batteries.)

On January 7, 2013 at 9:31am
Khurram wrote:

Dear sir I have following questions for you.
Sir I am having the problem that some times my inverter keeps on charging the battery for no reason for long hours and some times it terminates the charging all by it self after a reasonable time of charging.

Following are the reading of Hydrometer from the battery;

• Inverter remained off for 24 hours and input of inverter from main socket was disconnected and the reading on battery terminals was 12.5V.
Hydrometer readings are as following;
Cell no 1= 12.4
Cell no 2= 12.4
Cell no 3= 12.4
Cell no 4= 12.7(I added 30 ml distal water in this particular cell and then the reading was 12.3)
Cell no 5= 12.4
Cell no 6= 12.4
• Then I inserted the input of inverter into the main’s socket and inverter charged the battery for 45 minutes and terminated charging the battery after that. I took the readings on the battery terminals and it showed 13.7V. (the inverter manual states that this inverter charges the battery on 13.7V).
• Then I cut off the main and checked the out put on one of the socket’s for output voltage of battery and it showed 192V however, LCD indicator on inverter was showing 220 V as output voltage.
• After 5 minutes I resorted the main’s input to inverter and it started charging the battery for approximately 40 minutes then I turned off the power button of inverter and it stopped charging the battery immediately.
• Voltage reading on battery terminals was 13.7V while the inverter had stopped charging the battery.
• After 3 minutes voltage dropped to 13.4 V.
• After 20 more minutes voltage further dropped to 12.9V.
• Then I removed the inverter’s input from the main and inverter was also in off position after 2 more hours voltage reading was 12.6V.
• After the passage of 15 hours battery output voltage was 12.5V and voltage has remained the same even after 36 hours. (inverter is still in off mode while the input of main has been disconnected however, inverter cables were connected all the time with the battery.
It is quite strange that when my inverter keeps on charging the battery for some time and then I rapidly turn off main’s input to inverter and then restore it some times inverter stops charging the battery and some times it doesn’t. 

—————————————-
*    Battery was fully charged and inverter terminated the charging by it self. I turned off main and checked inverter’s output directly from inverter’s AC out let and the reading was 176 V while there was no load on inverter. However, LCD indicator on inverter screen was showing 220 V output.

2nd Step:
I connected the phase wire in inverter’s out put socket and turned on 2x 23 Watts bulbs and inverter showed 184V output voltage in another socket of the room. Gradually volts increased to 192V.
When I tuned of the both bulbs (when there was no load on the inverter it once again shows 179 V in the same socket).
3X 23 Watts bulbs load on inverter, reading in socket showed 195V.
4X 23 watts bulbs load on inverter, reading in same socket increased to 198 V and then I turned on a 40 Watts tube light and volts increased to 205V.
4x bulbs+ 2x tube lights, voltage in socket 202V.
Then turned every thing off, meaning there was no load on the inverter and reading in socket gradually reduced to 179V.
I repeated these steps three times and readings were strange. However, voltage output of inverter seemed to fluctuate while increasing the load or decreasing it. When there is some load on inverter during power outage then output voltage is better as compared with the inverter running without any load.
 
3rd Step:
2x 23 watts bulbs load on inverter, reading in socket = 191V.
3x 23 watts bulbs load on inverter, reading in socket = 195V.
4x bulbs + one 40 watt tube light, reading in socket =  202V.
4xbulbs + 2x 40 watts tube lights, reading in socket = 199V.
4x bulbs load on inverter and when I turned off both tube lights reading in socket was 212V.
Turned off all loads and reading from socket was once again 179V.

Meanwhile, when main is restored the LCD indicator on inverter shows the voltage which precisely corresponds with the voltage readings in the socket i.e inverter LCD indicator shows 129V as well as regarding on socket shows 128 V or 127V.

However, the reading on battery terminals was 12.1 V during this time.

Another thing which I have observed that when I charge the battery and inverter terminates the charge then I switch off everything including the inverter so that nothing drains the battery. When I took measurements using a volt meter then the battery reading was 13.3 V and after few minutes it seemed to gradually drop to 13.2 and so on. My main question is that is my inverter the culprit or my battery has some issue. 

On January 7, 2013 at 2:06pm
Chris C. wrote:

Wow, Khurram, what a lengthy post!

3 things come to mind:

Have you double checked the voltage readings of your AC output with another meter? Inverters are notorious for fooling all but the best of meters, because of waveform, as even RMS aware meters are designed for true sine wave. Most inverters are modified sine wave, or more appropriately, modified square wave.

Secondly, check the battery voltage over a month. That will tell you resting voltage (after a day or so unconnected), which should then remain pretty much stable for the next few days, with only a very slow decrease after that. A fast decrease indicates a bad battery. Normally, a wet cell lead acid battery fully charged at rest should be between 12.65 and 12.75V after a day of rest, after that it should drop no more than about .15V over a month, but it depends on battery chemistry and the climate your battery is sold for.

Which brings me to the third point: I understand you probably meant 1.24 electrolyte density, not 12.4. Which would indicate that your battery probably has the warm climate electrolyte density, that would be normal. What would be abnormal is to have a greater than .01 (some say .05) difference between cells, that would indicate a problem in one cell, which can often be solved by equalizing (overcharging until poor cell electrolyte density is up to the level of the others, and keeping an eye on electrolyte level). Furthermore, you cannot get good readings if your charger doesn’t churn the electrolyte, as it does during equalizing, otherwise the electrolyte might be stratified, with the weakest solution up top.

HTH…

On January 8, 2013 at 12:19am
John Fetter wrote:

Khurram - There isn’t actually all that much usable troubleshooting information and we are left guessing about the inverter and about the battery.
The output waveforms of inverters vary, depending on price. The cheapest has a square wave output. A more expensive type has a quasi square. The most expensive a sine wave.
Different waveshapes can give a different voltage readings on the same meter. Not only that, different types of voltmeters can also give different voltage readings. Some meters read average, some RMS.
Your inverter seems to have a control circuit that senses the battery voltage and decides whether or not to charge. Battery voltage is never a foolproof indicator of state of charge. So the system ends up “hunting”.
The inverter output voltage control appears to be slightly overcompensating. Not a problem.
The cell that needed water might have a problem. Something is causing it to gas more than the other cells. This could be due to an impurity or lower capacity, even aging.

On January 8, 2013 at 4:58am
Khurram wrote:

Thankyou so much for your kind replies yes Mr Chris and Mr John Fetter. I have doubled checked AC output readings using another meter as well, there is only difference of 2 to 4 Volts. If I turn off the inverter and pull the plug then the voltage of battery seldom drops over a period of 24 hours or so. i.e; when inverter had fully charged the battery then I disconnected the input of inverter and turned it off but the wires of inverter were still connected with the battery and after 30 hours reading on battery terminals was 12.48 V. however, I have noticed one thing when inverter fully charges the battery and voltage reading on battery terminals is 13.4 V or 13.7 V and it remains on and when power goes off and even when one 23 Watt bulb is running on inverter then the battery voltage drops to 12.1V within few minutes but it remains at 12.1V for more than an hour even if 120 Watts load is running on it.
Yes, your right I have Exide NS 200 AH battery which is the biggest in this region and it is made for wormer climate, usually temperatures during summer seasons are from 30 C to 44C and it performed excellently during summer months but after 7 months now it is winter season and I am having problems. Winter temperatures are 3C to 10 C nowadays.
If I use inverter for 15 minutes to run 23Watts bulbs and after restoring main power inverter tends to charge the battery for one and a half hour then I turn off the input of inverter and after few seconds turn it on then it stops charging the battery, I guess this indicates problem in the inverter?   
      Well Mr John Fetter your right it is a simulated sine wave inverter but I have a question that when main is on the LCD indicator of inverter i.e; shows 229 V input and when I check the readings in one of my room’s socket the AC readings are 226 V etc, meaning almost corresponding readings. The main problem is when battery is fully charged and if main goes out LCD indicator on Inverter shows 220 V output but readings show 176 V in the socket and when I turn on few bulbs and tube lights the voltage readings increase. I understand your point that modified sine wave inverter’s might deceive the volt meter. Now I do not operate my PC and LED monitor any more on inverter outlet because I am afraid that low voltage could be detrimental for these appliances.
I have another question that why my inverter stops charging the battery when I turn it off and then turn it on again within few seconds. But this technique only works when inverter had charged the battery for at least for 70 to 90 minutes.
Second thing is that when I add little bit distal water and after wards shake the battery once after that for two to three days inverter does not seem to overcharge the battery and if power outage lasts for an hour and 60Watts load is on and after restoration of power inverter fully charges the battery for one hour and then automatically terminates the charge, but after three to four days it starts behaving abnormally, power outage lasts for 15 minutes when 23 Watts load is on inverter and it tends to charge the battery for one to two hours. This is strange phenomenon.
 

I have Cyberpower Inverter “CPS 1200 EI LCD” and following are the specifications;

Model CPS1200EILCD
Capacity (VA / Watts) 1200VA / 720W
Input
Frequency Range 50Hz / 60Hz
Output
On Battery Output Voltage Simulated Sinewave at 220Vac +/-10%
On Battery Output Frequency 50 / 60 Hz
Overload Protection* On Utility: Circuit Breaker/ On Battery: Internal Current Limiting

Battery
Lead Acid Battery 12V
Charging Current 10A
Warning Diagnostics
Indicators AC Mode, Battery mode, Fault
Audible Alarms Low Battery, Overload, Fault
Management
Auto-Charge / Auto-Restart Yes


4. Charger Control*
A. Select “Default” setting for general application. The charge voltage is 13.7V
respectively for CPS1200EI .
B. Select “Customized” setting for special battery condition. The charge voltage is 13.3V
respectively for CPS1200EI.

On January 8, 2013 at 7:01am
John Fetter wrote:

Khurram - You can measure a voltage of ANY waveshape using two lamps. One lamp connected to the mains, one lamp on the output of the inverter. Compare their brightness.
A quasi-square wave might cause oscillations in long housewiring, or interact with transformers and/or motors that are connected and cause your voltmeters to read an unexpected value.
Most computer power supplies are switchmode and are happy with 90 to 245 volts. Any decision to use or not use tends to be overridden when you find you really must use your computer.
I think you may be causing the inverter control circuit to become confused by the way you are switching the system.

On January 8, 2013 at 12:49pm
Chris C. wrote:

Khurram, I have a fairly similar emergency power setup to yours (1000W inverter and group 27 ‘deep cycle’ marine battery for a couple CFLs, laptop and small chargers), except that I use an independent charger and use manual equalizing, which, I assume from your posting, your setup doesn’t do. If one cell is weak, it will bring down the whole battery, and if the situation is not corrected it could ruin it.

Therefore, it is important to equalize the battery, which means to slightly overcharge it, controlling temperature and checking electrolyte level as you do so, until the weak cell electrolyte density has reached the same level as the others. This could take hours if the problem is benign, or days, if the sulfation is severe. The important thing to remember is to keep current and temperature low to avoid rapid internal corrosion (now would be a great time for you to do it, it seems).

Once fully equalized you could double check the cell measuring its internal voltage putting the probes through the cell on the bus bar (careful not to jab the plates, it could short the cell).

If equalizing doesn’t bring back the cell to normal behaviour, it may be shorting internally, causing it to not being able to accept a charge. If it’s caused by dendrite formation it is possible to zap the offending cell by shorting it, but it can be a dangerous procedure. I’d do that only in the last resort and only after emptying the offending cell and refilling with distilled water.

Getting back to temperature, with a weaker electrolyte the battery will be more affected by dropping temperature due to lower chemical activity. I’m not sure how it works out for your normal electrolyte concentration, but a 30C temperature drop will have a measurable effect on power output.

As for your inverter behaviour, the only thing that comes to mind is that it may actually be trying to compensate for low temperature or a weak cell.

I would suggest you look into the manual as to whether it is possible to set it up for equalization and whether you can increase charging voltage to 14.4V, keeping in mind that this may increase battery internal temperature during charging and require more frequent distilled water addition.

On January 9, 2013 at 2:57am
Khurram wrote:

Thankyou so much gentlemen for your replies I will do my level best about the procedures you told me. 

 

On January 13, 2013 at 8:00am
stephen wrote:

Hi guys

I have an 18-month old 100Ah leisure battery in my caravan. Recently I foolishly left a low-speed heating fan (not the heater itself!) on for 10-14 days and when I discovered it the voltage was 0. I have reacharged the battery with the caravan recharger and after 48h it retains a voltage of 13v (slightly higher than it did before).

I am not sure how severely am I likely to have damaged the battery or what useful tests I could do, and would be grateful for any comments and advice about immmediate management.

On January 13, 2013 at 9:14am
John Fetter wrote:

stephen - The load was quite low and the likelihood of permanent damage is therefore low. Cell reversal might have occurred but not too seriously. The negative plates don’t like it very much. You will get no sulfation. Simply charge, as you have done. I would continue trickle charging at a few hundred milliampsfor up to a week to fully restore the plates and balance the cells. Keep the voltage at about 14.5 but no more.

On January 13, 2013 at 2:38pm
Chris C. wrote:

This has happened to me a couple of times as well and I was able to get the battery back in shape, but I wouldn’t be as optimistic as John even if the battery voltage seems to indicate it probably didn’t suffer, because the longer the battery stays in a discharged state the greater the chance amorphous lead sulfate will grow into large crystals that cannot be reverted back into lead and sulfuric acid.

Anyway, check the electrolyte level and density in each cell. That will tell you much more about battery health, and equalize charge as necessary, as John suggested.

On January 14, 2013 at 4:45am
stephen wrote:

Thanks guys thats very helpful

On January 17, 2013 at 12:14am
James Bond, Jnr wrote:

SIMPLE OBSERVATION: Virtually zero auto spares, hardware, etc. retail outlets carry desulfating products on their shelves. That should be enough proof these things don’t work.

On January 17, 2013 at 1:08am
Pau wrote:

Sulphation stages occur in this manner divided by market division:

- Solar batteries (they can keep half of the year discharged)

- Traction batteries (they charge and discharge)

- Starter batteries (sometimes they charge and discharge or users leave them unattended for a long period of time. Also warehouses can keep them for more than 6 month on the shelve)

- UPS batteries ( floating charge)

This would be from more to lees that quantity of sulphate that you can find in a battery. That would mean that if you try to regenerate a UPS battery, you are almost dead, on the contrary you can find a solar battery completely sulphated. Even if you find both of them at correct voltage and low density, internal problems can be different!!!

technical department at renobat

 

On January 17, 2013 at 2:29am
James Bond, Jnr wrote:

Pau
It is common knowledge that batteries get sulfated. The big question is whether or not they can be “desulfated”. The almost 100% absence of desulfation products from retail outlet shelves conveys a very powerful message.

On January 17, 2013 at 4:32am
John Fetter wrote:

Pau - You are evidently not familiar with large motive power and large standby battery facilities. The batteries in large facilities make up over 95% of these types of batteries. They absolutely do not become sulfated because they are used correctly.
Sulfation occurs, in descending order, in many leisure marine & light aircraft batteries, some truck & automobile batteries, a fair number of cold-winter golf-cart batteries and a smattering of underutilized forklift batteries.
The people in the desulfation trade are overwhelmingly not originally from the technical side of the battery industry.

On January 21, 2013 at 8:42pm
Jack wrote:

Interesting thread even if it does degenerate into the odd name calling. Such is the internet.

I think there was a comment about adding graphene above.

Not sure how many are aware, but many companies are looking at building and or incorporating aspects of Lead-Carbon battery technology from full up electrodes, to additives. The full up versions appear to have no or limited issues with partial discharge, not to mention 5-10x the cycle life at about 2-3x the price right now.  I think Exide has an automotive battery now with carbon additive that claims to have much longer life.

I am surprised there was no mention of some of the advanced charging algorithms that NREL developed in the late 90s/early 2000s. As opposed to the typical 14.5ish charge voltage, they actually charged as high as 17+ volts for part of the cycle looking for the point at which the delta voltage approached zero. This could be interpreted as the point where almost all sulfur would be removed from the negative plate. They then continued with a somewhat typical small absorption overcharge. The tests I remember were done with Optima batteries. They were able to achieve 2x+ the number of cycles.

Of course, there was some pulse charge algorithms that were promoted for similar batteries (spiral wound) that actually reduced the number of charge cycles for flat plate batteries.

I do have an interest in any way to prevent and/or reverse sulfation for VRLA batteries (primarily AGM, but GEL too) in solar applications.  I do custom charge electronics so I have quite a bit of flexibility in what I can accomplish and always looking for an edge. There appears to be some competitors promoting sulfation prevention, but not much in the way of real world feedback.

On January 22, 2013 at 8:44pm
barry b wrote:

does epsom salt work to help desulfate a battery   or is this a myth if it works whats the best way to use it

On January 23, 2013 at 2:12am
John Fetter wrote:

Jack - A very useful source of information about carbon-in-lead-acid begins at the United States Patent & Trademark Office website, uspto.gov/patents/process/search - enter “lead acid” as the first search expression, “carbon” as the second search expression. The patents often carry the names of the corporations that own the patents. Carry on searching, corporate names, via popular search engines and a world of useful information becomes available.
What becomes evident is that the majority of carbon-in-lead-acid corporations are finding it difficult to make decent progress in the unforgiving world of business. Their batteries are apparently too expensive. This is very unfortunate. It seems that the lead-acid battery has become a mere commodity. Batteries are a grudge buy. People will buy only the cheapest. Graphene is an ultra expensive form of carbon.
If you want to charge a battery very quickly, two things need to be taken into account. Temperature of the battery, rate of gas evolution. Simply attach a temperature sensor and a gas flow sensor. Charge at high current and use the sensor outputs in a normal feedback control circuit to limit the charging current.
VRLA naturally sulfate through oxygen recombination. Awful technology. Designed by marketing people, not engineers. Much better to use a catalyst to recombine the O2 and H2.

On January 29, 2013 at 3:12am
Khurram wrote:

Hello Mr Chris C and John Fetter. I hope your doing good. I checked the readings on the battery terminals after charging the battery for approximately 4 hours I turned off the inverter and removed all connection cables and took a reading on 200AH battery terminals which was 13.17 V and after one hour readings was 12.90V (note there was no load on the battery, as all the cables were removed) after one more hour reading was 12.46V and after 28 hours reading was 12.36V. My question is that why readings are automatically dropping on the battery terminals when there is no load? As inverter was also disconnected from the battery. I also checked the internal voltages of individual cells using a procedure like connecting the positive probe of the multi-meter with positive terminal of the battery and then submerging the negative probe of the meter into electrolyte of individual cell, one by one. Readings were as following;
Cell no 1= 1.98V, Cell no2= 4.17V, cellno3= 6.33V, cellno4=8.48V, cell no 5=10.62V, cell no 6=12.76V. To make sure I took readings three times. 
After one hour readings were like this( all cables from battery were removed as well as inverter); cell no 1= 1.92V, cellno2= 3.99V, cell no3=6.06, cell no 4=8.13, cell no 5=10.19V, cell no 6= 12.26V.

I also noticed one thing that if battery is full and I only run 23Watts load on inverter for one hour inverter takes 2 to 3 hours to charge the battery before terminating the charging and some times it does not terminates charging at all.

On January 29, 2013 at 4:32am
John Fetter wrote:

Khurram - You may, inadvertently, be looking for a problem where there is none. Your battery is doing what all other lead-acid batteries have always done.
The plates of a recently charged battery include chemical species that exhibit an elevated open circuit potential. These dissipate over time. The battery settles down to its stable open circuit voltage after several hours, perhaps even a day or two.
Your final reading of 12.36 seems to suggest your meter could be under reading slightly.

On January 29, 2013 at 4:37am
Chris C. wrote:

Voltage is higher just after charging because of the surface charge, which dissipates under no load condition within a day, this is normal. Voltage drop after that first day depends on self discharge and is a different phenomenon.

From your readings, it appears your measurements were made from one battery post on one probe to the bus bar in each cell with the other. From that we can determine that battery voltage for each numbered cell (n) is: V= V(n=1)-V(n), so:


test 1 (V) test2 (V)

1: 1.98 1.92
2: 2.19 2.07
3: 2.16 2.07
4: 2.15 2.07
5: 2.14 2.06
6: 2.14 2.07

Differences between tests are not significant, since it appears measurements were done while the battery still had surface charge, so voltage drop would be normal under these circumstances.

What it does tell us, however, is that Cell 1 definitely looks weak. Have you measured electrolyte density of each cell? Cell 1 could be partially sulfated. Does the battery wall present any bulging?

If the cell wall appears flat, there is a good chance it hasn’t been damaged by sulfation and it simply needs equalizing, which is overcharging while keeping the cell temperature reasonable and topping up electrolyte levels as necessary, so as to bring back the weak cell to proper electrolyte density and voltage. You do need a hydrometer to properly monitor this!

As for a light load causing the charger to run for a long time - the only way to find out if it is a problem would be to measure actual power consumed by the charger. For this you would need an inductive ammeter in the charging circuit to measure power consumed by the charger during the procedure.

In any case, as long as cell 1 is not improved upon by equalizing you, will have issues like that.

On January 29, 2013 at 4:39am
Chris C. wrote:

John, are you an early bird? wink

the measurements would seem to indicate a slight problem with cell number one, don’t you think?

On January 29, 2013 at 5:32am
John Fetter wrote:

Khurram posted his SG readings on January 7. Cell No 4 different to the others, added water. There seemed to be nothing wrong with No 1.
The method Khurram used to measure the cells included negative electrodes in series for all the cells except No 1. This means cells No 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 had proportional cumulative negative electrode potentials in series but not No 1. The first cell must therefore give a different, although not necessarily bad reading.

On January 29, 2013 at 5:48am
Chris C. wrote:

OK John, I had forgotten about that earlier post and ‘bad’ cell #4.

However, how can cell 1 read so differently if Khurram is measuring series voltage? Are you saying it’s caused by meter inaccuracy at the lower end of the scale? In which case measuring voltage between each cell instead would give much more accurate results?

Puzzled…

On January 29, 2013 at 7:15am
John Fetter wrote:

Chris C. - Cell No 1 reading includes the electrochemical potential of the positive but not of the negative plates. There is a negative potential but that is generated by the probe reacting electrochemically with the acid. The reading at cell No 2 includes the previous positives, plus the No 1 negative plus the probe. And so on. The negative of cell No 6 never features.
Every cell reading includes a corresponding number of positive readings.
Every cell reading includes one probe-acid electrochemical reading.
Every cell reading except No 1 includes a corresponding number-minus-one negative readings.
Hence No 1 reading will be different.

On January 29, 2013 at 7:28am
Chris C. wrote:

John, I was wondering about the reaction with the probe… Your explanation makes a lot of sense. I tip my hat to you, glad to have learned something useful today smile

On January 30, 2013 at 2:52am
Khurram wrote:

I have checked the readings using multi-meter while the battery was disconnected from the inverter for 3 days now. Same process as before positive terminal of multi-meter was connected with the positive terminal of battery and negative probe was submerged into electrolyte of each cell one by one. Last readings were taken on 28Th January and after two days on 30 January readings are as following.
Cell no1= 1.85V, cell no 2= 3.93V, cell no 3= 6.00V, cell no 4= 8.05V, cell no 5=10.10V, cell no 6=12.16V
However the reading on terminals of the battery was 12.35V.
I used another procedure submerging the positive probe of multi-meter in one cell and negative probe in the electrolyte of another cell and regarding were; cell no 1= 1.86V, cell no 2=2.51V, cell no 3=2.50 V, cell no 4= 2.48V, cell no 5= 2.48V, cell no 6= 2.48V. However, you would have noticed the reading of cell no 1 is fairly different from others the reason for that is that cell no 1 reading was taken submerging the negative probe into electrolyte of cell no 1 while the positive probe of the meter was connected with positive terminal of the battery.
Hydrometer readings. Cell no 1= 1.21, cell no2= 1.21, cell no 3= 1.20, cell no 4=1.20, cell 5=1.20,cell 6=1.20.

My multi-meter is a new one and its readings are accurate. Inverter charges the battery on 13.7V, I have checked that and manual of inverter also states 13.7V. Charging current of inverter is 10 Amps.

On January 30, 2013 at 4:29am
John Fetter wrote:

Khurram - It seems you are very determined there has to be a problem. Maybe you have warranty issues. The very last suggestion I will make on this topic is to recommend you take the identical measurements on another battery.

On January 31, 2013 at 2:55am
Khurram wrote:

Yes, I have warranty issue for inverter not the battery and in our region batteries are only warranted for 6 months and now it’s been eight months. I just wanted you to comment on the above measurements that whether they suggest a problem in the battery or not. Thank you so much.

On January 31, 2013 at 7:15am
Chris C. wrote:

Man, I sometimes wish I was already retired and could respond timely to these interesting posts! “Cousin John” has been so helpful and insightful, it’s been a real delight following this conversation! (If you have German ancestry like myself, you’ll know what I mean, John smile

I would concur with John and from your second set of measurements that indeed, there seems to be nothing wrong with your battery, as Total voltage - Final voltage gives corrected figures for the first cell consistent with a negligible difference between each, indicating good balance.

In any case I would still insist that you do not neglect cell equalization, as your inverter charger setup doesn’t seem to provide for it, as it has been my experience over the years with this type of battery that it is, after forgetting to keep the battery charged when not in use, the most common cause of battery failure, with one cell eventually irreversibly sulphating from being chronically undercharged, or drying up and oxidizing from gassing out.

On January 31, 2013 at 5:51pm
John Fetter wrote:

Chris C. - Your last paragraph points directly at the root of over 90% of all reported problems with lead-acid batteries. Undercharging.
The electrical systems in automobiles are primitive. Almost as if deliberately designed to ruin batteries ASAP. Most battery chargers are designed by electrical/ electronics experts who have a seriously inadequate understanding of the principles of the lead-acid system. (I am one, so I should know.)
Incredibly, they do not appreciate the importance of voltage.
It should be easy for manufacturers to fit adaptive voltage control, that takes battery usage into account. Give you an example. Some cars are regularly driven short distances, others all day long. The regulator should have a memory, so that it “knows” how the car is driven. When the distances are short, the voltage should be increased. The voltage should be decreased when the car is driven all day.
Same applies to boats, aircraft, trucks, etc.

On February 1, 2013 at 3:29am
Khurram wrote:

Thanks Guys i think i got your point, all your trying to say is that i should buy a smart charger which has sufficient range of voltage adjustments at lest up to 16V for equalization and maintenance of the battery in general.

On February 1, 2013 at 1:46pm
Chris C. wrote:

Khurram, that’s pretty much it wink

To be successful, manual equalization using high voltage must be attempted only after the battery received its full charge in the normal manner, otherwise it will result in very high currents which could destroy the battery from warpage and corrosion.

I use a conventional manual charger with mutiple taps for that. I’ve gotten excellent results going as high as 17V, with only 1 to 2 A going into the battery, for a total energy absorption of 30 watts or so, which is minimal at our temperatures.

Of course, don’t forget to check electrolyte levels because most of this energy is going to end up as heat and decomposing water by electrolysis and only a small fraction being actually absorbed by the weak cell.

On February 1, 2013 at 1:59pm
Chris C. wrote:

John, right on. We just lost my mother’s car battery, after only two months of non use (and forgetting to bring the charger when I’d come for a visit wink). Not surprising as she’s been using her car less and less and only for short errands. 10 minutes runs at 14.4V once a week just isn’t enough to keep a battery in good shape!

On February 6, 2013 at 6:23pm
Tony E wrote:

Really interesting threads here…thanks folks…

Maybe I’m really coming at this from left field, but as a biochemist I couldn’t help thinking more physically about pulsing desulfation, and conversely the causes of sulfation.  Could it be that sulfation and the ability of reversing sulfation is more simply related to how the crystals were formed, what types of crystals are formed, etc? 

Obviously, keeping the battery fully charged seems to extend the life of the battery.  Is that because there are no short term chemical conditions to form crystals?

Does using a battery more often create less stratified layers due to ongoing magneto-hydro-dynamic conditions (i.e. constant stirring), so that the crystals formed are more uniform and can therefore be dissolved back into solution more evenly, and possibly avoid the formation of larger crystals which are harder to dissolve - or if these larger crystals are semi-permanent they may combine with other leftover “crap” which results in something with even lower solubility?  We might want to look at that sludge in the bottom, separate it and run it through some spectroscopy to see what it’s made out of.

Could pulsing desulfation be related to getting a physical current moving (stirring),  like how a propeller in ice water will help dissolve larger crystals or inhibit / reduce formation of ice?

Is this maybe why adding additives may contribute to some reduction in sulfation?  Like when you add salt to water, it lowers the freezing point (crystal formation), and below that temperature you will see salt precipitate out of solution as ice forms…etc?

A really interesting experiment would be to constantly stir the battery cells and compare with a control.  I wonder what they used in space at zero gravity beside flywheels.

Just some food for thought.

Tony E

 

On February 7, 2013 at 2:20am
John Fetter wrote:

Tony E. - A few comments to help make the discussion more interesting:
The concept of pulsing in the context of desulfation was invented and patented by Carl Edward Gali, ex-Texas Instruments, aimed at solar powered batteries. It is a concept with obvious instantaneous appeal to entrepreneurs. I believe products were designed, manufactured and explanations worked out, in that order.
Why wait for a plant to die before watering, a dog to starve to death before feeding?
Lead sulfate is almost totally insoluble in battery acid. Solubility varies, averages 2- 4 ppm.
Lead-acid reactions rely on the mobility of lead “adions” or “adatoms” across the surfaces of the active materials of the plates.
It is doubtful whether lead adions/ adatoms would respond differently to pulsing or plain charging.
Agitation, pumping, etc of the electrolyte is in use, in particular, in submarines. It helps but not much.
Logic suggests that if pulsing works better than charging, the sulfation problem must involve high resistance paths, not big crystals.
Additives do not reduce sulfation directly, they improve conductivity inside the plates.
I would suggest that implying that charging extends the life of a battery is analogous to suggesting that eating extends the lives of animals.
Simply having a starter-type lead-acid battery fully charged for perhaps 2-10% of its life, reasonably regularly, obviates sulfation. If that is not possible, caveat emptor.

On February 8, 2013 at 12:06pm
Tony E wrote:

Thanks for your comments John, a pleasure to have such a succinct response…and I’m more about seeing if there are other explanations than the “snake oil types” and have no skin in this game on whether I’m correct or not…and also to be fair here, I am a relative lightweight in this subject, but sometimes a probe/comment from another direction, besides inorganic chemistry (no disrespect intended) may be useful (if not only to me…  smile
So I’ll bite here…assuming as you surmise, that “Logic suggests that if pulsing works better than charging, the sulfation problem must involve high resistance paths, not big crystals.”
I would first reply with “Well, big is relative” on the atomic versus molecular scales.  If an interactive surface is cluttered with malformed crystals or chemical entities or layers, or layers + sludge, or whatever happens close to the reaction site, as occurs in numerous biological mechanisms (sulfation occurs biologically in a number of mechanisms – but maybe it’s too loosely a use of the term sulfation), could the nature of the clutter suggest the weird (non-uniform) chemical catalytic and non-catalytic reactions that are occurring near or at the reaction site…rarely is a reaction surface truly flat like a sheet of graphene, etc and in the case of modern batteries, the plates are porous grids, no?  So, really we start with a bunch of tunnels where there are a myriad of local conditions with varying local chemistry, some more efficient than others.
At the reaction sites, could we have crystalline/sulfation artifact tunnels or spongy like environments where micro hyper chemical activity occurs, that overall seem like high resistance paths but locally are something quite different? I.e. we don’t just have reaction sites coated uniformly in sulfation artifacts. These micro worlds conceivably could be pulsed with short bursts of electricity, resulting in hyper activity that could disrupt or change the micro environment surrounding the reaction surfaces.  It is conceivable that electrical bursts (maybe resulting in magneto-hydro-dynamic outcomes), harmonic shaking of the micro environments, stirring, electrolyte changes and temperature changes, etc., could all play different roles in the nature of the micro environment surrounding the reaction surfaces. As opposed to charging, where less drastic micro environment changes might occur.  I would then see charging as more status quo in the microenvironment and pulsing as more disruptive, possibly allowing the micro environment to “reset” somewhat.
On the next point, you state that “Additives do not reduce sulfation directly; they improve conductivity inside the plates”.  I assume you intended this comment and didn’t mean to say …additives improve conductivity between the plates and the electrolyte…  If that’s what you intended, then I assume that the additives penetrate the porous plates and change their ability to pass around electrons, etc.  But then again, I suggest that these additives would also change the playing field at the reaction surfaces, since in order to affect conductivity of the plates, the additive would need to be sequestered somehow and integrated with the reaction surface resulting in additional, possibly more complex local outcomes at the reaction surface.
More food for thought.

On February 9, 2013 at 12:35am
John Fetter wrote:

Tony E. - It appears there may be two ways to look at the situation.
(1) Study the “offending” component and work out what has happened using the best techniques at one’s disposal.
(2) Have look at how a battery begins its life, run an experimental cell in a glass jar.
Thousands of people have had a go at (1). For the purpose of this discussion, I propose to have a go at (2).
I managed to get hold of a variety of unformed lead-acid batteries. Simply tore them down and carefully extracted the plates. The active material in the positives is usually a light orange-brown, the negatives a light gray.
Use one positive, one negative, build into a glass or acrylic jar. Add acid and begin formation.
A little bit of background information. All the text books I have consulted say that around 50% of the active material in the plates does not contribute towards the actual measurable electrochemical functioning of the battery. In other words, it sits there, appears to do nothing.
Formation is the first charge. It consumes 350% ampere-hours. The discharge that follows delivers 100% ampere-hours and the second charge consumes around 110% to 130% ampere-hours. Thereafter the battery delivers 100%, consumes 110-130%.
It is very instructive to look at the plates while they are being formed. They change color. The positive goes very dark brown, the negative dark gray.
The changing in color begins at the grids, grows into the active material. The process is not uniform. Some areas seem to form before others. It is very obvious that the spreading of conductivity plays a major role.
What is abundantly clear is that a huge surplus of ampere-hours is “pumped” into the cell on that first charge.
I believe the explanation is simple. All of the active material is charged on that first charge, only a portion of the active material can be discharged. The portion that underlies the surface layers cannot be discharged.
As long as a battery spends most of its working life in a satisfactory state of charge, the underlying material provides electronic conduction. When the battery is habitually undercharged, the underlying material becomes sulfated. The resistance rises and the battery no longer wants to accept charge.
Apply pulsing and the high resistance path is overcome and the battery begins to accept charge. If the battery is totally sulfated, pulsing can only bring back the active material located nearest the grid structure.
If cadmium is used as an additive in a 100% sulfated cell, it is possible to see it electroplating onto the negative grids, spreading very slightly into the sulfated active material. Color changes. Repeatedly switching charger on and off and the growth can be seen coming and going - each time penetrating farther into the active material, until the negative is restored. The positives do not suffer permanent sulfation. Simple charging restores them.
You can draw your own conclusions.

On February 9, 2013 at 7:22am
John Fetter wrote:

CONTINUED The behavior of supposedly insoluble lead at a sub-nanometer scale at the highly convoluted electrode surfaces is totally different to its behavior in bulk electrolyte. It is roughly three orders of magnitude more active than a minimum required to sustain lead-acid battery reactions. This implies that larger lead sulfate crystals take proportionally longer to be whittled down compared to smaller crystals. It does not predict irreversibility. Charging causes lead sulfate crystals to dissolve away and lead dioxide crystals to grow adjacent, in the positives; lead metal crystals to grow adjacent, in the negatives. This is promoted by pushing up the cell voltage using a charger.
Everything happens very, very near the surfaces. Suggestions that lead sulfate crystals can be made to dissolve into the electrolyte appear to be the product of fertile imaginations. They can, of course, be removed permanently with EDTA.

On February 18, 2013 at 8:59am
Bryan Stamm wrote:

This thread thas been very interesting.  I would like to take it in a slightly different direction.
I have 2 “deep cycle” group 24 batteries in my RV bank.  I removed them, and recharged.  In order to test them, I applied a 20 amp load (inverter + 120 voltm, 250 watt bulb) to one battery.  After 25 minutes, the voltage dropped below 10.5 volts, and the light went out.  Obviously not a “new battery” as these are rated for 140 min reserve, and apprx 80 amp-hr.  Rather than throw them away, I tried the “dump the electrolite / fill with distilled, charge, dump, and fill with electrolite method.  I increased the run time to over 100 minutes.  The only Issue I have now is the electolite SG.  It reads “dead” on a 4 floating ball hydrometer, but still puts out 12.6 volts at rest, and last for > 60 minutes to 11.0 volts (I didn’t want to drop it to 10.5 volts).  This is very wierd.  Can anyone explain why the battery charges normally, seems to have decent capacity, but the electrolite SG is too low.

I dumped the “dead” electrolitte from the fully charged battery and installed new electrolite.  Same results.

On February 18, 2013 at 10:31am
John Fetter wrote:

Bryan Stamm - Dumping the electrolyte and filling with water simply creates more problems. Your battery plates and your battery electrolyte are now out of synchronization. I personally would have put the battery on a very long, very slow charge.
Your battery now has two problems. You need to get rid of the one you created. You must replace the electrolyte at the right time of the cycle. Put the battery on a very long, very slow charge. Then, when the battery is as fully charged as possible, dump the electrolyte and put in new at 1.280 SG.
If there is any life left, the battery will respond.
Some people would recommend pulse charging instead of a very long, very slow charge. I have found out pulsing does not always work, (like CPR on a dead person).
No one can give any realistic guarantee regarding these remedies. I will not attempt to try to give you an explanation regarding your observations.

On February 18, 2013 at 12:24pm
Bryan Stamm wrote:

“Then, when the battery is as fully charged as possible, dump the electrolyte and put in new at 1.280 SG. “

I did that, twice.

I expected there SG to be greater than 1.3, not < 1.15. 
Where is all the H2SO4 going? 
What are the voltage / run times still ok?

On February 18, 2013 at 3:25pm
John Fetter wrote:

Bryan Stamm - The additional info about replacing the acid twice and still getting nowhere with the SG implies your battery situation is not of a technical nature.

On February 18, 2013 at 9:56pm
Bryan Stamm wrote:

I am not sure how to interpret “not of a technical nature”.  Can you explain?  The battery acid that was added was brand new, with a 1.3 SG out of the box.  I am using a Optima 1200 charger.

On February 21, 2013 at 1:56pm
Albert wrote:

John Fetter - I read this whole page in awe and amazement.Now about cadmium I quote you “One level teaspoon cadmium oxide per 60 Ah cell” so am I right in saying that for a supposedly 12V 60Ah lead acid battery I would need “six level teaspoons” one for each cell? Just wanted to be clear and precise on your recipe.

On February 21, 2013 at 2:59pm
John Fetter wrote:

Albert - Yes. you can add much more if you want fast recovery but then you need to fully charge, then wait a day or two, drain the acid and replace with fresh acid. This gets rid of all the excess cadmium. You can use cadmium sulfate for quicker results.
I am not in this line of business. I work with industrial batteries. I prefer to keep batteries in tip-top condition, add booster to the battery while it is in good condition, improves battery life dramatically. I don’t use cadmium for this. I am not promoting cadmium. I just happened to have tried it on 100% sulfated plates, found that with plenty of patience, it works.

On February 22, 2013 at 10:36am
Albert wrote:

John Fetter - When you say full charge you mean uninterrupted or on and off as you stated earlier? Clarify please.

On February 22, 2013 at 4:21pm
John Fetter wrote:

Albert - After charging, waiting, charging, etc., make the last a good long charge - wait a day or two without charging, (the longer, the better), the cadmium will redissolve out of the negative plates, drain the electrolyte to take out the cadmium, replace with fresh acid. This prevents dendrites and possible shorting later.

On March 5, 2013 at 3:45pm
Nate wrote:

Great discussion. Hope you don’t mind some more prosaic questions..  Love knowing the “why” of the answers (and retail battery tech’s oft don’t know).
1) I have a generator which starts via a 12v closed cell lead-acid battery. In Chicago winters are cold so I bring the battery inside. Is this a wise or needless work?
2) My multi-meter says the battery now has a 12.65v charge. Today I heard 2 opinions: (a) sulfation begins at 12.45v and (b) it begins at 12.68v. Is either correct?
3) I am planning to purchase a NOCO battery charger (3.5 A). What do you recommend as a “proper” charge to balance sulfation and grid corrosion—perhaps 14v?
4) Reading the posts above I understand under-charging creates sulfation. But, let me ask this: I understand I can have the battery charger on constantly for the 4 months the battery is inside. I would prefer to charge it to say 14 and allow it to naturally discharge to say 13v over a month. And then to charge it to 14v again. Is this an inferior approach?
Thanks much.

On March 5, 2013 at 4:44pm
Jack wrote:

Nate,

First, what type of battery are you using?

With a good quality AGM battery, leaving it outside in the winter fully charged is the best thing you could do for it. The cold significantly reduces self discharge and extends battery life. A good quality AGM battery will still deliver strong cranking in cold temperatures as well but not as good as when warm.

Even for a standard flooded battery it will last longer if kept cold, on the other hand its self discharge will dictate that you need to charge it during the winter on a periodic basis. In addition, you may loose critical cramping capability.

Sulfation is not based on voltage so much as acid concentration, it generally starts to happen at about 75% state of charge and accelerates below 50% state of charge in most lead acid batteries.

I took a quick look at the Noco chargers .. seems like a quality product with the usual loads of crap marketing BS thrown in. You don’t seem to have much control with the 3.5 on charge voltage though.

Given you are not going to be charging/ discharging on continuous basis (right?), then plate corrosion is not so much an issue if the charger properly terminates.

The Noco seems to have a warm/cold setting, but unless it actively detects temperature and compensates (not as easy as it sounds as batteries have thermal mass too), then the cold setting is only a bit better than no setting depending on how cold the battery is.

In terms of a proper charge voltage, some AGM batteries suggest 14.2-14.5, some suggest 14.5-14.9 ...flooded/GEL more in the 14.1 range. Given you are not going to be charging that often I would not worry that much about a few hundred millivolts over as you will get less sulfation. If you were continuously cycling I would be concerned due to electrolyte loss/corrosion but you are not.

Keep in mind with a cold battery, you may need to charge with as high as 16V, so if you are bringing the battery inside only for charging, let is stabilize for 24 hours so the proper charge voltages are used.

If the charger has a proper float charge mode, usually about 13.2 - 13.8 battery tech dependent, then you can leave the charger on without any issue.

FYI, though the charger is at 14V, the resting voltage of the battery after charging is more like 13V and will decline to say 12.6-12.7 before being recharged.

On March 6, 2013 at 12:48am
John Fetter wrote:

Nate - Your generator almost certainly has an AGM or gel battery, both of which are unhappy compromises.
Sealed lead acid is designed for ultra low water loss, definitely not for long life and must use oxygen recombination. This process is easily overwhelmed, so the charge voltage is limited. However, if you limit the top of charge voltage of any lead acid battery, the negative plates will become sulfated.
I would normally leave a battery out in the cold but suspect Chicago cold will freeze your battery. Sulfation is caused by undercharging. There are additional factors that can make it worse. Sorry Jack.
If you are measuring 12.65V, your battery is happy.
I personally prefer to use a taper charger that can push a fully charged battery to at least 16V. Use a timer. Switch on, charge, switch off, once a week. Set the ON period just long enough for the battery to reach 15.3V. As soon as it hits 15.3, switch off.
There are thousands of experts that will give you hundreds of different opinions. I suspect this is what attracts certain types of people to this kind of technology.
.

On March 6, 2013 at 6:30am
Jack wrote:

Hey John, no arguments at all on the 12.65V meaning the battery is good. Even with typical cheap multimeter accuracy issues (0.5%), that still puts you over 12.58 which puts you at about 80% SOC or so with a new battery.

I like your suggestion of tapered charge for a brief recharge weekly, but I am not sure your suggested implementation is realistic for the casual user (i.e. Timer, etc.)

Depending on the quality of the user’s battery, and if it is AGM, since it is being kept fully charged, I am not super concerned about it freezing, even in Chicago. Chicago’s on the lake and even when the lake is frozen, you get some moderation though the lowest ever was -33C, and the lowest continuous was -24C over a day. If it is not AGM, I would be bringing it inside.

Nate, I am not sure what your mounting options are, but leaving the battery outside, but putting it into an insulated contained may be your best option. Lead Acid batteries have a lot of thermal mass, but over the period of a night, uninsulated they will reach the low ambient temperature. With adequate insulation, they will stay much closer to the average daily temperature.

On an aside John, I remember an NREL study on spiral would AGM, they were topping out at almost 17 with intelligent tapered charge to ensure no sulfation. They had a fairly intelligent algorithm. That said, I have seen some fairly significant gassing at 15.5 from my telco Genesis AGM batteries at this voltage. Flat plate do not seem to take the voltage abuse (using the term lightly) of the spiral wound. I have had a hard time entertaining discussions with some of the major flate plate deep cycle AGM suppliers about high voltage tapered charging ... they like to stick to the Fixed CC/CV it seems. Any comments?

f you start fully charged though, and just touch 15.3 that should be good. However, I am not aware of a charger that will do this automatically for Nate in a cyclic manner?  Can you suggest one?  I am not disagreeing with your suggestions, more concerned with the practicalities of your implementation. Perhaps just a good and proper full charge followed by a continuous temperature compensated float charge would be easiest?

On March 6, 2013 at 3:54pm
John Fetter wrote:

Jack - Hardware stores sell plug-in timers that are commonly used for lamps. The old fashioned taper chargers work the best for this application.
The problem with AGM and gel is that their designs are compromises. They are not good in deep cycling, although they are often sold as such. Manufacturers will quote CC/CV figures, knowing full well they are not likely to provide long battery life.
There is a fine line between undercharging a battery and overcharging. There is no optimum plateau. The only way to maximize battery life is to take the battery well into gassing briefly, from time to time.
I realize it is not always easy to run batteries properly. One should try anyway.

On March 8, 2013 at 5:33pm
Nate wrote:

Thanks so much for the responses Jack and John!  Very helpful and very appreciated. Sorry for my response delay.
First, here is my specific battery info:

Vision CP12180XRP, Briggs & Stratton 193463GS Battery Specifications:
Chemistry:  Sealed Lead Acid
Voltage: 12 volts
Nominal Capacity: 18Ah
Terminals: Insert, Reverse Polarity
Dimensions (L x W x H): 7.13 x 3.03 x 6.57
Weight (pounds): 12.6
Additionally, the Noco tech advised me their charger will charge flooded batteries to 14.4 v and then stop based on battery resistance. (Sounds like this is well below what is needed for even brief gassing to occur).

Unfortunately, the generator’s design leaves zero room for any battery insulation—though the entire unit is modestly covered. Fortunately, in 35 years there has never been a winter power outage. But the generator is wired to the furnace . And it would need to start. That is why I brought the battery inside.
The timed taper charger idea is excellent ( to extend the battery’s life (which is the objective) but practically is difficult for me to do.
Also, it appears desirable to leave the battery outside—assuming I have it on a float charge.(And if it stays fully charged, it will likely not freeze even at -15 which it certainly can drop to).  But my situation also makes running an extension cord outside to enable the battery to constantly float charge impractical.  [Or, given my inability to insulate, do you still think charging it say once a month would be sufficient? While I do not know the battery’s natural discharge rate,  I am afraid I would need to charge it weekly—and I could miss that schedule and then have a compromised battery].
It is a real pain to remove the battery from the generator. But bringing it inside allows me to ensure it stays fully charged—if I needed it in the dead of winter. I will reconnect it from April-November.
So, there are some practical constraints that prevent me from doing all you suggest. But is what I am doing a reasonable Plan B: (a) bringing the battery inside (b) fully charging it (c) allowing it to naturally discharge for about a month and then (d) bringing it back up to a full charge again ? I would do this maybe 3x over the course of a winter. Or, will this plan significantly reduce battery life?
I am very open to purchasing a different charger that you may recommend. Thank you for looking at the Norco. It seemed reasonable (though its maximum charge will be 14.4 per the tech).
Also, since my battery is registering 12.65v, should I still charge it (after I purchase a charger)? Or is it as “happy” as it should be?
Finally, a tech told me today that sulfation does not begin until a 12v battery reaches 10V. This does not seem factual. Your comment above says bad things begin at about 75% of SOC (which is about 15.75v) or 11.8v. Am I thinking about this correctly?
Thank you again guys.
nate

 

On March 10, 2013 at 4:35pm
John Fetter wrote:

Nate - If you’re happy to bring the battery inside in winter, only put it back in the generator when you need it,  it all becomes dead easy. Give it a good charge. Keep it in the coolest spot in the house, no charger, just as is. If you anticipate a problem with the power, give the battery a boost. Otherwise give the battery a boost once a month, approx. If you forget for a month, does not matter, the battery will retain plenty of charge.
Battery voltage is not a reliable indicator of a battery’s ability to deliver starting current. After three years I would test the battery by connecting a lamp that consumes one or two amps to discharge, measure amps and time. If you find it does not come close to the rating on the label, replace the battery.
Battery voltage does not predict sulfation. Sulfation is caused by undercharging. Batteries are always either undercharged or overcharged. It is impossible to find a “sweet spot”. That is how lead-acid works. The secret to long battery life is to deliberately overcharge, just a touch. This means taking the voltage over 14.4 occasionally.

On March 10, 2013 at 6:37pm
Nate wrote:

Thanks John. I will do all as you suggest.
Im not “happy” to bring the battery in—but I think it may be the most workable solution for me.
Nate

On March 11, 2013 at 3:04pm
Khurram wrote:

Hello Guys,
I have a question that when a tester is connected to the negative terminal of a battery, when inverter is also attached with battery then the tester light should glow? as i have tested it and it does. However, everyone knows that this is not the case in AC but is it different in DC? I also connected multi-meter’s negative probe with the negative terminal of inverter+battery and positive probe of meter with the ground and the voltage reading was 85V. Does DC behaves this way? This should be case when checking the positive terminal not negative.

On March 11, 2013 at 4:03pm
Chris C. wrote:

Isn’t there a warning label saying something like “danger lethal voltages may be present” and to not touch the connectors? In any case it would indicate the charger is probably pushing constant current like those used for tool batteries.

As for safety it would be dangerous when disconnected with no load, once connected and charging it would droop to safe levels.

On March 13, 2013 at 3:00am
khurram wrote:

An electrician who also makes and sells UPS told me that ur inverter is giving ground to the battery, i do not believe him however, i checked it my self and need your input on this. I used screw driver tester, which he also used, and when i connected it to negative terminal of the inverter+battery, it glows as bright as it does when connecting it with positive terminal of inverter+battery. (Dial used on DMM was 200V DC)
Then i connected the negative probe of multi-meter with negative terminal of inverter, when it was charging the battery, and positive terminal of DMM with iron bracket on the wall nearby and it showed 81.6V. Then i connected negative probe of DMM with positive terminal of inverter and connected it with iron bracket on wall and it showed 70.6V. Now the thing is that there should be more volts going into positive terminal of battery instead of negative. As far as the screw driver thing is concerned, it glows bright on both terminals when inverter is either charging the battery, discharging it or even after the termination of charging. however, when inverter is tuned off and its input is removed from wall power plug then tester never glows.
NOTE= (As we all normally check the reading on both terminals of inverter+battery was 13.7 V, when it was charging. DMM is 99% accurate). In fact used another DMM as well.
Need your inputs, Many thanks.

On March 13, 2013 at 3:04am
Khurram wrote:

I checked the vent caps of the battery and there was a slight black powder like stuff inside the vent caps. Does this means that battery is being overcharged?

On March 23, 2013 at 10:55am
Wil wrote:

What causes sulfation?
When a battery is discharged, sulfation starts, right?  So is “insufficient voltage”  a cause of sulfation?

If say I have a 12 volt car battery (lead acid of course) and it starts to read 10.5 volts, I’m guessing sulfation is already occurring at this voltage…..
but what if I connect the battery in parallel to a 12 volt DC source like a DC adaptor.  Will sulfation halt while the battery is connected to the 12 volt DC source?

On April 4, 2013 at 4:02pm
John 2 wrote:

Hello John Fetter, may I ask you a question? (and to everyone else who is knowledgeable about the subject.) I have acquired a solar power system and I live in a place where lead-acid batteries are the only available option. You said above that these are not suitable for solar systems because they would run all the time partially discharged. Is this always true, independently of the ratio between the generated power and the capacity of the battery? The system generates 160 W for a nominal tension of 12 V, so this would provide a charging current of over 10 A. The batteries available here have around 75 AH. So I would suppose it would be possible to fully charge the battery on two consecutive sunny days, provided that no power is drawn from the battery during this time. Or does this not work when charging is interrupted during the night? Or is there something else I am missing? - After a full charge, I suppose it would also be possible to maintain the battery by not discharging it to under 50%, so it could be fully charged again on a single sunny day. Or am I completely off track with my thoughts? What other recommendations could you give for the case where there is no alternative to lead-acid batteries?
I am sorry if I am asking dumb questions, but I am only just beginning to inform myself about the characteristics of batteries, and I do not even own a car, so I am quite unfamiliar with everything related to this subject.

On April 4, 2013 at 4:17pm
Jack wrote:

John 2,

Yes absolutely you can use lead acid batteries with solar. This is done day in and day out with great success.

However, you can’t take the simplistic view of your battery being charged after 2 “sunny days”. A sunny day is not a sunny day is not a sunny day. They we have to look at panel mounting ... i.e. is it fixed, which changes how much sun you will collect at a given point of the year.

What you need to look at is how much battery capacity you will need worst case over a period of time, say a week, and ensure that your battery will be able to support that without going into a deep discharge situation (and consider the battery aging and being cold).

Then you need to look at worst case solar production as you may not have a sunny day for weeks on end and if you MUST use the system, this must be taken into account.

Recommendations are to over size the solar panel .... especially since they are really cheap these days, and to buy a good charge controller that can be set to properly charge your batteries (Morningstar comes to mind).

Rarely will that 160W panel put out 10amps (or even close) unless you plan to continuously move the panel and have an MPPT charge controller.

What type of battery you use will depend on how you intend to use it. If you are in a position to regularly maintain the battery, then a high quality flooded deep cycle can be best. You can overcharge these a bit and add water to compensate which prevents sulfation.

If you are not in a position to maintain it regularly, then a good quality AGM deep cycle can be used. These can take a bit of “overcharging” as well to prevent sulfation.

Batteries will always “start’ to sulfate at partial state of charge. What is critical is to ensure on a regular basis (in a cycling application) that the battery is fully charged (with a bit extra). Hence a good charge controller and over sizing the solar.

On April 4, 2013 at 7:16pm
Chris C. wrote:

The problem with lead acid batteries is that they need to be maintained at the highest possible voltage to minimize sulfation.

As Jack wrote, this means an oversized system and batteries that can take an overcharge, because equalizing is an essential part of the charging process and this requires overcharge with distilled water replenishing of the cells that will gas out in the process.

In my experience with marine troll type batteries (which are built a bit like automotive batteries but with coarser, heavier plates), has been that they can take some heavy discharge to 0% and even lower as long as they don’t stay more than a day or so in this deeply undercharged condition. On the other hand, I’ve managed to get my batteries once all the way down to 2V over a couple of days (forgotten load) and it took me 3 weeks of charging, discharging and equalizing to get them back to snuff, but they were never the same after that.

It sums up to this: the longer a battery stays in a discharged condition, even a partial one, the more it will sulfate and the cumulative effects will eventually add up and cause the battery to fail.

If you have access to more than the standard deep-discharge batteries found in stores and sold for marine use, I would suggest, if you need to have a reliable power source, to look into industrial single cell battery systems of the type used for standby power by telephone companies, like the Surettes, the advantage being, it’s easier to build a balanced battery this way, and bad cells can be taken out without the need to scrap a whole battery.

On April 5, 2013 at 12:45am
John Fetter wrote:

John 2 - The users of solar can probably be divided into two groups - a tiny minority who have a full appreciation of all the nuances of lead-acid and a majority who do not.
Lead-acid will not last in solar unless it is periodically overcharged. The minority of solar users understand this, the majority do not.
It appears that if the user is conscious of the fact that the batteries must be overcharged occasionally and willing to do what is necessary, lead-acid is the perfect solar battery. If not, it is not.
Thousands of desulfation devices are sold every month (1) to people who do not take proper care of their lead-acid batteries. These devices are sold by people who claim sulfation is a normal process in lead-acid. Sulfation is caused (2) by inadequate charging. A high percentage of commercial battery charging equipment (3) is designed by people who do not have a proper understanding of lead-acid technology.
Cycle your batteries according to demand. Give your lead-acid battery a controlled overcharge when you can but not less frequently than once a month. Use flooded batteries. The batteries will last for many, many years. If you want maintenance free, be prepared to buy many, many batteries, be prepared to spend a small fortune.
I do not want to go into specific numbers because then the discussion will never end.
There are many people whose incomes depend on selling MORE batteries. There are many opinions on this subject. Caveat emptor.

On April 5, 2013 at 11:30am
John 2 wrote:

I am using a charge controller which automatically cuts off the charge current when the battery reaches 14.4 V. This value is hardwired in the controller and cannot be changed; so I suppose this makes a “controlled overcharge” impossible? (Except if I bypass the controller and keep charging for some time at noon when power is highest?)

On April 5, 2013 at 12:25pm
Chris C. wrote:

Indeed. This is how most chargers are set up. The problem with that is if one cell is undercharged, it may not get enough voltage to prevent it from sulphating and bring down the whole battery.

Overcharging for equalizing is a delicate matter because you need high voltage, but you need fairly low current to prevent overheating damage.

For a ‘standard’ sized 100AH battery, you can safely go with up to 2A at 20 volts, as long as the battery doesn’t get too hot (try not to exceed 45C). This is certainly feasible with solar cells, I have a few that output just over 24V at rest.

If your setup produces 10 amps in full sun, charging only one battery may be too much. 20V at 2A is 40 watts input; considering most cells would be bubbling off and only those cells which require equalizing would actually be taking the charge, most of it would be turned into heat, which you want to avoid as much as possible.

Go ahead and try, but do monitor voltage, current, electrolyte level and temperature.

On April 5, 2013 at 12:53pm
Jack wrote:

WOW ... slow down.

20V is well beyond what you should ever need for a bit of over charge to prevent sulfation and realistically, your battery should “cap” you out well below that at 2amps unless there is something wrong. We are talking serious overcharge at that point.

I agree in principle with John Fetter w.r.t. flooded batteries, but that is not always possible and for unattended solar installations it is just not an option. That said, I know well treated (i.e. proper charger, load, sizing, etc.) solar systems running on good AGM batteries (Concorde) are seeing 5+ years of service.

John 2, it would be good to tell us what you intend to do with this system.

Simply cutting off the charge current at 14.4V is a fine recipe for sulfation. At a minimum, it should be holding the end of charge voltage until the charge current reduces to a low value. Ideally it has an equalization mode for flooded, conditioning mode for AGM, etc. that engages on a regular basis. You are not going to find that in cheap chargers though. 

The cheapest charger I would recommend would be the Morningstar Sunsaver. It has proper 14.4V absorption charge and a 14.9V equalization. Some would recommend higher, but that is better than nothing. The Sunsaver MPPT is another good option. Don’t quote me on this as I don’t have one here now, but I think you may be able to control the equalization. You can on their larger units, i..e TSMPPT, but these are not cheap.

The other issue with cheap chargers is there temperature compensation. Some really cheap ones do not have it and even the ones that do don’t do it well. If you plan to have this outdoors, if you don’t have temp compensation and it gets cold where you are, consider the batteries toast after the first winter as they will never charge properly.

On April 5, 2013 at 3:53pm
John Fetter wrote:

John 2 - It would seem you correctly identified the elephant in the room. Simply bypass the controller. I would select a suitable resistor to limit the current to 2A max at full sunlight. Ordinary filament lamps in suitable series-parallel combination make a good resistor. Chris C is correct about the 20V, but you don’t charge at 20V but charge from a source capable of delivering 20V but limited to 2A. This is also known as constant current charging.

On April 6, 2013 at 10:26pm
Jack wrote:

John 2.

What is your intended usage?

Generally people who are doing small solar are doing it for “low maintenance”, Is it going to be practical for you to disconnect the main charge controller, disconnect the panel, connect the panel up to something that limits current, reconnect, ensure you only run it for a set period of time ..... of course doing that when the battery is already fully charged (which is not easy to determine) and when you have full sun, etc?

There is actually a simpler way of implementing a basic equalization with a cheap charge controller. This can be done by switching in a schottky diode between the ground of the controller and the ground of the battery. A schottky diode (properly chosen) will have a forward voltage of about 0.5 volts. You could use a regular diode and get a forward voltage of 0.7volts.  What this will do is raise the charge voltage from 14.4 to 14.9 (or 15.1). Given your charger just cuts off, going for the higher voltage may be better.

This is a high enough voltage to cause some gassing, but not so high you need to worry about overheating as the charge current will drop as the battery charges.

When you know the battery is fully charged (and you have a sunny day), you could switch the diode in and let it charge normally for 3 or 4 hours.

With this method you don’t have to worry about resistor selection (and your panel voltage will change a lot with light level and with temperature) and it is universal across all battery sizes whereas current limit varies by battery size.

On April 7, 2013 at 12:06am
John Fetter wrote:

Jack - I believe there is no need to disconnect anything. Simply connect the resistor via a switch to bypass the controller. The controller has voltage feedback control. With the resistor in, the controller senses a high battery voltage, turns off the charge current, leaving only the resistor doing all the charging. No need to fiddle inside the charger. Brightly lit up lamps would confirm the boost charge is working.
I should have mentioned that an isolation diode might be needed in series with the resistor.
People who come to this website surely are the type that figured out that no technology is perfect, no technology can work unattended and that “maintenance-free” is a selling point, never a technological reality?.
John 2, you now have multiple choice.

On April 10, 2013 at 11:20am
John 2 wrote:

Thank you very much everybody for your kind help. So I will see what I can do.
I am using the solar system at home for providing power for a laptop which is in very frequent use, and some other appliances which can be connected directly to 12V DC, and for bridging interruptions in the power supply from the grid (which are rather frequent where I live) via a power inverter to 220V AC. I had also thought of changing the lighting of our house to 12V DC bulbs and connecting them directly to the solar system, but now I think that would not be a good idea because it would draw all the power from the battery, and it would be better to use the solar system for appliances which require power during daytime, and at night only if power supply from the grid fails. - Anyway, the battery is indoors, so it is safe from extreme temperatures.

As for the mounting of the panels, they are fixed in east-west direction, so there is no way of orienting them towards the sun in early morning or late afternoon; but they can be inclined in north-south direction according to the season, so they have always optimal exposure to the sun at noon. Judging from our power consumption, the panels produce more than one kWh on a sunny day. I live in the Andean highlands where sun radiation is quite intense. We have almost every day several sunny hours, even during the rainy season; and during the dry season we have practically cloudless sky during four months of the year. If there should be no sunny weather for a week or so, we can still switch to grid energy - it is not very reliable here, but at least it can help to save battery power when it is available.

On April 10, 2013 at 4:20pm
John Fetter wrote:

John 2 - The fact that your solar is a backup to a 220V AC grid supply simplifies everything. You can use a PLAIN transformer-rectifier 12V car battery charger to equalize your solar battery. Leave it permanently connected to the battery. These types of chargers will take the battery volts right up to brisk gassing. You can use a timer switch, with internal battery backup, to automatically switch on once a week at approx maximum solar output, to provide perfect equalizing, without even having to think about it. Moreover, if you have no sun but you have your grid supply, you can still charge your batteries.

On April 10, 2013 at 8:17pm
Chris C. wrote:

Indeed, if you have grid power it’s a simple matter of using a plain manual charger consisting of a simple transformer and rectifier sized for your battery system so that its current output will be around c/50 to c/100 at 15 to 16V.

The beauty of the old style grid powered chargers is their inherent self regulation, as the sine wave output causes current to reach zero at maximum voltage.

Granted, finding old style manual chargers may not be so easy as they are being superseded with the new generation of fast, powerful and compact chargers that are driven by sophisticated electronics, but that is exactly what you should be looking for in your case.

In any case, monitor current (keep it low), the battery temperature (less than 45C ) and check your electrolyte level. It’s not high voltage that kills batteries during overcharge, it’s high current, heat and water outgassing.

On April 19, 2013 at 4:49pm
Robert H. wrote:

Thanks Mr. Buchmann.

It’s very gracious of you to share such a wealth of knowledge that must have taken many years and much study and experience to acquire. 

Lead acid batteries are my largest interest right now, and from my point of view - I’ve bought different types of smart chargers, standard chargers, float chargers, pulsers, and chemicals - all in an effort to learn how to recover weak starting and deep cycle lead-acid batteries. Your willingness to share your knowledge has allowed me to actually recover some weaker batteries that otherwise would have been turned in for core; some have actually been remarkably recovered to almost 100% of their labeled CCA with great load test achievements.  Your knowledge has also allowed for me to understand how to recognize batteries that are prone to be in the earliest stages of failure and bring them into, and maintain them in, proper functioning condition.  Just as valuable is the knowledge you share that keeps me from expecting miracles from fad chemicals and chargers and thus knowing how to evaluate an SLA battery to determine if it’s a waste of time to even work on it. 

Thus, you’ve not only saved me quite a bit of money and time, but you’ve given me the intangible gift of knowledge, and you don’t even know me. 

Again, Thank You!

On April 19, 2013 at 5:13pm
Robert H. wrote:

Thanks to John Fetter and Chris C. as well.  Lots of knowledge you gentlemen bring to the table in discussion; I’ve read and learned from much of it. 


My level of expertise (on batteries) and electricity: Novice for sure smile

On June 14, 2013 at 12:00pm
Chuck P wrote:

Hello,

I am a maintenance Tech for a grocery distribution center. We use 24 volt and 36 volt batteries for our forklifts. As part of my maintenance I water the batteries if they had been charged the night before every Friday.
John Fetter mentioned “A high percentage of commercial battery charging equipment (3) is designed by people who do not have a proper understanding of lead-acid technology.”
Which got me to thinking I have no idea what my charger is doing to my batteries. My battery rep tells me to hit the equalize button once a month which I can assume is the same as an overcharge.
How can I tell if I have a properly designed Charger?
should i note the amps on the display during a charge?

Anyway what originally brought me to this interesting conversation is that I was visited by a battery rejuvenation vendor and they are selling battery desulfater devices to be attached to my forklift batteries.  Only understanding the basics of the sales pitch I smile and nodded till they left. so with a fist of brochures I did some research
This is the company that came to visit me.
http://www.battlife.co/index.html
This is the source of the battery tender desulfaters
( the owner of battlife also owns Jaxian)
http://jaxiantech.com/index.html

I was interested most in the little device that attaches to the battery says it slows down the sulfation process. They said poor maintenance is the main reason for batteries building up sulfide.  They seem to specialize in bringing near dead batteries back to life using this pulse technology and bringing dead batteries back to near full capacity. But I am unique in that this is a new facility all my batteries are only 6 months old. I want to keep them in top condition. What guidelines should I follow?
If i can maintain watering and charging procedures and assuming I can determine I have a decent charger, would this device be beneficial?

Thank you for taking the time.
-Chuck

On July 25, 2013 at 10:25pm
denise wrote:

Hello gentlemen.
I have read this thread and several of the tutorials with great interest. I have shared what I have learned with my dad who is fascinated. My dad has installed a solar system with a battery bank and we have been trying to figure out how to maintain the batteries effectively.  Please excuse this humble request for basic information including recommended tools—hydrometer, type of battery charger and exactly how to equalize the battery bank, and how to de-sulfate batteries or can any one direct me to a source where I can find that step by step information? Thanks!

On July 25, 2013 at 11:34pm
John Fetter wrote:

denise - It’s easy. Keep the batteries charged as much as possible, discharged as little as possible. Keep them watered. Don’t believe people who go on and on about sulfation. That’s about it.

Chuck P - Get a voltmeter. Forklift batteries must be charged to at least 2.55V per cell. They will sit at a lower voltage for about 90% of the charge. Right at the end the voltage rises. Measure just before the charger is due to switch off. People who go on and on about sulfation have a product to sell.

On August 6, 2013 at 1:52pm
denise wrote:

thank you for responding.  a voltmeter?  is a hydrometer also useful? are they used in conjunction? is there any other efficient, accurate way to test the batteries?
thanks!
denise.

On August 6, 2013 at 7:09pm
Chris C. wrote:

The voltmeter gives a general reading for the whole battery;  a hydrometer allows you to check each cell’s chemistry and determine actual cell charge level.

In other words, voltage is the most basic of tools but doesn’‘t give you a full picture as batteries are made of cells connected in series (6 for a 12V battery). You could have a battery with decent voltage that actually has a bum cell in the series, a voltmeter would not be able to tell you, but a hydrometer would.

If one of the cells has low electrolyte density it runs the risk of sulfating and essetuialy killing the battery. Hence the importance of equalizing, which consists in overcharging the battery so that the poor cell will get the charge it needs, and adding distilled/deionzed water to the cells that are already charged as required,  as overcharging basically boils water by electrolysis.

In the end, all the cells will become even in density and you will get the best performance out of your battery, you may even save a battery that could have gone bad. Remember, once a cell is sulphated, the whole battery is basically a write-off. So, you see, a hydrometer is an essential tool for getting the most out of a battery.

A thrd tool you may want to get is a load tester. This essentially applies a known load on a battery to simulate the effects of a car stater and measuring the voltage drop. From that, internal battery resistance can be calculated and cranking current can be derived.

On August 6, 2013 at 7:51pm
denise wrote:

thank chris c that was extremely helpful and clear! can i get a load tester at a car supplies store ? more importantly,  what is the best way to over charge a battery bank? do you take one battery off at a time and over charge it or is there a way to over charge a battery bank? and is there any thing that needs to be avoided or done in order to be efficient and avoid something dramatic from happening like say an explosion? : 0
thanks again,
denise.

On September 25, 2013 at 11:29am
Arthur Schultz wrote:

I read all of the above comments, which are most helpful. I hope someone can clarify my own situation.

I have a commercial fishing boat. Unlike the overwhelming majority of fishing vessels, which have engines constantly running, I rely very heavily on battery power. I anchor for long periods and use electric jigging machines. My intermittent charging and steady battery drain resembles an off grid home installation more than it resembles a typical industrial use.

Among our small jigging fleet batteries and alternators are constant topics of discussion. We’re moving to fancy external regulators that supposedly give a better charging profile than standard regulators by boosting voltage, and using temperature compensation. Alternator based charging could occupy its own year long conversation thread, but that’s not my current issue.

I have four 8D style 12V batteries, and I got the best “special purpose” deep cycle batteries that are available from my local NAPA store. They aren’t quite the same thing as a Trojan industrial battery, but they are a few steps beyond the “starting/deep cycle” batteries that aren’t really deep cycle. I cannot always charge the batteries completely because there are many times when I run the engine only briefly while moving or searching for fish. Idling doesn’t do much for battery charging or fuel economy, so I don’t do that much for charging purposes.

My batteries have been settling to a voltage around 12.5V after 12 to 24 hours. I’ve had the opportunity to completely isolate them to check resting voltage. I just ran the boat for several days while traveling, manually forcing a number of charge cycles to ensure a full charge, and checking specific gravity with a refractometer after a day’s rest.

With a presumed full charge, the voltage settled at 12.5V and my readings ranged from 1.260 to 1.280 among the 12 cells that I checked on a paired bank. I’m a bit confused by this reading. Above I read that a starting battery should be fully charged at that specific gravity. I also read that some deep cycle batteries might have a specific gravity of up to 1.33 to wring the max out of the battery. Could my batteries really only be partially charged—and I suppose partially sulfated—at such a high specific gravity?

On September 25, 2013 at 5:07pm
John Fetter wrote:

An ideal way to find out what condition batteries are in is to first bring them more or less to a full state of charge. No need to be precise about this.
Next put them on a constant current charge of C/20. This is also called an equalizing charge.
Try to bring the cells up to about 2.6 volts. As long as the voltage continues to rise, keep charging. When it stops rising, stop charging. Individual cell voltages are unlikely to be the same. The battery will gas briskly and will become hot. Leave standing overnight and the next day measure the cell SGs. The readings represent true full state of charge for each cell. The SGs will not be identical.

On September 29, 2013 at 12:09pm
William L. Benson wrote:

I would like to put a de-sulfator on my battery bank.  But the de-sulfator works by putting a pulses across the batteries which I need way to block these pulses from the inverter.

I live off the power grid and I am using 24 fork lift batteries connected to Trace SW5548 converter with a 10KW generator.  The converter is sensitive to voltage spikes kick from the battery cable inductance when the cable are to far apart.  These spikes will damage the input filter capacitors!
NOTE: http://www.xantrex.com/documents/Discontinued-Products/SW2512MC-SW4024MC2UserGuide.pdf page 110 of the manual!

On September 29, 2013 at 2:55pm
John Fetter wrote:

William - People who purchase desulfation products are the desulfation product salesman’s lawful prey. They are the battery equivalent of beauty products. Work if you believe they work. All you need to do to keep your batteries healthy is to bring them to full state of charge and gassing at intervals. Called an equalizing charge.

On October 14, 2013 at 7:04pm
shawn kelly wrote:

RE: high Frequency ultrasonic excitation….I do claim that this form of excitation prevents sulfation, not removes once the damage is done, but prevents the actually root cause.  first we should establish what everyone thinks sulfation means….it may not be what you think.  for starters one must consider the ionic flux differences between Pb and SO4(HSO4) ions at the electrode-electrolyte interface….and we should keep it simple by only discussing flooded type chemistry.  Once Isee interest i will attempt to explain the pyshiochmeical effects and believe me it is frequency (waveform) dependent….we swept from 300Khz-9Mhz during our testing phase….

On October 14, 2013 at 11:03pm
John Fetter wrote:

shawn - It looks like you are trying to lay a bet without putting your money on the table.

On October 15, 2013 at 12:04am
shawn kelly wrote:

John….in lead acid - 2 successful proof of concept test, 1failed (equiment failure, but learned a lot), in li ion 1 I test underway.  10+ years going after this technology and I do not consider it a bet.  I like to think that I understand this phenomena better based on this effort.  In the first test we cycled the cells between 2.04 and 1.7VDC, control was not mechnically excited and test cell was excited (@3.2Mhz)....the biggest obvious and noticeable difference was the test cell cycled 3 times to every 2 times the control cell did.  We also did not see obvious signs of cyclic degradation on vibrating cell as we witnessed on control cell.  We did not understand these results thoroughly until after comparing to follwo on CV testing

On October 15, 2013 at 1:41am
John Fetter wrote:

shawn - Why do you mention Li-ion? You say you are cycling cells between 2.04 and 1.7 volts. What kind of cells? If the cells are lead-acid, you’re not cycling, you are permanently discharging. Your information is very confusing.

On October 15, 2013 at 3:39am
shawn kelly wrote:

John…I apologize for the confusion….‘prematurely discharging’, i am not completely sure I understand this term?  The test cell (i.e. 3 cycles) did discharge 1/3 less energy through out 8000 minute test than control cell (i.e. 2cycles).  Both cells were discharged through an equivalent and constant resistive load.  Cells were COTS VLA batteries sold at Walmart.  After first 4000 minutes, all the electronics used for test and control cycling were swapped to ensure this difference was not induced by test set-up then the test commenced for 4000 more minutes.  Part way through the second 4000 munutes the non-vibrating cell (control) showed signs of significant degradationand would no longer switch from charge to discharge.  Yes, this has been difficult to explain 1) why vibrating cell discharged less energy throughout test, 2) why it cycled 3 to every 2 cycles under same voltage plateaus.

On October 15, 2013 at 4:19am
John Fetter wrote:

shawn - I am not sure how you managed to misread “permanently” and interpret it as “prematurely”. I do not think you have anything special because you appear not to be operating the batteries properly. A voltage of 2.04 is a below-fully-charged value.

On October 15, 2013 at 4:28am
shawn kelly wrote:

John, the cell discharged until it reached an OCV of 1.7VDC and then it charged until its OCV reached 2.04VDC.  Thus, it discharged and charged, over and over again, cycle after cycle.  Permanently discharging a battery makes no sense

On October 15, 2013 at 4:43am
John Fetter wrote:

shawn - Open circuit values are useless in the context of cycling.

On October 15, 2013 at 4:52am
shawn kelly wrote:

John….we just used OCV for switching action.  I could send you the test report and we can start over….we have not evem got out of the gate

On October 15, 2013 at 5:19am
Chuck P wrote:

Well Shawn I would have to agree with John F. It sounds like your trying to sell something.  The line about what causes sulfation and it might not be what we think. Classic ad man lingo. And considering you never followed up on it with any facts. Just to consider the ionic flux differences of lead and acid. There are 7 paragraphs at the beginning of this that explain what sulfation is, If you have imperical evidence that contradicts or improves this information, how about you tell us what it is. Or do we have to send you $19.95 for a phamphlet explaining it to us?

On October 15, 2013 at 5:33am
shawn kelly wrote:

it is not surprising i have not put all the facts behind these claims….if interested i will send my first test results

On October 15, 2013 at 5:41am
shawn kelly wrote:

Meaning I just started this post last night.  Too anyone interested I can send test reports or you can review my 14 page article in the fall 11 addition of Battery and Energy Storage (BEST) magazine

On October 15, 2013 at 5:42am
John Fetter wrote:

shawn - You opened the discussion by asking other people to show an interest. Very little progress can be made until you provide a description of the test procedure that other people can understand. There have been thousands of claims over the years. So you need to figure out a way to clearly demonstrate your claim is credible.
If you go to the USPTO website and read the patents on this subject, it soon becomes obvious from the background information provided in each specification that each inventor, in turn, believed that he triumphed over all the others.
You must figure out how to conquer that formidable obstacle.

On October 15, 2013 at 5:47am
John Fetter wrote:

Battery and Energy Storage (BEST) articles are not available on line. The magazine is not available over the counter.

On October 15, 2013 at 6:37am
Chuck P wrote:

OH the articles are available on line, for 50 UK pounds for a year subscription.
@Shawn So now you want my e-mail address so you can spam me with crap?
So you acknowledge you haven’t put up all the facts of your claims. How about you Actually put up the facts of your claims, right here right now.

On October 15, 2013 at 6:58am
John Fetter wrote:

I found the Summer issue of BEST on line - no Fall issue. Shawn, I’m sorry but your presentation did not come across very well.

On October 15, 2013 at 11:10am
Arthur Schultz wrote:

I just finished equalizing my batteries for the first time. I did not quite follow the instructions posted above on Sept. 25, but I sure did get them to outgas vigorously. Several issues arose that have not been touched yet in this already lengthy discussion.

I bought a variable DC power supply, a Volteq HY3020EX. I believe my 8D batteries are 180 amp hour units (not so easy to learn this from NAPA) so a C/20 current would be 9 amps. The power supply doesn’t have the best documentation, but it’s easy enough to get some power out of it. I quickly hit a dilemma. I’m told above to push a C/20 current, but I’ve also read that I should equalize around 15.8V max.

I set my power at 15.8V and over a few minutes the current went from around 10A to 2A. there was some bubbling but not what I’d call vigorous. Since this power supply can adjust either voltage or current, I cranked the current up to 5.3A and the voltage rose and settled on 16.3V. This made the outgassing fairly vigorous. I would compare it to a freshly poured glass of ginger ale with lots of tiny fizz and also a steady number of larger bubbles. I did this for four hours on each of my four batteries.

During this procedure the liquid in each cell seemed to turn opaque, partly from bubbles but also the liquid seemed to have a gray-brown tint. I think lead sulfate is the same gray-brown color. Is that right? Should the acid have turned a muddy color? The batteries are in dark and confined spaces so I was stuck examining them by flashlight while being a bit contorted. Thus I’m not 100% sure of the opacity or color rendition. All I can say is that I don’t think a glass of ginger ale would have looked brown in that light.

My puzzlement over the correct amp and volt settings led to a point that I had forgotten to consider before. What is the effect of temperature on this whole process? I have read many times that the batteries would get hot. I live in a climate where a warm summer day may hit 65° and I equalized from an initial temp in the mid 40s. I probably outgassed 2-3 oz of water from each cell, but the batteries certainly did not get hot. They never felt warm, so the temperature probably stayed under 70°. I know that electrical resistance rises with temperature, but chemical reactions also tend to go faster as temperature rises. I figured that the batteries needed more voltage because they were cold, but I have never seen any guidelines on equalizing cold batteries. Should I have used more power than 5 amps and 16.3 volts?

Now that I’m done I see some slight difference. The sp gravity has risen from about 1.265 to 1.270 or slightly more. The batteries seem to return to the expected resting voltage faster after turning off a load. I could zap them some more. How do I determine whether I should?

On October 15, 2013 at 4:21pm
John Fetter wrote:

US Patent 7,592,094 to Shawn Kelly, Sept 22, 2009, 280 claims. US Patent Publication 2010 0021798, continuation of US Pat 7,592,094. The patents do not introduce anything radically new. The specifications are critical of a large number of prior art inventions, include long rambling discussions and are remarkably short on specifics relating to the actual invention itself. The patents are classic, designed to attract investors.

On October 15, 2013 at 4:53pm
shawn kelly wrote:

John, its not a continuation…i served 21 years in the US Navy….11 Years on submarines of which reached the highest qualifications possible.  I am now a Product Manager for the largest Commercial Nuclear Power Plant in the world….and have over 11 I&C products (radiation, nuetron flux and vibration control &  monitoring systems).  You obviously have no idea what you are reading, you clearly are not so smart in IP space. 

At any rate, I like your completely cynical and speculative nature.  You likely have no clue where the energy storage industry is going as a whole, and that’s why you are not grabbing the intrinsic and well thought out claim set, or did you read them….i bet you don’t even know how to determine what an independent claim is if a patent only had two claims.  Nothing radically new?????  Please you are not qualified

On October 15, 2013 at 4:59pm
shawn kelly wrote:

All, John seems to be a very selective and narrow filter and he does not want to learn something he does not know because he knows it all. He is making false claims, not myself.  I have not even been able to have a decent technical discussion based on his blog hazing. 

If anyone would like to discuss the effects of high frequency mechanical excitation on lead acid chemistry performance and cycle life that would be great. 

John, why don’t you take a break.  I am not trying to sell anything I am actually trying to get help solving a very real problem in the industry, but it takes background to get people up to speed and you have done nothing but babbled yourself

On October 15, 2013 at 5:01pm
shawn kelly wrote:

It is Autumn 2011 BEST issue, not FALL

On October 15, 2013 at 5:41pm
John Fetter wrote:

shawn -  Thank you for that.

On October 15, 2013 at 5:42pm
Chuck p wrote:

You work at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant? Thats cool. Alright enough of the righteous indignation. Lets get to some science. Ok, so as a battery sits unused this is the worst thing for a battery.  Sulfation begins. So what your saying is that by generating a frequency pulse inside a battery anywhere from 300KHz - 9mhz but i believe 3.2Mhz was the number you mentioned for the test of lead acid.  Now with 3.2 Mhz frequency going through one battery and not on another battery. During 8000 minutes of discharge and charge cycling that the frequrncy battery recharged it self more times than non-frequency battery.  3 cycles freq to every 2 cycles non freq. so isince it was the same load or discharge rate. Does this mean it was charging faster? Or was it discharging stronger was there heat difference in the load? Could it have discharging more? Was the frequency active for the entire 8000 minutes or just during discharge or just during charging?  Were the batteries taken apart to inspect the electrodes for sulfation on the plates?  Is there a way to measure the frequency penetration in the battery was it reaching all of the battery? If you were make your own battery of glass could you see sulafation and the nonsulfation of a frequency battery?

On October 15, 2013 at 6:21pm
Oscar Darwin wrote:

Shawn - Quite awhile back…I ceased viewing this web site as a source of objective research, study and information-sharing. Name-calling was just my first clue. The moderator says that, “Lead-acid chemistry is most definitely well understood”...but he then goes on to say he spent years researching to, “study the deepest inner workings of lead-acid batteries in some serious detail to find out what (his) treatment was doing right.” (meanwhile, he’s not interested in 40’s & 50’s-era research done by the US Military on battery sulfation) He says there are many pulse-charging patents, “...all written by inventors who describe their own version as correct and all previous versions as flawed. There is not one explanation that holds water.” You can see the same attitude in his responses to your posts as well. Later he says that in the course of his studying, “the deepest inner workings of lead-acid batteries”, he was able to, “figure out how pulsing worked.” So obviously HIS explanation is the only one that holds water. If you limit your research to the information found at this web site, you might think that lead/acid battery technology is only “well understood” if your experience aligns with the moderator’s. If your experience is different…then you’re just a rube or a “troll”.  ***But please take note that he’s not abundantly forthcoming with the information.*** In another post, the moderator says, “A bright young engineer in a battery factory would be ill-advised to go to his boss with a new idea on how to make batteries that last longer. Not a career enhancing thing to do.” But he then jumps on the bandwagon by ridiculing anything that doesn’t fit his ‘highly-educated’ template for extending battery life.
    The moderator (and many who comment here) rail against any form of de-sulfating chemistry or technology and scorn anyone who won’t share their formulas or research data. At the same time, the moderator boasts of spending $80K and “...years to develop and to test the material that can reduce water consumption and extend battery life.” But after this attempt to impress the easily-impressed, he then says, “I think you will agree there is no useful advantage to be gained by shouting out its identity.” So he won’t extend the same courtesy to others that he reserves for himself. He dismisses the research of others by pointing to the absence of their products on store shelves. Ask him what store shelves are displaying his product?? Can you say “double-standard”? Sure you can…I knew you could. Meanwhile, the moderator openly laments the fact that nobody wants to buy or discuss his ‘secret formula’. Were this an objective web-site for genuine exchange of ideas and research…I suspect others might be more forthcoming. But heck…even the battery manufacturers are extremely secretive about their own R&D. In order to make money, everyone is trying to protect their secrets. The moderator here is no different. He has an agenda. Everyone knows what the Chinese will do with a successful product. Patent rights mean nothing to them. Meanwhile, I’m making quite a bit of money de-sulfating large batteries and doubling their life in most cases…and my business is growing steadily. But anecdotal evidence means nothing here within the ‘scientific’ community. If you would like to contact me directly…please let me know. I’m working with an Asian supplier who has a product incorporating some of the latest technologies. (one of which is mentioned in a previous post here) I’ve been testing his product as well as his method for applying it. His business is growing rapidly. As a courtesy to others, I won’t be “shouting out its identity” since the moderator and pseudo-scientists here are invested elsewhere and will simply mock, scorn and engage in name-calling. Meanwhile…I’ll continue watching my bank account grow. Although they like to think so…I would advise caution in assuming that product knowledge begins and ends with the folks at this web site…or at the shores of the US. Cheers!!!

On October 15, 2013 at 6:32pm
Chris C. wrote:

Arthur, here are some pointers if I may.

1) Appearance: the brown comes from stirred-up mud, which is basically shed active material (lead oxide). The older the battery the more pronounced the effect. This bothers me a bit since you are not pushing that much current into the battery. It could indicate your batteries have significant wear. Active material tends to shed when it cycles especially when it gets overcharged or over discharged.

2) Temperature: 45C is pretty much the maximum temperature you want to tolerate so if the battery stayed cool it could indicate the current actually was absorbed which is a good thing.

3) Equalization: as the name implies, it is to make all cells chemically identical so as not to have a ‘weak link’ that could render your battery useless, as the cell with the lowest gravity will hold up all the others and reduce the battery’s capacity to produce power. 1.275 is pretty much the maximum you’ll get for this type of battery, but make sure they are all within that value +/-0.05

On October 15, 2013 at 9:33pm
shawn kelly wrote:

Chuck P. - now we are talking -
{No, I am a Product Design Manager (a domestic Plant equipment supply company) for our new and exciting Gen 3+ passive nuclear power plants. 
{Agree}

{Yes,...there are chemical reactions in equilibrium always….until it runs out of steam}  {I believe there is a worst case….and that is Float Charging at the wrong potentials and the effects on VLA and VRLA are similar but different….but regardless it does lead to failure modes for stationary battery applications}

{I read and understand the electrical pulse sulfating technologies; I also read and understand the older mechanical methods of performance and de-sulfating.  I do not believe sulfation is JUST PbSO4 hardening, I believe it is several Pb oxides (3BS and 4BS and maybe others) that come out of solution, based on ionic flux mismatches and the resultant alkalinity shift in that local region….these compunds interact with and bond with the very ionic PbSO4 salt, thus rendering this volume of ionic salt – defect ridden and not reversible.  So, as far as the electrical pulsing guys and others of similar vein and all this breaking of bonds once they are formed…..i am not at able to say they are wrong, I just know in order to convert this electrical energy to mechanical energy to break these unwanted bonds very high and destructive voltage and currents would be needed.}
 
{yes, the mechanical energy can be generated inside, it can come in externally, or it can be generated electrically with carefully selected anode, cathode, separator, or electrolyte material selection and fabrication if that material is mechanically responsive to an electromagnetic signal, i.e. ferroelectric, piezoelectric, electrostrictive, magnetostrictive, etc….  There are many, many ways to achieve the proper excitation….the key is in the application and the algorithum’s being used to maximize the effects.}

{Let’s just say that the frequency is selected to optimally interact with the physiochemical process for the chemistry of interest.  Meaning, I am testing Li-ion derivative as we speak and this frequency will be different for many reasons….including whether it has a solid or liquid electrolyte.  Clearly, it does not make sense to broad cast our frequencies all over the network.  We have also found that the amplitude and duty cycle of the waveform are very important as well.  Not to mention whether the device is on float charge, light or heavy discharge, type of charging profile, etc….  I am not trying to be elusive, however, every time I turn I am being thrown a curve ball with this science.  Yes, i understand mostly where we need to be for various situations, and the range is fairly given but the devil is in the details} 

Re:8000min and 3-2 cycles

{Yes, it discharged thru resistors of the same value.  Unfortunately, we did not measure current in the test so it made understanding the test difficult… During the very first discharge (both fully charged) the test cell released less energy (discharge time was shorter) while it went down to a 1.7VDC voltage cutoff level, mind you thru a constant restive load.  However, it continued to discharge less energy and therefore have to charge less energy through the entire 8000 minutes, we switched all the electronics and loads at 4000 minute point to ensure we were not inducing change (this did not effect performance).  This brought me back to the old peukert effect….something was making the vibrating cell discharge harder and therefore it was giving out less energy on the first discharge and this set it up for the remainder of the test.  However, everything other than the mechanical excitation was the same.  It was not until I compared it to my 2006 CV test before I started to understand what may have happen and how the mechanical energy (at ~3.2Mhz) was effecting the cell.  Let’s think about this and digest then i will present my conclusion}

{excellent question….unfortunately, we did not measure current and nor temperature on resistor.

{In this test through charge and discharge, however, there are many opportunities here in electronic design and energy cost space!}

{Yes, 10X magnification on control and test cells and the vibrating cell did not show any signs of discoloration of PbSO4 crystals…which are typically whitish….I have all these pictures in test report}

{Yes, these are problems already solved in other sciences….In this test no, in the 2006 CV test we know the mechanical energy was reaching all the active material surface area (a whole cm^2)

{ these are implementation problems (new and good problems we are dealing with).  I do believe under a 10X+ magnification you will be able to see distinct differences}

On October 15, 2013 at 9:35pm
shawn kelly wrote:

Oscar….
s h a w n {at} a c t i v e g r i d t e c h . {com}

On October 15, 2013 at 9:47pm
shawn kelly wrote:

When an ELECTRICAL pulse sulfator type can explain why they pick their frequency, rise time (with freguency components) and duty cycle and at which time to best apply during a battery system operating cycle….and it makes sense, is when I will believe.  I know they are getting effects, but they are certainly not optimal.  Meaning, anyone can pound energy (high frequency Voltages and Currents) into a battery and see some effects.  however, the adverse effects on the degradation of the battery based on these high and fast transient voltages and currents are detrimental to everything a battery is about….mainly its sustained performance and lifetime.  Yes, you are seeing some short term effects, however, the mass adoption of your techniques will not happen.  Your minimal short term effects are actually of a mechanical nature and the electrical-to-mechanical conversion efficiency is very low and therefore you are required by design to use very high and extreme amplitudes to get the minimal effect.  Your claims to remove PbSO4’s once they have been formed may be true, the problem is what ELSE are you removing or destroying as you do it.  You took the storage out of energy storage because of your ‘Brute’ force methods.  Again. what frequency, why this frequency and when?

On October 16, 2013 at 12:27am
John Fetter wrote:

shawn - Why are you here? Your co-inventor Joseph Galgana assigned his rights to you on June 6, 2011, then you assigned your rights to Ultrasonic Energy Efficiency Solutions, LLC, a Delaware corporation, on December 20, 2011. If it is as good as you say it is, there will by now have been millions pumped into the venture by retired technophiles. No need to come here and stride up and down the stage.

On October 16, 2013 at 4:35am
John Fetter wrote:

shawn - I managed to locate a copy of your article. It is very well written. It seems to be overweight in a way that users interpret battery technology. There is a heavy bias towards stationary batteries, predominantly used by large organizations, such as power stations, telecommunications, computers, internet services. Your project therefore requires massive investment, very difficult to secure.
The rest of the battery market reacts to the lowest price, not to technology.
The 3,000 to 20,000 magnifications I have seen of the morphology of the active materials imply that lead sulfate crystals form next to the lead dioxide and the lead crystals. The dissolution-precipitation mechanism is described by KJ Vetter in “Bedeutung der Loslichkeit von Electrodenmaterialen fur die Kinetik poroser Electroden”, Chem Ing Tech 1973, 45, PP 231-236. The lead moves between the crystal formations half in, half out of solution. It is very doubtful that the sulfate forms a layer over the underlying material. Fully sulfated negative plates I have seen are pitch black, not white.
Your high frequency wavelength selection to fit into the pores sounds like a good idea but how does it work?
Your way of communicating goes 1, 5, 7,9,10. Someone else tries to fill in 2, 3, 4, 6 and you call them stupid. That may be a reason why investors are staying away
I repeat, the text of your patent is classic trivial information overweight, critical information underweight.

On October 16, 2013 at 4:39am
shawn kelly wrote:

John…I came to this site to teach what I have learned and to hopefully help understand a specific failure modes for large stationary lead acid battery packs that are cycled long and deep.  As far as IP and companies, this is not something that is relevant but I will tell you I own the delaware LLC you spent time looking up.

On October 16, 2013 at 6:00am
Oscar Darwin wrote:

Shawn - You’re wasting your time. As I told you…this is NOT a web site for serious research, study and information-sharing. This is a web site where John Fetter gets to tell you why he’s such a genius while you’re just an idiot. It should be called the “John Fetter Ego-Stroking Web Site.” I guarantee you…you’re not going to teach John anything he doesn’t already know…because he already knows everything there is to know. Just ask him and he’ll tell you!!

On October 16, 2013 at 6:25am
shawn kelly wrote:

John, are you sure you were looking at a negative plate?  What did the positive plate look like? Clearly describing the PbSO4 as layer is very useful for illustrative purposes and it helps others….yes there are many different visions/studies/pictures of what it looks like….so I agree.  As far as half-in and half-out of solution I have read and heard this as well. Okay….the chemical environment (temperature, PH, surrounding reaction products, locality, etc…) and electric field gradients likely determines how much is in and how much is out of solution at any given time and point within electrode-electrolyte system….the main point is that it is very dynamic and it is constantly changing.  I tend to follow Dr. Pavlov and his team’s (Bulgaria) work over the last 3 decades and it has helped me understand the phenomena and physio-chemical process within the lead acid battery. Side note of interest….recently a team in Bulgaria applied ultrasonics to typical lead acid battery while it was undergoing formation charging and the result was 3-4X increased cycle life and improved performance (i.e. charge acceptance, capacity, lower impedance, etc…) and this has made me, my stakeholders and followers very excited,  I have also followed results of applying new SPM and various types of AFM’s measurement techniques to better understand both lead acid and li ion chemistry.  You would be surprised how much Li-ion interest my technology has received….

In my initial lead acid testing under magnification there were very distinct PbSO4 crystals that were whitish on the control cells surface, they were not visible on test (3.2Mhz) cells surface.  From Wikipedia -’...Lead(II) sulfate (British English sulphate) (PbSO4) is a white crystal or powder…’, but that is just Wikipedia.  Maybe you had visual of - Lead(IV) oxide, commonly called lead dioxide or plumbic oxide, is a chemical compound with the formula PbO2. It is an oxide where lead is in an oxidation state +4. It is an odorless dark-brown crystalline powder which is nearly insoluble in water….in its property chart it mentions dark-brown, blackish substance.  I do not need a lecture on, or need opinion on, use of wikipedia. 

I believe that as the PbSO4 crystal comes out of solution (half in or out) it sets up small micro pores (between the low micron level crystal boundaries) and this impedes the ionic fluxes (Pb, SO4 and HSO4) and this sets up adverse alkalinity conditions in which the conditions are favorable for Pb oxides, 3BS and maybe 4BS to precipitate out of solution. This is a very dynamic process and the severity and consequences are highly application specific.  As the potential on the electrode changes, lets consider and very fast step increase in potential, there is a large increase of positive Pb ion flux where it meets the electrolyte, the negative ionic flux can not keep up and the volume becomes positive.  however, we all know the law of ELECTRONEUTRALITY, so something has to change to make that volume neutral again. Well, that is when the potential, via electrolysis breaks up the H2O, and the positive H ions fly out of volume and the less energetic negative OH ions are left behind.  Therefore, that volumes PH goes up and this results in the bad, unwanted and highly irreversible tertiary compounds to come out of solution and interrupt the purer PbSO4 crystalline formation (which would have been whitish) but now is dark brownish or blackish.  Maybe that is the compound you witnessed?  In a perfect world the electrolyte would rewet that locality and those unwanted substances would go back into solution, but we all know it is not perfect world.  This is the process that degrades lead acid batteries performance and lifetime.

On October 16, 2013 at 6:34am
shawn kelly wrote:

Oscar….contact me

s h a w n {at} a c t i v e g r i d t e c h {dot} c o m

Clearly, john has locked out folks from sending emails so we have to be clever

On October 16, 2013 at 7:01am
John Fetter wrote:

shawn - If you had opened with your suggestions for large stationary lead-acid batteries that are deep cycled we would have been having a very productive discussion by now.
As you know, stationary batteries are not considered suitable for deep cycling and I would have suggested that you have a look at the details on the world’s largest lead-acid battery, a stationary battery that was, in fact, deep cycled its entire life. The 40 MWh Chino load-leveling battery with over eight thousand 3250 ampere-hour cells. The link is unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0009/000916/091670eo.pdf. You would have pointed out you have a better technology. Perfect.
Oscar Darwin wrote in on September 22 last year, immediately started breathing fire and brimstone at everyone who had the audacity to call his information outdated. A member of the AD-X2 club.

On October 16, 2013 at 7:33am
John Fetter wrote:

shawn - Our messages are crossing. I have described my experiments with sulfated plates on this website before. For ease of reference, I will give you a brief outline. I stored automobile battery plates vertically, free to move, in a bucket of battery acid for five years. Some cast grid, some expanded grid. Positives and negatives. When I examined the plates at T = +5 years they were black. Positives with a touch of brown, negatives pitch black. The cast grid plates were severely buckled towards the pasting side. The expanded grid plates far less so.
I used cadmium to help recover the negatives. It took three weeks. I managed to obtain nearly the full original ampere hours. The color of the recovered plates was medium gray.
I know about Prof Pavlov and his team. It seems they are among the handful of people still doing original research on lead-acid.

On October 16, 2013 at 7:38am
Oscar Darwin wrote:

What is AD-X2????  Whatever it is…I’ve never used it. However, if John Fetter belittles it…perhaps its something I should look into!! I think John regrets that he can’t re-write history. Anyone perusing these posts can clearly see the vitriol and angst he harbors toward any research that comes to a conclusion different from his own. The childish responses to visitors here speak volumes. He says my information was outdated. You can scroll back and see that I never really submitted much information. I did not do so because I was flamed by John & his toadies here before I had an opportunity. I quickly realized this was not a serious forum. The cretins here have no need of anything outside their miniscule echo chamber. Cheers.

On October 16, 2013 at 7:48am
shawn kelly wrote:

John, wjile they were vertically suspended in H2SO4 bath were they charged and discharged?

On October 16, 2013 at 9:17am
John Fetter wrote:

shawn - I received the plates, (about 15 A-h), unformed from a local battery manufacturer to use in my research. After forming, cycling them a few times, taking measurements, I put them into a large PE bucket, put the bucket in storage and did not touch anything for five years. The plates were loosely in electrical contact with each other. The plates were 100% submerged in battery acid all the time. I did this because there were so many theories flying around about sulfation, I figured I would be patient and make some genuinely 100% sulfated plates, then test them.
(We might have to shout a bit to be able to hear each other over the noise being made by Mr Oscar Darwin.)

On October 16, 2013 at 9:56am
shawn kelly wrote:

in your setup the resultant sulfate will be much different then if you actually replicated a real application.  I would not base any decision based on your test set up

On October 16, 2013 at 3:27pm
John Fetter wrote:

shawn - Thanks. That explains why you are here.

On October 16, 2013 at 4:15pm
shawn kelly wrote:

John….i think its time that you performed your mind boggling and foolish lead acid plate test on yourself… Hang upside down, in vertical mode, in a very dark and deep closet in your double-wide trailer, shut the door for 5 years.  In five years we will come and see what grew on you and what color you are.  Your test you alluded to proves nothing and the content on this site is unbelievably behind times.  I suggest you hang your hat and cut your losses

On October 16, 2013 at 4:45pm
Arthur Schultz wrote:

John’s plate test seems most relevant to me, and in fact is an ideal simulation. I’ve left my boat and its large battery bank for months on end in places where it could not stay on a float charge. Several long term storage events are almost certainly what killed the last battery bank. Three hours ago a friend lifted his own giant battery bank into a boatyard where the same situation is undoubtedly going to occur.

I’m in a situation that should be a poster child for battery abuse. My whole fishing group is seeing a phenomenon where interference slowly builds in our sensitive electronics. I believe the battery plates are slowly sulfating and causing an impedance problem that translates into fuzz on our fish finders. I just finished equalizing and a harbor test suggests that the interference is gone for now.

With these interference issues,who in his right mind would introduce a device that essentially makes the battery plates ring like high pitched gongs?

I’m seeing a senseless argument against a testing protocol that mimics the thing we’re all told makes sulfation. It also mimics real life problems. Put the suspect device beside the bucket and zap the experimental plates, because that’s the situation where I need to see some results.

On October 16, 2013 at 5:15pm
John Fetter wrote:

Shawn Kelly is operating a classic routine. I have seen others do this. It works on retired technophiles, gentlemen of means who enjoy technology and who believe they understand technology and have been persuaded by someone’s silver tongue that his invention is top notch and that they can profit by investing. I think an investor has pulled out. Shawn is hunting.

On October 16, 2013 at 6:12pm
shawn kelly wrote:

Arthur, do you know GM just decided to use LEAD ACID Chemistry for its new Hybrid Malibu?  I don’t think it was John’s test or his secret sauce that made that happen!  In fact, now that the root cause of the kinetic limitations in lead acid are better understood we are starting to see common sense, the bottom line, hit the main stream.  Li-ion performance at Lead acid cost

Okay….“John’s plate test seems most relevant to me, and in fact is an ideal simulation. I’ve left my boat and its large battery bank for months on end in places where it could not stay on a float charge”

{spk:  BTW: be very skeptical of your float charge….this also plays into deep discharge battery failure modes!  Did you completely isolate it from the electrical system of your boat? What was the state of charge when you left it on your island?  Not doubting this, just want to to shed some light on John’s non-sense and waste of life test In his test the electrodes discharged and used up all the ACID and the remaining 4.9996 years the plates were likely sitting in a warm bath tub of H20i}

“Several long term storage events are almost certainly what killed the last battery bank. Three hours ago a friend lifndted {what does this say!} his own giant battery bank into a boatyard where the same situation is undoubtedly going to occur.”

{spk: the problem with John’s test is that it does not replicate you or your friends situation.  His plates just discharged to a bath of H2SO4, of which we have no idea what the level of SG was, obviously not controlled.  John say’s sulfation happens anytime a battery is not completely charged and that it takes weeks for the PbSO4 crystals to reach its lowest stable state…i understand why he believes that. lfation only happens on negative plates and he did not answer key questions.  John also talks of sulfation and that it is black….well sulfation is apparently lower energy states of PbSO4 a known whitish substance, John says it is black? The physio-chemical process are on time frame of minutes, not weeks.  There are many studies and that measure the time frame for every reaction going on and how this impacts the open circuit voltage of battery - and how long it takes - and it is no where near weeks, it is minutes.  John is an extremely smart guy, but he is no different in my mind then the current Li-ion clowns, that find a new substance,additives or dopants, put it in the electrode material or electrrolyte, get great results in the lab, and then wonder why it blew up or caught on fire, three weeks after a monitored side-impact test.  John is of the same grain!} {of course John will come back with smack….and I already know what it will be ‘he already made reference to it unknowing what he was talking about}

I’m in a situation that should be a poster child for battery abuse. My whole fishing group is seeing a phenomenon where interference slowly builds in our sensitive electronics. {how big is your FISHING group, i bet you have a small one}

{interference builds in our sensitive electronics…what are you talking about? This means you suck at fishing nothing else….why try to convince you….follow Johns leaf}

On October 16, 2013 at 6:14pm
shawn kelly wrote:

John….you are comical and don’t worry….your science is safe!

Arthur, do you know GM just decided to use LEAD ACID Chemistry for its new Hybrid Malibu?  I don’t think it was John’s test or his secret sauce that made that happen!  In fact, now that the root cause of the kinetic limitations in lead acid are better understood we are starting to see common sense, the bottom line, hit the main stream.  Li-ion performance at Lead acid cost

Okay….“John’s plate test seems most relevant to me, and in fact is an ideal simulation. I’ve left my boat and its large battery bank for months on end in places where it could not stay on a float charge”

{spk:  BTW: be very skeptical of your float charge….this also plays into deep discharge battery failure modes!  Did you completely isolate it from the electrical system of your boat? What was the state of charge when you left it on your island?  Not doubting this, just want to to shed some light on John’s non-sense and waste of life test In his test the electrodes discharged and used up all the ACID and the remaining 4.9996 years the plates were likely sitting in a warm bath tub of H20i}

“Several long term storage events are almost certainly what killed the last battery bank. Three hours ago a friend lifndted {what does this say!} his own giant battery bank into a boatyard where the same situation is undoubtedly going to occur.”

{spk: the problem with John’s test is that it does not replicate you or your friends situation.  His plates just discharged to a bath of H2SO4, of which we have no idea what the level of SG was, obviously not controlled.  John say’s sulfation happens anytime a battery is not completely charged and that it takes weeks for the PbSO4 crystals to reach its lowest stable state…i understand why he believes that. lfation only happens on negative plates and he did not answer key questions.  John also talks of sulfation and that it is black….well sulfation is apparently lower energy states of PbSO4 a known whitish substance, John says it is black? The physio-chemical process are on time frame of minutes, not weeks.  There are many studies and that measure the time frame for every reaction going on and how this impacts the open circuit voltage of battery - and how long it takes - and it is no where near weeks, it is minutes.  John is an extremely smart guy, but he is no different in my mind then the current Li-ion clowns, that find a new substance,additives or dopants, put it in the electrode material or electrrolyte, get great results in the lab, and then wonder why it blew up or caught on fire, three weeks after a monitored side-impact test.  John is of the same grain!} {of course John will come back with smack….and I already know what it will be ‘he already made reference to it unknowing what he was talking about}

I’m in a situation that should be a poster child for battery abuse. My whole fishing group is seeing a phenomenon where interference slowly builds in our sensitive electronics. {how big is your FISHING group, i bet you have a small one}

{interference builds in our sensitive electronics…what are you talking about? This means you suck at fishing nothing else….why try to convince you….follow Johns leaf}

On October 16, 2013 at 6:30pm
shawn kelly wrote:

John…but as I stated, i like you….old school, but schooled

Shawn Kelly is operating a classic routine. I have seen others do this. It works on retired technophiles {john i thought you had spell check} , gentlemen of means who enjoy technology and who believe they understand technology {and of course you do} and have been persuaded by someone’s silver tongue that his invention is top notch and that they can profit by investing {the old silver tongue himself} . I think an investor has pulled out. {pleae GM has just made the move back to lead acid….in discussions I will bring up your secret sauce} Shawn is hunting {is PbSo4, a well known substance white or black????, please do your homework?}.

On October 16, 2013 at 7:08pm
shawn kelly wrote:

John Fetter has no patents of his own???  he is nothing but a patent troll running a web site blog and stealing everyone elses ideas. 

John if this is not true please list your patents and published applications

If you do not have a patent then you own nothing and your followers and hopefully not investors need to be aware of your agenda.  Who are you being paid by to run this site…..disclosure is warranted and if you do not decide to disclose we will initiate investigation based on the purposeful interference.

On October 16, 2013 at 10:45pm
Arthur Schultz wrote:

Chevy announced that is has killed its hybrid Li-ion Malibu in favor of a start/stop system that uses much small lead acid batteries to automatically start the engine whenever power is required.

Hmm. Already batting less than 1000.

I’m not sure how my float charge came up. Was I not clear enough? There is no charge, let alone a float charge. I’ve left my batteries to sulfate at will for months on end. This is ordinary in coastal Alaska. That is why John’s benign neglect experiment is so relevant. Were they fully charged to begin with? Who knows? All I know is that they did not freeze.

Did I miss something? Are we discussing crystalline growth or chemical reactions? Crystals form when the saturation state of a dissolved substance is high enough for them to form. Creation of a chemical compound is independent of its slow formation into a crystalline structure. This is one of the key points behind my skepticism of desulfator devices. It is activation energy, and not any sort of pinging at any frequency, that drives a chemical change.

I’m not sure how electrical interference makes me suck at fishing. It appears that equalizing may have removed the interference. I guess I don’t suck at it any more! Battery impedance is a well known source of certain types of interference, but typically it is due to corrosion or poor contact at the terminals.

On October 16, 2013 at 11:50pm
John Fetter wrote:

Arthur - I tried an experiment on an old fashioned antimony positive, calcium negative hybrid car battery to find out more about the relationship between self discharge and sulfation. I carefully balanced the self discharge rate with a pure constant current charge rate. The battery voltage followed the day-night and seasonal temperature changes. I adjusted the value of the constant current to keep the voltage swings centered on float charge. After about nine months the battery suddenly developed a “thirst” for extra current which kept getting worse. After a few weeks of this I decided to give the battery a boost to take it well into gassing. Then I went back to the same value constant current charging. The battery was back to where it had been before. This seemed to imply there is a buildup of something in the plates that causes the self discharge rate to go up. It seems like a good idea to periodically take a 12 volt battery to 15.5 - 16 volts.

On October 17, 2013 at 12:04am
John Fetter wrote:

shaun - The plates were in a discharged state. The acid level was way above the plates. The plates took in -SO4, the water evaporated, the acid concentration rose. I do possess a hydrometer.

On October 17, 2013 at 4:33pm
John Fetter wrote:

shaun - Can I ask you to explain how the acoustic energy gets to where it is needed inside a battery. I have reread your patent, US Pat 7,592,094. The entire acoustic propagation process upon which the invention is based appears to have been condensed into a single, technically inappropriate, although legally convenient word. According to the specification, the vibration is “telegraphed” to the matrix.

On October 17, 2013 at 4:41pm
shawn kelly wrote:

yeah…call me 413 579 7108

On October 17, 2013 at 5:36pm
John Fetter wrote:

shawn - Surely this is the appropriate forum?

On October 17, 2013 at 5:45pm
shawn kelly wrote:

John, now that you are asking HOW to get the high frequency mechanical energy to the right areas, it makes believe that you are going to derive a test?  We don’t have five years for this test, so please consider the market.

There are so many ways to get the mechanical energy to the areas it needs to get to


But we are way off your tooic

On October 18, 2013 at 12:19am
John Fetter wrote:

shawn - The reason why I asked is because there is NO EVIDENCE that your idea actually works. If you don’t want to explain, that is your decision.
I built some electronic equipment for a large international corporation that specializes in building power stations, many years ago. I have some insight into the ultrasonics used to test boiler tube welds. So I’ll have a go at explaining.
Ultrasonics need a clean transmission path. Even the tiniest imperfections scatter the energy all over the place, and quickly dissipate it
The ultrasonic waves will be projected by your devices vertically down the terminal posts and be reflected straight back up. The waves will be scattered by the metal surface imperfections and a small portion of the ultrasonic energy will bounce across the thickness of the top connecting bars and eventually into the grids. A tiny residual amount of energy meets the porous active material, the wavelength is small enough to enter the pores and the energy is immediately dissipated before it even touches the bulk of the active material. Some of the energy is conveyed via the electrolyte but is lost in the cacophony of standing waves caused by the billions of sub-microscopic active material surface to liquid interface irregularities of the active material. It is anyone’s guess how the energy can possibly reach the middle four cells in a 12 volt battery.
That seems rather complicated, so I figured that Jay Yablon, your patent attorney, condensed the explanation to “telegraphed”.
He is an interesting person. He is active in alternative science. He patents his own inventions. There is one for a telephone dialing system, US Pat 5,764,731. I can only guess that this concept was patented in anticipation of a fat telecoms corporation’s inadvertent use of the idea.

On October 18, 2013 at 2:19am
john wrote:

Could you two or three stop acting like children?

John you are not a battery god and Shawn to get respect you need to share more details.

On October 18, 2013 at 3:56am
John Fetter wrote:

john - I would suggest that the rules of civilized debate are straightforward. There are forums where everyone agrees with everyone else. This happens to be one where you can expect to have suspect ideas pulled apart. We should try keeping our expressions moderate. I would not call you a child but you chose to call me one. Shawn Kelly picked the ground. He has had every opportunity to back up his ideas.

On October 18, 2013 at 4:16pm
John Fetter wrote:

Oscar Darwin - Try being more objective. I am not the moderator. I am a visitor. I happen to like robust debate. Sulfation is a controversial subject. Ideal. Suggestion: Play the ball, not the man.

On October 21, 2013 at 5:48pm
Shawn Kelly wrote:

john, why don’t you read and digest this relatively old study

Influence of ultrasonic waves on the formation of lead-acid batteries V. Naidenov*, U. Markov
Institute of Electrochemistry and Energy Systems, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Acad. G. Bonchev Street, Bl. 10, Sofia 1113, Bulgaria


Then maybe an intelligent discussion will arise.  I would personally like to ask for your superior explanation of the increased cycle life. who knows maybe you do understand the Chemistry

On October 21, 2013 at 5:58pm
Shawn Kelly wrote:

John, you seem to have your own ideas on how ultrasonic energy get to where it needs to get.  that is great.  we already know a little about the transmissivity of high frequency ultrasonics through lead/lead alloy material and it is a very efficient process, contrary to your description.  this is a growing field with new techniques and materials surfacing everyday

On October 21, 2013 at 11:38pm
John Fetter wrote:

shawn - A person who will not undergo the difficulty of explaining must undergo the trial of being doubted.
The article to which you refer was published last year. The process of lead acid battery formation is very inefficient and very energy hungry. The investigators made it more efficient.
Your concept does not apply ultrasonics during formation. It is used on off-the-shelf batteries. You are the person promoting therefore you are under obligation to explain.
I have never doubted the ability of lead to conduct ultrasonics in the same way as I have never doubted the ability to copper to conduct electricity.
There is fog around this thing that grew thicker with your explanation about this being a growing field with new techniques and materials surfacing every day.

On October 22, 2013 at 5:56am
shawn kelly wrote:

John, not sure why you are qualified to say what my technology/concepts works on and does not work on and what time in life of battery it applies.  I showed you a completely independent test which stands on its own.  How many different chemical process are going on in formation vice field use, you seemed to be a bit confused

On October 22, 2013 at 6:16am
John Fetter wrote:

shawn - Of course I am not qualified. That is why I am asking you to explain how your ultrasonics do their work. It seems like a simple thing for you to do. I watched a video taken during one of your talks. Someone asked “how does it work” and you replied “efficiently”.

On October 22, 2013 at 4:43pm
shawn kelly wrote:

John, again you are repeating yourself (for good of self, community, or other), you are just at a loss for intelligent questions to ask based on what I already told you.  You are now not sure if PbSO4 crystals are WHITE or BLACK, in general you are clueless.

Why should I explain how it works AGAIN!. Do you seriously think my sales/licensing/future will come from your thoughts and this group think? I spent the best part of my 30’s and now my 40’s undoing your group think tactics. I hope some of your followers start thinking about batteries differently, I can only hope.  Sulfation is not magic, it is a simple result of inherent imbalances between the electrode and electrolyte that WE users set up, the harder we drive it the worse it gets.  AGT now has control.  These imbalances cause local alkalinity shifts making conditions for unwanted tertiary compounds to come out of solution more likely and this upsets the electrochemical conversion process and efficiencies, it is really that simple….not BLACK and not WHITE.

We ultrasonically manufacture and engineer an ordered network at the electrode-electrolyte interface which eliminates these inherent ionic kinetic inefficiencies and therefore substancially minimize these adverse effects.

On October 23, 2013 at 12:03am
John Fetter wrote:

shawn - Thank you. A search on-line revealed information suggesting that you have spent the last ten years trying to find investors to put money into your invention and have apparently not succeeded to any appreciable extent.
I found a video on-line showing one of your pitches to investors. You seemed to be selling the sizzle not the substance.
I have taken an invention from conception all the way through to a multi-million turnover business. It is difficult.
You absolutely have to make sure you understand how your invention works so that you can explain it to the people who you must first persuade to buy your product.
When you have a turnover worth speaking about you will have the kind of information that investors like to see. This is the only way you can secure ten or twenty million dollars of investment for your invention.
Would-be distributors want to actually see the invention in use and want to speak to the people who are using it.
I have looked everywhere to find a proper test report. I have not been able to find one. It would seem that you are still at the starting gate because of your over-abundant eloquence and under-represented technical prowess.

On October 24, 2013 at 2:04am
Chuck p wrote:

So could these frequency waves be adjusted to experiment on something more safe say keeping sugar in solution ?  Non scientist here.

On October 26, 2013 at 12:15am
John Fetter wrote:

Chuck - I heard that a hot cup of tea works. No need to go to the extra expense.

On October 26, 2013 at 11:03am
Adam Al wrote:

Hi, I’ve been reading your thread very carefully and been doing a lot of research on this topic. I have a new 150ah sealed calcium battery (solite) hooked up to my 120 watt solar panels. I’ve had the battery for around a month and now my battery will only charge at a rate of 8amps for around 6 hours then the charger will indicate a full battery and the volt reading will be about 13.3 BTW my charger cutts voltage charge at 14v . The voltage doesn’t drop when not in use it settles at around 13 volts. But the eye indicater on the battery indicates that the battery needs charging. Also on my load test the voltage dropped to around 12 immidiatly with a load of 7 amps. The battery voltage was 11.1 after roughly 6 hours of use around 40amps in total. Can someone pleas advise me what to do? BTW I have used a normal charger and I got the same results.

On October 26, 2013 at 8:11pm
shawn kelly wrote:

Adam, you are a victim and when i get my system in the market i will give you one, and you will no longer half to struggle with this.

On November 2, 2013 at 5:54pm
rustcity wrote:

Maximizing Deep Cycle Lead Acid Battery Life—Google “National Renewable Energy Lab, Optima Battery”, for instructive articles on how to increase typical deep cycle life by 200 to 400%.  The technique should work for lead acid batteries in general, not just Optimas.

Synopsis:  Measuring the total current charged, charge to the 0 delta Voltage and then charge an additional 10% of the total current, this last step being potential limited.

It is assumed the Voltage is at or above 10.5 V and that the battery has been in recent use. (Remember, never allow the Voltage to drop below this or expect the worst.) For a 50 Ah Yellow Top, charging can be fast, say 30 to 50 A, until reaching the Zero dV/dt, (Zereo Delta), point, at which reduce charging to 1 to 5 A and continue, charging an additional 3 to 5 Ah after reaching Zero Delta. New batteries may take 30 minutes for this last stage, while older batteries, 2 or 3 hours. This may extend battery life from 200 deep cycles to deep 500+ cycles. NOTE: This is a general charging guideline and it is the responsibility of the reader/ user to ensure safe operation at all times.

Re magic elixir additives, I have read many of the comments in this forum and found them enlightening.  I have found in the USA patent literature these seem to concentrate on trying to get what had been insoluble large lead sulfate crystals back into solution using a monovalent, Group I sulfate salt.  More additive is not better, with the most maxing out at less than 0.5 or 1.5 wt % of the electrolyte.  MgSO4 has also been mentioned frequently.  From here and other sources, it seems little benefit is to be gained from these if the battery lead was formulated properly for its designed use.  I.e., Ca for no maintenance, P for recoverable sulfation, et cetera.

Re Desulfators:  More costly desulfators are not necessarily any better than low cost ones.  I trialed a Power Systems desulfator that put out a clean square wave up to 20 A and up to 30 V that did little good on spiral wound AGM batteries and on large conventional flooded lead acid batteries.  Perhaps the batteries needed a different plate or grid chemistry.  On the flip side, I have used the rf, mA desulfator circuit on a low-cost charger with good success on some conventional batteries and no success on others.  A friend built a low-powered pulsing desulfator based on the most common circuit published on the Net with very good success on conventional batteries, given several weeks for the most heavily sulfated batteries.

Re who has what patents, a quickie search I found no patents by John since 1975, and one, on power recovery from tissue, (or something like that), by Shawn.  Apart from this, there are a lot patents that are pure baloney and a few that are pivotal.  Lots of worthwhile inventions are never patented and kept proprietary and many others are not simply because the invention is not the inventor’s center of attention.  As for Shawn citing his reference to the Bulgarian journal article, that is good, but is it accessible to us on the Net?

Re PbSO4 Fundamental Harmonic Frequency - I, too, would be interested in knowing both the electrical and mechanical.

On November 3, 2013 at 5:29am
John Fetter wrote:

rustcity - Or is it Larry? Carl Edward Gali received a patent for his lead-acid pulse desulfator invention in 1990. Next thing tens of thousands of enthusiasts were infringing. There may be a lesson in this.
For your ease of reference, go back to October 15, above. Patent No 7,592,094.
Credible scientific research into the Placebo Effect has shown that when told by a person of authority that a product works, about a third of people will report that it works even though it actually does not work. There may be people out there making a living from selling desulfation placebos.

On November 15, 2013 at 1:43am
Atrum wrote:

Hello John Fetter, I have been reading this page with fascination, its a gold mine of information. Before I read this page I made a circuit to revive a couple of Batteries which were in a state of low charge for too long a period. They were pulse type. But now I realise, it was perhaps not the best way to go. I have a question, which is a curious effect. I have a 12volt 96Ah battery that I revived. Now if I measure the voltage its 12.65 volts. If I apply a load 110 Watts (two bulbs) the voltage drops, and one of the cells begins to bubble. The light glow but are not bright. Then after 2 to 3 minutes the bubbling suddenly stops and the bulbs are at maximum intensity. very strange. Does this mean the cell that is bubbling has a broken link? If I remove the bulbs and reconnect after an hour the same occurs.

On November 15, 2013 at 2:36am
John Fetter wrote:

Atrum - I have no idea why your battery is doing this. There is bound to be someone with plenty of servicing experience who can explain.

On November 15, 2013 at 7:51am
Harry wrote:

Excellent and valuable information.
I have question on Reverse charging. I had a battery that was totally dead. It accepted no charge and even at 17 volts no current was registering on the amp meter. I had nothing to lose, so I reversed the poles on the power supply. Imediately the power supply was pushing out 2 amps. After 30 seconds I reconnected the poles to correct polarity, and the battery began accepting charge. I charged this battery very slowly over night and it held its charge. I am wondering what happened, did the reverse charging dislodge some of the built up sulphate, what caused the battery to accept charge? I am sure what I have done is not effective or correct way of maintaining a Lead Acid Battery but I am curious to know why it jolted it back to life.

On November 15, 2013 at 10:40am
John Fetter wrote:

Harry - Without knowing the history of the battery I think this is what I think happened. The boundary between the grid metal and the active material of the plates developed a thin, non conducting layer. Applying 17 volts in the normal direction simply reinforced the layer. Reversing the polarity very quickly broke down the layer. After that the battery was able accept charge. This seems like a worthwhile discovery.

On November 22, 2013 at 3:50am
Aakash Vikram Singh wrote:

this is a very great full site. thanks for sharing information.

On November 22, 2013 at 3:53am
Aakash Vikram Singh wrote:

Excellent and valuable information.
http://www.aakashbatteryinverter.com/sukam-inverter.html

On December 14, 2013 at 2:01pm
Kevin Clifford wrote:

Coming to this forum rather late I wonder if this paper has been considered already, especially in light of John’s request for genuine scientific study?

Pulsed-current charging of lead/acid batteries - a possible means for overcoming premature capacity loss?
L.T. Lam *, H. Ozgun, O.V. Lim, J.A. Hamilton, L.H. Vu, D.G. Vella, D.A.J. Rand
Journal of Power Sources 53 (1995) 215-228

On December 14, 2013 at 3:30pm
Art Schultz wrote:

I read that paper and it leaves more questions than answers. My first thought is that pulsing desulfators don’t work that way at all. They do pulse at about the same rate, but with only miniscule amounts of current, and discharge current at that.

On December 14, 2013 at 4:54pm
shawn wrote:

All these discussions on pulse charging, pulse width and amplitude appear to indicate there is something to it but it is clear nobody really understands.  Quite similar to all the new battery chemistries and their unexplained results.  It will likely be a long tume before folks figure out what is going on and then turn that around into a product that optomizes the unlnown effect

On December 19, 2013 at 2:04am
Leon Bredenkamp wrote:

Interesting thread. Much enlightened but none the wiser. We use distilled water to top up our batteries and it was mentioned by a friend that what we buy as ‘distilled water is not distilled but reverse smosis treated water. If so is RO treated water good enought to use or will it destroy my batteries. Thanks

On December 19, 2013 at 4:19am
John Fetter wrote:

Leon - Once upon a time bottles that were sold with the label ‘distilled water’ actually did contain distilled water. Distilled water is very expensive and is overkill for use in batteries. Nowadays the bottles contain reverse osmosis water or deionized water, but the label has not been changed. Reverse osmosis and deionized water can be purer than distilled water. They are all safe for use in batteries.

On December 19, 2013 at 4:39am
Leon Bredenkamp wrote:

Thanks now I know. Regards

On December 20, 2013 at 3:27pm
Art Schultz wrote:

I’m not so sure I agree with the water recommendations. Even in remote Alaskan ports, water labeled something like “pure steam distilled” is available for a few dollars a gallon. It is hard for me to imagine that it would be less affordable elsewhere.

As for reverse osmosis water, maybe commercial reverse osmosis plants are better than onboard desalinators, but the specs I’ve seen on various units put the ion level close to standard tap water. Reverse osmosis isn’t perfect. It only brings water to an acceptable level for consumption. It could be perfectly fine for batteries (depending on initial source), but I would always be suspicious.

I have only seen de-ionized water in laboratories. A large lab building is often plumbed with a separate DI water line. I know the cost of lab grade DI water systems and I think of it as an extremely expensive form of water, but the whole point of using purified water in a battery is to eliminate unwanted ions, so DI water should be the ultimate.

On December 20, 2013 at 4:00pm
John Fetter wrote:

Art - A high percentage of industrial motive power batteries used by logistics operators in the USA receive plain tap water. I am talking about hundreds of thousands of batteries worth over $2500 each.
One must avoid certain impurities. Some impurities are harmless. The Europeans spend huge sums of money on highly purified water for industrial motive power. It is a matter of habit, more than a matter of science.
Batteries on standby duty must have very pure water. Most of the rest can do with water water having equivalent purity of high quality drinking water. Availability plays a huge part.
In theory, pure water is available. It practice it is often not.
I have seen batteries filled with pebbles in order to hold up the electrolyte level indicator. Someone did not want to drag a water container half a mile from source to battery. (In)convenience plays a large part, cost perhaps a minor part.
Power stations use extremely pure water. It is “polished” by deionization.

On December 24, 2013 at 12:49pm
Kevin Clifford wrote:

Here’s a paper that deserves consideration and published in the Journal of Power Sources (so should have been peer reviewed) and was presented at the 9th European Lead Battery Conference.

Novel technique to ensure battery reliability in 42-V PowerNets for new-generation automobiles (type into Google)

The company CSIRO Energy Technology has developed a pulse device for minimizing the development of lead sulfate layers on negative plates. CSIRO is hardly a cottage industry company.

On December 27, 2013 at 12:02am
John Fetter wrote:

Kevin - You have drawn attention to a document that describes a preventative, not a curative process. There is no confirmation of any batteries-in-distress rescue breakthrough. It is a document that explains something about battery pulsing with crystal clear clarity - needle-like high frequency pulses are useless. Profoundly disappointing news for the makers of pulse desulfators that treat batteries with narrow, high frequency pulses.
Energy Technology is a department of the Australian CSIRO. It is a reputable organization.
The batteries under investigation were being used to provide a large number of shallow discharge-charge cycles at high rate, in a partial-state-of-charge condition. The authors proposed a form of pulsing that superimposes a train of optimum duration, high voltage charging-current-producing pulses on the conventional charging current, to compensate for the undercharging that is being deliberately imposed on the batteries.
The authors explain that pulse frequency must be high enough to focus the effect of the pulses on surface sulfate, at the same time, individual pulses must be long enough in duration to overcome interconnection inductance and surface double-layer capacitance, in order to effectively charge the batteries.
The other paper, by Lam, Ozgun, Lim, Hamilton, Vu, Vella and Rand explains how pulse charging is able to overcome the open circuit barrier that seems to all too frequently to form between the positive plate grids and the positive active material of lead-calcium positive grid alloy batteries.
Perhaps the reason why, after so many years, no one has yet managed to provide a satisfactory explanation of how pulsing desulfates batteries is because, sadly, there is nothing to explain.

On January 3, 2014 at 6:53am
Garth Moore wrote:

Thank you for the very interesting read from top to bottom.

Just a little story to add from sunny South Africa…....many years ago we had a doggy-bone Ford Escort 1300, think it was a 1972 model. Anyway, it still came with a generator and the three relay control box. Point is, this car done short trips only and the original battery had given up the ghost. Not to be outdone, a (cheap) replacement was fitted and the generators voltage regulator relay adjusted to about 14,5 v…......that (cheap) battery lasted 7 years in that car!

On January 3, 2014 at 1:39pm
Chris C. wrote:

Indeed, great story. Keep the voltage up, keep the battery cool, top up with distilled water when it needs it and you should be OK. Short trips can kill batteries prematurely as the voltage never gets high enough.

It’s been -36C here lately and I recommend to all members of my family to keep their batteries topped up, it’s been so cold Ive seen a frozen battery for the first time in my life, the battery had sat two weeks in a car outside, unused, and the electronics had drained it enough that the electrolyte density had dropped to the point where it had turned into a slurry, and it took hours with the charger in boost mode (17V - if that happens make sure you disconnect the cables from the car, you don’t want to risk frying the electronics) to get enough amps through that it finally melted the electrolyte enough to let the charge go through.

Luckily as it’s been so cold the lead sulfates never had a chance to harden and I was able to revive the battery.

On January 3, 2014 at 4:04pm
John Fetter wrote:

Garth - You described a solution to what could arguably be described as the No 1 problem that has plagued motorists for 100 years - and one that the automobile, auto-electrics and battery manufacturers have gone to extraordinary lengths to ignore.
It is not difficult to equip alternator voltage regulators with adaptive voltage regulation. A chip that memorizes the way the car is used, counts the number of starts, duration of journeys, etc and adjusts the voltage impressed on the battery accordingly. Short trips - high voltage; long trips - low voltage, long periods of standing - boost voltage.

On January 4, 2014 at 3:07am
John Fetter wrote:

Bystander - Happy New Year.  Need to lighten up. Has the op shop in the big smoke left you stonkered?

On January 6, 2014 at 6:26am
Garth Moore wrote:

An extract from not one but two S.A. Battery manufacturers websites which say much the same thing about the new silver calcium batteries:
“The ideal charging voltage for a hybrid battery is 14.4V and for a calcium battery 14.8V. However, this does not mean that a calcium battery cannot be fitted in place of a hybrid battery. Tests have shown that the calcium battery will operate at a slightly lower state of charge in the car.”
Does anyone remember the “Torque Starter” battery of 30 years ago? Good battery, just it needed 14,6v to charge up and most alternators were running at 14v or less.

On January 6, 2014 at 6:44am
Garth Moore wrote:

To quote a comment from John Fetter on 21 April 2012: ” When the calcium type of battery is operated too long at low charge, an insulating oxide layer develops at the lead-calcium and lead-dioxide boundary.” Leading to an overworked half charged battery and early failure!

On January 6, 2014 at 7:28am
John Fetter wrote:

Garth - Those voltages correspond very roughly to the charging potential that would produce the same rate of gassing for the different grid alloys. They mean nothing in the context of battery life expectancy. Everyone has a story about this, that and the other battery. Given the optimum charging voltage, a hybrid will usually outlast everything else.

On January 6, 2014 at 5:17pm
John Fetter wrote:

Garth - PS   Silver-calcium batteries. I ran the numbers out of curiosity.
The cost of lead, per pound, is $0.98. The cost of silver, per pound, is $323.00. Silver-calcium batteries are sold at the same price as all other batteries. Therefore, how much silver might have been put into these batteries and would an economically justifiable amount have any real measurable positive technical effect?

On January 11, 2014 at 5:32am
Adrian wrote:

Has anyone ever tried an abrasive slurry and agitation by a mechanical shaking, ultrasonic or air bubbling to remove the sulfide deposits? silicon carbide or aluminum oxide?

On January 11, 2014 at 5:55am
John Fetter wrote:

Adrian - Everything under the sun has been done in the struggle to “desulfate” batteries, by many millions of enthusiasts, for over 100 years - except one very obvious thing.

On January 11, 2014 at 8:18am
John Davies wrote:

At the start of this section entitled—-SULPHATION AND HOW TO PREVENT IT——-it says, in the forth paragraph down, that during prolonged charge deprivation that a coating of lead sulphate forms on the NEGATIVE plates !!
Surely this should state BOTH plates as the chemical reaction needs BOTH plates to take place ???
The negative plate electrons chemically react in the positive plate and the lead ions left behind in the negative plate combine with the SO4 from the acid to form lead sulphate on the negative plate.
At the positive plate the lead electrons combine with the hydrogen ions to form water and the resulting lead oxide reacts with the SO4 to form lead sulphate and more water.

My argument is that both plates sulphate up and not just one as it says at the start of this section.

On January 11, 2014 at 8:23am
Chris C. wrote:

Adrian, great idea in principle but let’s not forget that battery plates are made of spongious materials with very high surface area and low mechanical resistance and any mechanical abrasion is bound to seriously damage them, as the sulphates get deeply enmeshed with them. You’d end up with plates with essentially no active material on them.

However, and I don’t know if this hasn’t been tried before, it would be interesting to know if this could work on stationary industrial cells with solid plates.

On January 11, 2014 at 8:41am
John Davies wrote:

If someone has gone to the great trouble of removing the plates from a battery to scrape them clean of suphate it would be much quicker to knock out the paste from the grids and simply replace it. Battery then 100% OK.

On January 11, 2014 at 8:57am
Chris C. wrote:

John, my point exactly. However if you read Adrian’s post, he mentions using an ultrasonic process which would arguably not use heavy mechanical abrasion. It would hover likely result in disintegration of the spongy material.  Food for thought…

On January 11, 2014 at 10:10am
John Fetter wrote:

John Davies - You’re right. Sulfation affects the positives AS WELL AS the negatives. However, the electrochemical conditions at the positives and at the negatives are very different when the battery is put on charge. The positives strongly favor lead sulfate to lead dioxide conversion, the negatives only very weakly favor lead sulfate to lead conversion. It is easy to reverse positive sulfation, difficult to reverse negative sulfation.
The belief that sulfate forms only on the surfaces of the plates is based on superficial observation. The bulk of it happens below the visible surface, deeper down in the plates. The surfaces look whitish, people believe they can see it, wash it out, scrape it off. The bulk of the sulfation is pitch black. Sulfate is not simply sulfate. Depends on the exact composition, hydration, crystal structures.

On January 12, 2014 at 4:35am
Adrian wrote:

Thanks Guys.  I might try it….. I am a machine builder not a electrical or chemistry guy.  I may build a rotator that gently rolls a battery around in a random pattern.  I know that the water jet cutting machines have made abrasives ( with tight size tolerance) suspended in water easy to get.  If the cells were partial filled, rolled around for while that might do show some results. 

Does the sponge material get fully occluded or just coated on the surface leaving passage ways?  To have any affect I would have to have flow.  Fully clogged would not work. 
Is there a test procedure that will help me test effectiveness of this process that will help to reduce the affect of draining and re placing the electrolyte?

On January 12, 2014 at 5:36am
Adrian wrote:

All- thanks for the efforts on this forum.  Its supper worth it.  Batteries and Motors, are the future. Not engines.    I’m interest in both solutions for the dead batteries all ready in existence perhaps future designs that make them better.. Dream big.

Sulfate ( of what ever type ) seems to be the boogie man.  I get that there is more to it just this.    But here are some questions?
Is it soluble in any known solution?  Soak the plates , rinse and refill is too easy.. right?
Is there a substance that sulfate has a higher affinity for that the plates?  sort of like the throw away zinc anode for ships .  Soak the whole thing in a tank and let the “goo” Migrate to the “goo magnet”.  Add current to ” Goo magnet” and all of the affected plates to move it along?  In future battery cells, a sacrificial / replaceable third pole that has current applied to it prior to changing..Replace and recycle it when it gets used up.
Sorry if these are questions that seem silly, but I am supper interested in this now.  Like a dog with a bone.

On January 12, 2014 at 6:46am
John Fetter wrote:

Adrian - There are ninety-nine other things you can do with batteries that have a better chance of giving you something worthwhile in return.

On January 16, 2014 at 8:08am
Jack Kline wrote:

Great posts people. Regarding these numerous desulfators out there, has anyone tried this German desulfator named AccuCare that supposedly contains microorganisms that basically eat sulfate off the plates? Here is the link to the Amazon page of the product and the home page of the company: http://www.amazon.com/Now-AccuCare-18ml-Revolutionary-Rejuvenator/dp/B00EMLUPBW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389884895&sr=8-1&keywords=Accucare and www.unifutura.com

On January 17, 2014 at 3:28am
John Fetter wrote:

Jack - The actual AccuCare website represents arrogant unauthorized use of proprietary trademarks and self-indulgent namedropping, merely to promote a product that is not German, likely to be no better than pasteurized bat droppings.

On January 22, 2014 at 8:55pm
Robert wrote:

The oil, battery and tires are some of parts of the car that the owner has to inspect and periodically replace. Pushing a battery life beyond 5 years is the same to try to revive a dead body. To understand the battery we need some know how in electro chemistry, physics chemistry and more. I absolutely agree to inspect the status of the battery every 2 to 3 weeks. Maintain properly the battery, keeping the voltage above 12.6 V, trickle charge if not in use, and put in desulfation mode (equalizing) 14.5V for 8 to 10 hours if needed. For me the most important thing is not to deal with a dead battery. Considering the cost about $100 to replace the battery ($20 per year) is not worth the time to try to bring back to life a dead body. With an engineering degree my batteries in all my family 4 cars last at least 5 years.

On February 4, 2014 at 3:02pm
Romina Arcamone Garcia wrote:

Trojan Battery Company launched on January 2014 a Smart Carbon technology for batteries in Partial State of Charge. This technology was the result of 5 years of R&D. It will allow to reduce sulfation increasing conductivity in the negative plate. Renewable Energy batteries that past 17 years life cycle under the IEC 94127 are being tested now to prove the benefits of the Smart Carbon technology.

Romina

On February 4, 2014 at 4:00pm
John Fetter wrote:

Romina - Solar power batteries are run in a partial state of charge almost continuously. Something nickel-iron was always able to do but not lead-acid. Hence your company’s Smart Carbon technology - designed to bring “power to homes that have never had access to electricity”. Can I ask how these new batteries would fare in situations where the batteries are left standing open circuit for extended periods, which would leave conventional lead-acid batteries badly sulfated?

On February 4, 2014 at 8:22pm
Jack wrote:

I have some other questions on the Trojan batteries:

- Can you compare and contrast to the carbon enhanced batteries targeted at automotice from the likes of companies like Exide and lead-carbon batteries like Axion?

- Lead carbon batteries tend to be quite expensive with 20-30% less volumetric capacity versus typical lead-acid batteries.

How many 50% charge cycles are possible?

I have been excited by this technology in the past, but the high cost coupled with reduced storage was a turn-off. Unfortunately they still suffer from high temperature oxidation like other lead-acid batteries.

And yes, how will they do under extended periods of partial state of charge. I don’t need indefinite, but if I can run a month at under 50% state of charge without long term damage, that would cover most if not all solar installations as I can force a full charge on a regular basis, just not that regular.

On February 7, 2014 at 4:33am
John Fetter wrote:

Romina - Carbon technology has been described by Boden, Calabek, Fernandez, Kozawa, Lam, Micka, Moseley, Pavlov, Sawai, Shiomi, Spence, Valenciano, Walmet, their numerous co-researchers, as well as other researchers. The researchers disagree about the underlying mechanism, disagree about the effectiveness of carbon and disagree about the optimum type of carbon. This would seem to be a controversial subject.  It would be appreciated if you would consider explaining the advantages of the Trojan system.

On February 12, 2014 at 8:39pm
Russ wrote:

I thought the following link did a good job explaining sulfation.

http://batteryvitamin.net/sulfation_remedies_demystified

On February 13, 2014 at 6:33am
John Fetter wrote:

Russ - Sulfation in regular lead-acid batteries and sulfation in partial-state-of-charge lead-acid batteries arise in a different context, hence my question of Feb 4. A response is beginning to look increasingly unlikely.

On February 13, 2014 at 1:54pm
Misha wrote:

John Fetter, you are the smartest guy for lead acid batteries. Of course… I am just kidding.

On February 13, 2014 at 3:50pm
John Fetter wrote:

Ad hominem.

On February 14, 2014 at 1:12am
Misha wrote:

Ignorantia nocet.

On February 14, 2014 at 5:06am
Carl wrote:

This is only a test message.

On February 14, 2014 at 10:01am
Cadex Electronics Inc. wrote:

This is the BatteryU administrator smile

Be polite guys and keep the discussion fruitful smile

Brandon Crick | Marcom Manager
Cadex Electronics Inc.
brandon.crick@cadex.com

On February 19, 2014 at 3:50am
ramkumar wrote:

in my company we are using toyota fork lift in that 1 batery cell get damage so we send the batery for service.  they made delay (because of pament) about 9 months
now we think to do service but they are telling to scrapped they are given the below reson

1. The battery has not been in use since about 9 Months where in which would have led to “Deterioration” & “Sulfation” of the other cells in the battery.
Hence it is not advised by us to JSAI to undergo this procedure.
This battery is not fit for use and need to be scrapped l

On February 19, 2014 at 7:02am
John Fetter wrote:

ramkumar - Check that the electrolyte levels are above the plates but NOT any higher. Add water where necessary. (The electrolyte expands when the battery is charged.) Simply put the battery on charge at a reduced rate, something like one twentieth of the ampere-hour rating and let it charge until it gets quite warm. This can take quite a few days. Then switch off and wait two-three days. Check the voltage of every cell. The low ones are probably duds.

On February 20, 2014 at 6:29am
Chris C. wrote:

John, I have a question:

What do you think of using an AC capacitor charger for a situation like this - by that, I mean a charger with constant current limited by the capacitor itself, but variable voltage which can go as high as needed to push said current over highly resistant sulfated plates? 

For those who are not familiar with the concept, it’s a charger designed with a motor run capacitor in series with a bridge rectifier and no transformer. As it can generate line voltages it is NOT a safe device to use and one must use an inline fuse for overcurrent protection (should the capacitor short itself).

On February 20, 2014 at 4:29pm
John Fetter wrote:

Chris - I would personally not hesitate to use a capacitor charger myself. I would definitely not recommend the idea to others precisely because it can be dangerous.
As an aside, I used a capacitor in series with the primary of a regular 12V charger to charge a single 2V cell. This worked perfectly. However, when I disconnected the cell with the charger still on, the transformer in the charger complained loudly as it went into saturation.
I prefer to use a more conventional charger that has a constant current facility. I have a thirty-year-old 50A thyristor controlled charger with infinitely variable voltage and infinitely variable current control. It uses series connected voltage and current control amplifiers. Two potentiometers. Preset the volts and amps. The charger pushes constant current into the battery up to the voltage setting. When the battery reaches this voltage the charger tapers the current and the battery settles down to constant volts.

On February 23, 2014 at 1:48pm
Chris C. wrote:

Thanks for your response… Your old charger sure looks sweet and exactly what I’d love to have! I just have a couple of run of the mill chargers now. Do you happen to have a schematic for that thyristor circuit? 

Long ago I made myself a very compact and powerful charger using a surplus industrial triac based controller on the primary, made the transformer hum like mad but worked great, even if I could only control the input… I had both an ammeter and a voltmeter so I could control its output that way, but you really had to check it constantly and I made the mistake of lending it to a buddy who used it for trying to start his car and burnt it out and I never got back to repairing it…

On February 23, 2014 at 4:30pm
John Fetter wrote:

Chris - It started life as an industrial dc motor speed controller. Unfortunately I lost the schematic. Motor controllers make first class battery chargers because of their control accuracy. Easy to program voltages and currents. The circuit is overkill because it is a four quadrant speed controller, meaning it can charge the battery from the ac supply, and then discharge it back into the ac supply. Useful when cycle testing motive power batteries. I only pay for the electricity wasted in circuit losses.

On February 27, 2014 at 10:31pm
Russ wrote:

This company claims to have a solution to solar storage at about the same price as lead acid.

http://www.aquionenergy.com/energy-storage-technology

On February 28, 2014 at 2:30am
John Fetter wrote:

Russ - I had a good look at that website. I heard a loud suction sound that seemed to be aimed at investors. I read all their patents. There does not appear to be a single decipherable explanation on how their battery works.
I did not find any information on prices.

On February 28, 2014 at 8:55am
Russ wrote:

This is the article that brought me to their website. It claims that they are shipping to customers for evaluation. The battery tech and pricing claims are in a few paragraphs at the end.

http://www.technologyreview.com/demo/524466/storing-the-sun/

On February 28, 2014 at 1:06pm
Chris C. wrote:

” I heard a loud suction sound that seemed to be aimed at investors” that made my day, hadn’t had such a good laugh in quite a while… :-D

On February 28, 2014 at 5:34pm
John Fetter wrote:

New technologies, new companies. This company is running a very elaborate, highly polished publicity campaign and is saying next to nothing about the actual workings of the battery. I find the descriptions that are given focus on soothing features that seem to have been cherry picked from a list of the perfect battery features. I like to see plenty of engineers/ technicians, not a boardroom brimming with executives.
When Edison began selling light bulbs, he began by selling them below cost. The product proved itself. Sales went through the roof. Edison made money.
This could be done to promote sales of batteries, provided the investors have very deep pockets. The battery would have to be PERFECT, not merely very good, because, unlike Edison’s light bulb, there are plenty of other types of batteries already out there.

On March 1, 2014 at 12:23am
Russ wrote:

Well i am just a seeker of knowledge and i have learned a lot from you John through your posts, I had never even thought about the incompatibility of lead acid batteries and solar power before this discourse. So what do you think is the best battery configuration for operating in a constant state of partial discharge?

On March 1, 2014 at 12:38am
Art Schultz wrote:

This “constant state of partial discharge” is also the case for thousands of small boats, some times using wind or solar panels, but more often using the engine for short charging periods. That is my situation. As far as I have been able to determine, the best battery would be a lithium pack. I have lead acids and it seems that I would ultimately save quite a bit of money at my next change by going for the longer life of a lithium bank.

Somebody, anybody feel free to talk me out of this before I make a terrible mistake, but at the moment a big Chinese made lithium bank is looking better and better.

On March 1, 2014 at 12:59am
John Fetter wrote:

Russ - It is an interesting subject. Look at Feb 4, above. This is a discussion page, so I asked the obvious question. The fact that there has been no response speaks volumes about the technology. It has become quite common for companies to make these kinds of announcements. I believe nickel-iron works well in a constant state of partial discharge.
I can see a huge opportunity for lead-acid in a series hybrid automobile. Engine, generator, battery, speed controller, electric motor. Electric transmission with energy memory. Very difficult to design a battery for this kind of application. Not impossible. It is a mindset thing.

On March 1, 2014 at 3:00am
John Fetter wrote:

Art - Lithium is a complex, controversial, expensive technology. Lead-acid is a complex, controversial technology.
It is possible to make lead-acid work in constant partial state of discharge using a simple precaution. Bring the batteries to full gassing charge no less frequently than once a month.

On March 5, 2014 at 7:26am
mark diodash wrote:

funny used to get 3 yrs out of my motorcycle battery, driving mostly local cars the same.

Now i drive all highway and get 6 or 7 yrs out of a battery. My tennis ball machine ,I get 6 yrs out of the battery. I charge this every time i use it.

On March 7, 2014 at 3:43pm
Darell Engelhaupt wrote:

John, you mentioned Edison NiFe batteries for stationary use. My grandfather had a 1913 Detroit Electric which ran on the same Edison NiFe alkaline batteries for more than forty years. Jay Leno has a similar Baker Electric today and has but one original battery about 100 years old and still holds a charge. More could be done with this type battery using higher specific area electrodes and modern plastics to build a lighter version.

On March 7, 2014 at 4:17pm
John Fetter wrote:

Darell - Yes. I agree.
However, people are not interested in buying good batteries but in buying the least expensive batteries. There is no technology barrier but a commercial barrier.
As an aside, people use expensive lithium only because it reduces the size and weight of the equipment powered by batteries to a sufficient extent to overcome objections to price.

On March 30, 2014 at 6:20am
Adam R wrote:

Couldnt sleep last night so read entire forum, thanks for fascinating and entertaining exchanges. I live on a boat and help design and build electric cargo trikes in Bath UK - Cycles Maximus. I use Enersys AGM in both bike and boat, CTEK charger on bike alternator and modified Adverc on boat.  Bike battery now on 500 cycles and going strong with 12.85 v after charge.  Boat battery on 150 cycles and Sulfated although MPPT solar charger and 300A alternator with temp comp controller running 14.6v boost at 25 deg.c. Have nust purchased square wave pulse desulfator with high current capability. After reading forum not sure this will work but will let you know soon. What do you suggest for boat charge as max charge time allowed on inland waterways is 12 hours in one day? Understand that I may not be getting 110% back in which can cause sulfation. However CTEK on bike giving top performance due to plugged in at work when not used so constantly getting full recharge.  However prior to CTEK I used Mobitronic with identical charge algorithm but NO initial desulfation phase. In this configuration AGM battery only lasted 250 cycles with slow deterioration of capacity. So what is going on if desulfation pulse charge is a red herring? CTEK absolutely works here. Enersys Newport have AGM up to 1200 cycles with high current charge in lab using similar charger.  Look forward to reply.  Would love to fit NiFE but wide v range would mess up installed electronis and cost very high.

On March 31, 2014 at 3:35am
John Fetter wrote:

Adam - When one looks for problems where none exist there is a real risk of finding a problem that cannot be fixed.

On March 31, 2014 at 4:31am
John wrote:

John Fetter,

After reading Adam R.‘s valid application post, I fully expected an asinine response from you that would be dripping in sarcasm and would provide absolutely no value to the community or the poster.

You did not disappoint.

On March 31, 2014 at 5:05am
John Fetter wrote:

John - You missed an ideal opportunity to share your knowledge on this subject.

On April 7, 2014 at 10:33am
engr murad wrote:

HELLO EVERY BODY.
                      i have got 150 batteries of 12 v 65 ah sealed lead acid they were dumped in store from last four years they are new and not used . now they are not charging and voltage not rise from 9 volts please any body help me what should i do with them to use them need ur comments please…..

On April 21, 2014 at 4:50am
brian wrote:

Adam R: in Bath,  how are you getting on with your desulfator

On May 10, 2014 at 6:02am
Neil wrote:

Hi, I use desulphator pulse ccts. They work. I worked at uni in physics. I researched the hard sulphate crystal build up on plates. I found research expt hi res photos of before and after (on net) showing how much had been removed - lots. It grows like a fungus and robs active material and plate area and increases resistance.
Imagine the copper sulphate crystal growing expt you did in chemistry. Take water, add crystals, heat up and stir. All dissolves. let cool and wait. Crystal grows from seed.
The pulsator effectively ‘stirs’ the solution, it shocks/vibrates the crystal molecules back into solution. No mystery or magic. Heating battery or keeping it warm somehow helps too. Pulses probably work best in conjunction with battery being charged, topped up, warmed. Without pulses batteries could not be improved. small charge/discharge cycling helps, probably by redistributing lead sulphate layer more evenly, warming, keeping lead sulphate out of solutionHi, I use desulphator pulse ccts. They work. I worked at uni in physics. I researched the hard sulphate crystal build up on plates. I found hi res photos of before and after

On May 10, 2014 at 6:29am
Nei wrote:

Oops cut and paste without last check!
I’ve heard many arguments against pulse desulphation, butmy own results proved it. I was a skeptic at first. There is so much disinformation, politics/agenda, faulty logicians exercise, etc.
my advice is to buy a cct and try it for yourself, only €20 odd. I have six, hoping to assemble and pass some on to friends.

On May 10, 2014 at 9:11am
John wrote:

Neil,

You’re wasting your time.

On May 10, 2014 at 9:50am
Chris C. wrote:

I would have to agree with John, in my experience it makes no measurable difference, however regular, properly conducted equalize charging standard flooded batteries does.

On May 10, 2014 at 11:45am
Neil wrote:

@john fetter
I do not think that self discharge causes batteries to sulphate. The sulphate is in solution, quite concentrated, and given time, low temps, etc, hard, well structured crystals have the chance to form. It is a fundamental process in nature. (e.g. copper sulphate crystal growing expt.. Lots of dissolved rock material and stuff, form crystals in nature, that list is a long one)
Any form of increased shock/vibration/resonance that can energise the surface molecules of the hard crystals back into solution, even as simple stirring does for the hard sugar/copper sulphate granules, will reduce such build up of hard sulphate crystals on the plates. Heat helps dissolve stuff too. Note the use of ultrasonic cleaning baths, using sound waves to dislodge dirt and shite.
A short pulse of high energy, say 30V will cause ions in the electrolyte to move, literally, physically. Some of these are bound to bounce of and have the mechanical energy to dislodge the weakly organised molecules of the crystal structure, probably starting at the edge of the mould-like patch of sulphate.
Molecules have mass and will respond to certain frequencies of vibration, i.e. start to vibrate themselves and detach from their cosy crystal lockin (which isn’t that strong - only appears so because there are so many holding themselves in a regular structure - how do you think diamond cutters work, they cleave along weak ‘fault type lines’. Also, the weakness is evident from the fact that it takes time and proximity for the molecules to line themselves up and fall into place - it is nothing like a chemical reaction as such, it is more a preferential interlock of mild electrostatic potentials, not electrochemical bonding proper, although I think I read somewhere that some do progress to full chemical bonds. Ordinary temperatures can prevent crystalization, cool stuff down, reduced vibration, and the subtle potentials can do their stuff, organise and lockin.

The molecule/crystal is not then ‘shed’ and lost - but made free and dissolved back into solution.

Voltage is the same as e.m.f. - electromotive force, force, real physical force on electron/ion ‘structures’/particles and thus pulses of voltage impart mechanical vibration/motion of same. That’s hwo a light bulb works, why stuff gets hot, etc.

There is nothing magic or mystical - other than the wonder of nature herself, here. It works - logically, reasonably, and in practice.

As to lead acid battery chemisty, if you look at it simply it is simple enough. If you care to look deeper, I believe it is not so well understood, indeed there are some things taken for granted, e.g. why the electron does not collapse into the nucleous of an atom. No one can tell you why - check it out for yourselves, there’s a lot of ‘explanation’ that does not actually give you a real why.

The planet hasn’t warmed for over 17 yrs and yet even top scientist are promoting it and trying to earn money from it.

On May 10, 2014 at 12:09pm
shawn wrote:

Neil, excellent response….the electrical pulse desulfation is effecting the lead sultate crystals mechanically. From your thought,  “A short pulse of high energy, say 30V will cause ions in the electrolyte to move, literally, physically”, I agree with this but I also recognize this is a high ineffcient electrical to mechanical conversion process.  What concerns me about the high voltage spikes is the side effects of such simulation, i.e. electrolysis of the remaining H2O molecules, especially in heavily discharged battery.  I have been testing the high frequency mechanical effect for 11+ years and I am seeing significant benefits in this approach.  Your discussion was refreshing.

On May 10, 2014 at 5:12pm
Neil wrote:

@shawn
lets think about this - its late and I need go bed. But just to say, I don’t think that electrolysis is a concern here. Brief reasoning… normal gassing is minimal until the battery is near full charge and lead sulphate in soln used up, so I’m guessing that there will be a preferential ‘focus’ on the sulphate/lead oxide interface, especially near the edge of the hard sulphate ‘mould’ deposit and especially as that sulphate is returned to solution at that point. This may be the reason for good results found and that we see improvement so quickly - it actually starts at the thinnest point of the ‘mould’ at the edge and quickly reveals more plate surface area. If it tackled the main mass of the hard crystals from the off, it would take longer to see appreciable results (having to dislodge a thick layer of hard crystals back to plate lead oxide before .improvement due to extra surface area of active plate.
If I were in a position to experiment further (will be a while) I would focus on the best resonant frequency pulse as some have done or guessed at in the past - wondering where that 3.2MHz pulse freq came from originally - I think it was a paper by some very reputable/respectable forces or research group in usa. Next I would increase the number of those pulses per second to find optimum. Another thing I would do is warm the battery up to 40 or even try 50 deg Celcius along with continuous shallow charge/discharge cycling.
shawn, I haven’t read all the posts here, few if any of yours, but will get right to it (tomorrow if I can). Am interested in sharing research/findings/results/experience/reasoning, etc with you and likeminded, thanks for your own response. I was into this a few years back and have just got camper van and am hoping to be off grid with new place when contracts exchange. I have just bought two 3000F Maxwell Boostcap six packs off ebay. Been playing wih those today. Cool stuff.
Kind regards
will be back soon
neil

On May 10, 2014 at 5:21pm
neil wrote:

@shawn just to say I am guessing that the process is a mix of electromechanical/‘ionical’ and mechanical - which could be another insight for experimentation to find perhaps pulse height to pulse width optimum ratio with temperature combination/variation too.

On May 10, 2014 at 5:55pm
shawn wrote:

Neil, the right mechanical excitation is not ‘breaking’ anything, it is preventing in the first place.  We do not let the crystals nestle and form, we are a preventative technology and we employ mechanical methods…thus, we do need to use the terminals.  a lot of thought and science behind this and we would love to discuss.  Electrical stimulus in our frequency and amplitude range is in fact damaging to the batteries life!

On May 11, 2014 at 12:27am
John Fetter wrote:

Neil - When you say that self-discharge does not cause sulfation, you are asserting that for the last 130 years, every battery manufacturer has managed to get this thing wrong. It puts a damper on your credibility. Your explanations make interesting reading. Your assertion that the planet hasn’t warmed for over 17 years is extraneous to the issue under discussion, although it does confirm that you believe in alternative science.
You are at the bottom of a very long learning curve.
If you want to be taken seriously, you need to provide details of measurements. Before treatment ampere-hours, after treatment ampere-hours.

On May 11, 2014 at 5:58am
Neil wrote:

@john fetter.
In line with my earlier comment about lead acid batteries - if you look at them simply they appear simple, but if you look much deeper, there are things going on that are subtle and, even today, not understood. To be accurate, I wrote that ‘I do not think self discharge is the cause of sulphation’. I then quite clearly, I thought, described that there is a natural mechanism for crystal formatiom. This is evident all over the world in geology, with some amazing crystals, etc, etc. I mentioned the copper sulphate crystal growing expt in chemistry that most do when they are 12. These are evidence of a real and solid natural process of crystal formation. You do not seem to acknowledge these or their relevance for crystal build up in lead acid batteries. To be more specific in what I think, just to be clear for you, I attribute much of a natural process to the formation of crystal in batteries. In as much as the self discharge will put pbso4 into solution that can then be involved in making crystals, I can accept that self discharge could be said to lead to crystal formation but not, I think, actually cause it - beacause the cause is a natural phenomena. And reasoning further, it seems quite logical to expect that any mechanism that promotes the dissolving of crystals, i.e. heat, stirring, vibration, will have some beneficial effect on crystals in a l/a battery. Add to this the fact that many have tried it and found said benefit, it seems to me there is something that does actually work, in practice. Now I know that many or most that have tried it have not done so under strict lab/science/experimental conditions, and that other effects would undoubtably be involved - but that does not prove said benefit does not exist.
You refer to my credibility - please shoot me down more specifically and accurately and I will gladly respond/explain my position, clarify and where wrong, I will acknowledge same and hopefully learn something in the process. You undoubtably have some interesting points yourself but seem to pick on semantics or others economical use of words, or even misquote/avoid detail in what has been said to make your own point or have an intellectual pop at someone else. I will not play this juvenile game. In reading your early comments, at the beginning, you seem to dismiss totally the possibility of pulses being able to reverse sulphation of l/a batteries, even referencing 70 or so patents that you claim have no merit what so ever. Really? ... really? You then slightly later, say that pulsing batteries can work! I am confused. You have spent a lot of time on this thread and, I feel have something worthwhile to add, but seem at times absolutely against the idea of beneficial pulssing effects.

You write to me…“You are at the bottom of a very long learning curve.
If you want to be taken seriously, you need to provide details of measurements. Before treatment ampere-hours, after treatment ampere-hours.”
I respond…Before treatment ampere-hours - NONE, After treatment ampere hours - lots and lots. !
Is that good enough? Of course it shouldn’t be.
As mentioned above, experiments have to be carefully devised, etc, etc, to technically rule out other effects and home in on one particular mechanism/phenomena. None on this forum, I suspect, have the technical equipment, and all other wherewithall to satisfy someone who is determined to deny something that others have found merit with. If you spent half the time buying a good unit and trying it for yourself, satisfying your own critical (in a good way) analysis, as you have writing comments here, I’m sure you would be applauded/appreciated and probably learn somthing real in the process that is valid to share here.
So what did I do to arrive at my conclusions? I started skeptical. The most obvious thing to do was look for other studies/experiments that prove the technilogy. I found thru google, a few website pages showing scanning electron photos of sulphated plates before and after pulsation, with the details of the trial/experiment clearly set out. That, and other reasons (one of which is the shear number of people doing it (not scientific based reason, I admit), another reason was a study done by a highly prestigious forces or research co in america, and others, these can be found on th web) made me want to give it a go. I did my searching a good few years ago and satisfied myself beyond doubt that there was soemthing here that worked. So I spent my €18, assembled a cct and gave it a go. And it worked.

OT global warming issue - don’t take my word for it - look at WUWT website - now that gives us the real science, not the AGW crap - and that conclusion, no warming for 17 yrs is held by many many top notch scientist not involved in politics, and some that are.

On May 11, 2014 at 6:51am
Neil wrote:

@shawn
I know nothing of your technology/system - can you point me in the right direction to read up/ find out?

On May 11, 2014 at 6:56am
John Fetter wrote:

Neil - I have been spending several tens of thousands of dollars per year on battery R&D out of my own pocket since 1999. I have run many thousands of battery tests. I always run comparative tests. The solubility of lead-sulfate in battery acid is in the region of 4 parts per million.
My tests have revealed that if a battery has been left discharged for a shortish period, pulsing will help. Pulsing can charge a battery. Pulsing cannot do anything for fully sulfated battery. Sulfation is caused by neglect. It is not a symptom of aging. The only way desulfation merchants can hope to sell their products is to insist that sulfation is age related. I traced the 3.2 MHz resonance information back to its source. It is marketing sizzle.
You got to read the patents to see what successive inventors have to say about the previous inventions. People are permitted by law to patent ideas they do not understand. That is why there are so many desulfation patents. The large number of patents tell a story. They are not getting it right.
There are between 500 and 800 cars per person in the developed world. Nearly one lead-acid battery per person. One should be able to find a desulfation center in almost every major shopping mall. Where are they?
You need to use a balanced approach, part hands-on, part engineering, part scientific, part business, part entrepreneurial, part statistical.
As for global warming - here is a thought experiment. Fill a bathtub with water. Put in a big bag of ice cubes. Stir thoroughly. What will be the temperature of the water? Move half the cubes to one side, the other half to the other side and keep them there. If the room is hot, the temperature of water in the middle will rise slightly. It will not continue rising because the ice keeps it down. The warmer the room, the faster the ice will melt. The temperature of the water will rise only very slightly.
Everyday ambient temperatures aren’t rising very much because the northern and southern ice packs and glaciers are stabilizing the temperatures. The ice is melting, hence there is global warming.

On May 11, 2014 at 6:59am
Shawn wrote:

Neil, send me note at shawn@activegridtech.com

On May 11, 2014 at 8:07am
Neil wrote:

@john fetter.
With respect, it is well established that the majority of batteries (in cars) are rarely kept at optimum charge (esp winter short trips) - few if any are permanently on charge, all the time, so in as much as the average battery user does not keep optimum charge in their battery - evidenced by industry statistics that 80% of battery failures are due to sulphation, it follows that batttery sulphation appears related and correlates with aging. You dismiss a lot of people with that one technical/split hair. It is a correlation for sure but the fact of neglect from the start is a given and thus as time goes on the damage increases, obviously for 80%. That is the before. How can that invalidate the claim to a fix after? Thus I find your statement “The only way desulfation merchants can hope to sell their products is to insist that sulfation is age related” to be disingenuous and frankly wrong.
The 3.2MHz is not bogus _ found a source for it out of the usa - You’ll have to google it and find it yourself - i did that a good few years ago, maybe its been removed. since.
It is not difficult to experiment with that function of the pulse. You say a range of pulses works.
Why does the ‘large number of patents tell a story. They are not getting it right’. seem valid to you? If anything makes sense to me it is that tens of people have found something and tried variations that seem to work. That they can’t explain it to your satisfaction, or very well at all, does not invalidate their belief/experience/results. If you had said there’e only 3 patents and “they don’t hold water” then…
I’m sorry but I am confused by your varying comments - some seem to support pulsing, if only for sulphation that is not too bad, and others seem to claim it is all hokus pokus. Bewildering.
You’ve done some impressive investment in testing/research - surely you got something to report? All your claims are based on no proof of it. It must be falsifiable, possible to disprove, where is any of this data - why did you not figure something out of that in your investment - surely a first step? Able to say ‘It does not work because ...x….y and z QED’. YYou claim noone has proved it does work, you deny the heat/vibration/resonance/stirring to dissolve a crystal? For someone with such resources - lab and money - I’m suprised you did not find something. My lab was my google searching and that others had done some pretty smart research/chemistry/experimenting/reporting and put it on the web. Not so much of that happens these days because people want to charge for info/make money - nature of the rat race - notwithstanding the public money essentially paying for it or most of it.

I won’t argue global warming with you - you’ve got months of reading of WUWT threads or even jsut catch up with a few of the latest - will blow your mind - if it is open.

On May 11, 2014 at 2:15pm
John Fetter wrote:

Neil- Thank you for your insights. The automobile battery, as we know it today, was invented by a number of workers including Theodore A Willard of Cleveland, Ohio, USA in the early 1900s. Sulfation has been an issue ever since then. Millions of people have tried to do something about it since these early years. Their success or rather lack of success is there for all to see. There are relatively very few desulfation specialist business out there. These people work very hard, make enough to live on, that’s it. There are a billion automobile batteries in use worldwide. The opportunities are for the taking. The technology simply isn’t up to the task. Alternatively, there simply aren’t that many batteries getting sulfated.
Businesses that make a living out of selling desulfation products will make claims and back them up with information that is carefully selected. This is a perfectly normal marketing ploy. The most important thing I have learned about mining for information on the internet is to treat this info, in particular, as unreliable.
The overwhelming majority of car batteries eventually wear out. There is a minority that becomes sulfated. If that was not so, there would be many successful desulfation centers out there. It is a simple logical process to work this out.
If you are sure about your crystal theory, you need to run unambiguous tests to satisfy yourself it works. Then file for a US provisional patent. After that you can tell people about it. If they believe you are right, you will make a fairly large amount of money. You will be able to protect your patent by sharing it with a contingency lawyer. 

On May 11, 2014 at 4:00pm
Neil wrote:

@john fetter
thank you for your view. It was stated, a few years ago, by the industry, that around 80% of battery failures are due to sulphation. I believe this is accurate and established and true. Do you have reason to doubt this?
The way I see the car battery market is that it is just convenient to replace a battery that’s playing up with a new one for a hundred bucks. Problem solved, no messin. dIt will, they do, last a couple of years min, whaatever way they get treated, as far as being in a car under the hood.
People, majority, don’t want to know what is under the hood or how it works or bother keeping a battery topped up with charge - hell no, all that thinking, and testing and then plugging something in and connecting red to red and black to black, checking water even. So even if a magic pill came out that you put one of in each cell, overnight fix, people (majority) would still not bother. Perhaps a few thousand or tens of thousand of diy car types would love it for sure, but that is not big business at all, just a small minority. Halfords are selling a 115AHr leisure battery for €99 with two yr guarantee. with a free sleeping bag if you spend over €100. People like buying new stuff.
I’m not sure any technology fix can break the current cycle (double double joke there)
I’m careful about the info I get off teh internet, have good logic/intuition/reasoning skills - I do fine.
I don’t agree with you about desulphation centres - just doesn’t seem to me that it would work that way - far from a logical process in my opinion.
The crystal phenomena is not a theory, it is phenomena of nature. It is natural therefor to reason that this phenomena seen in a battery, i.e. crystals growing on a plate, has the same underlying causes and effect, same result - if it didn’t we wouldn’t call them crystals - so all known reasoning around that phenomena must be applicable, to a greater or lesser extent, to lead acid battery. Temp, concetration, vibration, friction, atomic structure, crystal lattice, etc. Play with all of these to see waht can be done. And that is what people have done. And got result. An example of knowledge and application of one principle - as far as I’m aware there is a common practice to keep l/a batteries off a concrete floor - garages know this, they might not know why they deteriorate so fast if you leave them on a cold garage floor, but it doesn’t take much to figure it out. They got there from experience tho’.
I have no interest in patent and making money from this - as far as I’m concerned someone, perhaps many got there ages ago, well before I did. I’m happy to buy my components from them make up a cct and bring a battery back to life. Fun, playtime, hobby. I like to think about these things and why this or that, or how this or that works.
I feel you are too narrow in your view of what can work and how it can work. No harm or badness in that, just your particular nature, but there’s an incredible world out there and it obeys laws and human beings can and do reason well and find things out - I feel you limit yourself. Perhaps you might open up a bit, take a risk in thinking something must logically work a certain way. You never know what you might discover.
Whilst I agree that to counsel newbies to be careful, not to believe everything they read, and watch out for scams, being scammed, and perhaps a few ‘if that was so ... then this would follow, scenarios, but I get the feeling you want more influence, and that it is perhaps too negative for the healthy spirit of searching, discovery and experimentation that visits this thread. I hope you don’t mind me saying. With all due respect.
N

On May 11, 2014 at 5:11pm
John Fetter wrote:

Neil - I make a very good living out of new technologies. I go about it in a business like way. I love new ideas. I refuse to go anywhere near moonbeams. If I understand you correctly, you are under the impression that leaving a battery on a concrete floor is a bad thing. This is one of those weird beliefs that is 100% bogus. You appear to have a very long way to go.

On May 11, 2014 at 5:55pm
neil wrote:

Appearances can be deceptive, especially to someone like you it seems.
It also seems common sense, logic and reason are lost on you john fetter as you generalize, dismiss and know so much 100%. No room for real progress by yourself, so I will desist.

On May 11, 2014 at 11:32pm
John Fetter wrote:

neil - The use of the lower case n indicates you’re angry. You’ve read widely on the internet and based on what you read formed an opinion.
That information contains very few hard facts. Most of the information is either incorrect, blatant lies or garbage. You give the impression that you have not had much technical and engineering involvement with batteries, other than tinkering.
You have an idea you want to discuss. Nothing wrong with that. Then, when someone makes a comment that is not to your liking, you quickly turn on the person, make derogatory inferences, rather than discussing the matter.
I used a standard debating technique. Someone stands up, makes a point. The next person disagrees. The first one explains, the second one interrogates. The argument goes to and fro. If the person who made the point actually has a valid point, the second concedes.
You have a very long way to go.

On May 12, 2014 at 2:41am
Neil wrote:

@Shawn,
Very, very interesting, exciting even! Have more to read yet, but I have the basic concept.and see (some of) the incredible possibilities ahead.
n

On May 12, 2014 at 2:49pm
John Fetter wrote:

Neil & Shawn - I am pleased to see you both seem happy to explore your ideas together.

On May 14, 2014 at 4:46am
Garth Moore wrote:

An extract from ” C.F. “Oberon” Class Submarines Training Notebook for Electricians”;
11.08 BATTERY AGITATION

The battery agitation system is one of low pressure air (1 1/2 p.s.i.) which is fed to each cell in the submariners main batteries. This air goes to the bottom of each cell through a tube fitted inside each cell and comes out in the form of small bubbles. These bubbles rise and tend to get the electrolyte within the cell moving. This rising motion of the electrolyte keeps it all mixed within the cell.

The system is used to prevent stratification (prevent different density layers forming inside cell).

It also prevents high temperatures in local spots within cells and reduces all charging times by one hour.”

As stated earlier, the movement of the acid within the cell is important - the whole handbook is on the internet and makes interesting reading. Regards from sunny S.A.

On May 14, 2014 at 5:21am
neil wrote:

@ garth
Interesting, thanks for link will look that up
n

On May 14, 2014 at 5:41am
neil wrote:

I have 13 glass jar batteries. they were emptied of acid and stored for years at university. I would like to revive them and was thinking of extracting paste from the good cells of defunkt car batteries and pressing in to the grid structure of these bats, they dont seem to have much as they stand. I’m guessing they will take about 5 litres of acid to fill. They are about 30cm tall, 20cm wide and 15cm front2back. anyone have any experience with these, or any info of what way to restore them? I can’t find any useful info on the internet.
n

On May 14, 2014 at 6:47am
John Fetter wrote:

neil - I can confirm that your idea to repaste the glass jar batteries can be made to work. I have done this kind of thing myself. I used a spinning blade coffee grinder to repulverize the active material. Simply mix with dilute acid to form a cement-like paste. This mixture will get hot. You will need to hold each assembly together with suitable thick sheets or planks and clamp VERY tightly while the acid and the paste react and harden. After that you need to form the plates by charging for an extended period.

On May 15, 2014 at 4:08am
Oscar Ormond wrote:

Neil insists that 80% of batteries fail due to sulphation and describes motorists as people who don’t want to think. (May 11, 4.00pm.) He claims that people do not care about what goes on under the hood and find it convenient to pay for replacement batteries. He insists that people like buying new stuff and that DIY is not big business. He claims that if a magic pill came out that could provide an overnight fix, people would not bother.

It seems that Neil is too preoccupied to realize the meaning of his own words. No one cares. You said so yourself. Why are you messing around in crystal fairyland? The way I see it, your internal red and black connections are reversed.

On May 21, 2014 at 10:41am
Robin wrote:

John Fetter, may I ask, something puzzling me. Pb and PBO have an electro chemical pd of 2.1v - I think, so why does this voltage increase when equalising charge is applied to say 2.5/2.6v - with the charger disconnected for measurement of course.  Yes it settled down again to ca 2.1

Similary why does the no load volts of a discharged battery dip below 1.9

We are not dealing with any internal ESR loses as no significant current is drawn

Pls advise

On May 21, 2014 at 1:48pm
John Fetter wrote:

Robin - You know that the positive plate contains lead dioxide and the negative plate contains lead on full charge, and that both contain lead sulfate on full discharge. The open circuit potential of a fully charged battery is, as you correctly stated, 2.1 volts. The theoretical open circuit potential with lead sulfate in both plates is zero. The cell is never really fully discharged. That is why you measure intermediate voltages.
Most of the extra voltage you measure on equalizing charge is developed at the surfaces of the plates by gas barriers. The negatives develop by far the most extra negative potential through their surface gas barriers. There are other interpretations. I have measured these gas barriers, experimented with them, increased and decreased them at will.

On May 28, 2014 at 2:19am
Ray Wu wrote:

desulfater pulse frequency is in range 3.5 MHz if I recall.  Google or wiki to get details.  (reply to john in early comments). this pulse frequency excites or exercises electrolyte causing soft sulfer formed on conducting plates loose which frees clogged conductive plates to freely react with electrolyte.  my friend had two of these chargers although his looks out dated but it revived two dead batteries over night..even use it to maintain to recharge batteries.

On May 28, 2014 at 2:20am
Ray Wu wrote:

edit reply to John Fetter’s comment.

On May 28, 2014 at 5:58am
John Fetter wrote:

Ray Wu - The 3.5MHz, the sulfur and the two revived batteries represent expressions of faith. It is not science. It can become real science if you can repeat a positive outcome with 100 batteries in succession, (although some would say a thousand times with no more than one failure).

On May 28, 2014 at 3:47pm
John Fetter wrote:

neil - It seems that there is consensus among battery desulfation enthusiasts that lead sulfate crystals keep growing larger, causing a form of sulfation that is irreversible under normal conditions. They claim this condition necessitates the use of their proprietary remedies to resolve.
It is often suggested that this growth is governed by ostwald ripening - a thermodynamically driven process that favors formation of larger crystals over smaller crystals.
My question is simply this. What is the difference between a small crystal and a large crystal in terms of this effect? Their relative energies.
If there is sufficient energy available to convert small lead sulfate crystals into lead metal crystals and sulfuric acid in a normal charging process, surely there will be sufficient energy available to convert large lead sulfate crystals as well? The only difference between the two would be the time taken to complete the process. If larger crystals require more energy, then increasing the charging voltage moderately will address the problem.
It is often suggested that the poor conductivity of lead sulfate crystals prevents larger crystals from being absorbed. However, the electrochemical activity is confined to the actual surfaces of the crystals. Ions are are half in and half out of solution on the surfaces and are highly mobile. The charging voltage will drive the reactions to favor conversion of lead sulfate plus water into lead metal and sulfuric acid. It takes longer to convert larger crystals.
If the desulfation enthusiast crystal theory is correct, the solution would be to simply put a sulfated battery on charge and wait.
I suggest this is as good a start as any to a logical discussion.

 

On May 28, 2014 at 4:00pm
Shawn wrote:

john, I think the answer to your question is that the ‘surface area’ of a bunch of small crystals compared to fewer larger crystals is greater and therefore more area in contact with electrolyte and therefore better and more efficient recharge.

On May 28, 2014 at 4:38pm
neil wrote:

Hi Shawn, this is my understanding…
If you look at the more complex stuff going on you find different stages and processes of crystal formation. The chemical reaction formations are bonded chemicals that form the small crystal like structures with lots of surface area. Because they are chemical or electrochemical in nature they are the ones that charge/discharge, giving up bond energy voltages when discharging and being formed from appropriate voltage levels that charge. The hard crystal formation does not involve same chemical/electrochemical bonds or structures. They are hard and unconductive/nonconducting and rob electrolyte active chemicals. They form from a different process and form bigger crystals, low surface area, nonconducting faces. The higher pulse voltages, at a resonant frequency, will smack all conducting surface ions/crystals/fluid. It would be interesting to find out, and you might know this Shawn, the mobility of ions as the electrons leave electrodes and enter solution. I think this is the vibration/stirring/friction sandpaper that rubs the hard crystals - as well as the effects you told me about - increasing reaction times, reducing reaction ‘resistance’ and keeping the barrier potentials down. It is a few years since I was really into this stuff so forgive if seems bad explanation, but I know what I mean! When will you have something to try out for the likes of joe bloggs me?

On May 28, 2014 at 5:32pm
John Fetter wrote:

Shawn - If surface area plays a part and it is simply a matter of efficiency, then sulfation will always be reversible. We know that it is not always reversible. Therefore there is something wrong with the theory.
neil - I am sorry but your information seems like a complicated jumble of this, that and the other. What are you trying to explain?

On May 28, 2014 at 11:36pm
Oscar Ormond wrote:

Dear Neil

The material in the plates is made of crystals. Lead metal, lead dioxide, lead sulfate crystals. These materials are either totally insoluble in sulfuric or almost totally insoluble. It is not difficult to discharge a battery in less than one hour. The materials are reacting chemically and the chemical reactions are happening very quickly.

Why does lead sulfate, the most soluble out of the three materials, suddenly become shy and refuses to cooperate? Give me FACTS.

Regards
Oscar

On May 29, 2014 at 3:14am
brian wrote:

Oscar,
You don’t even need to spend money to check out a desulfator.  This listing on eBay for a desulfator 251541072272 offers to refund your money and the return postage if it does not work.
Brian

On May 29, 2014 at 4:14am
neil wrote:

Ok, I will offer something for consideration. John Fetter mentions Ostwald ripening. If you look up the wiki on this you get some good info, but you still have to make sense of it for yourself. Here’s a take on the sulphate crystal. (Crystal ‘chemistry’ is complex and has different stages or phases - you just haver to educate yourself about that if you want to know that depth). Anyway, the ostwald ripening, just because something is difficult to dissolve does not mean it can’t nor does it mean it won’t do anything significant. As an aside, you should take a look at solder and solder joints - here whiskers of metal grow across mm gaps and create short ccts in electronics - interesting that it usually involves lead solder! Or is lead added to reduce them? I forget. Anyway from a closed mind point of view, you try telling someone about whisker bridges of metal crystals or crystaline, growing from a blob of a solid metal solder joint in open air ! The battery chemistry/pulse idea is child’s play compared to that leap of failth (until you see the pics and throw the faulty electronic item away). It would not surprise me if you now tell me that you get that metal crystal whisker idea but are not convinced by the resonance/pulse idea, contrary as human nature is. Still has happened to me, I get a particular complex idea almost instantly, but for some time just cannot get my head around a simple idea. Then when I get it I feel stupid and wonder why it took so long - so then grows patience and compassion for others, like a crystal.
Anyway there seems to be a point of sticking on the fact that lead sulphate is almost insoluble in sulphuric acid, so how can it grow crystals out of such weak solution? Well, I have no problem when I mini down to sulphate crystal size and imagine what is going on around me. At that interface of the electrolyte/electrode there’s a lot of chemistry going on along with thermal stuff, like dissolving of lead sulphate. ion exchange (self discharge),  impurity effects. (did you know that the long life batteries, like those designed t live or rather guaranteed, for 15 yrs, use ultrapure lead). So I can even accept the physical migration of crystal molecules, rearranging themselve, creeping from one place to another, almost walking, so to speak, without ever becoming properly dissolved!
The big point in all this is that under normal charge discharge the built up deposit of such unwanted crystals (they are differnt from the useful charge/ discharge crystal form - small bobbly stuff) is not diminished, whereas with some pulse device, there is extra energy/vibration/resonance that is able to ‘knock’ them out of the unuseful hard lattice state to put them back in the chemistry loop.
You might find this link interesting.

On May 29, 2014 at 4:20am
shawn wrote:

john, as discussed before….why do heavily aged lead acid battery ‘positive’ plates turn a darkish black color, when the suspect culprit (Lead sulfate - hardeneing) is a whitish crystal?  Sometimes referred to as positive plate errosion - grid growth - etc… Smaller lead sulfate crystals and larger surface area does matter for the reversible reaction.  It is the non-reversible by products (i.e. lead dioxides, 3BS and possibly 4BS) that come out of solution during discharge based on uneven local ionic fluxes and the resultant alkalinity shifts within the micropores of the electrode that is the problem.  You are chasing the wrong rabbit down the wrong hole

On May 29, 2014 at 4:22am
neil wrote:

oops
http://www3.alcatel-lucent.com/bstj/vol49-1970/articles/bstj49-7-1305.pdf. It alerts the mind to the fact that all is not as simple as it seems and there’s a range of chemistry/physics stuff going on…

On May 29, 2014 at 4:31am
neil wrote:

Hi Shawn, just to correct myself may28, I wrote increase reaction time when I meant increase reaction rate, as your technology enables. When will your web site be up again?
Kind regards
Neil

On May 29, 2014 at 4:56am
Shawn wrote:

Neil, site will be up in a few weeks.  I think you are talking about Tin Whiskers and believe this is a result of less lead in solder, it is a big problem and tough to understand basis.  also, RE: insoluble .... Yes, it appears as though many of the statement hinge on the solubility of the lead sulfate crystal…..that puzzled me in past until I took into account the dependency of solubility on PH conditions.  if one assumes that the PH is constant and uniform throughout the cell and within its pores, and equal to that of the electrolyte bulk PH then I can see why solubility is a confusing and misleading consequence.  Once one investigates the effects of PH on solubility, of not only lead sulfate, but other reaction products such as lead dioxides, 3BS and 4bS, it will help them understand the real root cause of our issue.  it is the interaction of these by products, in unexpected local alkalinity disturbances/conditions with the ionic lead sulfate reaction product that is reaping havoc on the electrode systems efficiency and cycle life. Of course, there are other physiochemical process also at play however they are minor in comparison (relatively speaking).  Now that our society is requiring much more rigorous and longer duty cycles (i.e. 24 and 72 hours and PHEV/EV) the true root of the problem will surface and be better understood.

On May 29, 2014 at 5:47am
John Fetter wrote:

Shawn - Positive plate sulfation is easily reversible. Simply charge the battery. Positive plate corrosion is unrelated to sulfation. It is caused by (persistent) high charging potential.
Alkalinity occurs in deep recesses. (It has been described as responsible for the condition known as “open circuit”, that affects lead-calcium.) Desulfation enthusiasts insist that sulfation occurs on the surfaces.
Desulfation merchants know that they must insist, rightfully or wrongfully, that 80% of batteries become sulfated. If not, they would have nothing to do.

On May 29, 2014 at 9:00pm
Shawn wrote:

It appears as though all reference to BatteryVitamin threads were removed, do not understand why.  john, tell us more about your magic pill for batteries

On May 29, 2014 at 11:15pm
John Fetter wrote:

Shawn - I believe Neil was using Inappropriate language. I can’t explain more about something that I do not have or do.
This is a technical forum.

On May 29, 2014 at 11:39pm
Shawn wrote:

john- tell us how BatteryVitamin L makes it better

On May 30, 2014 at 1:09am
John Fetter wrote:

Shawn - By far the best way to get hold of that information, I would suggest you go back to your source, read all about it.

On May 30, 2014 at 3:02am
neil wrote:

Hi Shawn, it does appear that Battery Vitamin has a lot of technical and semi technical write-up and that much of it has appeared on this thread and the other threads on batteryuniversity in various comments, verbatum.

If I was inappropriate I apologize - I was just shocked to learn that fact, which has subsequently been denied.

Full disclosure - I am not linked to or have shares or any connection whatsoever to any manufacturer of battery products of any kind.
The pulser circuits I tried I bought in kit form and assembled myself and tested with an oscillosc ope to make sure they were working.. They were from ebay, a company in the uk -Courtiestown Marine Ltd. I emailed them to ask a question about the cct, how to make the automatic cut off cct cut off at a lower voltage - I found they cut off at 12.5v - I thought it would be ok to cut off at a lower voltage. They were very helpful. In a reply they also mentioned that their sales had gone down drastically, suggesting people might be getting their pulse ccts from china, cheaper. I did not follow this up.

The BATTERYVITAMIN site suggests very strongly that the report of 80% death of car batteries due to sulphation is a ruse by the desulphtion merchants that sell a competitive product to Battery vitammin. BV suggest that the batteries die for a variety of reasons but 80% of the time seen as sulphation because they sulphate after they have died for a different reason. I can see a possible logic to this but think that those gathereing the statistics would have done so in a way that elliminated this possibility.

I too would like to know how the Battery Vitamin product works - I read about it but didn’t really understand. If anyone finds out or knows, I’m all ears (or eyes) (john?)
If I understood more I might give their product a try but I’m not sure how they sell stuff
Am I right in thinking that BatteryVitamin suggests that 95% of the battery failures are due to positive anode corrosion or such? Could this be true?
If that is true, then I want to do something to protect my batteries from this. I have four new batteries - two brand new from halfords, their liesure 115AHr (made by Yuasa) and two others carbon technology batsol or some such, they are ornage topped and sold to me from dublin with a five yr guarantee - since gone out of business in dublin - I need help with learning about that stuff. Sulphation and pulsing I get as far as I’ve gonet, but corrosion of the anode is something that I can’t get my head around.

On May 30, 2014 at 6:01am
shawn wrote:

John - i have reviewed and cannot seem to separate fact from opinion.  What is the fundamental basis and mechanism which makes it work?  How is it different from other battery additive technologies, or different from adding carbon, antimony, Ca, etc,,,?  If it only takes an additive why don’t the manufacturers add it to the battery during that step in process?

On May 30, 2014 at 7:22am
John Fetter wrote:

Shawn - Re your last sentence: They do.

On May 31, 2014 at 4:19am
neil wrote:

Shawn, it is telling that john has had so much to say on all manner of battery topics on this site, but when asked about the Battervitamin solution, has nothing to say. I have asked him many questions now that he can’t won’t or avoids answering. This is a shame because he seems to have done a lot of experiments with lead acid batteries.
I’ve been reading on nickel iron batteries, is there a good forum anyone knows of for that topic here or elsewhere?

On May 31, 2014 at 5:24am
John Fetter wrote:

Neil - The reason is simple.
This is a technical forum, not a commercial forum.

On May 31, 2014 at 6:07am
neil wrote:

All my questions are technical in nature about the stuff out there that people are trying and buying.
Just because I mention Batteryvitamin, does not make it a commercial question, I ask what it is and how it works because I don’t understand their own explanations of what is going on. You are a technical guy with lots of experiments under your belt. You have knowledge of all that’s out there pretty well. I’m sure you know about batteryvitamin and could share what it is and how it is supposed to work in a way that those on this forum, me included, might better understand. Indeed you knwo that battery manufacturers add it to their batteries. I have spent nearly 400 on batteries recently and I’m open to any preventative maintenance solution that will save me having to spend 400 in two to five years time. I am worried about anode corrosion now, thanks to your alert and claim that it effects a lot of batteries. I care not about the commercial side. I use my technical understanding to decide/choose what to do. It has its limits whih is why I’m on this forum to learn more.

Are you now withholding information/experience/explanation to punnish me for challenging you or daring to support/discuss the desulphation with pulsers idea

“this is a technical forum, not a commercial forum’ is a meaningless fudge response to genuine question (technical in nature) asked on this thread.

I thought you were bigger than that

On May 31, 2014 at 7:07am
John Fetter wrote:

Neil - if you want to know how something works, and there is a website with more than 20 pages with detailed technical information, stands to reason that by reading those pages you will probably find the answers.

On May 31, 2014 at 8:07am
neil wrote:

Like I said I thought you were bigger than that.

u good at evasion

You really dont seem to want to answer anything except to put down down other competitive technologies.  mmmm

On May 31, 2014 at 8:56am
John Fetter wrote:

Neil - Let me try this again. Go to the website. It will tell you what you everything you want to know.

On May 31, 2014 at 8:59am
John Fetter wrote:

What you want to know, everything you want to know and perhaps more than you want to know.

On June 4, 2014 at 3:34pm
Nehmo wrote:

Neil, Shaun

John Fetter suggested that you can get you answers on the Battery Vitamin website. I am curious. You say you’ve looked.  Well, I have looked as well. What is the problem? Can’t you two read?

On June 5, 2014 at 2:25am
John Fetter wrote:

There are between 500 and 800 automobiles per 1000 population in the countries of the so-called developed world. In other words, nearly one lead-acid battery per person.
A US battery industry magazine, (ceased publication about ten years ago), The Battery Man, carried BCI figures for US shipments of original equipment batteries and shipments of replacement batteries. These showed that about two out of every three golf-cart batteries shipped are replacement batteries, three out of every four automobile batteries shipped are replacement batteries and that the figures seem to show that 100% of leisure boat owners are replacing their batteries at least once a year. These BCI figures show that the longer batteries are left unused, the greater the rate of replacement. This appears to be reliable, non-anecdotal evidence that sulfation is very common and is caused by neglect.
If we focus on the figures for automobile batteries, it should be self-evident that, from a business point of view, if battery desulfation technologies work, the battery replacement sector should be next to non-existent as a result of competition from the desulfation sector.
We know that the battery replacement sector is thriving.

On June 5, 2014 at 6:50am
neil wrote:

Hi Nehmo, john, the last arguement is falacious and disingenuous.
1st point when a new idea (which may not be that new - but is new to those curious about, say desulphation) is gaining a presence, as sulphation is on the internet, those interested and curious will look for info. Perchance they may land on batteryuniversity site and be told by john fetter that it does not work, never worked, is a scam, blah blah, even that there are 70 patents for (pulse?) desulphation that do not work, are nonsense, blah blah. (he does contradicti himself in two or three comments where he says pulse desulphation does work!). So this is going to drive people off the idea, rather than risk a few quid and try it for themselves. This helps the battery replacement sector and other sites like batteryvitamin to gain business, to mop up those turned off pulse desulphation. Market competition, disinformation, confusion - desulphation is up against the likes of john fetter’s hatred for the idea and his doorman position on this site putting all those coming throught this door looking for good info/help completerly off the idea.
2nd Do Nehmo or john actually know how batteryvitamin actually works to save the battery. BV site only goes so far and john knows all about all battery issues so he was asked if he knew if he could explain a little bit deeper into the chemistry. So all we get as an answer is go to the site, read it, the explanations are above for all to read. And you Nehmo, all you have to offer is ‘can’t you read?’ Thanks, you advianced the understanding so much. I suspect this site is a subtle scam, with doorman bouncer john fetter from Battery Vitamin, making sure people stay away from desulphation ideas and solutions. Even the paragrahp above he quotes from the BV site. He will delete this post too, can’t help himself.
kind regards
neil

On June 5, 2014 at 7:38am
John Fetter wrote:

Neil - A thousand and one desulfation treatments have been announced over the last 100 years and there is overwhelming evidence that not one has been successful. This is how one recognizes success. Invention followed by prototyping, field trials, marketing launch, sales, business thrives, etc. That is all I am saying. If you have a brilliant new idea, that is wonderful.

On June 5, 2014 at 1:32pm
Nehmo wrote:

Neil

Many words, few facts. Please stop whinging. We want to know about your technical ideas, not you emotional issues.

On June 5, 2014 at 1:38pm
neil wrote:

Now who can’t read, nehmo?

On June 6, 2014 at 12:59am
John Fetter wrote:

Desulfation is an interesting subject. I am not trying to promote anything. I am not trying to denigrate anything. I have been trying to find out whether desulfation works and is misunderstood; or whether it simply does not work at all. There appear to be two components. The obvious being technical and the other that must be taken into consideration being the human angle.
It is virtually impossible to decipher the technical intricacies. There are far too many theories and systems.
People who find desulfation stimulating and attractive tend to be clever, dedicated, focused. However, many appear to be absorbed in the subject to the exclusion of other important factors. It is as if they are intent on working by facing what they enjoy and keeping the things that they do not like behind them. They do not like tasks that require concentration, like reading lengthy articles. It appears there may be a name for it. Attention deficit.
The only way I was able to find an answer was by analyzing the commercial impact, or lack of impact, of desulfation.

On July 13, 2014 at 9:00am
Howard Phillips wrote:

Contact info please for John Fetter?  Kind regards, Howard Phillips hp@valliant.net

On July 13, 2014 at 9:07am
Howard Phillips wrote:

John Fetter— I’d like to discuss new theory describing how and why some solid state batteries last a long, long, long time, and recharge themselves with no need for a battery charger.  The new theory I would like to discuss with you emerges from solid state physics and is based on very fundamental knowledge and established solid state theory.  By way of introduction, my background is online at www.Phillips.8k.com   I know your background is electronics and battery engineering—a perfect fit for the discussion I’d like to have with you.  Kind regards, Howard   hp@valliant.net

On July 13, 2014 at 4:28pm
John Fetter wrote:

Howard - I would be happy to discuss although I should point out that I am having some difficulty visualizing batteries that recharge themselves.

On July 13, 2014 at 5:25pm
Howard Phillips wrote:

John Fetter—Yes, it is indeed a new concept.  I believe there is definitely something here, and that it is a previously-unexplored area of science.  But, I’m not 100% sure that the new theory is correct, and that is why I choose to discuss this with people (perhaps you) who have more battery experience than I have.  I am not a battery engineer, so please think of me as someone bringing this theory to you from the field of solid state physics.  I like your comment, “Howard - I would be happy to discuss although I should point out that I am having some difficulty visualizing batteries that recharge themselves.”  What I am looking for is a very knowledgeable skeptic—but an open minded skeptic.  Can you email me with better contact info—perhaps your Skype address or perhaps your telephone number?  Kind regards, Howard

On July 13, 2014 at 5:27pm
Shawn wrote:

john, will certainly give you an un-biased opinion

On July 30, 2014 at 11:11pm
saman wrote:

hi, John Fetter .
To get 200mA charge you need to put something around 1000W in series with the 12v battery charger - The 60w bulb will give you only about 8mA .  Remember V = Ix R and W=V x I , (

On July 30, 2014 at 11:27pm
John Fetter wrote:

saman - You are supposed to put the lamp in series with the AC power input to the charger.
(As a matter of interest, the filament resistance of an incandescent lamp falls by roughly an order of magnitude from fully lit down to near-zero brightness at 12V. Your V = IR calculation would not work anyway.)

On July 31, 2014 at 4:19pm
Tim W wrote:

Interesting discussion!

On August 4, 2014 at 12:39pm
Josh B. wrote:

What is your guys opinion on making a brand new lead acid battery last longer? Specifically a 36v 12ah deep cell battery. I also live in California and heat is also a constant problem. The battery is for a electric scooter I plan to ride every day in mountains. Any tips are appreciated. Thanks guys.

P.S. I’m not exactly a battery expert so please answer in English ^.^

On August 4, 2014 at 2:32pm
Chris C. wrote:

Josh, I would strongly discourage you to use a lead acid battery for that purpose because of weight - and use the plentiful 18650 lithium ion battery in packs instead, it has a much greater energy density and can be cheaply salvaged from surplus or otherwise depleted laptop battery packs

Check this out… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-VLdE6RxYQ

If you already purchased the battery, keep it charged, discharge it as little as possible, keep it from overheating, keep the demand low (typically 1/10th current drain of the battery capacity), keep the the cells filled, topping up with distilled water as needed, and monitor the electrolyte density of each cell to be the same and equalize the cells that are under by overcharging occasionally while keeping an eye on electrolyte level and refilling those cells that are drying up in the process.

Hope this little bit helps, but you should really read up on this to understand the fundamentals.

On August 4, 2014 at 6:51pm
Josh B. wrote:

Thanks for the advice!
The battery is actually 3 smaller batteries all linked together, it’s 30lbs (more wight more battery life right?) the company sells Lithium ion batteries for the scooter but it is very expensive ($500). The scooter would be used with a 1000w motor. ~4 miles in very hilly terrain so I would assume it would use quite a bit of power. The company sells a desulfator & speed charger but I myself don’t know much about it, they claim that it can double battery life. I’m looking for solutions that don’t involve opening the battery and are either low cost or well worth it. Any advice, even something that seems obvious to you “pros”. The only thing is that keeping it out of heat is not always possible. Thanks again

On August 4, 2014 at 7:48pm
Chris C. wrote:

You should have a good read on the right battery for your application,  there is one right here http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/whats_the_best_battery that could give you some good basic info on the subject.

As for Li-Ion, custom built packs are expensive because of all the externalities: small market segment, custom cases and circuitry, liability, etc. A home built battery pack is doubtless going to be a fraction of that.

36V at 12Ah makes for a total capacity of 432 wh, which is about the total amount of power a top shape cyclist produces in one hour. a 1000W motor would be adequate for the job no doubt but it would run down the battery pack in 1/2 hour, when it should be running it down in 10, not good for longevity.

OTOH, a Li-Ion battery pack can be built in many different configurations (heck you could probably make it fit between the frame and the pedal) and programmable, can easily withstand high loads (they are routinely charged and discharged at C rate, contrarily to lead-acid which require C/10 to survive any length of time) and automaticv, equalizing Li-Ion chargers can be found inexpensively online.

Considering decent, 8wh li-ion batteries (2000mAh at 4V) can be had for as little as $2 each in quantities, 100 cells would cost $200, have twice the capacity of the lead acid for a third of the weight and considering its performance under high load conditions it’s easy to see why it’s the better option here.

In other words… No doubt Li-Ion is better for your application, it’s simply a matter of figuring out whether to purchase the pack or get into the adventure to make your own.

On August 4, 2014 at 9:55pm
Josh B. wrote:

Woah, thanks!
Li-Ion is most certainly a better choice. Any idea where I could pick one up? Also say I kept the Lead acid one that came with the scooter? Any simple pointers to prolong battery life? I wouldn’t be able to get a li-Ion battery until later but I will consider that. Only $200? Btw it is a 1000watt DC 36v 2750 rpm motor if that makes any difference to you. I don’t have it but the battery looks like 3 car batteries in a series to make up a big 30lbs, 36v 12ah deep cell battery. (looks like, but isn’t actually 3 car batteries) the scooter goes up to 25mph and it’s range on a full charge is 10-18(obviously depending on the speed and terrain driven on)

Thanks, you are so knowledgable :D

On August 4, 2014 at 11:30pm
John Fetter wrote:

Josh - The simple answer to your question. Try not to use the bike and afterwards leave the batteries discharged. Always give recharging priority.
Do not speed charge. Do not pulse. Simply recharge.
Chris - As a matter of interest, the lead-acid battery in every car is discharged many times per day at 10C to 20C. Starting the engine. The reason why it is there. There are 1 billion car batteries in use world-wide. It would seem fairly common for lead-acid to successfully undergo very heavy discharging.
I agree, it would be nice to use Li-ion but it seems one needs the right connections.

On August 5, 2014 at 9:12am
Josh B. wrote:

So every time after I use it, make sure I plug it in and charge it fully. I will try to make sure it is stored in a cool area as well. Sulfur crystals start to form when the battery is discharged right?(so the sooner it’s chargered the better?) Should a “Smart Charger” can be left overnight when charging lead-acid batteries? Anyways, Thanks for the tip. Much appreciated!

On August 5, 2014 at 3:13pm
Chris C. wrote:

Josh: I concur with John regarding the importance of recharging immediately, because the worst enemy of a lead acid battery is the lead sulfate that results from the discharge. If it is not recharged immediately, it tends to grow into crystals that are extremely hard and sometimes impossible to revert back into lead and sulfuric acid. Excessive discharge of lithium-ion batteries also destroys them and can even make them dangerous to reuse, that’s why most 18650 cells found in most consumer products have circuit boards in them that cut-off the cell when voltage drops below 2.5V.

It is therefore paramount to recharge both lead acid and lithium ion batteries immediately after use, the sooner the better, which is the opposite of the old nickel cadmium or nickel metal hydride battery.

There are small but important differences, though. Lead acid batteries crave a full charge and can sustain an overcharge under controlled condition (no excessive temperature and topping up cell electrolyte as it evaporates during the overcharged typically used in the process of equalizing battery cells, for example) and self discharge very quickly, whereas Lithium Ion batteries will not tolerate surcharges at all (which can destroy them) and actually prefer a lesser charge for longevity (for example charging to 4.1V instead of 4.2V) and can stay charged for sometimes years and are usually shipped with a half charge precisely for longevity, something which would quickly kill lead acid batteries.

John, I agree that lead acid batteries can give enormous amounts of current, but not on a sustained basis as described by Josh (4 miles of mountainous terrain, presumably taking out most of the battery’s capacity in an hour or less) with a size of battery that is manageable for a light vehicle. Unless, of course, I am mistaken as to what a ‘scooter’ is and what the hilly terrain is like. In any case, it is quite different moving objects on a flat terrain like in a factory or on a gold course for a short while, where batteries have thousands of amp hours of capacity and typically don’t run for extended times, or if they do,  such as with troll marine motors, with batteries sized accordingly (a small fishing troll motor uses typically about the same amount of power as Josh’s electric motor, but the batteries used weigh typically 100 to 200 pounds with several hundred amp hours of capacity).

Finally, Josh, as for leaving a smart charger on your lead acid batteries, I don’t see why not as long as it is designed and sized for the battery type and size you are using (flooded, gel or AGM).

On August 5, 2014 at 10:21pm
Josh B. wrote:

Great, thanks for answering my questions guys. In case you were wondering, the scooter, looks and is similar to a razor electric scooter, having two wheels, a floorboard and a seat. But it is way different as far as specs and with the 30lb battery, it weighs 90lbs. So yeah, it’s heavy. But I weigh 135lbs so that will help it. (I’m 14) Also with the trolling motor comparison, not all batteries need to weigh that much. In a small boat in a lake at my friends house we use a 30lb thrust (don’t know the wattage of it) trolling motor and hook it up to a car battery. It takes us around the lake all day, but while fishing it is turned on and off so the battery isn’t constantly being used. The boat is a metal(aluminum) fishing boat with bench seats, I can imagine on big fishing boats that the batteries weigh 100-200+ pounds.

On August 20, 2014 at 12:16am
tahir wrote:

my new vrla battery body has been cracked can it be repaired?

On August 20, 2014 at 2:26am
John Fetter wrote:

Yes.

On October 6, 2014 at 11:09am
Marcus wrote:

I have what appears to be a starter battery sulphation case; and wanted to pass along a couple of observations from my 24 hour 16v-overcharge reconditioning experience thus far.

I have a cc/cv benchtop power supply which has followed a bell-curve during the process; ie: starting from max current @ terminal v tapering down to a nadir of around I/2 after 7hrs; now ramping back up steadily as the last 8 hours’ charging process completes.

To the uninitiated, this would seem to indicate the possibility of desulphation occurring: Any input regarding this type of curve while reconditioning a starter battery?  Is there a rule-of-thumb concerning a process termination point based upon the observed I curve?

Thank you.

On October 6, 2014 at 5:13pm
John Fetter wrote:

Marcus - My take on your experience is that your battery was simply discharged. Your battery reached full state of charge quickly, suggesting a high charging current. The charging current was high enough to heat the battery. The current began to taper towards full state of charge. The battery reached full state of charge but the current was high enough to keep increasing the temperature of the battery, therefore the current climbed up again.
If a battery is sulfated, it won’t take much current at commencement of charging, even if the voltage is increased to 2.8 volts per cell. The current may begin to climb slowly after some time, reaching a peak after quite a few hours, then tapering towards end of charge, the reverse of what you observed.

On October 6, 2014 at 7:55pm
Marcus wrote:

Thank you, John, for the insights.

Just finished the process a few minutes ago; and the battery seems to have dropped quickly back towards nominal OCV.  Closure saw things at a touch over 3A, 16.0v; with virtually no electrolyte loss across the cell bank.

Of side note there was, indeed, some of the behavior you mentioned which initiated my investigations and work here: The unit would not take a proper charge using a switch-mode auto charger; and it would not crank over after a cool early-Fall evening.  All connections were tested and good.  However, when the linear lab supply was implemented, things started happening rather quickly at around 14v or so…

At any rate (no pun intended), hoping for a better result in the vehicle tomorrow morning.  Looking for a few more turns with the investment here wink

Thanks again, and good night.

On October 6, 2014 at 11:16pm
John Fetter wrote:

Marcus - The best way to charge a lead-acid battery is with a taper charge. Using a cc/cv power supply, setting the current to 3 or more amps, maximum potential at 16 volts, causes the battery to overheat. You would be pumping 48 watts or more into a fully charged battery.
An ordinary high reactance transformer - rectifier charger probably provides an ideal taper charge.
I suspect you could parallel two cc/cv power supplies, set the one to 3A, 14.4V and the other to 250mA, 16V.  You would obtain a 2-stage charge that would not overheat the battery.

On October 7, 2014 at 8:07am
Marcus wrote:

Good day, John.

Well, we tested @ 8+h later; and still at nominal OCV.  Apparently there are no large internal shorts; and the vehicle was happy with its renewed source of power.  BTW, good idea for a taper-type charger setup using this type of equipment.

However, I do confess to some confusion over the emerging I-E relationship here: Is potential not the governing factor in operations such as this, or should we be looking to an unlimited potential protocol with a (rule-of-thumb) constant current level, concluding with process termination at 16v?

Thanks again.

On October 7, 2014 at 9:39am
John Fetter wrote:

Marcus - A battery on charge must be treated as an electrochemical device, not a passive load. It will commence gassing at 2.35 volts per cell. The objective is to get it to accept as much energy as possible before it reaches gassing potential. Electrolysis is not efficient hence the battery will get hot if the current is not reduced. Heat can damage a battery. A taper charge solves this problem. Do not hold a battery at 16 volts for too long. It will turn into an electroplating bath and metal will be corroded out of the positives and end up plating onto the negatives. Eventually a cell will short out or the positives will collapse. An automobile alternator regulator typically presents the battery with 14.2 to 14.4 volts. Fractionally above the onset of gassing.

On October 7, 2014 at 10:22am
Marcus wrote:

Thank you again, John, for the helpful information.

You mentioned,

“Do not hold a battery at 16 volts for too long. It will turn into an electroplating bath and metal will be corroded out of the positives and end up plating onto the negatives.”

So, if I might, I’d say I’m still a bit confused with regard to the original context (sulphated-cell reconditioning).  From BU-804b:

“The battery terminal voltage is allowed to rise to between 2.50 and 2.66V/cell (15 and 16V on a 12V mono block) for about 24 hours. Increasing the battery temperature to 50–60°C (122–140°F) further helps in dissolving the crystals.”

(Of side interest, cell temperatures stayed at or below 50°C for the entire process duration.)

Now, the foregoing advice is offered in the context of a 200mA current level.  So, the matter which remains a bit foggy to me is whether or not I or E governs in a sulphated-cell 24h reconditioning scenario; as I will vary on the basis of present sulphation level, plate area, temperature, etc.

Thanks again—

On October 7, 2014 at 10:43am
Art Schultz wrote:

I was just about to comment on temperature when I read Marcus’ question on temps. I live in a perpetually cool climate, so my typical battery temperature for most of the year would be maybe 40°F. I have been using a CC/CV power supply in CV mode to equalize rather large 8D size batteries. Starting at 15.8V, I might get 11 amps, quickly tapering to less than 2A. The action inside the cells is usually minimal, so I have been cranking up the voltage until I see more activity. I’ve done this maybe three times now where I have ended at 16.7V with a bubbling action like a recently poured soft drink. The cells are gently fizzing.

It is important to note that I do not walk away from the process while cranking up the voltage. I have not gone past 4 hours for the whole process, regardless of the results, due to some concern about the over voltage. I understood the most important part to be a steady gentle bubbling, not some maximum voltage. I would need to work very hard to overheat my batteries in any season, so that will never be a concern for me. Now you worry me with that warning never to go past 16V. I really hope that is a temperature dependent number that mostly applies to warmer climates.

On October 7, 2014 at 4:32pm
John Fetter wrote:

Marcus - Your battery was not sulfated.
Much of what has been said about sulfation for the last 100 years has been made up to persuade people to buy things that they don’t need.

Art - If you are equalizing the battery and it is warm to the touch, it is fine. If it feels hot enough for you to want to take your hand off the case, you’re damaging the battery.

On October 9, 2014 at 9:01am
Marcus wrote:

I don’t quite understand what is happening.  With all due respect, I have no interest in whether my particular battery was sulphated or not; nor am I presently interested in purchasing battery-conditioning equipment.

Therefore, is there anyone who can address the following question directly:

Does I or E govern during a 24h desulphation protocol in accord with this central quote from BU-804b,

“...reversible sulfation can often be corrected by applying an overcharge to a fully charged battery in the form of a regulated current of about 200mA. The battery terminal voltage is allowed to rise to between 2.50 and 2.66V/cell (15 and 16V on a 12V mono block) for about 24 hours. Increasing the battery temperature to 50–60°C (122–140°F) further helps in dissolving the crystals.”

For if E governs, then the preceding in-context statement concerning I,

“reversible sulfation can often be corrected by applying an overcharge to a fully charged battery in the form of a regulated current of about 200mA”

is not widely applicable; as Icharge @ 16v. in relation to any particular battery construct/condition sceanrio will vary widely based upon a whole number of attending factors.

Speculatively, if E governs, is there a third (undisclosed) parametric consideration which would affirmatively indicate process termination before the 24h mark; ie cell temperature, specific H evolution volume, etc? 

Is there someone who can provide clarity and insight concerning these aspects of the protocol disclosed in BU-804b?

Thank you.

On October 10, 2014 at 4:49pm
John Fetter wrote:

Marcus - The lead-acid battery has been an item of commerce for 130 years. Lead-acid batteries wear out. Naturally, there will be people who will try selling remedies. The situation is simple. Caveat emptor.
To answer your question, does E or I govern the protocol: They reach a state of equilibrium at the conclusion of the process.