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Author Topic: Battery de-sulphater  (Read 17749 times)

dkwflight

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mobile_bob

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Re: Battery de-sulphater
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2006, 02:57:36 AM »
Dennis:

where should i start???

:)  okay okay,,, i will leave it alone.

bob g
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DaveW

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Re: Battery de-sulphater
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2006, 04:19:44 AM »
Mobile Bob -
   I agree with your thinking on new batteries and any nostrums that might be applied.  However, I have used a pulse circuit on a set of large traction batteries destined for scrap and found that over about 6 months they regained a lot of charge.  These are 1200 AH (4 sets wired to 48 volts) batteries that would not even hold a charge when I started.  Now they will carry about 80% of rated load, and recharge.  I make no claims, only that I am happy to have spent the time with the circuit and very pleased with the results.  Of course as always, your mileage may vary.  To be honest I have tried the same thing on some SLA batteries and gotten no results at all.

dkwflight

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Re: Battery de-sulphater
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2006, 04:55:40 AM »
Hi Since I drive a company truck I rarely drive my 85 mercedes. The battery will go flat over a fairly short period. and has several times. I started useing a trickel charger and timer with a commercial de-sulfater for the last 11 months. The battery is in good condition now. I can't say it, the de-sulphater has made a large differance, but the car will start now after 3 weeks without the charger plugged in.
This all happened after I replaced a battery that wouldn't hold a charge for a couple of weeks.
I am interested in the concept. I use it on my motorcycle that also rarly gets use as well.
So far so good. I realise that all this is very un sceintific, but...
Dennis
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mobile_bob

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Re: Battery de-sulphater
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2006, 04:58:11 AM »
DaveW:

good job on the recovery of your batteries, i have wondered why manufactures list that when a battery gets to about 80%capacity its life is over, perhaps its life at rated capacity is over, but i wonder if used at a reduced capacity one could get more lifespan.

i have been thinking about my devils advocate stance this afternoon, and i think i would like to clarify a bit.

my problem with the desulfator schemes are basically the way they are presented, not so much whether of not they work.

most all of the advertisements regard sulfation as an evil, that must be conquered by a desulfator, or chemical additions, that they sell.

what they don't tell you in plain language is that sulfation is a normal activity in a battery as it discharges, sulfation is not intrinsically bad.

what is bad is when the sulfation is allowed to stand, and harden.  then it becomes very difficult to break it back down as designed.

i guess in a nutshell, my problem with the claims are , by making sulfation a dirty word, the uninformed are led to believe that, oh my god, my batteries are slowly dieing, i need to buy one of their gadgets or chemicals to protect my investment.
when in reality all they really need to do is properly charge the cells to start with, and equalize when needed.

on the other hand, if their adds ran something along the lines of.

"if your batteries are beginning to show age, arent charging up to capacity, or showing other signs of early failure, then buy our desulfator and recover them. or if you have some poor batteries that you want to recover, buy our desulfator and recover them."

followed by a disclaimer that clearly states that "our product is able to recover most batteries, but not all"  or "your mileage may vary"

personally i have no doubt that these things work to some extent, sometimes quite well, and sometimes not at all, and the majority somewhere in the middle.

btw, i have researched the electronic desulfators and their theory of operation, between them and EDTA, i lean more toward the electronic method.

the bottom line is there is never going to be an answer to this question, because no two batteries are the same or will react the same to any method, and

there is no way to determine that one method is better than the other, because once one method is used the problem isnt the same when applied to another method.

classic catch 22

bob g
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dkwflight

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Re: Battery de-sulphater
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2006, 07:15:09 AM »
Hi Bob
What you say is correct. If you use a battery properly it will last a lot longer. In a vehicle the motion of driveing shakes the bat and prevents stratification. The big phone co batteries have an aereation scheme in place to bubble air up through the acid to keep it mixed. I have never had a battery go bad before its time when it was in use every day.
Spend some time reading some of the posts in the de-sulphater forum. You will learn some thing about batteries. If you spend some $ on a kit you can rejuvinate some batteries and see for your self. They even discuss EDTA. As in when to use it and how.
They will tell you that the system will not recover the unrecoverable. Some will be beyond help.
There iis an Austrailian group that did some testing in a community that has a lot of solar-battery systems. Treating 1/2 of the batt. banks leaving the oter half of a bank untreated. They got enough good results(reduced failures, extended life) to recomend treating the whole system with de-sulfaters along with proper charging and conservation.practices.
Dennis
« Last Edit: August 29, 2006, 07:17:55 AM by dkwflight »
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bitsnpieces1

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Re: Battery de-sulphater
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2006, 02:25:58 PM »
  I admit I've never used EDTA or a pulse type desulfonator.  I have had limited luck using a 10 amp charger on a really weak battery for about two weeks of constant charge to get it going for another 6 - 12 mos. 
  It's my understanding that sulfonation is a normal (and necessary) process in a battery just like what mobile bob says.  From what I've been able to figure out the problem occurs when the battery is allowed to sit and the light, fluffy, porous sulfation turns into a crystalline structure that acts a lot like a good coat of paint will.  That way it seals off the rest of the plates and prevents them from interacting with the acid, also the crystalline stuff doesn't react well to a charging current.  Somethimes the charging will break it down and free up the plates again and sometimes not.  That is what has me thinking the pulse or EDTA could help remove the crsytalline stuff and expose the plates again. 
  That is where limited research and some chemistry has gotten me to, now to try some experiments myself for (admittingly anecdota)l evidence.  I need to look into what stuff would need to be tested/checked along the way, given my problems limiting my ability to do much work. 
  By the way I wrote this before looking at the links above.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2006, 02:28:41 PM by bitsnpieces1 »
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dkwflight

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Re: Battery de-sulphater
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2006, 10:31:39 AM »
Hi Here is another link
http://www.pulsetech.com/
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Guy_Incognito

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Re: Battery de-sulphater
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2006, 02:55:17 AM »
I've got a report here on the trial use of desulphators in power systems in the Daintree region in Australia in 2003.
It was done by a research station at Cape Tribulation. While they mainly look at flora and fauna in the region, they also experiment with remote area power systems a fair bit. The whole region (about 350 homes in a 30km stretch along the coast) is off-grid. This is where my 6/1 is going, to supplement the solar array for my new house in the cloudy monsoon season.

(The report's online, but I won't link to it - they ask for a donation to their research station for it. If you're interested, go looking at http://www.austrop.org.au/)

Anyway, they fitted their own design of desulphators to one 12V half of a 24V system and run for 24 months or so, with conductance measurements every month on each half of the bank. Fitting them this way ensures most of the extraneous issues with charging/discharging are nullified as each half of the entire 24V string gets the same charge/dischare currents. The conductance measurements accurately determine the amount of plate capacity left in each cell. About 40 or so systems were used in the trial, so there was a reasonably large sample size.

At the end of the trial, the cells with the desulphator had a definite measurable improvement over the cells without, particularly on gel-cells. So a hundred bucks or so for a bit of extra life out of your $5000 set of batteries is a pretty good deal.

mobile_bob

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Re: Battery de-sulphater
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2006, 03:45:33 AM »
"So a hundred bucks or so for a bit of extra life out of your $5000 set of batteries is a pretty good deal."

maybe!  maybe not!

do they sell these desulfators? or sell the plans for them?

if so i am very suspicious of their report.

first of all i have no doubt a desulfator will work better than poorly managed batteries in any group.

can you link directly to their article?
i really don't want to spend half the night trying to find it only to find what i usually find in these desulfator reports, that is poor science.

before anyone starts a war with me on this subject again i would like to make an observation or rather a statement of fact.

most of these folks that claim they work say they work on the pulse frequency or some such stuff that breaks down the sulfation, what they don't go on to state is the fact that sulfation is the nomal product of discharging a battery, you cannot eliminate sulfation.
what they should allude to is the truth and that is they are not trying to break down sulfation but rather sulfation that has been allowed to harden into crystals.
these crystals form from allowing a battery to sit either discharged, or partiallly charged for a rather lengthy amount of time.

now when one gets to hard crystal sulfation, yes it is hard to reconvert, but i take exception to most desulfator folks statement that they break down these crystals by means of the frequency of the pulse which they claim "shakes" the crystals and makes them break down.  this statement is flawed to no end

sulfation that has crystalized and hardened will form crystalls of differing sizes and mass, each of which would have to have a different frequency to get them to vibrate, that is if they could vibrate at all in a liquid bath, which would dampen them.

where a desulfator might have validity is in its ability to pulse higher voltages than normally used for equalization for very short durations, thus avoiding heat buildup.. maybe,, theoretical at best.

so far i have seen no report, (and i have read many dozens over the years) that illustrate the mechanism of a desulfator working any better than careful charge regiimes and routine equalization, as far as good batteries go.

as far as badly managed batteries being resurrected with a desulfator, i have seen no report that shows a clear advantage of the desulfator over the controlled higher voltage low amperage method or that of draining the battery refilling with plain water and applying a current and monitoring the rise in specific gravity.

the reason is obvious why desulfator folks don't publish this sort of test, it would clearly show no advantage or very limited success of their method over the tried a true method, and thus kill their sales and their arguement.

the onus is on the desulfators folks to run the tests to prove their position, not the battery manufactures to prove they don't work.

the only outside tests that i have read are from the sandia lab folks, and they come up with unconclusive results.

bottom line is,,, (if using flooded cells)

buy quality cells, follow the manufactures recommendations on charge and discharge cycles, keep them well maintained, watered and clean, and keep and eye on the specific gravity and equalize when needed.  then when they get old and tired, and you feel like trying a desulfator then go for it.

until the case has been made and backed up with good science, i would not subject a good battery to a desulfator, we just don't know enough about the process to establish whether or not there is any side effects.

you would not take a medication for a problem with your health that you currently didnt have would you? especially if the side effects of the
medications weren't known yet.

a good test by an outside source such as sandia with a double blind setup where one group of batteries were properly maintained and equalized etc vs a set that had the desulfator ran on them for 10 years (on a 10 year set) would be of great value.  especially if they plotted out the results quarterly over 10 years.

if at the end the researcher was to retest the capacity of the two groups and found the desulfator group clearly of more capacity then maybe i would get on board,, until then no way.

this to me so far has all the validity of the old motor oil additives that were claimed to restore a worn out engine, or keep it running for many miles more than engine running the manufactures recommended oils. they come and go with the seasons, i worry that the desulfators are just that sort of thing. nothing more than hyped up magnets on your fuel line to increase mileage.

bob g
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Guy_Incognito

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Re: Battery de-sulphater
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2006, 10:39:50 AM »
"So a hundred bucks or so for a bit of extra life out of your $5000 set of batteries is a pretty good deal."

maybe!  maybe not!
do they sell these desulfators? or sell the plans for them?
if so i am very suspicious of their report.

Aha! I've stumbled upon your pet rant it seems.  ;D
They don't sell the desulfators. They give way the plans for a basic desulphator. They are a privately-funded rainforest research station.

Quote
can you link directly to their article?
i really don't want to spend half the night trying to find it only to find what i usually find in these desulfator reports, that is poor science.

I gave you my reasons for not linking, but it's on that site I indicated. Look for yourself in the archives.

Quote
sulfation that has crystalized and hardened will form crystalls of differing sizes and mass, each of which would have to have a different frequency to get them to vibrate, that is if they could vibrate at all in a liquid bath, which would dampen them.

where a desulfator might have validity is in its ability to pulse higher voltages than normally used for equalization for very short durations, thus avoiding heat buildup.. maybe,, theoretical at best.

They have a few photos of plates under an electron microscope, but they state that the hows and whys are purely theoretical. That's why they tested them, silly. They were looking for hard data and the end result. Whether it actually twangs the crystals to shrink them, or little moon men are attracted to it and sneak in at night to file the sulphate crystals down for you, it doesn't matter in the end if the thing works, no?

Quote
so far i have seen no report, (and i have read many dozens over the years) that illustrate the mechanism of a desulfator working any better than careful charge regiimes and routine equalization, as far as good batteries go.

This is principally an area where "careful charge regimes" are not used. All the RAPS in use there are run by average people, who don't give a damn about equalisation or what-not. They just want their lights to work. This is a test of desulhpators in real-world, hit and miss use. They noted that there were some improvements in entire packs simply because people were aware that "technical people" were watching them, and they were then obliged to look after them a bit better. Putting the desulphator across half a bank allows them to take issues like that into account though.

Quote
if at the end the researcher was to retest the capacity of the two groups and found the desulfator group clearly of more capacity then maybe i would get on board,, until then no way.

They measured each cell's internal conductance monthly. This is a (but not "the") principle indicator of remaining plate life and general capacity. It's a bit hard to come up to someone - who volunteered - and say "Hey, I'm going to cycle your pack and interrupt your next couple of days power usage, so I can get some numbers for my report". Especially the kind of people living in that region. They prefer to be left alone.

The ones in the desuplhator group consistently indicated a higher conductance than the ones run normally. Well, that's what the scatter plot of 40 sets of cells in the report indicates anyway. The bulk of the samples were in the "better" section of the plot.

But hell, I'm going for a nickel-iron set in my RAPS, so sulphation can take a flying leap.  ;)





mobile_bob

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Re: Battery de-sulphater
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2006, 03:48:02 PM »
ok fair enough, if as yiou say one does not want to be bothered with proper maintenance which involves equaliztion of flooded cells
then the desulfator probably will show better battery life over the long run. because in that scenario the desulfator is doing the job of
equalization at least.

who knows what else might be happening as well

funny how some folks want to live offgrid, not be bothered by outside folks, but also don't want to fuss with taking care of something that takes care of them, namely
their batteries.

bob g
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Guy_Incognito

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Re: Battery de-sulphater
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2006, 04:47:02 PM »
Quote
funny how some folks want to live offgrid, not be bothered by outside folks, but also don't want to fuss with taking care of something that takes care of them, namely
their batteries.

I think battery maintenance interferes with their mellow hippy lifestyle routine a bit. But some of the local system designs are a bit awkward for them as well. Eg. 1000Ah of cells + a crappy 3kVA genset to charge via a 60A battery charger. = 8 hours of running to pull up from 50% charge + another 4 hours or so of moderate equalisation. No self-respecting hippy trying to commune with nature is going to have a 3000rpm genny running for that length of time  ;)



Rainbow-Farm

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Re: Battery de-sulphater
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2006, 03:22:07 AM »
I bought about 7 desulfators from Battery Life Saver. I once found a report on the solar panel battery test, probably the same one.

I don't know how to EDTA (chelate) my batteries, and I do not know how the desulfator really works, beyond conceptually. I do not know sheeet about sulfur crystals except that the sulfuric acid contacting the lead plate makes electricity.

So, I used the desulfator on sealed lead-acid batteries, on my car, and on some deep-cycle solar-system batteries, and I noticed an improvement. Six of them went to friends. No one has commented. One used it on his deep-cycle batteries, but they are already in perfect condition.

I am not interested in joining the argument, since I have just said everything I know about this, and I doubt my car's battery would have made it to the end of the lease next year. Why should I buy a new battery to give back to the car dealer when I get to keep the desulfator?

My car's battery was draining too quickly and it no longer does that after a week with the desulfator on it. I had my reasons for choosing Battery Life Saver over the other brands, which does not mean the other brands are not good.

Soon enough, they will be for sale at Canadian Tire, just like the electronic rust thingie, and more people will buy them, like them, blah, blah.

And... what is wrong with free batteries? Somebody wants to throw away their battery? Put the desulfator on it. Get a free battery. Maybe. Depends on the algorithms and all that, I suppose.

Do not trust the "grid" folks!

adhall

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Re: Battery de-sulphater
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2006, 05:21:08 PM »
Well, here's some anecdotal evidence from my own experience:
I have a '92 Dodge pickup with the Cummins diesel. The radio had been iffy ever since I bought the truck in 2001. About a year ago, the radio quit working altogether. Oh well, I figured, I didn't like that stock radio anyway, maybe it's time to upgrade. At the same time, I noticed that the battery voltage was dropping quite a bit when the glow plugs kicked in. I also noted that the even after the engine was running the battery voltage was cycling periodically until the engine warmed up. The battery voltage would drop low enough that the headlights would dim to a feeble, yellow glow. (I wish I had some real voltage readings to report here, but the voltmeter on the dash is difficult to read accurately.) Extended charging with a conventional trickle charger didn't help. At this point the battery was at least 5 years old and I figured it was about time to replace it.

In the mean time, I had picked up a battery maintainer to use on my motorcycle and garden tractor batteries. The main feature I was interested in when I bought this device was it's ability to maintain the charge on a small battery without overcharging it, but the particular device I purchased offered, in the words of its manufacturer, "patented high-frequency pulse technology" which the makers allege "automatically dissolves harmful power-robbing sulphation" and was "guaranteed to increase your battery's life and performance".

Figuring I had nothing to lose, I tried the battery maintainer on the truck battery. After using it for about a week, I noticed that the radio began working again. I also noticed that the battery voltage it not dropping down low as it was before. Also, at this point the improved battery performance has been maintained even during periods when I don't have the device connected.

So, does this prove that "de-sulphating" works? Probably not. It may just prove that I now have a more effective trickle charger than I had before or maybe the battery just decided to "come around". On the other hand, I'm happy that I didn't have to puy a new battery for the truck (yet, at least). But mainly I'm happy to have a charger that I can leave on small batteries for extended periods with worrying about damaging them. (I have boiled several motorcycle batteries dry using chargers supposedly made specifically for that type of battery.)

Having an easy way to safely maintain the charge levels on these batteries is probably more valuable than any benefits the "de-sulphating" feature has to offer.

Best regards,
Andy Hall
JKSon 6/1, 5 kW ST Head, 1992 Dodge RAM Cummins 5.9L Turbodiesel, 2001 VW TDI 1.9L Turbodiesel, 2006 Jeep CRD Turbodiesel, Yanmar FX22D Diesel Tractor