Author Topic: rebuilding old deep cycle batteries from scratch  (Read 3470 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

solarbbq

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 15
rebuilding old deep cycle batteries from scratch
« on: October 06, 2004, 07:24:19 PM »
hi all,

after seeing prices of deep cycle batteries, decided to try to rebuild some.

Haven't tested yet but should have some results next few days.

heres what i've done so far:

taken batteries completely apart, separated all plates.

If any one can comment on any errors in next part will be much appreciated:

2 type of plates in each cell, one I assume is pure (or semi-pure) lead,

which has deteriorated into lead sulphate powder (??????) which is a grey colour.

The other plate is in a semi-permeable(????) plastic type bag and is I assume

lead oxide, it appears dark reddish colour when wet from acid and black when dried.

I have scrapped all the lead oxide off each plate which should leave the backing

mesh but the mesh is all but gone. Have also scrapped all the lead sulphate away which leaves a mesh in very good condition.

So i land up with very good mesh (the backbone of the plates) from the lead sulphate

plates (which were I assume originally lead) and no mesh from the lead oxide plates as it had deteriorated to almost nothing.

Heres the rebuild part:

It appears the mesh from each 2 types of plate is a different lead alloy,

the mesh from pure lead plates when cut remains shiny

the mesh from the lead oxide plates developes a red tinge soon after cutting and

exposure to air.

To rebuild I have used the mesh from the pure lead plates after scrapping off all

the remaining lead residue ( I assume lead sulphate), the mesh is very strong and

comes up as new with some rough sanding, although it looks fragile it tough stuff.

So to rebuild each plate type I did this:

1. lead oxide plates: dried out the lead oxide (it turns black) removed any bits

of old mesh which had broken up into little bits.

Took a cleaned piece of mesh from pure lead plate and coated it with the lead oxide,

added some acid to the lead oxide to make a paste first. Dried this is sun then put

back in the plastic bag which i think maybe semi-permeable.

2.pure lead plates:

took a cleaned mesh and covered it with pure lead ( well probably not pure),

got the pure lead by bashing fishing sinkers flat and then just bending around the mesh.

Thats where i'm up to, will put these rebuilt plates back into battery box and add

acid, will charge it up and see what happens, whill post results in next day or two.

Am just trying out with one cell to see if its worth persuing any further.

all for now

« Last Edit: October 06, 2004, 07:24:19 PM by (unknown) »

DanB

  • Administrator
  • SuperHero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2130
  • Country: us
    • otherpower.com
Re: rebuilding old deep cycle batteries from scra
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2004, 08:00:23 PM »
seems kind of messy and dangerous!

.. but perhaps thats what some folks feel about my own shop.  There are degrees of insanity to this homebrew power thing ;-)

 (Id be really careful around the lead and acid!)

Interesting!  If you have a camera... and want to, share some pictures of it all...!
« Last Edit: October 06, 2004, 08:00:23 PM by DanB »
If I ever figure out what's in the box then maybe I can think outside of it.

whatsnext

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 449
Don't do this!
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2004, 08:01:37 PM »
Don't do this. Lead dust is VERY bad for you. Battery technology is very well established. Just find some used forklift batteries. They will have WAY more capacity than any 'rebuilt' deep cycle. Think about this for just one minute. Sulfuric acid and lead poisoning are kind of bad things. You are using a grinder on both of them. Shortening your life can't be worth slightly cheaper batteries.

John.......
« Last Edit: October 06, 2004, 08:01:37 PM by whatsnext »

DanB

  • Administrator
  • SuperHero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2130
  • Country: us
    • otherpower.com
Re: Don't do this!
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2004, 08:05:52 PM »
Yes... I would really have to agree.  Unless there is an undying curiosity here and Really REALLY good safety equipment I think rebuilding batteries in this way might be a bit over the top.  The work, and hazards you'd be exposing yourself to to get any real battery capacity seems not worth it - especially when there are so many good used ones out there and the 'battery recycling industry' does a pretty efficient job.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2004, 08:05:52 PM by DanB »
If I ever figure out what's in the box then maybe I can think outside of it.

kurt

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 958
  • Country: us
    • small engine lp and natural gas conversion page
« Last Edit: October 06, 2004, 08:11:01 PM by kurt »

TomW

  • Super Hero Member Plus
  • *******
  • Posts: 5174
  • Country: us
  • Everything I put here gets changed..
    • Free Stuff
Re: Don't do this!
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2004, 08:13:19 PM »
AMEN to that. Very possible to remove yourself and your family from the gene pool.


T

« Last Edit: October 06, 2004, 08:13:19 PM by TomW »
Join in an alternative forum at Anotherpower.com

tecker

  • SuperHero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2187
Re: rebuilding old deep cycle batteries from scra
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2004, 02:42:27 AM »


   Oh boy this is a little vague I believe you just wasted your time on this one by scraping the lead peroxide pbo2 off .I'll look at the post more closely this afternoon and try to clarify .  

« Last Edit: October 07, 2004, 02:42:27 AM by tecker »

3Phase

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: rebuilding old deep cycle batteries
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2004, 02:54:39 AM »
Safety first!!! Comments and advice further down the page.

Lead in its powderd or fuumed form can be extremely hazerdus to your health, life, and reproductive ability.


This is from a material safety data sheet for lead dioxide please read this carefully.

More information is avalable from http://www.jtbaker.com/msds/englishhtml/L2956.htm


Potential Health Effects

----------------------------------


Inhalation:

Lead can be absorbed through the respiratory system. Local irritation of bronchia and lungs can occur and, in cases of acute exposure, symptoms such as metallic taste, chest and abdominal pain, and increased lead blood levels may follow. See also Ingestion.

Ingestion:

POISON! The symptoms of lead poisoning include abdominal pain and spasms, nausea, vomiting, headache. Acute poisoning can lead to muscle weakness, "lead line" on the gums, metallic taste, definite loss of appetite, insomnia, dizziness, high lead levels in blood and urine with shock, coma and death in extreme cases.

Skin Contact:

Lead and lead compounds may be absorbed through the skin on prolonged exposure; the symptoms of lead poisoning described for ingestion exposure may occur. Contact over short periods may cause local irritation, redness and pain.

Eye Contact:

Absorption can occur through eye tissues but the more common hazards are local irritation or abrasion.

Chronic Exposure:

Lead is a cumulative poison and exposure even to small amounts can raise the body's content to toxic levels. The symptoms of chronic exposure are like those of ingestion poisoning; restlessness, irritability, visual disturbances, hypertension and gray facial color may also be noted.

Aggravation of Pre-existing Conditions:

Persons with pre-existing kidney, nerve or circulatory disorders or with skin or eye problems may be more susceptible to the effects of this substance.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


4. First Aid Measures

Inhalation:

Remove to fresh air. If not breathing, give artificial respiration. If breathing is difficult, give oxygen. Get medical attention.

Ingestion:

Induce vomiting immediately as directed by medical personnel. Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person. Get medical attention.

Skin Contact:

Immediately flush skin with plenty of soap and water for at least 15 minutes. Remove contaminated clothing and shoes. Get medical attention. Wash clothing before reuse. Thoroughly clean shoes before reuse.

Eye Contact:

Immediately flush eyes with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes, lifting lower and upper eyelids occasionally. Get medical attention immediately.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now to the advice.


The mesh(commonly refered to as the grid) from the negative and positive plate were likely originaly the same aloy of lead and antimony, witch is much stiffer than pure lead. Over time the grid in the positive plate may have coroded into lead oxide(Red in color) giveing it the redish tint when you cut into it. This coroding process may also be why there is litel of the positive plate grid left.


I think pasting the lead dioxide(Black or brown in color) back onto a grid with sulferic acid may work for the positive plate, maybe. As for the negative plate I would recomend cleaning the girds first with a fluxing agent(posibly rosin, it is known to clean lead verry well) to get them really clean and then pouring liquid lead over them in a mold. Aloying the entire negative plat with upto 4% antimony can help to extend the expected life span of your battery, but also increases the self discharge rate and gassing during charging. I do not think you will have a solid enough electical connection if you just bend the lead around the grid. The electrical conductivity of the plates is verry inportant to current output,and heat production.


The plastic bag that the positive plates were in was likely micro-porous polyethylene, witch is very permeable to the acid,yet impasable to coroded pieces of lead dioxide. It surves two purposes, 1 to insulate the positive plate from the negative plate, and 2 to keep sulfated pieces of positive plate from breaking off and shorting the paltes with a conductive pile of rubble at the bottom of the cell.


On the first charge of the new cells(the forming charge) use a soulution of weeker sulferic acid. Only after the cells are fully charge do you bring the specific gravity of the acid up to something around 1.265. If you use standard acid (1.265) on the first charge, sulfer from the pasting process will be liberated into the acid greatly increasing the specific gravity, making it highly corsive to you negative plate and you will end up with a destroyed battery again in a verry short amount of time.


I have had plans for making my own verry large lead acid cells with 25 plates each using a 4 gallon pollyproplyne bucket for the cell container. I already have, or have acess to all the suplies that I need for the project and have made plans, but money and the health cocerns have been holding me back...


Please be very careful about cross comanation form colthing or the work area.  You can be exposing others, posibly children witch are more suceptable to lead poising than adults.  Whenever around the particulate you should wear a disposable plastic jumpsuit , a resprator(that can handel lead particles),a disposable hat, saferty goggels, and take a good shower imeadetly after exposer as  a minimum... as for decontamanting the work area???  Be careful you want to get rid of ALL! of the lead dust before you use it under normal circumstances again.


If you plan to go on with this project, the best of luck to you. All of this information I have gleaned from the internet in the past year for my own project,mentiond above. I am not a profesional in the battery field, some of my information may be skewed or flat out falce with out me knowing the wiser of it. Pleas use at your own risk.


If you are suffering from the symptoms of lead poisoning seek medical attention imeadeatly. If you have been breathing in the particulate with out a gooood sealed reseprator go and see your doctor and tell him all, get tests.


Above all be safe, for you and others. Lead is dangerous.

Good luck

3Phase

« Last Edit: October 07, 2004, 02:54:39 AM by 3Phase »

tecker

  • SuperHero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2187
Re: rebuilding old deep cycle batteries from scra
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2004, 02:04:06 PM »


   ok I won't mess around with a drawn out explaination as you are see a good bit of the negitive side of what your tring to do so here's a link that you can refer to for some nuts and bolts of battery construction.also a neat little kit with some help for batteries that have set up and sulfated.


http://www.uuhome.de/william.darden/carfaq2.htm

http://www.chinadepot.com/batripod.html#supplies

 

« Last Edit: October 07, 2004, 02:04:06 PM by tecker »

solarbbq

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: rebuilding old deep cycle batteries
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2004, 04:43:24 PM »
well tested the rebuilt cell, charged for two hours,

it ran a 3v light globe for about 15mins,

basically it DID NOT work,

have had strong metallic taste in mouth although i used

respirator  and was quite careful with dust etc.

all in all a one off which i dont think anyone should repeat

under any circumstances,

LESSON LEARNT

no other symptoms as yet except for metallic taste in mouth

will post again if still breathing, in near future!!!!!!!!!!

thanks for all advice from all
« Last Edit: October 07, 2004, 04:43:24 PM by solarbbq »

nothing to lose

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1538
Re: rebuilding old deep cycle batteries
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2004, 04:52:25 AM »
Glad you stopped, lead is no joke!


If you understand most of the problems with lead you probably don't want to work with it! Some of us still tinker a little though. Lead IS very dangerous in this manor, but then as always some people go to extremes with panic too.


My mother has sold off or packed away all her great expensive LEAD crystal pieces because she's been told by a few nuts how dangerous it is to have around, and that lead crystal produces a lead gass if it sits in the sun ect...

 Huh, she's nearly 70, I don't think she needs to worry about re-productive harm!


The human body passes lead as it does most everything else in small minut quanities. Lead crystal is not so dangerous to have sitting around, but yet I would not drink from lead pewter mugs nor eat from pewter silverware made from lead pewter either.


Course not all pewter contains lead, I use lead free pewter and silver pewter for casting.


Lead is not something we should be grinding nor most people should be working with though. Even casting fishing sinkers can cause serious health hazards!! Had a friend got lead poisioning casting sinkers and bullets for re-loading his own shells.

 He was fairly carefull and did not have too many problems, but still got minor poisioning anyway.


As for that link for battery re-conditioning, anyone tried that stuff or know what the "Secret chemical" is? I think for about $30 it may be worth a try. About 20 years ago I bought "Rebuilt" batteries for my cars that might have been about the same thing, they did not do anything interanally to batterries, just a chemical additive and recharging basically. Sounds similar to this stuff and thier instructions.

 I got well over a years use for those I bought, but then who knows what shape they really were in before reconditioning anyway? Might have been used 1yr old batts. with a 5 year warauntee for all I know on that.


As for testing batteries and their being junk if under 12v, or 6v, that is what I hear alot, but does not make much sence to me since I have taken several 6v batts that tested low as 2-3v total with a digi meter and they are holding 6v pretty well after a little pulse charging. Maybe not perfect, but I charge them full charge and let them sit a day or 2 they now hold 6.25V and 2 will run a 12v inverter for awhile.

 Have 3 sets of 2 now that will run the inverter and another set that is getting better, holding about 6v now and the other set was holding 5.25 each last I looked.

 Not bad since they started at 2v for a 6v batt for the worst ones, and the best ones were right about 6v when I got them. I tried to match them in sets of matching volts. The last set was less than 5V total wired as 12v when I started and now close to 12v.


 I have no idea though how many amps they will store now. Each was about 115amp 6V trojan. I have ran the inverter quite a bit off a couple of them already and they seem to last a pretty good time. I'm happy with them, less than $50 for all 10.

« Last Edit: October 08, 2004, 04:52:25 AM by nothing to lose »

3Phase

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: rebuilding old deep cycle batteries.
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2004, 11:18:19 PM »
All of your work might not have been in vain...

I was wondering did you do a post-mortem on your rebuilt cell?

I would be curious to see how the acid afeced the re-pasted lead dioxide.

Also I would be really cool to see a picture of the grid (mesh) that you salvged from the negative plate. This information might be very usefull for my project. :)

I do not have a deep cycle battery to dicect for my own investagation, not yet anyway. Another question, if you did or do decide to do a post-mortem on your rebuilt cell did the unprotected parts of the negative grid sulfate baddly? or did they stand up to the acid fairly well. Also did the lead you bent around them sulfate at all?

I and maybe some others may be able to benifit from your experience and time spent.


I would also like to apolagise for being so long whinded in my last post, and for my spelling, both thing that I tend to strugel with...


Keep pushing bounderies.

3Phase

« Last Edit: October 08, 2004, 11:18:19 PM by 3Phase »

solarbbq

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: rebuilding old deep cycle batteries.
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2004, 06:28:20 PM »
haven't done post mortem on cells, will do so and take some pics,

not sure where to post the pics though,

cursory glance seems the lead oxide ok but will need to take cells out

of battery case to make sure,

the metallic taste has persisted for about 4 days now and some minor headaches,

did a big clean up of all sites where I was working and dont intend to repeat,

ever, ever , ever !!!!!

thanks for all info from all

one more thing:

i'm using masse batteries on some electric trikes I built,

have been using same set of batteries for about 4 years now!!!!

I did treat them with some edta about 2 years ago.

I have tried not to discharge them by more than 20% (they are standard batts.

not deep cycle). I get about 7km range with 20% discharge.

Hence my interest in going to deep cylces. starting with the not successful rebuild

of some oldies i had lying around.

Heres something of interest when comparing deep cylces to standard heavy duty batts.

The batts. I use on trikes are I think from memory masse be40**, but commonly available in kmart etc. Century produces a deep cylce (43T) which uses identical

case to my masse batts i.e. same size. The only difference is the masse has 9 plates

per cell, and the century 43t uses 7 plates per cell. cont. tomorrow

« Last Edit: October 10, 2004, 06:28:20 PM by solarbbq »

jacquesm

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 467
Re: rebuilding old deep cycle batteries from scra
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2004, 08:16:22 AM »
a little bit of insanity goes a long way :)



Please wear at least gloves and a respirator when you handle this stuff, as well as  safetyglasses. It's an absolute minimum. And if you have kids keep them very far away from the spot where you work, now and in the future. Heavy metals affect the brain and the reproductive organs.



If you don't have kids and plan to have some do not do this at all.

« Last Edit: October 14, 2004, 08:16:22 AM by jacquesm »