Author Topic: rejuvenating old (old!) batteries  (Read 3011 times)

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fungus

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rejuvenating old (old!) batteries
« on: February 18, 2012, 06:15:50 AM »
So I'm able to get these for free, there's 26 of them in total but only brought back one to check it out, I think they're 210Ah cells.

Only thing is I'm pretty sure the last time they've been used is at least 15 years ago .. has anybody had any success in getting old batteries to work?
They seem to be in pretty good condition physically, they've not dried out and are still full of acid, there is some sediment at the bottom, see photo, but it's not reached up to the bottom of the plates.
They're currently showing 20mv!
So.. I'm thinking of trying to charge them up and see what happens, can somebody remind us of the voltages I'd want to be reaching for a single cell?
And maybe seeing if I can take the cell apart and filter the acid to get out the sediment, check the s.g .. but I only have a wine hydrometer so not quite sure if it's in the right range and it also needs a lot of liquid to float in.

thirteen

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Re: rejuvenating old (old!) batteries
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2012, 05:21:44 PM »
Is there any voltage registered at all other than 20mv. Were these on any float charging system or just let sitting with nothing hooked to them? A brand name would let you get a manufacturer to contact. A top picture might help someone on this site to help find the manufacturer. I would try and charge them to see where they stand. The worst thing would be you have some scrap metal to take to a recycle place. I know it's been said but old cloths safety glasses and gloves would be must. You might have gotton a treasure with some work required. Do you have the connecting links that go between the batteries? If you do there might be a date stamped on the links or name. If there is no clamp marks they may have been filled and let sit doing nothing but waiting to be used. You might be able to get them working and be able to use them for several years. But sitting without a charge for that long of time they might be nothing but fun to play with. Best of luck, I would try and charge all of them. They might have been for a 36 volt system. Just as a guess 1.5 volts or maybe 2 volts. But that is a guess. I know I would get them. Good luck with them hope they work out for you.
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fungus

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Re: rejuvenating old (old!) batteries
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2012, 11:14:04 AM »
No voltage as far as I can see, but I only tested this one .. did try chucking a wrench between the terminals of some of the other cells and got no sparks at all though..
And afaik they've been uncharged for at least 15+ years, they were sitting in an old abandoned building that was last in use in the early 90's, but were on a float charge system, I'm not really sure when the power was cut off there.. They're all in a big metal cabinet and assembled into a battery bank.
I guess if nothing else I can make hydrogen with them!
In a different place now so will report back with anything I can find out about them then..

bvan1941

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Re: rejuvenating old (old!) batteries
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2012, 11:33:27 AM »
fungus,
Hope you have a good potential battery there. Speaking of potential, Hope you were just joking about "chucking a wrench between terminals and no sparks."
Don't know your knowledge of electricity, but I hope you use a voltmeter when testing batteries in the future. You could have found yourself in a heap of trouble by using a wrench to test battery voltage !! There is so much potential for fire, or explosion by doing that on a battery----- It would make me dive for cover watching someone do that !!!!

Just trying to give some prudent advice on what not to do around batterries.
Bill

thirteen

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Re: rejuvenating old (old!) batteries
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2012, 12:50:04 PM »
You probably have checked but there might be some information inside or the oustside of the cabinet. If it was done with markers they maybe faded if they used light colors. As an idea you might try and call the power company and ask about when the power was shut off. They would have a record some where. If there was not very much corrosion on them they may have had good care or prepared for long term storage.  I would try and put a low input charge on this battery. Just to get things going. A trickle charger would work. Too much of a charge to start with might cause shorts. It will take a couple of days, so be patient to get things working. and keep an eye on the sediment on the bottom it may increase. Getting the junk out might be a problem. If the top could be removed before you charge them up you could clean everything up and filter the acid. It might work out. If you do please be careful there maybe surprises. There is a bunch of epoxy compounds out there that would work to reseal them.  Just an idea to play with. 
MntMnROY 13

electrondady1

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Re: rejuvenating old (old!) batteries
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2012, 01:49:20 PM »
hello fungus,
still at the protest camp?
i hate batteries.
if the  26 units you found are toast and only have value as scrap.
perhaps you could trade up to others at the yard that may have more potential .

fungus

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Re: rejuvenating old (old!) batteries
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2012, 09:59:06 AM »
fungus,
Hope you have a good potential battery there. Speaking of potential, Hope you were just joking about "chucking a wrench between terminals and no sparks."
Don't know your knowledge of electricity, but I hope you use a voltmeter when testing batteries in the future. You could have found yourself in a heap of trouble by using a wrench to test battery voltage !! There is so much potential for fire, or explosion by doing that on a battery----- It would make me dive for cover watching someone do that !!!!

Just trying to give some prudent advice on what not to do around batterries.
Bill
Certainly does sound stupid but there blatantly wasn't any charge left in them so was seeing if there was even any tiny sparks on any of them - was a cautious experiment and in most situations would be downright suicidal!
Will have a play around with them when I can..

Bruce S

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Re: rejuvenating old (old!) batteries
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2012, 11:19:48 AM »
Fungus;
The 20mv you're reading is probably from your meter:-)
However if you have a small PV, down in the 6 or 12V range throw one on there for a short while and see what it does.
Put your meter in parallel with the panel and see if it pulls it down or start to show something.
If I'm right, that Chloride label means just that and acid isn't not the normal SA type.
Stuff at bottom is cells breaking down and could be shorting the cells.
IF that's the brand name then they're just SA with valve regulation built in.
ANY other labels on it , pic of top possible?
Cheers
Bruce S

 
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author "Bruce S"

mab

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Re: rejuvenating old (old!) batteries
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2012, 01:12:13 PM »
That Chloride label is the brand name - they were quite big in traction batteries some years ago.

As for getting them going - it's worth a try, though 15 years is a long time.

I had a 12v 100Ah battery that I found reading just 0.5v after being left for an unknown time. It didn't take charge initially but when I put 50v across it it woke up (be very careful if you're thinking about trying something similar) and the charge rate increased exponentially - after a few mins it was 11.4v and taking 30A (the max my charger could provide).

It charged up after about 2.5Hrs and worked well for about 3 months, then one cell went short.

with 26 individual cells, you might get enough good ones for a useful battery plus a few spares - if they're free I would certainly have a go.

mab

ghurd

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Re: rejuvenating old (old!) batteries
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2012, 08:16:34 PM »
Hey Fungus,
Any chance you have the numbers handy from the servo motor you removed the rotor from?  (before and after)
G-
www.ghurd.info<<<-----Information on my Controller

Ungrounded Lightning Rod

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Re: rejuvenating old (old!) batteries
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2012, 08:58:23 PM »
If these are lead-acids that were stored wet and with no trickle charge for 15 years they'll be fully sulfated and unrecoverable.

Flux

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Re: rejuvenating old (old!) batteries
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2012, 12:39:22 PM »
I agree that there is little hope, you may get them to behave as some sort of battery but with very limited capacity and high internal resistance. I have tried with some that were down to about 1volt and they recovered to some extent but the capacity was very limited. They worked for the limited use that was required but it was a lot of heavy scrap for a tiny and not very effective battery.

You will have a major job getting them to conduct at all. If you are a believer in desulphators then this is your chance, they do sometimes do d bit of good to sick batteries but I don't believe that remove sulphate, normally it is difficult to be sure that sulphate is the real cause of sickness, but these are sulphated and I doubt that any of the plate active material is still intact or capable of conducting to the grid. If a desulphator does what it claims then I will be amazed, despite the fun of playing with an interesting circuit I think it will get you nowhere.

Flux

XeonPony

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Re: rejuvenating old (old!) batteries
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2012, 04:05:47 PM »
Well one test is to wash em out with distilled water till clean and shiny, then fill them up and put a 4A charge on them and monitor them.  Hard sulphate will tend to disolve in pur distilled water better then electrolyte.

But 15 years!?!?! Have to be one hell of a battery to come back from that!
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