Lead-Acid Battery Treatment
Email form Craig Carmichael:
I've been experimenting with adding sodium sulfate salt to extend the life of lead-acid batteries for a few months now, and to restore "worn out" batteries. It seems battery life is probably extended by 3 to 5 times. I've worked out how much to add, and have a page of instructions on the web (which now needs updating):
(I have it packaged in little kits for sale, but you can also probably find sodium sulfate locally if you're not in Victoria BC.)
- For new(ish) batteries, just add the sodium sulfate. - For renewing a supposedly "worn out" battery, dump the acid and crud and refill with distilled water with the salt dissolved in it. Then it needs to be cycled - charged and discharged - a number of times to finish the restoration.
I was having a hard time understanding why one would dump out the acid. I finally figured it out: For electrochemical reasons, if you put in straight sulfate salt, the sodium ions will pull sulfate off the sulfated electrode plates until the pH drops to 1 (acid). This desulfates the plates, and it gets them a little better each time the charge is low.
I note that the battery companies are starting to sell a lot of "sealed" batteries with the tops glued on. It's easy to drill 1/2" holes in the "fixed" side of the top to gain access (fill using a small funnel), and plug them firmly with rubber stoppers like #00 test tube stoppers. (Wear eye protection - "blindness is forever", and I actually met a blinded chem. prof. last year - I didn't ask what from.)
There's a few good stories about this in my recent newsletters: http://www.TurquoiseEnergy.com/TENewslettersIndex.html
Long life lead-acid batteries are of course much better for electric transport (and even for your gas car's battery) than short lived ones.