Desulphators: Do they really work?

ILFEILFE Solar Expert Posts: 355 ✭✭
I see mixed reviews and information about these things. Also, I watch quite a number of videos regarding solar and other alternative energy ideas. It seems as though a number of "YouTubers" swear by these things, as though they are the "cat's meow". So, what say ye NAW&S forumites? Good stuff? Or, total rubbish?
Paul

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?

    Search for previous discussions on the forum.

    The short answer is "no, they don't".
    The long answer is there's no reason why they would, and that the varying frequency pulse of Voltage regulation found in most solar charge controllers does exactly the same thing they claim to do. Nor is there any evidence that they are better at desulphating than standard charging practices. All of the "proof for" is anecdotal because it would be nearly impossible to set up a scientific test to determine their efficacy.
  • ILFEILFE Solar Expert Posts: 355 ✭✭
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?

    Personally, I lean more toward the "rubbish" side of the argument, as well. It just seems like nothing more than a lot of hype, trying to sell snake oil rheumatism medicine, which is nothing more than cheap made whisky.

    My apologies if I offended anyone who appreciates cheap made whisky.
    Paul
  • gww1gww1 Solar Expert Posts: 963
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?

    ilfe
    Its a good thing you appologized, cause I can be a hater.
    Cheers
    gww
  • ILFEILFE Solar Expert Posts: 355 ✭✭
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?

    It was an afterthought. But, knowing this crowd - I was bound to offend at least 80% or so.
    Paul
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?

    Seriously, opinions on so-called desulphators tend to be like a religion. There's no scientific proof they work, but there are some very strong believers who will fight to the death in defense of their beliefs. My last set of batteries lasted 11 years with proper charging. Would a desulphator have extended their lives beyond that? Who knows, but I doubt it. They didn't die of sulphation, they were warn out, the active material warn away.
    Hint: Never argue with anyone's strongly held beliefs. :D
  • ILFEILFE Solar Expert Posts: 355 ✭✭
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?

    That's what I figured, Wayne.

    My bs-o-meter went off the scale every time I viewed a video where someone had installed one of them there newfangled gadgets.

    Well, I reckon, if they believe those things work, more power to 'em.

    I wish people would start actually doing real time testing on things they add to their systems, prior to trying to sell them to their viewers as proper working pieces of hardware.
    Paul
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,203 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?
    ILFE wrote: »
    I wish people would start actually doing real time testing on things they add to their systems, prior to trying to sell them to their viewers as proper working pieces of hardware.

    Okay, I'm not as believer, but more of 'it can't hurt', would have just ignored the argument, until this statement. FWIW - our(U.S.) military has used the solar powered ones, primarily for maintaining vehicles used sparingly and left parked for long periods of time. I have had a couple that run off a small solar panel, and don't feel they hurt anything. I haven't hooked it back up since I moved, but likely will at some point, but the battery is 4x the size and likely to do little, if it ever did any thing...

    Of course our military using them might well be an argument against their use...lol
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, ForkLift battery. Off grid for @13 of last 14 years. 1000 watts being added to current CC, @2700 watts to be added with an additional CC.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,769 admin
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?

    There is a known "it can hurt" post here... Basically there is a poster that had some Outback MPPT charge controller with desulfators connected.

    There is one issue that has been seen on at least a couple Outback F family MPPT charge controllers (owned by one person).

    One at least one system, it turned out the "electrical noise" caused by the desulfator owned by the poster was enough to "confuse" the charge controllers and dramatically reduce their output (perhaps in the ~20% range or more--no firm numbers). A couple days of running with the desuflator turned off dramatically improved the charging current/profiles of both an FM and MX charge controller (as I recall).

    From late 2010:
    PhilS wrote: »
    I pulled the fuses on both Desulfators to 'turn them off', weekend before last.

    As I mentioned above, when I put a new FM60 onto a 1020 watt bank (48V? three pairs of Mitsubishi MF170) that did have an MX60, I got consistently less output than the MX had given on that bank . I had moved the MX to a new set of panels with 780 watts (54V, I think, 3 Sun HS130 panels in a string, two strings). I did this to put the better cooling fan on the bigger solar bank since I'm pushing the limits for a 12V battery bank. (OK, Bill, "exceeding" the limits" :roll: )

    I posted at the Outback forum, and Outback contacted me after reading my post. She asked if I had a Xantrex inverter (yes, SW2512MC) and she mentioned there were conflicts with the earlier Revs and some Xantrex inverters. Because I had an earlier Rev than the 2.0, Outback shipped me a new one with the Rev 2.0.

    The problem was better but not perfect. Randomly, the MX would outperform the FM. Also randomly, at the end of the day, the total KWH from the MX would be more than the FM. All panels together in a line, ground mount, no shading or other things that should cause that. Some days the FM did better and some the MX did better. I just accepted it because... I felt I had to.

    Since deactivating the Desulfators, the FM always has more KWH at the end of the day.

    Watching them occasionally this last weekend, the FM always outperformed the MX. And it seemed that both did much better (no measurements, just years of experience looking at the readings... it was like both the FM and MX had slurped down a Red Bull!). At the peak of the day, the FM was cutting off at 60 - 61 amps, as it's s'posed to but I haven't seen that since the FM was installed. The MX was hitting 58 amps, which it never did on this new set of panels. (It didn't seem to make any difference on my 3rd MX60 tied to 780 watts of panels but at 12V.)

    So my unscientific conclusion is that the two DeSulfators DID interfere with the Outback controllers. They will remain "off" and THANK YOU WisJim for asking the question!!

    Phil


    It appears that the electrical noise fed back into the controllers and confused the electronics.

    So--It would not hurt to check your energy harvest/operation of other electronics with Desulf's on and off and see if you can see any differences.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?

    my 2 cents-don't bother with desulfators.
  • ILFEILFE Solar Expert Posts: 355 ✭✭
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?
    Photowhit wrote: »
    Of course our military using them might well be an argument against their use...lol

    Yep. There went your entire story, down the drain - along with some of those $4,000 USD hammers. :D
    Paul
  • Chuck46Chuck46 Solar Expert Posts: 95
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?

    isn't that what an eq charge is for?

    Chuck
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,121 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?
    Chuck46 wrote: »
    isn't that what an eq charge is for?

    Chuck
    Ah EQ charge is primarily for getting all of cells in the battery string up to 100% charge even when one or more of them have somehow gotten to a lower starting SOC than the others. Or dealing with some cells that for some reason have lower Coulombic efficiency than the others. It forces current to flow through even the cells that are at 100% SOC so that the remaining cells can charge.
    It is stressful to the plates and causes the batteries to heat up.
    It is not intended to remove hard sulphate crystals, although for sulfation that is not very thick or fully hardened it might incidentally help.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?

    Proper and timely recharging prevents sulfation problems.
  • CDN_VTCDN_VT Solar Expert Posts: 491 ✭✭✭
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?

    My last post on this thread went poof .
    Moved it to a newer post
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,769 admin
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?

    Timeout is set for 90 minutes...

    What I find is that if I have a thread open, and come back ~90+ minutes later--I can hit "reply to thread" and make my post--Then push the post button and get the timeout.

    I hit the Back button, copy my post, then go to the top of the page and hit the link for the page to fetch the page again:

    Thread: Desulphators: Do they really work?

    Then I can do the post with the paste function. I found that ^R (reloading) the page does not refresh the cookie timeout.

    Also, I usually can use the Restore Post (bottom left of edit window) to get most of my post back. If you cannot see the restore post button, hit the "go advanced" button and look again--I can almost always restore my post from the "go advanced" screen.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • gww1gww1 Solar Expert Posts: 963
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?

    Bill
    Great ideal. I am going to start Highlighting and copying then pasting all my post. I haven't had many issues here but last night every time I tried to post a different site made me log on again and the post was lost. I gave up after two.
    gww
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 4,828 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?

    Bill, the last Time out I had was about after 15 minutes...??? a few days ago IIRC
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge, Hughes1100 Sat Modem
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,769 admin
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?

    I double checked before I made the last post--And it is 90 minutes (5,400 seconds).

    The only time I have problems (that I remember anyway), is if I have the thread open (reading or in middle of writing a post), and come back 90+ minutes later and hit Reply to the thread--It lets me do everything (edit and stuff), until I try to actually Post--Then it gives me the timeout error. I can usually hit Back and copy the post into my paste buffer.

    And "reloading" (^R) will not refresh the cookie... I have to click a link to "go back" to the page (Thread: thread title link) to get a new set of cookies.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CDN_VTCDN_VT Solar Expert Posts: 491 ✭✭✭
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?
    BB. wrote: »
    Timeout is set for 90 minutes...

    What I find is that if I have a thread open, and come back ~90+ minutes later--I can hit "reply to thread" and make my post--Then push the post button and get the timeout.

    I hit the Back button, copy my post, then go to the top of the page and hit the link for the page to fetch the page again:

    Thread: Desulphators: Do they really work?

    Then I can do the post with the paste function. I found that ^R (reloading) the page does not refresh the cookie timeout.

    Also, I usually can use the Restore Post (bottom left of edit window) to get most of my post back. If you cannot see the restore post button, hit the "go advanced" button and look again--I can almost always restore my post from the "go advanced" screen.

    -Bill

    I don't allow 3rd party cookies , way too much carp out there & my finger cotts only allow less transfer, on the surfing HD unit (here) My Buying & banking HD unit for the Panasonic tuffbook has a full Ebola condom affair system .My petrodollar employer has me working on the confusers daily , checking around this 3 rock & running Diagnostic stuff.

    JFYI

    VT
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,769 admin
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?
    CDN_VT wrote: »
    I don't allow 3rd party cookies , way too much carp out there & my finger cotts only allow less transfer, on the surfing HD unit (here) My Buying & banking HD unit for the Panasonic tuffbook has a full Ebola condom affair system .My petrodollar employer has me working on the confusers daily , checking around this 3 rock & running Diagnostic stuff.

    JFYI

    VT
    I don't allow 3rd party cookies either--These are cookies directly from the forum.solar-electric.com host.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?

    every time i ever hit the back button it started clean with nothing of my reply left.
  • PNjunctionPNjunction Solar Expert Posts: 762 ✭✭✭
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?
    The long answer is there's no reason why they would, and that the varying frequency pulse of Voltage regulation found in most solar charge controllers does exactly the same thing they claim to do. Nor is there any evidence that they are better at desulphating than standard charging practices. All of the "proof for" is anecdotal because it would be nearly impossible to set up a scientific test to determine their efficacy.

    About the only one I give any creedence to are the chargers from Battery-Minder. I have not tried their solar charge controller. Instead of high-voltage pulses, they use another method of about 3.5 mhz of rf I believe - I'd have to check again.

    The only reason I used them on my well-maintained batteries was for their very specific voltages, temperature compensation, and open documents with nothing to hide, AND they even provide a testing procedure you can use yourself, including SG readings and charts. I also like them because they readily tell the user to stop wasting time when a positive result isn't achieved - much to the chagrin of those trying to revived batteries not worth reviving in the first place.

    Here is the testing procedure: perhaps some of you flooded battery fans can see if this sounds reasonable:

    http://www.batteryminders.com/testing-your-battery-for-sulfation/

    The other charger that I favor is from Tecmate-Optimate for both lead and lifepo4. I actually have three of them now for different purposes. Of all the smaller maintainer / chargers that I use, only Battery-Minder and Tecmate-Optimates are what I keep around. The rest of the bunch just got recycled as they paled in comparison to what these do.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?

    As far as AC powered chargers go, regulating Voltage by Pulse Width Modulation is the same thing solar charge controllers do. So there's no functional difference.

    As far as keeping a battery charged by a maintenance charger, this will prevent excessive sulphation no matter what kind of charger it is.

    As far as testing done by the company hoping to sell you a desulphator is concerned ...
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?

    using frequencies that are higher will also not make a difference.
  • GrinninGrinnin Solar Expert Posts: 39
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?

    Interesting to read this thread.

    One local installer (company owner) insists that desulphators are absolutely required for any reasonable battery life. He is very vocal about his expertise and how long he's been NABCEP certified. He DOES seem to know his stuff. I had a place in media where solar installers wanted to spend time talking to me. I was able to compare systems installed by different companies in the area and I believe his systems perform well and have high customer satisfaction in the area.

    But I never decided that the desulphator was as necessary as he said.

    It's a bit odd to have someone with good technical skills believe in something like this.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?
    Grinnin wrote: »

    It's a bit odd to have someone with good technical skills believe in something like this.

    Perhaps he "believes" in it and perhaps he does not, hard to say. Ever take the time to listen to SOME of those infamous Television Evangelists and what they preach in order to get their hands on your money? And before someone goes off the deep end, my comment was most definitely NOT anti-Christian, rather it IS anti-shyster.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,769 admin
    Re: Desulphators: Do they really work?

    Best we can do on the forum... Some folks say it works and here is their reasoning/evidence--And other folks say it does not work and here is their reasoning/evidence.

    It is left to the reader to ask more questions/make their own decisions and supply their results (unfortunately, will be many years down the road to know for sure with Desulfators).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
This discussion has been closed.