Homemade lead acid batteries

BjornMBjornM Registered Users Posts: 4
Has anyone made their own lead acid batteries, and can share some about their result on this? It's a toxic dirty process, but I'm planning to give it a try this year. The reason for this is that I want to find a way to constantly recycle my batteries when they fail, and I have the time and facilities to do it.

I will try the Plante process, where you start with sheets of lead and form them through many cycles of charging/discharging and reversing polarity. The batteries will not get anywhere near the capacity of factory made ones, but most likely they have a much longer life span. Perhaps in the order of a 1/4 capacity and 4 x lifespan. Can describe the manufacturing method here if anyone is interested.

With all the new battery technology coming, I think lead acid will soon be an obsolete technology, so there will be a big surplus of lead that can be found cheaply.
Off grid in a small cottage in western Sweden.

Comments

  • tabbycattabbycat Solar Expert Posts: 42 ✭✭
    Lead is toxic.
  • mcgivormcgivor Registered Users Posts: 1,358 ✭✭✭✭
    Yes lead is toxic, but with all relevant precautions, the hazards can be reduced to near zero, the closest I've personally come to recycling batteries is replacing plates with manufactured plates, during my apprenticeship, before the molded case battery technology, am I dating myself?  
      1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider 150 60 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 8×T105 GC 24V nominal 

  • oil pan 4oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 635 ✭✭✭✭
    I have open air smelter old car batteries for lead, it's a very nasty process.
    I don't recommend it.

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 1,619 ✭✭✭✭
    I thought my battery adventures were interesting.........

    I have thought that making batteries with a lower SG would lower output and increase longevity. Thoughts?

    When lead becomes cheap then battery prices crash and FLA batteries remain competitive. I would think. This is all bound to be good news for solar electric power. 

    We are talking about using an EMP on N Korea prior to a military strike. That may boost an increase in interest in a back up power supply. The problem is that EMP's may also take solar power installations. 
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 150 watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • oil pan 4oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 635 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 9 #6
    Ahhh yeah the worst case scenario for high altitude thermo nuclear sourced EMP will generate something like 6 to 7 mega watts per square meter for a few micro seconds. Everything is fried in the effective area. But the good news is the effected EMP over kill zone should only be around the size of roughly north and south Dakota.
    But the power grid coast to coast is going to be fried, even if smaller gadgets that were not connected to the power grid are all unharmed.

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 1,619 ✭✭✭✭
    oil pan 4 said:
    Ahhh yeah the worst case scenario for high altitude thermo nuclear sourced EMP will generate something like 6 to 7 mega watts per square meter for a few micro seconds. Everything is fried in the effective area. But the good news is the effected EMP over kill zone should only be around the size of roughly north and south Dakota.
    But the power grid coast to coast is going to be fried, even if smaller gadgets that were not connected to the power grid are all unharmed.
    Interesting....national power grid is toasted, I have read that. What about our solar set-ups? Are you saying that a big EMP would take out the electronics in an area the size of the Dakota's?

    I ground my equipment in five places.....not too sure it is realistic to do more. Wrapping stuff in aluminum foil may be prudent but it just feels weird as heck to me. 

    I think a foreign power is far more interested in taking out the national grid than BBB/Bill's Bed & Breakfast with AAA service.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 150 watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • oil pan 4oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 635 ✭✭✭✭
    At least the size of the dakotas, and because of earths magnetic field it wont be evenly distributed, directly under the blast may not be severely effected, also the areas  near the north and south may not be too seriously effected, the areas to the east and west of the detonation will feel the full effect. In the 6 to 7 megawatts per square meter induced area not just solar will be fried, every thing, cars, cell phones, calculators, planes, trains, automobiles. The only thing that might still work would be incandescent bulb flash lights.
    Further away east and west smaller gadgets, vehicles, anything not connected to the power grid should be fine. Large off grid solar arrays may still fry, just because of their surface area and the power grid for the same reason.

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 7,365 ✭✭✭✭
    for EMP, it's all about the length of the antenna that picks up the pulse.   Long wires = fried gear.  Big PV arrays are going to get zapped. Idle panels in your bunker, may live.  Panels undergound and not connected to anything metalic would live.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • oil pan 4oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 635 ✭✭✭✭
    Panels and anything in dark storage should be fine.
    When soviet union did a nuclear test there was a lot more going on then conversion of matter to energy, they tested all kinds of bunkers, 60s electronics, shielding. The US did too but the soviets had more of a bunker obsession.

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 4,915 ✭✭✭✭
    What about Farraday cages?  they should offer some negation of effects,  YES?
     
    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
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 1,619 ✭✭✭✭
    What about Farraday cages?  they should offer some negation of effects,  YES?
    No expert at all here though I find the subject a bit fascinating. I thought that was pretty much the idea behind Faraday cages. 

    I have thought I would keep stuff protected but found it to be a notorious hassle to worry too much about. 

    I have some foam insulation with aluminum foil on front and back. If I placed that overhead of my inverter/CC.....that would help a little bit I would think. 

    Guess it may be smart to toss back up laptops into a disconnected microwave. Two laptops started the death spiral just this wee. One blacks out, the other kind of grays out with squiggly lines. Like me, they are getting old. 
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 150 watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,980 admin
    A Faraday cage is "ideal" for preventing electro-magnetic energy from getting into the stored products. However, the doors/etc. need to be electrically "connected" too. If you do not connect the door to the rest of the cage, energy can get in through the "slot antenna" of the door and jam.

    Realistically, it depends on the frequency of the EM waves that are from the sun, lightning strike, EMP, whatever source, how far away it is, etc.

    For the most part, solar flares need "antenna" on the order of miles to 10's miles (or longer) plus or minus.

    Here is one discussion:

    http://forum.solar-electric.com/discussion/22934/emp-and-solar-system-protection/p1

    More or less, design your system with good rules--As in for protection against lightning strikes (more likely to happen for most folks, vs the beginnings of nuclear war--I hope and pray).

    If the source of the EMP is close--Then, higher frequency EM waves are possible and could affect something as small as your solar power system. However, if close, then you are looking at xray and gamma ray radiation--And would need hundreds of feet of earth to for the electronics to survive the radiation.

    Of course, your chances of surviving a nearby nuclear strike are not great either.

    If we have a CME (coronal mass ejection) or very large solar flare, more than likely the issues will be your utility power (lots of long wires to act like antenna) and communications cables (telephone, cable tv, etc) bringing that energy to your home. Again, wavelengths much longer than would affect the normal off grid power system for a home.

    The issues with CME, as I understand, is the very high current/voltages that can be generated by the long wires of utility lines--Which can take out some very big and expensive, and long lead time, regional power transformers--It generally takes a few years from order to installation for these babies (in good times). It is supposed to be reasonably "inexpensive" to protect these "national infrastructure" transformers and power systems--But so far, not a lot has been done (by governments or utilities).

    These concerns seem to run in cycles... We had a lot of these types of questions around 2011 (CME/EMP/etc.). I was just going through some of the threads to find some quick answers--And a few of those sites seem to have "expired" in the subsequent years (lack of interest, lack of money?).

    If we have some event (natural or man made) that takes out the electric grid of the US--Things are going to get very difficult now that most of our population is urban (something like 1% of the US population still is connected to farming). If (when?) all of the electrical infrastructure stops working for a few years or decade....

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 7,365 ✭✭✭✭
    A steel 55gal drum. with lid and rim clamp makes a pretty good Fariday cage.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • oil pan 4oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 635 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 11 #15
    Lightning is also an emp. It energizes the atmosphere for a few moments around the strike zone. It can cause damage with out a direct hit.
    Solar flare is typically 0.5v per km. So a real bad one the likes of which we have never seen could be maybe 4 or 5 volts per km.

    I have a few good tests to do to check effectiveness of a home made cage.

    If you can put a cell phone in there and it still has signal, probably not going to do anything. If you can't see inside your protective covering try putting a battery powered radio in there, if it gets signal when sealed, probably not going to do anything.

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

  • clockmanfranclockmanfran Registered Users Posts: 14 ✭✭
    BjornM said:
    Has anyone made their own lead acid batteries, and can share some about their result on this? It's a toxic dirty process, but I'm planning to give it a try this year. The reason for this is that I want to find a way to constantly recycle my batteries when they fail, and I have the time and facilities to do it.

    I will try the Plante process, where you start with sheets of lead and form them through many cycles of charging/discharging and reversing polarity. The batteries will not get anywhere near the capacity of factory made ones, but most likely they have a much longer life span. Perhaps in the order of a 1/4 capacity and 4 x lifespan. Can describe the manufacturing method here if anyone is interested.

    With all the new battery technology coming, I think lead acid will soon be an obsolete technology, so there will be a big surplus of lead that can be found cheaply.


    Yes I messed about replacing cells in GEL, (fibre glass soaked separators) some 10 years ago. And seriously looked into making my own lead acid. 

    The Plante process is probably the best for DIY builders.

    There are several How to books on the Plante process.

    In General polypropylene containers are readily available and can even be made fairly cheaper to your own specifications.

    Polypropylene woven material is also easily obtainable and can be used as socks for each plate and acting as a plate separator, as it was always the comb plate separator that I struggled with in the past.

    Its all about weight, and what is movable safetly. I went with a max of 60Kg, 132lbs, 2v cell, but my amperage was only half that of a commercial produced cell of the same size and weight. But on the other hand I can use/clean/resuse each cell pretty well for ever, and certainly outlast the commercial boys. 

    Its just the thought of doing 24 individual cells that can be daunting. 



    Everything is possible, just give me Time.

    The OzInverter man. Normandy France.

    3off Hugh P's 3.7m dia wind turbines, (9 years running).  ... 5kW PV on 3 Trackers, (5 years) .... 9kW PV AC coupled using Used/second hand GTI's, on my OzInverter created Grid, and back charging with the AC Coupling and OzInverter to my 48v 1300ah batteries. 

  • oil pan 4oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 635 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 12 #17
    Your amps were half of commercial cells?
    That's impressive.
    All the nay sayers who haven't done anything like that before like to claim you will get a small fraction of commercial batteries of the same size.

    Please tell us more.

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

  • BjornMBjornM Registered Users Posts: 4
    clockmanfran said:
    Yes I messed about replacing cells in GEL, (fibre glass soaked separators) some 10 years ago. And seriously looked into making my own lead acid. 

    The Plante process is probably the best for DIY builders.

    There are several How to books on the Plante process.

    In General polypropylene containers are readily available and can even be made fairly cheaper to your own specifications.

    Polypropylene woven material is also easily obtainable and can be used as socks for each plate and acting as a plate separator, as it was always the comb plate separator that I struggled with in the past.

    Its all about weight, and what is movable safetly. I went with a max of 60Kg, 132lbs, 2v cell, but my amperage was only half that of a commercial produced cell of the same size and weight. But on the other hand I can use/clean/resuse each cell pretty well for ever, and certainly outlast the commercial boys. 

    Its just the thought of doing 24 individual cells that can be daunting. 

    Thanks clockmanfran, interesting.

    I bought Phillip Hurley's book "The battery builder's guide", but found it to be poor. Lots of practical details about casting lead etc in there, but no real science. And it seems like the author didn't have much experience in building batteries, because there are no real plans in there, and no numbers for what to expect.

    And Googling around I've found nothing of real value, except a few simple tests, but no one who really put time and effort into anything.

    Do you have suggestions for better books or sources of information?

    I've found a good source of polypropylene felt, commonly used for ground cover. Will use it as a plate separator.

    But still many questions remain, such as the details of the Plante method (what current, how many times, etc), what thickness of plates is a good compromise, the surface of the plates (how to increase the area), etc.
    Off grid in a small cottage in western Sweden.
  • clockmanfranclockmanfran Registered Users Posts: 14 ✭✭

    oilpan4,

    I did not do any actual data tests, it was just my observations.

    I expected only a 1/3rd but got about 1/2, its the Plante process, the more you add oxide to the plates the better it gets. I wire brushed my appropriate plates.

    I think the reason for better amperage is those polypropylene socks, it means I can get more plates tight in the available space, without using some sort of physical comb separator.

    There are many variables, sock leaching particles, plate wire brushing direction or random, weight of each plate, type of holding for each plate etc etc. So a heck of a lot of experimenting required. 

    One day, when I get time, I might do a 'How to Make a Lead Acid Battery' to join my collection of 'How to Do' books.

    Heres my OzInverter book, all my books are real practical books with lots of Photos .......... 

     http://www.echorenovate.com/the-ozinverter.php     ..... and ....

     ........ http://www.echorenovate.com/new-book--make-a-6kw-inverter.php


    Everything is possible, just give me Time.

    The OzInverter man. Normandy France.

    3off Hugh P's 3.7m dia wind turbines, (9 years running).  ... 5kW PV on 3 Trackers, (5 years) .... 9kW PV AC coupled using Used/second hand GTI's, on my OzInverter created Grid, and back charging with the AC Coupling and OzInverter to my 48v 1300ah batteries. 

  • clockmanfranclockmanfran Registered Users Posts: 14 ✭✭

    BjornM 

    yes , I have Phillip Hurley's book "The battery builder's guide".

    He actually did that small Plante lead acid battery, so at least he tried. He does give actual amperage output, which is what I used to calculate what I could get, and his figures seem approximately correct.

    So the information in his book is sparse but its there.

    Next time my 48v 1300ah battery bank needs replacing, I will serious do a Plante cell.

    However at present I have found a cost effective solution that suits me.     I am using commercially available 12v 110 amp, SLA, 30kgs/66lbs, so called Ultra Deep Cycle Marine, another term is Golf cart buggy batteries. These I can obtain New at $75 each.   48 batteries at $3600.

    I have had 12, 3 strings, of these on test with my battery bank for the past 6 years, and they have behaved very well, so early this year I replaced all my old GEL's. Got a good deal payback at the scrap/ recycling yard/depot.

    Its getting the weight, amperage, voltage, reliability etc, all at the best Cost effective Solution. 

     

    Everything is possible, just give me Time.

    The OzInverter man. Normandy France.

    3off Hugh P's 3.7m dia wind turbines, (9 years running).  ... 5kW PV on 3 Trackers, (5 years) .... 9kW PV AC coupled using Used/second hand GTI's, on my OzInverter created Grid, and back charging with the AC Coupling and OzInverter to my 48v 1300ah batteries. 

  • BjornMBjornM Registered Users Posts: 4

    Clockmanfran:

    What I would like to have seen in Phillip Hurley's book was at least one building project, with dimensions of all items, and the resulting amp-hours he got from this build, how well it lasted over time, etc. The reason he doesn't present this makes me suspect that none of his own battery experiments were really successful.

    $75 each for a new deep cycle 110 Ah battery, that's a steal. They cost more than twice that around here.

    Do you have any specs on your inverters? THD, efficiency at various loads, idle current, etc.


    Off grid in a small cottage in western Sweden.
  • clockmanfranclockmanfran Registered Users Posts: 14 ✭✭
    edited January 12 #22

    As you say, Phillip Hurley's details are poor, but its possible to scale from his photos.

    If I recall/remember he is the only guy that I have seen with the DIY Plante Process. But at that size of battery all the time taken etc the output amperage is not good for the investment.

    But at least he did it!

    OzInverter, at idle for the real 6kW, (and I mean it runs all day at 6kW if your batteries can. And takes AC coupling and DC coupling), idle is about 30 to 40 watts.

    It depends on the inductance choke and how you wind the toroid for the Teslas figure. Its a compromise between low Teslas of around 1.00 to a 1.50.    More turns on the toroid elevates, but then copper losses and getting the windings in become a hassel.

    But in general it pretty well shows the commercial guys a clean set of heels. Sorry its an English term of speech, ie, Its better than the commercially manufactured Inverters.

    Its all in the posts, somewhere.



    Everything is possible, just give me Time.

    The OzInverter man. Normandy France.

    3off Hugh P's 3.7m dia wind turbines, (9 years running).  ... 5kW PV on 3 Trackers, (5 years) .... 9kW PV AC coupled using Used/second hand GTI's, on my OzInverter created Grid, and back charging with the AC Coupling and OzInverter to my 48v 1300ah batteries. 

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