Battery acid or distiller water?

Hey guys I'm needing to top up my rolls s600 batteries and I was trying to figure out what kind of liquid I can use.

Comments

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,351 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?

    As long as you do not have acid rain, I would use rainwater. Run it thru a water filter if you think solids have got into your rain.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,997 admin
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?

    Do not refill with battery acid. Only distilled or clean rain water.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • bryanlbryanl Solar Expert Posts: 175 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?

    don't depend upon rain water being that clean.

    The idea of running it through a filter to remove the particulates is a clue to the fact that rain collects quite a bit of stuff on its journey through the atmosphere.

    It would be best to use a known entity like distilled water rather than gamble on rain water. If need be, set up a solar still - not that hard and not that expensive.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,351 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?
    bryanl wrote: »
    don't depend upon rain water being that clean.

    The idea of running it through a filter to remove the particulates is a clue to the fact that rain collects quite a bit of stuff on its journey through the atmosphere.

    It would be best to use a known entity like distilled water rather than gamble on rain water. If need be, set up a solar still - not that hard and not that expensive.

    I stopped depending on what was or was not put in distilled water decades ago and have never had battery problems with rainwater, never! And that also goes for alot of people who rely on this opinion. If you are downwind of a coal burning plant or have known contaminants then you have to distill, and I would do this over buying that stuff that says distilled on it at the Bootjack market...Cost has nothing to do with this, it has to be right offgrid!

    Just a humble opinion!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • bryanlbryanl Solar Expert Posts: 175 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?

    re: "what was or was not put in distilled water decades ago" -- oh, gheesh! sorry to have caused such offense

    Distilled water, by definition, has nothing put into it.

    Rainwater is another matter, from the nucleus of dust that precipitates the drop to whatever it encountered on its way down.

    But it is indeed true that batteries will work with minor levels of pollutants in their electrolyte solution. Some folks do quite well with their tap water in some places, I hear.

    What you can get away with is one thing. What you suggest for others is another.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,997 admin
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?

    Rain water can end up being variable in quality... If it is the first rain of the season, then you have the pollution in the air and the dirt/dust on the roof and the water quality would probably be poor.

    From this thread, you can get an inexpensive TDS (total dissolved solids) Meter (measures water resistance?) and if it reads below 50 PPM it is "should be" OK.

    Here is a thread on the subject.
    In researching for another post/question, ran across this detailed chart of what PPM levels are problems for various contaminants (page 11 in the English guide) from the Trojan Literature Page:

    Trojan Battery User's Guide (English)
    Trojan Battery User's Guide (Spanish)

    Problem is that some minerals even below 2 PPM can be harmful to battery life... Without a chemical analysis--you don't know what is in your water.

    For example if you have a corrugated iron roof--it probably has zinc galvanizing--Zinc needs to be below 4 PPM or you will get slightly more self discharge.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?
    bryanl wrote: »
    re: "what was or was not put in distilled water decades ago" -- oh, gheesh! sorry to have caused such offense

    Distilled water, by definition, has nothing put into it.

    Rainwater is another matter, from the nucleus of dust that precipitates the drop to whatever it encountered on its way down.

    But it is indeed true that batteries will work with minor levels of pollutants in their electrolyte solution. Some folks do quite well with their tap water in some places, I hear.

    What you can get away with is one thing. What you suggest for others is another.

    Agree. These are expensive, high end batteries. I surely wouldn't gamble with them for the sake of a couple of dollars. Some people do indeed get away with a lot of things for a long time, but I won't knowingly risk trouble if there's a known better way.
    Furthermore, it's unfortunate that there seem to be a few hotheads on this form with a my-way-or-the-highway attitude. I used to be very active on this form, but got fed up with such attitudes and personal insults from that few, and walked away. Finally I came back, only to find the same thing. Only the names have changed. Would be wonderful if we could all park our super-ego at the door when we enter this form of discussion and exchange of ideas. And it would be equally wonderful if we could stick to facts wherever possible, and leave the conspiracy theories parked at the door with our egos.
    Peace.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,351 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?

    A point I was trying to make is that a bottle labeled distilled water may not be distilled and at least with rainwater you are getting a known source! The OP is in Haiti and who knows what is being labeled and marked distilled.

    I have only used Surrette batteries with rainwater that I drink. Some common sense is required.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • bryanlbryanl Solar Expert Posts: 175 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?

    re: "that a bottle labeled distilled water may not be distilled" - consumer fraud is its own issue. Using it to rationalize a viewpoint in this context is a logical fallacy with its attendant problems.

    re: "it's unfortunate that there seem to be a few hotheads on this form with a my-way-or-the-highway attitude" -- This is due, in part, to the nature of the medium. It has been a topic of study for a long long time (going back to usenet days, even).

    The thing for all of us to do is to realize the difficulties and do what we can to avoid making them worse. That means being aware of our own feelings, that our perceptions of what we read may not be completely accurate, and trying to adhere to established guidelines for etiquette (see, for instance, RFC 1855) - and it means exercising tolerance and patience regardless of the pain ;-)
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,351 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?
    bryanl wrote: »
    re: "that a bottle labeled distilled water may not be distilled" - consumer fraud is its own issue. Using it to rationalize a viewpoint in this context is a logical fallacy with its attendant problems.

    re: "it's unfortunate that there seem to be a few hotheads on this form with a my-way-or-the-highway attitude" -- This is due, in part, to the nature of the medium. It has been a topic of study for a long long time (going back to usenet days, even).

    The thing for all of us to do is to realize the difficulties and do what we can to avoid making them worse. That means being aware of our own feelings, that our perceptions of what we read may not be completely accurate, and trying to adhere to established guidelines for etiquette (see, for instance, RFC 1855) - and it means exercising tolerance and patience regardless of the pain ;-)

    Bryan, it may be "logical fallacy" and I can see how you say that, but it is also from practical experience and a battery failure that was traced to the distilled water. Surrette actually took samples and determined that their product was damage from the distilled water. The client said they bought all the water at Safeway groccery store.

    If I was in Haiti and I have been, (wall to wall blue Caribbean paradise) I would find a decent way to collect rainwater and that is what I would do. I would tell the OP there are alot more important issues with making a battery last decades than
    using clean rainwater for maintenance.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • KeithWHareKeithWHare Solar Expert Posts: 140 ✭✭✭
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?
    If I was in Haiti and I have been, (wall to wall blue Caribbean paradise) I would find a decent way to collect rainwater and that is what I would do. I would tell the OP there are alot more important issues with making a battery last decades than
    using clean rainwater for maintenance.


    In the Port au Prince area, I've seen gallon jugs that were explicitly labeled as "Battery Water". I had no way to test them and so could only hope for the best.

    Sounds like the options are:
    • Distilled or battery water
    • Rain water, maybe collected towards the end of a rain storm so the roof has been washed
    • Some sort of solar still

    In any case, replenishing batteries with battery acid should be avoided.

    Keith
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,997 admin
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?

    Sounds like being a bit paranoid about water purity (from any source) may be a good idea if you have an expensive set of batteries.

    Placed "TDS (total dissolved solids) Meter" into Google and came up with $25-$125+++ TDS meters.

    Another tool. Yippee! ;)

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,351 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?
    BB. wrote: »
    Sounds like being a bit paranoid about water purity (from any source) may be a good idea if you have an expensive set of batteries.

    Placed "TDS (total dissolved solids) Meter" into Google and came up with $25-$125+++ TDS meters.

    Another tool. Yippee! ;)

    -Bill

    Thanks Bill!
    Another tool in the mancave! There can never be to many, thank you!

    I still am regretting posting," there are different skill sets in those who do and those who write about it" BTW. That is offset by what happens when a solar only car goes into the tunnel from Marin into SF. Was it a nice year for the 50+ years
    of the Candlestick?
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,997 admin
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?

    I will be the first to admit that I post about off-grid systems, but I don't have one and have never installed / worked on one.:blush:

    But--I really do enjoy, and learn, from everyone who posts here--Probably learn more from the mistakes rather than the successes--Like life.;)

    If I get too far out in left field--please feel free to call me back (as you have already done a couple of times Dave).

    Open source consulting. :D

    So learn from this one
    :
    A three-alarm fire that damaged a San Carlos warehouse containing memorabilia belonging to rocker Neil Young started in a vintage car that he had converted into a hybrid vehicle, authorities said today.

    An investigation determined that the fire started in a 1959 Lincoln Continental and spread to the warehouse. Young had outfitted the car with electric batteries and a biodiesel-powered generator as part of his company called LincVolt.
    ...
    "We are still investigating the exact cause, although it appears to be an operator error that occurred in an untested part of the charging system," Young said. "We do know that the car has been operating perfectly for almost 2,000 miles and the system in question would not be in use while driving the car. We are investigating the components involved with plug-in charging."
    Feel really bad for Mr. Young--These battery power systems have lots of ways things can go wrong. And even the guys with experience can make mistakes (apparently--who knows from reading news reports what really happened).

    -Bill :cry:
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?

    A side note here; what some people buy thinking it's distilled water is actually "purified" water from the store. Id est drinking water. If you ever tried drinking distilled water you'd know; it has no taste! It is the ultimate in "bleah"! :p Drinking water, on the other hand, tends to have a trace amount of calcium in it - making it ever-so-slightly alkaline. Gosh, what would the long-term effects of adding alkaline drinking water to the sulphuric acid solution in your batteries be? Can anybody guess? If you answered "dead batteries" you're right! Nothing like slowly neutralizing a battery to death for entertainment, eh? :p

    Rainwater, on the other hand, tends towards acid. Never mind the alarms about "acid rain". The only concern with using rainwater in batteries is the contamination that can occur in collection. Filtering will usually remove most of it, just as Dave said. I've collected and used rainwater in batteries for decades; no problem. At the lake I run lake water (really amazingly clean lake water) through a ceramic filter which pulls out 99% of anything in there, including cysts and dissolved solids. Works fine.

    And let's just mention here for anybody who doesn't know that batteries will not work with pure water in them. It has to be "contaminated" to be electrolyte. In the case of the lead acid type the "contamination" is sulphuric acid. You could also use ascorbic acid, for instance. In fact you probably did in science class all those years ago when you made that battery out of a lemon. :D
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?
    .......in science class all those years ago when you made that battery out of a lemon. :D


    nowadays, because of safety issues ("battery acid" in eyes), science class uses a potato, which has to be too small to fit a spud gun.
    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 ,

  • notsobrightnotsobright Solar Expert Posts: 247 ✭✭
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?
    BB. wrote: »
    I really do enjoy, and learn, from everyone who posts here--Probably learn more from the mistakes rather than the successes--Like life.;)

    we all learn from mistakes but it is alot easier to learn from others mistakes! and the best way to learn IMO

    the ones that render you unconscious or worse can only be learned from others..


    I like the taste of distilled water but Ive been told its not good to drink because it absorbs beneficial minerals as it goes though your system.

    I have a related question: some FLA batteries are shipped dry and you pour in the acid when you get them. Ive allways used 100% acid, is this correct or should I be diluting it?

    thanks
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?
    .......... I have a related question: some FLA batteries are shipped dry and you pour in the acid when you get them. Ive allways used 100% acid, is this correct or should I be diluting it?


    I always thought they shipped with a baggie of acid for each battery. I think standard mix is only about 30% acid. 100% acid would really eat stuff up.
    There is a spec for that somewhere....
    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 ,

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,997 admin
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?

    Different battery manufacturers and different applications can have different specific gravity--So you probably need to read the package the electrolyte (water+acid mixture) came in and the battery instructions for the correct filling procedure if it was not a battery+electrolyte set (guessing).

    Regarding drinking distilled water--not bad for your health--but some hard water sources may actually be good for you:
    The drinking of distilled water has been both advocated and discouraged for health reasons. The lack of naturally-occurring minerals in distilled water has raised some concerns. The Journal of General Internal Medicine[10] published a study on the mineral contents of different waters available in the US. The study concluded
    Drinking water sources available to North Americans may contain high levels of Ca2+, Mg2+, and Na+ and may provide clinically important portions of the recommended dietary intake of these minerals. Physicians should encourage patients to check the mineral content of their drinking water, whether tap or bottled, and choose water most appropriate for their needs.
    It is often observed that consumption of "hard" water, or water that has some minerals, is associated with beneficial cardiovascular effects. As noted in the American Journal of Epidemiology, consumption of hard drinking water is negatively correlated with atherosclerotic heart disease.[11] Since distilled water is free of minerals, it will not have these potential benefits.

    While a growing number of people prefer fluoride-free water for health reasons, others still suggest that—because distilled water lacks fluoride ions that are added by many governments (e.g. municipalities in the United States) at water treatment plants using fluoridation for its inhibition of cavity formation—the drinking of distilled water may increase the risk of tooth decay due to a lack of this element.[12] Of course fluoride can still be applied to the teeth alone with toothpaste and fluoride therapy.[13]
    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • notsobrightnotsobright Solar Expert Posts: 247 ✭✭
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?

    usually they do ship a container of fluid but this last one I got mail order for a motorbike wasnt.

    I added 100% acid and its been holding up well for 4 or 5 months now but soon it will be spending more time in the garage than not. think I should drain and refill it with a mixture?

    EDIT:
    its a cheapo 6v that is hard to find so I had to mail order it but I didnt keep any records on it so I'll probably just get another one.


    I avoid Flouride if I can. Id rather drink cow piss personally but sadly the flouride is so widespread it can even be found in the waterways thesedays. Ive read elsewhere that Flouride is the main (active) ingrediant in Prozac thats used for anger management patients. I had a coworker that was prescribed the stuf and went from highly confrontational to docile overnight.

    Hey it might actually be useful in a FLA battery to prevent cavities! then again, it certainly didnt work for my teeth when I was a kid.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,997 admin
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?

    I guess it is possible, but I doubt you filled with pure sulfuric acid with S.G. of 1.84
    PHYSICAL STATE Colorless (pure) to dark brown, oily, dense liquid with acrid odor.
    MELTING POINT 10.3 C (100%), -32 C (93%), -38 C (78%), -64 C (65%)

    It freezes at 10C (50F). And I would guess that it would damage the heck out of the battery and probably the battery would not function correctly (Sulfuric Acid is a "weak acid" if not mixed with water).

    If you did put pure sulfuric acid in the battery, it is probably junk.

    Also, be very careful with pure sulfuric acid--Besides the obvious problems of eating holes through you and catching stuff on fire--If you pour water into pure sulfuric acid it will boil and possibly blow acid all over you and the area.

    Always pour pure Sulfuric acid into water--not the other way around.

    What you probably have is some sort of electrolyte mix (water and sulfuric acid with specific gravity around 1.265) that is either close enough or exactly what is needed for your battery. And everything is fine.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • PhilSPhilS Solar Expert Posts: 370 ✭✭✭
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?

    I worked at an auto parts store (the REAL kind, not one of the chains). We sold battery acid by the box, with at least three different sizes.

    It is "pre-diluted" to the strength required by FLA, no further dilution necessary or desired.

    IMEO (add 'experienced' there) DO NOT use battery acid to top off your batteries. I did that experiment on a set of batteries and either it didn't help at all OR it caused them to fail sooner. The more I added acid, the sooner the battery would require more fluid.

    My reasoning for the experiment was: if it was better to use acid to top off batteries, NO ONE would recommend that because of the dangers involved. So, knowing where I could buy it cheaply in 5 gallon boxes, I tried it for two years.

    Totally a pain to do and now personally verified that, at the least, it didn't help.

    I DID buy one of those filler bottles (like service stations used when there WAS such a thing) and now I top off with distilled water using it, MUCH easier than my old method of using a plastic measuring cup.

    I haven't mentioned my "experiment" before because of the embarrassment factor but I thought it'd be appropriate in this thread.

    Phil
  • PolychrestPolychrest Registered Users Posts: 17 ✭✭
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?

    A big chain retailer in Canada--Canadian Tire, AKA Crappy Tire to aficionados--sells jugs of "deionized" water for use in topping up automotive batteries. What's the difference between deionized and distilled water? Is deionized water OK for topping up deep-cycle solar system batteries?

    On a side note: I used filtered lake water to top up my first set of six-volt golf cart batteries on my original system. They lasted seven years before starting to lose it.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?

    Good ol' Cambodian Tire! "I'll start with you - and then I'll go someplace where I can get the same thing for less." Do you know why they sell so many Motomaster batteries? Because they're open on Sundays. :p

    Yes, there's lots of CT jokes up here. It's cold and snowy and we have nothing else to do. :p

    No reason you can't use "deionized" water for any type of FLA battery. It's not necessarily as "pure" as distilled water (merely neutral pH) but as others have pointed out "distilled" ain't necessarily so either.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?

    Don't be knocking CT! Where else would Timmy Ho-ho's graduates go to work? Besides CT money makes a great ruse if you ever get held up in the third world. I knew of a guy who used to keep a stack of CT money in his wallet so when he got robbed, he would hand over this big whack of CT money and the bandits had no idea what they got. (Inside jokes to those that aren't Canadian)!

    The advantage of CT in small town Canada is that you can walk in the door, and come out with almost everything for a project from under one roof. Problems of course is finding the "experts" to tell you where the stuff is! Most employees have no idea what a 1/2" street elbow is, much less where to find it. Reminds me of the time I needed some blakc iron pipe threaded in Home Depot. The sent the "plumbing guy" to do it. He had not a clue. I ended up doing it myself. By the time I was done, a dozen other customers had come up to me to ask where the so and so was. I actually knew what most of it was, and indeed where it was!

    PS De-ionized or distilled is fine. I would shy away from lake water, but if it worked for 7 years there is little arguing with success.
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 1,000 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Battery acid or distiller water?

    Tony,
    You've reminded me of an episode of Sienfeld. Kramer getting fired from a job, but he wasn't an employee.

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=443557044452&set=a.113779464452.97471.9023924452

    If I was in Home Depot I'd look for you too!

    Ralph
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