Battery Additives?

BilljustBillBilljustBill Solar Expert Posts: 219 ✭✭✭
I've seen some additive products that say they help batteries.

What do they do?

Bill
Bill

Comments

  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 3,185 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Battery Additives?

    Bill,

    I've never used any of these. And primarily the main thing thay they do is to separate the buyer from some cash.

    Here is what Surrette Battery says. It is the last paragraph -- all the way to the bottom of this Bulletin:
    http://www.rollsbattery.com/content/preventive-maintenance-charging-and-equalization-605

    There is a slight ambiguity in the way it is written, but I read "these addatives" to mean both of them. Again I have no experience.

    Good Luck. Vic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Battery Additives?

    Lighten your bank account?

    tony
  • john pjohn p Solar Expert Posts: 814 ✭✭✭
    Re: Battery Additives?

    ITS just not that easy to say if they work well or not,, You cant just make blanket statements saying yes or no There are thousands of people that swear by them saying they really do work there are just as many others that say that using additives does nothing
    I have never found anyone that says using additives damages a battery.

    Its very difficult to ever do an exact side by side comparison showing they work or not.
    If you can get the additives cheap then why not use them? as what is there to lose?
    There are some battery sellers that will even extend the warranty of the battery if you use the additive they sell.
  • SCharlesSCharles Solar Expert Posts: 123 ✭✭
    Re: Battery Additives?
    john p wrote: »
    ITS just not that easy to say if they work well or not,, You cant just make blanket statements saying yes or no There are thousands of people that swear by them saying they really do work there are just as many others that say that using additives does nothing
    I have never found anyone that says using additives damages a battery.

    Its very difficult to ever do an exact side by side comparison showing they work or not.
    If you can get the additives cheap then why not use them? as what is there to lose?
    There are some battery sellers that will even extend the warranty of the battery if you use the additive they sell.


    I have seen a number of additives advertised over the years. However, in all the cases I have seen, one must remove the electrolyte after treatment and replace it. That is a non-starter for me with my 330 lb. cells as there is no way I want to deal with all that acid in a situation with extremely heavy cells.

    I don't know if replacement is true in all cases. I know I have no interest in trying it and have never seen any reports of good results. You can pour expensive substances in your gas tank and get great gas mileage increases, too. Uh, huh.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,994 admin
    Re: Battery Additives?

    I have seen (but never tried) different types of battery additives. Lee Petty says:
    "I'd rather race without tires then [sic] without VX-6 in my battery!"
    I guess VX-6 contained Cadmium--which may work and is sometimes used in lead acid batteries--but makes them very expensive to "recycle" (cadmium is hazardous waste and not accepted by some/many/all (?) recyclers).

    For example, "Battery Equalizer" is a <1% solution of Cadmium Sulfate.

    Other additives:
    Since the 1950’s chemical additives have been used to reduce lead sulfate build up on plates and improve battery condition when added to the electrolyte of a vented lead-acid battery. Such treatments are rarely, if ever, effective.[17] Two compounds used for such purposes are Epsom salts and EDTA. Epsom salts reduces the internal resistance in a weak or damaged battery and may allow a small amount of extended life. EDTA can be used to dissolve the sulfate deposits of heavily discharged plates. However, the dissolved material is then no longer available to participate in the normal charge/discharge cycle, so a battery temporarily revived with EDTA should not be expected to have normal life expectancy. Residual EDTA in the lead-acid cell forms organic acids which will accelerate corrosion of the lead plates and internal connectors.
    Active material changes physical form during discharge, resulting in plate growth, distortion of the active material, and shedding of active material. Once the active material has fallen out of the plates, it cannot be restored into position by any chemical treatment. Similarly, internal physical problems such as cracked plates, corroded connectors, or damaged separators cannot be restored chemically.
    I have also seen an "oil" that is floated on the top of the electrolyte (I guess to keep evaporation/misting down?).

    I guess that these discussions (1925 gov. scientist vs promoter PDF) about battery additives have been going on for almost the last 100 years.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • john pjohn p Solar Expert Posts: 814 ✭✭✭
    Re: Battery Additives?

    Scharles all the most popular additives here have cadmium in them and they NEVER say replace the electrolyte afer adding them. in fact have never heard of doing that.. that does not mean some dont recommend that its just I have not heard of it.
  • PhilSPhilS Solar Expert Posts: 370 ✭✭✭
    Re: Battery Additives?

    Floating an oil on top of the electrolyte makes sense to me, and I'd appreciate hearing if that actually makes any difference.

    I tried an additive in my semi-truck batteries a few decades ago. The batterys were getting old (but still worked to start the truck) and I read on the label how they'd be "rejuvenated" by just adding the stuff. I did. The batteries were then stone-cold dead within 2 days.

    I haven't tried any battery additives since.

    Phil
  • Peter_VPeter_V Solar Expert Posts: 226 ✭✭✭
    Re: Battery Additives?
    PhilS wrote: »
    Floating an oil on top of the electrolyte makes sense to me, and I'd appreciate hearing if that actually makes any difference.

    I tried an additive in my semi-truck batteries a few decades ago. The batterys were getting old (but still worked to start the truck) and I read on the label how they'd be "rejuvenated" by just adding the stuff. I did. The batteries were then stone-cold dead within 2 days.

    I haven't tried any battery additives since.

    Phil

    Floating oil is often used with flooded NiCads because it reduces carbonation of the electrolyte.

    For flooded PbA I can't see that it does anything useful. The overwhelming majority of your water loss is due to electrolysis during charging and oil won't do anything to reduce that since the H2 and O2 will go right through it.
  • KamalaKamala Solar Expert Posts: 452 ✭✭
    Re: Battery Additives?

    If additives could significantly improve the performance or longevity of a battery, why wouldn't they used in the manufacture of the battery?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,994 admin
    Re: Battery Additives?

    Perhaps NiCads are where I saw the oil...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • kc8adukc8adu Solar Expert Posts: 50 ✭✭✭
    Re: Battery Additives?

    sulf defense in yuasa motorcycle batteries is edta.
    i have a display box of vx-6 here.everything about it screams 50's.
    i need to scan one of the boxes and post it.
    american testing laboratories?
    national testing laboratories?
    cadmium battery additive.
  • ggunnggunn Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: Battery Additives?
    Kamala wrote: »
    If additives could significantly improve the performance or longevity of a battery, why wouldn't they used in the manufacture of the battery?
    Ladies and gents, we have a winner... ;^)
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,994 admin
    Re: Battery Additives?
    ggunn wrote: »
    Ladies and gents, we have a winner... ;^)

    It is a plot by the man to sell more product...:roll:

    Now is that a plot by battery manufacturers to sell more batteries or a plot by additive mfg'rs to sell more additive... My head hurts. :p

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • KamalaKamala Solar Expert Posts: 452 ✭✭
    Re: Battery Additives?

    Who's the "man." What's the "product." Neither question is trivial.

    The way I see it... Additive providers feed on the buying public whom are dissatisfied with the performance of LABs. That dissatisfaction is exacerbated by their lack of understanding of the limits of chemistry and physics. (I claim no great, only fundamental, understanding of either.) They want a miracle cure. Like weight loss. Or free energy.

    If it worked, it would be used in manufacturing. Unless there was a patent. If someone held such patent, they'd likely make more money by selling the technology (patent) to an established entity with sufficient production facilities instead of trying to create their own factories.

    Why hasn't this happened?

    :confused:
  • SolarTSolarT Solar Expert Posts: 49
    Re: Battery Additives?

    Here is the explanation of EDTA off the interweb (caveat emptor):

    EDTA works by forming a complex compound with the lead sulfate layer on the plates. While this removes the insulating layer, the active material that had formed lead sulfate will not be reconverted once the battery is charged. In principle, the insulating layer of lead sulfate is removed; but active material, needed for an efficient battery, is sacrificed in the process.

    EDTA reacts with the lead sulfate to form the complex compound. The plates are cleaned, but active material is not returned to the battery.

    Complex compound formed by breaking the lead sulfate bond.

    Battery life is ony extended temporarily with the removal of the lead sulfate crystals and increase of reaction surface area, but the lifespan of the battery cannot be maximized where active material is not returned to the battery.

    On the other hand, Amplitude Modulated Pulses at the resonance frequency of the crystals to shatter the covalent bonds that hold it together. This allows the lead sulfate to be reconverted once the battery is charged.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,994 admin
    Re: Battery Additives?
    SolarT wrote: »
    On the other hand, Amplitude Modulated Pulses at the resonance frequency of the crystals to shatter the covalent bonds that hold it together. This allows the lead sulfate to be reconverted once the battery is charged.

    That one is still under debate--The desulfator. At best, mixed results out there so far (from what I have seen).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • SolarTSolarT Solar Expert Posts: 49
    Re: Battery Additives?

    Bill,

    Somehow, I confused AMP with PWM. Are they related?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,994 admin
    Re: Battery Additives?

    Amplitude Modulated Pulses = AMP?

    I am not sure--As I understand, the idea behind desuflators is to hit them with lots of frequencies so that they can "oscillate" the crystals.

    You can do that either with a "square wave" or an "impulse".... Basically the sharper the edge of the wave form, the more high frequency they contain.

    A square wave, a pulse train, PWM (pulse width modulation), or impulse train should all give similar results (as a desulfator).

    Square wave and PWM are going to carry some amount of power (as load or charging current). An impulse train (very narrow current pulse) will have very low actual RMS current flow and would be (I assume) how a simple desulfator bolt on works.

    Of course, these sharp edges are electrically "noisy" so radios, and sometimes MPPT charge controllers may suffer from interference.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • SolarTSolarT Solar Expert Posts: 49
    Re: Battery Additives?

    Yes, Amplitude Modulated Pulse (AMP) and Pulse Width Modulation (PWM).
    Both had Pulse and Modulation. My mistake doing a quick read on the internet.

    More quick reading on the internet (caveat emptor - buyer beware).
    Here is my understanding: One modulates Width of the pulse the other modulates the Amplitude. If you graph the sine wave on X and Y axis. I think the Amplitude modulates the Y axis and Width modulates the X axis.

    You can shatter any crystal if you have the correct frequency
    .
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,994 admin
    Re: Battery Additives?

    I guess that AM modulation of a some sort of pulse train MAY make some difference... If there is a "diode" type junction at the crystal boundary, then Amplitude Modulation may be "detected" by the diode junction and "do something".

    But, in my humble opinion, any such effect would be tiny with respect to the actual pulse train (of what ever type)...

    At this point, I have not seen any lab based analysis of what can happen to a lead sulfate crystal when exposed to various types of wave trains to indicate that one type of wave form is better than another at "recovering" lead sulfate crystals.

    It would seem that a PWM controller with square wave output would be "just as good" as a dedicated desulfator.

    But--again, the radio (and audio frequency) interference from some of these controllers is a real issue for people that listen to AM, HAM, and even MPPT controllers that have been confused by pulses on the DC battery bus (inverters, desulfators, charge controllers all have had multiple threads here about how to make things "quiet"--Getting rid of these types of pulses is a start).

    At this point, personally, I am not convinced that the "cure" (if any) of desulfators is worth the electrical noise problems for most people.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • RCinFLARCinFLA Solar Expert Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Battery Additives?

    Epson salt solution will dissolve crystalized lead sulfate. It will drop to bottom of battery so you will not recover the loss. Only helps on a deep cycle battery known to have not been charged for nine to twelve months or more suffering from hardened sulfation. At least is gets more plate area exposed. You will have a reduced SG since the lead sulfate takes acid along with the lead bond.

    Pulse charger can help for softer sulfation by getting peak current up without subjecting the battery to high average current overcharge.

    As to 'resonating' crystals to break them up. Even if there is some truth to it there are so many variable to size of battery and needed current density it is very doubtful if any fixed desulfator could get it right.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,395 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Battery Additives?
    RCinFLA wrote: »
    Epson salt solution will dissolve crystalized lead sulfate. It will drop to bottom of battery so you will not recover the loss. Only helps on a deep cycle battery known to have not been charged for nine to twelve months or more suffering from hardened sulfation. At least is gets more plate area exposed. You will have a reduced SG since the lead sulfate takes acid along with the lead bond.

    Pulse charger can help for softer sulfation by getting peak current up without subjecting the battery to high average current overcharge.

    As to 'resonating' crystals to break them up. Even if there is some truth to it there are so many variable to size of battery and needed current density it is very doubtful if any fixed desulfator could get it right.


    After an Epsom salt add could adding acid help the situation on reparing the lost
  • RCinFLARCinFLA Solar Expert Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Battery Additives?

    Yes it will, but make sure a good recharge has raised the SG as far at it will go before deciding to add acid. You have to have an idea of total electrolyte quantity to know how much acid with raise SG by desired amount. A normal fully charged battery with SG of 1.27 has about 37% acid by weight concentration.

    There are several instructions to be found on a Google search to know how to dissolve a certain amount of Epsons salt in so much warm water to prep the solution. You may have to suck out some amount of electrolyte to make room for the solution.

    The only time I have actually see it work is on fork lift batteries. They have super thick plates so can affort some material loss.
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