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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
"I work part time driving for our local NAPA store....We have a skid of old batteries which are traded in for new ones.....I was in the shop one day and there was an old guy there sorting through the old batteries with a volt meter....I asked him what he was doing....He said he is getting old batteries that still had a bit of life in them and rejuvenating them to use in his windmill/alternator project.....He was building a wind turbine. I asked how he was doing this. He said that he dumps the old acid out of them and replaces it with a mixture of water and Epsom salts......He brings the water almost to a boil and adds Epsom salts and dissolves it. He then puts this into the battery and puts it on a slow charge for a day or so. Finding this kind of hard to believe and having about 5 mostly dead small garden tractor batteries, I thought, what the heck, give her a go.......I have done these batteries about a month and a half now and they are all starting my tractors, where before they would not crank the tractor after a day or so.........
BTW...I did use tap water, from my reverse osmosis filter from my well.....I figured bringing it to a boil pretty much distills it anyways.....and I am adding a crap load of salt, so why bother with distilled


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Edit;
Sorry Harry, wasn't paying attention. I moved my post to the new thread

Since I wasn't involved in the discussion that got closed and this does pertain to the subject at hand:
Many years ago I read in Easyriders about rejuvenating batteries. I took about 6-8 old batteries that wouldn't hold a charge anymore, dumped the acid and then cleaned the batteries out with soda water, rinsed with clear tap water. Then I added the acid back. I don't remember if I re-used the old electrolyte or bought new. I do remember that all but one battery came back to life.
 

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Does anyone here remember the small bottle of liquid that was supposed to bring a bad battery back to life? What was the "active" ingredient in it?

What solution was used w/the epsom salts (aka "magnesium sulfate")? I don't expect a molar measurement, but like a quarter cup salts to a quart of water? More, less? I can't imagine a chemical reaction that would favor it to do anything, but then I'm not a chemist, either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I just tossed some water in a pot, about a quart I guess and added about 10 heaping tablespoons of Epsom salts......Theres accuracy for ya, eh.....

It does seem to work.....I am just wondering for how long?
 

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WFO
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I suspect there must be a chemical reaction between the MgSO4 and the sulfated plates. But iIf it's working, it's working- I'd expect it to stay that way until whatever made it quit holding a charge in the first place repetes itself. What I mean is, if it is able to generate electricty the way it is, I don't think it would suddenly revert back to not holding a charge.
 

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I am just wondering for how long ?

Would´nt think of doing it myself, any amount of work for little or no reward is totally pointless.
No resurrected battery could be used on a car you depend upon.
 

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There are chargers that are supposed to be able to better reverse the processes that take a wet cell battery out of service- but unless someone were to have a fleet or something, the cost would probably far outweigh the benefits.

The best thing to do is properly maintain the battery from the beginning by using 'good' :mwink: water to maintain the correct water level, keep clean connections, do not short it out, don't jump w/it and for heavens sake- do not allow it to fully discharge.

But adding a cleansing/revitalizing solution and refilling and recharging hardly sounds like a lot of work. If it only gave you an extra year, that- done 3-4 times- equals a new battery.

And, no- I wouldn't use a battery like that in any car (wife or child)- but if it were MY car, I wouldn't hesitate.
 

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Awhile back Hot Rod mag showed how to get an AGM battery back from the dead.
You hook up the dead ´un to a good battery and a charger, that is supposed to get the process going.
Read about it.
Maybe that would be can option after the "salts" treatment.
 

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back in the day

30 or 40 years a go I used to see a sign reconditioned batteries for sale near some rental property I owned. a kid living in the old house started working for the guy. safety glasses and a rubber chemistry lab apron were required. the old batteries were made from 2 molded parts. and were sealed together with tar. today all the batteries i've seen are all plastic. they used to pour out the acid, fill with water then use a blow torch to melt the tar to get the battery apart, wash off the plates and get the sludge out of the bottom. charging and discharging flakes off the plates and can short them out. . they put them back to gether and re tarred them. checked the acid, then filtered and filled the batteries recharged and guranteed for a year.
 

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I hadn't thought about the tar topped batteries in ages. I remember to test the individual cells, you probed down through the tar to hit the conductors, so batteries w/a lot of 'divots' in the top from being tested were always suspect.

Something else that was usually done on the recon batteries was new terminals were molded from molten lead. Done right, they at least looked good. Sometimes they even lasted pretty good, as I remember.
 

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I remember back in the 60's & 70's in was always said that putting an aspirin in each cell would help revive a battery. I do remember trying it but can't remember if it worked or not.
 

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I think I would try it... and in a heartbeat use one in a manual car that clutch starts easily...

Put one in an automatic? Or in my crazy present thing that will never clutch start, but always starts on the starter once I've tried to clutch it... no, not on.

Good for a slave battery to use around home, I guess. Keep it charged up and it's ready if needed. I use one of these for boosting the ride-on lawn mower.
 

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Ray Bell said:
I use one of these for boosting the ride-on lawn mower.
HA!! That's what I've been doing ever since my mower ate its second battery, original battery lasted three seasons, the next replacement from WalMart lasted one season and wouldn't hold a charge after that. My 'solution' is to use the battery from my cash for clunkers trade-in. I drove it to the dealership w/a battery that was a dead player, it worked just to get it there w/a jump start but I told the salesman to be sure it was where he wanted it before he turned it off.

Only problem is, once the mower is running I can't get off it unless I want to tote the jumper battery over to it, or I hot wire it- thanks to the safety switches that shut it off if there's no weight on the seat. :evil:
 

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Batteries awakened

The aspirin trick has always worked. 1/2 in each cell once a year. The battery in my Impala ss is 12 yrs old and still superhot. Of course this won't work forever because you just plain run out of plates after while and it won't work on Optimas or similar Gelcells for rather obvious reasons. Everyone knows about Optima charging procedures right? If it gets run dead, you have to fool your charger into working with it. A decent battery in parallel AFTER the Optima fools the charger. Even the special gelcell charger won't always work, but this will, unless the battery is ancient. I can't tell you how many guys I know threw away perfectly good gelcells because they wouldn't "take a charge". Once it comes up a decent amount you can unhook the "decoy" battery and continue.
 

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Piland Triangle, Elroy, TX
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poncho62 said:
I should have made a new thread about the use of Epsom salts in the batteries
That was my only intention.
Really interested in finding out how this works. For once, right now i don't have any old batteries around.
 

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poncho62 said:
"I work part time driving for our local NAPA store....We have a skid of old batteries which are traded in for new ones.....I was in the shop one day and there was an old guy there sorting through the old batteries with a volt meter....I asked him what he was doing....He said he is getting old batteries that still had a bit of life in them and rejuvenating them to use in his windmill/alternator project.....He was building a wind turbine. I asked how he was doing this. He said that he dumps the old acid out of them and replaces it with a mixture of water and Epsom salts......He brings the water almost to a boil and adds Epsom salts and dissolves it. He then puts this into the battery and puts it on a slow charge for a day or so. Finding this kind of hard to believe and having about 5 mostly dead small garden tractor batteries, I thought, what the heck, give her a go.......I have done these batteries about a month and a half now and they are all starting my tractors, where before they would not crank the tractor after a day or so.........
BTW...I did use tap water, from my reverse osmosis filter from my well.....I figured bringing it to a boil pretty much distills it anyways.....and I am adding a crap load of salt, so why bother with distilled


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What's going on is that the battery sloughs off some of the plate material. While this weakens the plates both structurally and electrically, the stuff that comes off and settles to the bottom usually shorts out some plates first and the charge density of the battery goes down to where it may hold 12 volts but has no amperage capacity so it won't run a starter motor but may still light a small bulb. So what he's hunting for with the volt meter is a battery that has functioning though weak cells. A battery with less voltage shows failed cells which might be salvageable but probably aren't as this is as likely to be failed internal bus connections or completely shorted cells.

If you drain the acid and wash the battery out the sludge can be cleared restoring some functionality to all the cells. The thing will operate pretty much normally for a while longer. But using and recharging is a random materials deposition process, eventually it ends up with projections that short out plates or holes in the plates which diminish the charge generating and holding surface.

As to whether boiling water and Epsom salts has any effect compared to a clean water bath, I doubt the extra rocket science has that much an effect.

Bogie
 

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Yeh, but won't the salts corode the plates (lead) ? especially after seasonal change ? We've done alot of that kind of thing. Dump out, make sure there's no sulfate. Rinse with good ole Coke. But we always put new acid. Back then we bought it at NAPA and it wasn't expensive. Works for 3-4 years. Couldn't make a living at it... no where to put the acid.
 

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what percentage of water / acid makes up for a starter electrolite? I have a expensive BIG battery from my Cat Backhoe that is giving me a hard time, it barely cranks the engine when cold, I want to give this trick a try, what can I loose? I will have to buy a new $300 battery soon anyway.

I have a galon of 99.9% pure sulfuric acid, this will make a very good electrolite, but I don't have a hydrometer, so a water/acid percentage mix formula will be appreciated.
 

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99.9% sulfuric is unstable and very hard if not impossible to even produce. About the best you can do is maybe 98%. The acid is diluted to no more than 35% (~ 5 mol/L) for use in a wet cell car battery- but I'd strongly recommend you be very careful dealing w/concentrated H2SO4! You are much better off buying battery acid to begin with, than diluting concentrated acid. If you insist on doing it this way, remember to add the acid to the water, NOT vice versa!!! Eye, face and body protection is a MUST. The fumes are corrosive to tissue- including your eyes and lungs.
 
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