Sulfurized Batteries

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Sulfurized Batteries

Postby Dell » Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:27 am

I did a topic search and didn't find anything on this so thought I would post it.

I had a two year old 6v 720cc battery on the cub that showed full charge but would not turn the tractor over. A load tester showed it only had about 100cc. A online search revealed that a lead acid sulfurized battery has developed a coating on the plates that drastically reduces its power, making it useless.

Then I found this video on utube using alum - the pickling spice - instead of acid.
I tried it just as the video said and it worked! Showed about 6.6v and 680cc and started the cub with ease. I wondered if the charge would hold so I charged it and set it aside for the winter. Yesterday - April 21 - it still showed 6.1v and it started the cub just fine.

The alum will not cause a coating on the plates. Why acid is still used commercially in batteries is a wonder.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Supe1a3L ... e6PY03K3jI
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Re: Sulfurized Batteries

Postby Matt Kirsch » Mon Apr 21, 2014 9:08 am

Believe it or not, my Dad has revitalized several batteries with BAKING SODA. Same deal as your alum trick:

Both Alum and baking soda are alkaline. Alkalines neutralize acids.

The reaction of the acid and alkaline must break up the sulfated layer on the battery plates, basically cleaning them.

It doesn't last forever but it does help for quite a while. Dad has gotten a couple extra years out of batteries that otherwise were junk.
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Re: Sulfurized Batteries

Postby gusbratz » Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:16 am

pour the acid out and save it, then use Epsom salts to break up the sulfate layer then replace acid and they will be good to go.
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Re: Sulfurized Batteries

Postby ricky racer » Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:13 pm

Some battery chargers and battery maintainers have a feature that desulfurizes the plates. That might be safer than the other methods mentioned......
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Re: Sulfurized Batteries

Postby schmibm » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:46 pm

ricky racer wrote:Some battery chargers and battery maintainers have a feature that desulfurizes the plates. That might be safer than the other methods mentioned......


Are there any sparkie gurus out there that can explain what the desulfurization setting is actually doing to a battery? I see this advertised and wonder about it.
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Re: Sulfurized Batteries

Postby Eugene » Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:33 pm

schmibm wrote:Are there any sparkie gurus out there that can explain what the desulfurization setting is actually doing to a battery? I see this advertised and wonder about it.

http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/arti ... prevent_it

Years back I was employed in the battery department for a large firm. The batteries were for fork lifts, 24, 36 and 48 volt batteries. Smaller batteries weighed around 700 lbs, larger batteries several tons.

Batteries were placed on an equalization schedule. When the battery was due for equalization it was fully charged then placed on a trickle charge for 12 to 24 hours.

Equalization was utilized because some battery cells did not become fully charged even though the battery charger indicated a full charge.
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Re: Sulfurized Batteries

Postby Jim Becker » Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:24 am

I watched a youtube video or two on desulfating a battery. They showed dumping out the acid, filling it with an alkaline etc. I decided that even if it worked, I wasn't going to do it.

I took a look at this page, which Eugene pointed out. To me, it reinforced what I already try to do, keep the batteries on maintainers. When that no longer keeps them working, replace them.
Eugene wrote:http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/sulfation_and_how_to_prevent_it
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Re: Sulfurized Batteries

Postby Bus Driver » Thu Apr 24, 2014 7:19 am

Some search features depend on exact spelling to yield the best results. The term is "sulfated".

This link turns out to be an ad. But appears to be generally accurate information.
http://www.batterystuff.com/kb/articles ... -away.html

http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/arti ... prevent_it

My formal studies in chemistry were long ago. Nothing in those studies indicated that adding baking soda or Epsom salts to the electrolyte of a battery does anything except to neutralize (probably only partially) the acid in the battery. My belief that this is harmful for the battery is so strong that I have never tried it. I believe it to be a waste of time and soda.
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Re: Sulfurized Batteries

Postby gusbratz » Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:06 am

to me it is sort of like a lottery ticket, if I pick up an old tractor and it has a battery on it that won't take or hold a charge (very common on my junk I get). before I go out and spend 100$ on a new battery I try to salvage the old one. they say the plates get a sulfate deposit on them from under chargeing. this reduces the available plate area for reaction to occur. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate. sometimes it breaks down the sulfate crystals and restores a measure of available plate area/ battery capacity. a pound is like 2 or 3$ at walmart and is enough to do many many batteries. sometimes it works, MOST of the time it does not. MOST of the time it does not. I have probably done 2 dozen batteries over the years with it. I have only ever used it on neglected batteries that were only scrap or core value as a last ditch effort. if you have more time than money like me then you should try it. if a 100$ for a battery is peanuts to you then can I have your old battery :lol: ?
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Re: Sulfurized Batteries

Postby Bezirk » Fri Apr 25, 2014 3:52 am

I have had good results with the battery minder, not all batteries can be salvaged, but some can. Currently I am working with a 6v from one of my Cubs and It looks like it is coming back. I use a loaded tester to check the progress and it requires a lot of time , several days to get them back if they are really bad.

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Re: Sulfurized Batteries

Postby Jim Becker » Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:27 am

gusbratz wrote: I have probably done 2 dozen batteries over the years with it.

With that sample size, I'm curious what your success rate is. What number out of how many batteries have you been able to save and get some useful life out of? I guess "useful life" would have to be something like 6 months or more.
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Re: Sulfurized Batteries

Postby gusbratz » Fri Apr 25, 2014 10:07 am

they are not as good as a new battery but still work at I guess around 40%. for instance the junk 1000cc battery that came in a backhoe I bought came back to being good enough to start my tractor or log splitter or 12v cub but not the 70hp perkins it originally was on. I would say about 3 or 4 batteries were successful. at a level where they could actually be used. like I said most of the time It doesn't work.
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Re: Sulfurized Batteries

Postby Matt Kirsch » Fri Apr 25, 2014 10:46 am

Bus Driver wrote:My formal studies in chemistry were long ago. Nothing in those studies indicated that adding baking soda or Epsom salts to the electrolyte of a battery does anything except to neutralize (probably only partially) the acid in the battery. My belief that this is harmful for the battery is so strong that I have never tried it. I believe it to be a waste of time and soda.


The only thing I can figure is it's the CHEMICAL REACTION of the acid and alkaline neutralizing each other, or the salt that is produced by the reaction, that desulfates the battery plates.

What I do know for sure is that it works. It's not a permanent fix, but it gets you another year out of the batteries or more.

Batteries are expensive, and my Dad for example, is trying to run a cash-crop operation on a shoestring budget. Not everyone can just run out and drop $150 on new batteries every couple of years.
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Re: Sulfurized Batteries

Postby Bezirk » Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:35 pm

My success rate is probably 40-50 % also .

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