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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by JST View Post
    Folks bring them up every so often, with the usual stories about how they are "a better product suppressed by the big companies". The Edison name (he did NOT invent the nickel-iron battery) that is associated with them tends to make people think they must be good.
    They are good. Very. For the specific needs they fit, then and now.

    And Edison's "General Electric Company" wasn't so small a firm as to be easily suppressed by ANYONE.



    New lease on life? Maybe so. It has been five years already, but still possible:

    Stanford scientists develop ultrafast nickel-iron battery

    "Ultrafast" may, or course, mean they are no longer "ultrasafe". Time - and copious demand and plentiful competition - will tell.

    Amongst the "competition" is research that finds that nano-particles of metals such as Nickel & Manganese can support low-energy-input cracking of water to Oxygen and Hydrogen. Other work - nano-particles again - supports viable artificial photosynthesis.

  2. #22
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    Edison's original company, and the modern day (well, it's one of the longest living artificial people today) General
    Electric, are not really related.

    Same way that Goodyear Tire, and Charles Goodyear, never had any connection either.

  3. #23
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    And, the battery company was a separate entity, AFAIK,. It was eventually sold to Exide, somewhere in the '60s or '70s. Exide quit making the nickel iron batteries shortly after they bought the company.

  4. #24
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    Sealed lead acid batteries are made with calcium replacing the antimony in the grid plates: they use far less water as they don't outgas nearly as much when charged. I have autopsied 7 year old sealed lead acid batteries and they had plenty of electrolyte. If you are having to add water to your sealed batteries then something is wrong with your charging system and they are getting badly overcharged.

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Larue View Post
    just an FYI....you can keep a battery for more than 100 years....the oldest I have is 1991...the heavy metal concentrate NEVER evaporates (sulfuric acid)....what makes a battery go bad is the water added to the acid ....that evaporates..and the lead plates arc....and as long as you NEVER let the water level go below the lead plates it wont degrade....EVER....there are batteries from 1880s still good because of this...every 6 months I pop the caps and fill with water....then charge it again....years and years...haven't bought a battery in I don't know how long...I have 11 snowmobiles...jetski...ATV...cars...trucks...house alarm battery....you name it....just add water and don't look back...before I learned this trick I had a battery with no caps....I cut around it and pulled sealed cap off and filled with water...then put plastic cap cover back on with silicon....then pop off silicon 6 months later...fill with water...silicon again....that's the last sealed battery I ever bought...just make sure it has caps from now on to refill

  5. #25
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    Older CAT batteries used to have silver in the grid alloy, very expensive but very long lasting, I've heard of one in a tractor with a solar panel float charge that was 30 years old and still going strong when it was sold: Silver calcium battery - Wikipedia


    Quote Originally Posted by motion guru View Post
    I think that 99% of battery life performance has to do with the quality of the battery. Yesterday I hiked out to the back 40 to see if I could start my dozer after it has sat since September of last year. It cranked a little slow belching thick white smoke before catching and roaring to life. I bought the battery in 1992 and the dozer has had just over 1200 hours put on it over the last 25 years on this battery. My 1999 Kubota with 800 hours is still on its original OEM battery. Neither of these two batteries have received so much as a rinse, they are covered in crud and dirt. My daily driven 2007 Yukon is on its 3rd battery. Makes no sense to me as far as care or abuse . . . I do know the dozer battery was the most expensive battery I had ever purchased when I bought it.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scottl View Post
    The problem with setting a battery in contact with a cold floor was temperature stratification of the electrolyte during storage. This isn't a problem for a battery that is being used and charged. FWIW, a couple of the local trap and skeet clubs use radio triggered 12 volt portable clay throwers. The batteries often sit on the ground even in winter but they are being exercised after every launch when the motor re-cocks the throwing arm. In some places the batteries stay out and get recharged by solar cells. The other ones are collected at the end of the day and recharged.

    Main thing for something like a fence battery is gentle recharge. For standby use AGM batteries I use chargers that can not go above 13.8 volts. It can sit there for months without damage.
    I have been using the same AGM in my lawn tractor for years, after I got tired of replacing the regular sealed lead acids almost every year. I leave it hooked up to a Battery Tender Plus when not being used and let it make the decisions It is remperature compensated and 3 mode. It is in an unheated garage that gets,close to freezing in the winter and pretty warm in the summer. I also use them to maintain seldom used vehicles and a stand by generator's start battery.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

  7. #27
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    The battery on concrete tale comes from when cases were glass not wood, obviously putting a heavy glass case battery safely on concrete is a huge risk.

    The biggest killer of batteries is freezing after going below 12vdc especially in northern areas, freeze it and the plates will touch and short a cell...does not take much to short a plate.

    Pulse chargers recondition a battery but slowly removing sulfate buildup on the plates when charging and also allows the sulfate to reabsorb into the acid.

    Best investment you can make is a high quality pulse charger, most are marine types now because thats the market that understands the importance of well maintained batteries and also the high investment of multiple batteries.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JST View Post
    The OP didn't ask about charging, really.

    But, you can charge any wet cell lead acid battery at 1% to 2% of its capacity without an issue, and do it forever. So if you have a common 225 AH battery, you can just hook up an unregulated solar panel that can supply 4A, and the worst that will happen is that you need to add water more often.

    Float charging is fine, but that implies a big battery, and a small discharge, the idea being that the battery voltage never varies much. If you actually USE the battery, you will need to charge it for real, and you will need to most likely go up to around 14.4V or so on a 12V battery which is a gassing voltage. It will not "ruin" a wet cell battery. (AGM is different, don't treat them like flooded cells.)

    The ideal float voltage also varies with temperature.

    Basically, wet cell lead acid batteries are charged with current, the voltage is a function of charge rate, temperature, depth of discharge, etc, etc. You watch voltage to see what current you can jam in.
    Decent modern chargers have a multi mode charge pattern. They charge constant current, then constant voltage and then float charge. They automate the process and do a better job than I would monitoring the charge. My little Battery Tender Plus has kept the AGM in my lawn tractor going for years.


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    Quote Originally Posted by 6PTsocket View Post
    Decent modern chargers have a multi mode charge pattern. They charge constant current, then constant voltage and then float charge. They automate the process and do a better job than I would monitoring the charge. My little Battery Tender Plus has kept the AGM in my lawn tractor going for years.


    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

    Indeed modern chargers are usually quite good. But the basic facts of charging have not changed, the chargers just follow the best plan more closely.

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    Thanks again for all the replies. I have one other question. Would it be a good idea to pour out all the acid and add "fresh" acid/water to an older battery?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JST View Post
    Indeed modern chargers are usually quite good. But the basic facts of charging have not changed, the chargers just follow the best plan more closely.
    It is always good to understand what is going on and I always appreciate good information. I am able to build constant current and constant voltage devices and there are plenty of plans out there for chargers but like most modern electronics, you can buy it far cheaper than you can make it. They can include a microprocessor to monitor various parameters all for very low cost. With the use of switching power supplies, the expensive power transformers can be eliminated. The cost of semis and passive components with automated assembly allows for a really inexpensive product.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

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    A crummy charger may over or under charge the battery. Possibly some may charge at the wrong rate.

    More wet-cell lead acid batteries are ruined by UNDERcharging than by overcharging. Undercharging leaves unconverted lead sulfate around, which can re-crystallize into a form that will no longer be a part of the charging process.

    Overcharging loses water, and can accelerate corrosion of the "grids". That is a more long-term issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by crossthread View Post
    Thanks again for all the replies. I have one other question. Would it be a good idea to pour out all the acid and add "fresh" acid/water to an older battery?
    "Maybe".

    Usually, I would suggest that doing that would just get the balance of amount of active plate material vs available acid out of whack. I CAN think of a few situations where it could be useful to do, but mostly I doubt it will have any useful long-term good effect.

    It should only be done when the battery is charged up, because that is when the sulfur is in the water as acid, and not on the plates as lead sulfate. Adding acid when the gravity is low due to discharge will just mess things up.

    I know some old-time mechanics suggest that, as well as "magic potions" to put in the cells, like epsom salts or EDTA. Sometimes there is a short-term boost of performance, but it does not last, and in many cases, makes the battery fail faster.

    As far as I know, there is just no free lunch on rejuvenating batteries.


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