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Old 06-21-2009, 01:52 PM   #1
Not Yet Wild
 
Join Date: May 2009
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Default Desulfating batteries with epsom salt

Hi everyone.
This is my first post on this site.
I found this thread while researching desulfating batteries.
DESULFATOR,Fact or Fiction?

I have an old 3 wheel electric Harley with new batteries so this is not a problem yet.
But, I was replacing my lawn tractor battery every fall when temps started to fall.
So I tried this recipe of epsom salt figuring I had nothing to loose and its been like new since.

I've read on one of those commercial renew stuff website that epsom salt causes the plates to become brittle.

I have two questions:

Has anyone used epsom salt and recorded long term effect?

And what does it mean (plates become brittle)? Dose this mean they break down with vibration?

I wanted to get some input before I put this stuff in a forklift battery as its worth a little more than the mower battery.

Thanks.
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Old 06-27-2009, 09:41 AM   #2
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Tomberlin
 
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Default Re: Desulfating batteries with epsom salt

Two sides to the issue. Some say it is a waste of time and will damage the battery. Other side (mine) is that it worked like a charm on my 96CC with 4yr. old batteries. It doesn't make anything "brittle". All it does is release sulfides from the plates. Google for Epsom salts desulfides on the net thats where I got my information. It takes about 3/4 chargings to really show up. Be sure and dissolve the salts in warm water, pull water out of battery down to top of plates and put in a container to measure total. Refill to just below full with solution using approx. same amount of distilled water as you took out with 2 TBLE spoons of salts per cell added to warm water to disolve. Good luck
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Old 06-27-2009, 10:25 AM   #3
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Default Re: Desulfating batteries with epsom salt

I'm not a metalergist, but how can you change the the compounds of lead to make it brittle? Sounds like a battery salesman made that comment....
Most people that follow the instructions have had good results. Others will tell you it's BS?? You know it works...
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Old 01-15-2010, 02:56 PM   #4
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Default Re: Desulfating batteries with epsom salt

Had to add my experience with the epsom salt treatment after I saw this thread.

Had a couple of club car villager 4s that had been sitting in a garage since early 2005 with some 03 trojans in them. Watered the batteries to the top of the plates and trickle charged them with an 6/8/12v charger (@ 6amps) which had "electronic desulfation" capabilities. After they were all charged I hooked up the 48v charger to finish them off.

Initially charged them for 6-8 hours after which they lasted about for 30 seconds. I charged again, topped off the water levels and cycled them 4 or 5 times; got a max of about 2 minutes run time out of them.

I was about to shell out the $600 for a new set of trojans when I saw the post regarding the epsom salt treatment. Anyway, I drained the electrolyte from all battery cells with a turkey baster (apparently no one is selling automotive syringes anymore) and some protective gloves/goggles. Added a mixture of 1 part dissolved epsom salt to 4 parts distilled water to the cells, closed them up and rocked the cart back and forth a few times. Charged the cart on the 48v charger again for about 10 hours with instant results; run time was up to about 15 minutes. I cycled them a few more times and am now getting a solid 1.5hour+ run time, roughly 10 miles, which is perfect for what I need.

Long story short, this was a great success; if you have stubborn old batteries (especially ones that haven't seen much use) I would highly recommend this technique. Not sure about the longevity of this solution, but I will keep you posted.

Thanks for the tips!
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Old 01-15-2010, 03:09 PM   #5
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Default Re: Desulfating batteries with epsom salt

Keep us posted---
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Old 01-15-2010, 06:38 PM   #6
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Default Re: Desulfating batteries with epsom salt

Well I will chime in on this one.

First comment is if the batteries are shot and will not take a charge, then goferit, you can't hurt anything.At worst you still end up with dead contaminated batteries.

However the real solution is to use an Equalizing Charge. However most chargers you guys use do not have an Equalize Charge function, so you are SOL unless you happen to have a 12 volt charger some where buried in the garage. If that is the case take your batteries out one at a time and hit with a 12 volt charger until you see it bubbling pretty good.

What is happening is lead sulfate crystals build up on the plates until the point the resistance becomes so high no meaningful charge current (or discharge for that matter) can flow. This is what causes 90% of all battery failures and is brought on by too deeply discharging the battery or letting it sit in anything other than full charge. By using an Equalizing Charge which is basically a higher voltage will burn through the lead sulfate Xtals and dissolve them back into the acid solution.

They also make a gimmick charger called a de-sulfator which is a Pulse Width Modulated charger that applies pulses of high voltage to do the same thing except give it a fancy market name and charge you a lot of money for it.

Anyway Magnesium Sulfate (Epson Salt) is not something you want in your battery
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Old 01-15-2010, 09:27 PM   #7
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Default Re: Desulfating batteries with epsom salt

Sunking-You may want to google for more info on this subject as I did about 2 years ago. It might temper your judgement regarding the use of Epsom salt as a battery additive.The use of Magnesium Sulphate (Epsom salt) in batteries has been around for over 30 years. "When a battery is fully charged the positive plate turns into lead peroxide and the negative plate turns into sponge lead. When a battery is discharged both positive and negative plates change into lead sulphate, it is in this state that they are prone to chemical reactions causing sulphation." (internet quote) Hence the benefit to keep batteries fully charged when possible. The use of Epsom salt aids in dissolving the sulphation. It is not a contaminate and is sometimes even used as medicine. It is a long and messy process but I have found it useful on three sets of older batteries for myself and two friends. It is even used as an additive to batteries, when mixed with distilled water for regular battery maintenance. The research is lengthy but worthwhile. It may not change your mind but will explain why I may have a basis for a different opinion. Different ideas such as this are what makes the forum work.
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Old 01-15-2010, 11:20 PM   #8
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Default Re: Desulfating batteries with epsom salt

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcannow View Post
Sunking-You may want to google for more info on this subject as I did about 2 years ago. It might temper your judgement regarding the use of Epsom salt as a battery additive.
Nope doesn't change my mind.

Epson Salt is the wrong agent to use, using a chelating agent, EDTA, does a much better job of de-sulfating batteries, but both methods increase the porosity of the plate and leave a deposit of lead "silt" on the bottom of the battery jar that will eventually kill it.

But as I said earlier the best method is burning it off with an Equalize Charge.
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Old 01-16-2010, 06:01 AM   #9
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Default Re: Desulfating batteries with epsom salt

first i am not a battery expert....
my 10 cents worth on this...

Prevention is the best medicine.

first of all you need to determin that all the cells are all good, if they are, you can breath new life into your battery by using epson salts. so yes it works.

but why do you want to repair something that you can control from happing in the first place.. understanding the battery and good care by you will save you many $$$$ in the future.

Battery Testing can be done in more than one way. The most accurate method is measurement of specific gravity and battery voltage. To measure specific gravity buy a temperature compensating hydrometer, to measure voltage use a digital D.C. Voltmeter. A quality load tester may be a good purchase if you need to test sealed batteries.

Sulfation of Batteries starts when specific gravity falls below 1.225 or voltage measures less than 12.4 for a 12v battery, or 6.2 for a 6 volt battery. Sulfation hardens on the battery plates reducing and eventually destroying the ability of the battery to generate Volts and Amps.

Basically there are two types of lead acid batteries (along with 3 sub categories); The two main types are Starting (cranking), and Deep Cycle (marine/golf cart). The starting battery (SLI starting lights ignition) is designed to deliver quick bursts of energy (such as starting engines) and therefore has a greater plate count. The plates are thinner and have somewhat different material composition. The deep cycle battery has less instant energy, but greater long-term energy delivery. Deep cycle batteries have thicker plates and can survive a number of discharge cycles. Starting batteries should not be used for deep cycle applications because the thinner plates are more prone to warping and pitting when discharged. The so-called Dual Purpose Battery is a compromise between the two types of batteries, though it is better to be more specific if possible.

After reading this you sould now be running out to buy a battery tender to keep all you battery charged, letting them get low is where the problem starts

so keep them charge and store them in a warm place if posible when not in use for long period and your battery will last for years.

also never use high amps more than a battey can handle..
ATV/ mower size batterys need to be charged with about 1 to 1.5 amps
if your using a 2 amp charge about 80% to 85% then finish with a tender
using to many amps will over heat and shorten the life of the battery.

i have many small battery for jet skis, atv, mowers and i get 4 and 5 years of life from them, if your replacing batterys every years you need to re-read this and buy a battery tender.. batteries should last until the plates fail and break from age. so not all brand are equal, but a quailty well made battery and take care of it. the old line pay a little now or a lot later is true..

As a man smarter than me once said i quote "To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction" for those who don't know that was Sir Issac Newton.

hope this helps some under stand a battery and how it works
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Old 01-16-2010, 07:14 AM   #10
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Default Re: Desulfating batteries with epsom salt

Richi-Good advice & info. If they haven't tried it they will never know!!
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