THE TRUTH ABOUT REVIVING DEAD BATTERIES

When your deep-cycle battery nears end-of-life, it’s normal to want to squeeze as much out of it as possible before spending money on a new one. Numerous online videos show a variety of ways to revive a dead or dying battery using various substances and hacks. The truth is, there are many factors that contribute to poor battery performance and failure, and it is important to diagnose the symptoms of poor battery performance before determining a cure.  It is also important to understand that many of the supposed “cures” can damage the battery, while others can be dangerous and do nothing to improve battery performance.

Fred Wehmeyer, Senior VP of Engineering at U.S. Battery, has more than 50 years of experience in rechargeable battery design and development.  He says that many of these hacks claim to show some type of improvement, but the gains shown may simply be artificial. One of the more common ones is adding Epsom salt to the battery cells.  According to Wehmeyer, adding Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) to a lead-acid battery will ‘artificially’ increase the specific gravity reading (SG), but because it does not increase the sulfuric acid concentration, it does nothing to improve battery performance.

“This is because the sulfates in the Epsom salt are tied up as magnesium sulfate and are not available for discharge to lead sulfate as the sulfates in sulfuric acid are,” said Wehmeyer. “If you filled a new lead battery with a magnesium sulfate solution instead of sulfuric acid electrolyte, it would have no capacity at all.”  Simply put, adding Epsom salt will not recover the battery capacity but does “artificially” increase the SG.

According to Wehmeyer, the result would be similar if you remove the dilute electrolyte from a discharged and/or sulfated battery and refill it with the electrolyte for a fully charged battery (usually 1.270). The specific gravity will be higher, but the battery plates are still discharged and/or sulfated. Doing this will probably kill a potentially recoverable battery (see below).

Baking Soda and Aspirin

Other popular hacks include adding baking soda to recover a dead battery. Baking soda mixed with water is often used to clean the tops of batteries and battery terminals because it neutralizes the sulfuric acid and acidic corrosion products. Wehmeyer says that pouring baking soda into the battery cells will neutralize the sulfuric acid in the electrolyte to sodium sulfate that cannot discharge to lead sulfate in the normal discharge reaction.  This will also permanently reduce the capacity of the battery, which was most likely already low.

Adding aspirin to the battery is another hack that is often seen in videos claiming to revive dead batteries. Wehmeyer says aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid, which eventually breaks down into acetic acid. Acetic acid attacks the positive lead dioxide plates in the battery and permanently damages them, leading to short battery life.  This may show a small, temporary increase in capacity but will quickly kill the battery.

Pulse Charging 

If your battery is sulfated, which results in low power and difficulty in recharging to full capacity, it can sometimes be recovered using proper pulse charging techniques. Wehmeyer warns, however, that there are an infinite variety of pulse charging techniques used by a wide variety of equipment sold for this purpose.  These techniques include DC (direct current) pulses using various voltages and currents, as well as AC (alternating current) pulses with a wide range of AC frequencies. “The problem is that if not done properly, it can do more damage than good,” says Wehmeyer. “Having said that, I have tested some very complex and very expensive pulse chargers that appeared to recover sulfated batteries more quickly than traditional methods.  Most pulse chargers use an external power source (wall AC) to power the device. Some, however, use the battery’s voltage to power the charge pulses. This can kill the battery if left connected for long periods of time without a separate charger.”

Ultimately the best recommendation for potentially recovering a sulfated battery is to save your money and try using a long, slow charge.  If you have a battery charger that has a reconditioning or equalizing charge mode on it, that may be your best bet. “Use the equalization charge mode regularly, about once a month, on deep-cycle lead-acid batteries to extend the life of the battery,” says Wehmeyer. “Regular equalization charges prevent sulfation and stratification by balancing the individual cells and properly mixing the electrolyte.  In addition, a long slow charge could help recover already sulfated batteries to make them last a little longer.  If your charger does not have an equalization charge mode, simply wait until the charger completes a normal charge and then restart it by unplugging AC power and reconnecting.  The charger should continue charging for an additional 1 – 3 hours.  If the battery is dead from poor maintenance, worn-out from too many deep cycles, overcharging, or excessive deep discharging; it probably can’t be recovered.”

Following manufacturer-recommended care and maintenance procedures will get you the longest life and best performance from any battery. For more information on how to care for your lead-acid batteries, check out the U.S. Battery User Manual.

 

Nancy Gneier Travel Town

U.S. Battery Donates To The Travel Town Museum Foundation in Los Angeles, Ca, To Help Preserve Railroading History

U.S. Battery has donated four of its 8-volt, 15-4-1 deep-cycle batteries to Travel Town Foundation in Los Angeles, California. The foundation restores various old trains that showcase the history of transportation in the American southwest. “U.S. Battery has been a sponsor since 2017, helping us with batteries we need to power and start many of these trains that have specific energy requirements,” says Nancy Gneier, Executive Director at the Travel Town Museum Foundation.

Over the years, U.S. Battery deep-cycle batteries have gone into a 1929 M.177 Motocar, and a 1941 “Charley Atkins” ElectroMotive. Since these vehicles use complicated circuits for the electrical system and starting system, the U.S. Batteries typically made for marine applications, work well to keep these vehicles alive. “We fully support the Travel Town Foundation in their efforts to educate and preserve a piece of railroad history,” said Don Wallace, U.S. Battery COO.  “If this small donation will help the foundation keep serving the community and helping kids, then we’re proud to be a part of it.”

For more information on the Travel Town Foundation, visit www.traveltown.org.

Maximize Battery Charger

MAXIMIZE YOUR LIFT’S BATTERY CHARGE PROFILE

In the same way, that different deep-cycle battery designs vary in capacity and overall performance, charging the battery can be as unique as the battery itself. Because deep-cycle batteries in various vehicles and machinery can differ in their work environment, the battery’s capacity and performance are susceptible to how they are charged and maintained. Battery manufacturers like U.S. Battery work with charger manufacturers such as Delta-Q to develop various charging profiles for particular battery sizes and designs to maximize your lift’s battery performance. Ultimately, the overall performance of any work platform comes down to how well the batteries are maintained, the depth of discharge, and the “charge quality” during each recharging session.

According to Delta-Q, the manufacturer has more than 50 charge algorithms on hand for a variety of batteries. To determine how to give your equipment’s battery the best charge, you need to understand what charge algorithms are. There are different charge algorithms available on many battery chargers, but to understand this, you first need to know that there are basically three stages of battery charging. The first is a Bulk Stage, where the charger uses constant current at full charger output to bring the battery to approximately 80% state of charge. The second stage is Absorption Charge using constant voltage where the charge current tapers from full charger output to a lower level that depends on battery conditions. The charger allows the battery to control the charge rate at which it can accept a charge until 100% of the amp-hours removed on the previous discharge are returned. At this point, the battery is not quite fully charged and requires a controlled overcharge. The third stage is the Finish Charge, where the charger gives the battery a lower constant current charge at a charge rate that is proportional to the design capacity of the battery. Assuring the battery is fully charged and provides enough gassing to mix the electrolyte to prevent electrolyte stratification.

During these three charge stages, charge algorithms can differ in current, voltage, time, and amount of overcharge. Charge algorithms are adapted to optimize charging for specific battery models and chemistries. To begin with, there are three primary types of algorithms. SPECIFIC charge algorithms that are custom designed in collaboration between the charger manufacturer and the battery manufacturer and are used by most Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) of access lifts and machinery. For performance and warranty reasons, lift OEM’s use a specific battery and therefore require a particular charge algorithm to maximize the battery life for the performance and use environment of the equipment. Depending on the battery chemistry and its use, the charge time and current applied during these three stages can vary to provide the best possible balance between cycle life, runtime, and overall battery life.

Some charger manufacturers use GENERIC charge algorithms designed for particular battery chemistries (such as flooded lead-acid, AGM or Gel) and a wide range of amp-hour capacities. Each chemistry requires a different charge algorithm and amount of overcharge. According to charger manufacturer Delta-Q, a generic charge algorithm will provide a reasonable compromise between battery life and performance. Generic algorithms provide greater flexibility between battery makes and models, especially if the owner decides to change to a different battery when it’s time for the battery to be replaced.

Some charger manufacturers offer UNIVERSAL charge algorithms that can be used for all types of batteries, and most battery manufacturers do not recommend the use of these algorithms. If used, battery state of charge and temperature should be carefully monitored to prevent undercharge or overcharge that could severely decrease battery performance and life.

Ultimately, the best way to get the most out of your batteries, and your lift equipment, is to consult with the manufacturer and/or look up the charge algorithm they have for the specific battery in your equipment. The battery charger should use that specific charge algorithm; allowing you to get the most out of your batteries and ultimately your equipment. For more information on batteries and charging profiles, visit www.delta-q.com.

AdvancedEV Raffles Golf Car To Raise Money For Texas Neighbor With ALS

Golf car manufacturer AdvancedEV from Rosenberg, TX is raising money to help one of their neighbors, Sammye Cotton, who is afflicted with ALS. The company is selling raffle tickets at $20 apiece, with the proceeds going towards the cherished community volunteer, wife of Robert Cotton, and mother of two boys. “Sammye has helped so many in our community by volunteering and coaching youth sports,” says a spokesperson for AdvancedEV.

The Grand Prize is a 2022 AdvancedEV Advent four-passenger model equipped with U.S. Battery deep-cycle batteries; additional prizes have been donated by sponsors. Raffle tickets are available at this link: https://help-a-neighbor-win-a-golf-cart.myshopify.com/ and will be available through July 29, 2022. In order to win the Grand Prize, you must be located in the contiguous 48-states. The drawing date is July 30, 2022, at 11 am CST.

Recycling

U.S. Battery Manufacturing And The Battery Industry, Celebrate Their Commitment Towards Positive Environmental Change On Earth Day

Since 1970, Earth Day has stood as a celebration of the modern environmental movement. Today people and industries around the world, including the lead battery industry, have answered the call to help improve our world by developing methods of manufacturing and operations that are more environmentally friendly. As a result of these new approaches, lead batteries are now a sustainable energy source used in a wide range of applications.

The battery industry has emerged as one of the major success stories of this Earth Day movement. Flooded Lead Acid (FLA) batteries are recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the most recycled consumer product in the nation. The innovative recycling methods for the lead battery industry result in 99 percent of every lead battery being recycled. Translating into 130-million used batteries not reaching landfills annually. Over the decades, the process has evolved to use almost every part of the battery. Battery reyclingThe polypropylene outer case and cover are broken down into small pellets and manufactured into new batteries and other plastic products. The internal lead components of the battery are melted down to make components for new batteries. The battery’s electrolyte is neutralized and purified into water or converted into sodium sulfate, a compound commonly used in laundry detergent, glass, and textiles.

The effects of the battery industry’s efforts, however, don’t end there. As well as reducing its environmental impact, the battery industry provides $26.3-billion in revenue to the nation’s economy, impacting suppliers, worker spending, transportation, and distribution sectors. According to the Battery Council International (BCI), the international trade association of battery manufacturers, an estimated $1.7 billion is put into payroll within an industry of approximately 25,000 workers in the United States.

In addition, advancements in battery technology have turned lead batteries into one of the most cost-efficient forms of energy, allowing battery-powered equipment to operate cleanly and with increased reliability. Lower operating costs also offer advantages to lead battery-powered machinery and vehicles, further reducing emissions and reducing the environmental impact of other industries that embrace battery power.

U.S. Battery is proud to be a part of this effort and continually encourages customers and industries it’s involved in to recycle and use battery power where ever possible. Please join U.S. Battery and others in the global community in celebrating Earth Day by visiting the EarthDay.org website and finding an event to participate in or ways to take action. For more information, visit www.earthday.org, or for more information on sustainable deep-cycle batteries for various applications, visit www.usbattery.com.

 

U.S. Battery Manufacturing Suspends Exports Of Its Deep-Cycle Battery Products To Russia

Due to the current geopolitical situation, U.S. Battery Manufacturing is suspending all exports of its products to Russia. “We are concerned for the people of Ukraine and their suffering as a result of the aggressive military actions taken by the Russian government,” said U.S. Battery COO Don Wallace. “In response, we will not be exporting any further U.S. Battery products to Russia. We will continue to pray, and offer support to the Ukrainian people in the hopes that this unprovoked act of violence ends as quickly as possible.”

U.S. Battery has been exporting to Russia for more than 10-years and is a major global supplier of deep-cycle batteries that are used in numerous industries. For more information on U.S. Battery’s products, visit www.usbattery.com.

U.S. 145 XC2 with XC2 logo

Let’s Make It In America

In his State of the Union address, President Biden called for an end to relying on foreign supply chains and stated, “Let’s make it in America.” The Battery Council International (BCI) agrees, and according to Roger Miksad, executive vice president of the council, the U.S. lead battery manufacturing, and recycling industry is ready to meet the challenges.

Miksad stated that the U.S. lead and battery industry is proud of its existing domestic infrastructure that meets more than 90% of the domestic lead battery demand. According to the BCI, the U.S. supply chain employs nearly 25,000 people generating $26.3 Billion in economic contribution to the country’s economy.

With environmental issues also at the forefront of the President’s agenda, the BCI reminds Americans that in the U.S., lead batteries are manufactured utilizing a closed-loop system. In this system, the industry collects more than 130-million used batteries each year and recycles them to make new batteries that contain 80% recycled materials.

“Lead batteries are essential to building energy independence,” said Miksad. “They employ the most sustainable battery technology to aid in both mitigating climate change and securing energy independence for our country. Nearly every new electric vehicle contains a 12-volt lead battery to power critical safety functions. They enable low-carbon start-stop technology that keeps 5.3 million tons of greenhouse gases from the environment annually.”

According to the BCI, lead batteries are the most sustainable battery technology that aids in building energy independence and annually keeps 5.3-million tons of greenhouse gases out of the environment. “They provide renewable energy storage capabilities for commercial wind and solar farms,” says Miksad. “As well as in residential and community-based installations to capture energy generated by the wind and sun.”

The BCI and battery manufacturers like U.S. Battery are constantly looking to improve battery technology. Through continued investment in research and development with the U.S. National Laboratories system, the battery industry is pursuing next-generation battery technology and energy storage solutions that will be built by U.S. workers across the nation.

Battery Day

BATTERY RECYCLING CAN LEAD TO A BETTER FUTURE FOR ENERGY RESOURCES

Celebrating National Battery Day (February 18th) is a reminder to industries and consumers of the number of batteries we rely on daily, as well as our responsibility to recycle them properly. Various business sectors and local and federal government agencies are increasingly looking to lead batteries as a vital energy resource. Lead-acid batteries are nearly 100-percent recycled in a closed-loop system and represent a sustainable resource that is good for the environment.

Battery reyclingContinuation of this closed-loop is an essential part of the manufacturing process. So in observance of NBD, people can contribute to a brighter future by gathering their old or used batteries and recycling them properly. Organizations like www.call2recycle.org, a national non-profit, are dedicated to helping consumers identify various battery types and locate local recycling centers and disposal options. This national effort is also designed to discourage the improper disposal of batteries in landfills, which can lead to chemical and fire hazards and potential injury to workers.

National And Local Economic Contributions

In addition to batteries being a sustainable and recyclable source of energy, they also provide more than 90-percent of the backup power required for localized 24/7 telecommunications backup recovery systems that protect lives, investments, and data in an emergency. Within the transportation and motive power sectors, 12V lead batteries have a projected growth reaching more than six percent in the automotive market alone between 2015 and 2030, bringing the market value to $31.9B.

In the United States, lead batteries have a $26.3-billion impact on economies that affect local suppliers, worker spending, transportation, and distribution networks. This impact provides an estimated $1.7-billion in annual payroll, supporting the battery industry that employs nearly 25,000 workers.

FUTURE IMPACT

As batteries increase in use and popularity, manufacturers look at ways to improve their efficiency. For example, flooded lead-acid (FLA)batteries are still widely used, despite their more than 150-year-old technology. To better power modern equipment, battery manufacturers continue to make product improvements, such as developing more efficient positive electrodes using tetrabasic lead sulfate crystals that create a highly uniform pattern. This pattern increases initial capacity, provides faster cycle-up to peak capacity, and enhances cycle life. Advances have also been made in maintenance-free Absorbed Glass Matt (AGM) batteries, including the prevention of positive electrode corrosion and the use of carbon-enhanced negative active materials. These have improved AGM battery’s charge acceptance in a partial state of charge applications and have helped to increase cycle life over previous models.

While Lithium-ion batteries are not new to mobile devices and computers, their use in electric vehicles, bicycles, and industrial applications continues to increase. New designs allow them to have an increased cycle-life from 2,000 to 5,000 cycles, and they can be discharged beyond 50-percent DOD without reducing cycle-life. The latest designs also feature an integrated battery management system (BMS), eliminating the need for additional electronics or special chargers in industrial applications.

Do Your Part

Gather old batteries and locate a local store, organization, or recycling facility to take them to. It’s also important to correctly identify the type of battery taken to a recycling center. Lithium-ion batteries cannot be recycled as lead-acid batteries are, and if they enter into the lead battery recycling facility, fires and explosions can occur. If you are unsure where or how to dispose of your used batteries, visit. www.call2recycle.org to find a local drop-off location. For more information on battery recycling processes, visit the Battery Council International at www.batterycouncil.org.