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NitroMan

Deep Cycle Batteries

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I have a Deep Cycle battery that will not hold a charge very well and I am pretty broke right now. I was wondering if anyone knows the procedure for recharging them with distilled water. I was told to fill the battery up with distilled water and then recharge it. I know that battery acid is extremly harmful and I was a little uneasy to try that. But if that is the proper procedure then I will attempt it. SO if anyone could shed somelight onto this subject it would help me out a lot!

Thank You ;)

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Take the lids off the cells and see if the plates are covered with liquid.  If they are then charge the battery before adding water.  If they are exposed then cover them with distilled water before charging.

You only want about 1/2" of coverage over the plates.

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If the battery is dying and you want to maximize life, adding distilled water to a low battery will often kill it.  The reason is the acid remaining after the water has been lost over time is concentrated.  If you add water, the water will "float" on top of the dense acid and virtually eliminate battery function in the higher areas of the plates.

So if trying to save a battery, put just enough water to give about 1/4 inch over the plates rather than fill to the "full" mark.

Then give them an overcharge for at least 24 hours.  Overcharge means the equalize setting on a good charger that will make the electrolyte bubble.  This will mix the acid and the water and distribute it evenly over the plates.

I've never used one of the electronic devices that are supposed to restore lost capacity.  When they first came out I got a copy of the patent application and read it.  To me it sounded like snake oil and male bovine excrement mixed.  However some very experienced friends have reported good results with them and I have to respect their feedback.  There are some cheap imitations so spending $$ on a good brand name and paying a little more is probably advisable.

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Nitro,

My charger has a special feature that 'desulfates' the battery if it is getting weaker. First check the water levels, then see if you can find a buddy with a charger that has this pulsing feature. It takes 24 hours to do the procedure. I'm brainfarting exactly what it is called though.

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This is the best money anyone having batteries that sit can ever spend http://autosupermart.com/store/shop/vdcbatterycharger.html. Contrary to other opinions, it works. I bought my first one about two years ago and have three of them now. I have reclaimed a number of sulphated batteries with them. It can take up to two months for a badly sulphated battery to be fully desulphated but I have had batteries that would not even float a hydrometer after a long charge, read 1.280 - 1.30 on all cells after a couple of months on a Battery Minder and run them another year or two.

Now there are other issues that come into play letting a battery sit for long periods of time. One is stratafication, where the acid seperates from the water, leaving a heavy concentration of acid at the bottom, eating away at the cells, a water at the top. Too low of a charge rate willl also cause this or letting a battery sit without being cycled and left to self discharge . When the battery is charged, it has to be charged at a high enough rate the gases are being released perculating to the top. As the bubbles rise, they create a current flow that keeps the electrolite mixed.

Then you have the problem of sell deteriation caused by overcharging/discharging or letting the cells become exposed by not keep water levels up.

There is no cure for a battery that has been damaged by these issues.

As for just adding distilled water and charging, sorry, that's hog wash. If it's below the cells, you add enough to cover the cells and try to charge, but that's only to protect the cells, has nothing to do with recovering a bad battery.

Don't try to add more acid either, that usually only causes and over concentration of acid. When a battery looses liquid, it only loose the water so you only add water back.

Now, if you like living on the edge, you can drain the battery, flush it with caustic soda, rince it good with distilled water and then refill it it with electrolite. This will also desulphate a suphated battery but does also does little for a deteriated battery. You can also have a battery explode in your face doing this.

I just keep the BatteryMinder's on my batteries that are not in use and my onboard chargers connected 24/7 to all the batteries in my boats.

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NitroMan,

By the time you figure out how to properly desulfate a battery (assuming that is why your battery is weak) you could have mowed 4 lawns in your neighbor hood and bought a new battery with less headache.

Replace mowing lawns with snow shoveling, delivering pizza, or spending an extra 3 hours at work; depending on your preference.

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Since we're discussing draining water from batteries and we're all concerned about water quality and wildlife conservation  What is the proper way to dispose of the acid contaminated water you drain from a battery?  Pour it out onto the ground?  Flush it into a septic system?  Pour it into a street drain?  Dump it into a nearby lake or stream?  

Seriously, what is the proper way to dispose of the water from a battery?  I'm not trying to be a butt, I've never thought about it until now and am curious about the answer.  I've never drained a battery to make room for an additive or for any other reason.  Normally, if my batteries require any maintenance at all I'm adding distilled water or cleaning the terminals.

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The proper way is to take it to a hazardous waste disposal site and pay the disposal fee. There was a salvage company in Alabama dumping them in a pond on his place so he could reclaim the lead and didn't want to pay disposals fees. EPA caught him and he served a few years and paid a hellava clean up fee and fines. This is kinda like the guys who change their on oil, some put it in a container and take it to a garage or changing station to dispose of it in their waste oil tanks. Then you have those idiots that just dump it on the ground, having no clue how much damage a gallon of oil can cause.

So, while I did mention you could flush them, I guess I shouldn't have if someone is seriously dumb enough to do it without the knowledge and equipment but this is common pratice with the large commercial batteries that can cost 3 - 4 thousand dollars. However, it is also done by professionals that know what they are doing.

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Add baking soda to neutralize battery acid. It bubbles up just like vinegar and baking soda. Keep adding baking soda as long as it keeps bubbling up.

I am under the impression you can rinse it down the drain after that, but I can't find it in writing and am not sure.

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The trace lead in the electrolite is the problem.  A little lead goes a long way when it comes to contamination.  Neutralizing the acid does not get rid of the lead.

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Bring it back to where you bought the battery, The Wal Mart here is excellent about helping get rid of all this stuff!

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Ann-Marie, what is your opinion on the additive that I posted the link to?

I have no personal experience with it so I don't have an opinion.  I know some of the rejuvenating potions were snake oil but I don't know which they are.

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