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Steps to Recovering Lead Acid Batteries

Deep cycling batteries

Equalization Charge

Electronic Battery Desulphator

Some of the following procedures are also a component of battery maintenance but are in fact destructive to some degree and will decrease battery longevity.  Longevity may not be a problem if the battery performance is presently sub-optimal and you need to recover performance.  What follows as a whole should not be considered preventative maintenance.

Restoring Sulphated batteries;
              what has worked for us and our Clients is as follo
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Battery Recovery

You've determined that your battery needs recovering.  It will probably exhibit some or all of the following: rapid voltage drop under light loads, quickly taking on a charge, takes a long time to full charge, higher temperatures during charge and discharge, specific variance between cells of 50 points or more.

A more detailed description of the following steps follows below this section

  1. Label your each of the batteries and each cell within a battery. 
  2. Start a battery log and continuously monitor your batteries with a good hydrometer (not a cheap one from the automotive store or big box store You want a hydrometer that measures to 3 decimal places).  Keep track of individual batteries and cells logging voltage, temperature and specific gravity.  Log all measurements after each process you put the battery through.  When the batteries are recovered, continue logging their attributes at least once every three months.
  3. Purchase a good Hydrometer if you don't have one.
  4. Put the batteries through an Equalization charge cycle of your battery charger
  5. Immediately purchase or if you are so inclined and to able, build an electronic Battery Desulphator and connect it to your batteries and leave it there. Make sure you maintain a maintenance charge on your batteries while the desulphator is running.
  6. Alternatively you can Deep Cycle the batteries. Deep cycling is the process of fully charging your batteries then fully discharging to a SG of 1.120 then fully charging the batteries to a SG of about 1.27. Do this for at least six cycles.  
  7. After two weeks repeat step 6 if specific gravity of cells continue to differ.  Do so again two weeks later.
  8. If you have batteries or cells that continue to differ from the rest look to replace them with good used ones of the same approximate age.  Otherwise it may be time for a new set of batteries.  PLEASE read all the sections within our battery section of which this is but one page. Your batteries came to this state for a reason, our web pages within this section are there to help you to avoid problems.

Good Luck! 

Description of Battery Recovery Methods and Technology and their Affect on the Batteries

Equalization Charge

During an equalization charge peak voltage is raised, causing increased temperatures and vigorous gassing.  It is probable that gassing causes results from the overly high voltage induced gassing causes turbulence over the sulfate crystals coating the battery plates, dissolving most but separation of some allowing them to float to the surface of the electrolyte.   The higher temperatures associated with equalization charging also help erode the battery plates, fresh plate surface is exposed.  The turbulence within the electrolyte also stirs up and mix the electrolyte if it has become stratified. Never put a discharged battery on Equalize.  Equalize batteries after they have been charged and allowed to cool down. The equalize option is not a charging method, it is a maintenance technique used only when required. 

Electronic De-sulphation

Electronic current of up to 10A cycled at 800 kHZ or more is applied to the batteries. This creates a resonance within the batteries that wears down the sulfate crystals at an ionic level.  The resonance may adversely affect older batteries with structurally eroded plates by causing fragile plate pieces to fall off and possibly short a cell.

Deep Cycling

A technique used to equalize and rejuvenate where batteries are cycled between a full state of charge then down to 20% state of charge.  Recharging from 20% state of charge is optimally performed at a charge rate of 10% of the ampere hour rating of the battery array e.g. a 1500 AHr battery is charged with a charger capable of charging at 150 Amps.  The recharging sequence proceeds through the complete three stage charging sequence of Bulk, Absorption and Float and charging should be uninterrupted.  Deep-cycling batteries reduces battery life but is less destructive than an equalization charge.  AGM and VRLA batteries cannot be equalized but the deep cycling technique can be used.

Other Battery Recovery Methods

We have surfed the Internet and seen many other solutions suggested and followed some.  From the cleaning of battery sulphation through the use of a chemical referred to as EDTA, or Ethylene diamine tetra acetic acid-tetrasodium salt. (N,N'-1,2-ethanediylbis [N-(carboxymethyl) glycerine tetrasodium salt to removing sulphation deposits to the use of TSP (after the electrolyte has been drained) to remove the other crud out of batteries.  We have no experience with the addition or use of chemicals to batteries and all the manufacturers we represent do not recommend their use.

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Last modified: November 13, 2018