Steps to Recovering Lead Acid Batteries
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 Sulfated batteries;
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
Description of Battery Recovery Methods and Technology and their Affect on the Batteries
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 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.
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 as all the manufacturers we represent do not recommend their use.
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