When a lead acid battery doesn’t receive a full charge, sulfation happens. Following are some efficient ways to desulfate a lead acid battery.
It doesn’t matter if you drive a huge, expensive car or a tiny UPS system. Your devices might become useless if your lead-acid batteries are sulfate. Some issues that you may experience include:
- Long charging times
- Loss of starting power
- More heat build-up
Additionally, a sulfated battery will eventually stop functioning if left untreated. You will have no other solution than to spend hefty amounts on battery replacement. Naturally, this won’t be feasible repeatedly. So, we’ll demonstrate how to desulfate a battery in today’s post.
How to desulfate a Lead Acid Battery?
In any case, desulfating a lead acid battery is not a straightforward procedure. It’s true that there are various ways to do it, some of which might be simpler than others. None, however, is appropriate for beginners.
The two most effective methods for desulfating a lead acid battery are described below. To use them, it is advised to ask a specialist or expert.
Method 1: Short High-Current Pulses
The large sulfate crystals on the plates can be broken down by subjecting the lead acid battery to intermittent, high-current pulses. During the battery’s charging process, this is done.
As a result, the crystals split due to the rhythmic resonance and high current. However, these electrical pulses ought to be tailored to the level of sulfation. Here are two circuits that are commonly used for the process:
- PWM Circuit
Pulse-width modulation circuit is what is known as a PWM circuit. This specific layout modifies the amp output. Two transistors and a built-in 555 timer are also present to boost the output of the IC timer. As a result, high-current pulses are generated.
- Transformer & Bridge Rectifier Circuit
A little complicated the circuit for the bridge rectifier and transformer. Numerous considerations, such as the transformer rating, resonant frequency, and other factors, will need to be made. The circuit, however, sends a strong, pulsating direct current at 100 or 120 Hz once it is finished. This instantly removes the sulfate that has built up on the plates.
These circuits can be built independently, and the current can be applied if you have technical knowledge. If you would rather not do that, you can hire a professional or buy the top anti-sulfation products available. These devices employ the same short, high-current pulse technique.
Some models, though, might employ high frequency. They modify wave amplitude and frequency rather than current or voltage. The increased intensity causes the crystals to break just as efficiently as in high-power.
Method 2: Epsom Salts
Epsom salt refers to a chemical compound that includes magnesium, oxygen, and sulfur. Magnesium sulfate is the official name of the substance. Epsom salts are typically used to soothe tense muscles. To relieve various types of pain, people add them to the bathwater and then soak them. To desulfate lead acid batteries, however, Epsom salts also work well.
Please take note that lead acid batteries in large equipment cannot be desulfated with Epsom salts. This technique works with cars, UPS, and other small devices. Here’s how to desulfate a lead acid battery using Epsom salts:
- Secure yourself by wearing safety gloves and gloves. Using acidic liquid in this process exposes workers to serious risks of injury.
- Remove the lead acid battery from the device. To disconnect the battery from the system, for instance, open the hood of the car. A screwdriver is needed.
- Set aside 7 to 8 ounces of Epsom salts.
- Heat one ½ quart of distilled water in a cup. 150 degrees Fahrenheit should be the temperature. Before continuing to the next step, it is best to take the temperature with a thermometer.
- Epsom salts should dissolve when added to hot water. Set it aside.
- Remove the battery caps to access the cells.
- Look inside to see if any liquid is still present. If yes, then you must pour it out in a bucket, neutralize it, and then dispose of it. You can neutralize the acidic liquid by adding a tiny bit of baking soda.
- Pour the salts into the lead acid battery cell through a plastic funnel that has been placed over the access. A complete fill of Epsom salts should be present in the cells.
- Replace the caps and gently shake the lead acid battery. This will guarantee a fair distribution across all cells.
- The lead acid battery is now charging. To find out how to read the manual for the specific battery. Alternatively, you can contact the support staff by going to the manufacturer’s website.
You’ll notice that lead acid battery performance has improved after finishing. Reinstall it properly into the apparatus.
We have already discussed the most preferred methods of Desulfating a lead acid battery. Companies continue to develop new technologies, though, to address this issue. STAMP, 555 timers, and microcontrollers are a few additional desulfation techniques you might encounter.
What is Sulfation?
Small sulfate crystals do form during use, but this is normal and not harmful. The amorphous lead sulfate, however, transforms into a stable crystalline during extended charge deprivation and deposits on the negative plates. As a result, the battery’s active material, which determines performance, is reduced and grows into large crystals.
There are two types of sulfation: reversible (or soft sulfation), and permanent (or hard sulfation). Reversible sulfation can frequently be cured if a battery is serviced early by applying an overcharge to a fully charged battery in the form of a regulated current of about 200 mA.
Approximately 24 hours are given for the battery terminal voltage to increase to between 2.50 and 2.66V/cell (15 and 16V on a 12V monoblock). Increasing the battery temperature to 50–60°C (122–140°F) during the corrective service further helps in dissolving the crystals.
After the battery has been in a low state of charge for several weeks or months, permanent sulfation starts to occur. However, the recovery yield is not fully understood. At this point, it appears that no form of restoration is possible. To everyone’s surprise, even brand-new lead-acid batteries that have been living in low voltage for several weeks can frequently be fully restored. Other elements could be at play.
How to Prevent Battery Sulfation?
Storage of batteries correctly is one of the simplest ways to stop battery sulfation. A battery must be sufficiently charged to keep it above 12.4 volts when it is stored, even if it is fully charged. By using this maintenance charge, sulfates won’t accumulate. While it was mentioned that batteries shouldn’t be kept above 75 degrees, it is also crucial to keep in mind that the rate of self-discharge doubles for every 10 degrees above room temperature.
It is not necessary to have a difficult procedure for preventing battery sulfation. All it takes is routine battery maintenance and best charging practices. Sulfation is the number one reason you should not store your battery with an empty charge. Once sulfation of the lead plates has occurred, reversing the effects is highly unlikely, so it is critical to take care of your batteries from the start.
Conclusion: Desulfate a Lead Acid Battery
When a battery is left in a low state of charge for several weeks or months, permanent sulfation begins to develop. No kind of restoration appears feasible at this time.
All in all, lead acid battery desulfation is possible and effective. It doesn’t guarantee the complete removal of sulfate crystals, but it removes them to a certain extent. There are several ways to desulfate a lead acid battery.
The Epsom salt technique is typically thought to be simpler. However, it’s only suitable for small-scale power systems. You should experiment with using brief, high-current pulses for larger systems. The massive crystals shake and scatter rapidly as a result of the regular bursts of high power.
What Voltage is Needed to Desulfate a Battery?
Upon connection to a battery, the desulfation mode can only engage if no current enters the battery at a charge voltage of up to 14V. The initial voltage of a sulfated battery will typically be between 2 and 6V.
Is It Possible to Desulfate a Battery?
All in all, battery desulfation is possible and effective. Sulfate crystals are partially removed, though it can’t guarantee that they’ll be entirely gone. Different methods exist for desulfation batteries. Epsom salt is generally thought to be a simpler method.
How Long Does a Battery Take to Desulfate?
Depending on the size of the battery, the desulfation process can take from 48 hours to weeks to complete. In order to continue lowering the concentration of lead sulfur in the solution, the battery is trickle charged during this time.
How Do You Recover and Recondition a Sulfated Battery?
Attach a battery trickle charger or a computerized smart charger to your old lead acid battery, and allow charging continuously for about a week to 10 days. The de-sulphation that kills the battery is removed by the extremely slow charging rates, which restores the battery’s ability to hold a useful charge.
How Do I Know If My Battery is Sulfated?
The most common sign that a battery could be sulfated is when it does not hold a charge very well or doesn’t hold a charge at all, other signs include the battery going dead long before expected or electronic devices not getting the required power they need (ie dim headlights, weak AC, slow start-up).