BU-805: Additives to Boost Flooded Lead Acid

Adding chemicals to the electrolyte of flooded lead acid batteries can reduce the buildup of lead sulfate on the plates and improve the overall battery performance. This treatment has been in use since the 1950s (and perhaps longer) and provides a temporary performance boost for aging batteries. It’s a stopgap measure because in most cases the plates have already been worn out through shedding. Chemical additives cannot replace the active material, nor can cracked plates, corroded connectors or damaged separators be restored with an outside remedy.

Extending the service life of an aging battery is a noble desire. The additives are cheap, readily available and worth the experiment of a handyman. Suitable additives are magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt), caustic soda and EDTA. (EDTA is a crystalline acid used in industry.) These salts may reduce the internal resistance of a sulfated battery to give it a few months of extra life. Using Epsom salt, follow these easy steps:

Heat up the water to about 66°C (150°F), mix 10 heaping tablespoons of Epsom salt into the water and stir until dissolved. The consistency of the brew should vary according to the extent of the sulfation. Avoid using too much salt because a heavy concentration will increase corrosion of the lead plates and internal connectors. Pour the warm solution into the battery.

Be careful not to overfill. Do not place un-dissolved Epsom salt directly into the battery because the substance does not dissolve well. In place of Epsom salt, try adding a pinch of caustic soda. Charge or equalize the battery after service. The results are not instantaneous and it may take a month for the treatment to work. The outcome is not guaranteed.


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On March 17, 2011 at 1:59am
ajay shah wrote:

why water loss during charging with invertor and please also suggest me by adding how can we stop water loss in battery.

On March 28, 2011 at 4:12pm
Brad wrote:

How much water is being mixed with the 10 heaping table spoons of Epson salt?
Is the acid to be removed from the battery 1st?

On April 19, 2011 at 1:05pm
fhhuber wrote:

Why water loss:  Evaporation.  Modern “sealed” automotive batteries have very low water loss rate.  We used to have to check the water level of a car battery at least every 3 months.  Today’s automotive batteries can go their entire appx 5 year useful life without needing water.


I have no experience putting additive in a modern automotive battery…  the batteries of 30 years ago it worked fine (and gave 2 weeks to 3 months extra battery life from a battery that typically survived 2 to 3 years).  The electrolyte chemistry is not the same in the newer batteries.


Re the Epsom salts….

How much salt and how much water depends on battery size.  You will find it takes a lot of water to dissolve 10 tablespoons of epsom salt.  So this section does need editing.

Hopefully if you need to put additive in your battery you also need to add water… Its best to NOT remove electrolyte from the battery.  Its dangerous to mix acids with other chemicals.  Splashing can cause severe burns.

For best results use distilled water when mixing your own additive.  Just mix as much epsom salt in 1 cup of water as will dissolve.  Put equal amounts of this in each cell.

The benefit from these treatments is dissolving sulfate deposits (white crystals in the battery)  the sulfates cause internal shorting of the plates as well as the crystal expansion which can deform the battery.

Badly sulfated automotive batteries will have bulged ends.  At that point they don’t gain much from treatment.

($60 for a decent battery that lasts 5 years… why bother playing with this potentially dangerous practice?)

On October 11, 2011 at 2:33pm
grant wrote:

if you are adding epsom salt to battery cells and water, how do you put the solation in the cells with water, with out taking something out?

On November 17, 2011 at 4:05pm
John Fetter wrote:

Surely treating a worn out battery is like watering a dead plant or feeding a dead dog? The rational mind will look after the plant and the dog. Yet hordes of people who regard themselves as perfectly rational will still attempt to breathe life into their dead batteries !!!!!

On January 1, 2012 at 7:12pm
Bobo wrote:

At first I was optimistic but now a little less so. I have a Bosch battery that’s only 3 yrs. old and pretty much crashed and burned. I drained the original electrolyte to find a cloudy,discolored solution with no Specific Gravity. Filled all the cells with the Epsom Salt mixture and noticed that it,too, is very discolored in appearance. I wonder how many times this mixture needs to be PowerCycled in order to stabilize and hold a respectable voltage? I assume 4 or 5 times would program a new memory into the Battery. I’m beginning to believe that the Specific Gravity of a MgSO4 solution will never rival that of H2SO4. I"m charging at 25V and 7A. I guess that I should be patient. These plates must be ultra-sulfated. Have a goodday!

On January 2, 2012 at 5:53am
John Fetter wrote:

You appear to have done more damage to your battery doing what you did to it than it had suffered before you started! First of all, the story about sulfation being the reason batteries wear out is an urban legend. They sulfate up when they are not properly charged. Batteries that are used correctly never become sulfated. Secondly, you took out perfectly good electrolyte and put back a quack potion Thirdly, charging at 25V, 7A is totally crazy.

On February 28, 2012 at 11:47pm
Jimmy Young wrote:

I agree with John.25v must be producing a fizzy drink,though I do not agree with John about sulfation~~~~ I have been led to belive ( by my grandfather who had a chain of “battery service stations” shortly after the end of the ww1”) That :- Plates are charged from the bottom up & dicharged from to top down & the reason modern batteries don’t last the way ie:- 6v batts in early vdubs did (6-8-10 years) which were healthilly discharged on starting then SLOWLY recharged,——is becaused modern cars take a split second to start & instantly top up the battery which means that only the top of the cell-groups are working which in turn leaves the rest a the plates to SULFATE

On February 29, 2012 at 12:02am
Jimmy Young wrote:

Note to Bobo:- I’ll bet your poor battery “crashed & burnt”. with a heap of hydrogen you are lucky you did not have an amazing explosion. why did you choose 25v.
I have used 24v to jump start 12v equipment but only for a split second and then with great care (like opening all the cell groups & blowing out any hydrogen that might be waiting to “pop”

On March 1, 2012 at 3:39am
John Fetter wrote:

Jimmy Young - The vast majority of reports on battery problems are anecdotal, the explanations mostly speculative and the proposed cures educated guesses.
Car batteries spend most of their lives just standing. In the old days off meant off but nowadays it means discharging into computers, alarms, (and yes, fans!), etc.

On March 9, 2012 at 12:28am
Bevan Paynter wrote:

I would suggest persons verify their batt has sulfation 1st- a normal pos plate/s is are brown- neg plates are grey- sulfation is white- usually patches on both groups. There is a product on the market called Inox batt rejuvenatot- about $8- maker will add 12 months warranty if used on new batt- it seems to contain cadmium sulphate 5%- claims to dissolve sulfation- I have never tried- others have- results are inconclusive(anecdotal).

On March 9, 2012 at 3:29am
John Fetter wrote:

Cadmium sulfate has been put into lead-acid batteries ever since the lead-acid battery became a commercial item. The brand you identified sells a roughly 5% solution of calcium sulfate, (according to their safety data sheet), recommending that 30 milliliters are added per car battery cell. Each cell holds about half a liter of acid, so it ends up very diluted.
The electrochemical potentials of cadmium, calcium sulfate; lead and lead sulfate are fairly close. It seems likely that the cadmium ions that enter the electrolyte as calcium sulfate very quickly end up electroplated onto the negatives, where they probably increase the metal surface area enough to give a sulfated battery just enough extra “oomph” to get the engine going - for a limited period after treatment.
Litmus test: If it had been capable of providing a long term solution, this technology would have long ago become a multi-hundred million dollar per year industry.

On March 10, 2012 at 12:19am
Bevan Paynter wrote:

John- this company gives 12 months extra warranty if product is put into new batt   - so they expect majority of treated batts to last at least 12 months longer than standard - And the batts that fail as in taxi service then again wouldn’t most new batts last around 5 years if treated well anyway- & most batts have warranty of say 6 months for cheapie, 12 months for better, 2 years for top- so unlikely to have batt fail in warranty period(or even 12 months extra)- so how often has this Co had to pay out?-not very often if at all I would suggest!  And the batts that fail as in taxi service are not covered by any warranty anyway!  Most people who would buy this product do so when their batt starts to give trouble- Oh $8 is cheap- might work! indeed might- depends on reason for batt weakness- as you say unlikely to get any lasting benefit- still that is what this forum is about- educating us all!

On March 10, 2012 at 12:58am
John Fetter wrote:

I have a small library of “grow your business” handbooks. Here are some basic rules. The majority of customers do not understand the technical side of things, so the salesman has to rely on tried and tested sales persuasion. (1) Make customers offers they can’t refuse. Guarantee the customer a result. (2) Apply risk reversal. Tell the customer, “If it does not happen, we will absorb the loss, not you”. Inertia, (or apathy), is on the side of the seller. Very few customers will think it worthwhile to make a big fuss over $8.
The key to success has nothing to do with the quality of the technology. It is all about presentation. There are millions of willing(!!!) buyers. This is how the free market works. Good luck to them.

On March 10, 2012 at 5:36am
John Fetter wrote:

Numerically speaking, the vast majority of lead-acid battery users never give a thought to the battery that starts the engine and keeps the radio and the lights going when the engine is not running. They are given a rude awakening when the battery dies.

A reasonable number of people are car enthusiasts. They like to work on their cars. A very much smaller number of people are actually interested in batteries. It is safe to say, batteries are very unloved. Batteries are grudge buys.

There is a second world of battery users, the industrial battery users - mainly standby and motive power, with wind and solar in the process of catching up. Industrial battery users are used to working with batteries and most are aware of the need to look after them. Nevertheless, proper maintenance remains a problem.

There are plenty of street-smart business people who are capable of convincingly promoting chemicals and electronic devices based on any number of different theories.

Most “veteran” battery users have seen hundreds of battery cures come and go.

How does one go about promoting a genuine battery cure?

On March 11, 2012 at 11:39pm
Bevan Paynter wrote:

John- a genuine battery cure for what condition of batt failure-& what type of batt? as you know, there are multiple failure modes- about the only ones responsive in some way to a chemical additive such as you have are the traction type that are routinely discharged/charged- your additive reduces the amount of top up water- (at a price I would suggest- reduced amp discharge rate/ recharge rate)- still if batt lasts longer!- promote that!- (not that you aren’t!)

On March 12, 2012 at 2:44am
John Fetter wrote:

My question, “How does one go about promoting a genuine battery cure”, is philosophical. Carpets wear out. Tires wear out. Why do people supposedly in the know insist batteries do something else and go on to say this can be corrected, without making the slightest attempt to differentiate between “faulty” and “worn out”? (Sick dog or dead dog?)

On March 12, 2012 at 11:16pm
Bevan Paynter wrote:

John- you know as well as I do that the wear on tyres & carpets can be seen by anyone- whereas the wear on “black box” type things cannot- knowledge & testing instruments are required- which the average person does not have- so said persons are susceptible to truth benders with profit in mind. If only we were not collectively susceptible to lying politicians with power in mind!.

On May 9, 2012 at 11:47am
Bill Milne wrote:

The easiest solution to reviving sulphated batteries that are in good mechanical condition (no shorted cells) is by topping up each cell with a small amount of a patented waterbased product, that has bee in the global marketplace for over 25 years.
Battery Equaliser will reverse the sulpahtion process as electrons flow.
After 5-10 runnings of your battery, the oversulphation that gradually builds up on and inside the lead plates is dissolved and put back into the sulphuric acid electrolyte.
This product used by USA and Israeli military, has been tested to death globally. It is availble in almost any country. manufactured in USA, Canada, Australia and Thailland.
Any lead acid battery can be treated from motorcycles to solar/wind and electric lift trucks.Electric lift trucks treated acn expaect up to $1000 savings per lift truck annually. They will charge faster(less restance) and run longer on the like new plates.
Treated solar storage batteries require up to 80 % less trickle cahrge to stay maintained, which is almost like doubling the size of the panel or prop.www.batteryequaliser.com .

On May 9, 2012 at 4:16pm
John Fetter wrote:

Bill - The total value of automobile type batteries in use worldwide in 2010 is estimated at USD 57 billion. Motive power batteries USD11 billion. A battery performance enhancing product that is effective and that has been going for a quarter century may be expected to be generating many hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues.
It is not who says the product works nor who has used the product that necessarily points to success - surely the most reliable yardstick that is available has to be how much money the technology is generating? Commercial information sources say desulfation is a struggling cottage industry.

On June 8, 2012 at 9:26am
Craig Valentino wrote:

Interesting topic. Thought I would like to share an experience of mine. I am looking to revive a battery. This is not your ordinary battery, in that it has provided excellent daily service in 2 different cars for approx 13 yrs total! I know what you’re thinking but this is absolutely true. I’ve gone through quite a few cars over the yrs including my wife’s, Batteries have come and gone, most lasting about 5 or 6 yrs, But this battery is different somehow. I found it while rumaging through a wrecked 3rd gen camaro in hopes of finding some matching parts for my firebird. I noticed the date scribbled on the windshield that the car was taken to the junkyard, Then I noticed that the battery placard date was only 2 months prior and the date I was looking at the car was an additional month later than the car was put in the junkyard. So I took the battery and threw it in with the other parts I took from the car. I asked the cashier at the junkyard how much for the battery, he looked at me like I was crazy, told me :We recycle batteries because we are required to, we don’t sell them because we feel they are most likely not recoverable. But your welcomed to have it.
    So I took it home, checked the water and it was fine. The battery was sitting at about 8V. I hooked it up to my charger set it on 40 amps for 45 mins ran it, Let it cool down ran 2 more 45 min cycles. The ammeter showed 30 amp draw on the first cycle then slowly came down to about 10 amp draw on the 3rd cycle. I waited 24 hrs then but a meter on it, 13V, so I took my older battery out of my 93 firebird and installed the junkyard battery. Car started up nicely, this was in the summer of 99, Ok I drove the car daily until the summer of 07 with this battery in it, Every yr at the end of the summer I check the battery water level (if they aren’t sealed) of all 3 or 4 cars and top the cells off, then do 3- 45 min 40 amp setting charge cycles, this is because it gets HOT in NC and unsealed batteries do lose water. Then in the middle of winter I run 3- 45 min 40 amp charge cycles just as a deep charge for those cold months.
  Ok I’m pretty careful about not leaving my lights on but it did happen a couple of times while I was at work, but the car still cranked after 8hrs on. Fast foward to 2007, I bought a 86 Fiero SE parked the firebird and moved the battery to the Fiero. Fast forward 2012 70k miles later I forget to turn the headlights off when I get home from work, probably because I’m in a hurry to go to the beach. We drive our TrailBlazer to the beach, 3 days later we come back and the next day I hope into the Fiero to go to work and car doesn’t crank. Then I looked at the light switch and it is in the on position. OOPs! Drove our Probe to work, Got home checked the Fiero battery added a cup full of tap water, put it on the charger 200 amp setting for 2 mins, then 45 mins on 40 amps. Then started the car no problem, put it on 2 more 45 min 40 amp charge cycles and next day drove it to work no problem. Drove it for 2 more wks no problem then the 11th day after work it barely cranked. Put it on the trusty charger for 3 more 45 min 40 amp cycles and drove it to work then it wouldn’t crank after work. I called AAA and they jumped it to get me home. 
    3 Days later I’m at the beach again thinking should I A) Offer this battery to a science museum, B) Take it back to the junkyard and ask them for a refund ( trade it in for another?),  C) Enter it in Guiness Book, or D) try to rejuvenate it?
      I don’t know why but I can’t seem to bring myself to part ways with it yet. Is is possible to be in love with a battery lol. I do have the battery that was in the Fiero originally in my garage and I charged it and it took a charge but I’m waiting to see if it holds over the weekend. PS the junkyard battery still reads 10.5Volts. What do you guys think?

On June 8, 2012 at 1:22pm
John Fetter wrote:

Craig - First thing I would do is to put the battery on a trickle charge, to try and keep it going. What I mean by trickle charge is 13.5 to 13.8 volts, or 100milliamps, for a week. If that helps to make the battery work again, you’re in luck. If that does not work, your battery has joined all the others, curled up its toes, rolled back its eyes, departed this mortal coil.
You might like to share the name of the battery, type and look for a serial number, anything to help identify it. Then we could try to talk to the manufacturer, find out exactly what kind of technology. Not all batteries are the same.
You did not give details of the type of water you used. Surprisingly, pure/ distilled/ deionized water is not necessarily ideal! Water that contains decaying vegetation can sometimes work wonders.
I would guess your battery has lost most of the active material from its plates. Charging at tens of amps does this to a battery. Plus, the separators have leaded through. A shorted cell. Try checking the acid SG. Auto batteries like to be charged at just a couple of amps, for a few days after being run down.
That battery was made when battery manufacturers still attempted to make real batteries, not 2 year lasting black boxes.

(If you believe in fairies, try some kind of rejuvenation.)

On June 8, 2012 at 6:24pm
Craig Valentino wrote:

John, the battery is an Autocraft Titanium . Not sure the exact model, I will try to get the identifiers Mond when I remove it from the car. The charger does have a lower 2amp setting which is used for trickle charging, it does control the current output to the needs of the battery. As far as the water used in all cases tap water from Clayton NC. I believe it to be a very soft water treated with fluoride. Actually you can get a sample analysis of this water here: http://www.townofclaytonnc.org/client_resources/water quality report - 2010.pdf.  I’ve found out that the Autocraft batteries are sold at Advance Auto Parts as their brand. They currently sell a Gold and Silver version no Titanium. They are actually having a sale on them through mid Sept,  I also want to check the SG of the acid first.
  I’ve now read that various manufacturers make Autocraft batteries for Advance Auto Parts because no one mfg can produce enough to supply them. But that Johnson Controls makes them for the southern US region. Johnson Controls should have it’s name on the battery in question. Also I found out they make Diehard batteries for Sears. Hmmm.
  If I can’t revive the battery I might make a project out of neutralizing the acid and dissecting it to see the condition and design of it.

On June 9, 2012 at 1:16am
John Fetter wrote:

Craig - This is precisely why we are discussing batteries. I looked at the link to the water report. Unfortunately the report is not a true report on the chemical composition of the water, more of a PR exercise on lead, etc.. Nevertheless, you used tap water, it worked, the battery lasted for more than ten years.
What I would be interested in is to know what the alloy is in the positives. My theory would be that it is lead-antimony. It is possible to tell by means of a physical test. Lead-antimony grid metal is relatively brittle. Lead-calcium tends to be more malleable. The negative grids are bound to be lead-calcium. Compare the two by selecting roughly equally uncorroded grid border sections, do a bending-straightening test. Count the number of times you bend and straighten before it snaps. I have done this myself many times. Antimony fails well before calcium. The difference is about three times. If the manufacturer used diamond expanded lead sheet, all bets are off. But I would be very surprised.
The separators are very important components. They do not only keep the positives from touching the negatives, they often contain substances that can actually help to extend battery life! Sometimes they are sheets, sometimes envelopes. You might like to ascertain if the separators are adhering to the negatives, as if lead worked its way into the pores from the negatives. That is a sign of overcharging.
The condition of the positives is critically important. I suspect you will find the grids corroded away in places and active material has fallen out. The correct color is dark brown, bordering on black. If there is any dark orange, that is called sludge and has been disconnected for a long time. A sign of grid corrosion.
I doubt you will find more than an insignificant amount of sulfate.

On June 14, 2012 at 3:58pm
Ken Laura wrote:

I live in haiti and everyone here has batteries and inverters in our houses. i just found out that they are using Muriatic Acid to top up the batteries.  I can’t believe they haven’t blown up or fried themselves.  What can i do to correct this?

On June 14, 2012 at 5:35pm
John Fetter wrote:

Ken - Muriatic acid is hydrochloric acid. The reaction in the battery is two-fold. Some of the lead in the plates will go into solution as lead chloride. Then the chloride is given off as chlorine at the positives and the lead plates out onto the negatives. After that, you are left with a battery that still works but with reduced capacity. It will all have happened by now. If the smell of chlorine has gone and the batteries still work effectively, they will carry on working. That is all there is to it. Rather use purified water - in an emergency, tap water.

On July 20, 2012 at 8:33am
Jorge Eriberto Lopes wrote:


How much water for dissolving 10 tablespoons of Epsom salt?
I have a sealed battery with 3 years of 12 volts 70 amps, do not save more energy. Is to recover? his condition is like new.

On July 20, 2012 at 4:38pm
Afdhal Atiff Tan wrote:

Hey, did you guys ever heard of carbon additive? It’s a black liquid (obviously) with colloidal carbon suspension in it.

I’m still in the stage of experimenting with it.
I’m quite sure it’s not a placebo, measured with an insulated K-thermocouple, the battery seems to charge a lot cooler (depending on concentration of it in each cell).

I also tried to ‘homebrew’ it with a regular pencil ‘lead’, so far, nothing went wrong, yet.

Just thought it interesting and wanna share with you guys.

On July 20, 2012 at 5:07pm
John Fetter wrote:

Afdhal - Yes. I made up various suspensions based on both conductive activated and conductive graphite carbon powders and put these into transparent lead-acid test cells. Some of the mixtures just settled out, others covered the plates and made them pitch black. All the cells carried on working just fine.

On July 20, 2012 at 9:44pm
Afdhal Atiff Tan wrote:

John - Yup, it does settle down at the bottom, the trick is to add it just after the battery charged up until it gassing vigorously, that way, it will stir the electrolyte, maintaining the suspension. Giving it a chance convecting through the plates.

Let it gassing up for one night, letting it to do its work, covering up the plates, increasing active surface area, reducing internal impedance.

Then, after done, the rest will finally end up at the bottom.

Yup, the drawback of it is that it only can be use once, but hey, it’s better than nothing, right?


On July 20, 2012 at 11:26pm
John Fetter wrote:

Afdhal - I tried a number of proprietary emulsifying agents to to keep the carbon suspended. Most did not keep the carbon suspended in the acid but one worked so well, the carbon did not settle out for weeks. No gassing required. I had a different objective.

On July 21, 2012 at 12:40am
Bevan Paynter wrote:

Jorge- my experience with additives is that magnesium sulphate(Epsom Salts)  is a complete waste of time & is even harmful to battery- the recommended level of additive is 1 level teaspoon per cell- the amount stated by the poster must have been a joke. To dissolve 1 teaspoon, put in a jar with lid, add 15 ml water, shake till dissolved then pour into each cell. The absolute like-li-hood is that your battery is worn out! And that nothing can rejuvenate it!

On July 21, 2012 at 3:10am
Afdhal Atiff Tan wrote:

John - Wow, thanks for sharing! Would you mind to tell me what kind of emulsifier that work out for you? Wanna try it on my battery too.

Bevan - Have you tried sodium sulfate? I once make a small battery out of small 1cm lead plates submerged in hydrogen sulfate, magnesium sulfate, sodium sulfate, and copper sulfate. Of course it gets weaker when other than HSO4 being used, but the result is:
*HSO4 being the strongest, slowest to charge, also, the plates seems to be eroded quite fast.
*MgSO4 the appearance of while layer (lead sulfate?) on the plates in full charge-discharge cycle is reduced.
*NaSO4 being the fastest to charge, but also the weakest.
*CuSO4 causes the negative plate the covered in copper, and shorted out my cell. Result couldn’t be drawn.

I wonder if NaSO4 would implies faster charging in real battery…

Now, the only sulfate I miss would be cadmium sulfate, I can’t find cheap source of it yet. Hence the carbon-additive experiment.

All - I also tried using pencil ‘lead’ as my carbon for negative electrode. It has the highest short peak discharge current. Just like a capacitor. I guess this would be perfect for starting battery. Somehow, it also the hottest when charging.

None of my experiment is close to scientific, just wanna share what I’ve done.

On July 21, 2012 at 3:24pm
John Fetter wrote:

Afdhal - I obtained the emulsifier from a small business that specializes in mixing all types of substances that normally refuse to mix. They will only supply, not tell what it is. That is pretty common.
The silliest thing you can do is to put all kinds of sulfates into batteries in the hope of solving a problem. Urban legends will never die.
Pencil lead can contain some weird substances in addition to carbon.
There are plenty of carbon powder manufacturers. Car tyres are about 50% carbon. Simply search on line, call the one that is closest and buy what you need. Does not cost an arm and a leg.

On July 22, 2012 at 11:37pm
Bevan Paynter wrote:

Afdhal- I get cadmium from used NiCd cells-aaa or aa sizes- such as found in solar garden lights- after a few years they are thrown out as NiCd is worn out- simply cut around top crimp with hacksaw, unravel s/s case with cutter, withdraw contents- outer foil is cadmium, inner foil is nickel, & some solid electrolyte & seperator- all wound in spiral pattern. Don’t touch cadmium with bare skin- it is poisonous. To obtain Cadmium Sulphate, boil up some electrolyte- drop cadmium in- will bubble up & give off toxic fumes- do outside -do not breathe vapours!!!  When cadmium is completely dissolved(& sometimes the electrolyte cadmium mix is a lovely green, depending on quality of cadmium from cell maker!)- job done! Gotta say- the mix I have added to batt cells does not seem to help! In fact- I gotta say the ONLY thing I used that worked was INOX MX2(in 1 batt so far- I will get some more MX2 &try; in other batts to confirm yes or no!  Apart from that, the other thing is that the batt itself must be only lightly sulfated). John- would you care to name desulfator you tried- sounds like it can work- my home made one is good for sla type batts but seems to do very little for wet lead acid starter batts. Still it is good at identifying o/c cell/s in batt- pulses go up higher with degree of o/c! have seen 1250 volts! Cut open, & disintegrated pos grid! in 1 cell-others almost so!.

On July 23, 2012 at 12:54am
John Fetter wrote:

Bevan - I would suggest refining the cadmium by making the cadmium you recovered from the NiCds the positive in an electroplating cell. Use ordinary battery acid as the electrolyte. Use a tin wire or solder wire negative. Power source can be 12V battery. Insert 220 ohm series resistor. The cadmium that gets plated onto the negative will be dendritic and pure. The actual voltage across the electroplating cell will be under 0.5V.
The green you describe would be nickel contamination.
I suspect disclosing the identity of the pulse desulfator would be unethical..

On July 23, 2012 at 4:04pm
Afdhal Atiff Tan wrote:

Bevan - That’s creative! Why didn’t I think of that before? I will try it.

John - You’re one smart gentleman, thanks for the info.

On July 23, 2012 at 5:03pm
John Fetter wrote:

Bevan - I believe I may have at long last managed to figure out what cadmium sulfate does. It definitely electroplates out onto the negative grid metal when the battery is deliberately pushed into controlled overcharge. Very little manages to plate out over the sulfated areas closest to the grids - but enough to create a conductive environment near the grids. This helps the lead sulfate nearest the grids to become active again and to be converted into lead and sulfate ions. Repeated charging, discharging spreads the conductive environment slowly and progressively into the bulk of the lead sulfate. The process seems to have a limit. It would appear the secret to achieving 100% desulfation is to figure out how to get conduction to spread into 100% of the sulfate. It does not take much cadmium sulfate to do the job. Adding progressively more simply creates dendrites and causes shorts.

The explanations given by desulation merchants that insoluble sulfation inevitably coats the plates when batteries are used and that their treatment strips it away is pure fantasy. The sulfate stays right where it is. It is converted.

While both positive and negative plates can become sulfated, the positive sulfation simply reverses when the battery is charged. The negative sulfation usually does not reverse and needs special treatment.

On July 24, 2012 at 5:44pm
Afdhal Atiff Tan wrote:

John - If I understand you correctly, did you meant all the cadmium does is electroplating itself on the negative grid?
If so, wouldn’t just copper is good enough?

On July 24, 2012 at 11:42pm
Bevan Paynter wrote:

Afdhal- it is just John’s theory- but i would say cadmium does not just plate itself- needs driving- so does copper- BUT copper is a non laster in H2SO4! As are most metals! Lead lasts longer than most!

On July 24, 2012 at 11:56pm
John Fetter wrote:

Afdhal - No, copper and copper sulfate are not suitable. It is not the metal, per se, that does the trick, it is the electrochemical potential of the metal. Cadmium has an electrochemical potential of -0.4030V. Lead has an electrochemical potential of -0.1262V. The electrochemical potential of cadmium is such that it prevents electroplating when a battery is standing. It is only when a battery is put on gassing charge that the voltage at the negative plate favors electroplating. When the battery is taken off charge, the cadmium either falls off or simply goes back into the electrolyte. Copper has an electrochemical potential Cu of +0.5210V and Cu2 of +0.3419V. Copper will simply plate onto the negatives regardless and stay there, causing the plates to gas and to self discharge and to sulfate. The electrochemical potentials of aluminum, magnesium, potassium, sodium, etc. are all far to negative, the metals far too reactive in battery acid, for anything of benefit to happen. For some people imagination helps to at least partly overcome technical obstacles.

On July 25, 2012 at 12:07am
John Fetter wrote:

Bevan - It is not a theory. I ran the experiments. Built lead-acid cells in glass jars. I observed and measured.

On July 25, 2012 at 11:14pm
Bevan Paynter wrote:

John- to my knowledge, what you have done is an experiment- then forwarded an hypothesis to what you observed- then you advanced a theory- NOW-as to that theory to become FACT- your findings MUST be replicated by other like minded persons- can’t see that happening just yet—- still, there is hope. For your “discovery?” to mean anything there must be spin-offs to the average battery buying/using consumer in increased batt life at little further cost to initial purchase- as Inox does with MX2 perhaps-hmmm? In an earlier post you roundly critiscised cadmium as not working- so you were wrong? We can all make mistakes, then change our minds- this is how science works.

On July 25, 2012 at 11:55pm
John Fetter wrote:

Bevan - I personally could not care less what people opine about sulfation. I ran an experiment designed to answer yes or no, whether batteries can be desulfated. My experiment showed that one might get a quarter to a third short-term recovery. I would not describe that as a “yes”.
There is no secret. Others can easily repeat my expermiment. Human nature being what it is, some people so dislike an ugly truth getting in the way of a beautiful story, their counter arguments will always be in words, not deeds.
The litmus test: Desulfation remains a struggling industry. Something is not right. There is no conspiracy. The technology simply is not up commercial viability level.
If you want batteries to last longer, work on them, help them while they are still serviceable, don’t fuss over them after they “signed off”.
We don’t feed medicine to dead people. Why do it to batteries?

On July 25, 2012 at 11:59pm
John Fetter wrote:

The experiment is described on “CAN BATTERIES BE RESTORED”.

On August 16, 2012 at 10:00pm
Shadmin wrote:

Well, anyone can say what they want about sulfation or desulfation, but adding Epsom salt (solution= 8 teaspoonfuls Epsom salts dissolved in 1 pint distilled water) coupled with a 3 day trickle charge helped my truck battery retain a better charge. I had tried cleaning it and just trickle charging it alone and the battery did not improve, it wasn’t dead but was weaker than it had been when it was new which was 7 years ago. The battery performed well through the winter after my treatment and is still going strong! I don’t know how much longer it will live, but I will let you know when it finally dies. Adios…

On August 17, 2012 at 12:01am
John Fetter wrote:

Shadmin - The portion of the 1 pint of water that you managed to put into the battery helped; the three days extra trickle charge helped; the Epsom salts satisfied your belief.

On August 17, 2012 at 11:40pm
Bevan Paynter wrote:

The additive Inox battery restorer mx2 does NOT reduce sulphation or add extra life to a lead acid starter batt- what it does is quickly raise the sg so it fools the adder!! THE ONLY thing that works is eliminating sulphation thru :- a brief overcharge up to 16v to equalize cells & destratify:- using a electronic/electric de-sulphator to do the same thing. ALL the so-called remedies incl epson,alum,cadmium,etc,etc,etc ad infinitum do NOTHING!!! But usually harm!! What many posters like to think is that THEIR!!! treatment made a difference!! BUT overlook all the other parameters of battery response incl temp, humidity etc in their attempt to make sense of a complicated subject!!. The bare fact is that all automotive charge systems do not fully charge the l/a starter batt- but only around 14v- for several different reasons. So- if all users checked their sulphation level periodically- & then used desulfation methods- batts would last FAR longer!!!.

On August 18, 2012 at 4:14am
John Fetter wrote:

Bevan - Where does the acid that raised your SG come from?

On August 24, 2012 at 12:49am
Bevan Paynter wrote:

John- just got back on line after week after changing ISP!!! The increased sg is due to the dollop in the 15 ml added of Inox Mx2 to each cell! IT definitely is NOT due to reducing sulfation & thus raising sg!. Come on- you with your chemical background know of such high sg additives-I am sure! Whatever, to the consumers out there- do not use this so called miracle product-you will be wasting your time & money!

On August 24, 2012 at 1:56am
John Fetter wrote:

Bevan - The MX2 is described in an MSDS as 5% cadmium sulfate. Therefore 15ml corresponds to 0.75ml of pure cadmium sulfate. For the sake of simplicity let us assume you put in 0.75ml of pure sulfuric acid. The average cell contains 750ml of electrolyte. (The exact figures are not important.) That works out to 0.1% of extra sulfuric. I looked up the likely change in acid SG in my “Storage Batteries” by George Wood Vinal and found this amount is likely to change the SG by less than 0.001. By way of example, increase the SG from, say 1.110 to less than 1.111.
It looks like you inadvertently succeeded in demonstrating the effectiveness of this product.

On August 24, 2012 at 10:59pm
Bevan Paynter wrote:

John- as you may remember or look back on previous posts- I tried several things in a 4 y/o batt _ the ONLY thing that seemed to work AT THAT TIME was Inox Mx2- which raised sg to 1.260 by next day(@ charging for several hrs pre)- However- there was no improvement in starting ability, & since then the sg has fallen to 1.250 FULLY CHARGED!. Today after electric desulfation, charging using 3 diff type of chargers, then when sg was still 1.250, modifying sg with concentrated acid to get 1.260- there we are! sO MY YOUNG FRIEND- I propose that Inox Mx2 is absolutely useless- it MAY give an illusory sg rise at very 1st- BUT it don’t last! And I will NEVER EVER USE IT AGAIN!!!.

On August 25, 2012 at 12:09am
John Fetter wrote:

Bevan - Batteries can stop working after four years for many different reasons.
The explanation on virtually every battery cure website that batteries get sulfated as they get older is a standard intro. to a tried and tested sales technique. If they don’t say this, there is no reason for people to buy their products.
Have you considered the possibility your four year old battery has, perhaps, developed “open circuit” or has, perhaps, got corroded and worn out positives?
Taking cough mixture when you have the flu might be the right analogy.

On August 27, 2012 at 11:31pm
Bevan Paynter wrote:

John- all things checked. As to your matths- my maths say this:batt size 310CCA- batt capacity 2.5litres electrolyte- divide by 6 for each of 6 cells= 414 ml electrolyte per cell-at 34% sulphuric acid= 138mlcell-now 18 ml Inox mx2- cadmium 5%- 0.9ml cadmium-17.1ml 100% sulphuric acid left.(say).=12.39% of 138ml- now the difference between 1.250 & 1.275 sg is 2%!!! So- it is the definitive answer that the 18 ml of Inox mx2 added to each cell definitely raises the sg AND DOES NOTHING ELSE EXCEPT seperate the sucker from his wallet!!!

On August 28, 2012 at 12:22am
John Fetter wrote:

Bevan - It appears we are both wrong. I have gone back to look at the MX2 MSDS. It appears to have been drafted in a way intended to disguise the real ingredients. The list of ingredients is actually incomplete. In another section, the MSDS reports the SG of the product as 1.200. Sulfuric acid, (concentrated SG 1.840) is not listed but it seems reasonable to assume the 1.200 SG is due predominantly to 28% by weight or 18% by volume of sulfuric acid.
If one adds a small volume of 1.200 SG acid and cadmium sulfate to a much larger volume of 1.250 acid, the resulting SG will surely be less than 1.250?  It would seem that the increase from 1.250 to 1.275 you saw involved a certain amount of lead sulfate being converted into lead and sulfuric acid inside the battery. A small step, perhaps, but nevertheless a step in the right direction. That is what my experiments have revealed as well. It has potential but it is not good enough.
My suggestion. Try charging at 15.5 to 16 volts for a week, then try starting the car.

On August 30, 2012 at 4:06am
BigJonMX wrote:

A Simple Case Study:
As my car battery is giving no longer charging to where it should be i’d thought i’d clean it out and try this old Epsom trick. And this article needs a lot of work.

First, i poured the contents into a large glass bowel.
Its dilute acid so be careful. It should have specific gravity of 1.265. who knows? maybe i’ll replace it with 65% Distilled Water + 35% Sulfuric Acid. (which equals sg 1.265 if my maths is right)
Next, i stuffed a hose pipe in the battery and flushed it lots…
Then, i boiled up a pan of water with MgSO4 (lots and lots, like satuarated), and poured it in. Left it over night. Flushed it lots with water.
Finally i poured backin the original fluid. Corrected a charger and left it almost 24hrs.

Result: Absolutly no difference.
Why: (after much head scratching…) The farmacist sold me Carbonate not Sulfate, so i’m going to try again tomorrow…

On August 30, 2012 at 4:54am
Oscar Ormond wrote:

Hey BigJonMX Not a case study but a study in futility. U did everything except use the correct stuff. What l expect from de-sulfation crowd.

On August 30, 2012 at 5:03am
BigJonMX wrote:

Hey Oscar, just because you have no interest in learning nor educating yourself, that does not give you leave to be rude and insulting. If you believe the “de-sulfation crowd” is so wrong please feel free to turn off your computer and join a cult.

On August 30, 2012 at 7:24am
Oscar Ormond wrote:

<<The “farmacist” sold me Carbonate not Sulfate>. Try reading the label, BigJonMX. You qualify as a member of the society that thinks with its hands.

On August 31, 2012 at 12:34am
John Fetter wrote:

BigJonMX - I looked up the solubility of magnesium carbonate. It is a rather strange substance - (a) it is hygroscopic but (b) is only very sparingly, practically insoluble in water.
How did you manage to get it to dissolve in water?

On August 31, 2012 at 2:19am
BigJonMX wrote:

Hey Oscar, whats your point? whats your purpose in life? Just to irritate others? I share an amusing little tale, with those interested in adjusting batteries, and you are just annoying and childish. Please go away. (PS. questions are retorical)

On August 31, 2012 at 2:26am
BigJonMX wrote:

Good Morning John.
Much boiling and much stirring. And in hindsight i’m sure not much was actually dissolved. But there was a distinct, though short lived, sizzle sound when i poured the mix into the battery.
Oddly, my local farmacists, do not stock any Mg Sulfate. And think i’m the odd one for asking. THe carbonate is sold under ‘health-food’ category. And as i grew up near Epsom i find the whole thing odd. I’m still searching for MgSO4…
Maybe i try NaOH. Any thoughts on which…

On August 31, 2012 at 4:02am
John Fetter wrote:

BigjonMX - Magnesium taken by mouth is (1) a laxative and (2) a muscle spasm reducer. When put in a battery it requires plenty of imagination to see any benefit. I tried all the metal sulfates on the popular list, found only cadmium did something to the battery that I was able to measure.

On August 31, 2012 at 4:46am
Oscar Ormond wrote:

All that talk about medicine reminds me the de-sulfation crowd are like homiopaths. honest. No insult intended. People luvv the mystery. Then when their efforts arn’t working someone gets up says, my stuff works! They all go buy his stuff - he makes some quick cash. Oh yes They found out when fish do their business, there is more of it left in the homiopathic water than the medicine that was purposly put in. Same with battery potions. There is more battery medicine in tap water than in the additives. Get a life BigJonMX. Just sharing an amusing tale.

On August 31, 2012 at 4:57am
BigJonMX wrote:

Hey Oscar: remember back at school when the other kids would lie so that you couldnt join in. you havent changed have you. go away.

On September 2, 2012 at 12:29am
Oscar Ormond wrote:

Battery users and experimenters vote in elections. Who do they vote for? The guy who promises the most and delivers the least.  What do they buy? Battery cures that A promise the world B take their cash C do nothing. Why why did they learn to do this kinda behavior at school BigJonMX.

On September 15, 2012 at 3:45pm
Micky wrote:

Some years ago i took apart my worn out car battery aged 4 and half years old. The negatives hardly had any white crystals on them but the positive plates were in a bad way. You could see they had suffered some errosion and they just crumbled in my fingers what was left of them. i can’t see epsom salts curing that lol

On September 15, 2012 at 5:44pm
John Fetter wrote:

Micky - You have described what I have seen many times. Battery worn out through corrosion of the positives. 
Epsom Salts, etc. I have been trying to work out why people use these kinds of remedies. I came across numerous websites that promote health products, during my search.
The health benefits claimed for these concoctions and the benefits claimed for the exact same chemicals used in batteries follow the same pattern.
They have no measurable effect, are harmless and are therefore ideal for the purpose.

On September 17, 2012 at 2:36am
BigJonMX wrote:

My jeep battery is on its last legs, and i’ll have to bite the bullet and get a new one.
So i’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by trying out some of these restoration ideas…
As i live on the frontier i’m limited in choice (obviously i could wait months for mailorder) and i could only get hold of NaOH (caustic soda).
I mixed up a strong batch of Soda & Water, and pour it into my (emptied) battery. There was much bubbling and sizzling (and heat) and after only 5mins i rinse it all out. A surprising about of black dust came out in numerous washes. Then i put my battery back together and charged it.
The first few days were thsame as before, but then i noticed a distinct and definite increase in voltage - it WAS charging a little more!!
Its still not enough for my big old jeep, so i’still getting a new battery. But i think i’ll have another go at cleaning the plates. i want to see if its making a difference.

And as for the weirdos who hang around specialized forums nay-saying and critisizing - get a life! Go join your homopathetic and health clubs. Leave the experimenting and science to those that want to know!

On September 17, 2012 at 4:40am
Micky wrote:

John, my current 4 and a half year old battery( 125,000 miles), i did some SG readings on it. supposed to be a maintenance free one but could pull back the sticker and found caps. No water loss so must be to a certain extent. I’m guessing it’s a calcium battery?

I found the 2 end cells have a reading of only 1225 and the others range from 1250-60. The oc voltage ranges 12.4. to 12.5 ( never goes to 12.6) I tested it with a conductance meter and it reads 420 CCA and it’s supposed to be 570 CCA. I’m guessing it’s on it’s last legs? Thing is though it performs really well…

On September 17, 2012 at 6:55am
John Fetter wrote:

Micky - Battery you describe seems as good as can be expected after 125,000 miles. Bit of positive corrosion is normal. Results in reduction in amps. SGs do not look like a significant problem. If it was “sealed” with a sticker, it is calcium. I always pull off these stickers one second after warranty expires and water as and when necessary.

BigJonMX - Good luck.

Oscar Ormond/ BigJonMX - Always a good idea to confine the discussion to batteries, rather than talking about people.

On September 18, 2012 at 4:48am
Micky wrote:

So what SG would you say one cell would have to drop to cause problems?

On September 18, 2012 at 7:14am
John Fetter wrote:

Micky - It is the amps that count. The SG comes second. If the lowest SG is below 1220 when the highest is 1280, the battery is waving you goodbye.

On September 18, 2012 at 10:25am
Micky wrote:

Not sure if i read this right somewhere, even if a cell has good SG readings, it doesn’t neccessary mean the cell is good? SG readings don’t measure capacity loss ?

On September 18, 2012 at 1:34pm
John Fetter wrote:

Micky - Cells never have absolutely identical SGs. The SGs of old batteries can differ quite a lot and the battery will still be fine. People get wrinkles when they get older, batteries get different SGs.

On September 25, 2012 at 8:32pm
ling michael wrote:

would you like send me the data of water loss of automotive maintenance free battery.

On October 27, 2012 at 11:45pm
John Fetter wrote:

Take any of the numerous battery cures that have been described. Ask around. People that have tried the cure, two thirds say it did not work, one third insist the cure does work.

On November 5, 2012 at 4:03am
dave wrote:

Man you guys took the wind out of my sails… I was hoping there was a way to rejuvenate batteries. I have 2 very large and expensive batteries in my 38 ft Monaco that died recently and I was hoping to save 600 bucks (lead acid and about 120 lbs each). I really enjoyed reading all of your expertise on batteries, anyone mind telling me what batteries you would recommend as replacements? Thanks guys
Take care

On November 5, 2012 at 4:37am
John Fetter wrote:

dave - How long is a piece of string? What I am trying to say is, how long did your batteries last? How often were they in use. How long did they stand? Even the best batteries eventually give in.
Here is an analogy based on a true story. Very wealthy couple involved in a massive car accident. Both walked away with only minor injuries. Car total write-off. Aging BMW seven series. Wanted to replace their life saving BMW with a brand new fancy compact. Friends and family told them to stick with what worked before.

On November 5, 2012 at 5:03am
dave brookbank wrote:

Hi John,
The batteries are not to old but unfortunately no date code can be found. I only use the bus 2-3 times per year the rest of the time it is on shore power with a very top end computer charging system.
Thanks for your response John
have a great day

On November 6, 2012 at 7:57pm
Micky wrote:

Just thought this was worth adding, a friend has an old 83 VW Jetta with a sealed AC Delco battery that’s 16 years old and still starts the car on a frosty morning!

On November 11, 2012 at 4:38pm
Micky wrote:

As my perfectly performing aging car battery OC only reads about 12.45-48 and not 12.6 that it should, if i give the battery a work out like a good load on it, say cranking the starter for 15 secs or so it temporary raises the OC voltage close to what it should be 12.6 but after a few hours back to it’s lagging voltage. Any explanation to this?

On November 11, 2012 at 11:29pm
John Fetter wrote:

Micky - On discharge, the initial reaction in the positive plates produces a super saturation of lead dioxide ions in the electrolyte. This lasts for a few minutes. As this fades, the voltage can rise very slightly. This could be the reason why the voltage appears to go up in the way you described.
The open circuit voltage of a brand-new battery might be 12.6 - the same battery years later 12.45, as result of inevitable contamination of the active material of the plates by impurities. These impurities can come from anywhere, including from the materials inside the battery when it was made.
The open circuit voltage is often incorrectly assumed to indicate state of charge. There are many factors that influence OC voltage. It is not a reliable indicator. Rather measure the SG.

On November 14, 2012 at 10:10am
Micky wrote:

Had an interesting conversation with the guy at the local store when i was buying wiper blades. He more or less said it’s a waste of time load testing batteries to foreworn problems. He said these days he can load test a battery and will be fine and only a month later it could be gone.

On November 14, 2012 at 11:49am
John Fetter wrote:

Micky - Typical of zero-maintenance batteries with lead-calcium alloy positive grids that were made with too little tin. Problem is called “open circuit” in the battery trade.

On November 16, 2012 at 6:01pm
Micky wrote:

Quick question regarding the layer that forms over the calcium grids. Why does it exhibit sudden failure when the layer forms over time? Should it not exhibit gradual power loss as the layer builds up?

On November 16, 2012 at 11:54pm
John Fetter wrote:

Micky - A chain is as strong as its weakest link. Six cells, five good, one going out. Most of the grid surface areas affected, sufficient but small areas left. Remember, all the plates in a single cell are in parallel. In a six positive, seven negative plate cell all but one positive plate can be open circuit. Engine still cranks. Then, the next time the engine is supposed to start, it is sluggish and has to be cranked for a much longer time. That helps to hasten the end of the remaining positive plate. It only seems instantaneous.
It is very common. It is almost always misdiagnosed as sulfation.

On November 17, 2012 at 6:39am
Micky wrote:

John, just for debate purposes, is this phenomina really a problem? I mean, even though batteries seem to fail suddenly,  these days i see batteries lasting a longtime. My own is coming on 5 years with now 130k on it and performs very good ( even though i’d like my SG’s to be a little better). I’m sure it’s a calcium because the water level has never even dropped in the slightest in that time and use. My fathers car ( same VW battery as mine), his battery is over 5 years with no water loss and performs good. My friiends 10 year old audi has it’s original calcium battery. .. 

If a battery fails with this layer does the SG drop as the layer forms?

On November 17, 2012 at 6:58am
John Fetter wrote:

Micky - Open circuit can be a very big problem for manufacturers unhappy about paying $20 thousand per tonne for tin. The grid alloy must contain significantly more than 1.5% tin. Most battery manufacturers are run by accountants nowadays. A problem waiting to happen. The few run by engineers do make good batteries. And yes, the SG does fall.

On January 9, 2013 at 8:33am
P. GOPI wrote:

I have searched a lot in internet about battery additive. Most of them contains

anhydrous sodium sulfate 90%, zinc sulfate 5%, colliodal silicon dioxide 0.5 %
more over some contains cadmium sulphate 1% to less than 5%, and oxalic acid less than 10% and aluminium sulphate etc in small quantity. Any body having good formula for battery additive. kindly suggest.

On January 9, 2013 at 4:39pm
John Fetter wrote:

P.GOPI - The chemicals you’ve listed have different effects. Some have no effect at all. What are you trying to achieve? What kind of battery?

On January 10, 2013 at 3:55am
P. GOPI wrote:

Dear John Fetter,

Thanks for comment, we are discussing about lead acid battery, I request you to share the details of chemicals that are used in lead acid battery additive.
That is the only way to revive lead acid battery. Is there any another method to revive these batteries. kindly let us know…...

On January 10, 2013 at 5:15am
John Fetter wrote:

P.GOPI - I find this an interesting subject. In the late 1800s, early 1900s, when it was fashionable to sell snake-oil health cures, someone dreamed up the idea of selling battery back-to-life potions to unsuspecting battery users. Radioactivity was once promoted as a health cure, as well as magnetic and electric shock treatment. It is frowned upon to irradiate people and to give people electric shocks nowadays but battery electric shock treatment is very popular. It is simply a matter of demand and supply. It is a personal choice.
It makes as little sense to wait for a battery to die then treating it, as it does to allow a plant to die before watering it.
There are plenty of people who will tell you I am completely wrong and that they just happen to have exactly what you need.
The medical world eventually got its head around preventative treatment. That is when patients finally stopped dying. The battery world has not quite got around to thinking in that way yet.

On January 10, 2013 at 8:43am
BigJonMX wrote:

Why come to a forum where people are discussing restoration of batteries, just to claim its all snake-oil and gullible fools?

A few months back i experimented on an old battery and managed to get another 6 months use out of it - through the winter no less. This was compared to another similar battery that ‘passed away’. While it is no way definitive, my tale add to the ancedotal evidence that battery life CAN be extended.

So i ask all the nay-sayers to zip it. Let the contributers contribute…

On January 10, 2013 at 9:10am
John Fetter wrote:

BigJonMX - I have also managed to “stretch out” my batteries, managed to get a few more months out of them. So what. Everyone with a bit of patience can do it.
I am not in disagreement with you, battery life can be extended - using preventative technology.

On January 23, 2013 at 1:12am
Tommy R. wrote:

Anyone read Journal of Asian Electric Vehicles on “Experimental Study on the Optimum Density of ITE Additives for a Lead-acid Battery’s Life Prolongation”? Please make a comment or opinion that may be beneficial to all of us.

On January 23, 2013 at 1:26am
Oscar Ormond wrote:

You have obviously read it Tommy R. The journal is not available to the majority of us. So why not simply tell us?

On January 23, 2013 at 7:00pm
Tommy R. wrote:

Well, the study with experiment is very long and lots of details. It is simply confirmed that ITE Additives (made from very small molecules of polymers) can help prolong lead-acid battery life more than double if we add an appropriate amount of this additive to each cells of battery. I was trying to contact them without success ??? You can search Google for that and it will pop up. Thanks.

On January 24, 2013 at 1:22am
John Fetter wrote:

Tommy R. - I have a copy of this study. The authors ran tests on automobile batteries that had been dosed with an additive that they say is predominantly PVA. This could conceivably be one of quite a few different chemicals. (Polyvinyl- alcohol, acetate, acrylate, acrylamide, etc.) I searched for a commercial enterprise that might be selling this exact additive and found one in Singapore. The additive additionally contains tin, indium and organic germanium.
The authors claim that (1) the PVA prevents the diffusion of Pb, (lead), ions into the electrolyte. They say this reduces the generation of PbSO4, (lead sulfate), hence (2) helps to reduce sulfation. I have done research in the exact same area. My tests imply that (1) is accurate and (2) is an inaccurate guess.
The 12V batteries were charged to 17 volts, which is way above normal. The authors pointed out that the normal charging voltage is 14V. They said the higher voltage is necessary when additives are put in. Hello! How is a normal automobile electrical system going to cope with this?
I understand precisely what causes the voltage to go up. Unfortunately it renders the PVA additive totally useless for automobile batteries.
The extras that put into the additive, tin, indium and organic germanium will electroplate into the active material of the negative plates, making it more conductive. I know from my own experiments this can assist in reducing sulfation.

On January 24, 2013 at 7:34pm
Tommy R. wrote:

John Fetter - Thanks so much for your very knowledgeable comment. I am very impressed. I am very confused with the claim of many companies about the effectiveness of this kind of additives for lead-acid battery. For the past 2 years, I have tried on Resure-X Additive (Duo Regen Technologies), PowerPlus Additive (Battery Services International ) developed by Dr. Louis A. Colon, Chairman of Department of Chemistry at State University of New York at Buffalo. However, I cannot draw a definite conclusion on the claims from these companies. The only certain thing is that these additives are not as good as their claims. I really want to make sure that these additives can do any good and at what extent to lead-acid battery, if any - the scientific way, only the scientific way.

This PVA (ITE Additives) seems to show more scientific way to prove the point, but I cannot find the actual product to prove by myself. In your expert opinion, do you recommend to use any of these additives at all? Why?

I am sure that your knowledgeable comment will help me any many others in understanding the myth of this matter and will not become victim of many dishonest business companies. Thanks again Mr. John Fetter for your valuable time.

On January 25, 2013 at 12:50am
John Fetter wrote:

Tommy R. - The study document has 23 references. There is no connection between the text and any of these references. I was able to locate about three-quarters of them on line, as PDFs. The impression they gave me was that the authors were trying to publish as many academic papers as possible.
I had quite a long discussion via email with a founder of one of the companies you mention. I specialize in motive power batteries. We discussed motive power batteries. He insisted the majority of motive power batteries become sulfated. However, there is solid concrete evidence that the overwhelming majority of motive power batteries wear out from the effects of positive grid corrosion. He kept pushing anecdotal information at me, insisted that sulfation was the big issue and corrosion was incidental.
I would not go as far as to say they are dishonest but can say that thus far I have not yet come across a single desulfation company that is run by a person whose background is in the technical department of a battery company.

On January 28, 2013 at 6:04am
John Fetter wrote:

Tommy R. - I managed to find two patents relating to the study documents, US Pat No 5,958,623 and US Pat No 7,160,645. The patent specifications identify the PVA as polyvinyl alcohol, chemical formula [CH2-CHOH]n. This is a water soluble polymer.
The tin and indium are described as “antiformers”, which I believe is a typo which should read antifoamer. The PVA reacts inside the cells and increases the end-of-charge voltage, for example, from 14 to 17 volts.
So what they appear to be doing is charging, then discharging, charging, discharging, etc., based on the circuit diagram shown in Fig 1and description given in the accompanying text.
The experimental results, Fig 5, show that by using PVA, the discharge time is increased. I would expect that anyway, whether PVA is used or not, because the higher the overcharge voltage applied to a lead-acid battery, the longer it will deliver output. Not a large increase but still noticeable.
Do this again and again, the translation from Japanese into English seems to be saying, and there is more output, which they say when it is added up equates to longer battery life.
The authors express themselves, in certain critical paragraphs, in unintelligible and complicated ways which the reader can find impossible to understand. One finds oneself reading something that is easy to understand, followed by a very complicated paragraph, then a conclusion to the effect the batteries are lasting longer.

On January 29, 2013 at 7:08am
Tommy R. wrote:

John Fetter - Thanks so much for your finding. It is very interesting study indeed. You are right about “antifoamers” which is misspelled to “antiformers”. I am also in motive battery and a chemist with B.S. degree in Chemistry. I will try to test the Activator in this Patent by myself. It is made in Japan, I believe. At least, it can provide some scientific experiments on its product. Unlike this additive, PowerPlus from Battery Services International cannot provide any scientific information at all except vague claims and over claims by the owners who do not even understand high school chemistry.

On June 2, 2013 at 8:54am
Daniel DeMaio wrote:

In order to have a battery which will be reliable and last a long time, I am considering using a properly sized deep discharge marine type battery - but - with a twist.

I am planning to install an ultra-capacitor kit across it (very carefully).  This will substantially supplement the initial heavy amp load of starting the engine, thus overcoming the innate limitations of such a deep discharge battery. 

Anyone else tried this already?

On June 2, 2013 at 4:59pm
John Fetter wrote:

Daniel DeMaio - The marine battery you have in mind is merely a golf-cart battery with a different label. The starting discharge surge won’t shorten the life of your battery. Starter batteries spend most of their service life standing, doing nothing. The higher self discharge of deep cycling technology compared to conventional starter battery will shorten the life of your battery.

On June 4, 2013 at 7:38pm
Daniel DeMaio wrote:

John Fetter = You may be right about it not affecting the life of the battery (I tend to think otherwise but) as I understand it, deep cycle batteries tend to have a lower discharge rate, and the capacitor would fix that.

I have seen example of such capacitors being used independently to to start cars.

On June 5, 2013 at 12:54am
John Fetter wrote:

Daniel DeMaio - Deep discharge batteries have a significant amount of antimony incorporated in the lead alloy of their positive grids, whereas automobile starter batteries have very little or no antimony in their positive grids.

The antimony helps deep cycling but has an adverse effect on self discharge. As the battery ages, antimony finds its way to the negative plates, where the arriving antimony establishes micro electrochemical cells on the resident porous lead, causing the antimony to emit hydrogen and the underlying lead to become sulfated.

Deep discharge batteries need to be brought up to a higher end-of-charge voltage from time to time, in order to obviate this problem.

Discharge current is relative. The deep discharge battery will deliver a starting current that is virtually identical to the regular starter battery, perhaps at a voltage that is a few tens of millivolts less than an identical Ah starter battery, due to its slightly higher internal resistance. I have run a 30Ah starter battery in place of a 65Ah battery in a car to test the effect of an additive on the internal resistance of the battery - made no difference to the way the engine started.

You need a big capacitor. Add the price of the capacitor to the price of the proposed battery, compare to the price of two regular starter batteries.

On June 14, 2013 at 7:47pm
Scott S wrote:

There is a myth that the current maintenance free batteries do not need water added. This is how the MFGS Sell new batteries when they are not needed. The fact is the type of caps used on these batteries are simply condensation chambers that allow the hydrogen gas that forms during charging to escape and most of the water vapor to condense and fall back into the cell. HOWEVER, as you can note by the electrolyte that builds on top of the battery (green scale and white ‘fluff’) there is liquid escaping as well. regularly topping off the water in the cells will considerably extend battery life. I have designed these “maintenance free” batteries professionally.  Any flooded (wet) cell battery will require maintenance. Maintenance free automotive batteries should actually be called limited self maintaining batteries, as this is actually what they are, batteries that are capable of limited self maintenance

On June 15, 2013 at 1:03am
John Fetter wrote:

Scott S - 100% correct!  I would characterize it as deception rather than as myth. It would appear as if it was decided that automobile batteries must not fail within the warranty period, yet last only a limited predetermined period thereafter. So they put labels on the batteries, MAINTENANCE-FREE, DO NOT WATER, IF SEAL BROKEN, WARRANTY VOIDED or words to that effect.
If you want your battery to last, IGNORE. The day after the warranty expires, put water in the battery, after that, keep watering.
PS   In most regions, tap water is pure enough to use. Few regions not.

On June 23, 2013 at 2:01pm
SteveY wrote:

I have just discovered that people are replacing their old battery’s electrolyte with a solution made from alum and distilled water. The claim is that the battery then becomes capable of deep cycling without harm and capacity is restored. It sounded too good to be true, so I tried to research the chemistry of it. I didn’t find much, but I did find one guy say that the new, alum electrolyte (alum is used to keep pickles crisp and can be found in the supermarket’s spice section) desulfates the plates, regaining sulfuric acid from the positive plate. Is this worth trying or is it simply the process of washing out the crud from the bottom of the battery that resulted in the battery coming back to life? If that’s the case, I’d think I could just put the sulfuric acid electrolyte back in (after filtering it) to save on the expense of buying alum and disposing of lead-contaminated acid. The reason I ask is that I just bought an old trailer that has an old car battery (9 to 10 volts, so probably a shorted cell, right?) in place of the deep cycle battery. Until I can buy a proper battery, I just need something to charge the cell phone and run the little trailer lights for a few hours a night. The battery is working as is for this purpose, but if I could get more capacity, I’d be a happy camper. Literally. LOL.

On July 1, 2013 at 12:10am
Bevan Paynter wrote:

You have 2 o/c cells(pos grids crumble- low volts/ sulfation speeds it up) - the only way you & I will know is to try it ourselves-I will find a suitable batt to try on- however I am doubtful- then again, m-t-ying electrolyte & just using water, batt will charge! At increased rate! Never waited to see how long batt lasted @!.

On July 5, 2013 at 2:32pm
SteveY wrote:

Don’t you mean 2 shorted cells? I’ve read that o/c cells will cause either a zero volt reading or if they’re only open under load, the battery will still read full voltage until you apply a load.

Anyway, as a test case, I used a 6 volt 5.5 ah motorcycle battery that was bad when I bought an old motorcycle. Then it sat for years. I charged it, and it was only 5.7 volts. Then I connected it to a 12v headlight, and it hardly turned on. Then I replaced the electrolyte with alum solution, after washing the battery out a bit with baking soda. (Black gunk never stopped coming out, though, so after awhile I gave up.) I charged it, and then, wow, the light came on much brighter and lasted longer. It still went fairly quickly, though, so I did a few charge/discharge cycles, using the headlight and a 12v heater/fan. First couple times, I discharged to 1.5v or so. The charger I’m using is a Schumacher XC6 in 2 amp mode. I’m not sure, but I think the battery improved after a few of these cycles, but only coming up to approx 5.7 volts still. Then I started discharging to .3-.5v for a few cycles, leaving the fan hooked up to it all night. Now, the charger turns off, but the battery is only 3.9v. What happened? The alum conversion definitely helped in the beginning, but now the battery is worse. I wonder if it was because I discharged to such a low voltage, or is it because 2 amps is charging it too fast? Another theory is that some sulfation is breaking off, liberating sulfuric acid back into the solution, which when mixed with the alum causes it to not work right. Any ideas?

On July 5, 2013 at 2:50pm
John Fetter wrote:

SteveY - You washed the active material out of the plates of a worn-out battery.

On July 5, 2013 at 4:26pm
SteveY wrote:

Do you mean when I washed it initially or during the charge/discharge? If initially, why then did it work better for awhile?

On July 7, 2013 at 7:39am
John Fetter wrote:

SteveY - While the charging would have the effect of improving the battery, washing it out would have the effect of destroying it. At some point the two cross, producing a small peak. You are wasting your time and energies.

On July 26, 2013 at 2:30pm
hamza qayyum wrote:

actually i do it. but reaction is that highly voice can be produced and battery escape waterand bad smell of acid can be produced which can disturbed my lungs.

On September 7, 2013 at 6:41am
Keith B wrote:

Excellent read! Question: My 11 year-old/65000 mile starter battery sits unused a lot. Drops to maybe 11v sometimes, but I top up water/recharge using an 8-stage CTEK charger every 6/8 or so weeks. It still cranks and seems to run fine, but I now notice a fine film of gray scum floating on top of the electrolyte… I’m guessing active paste? Is this a sign of imminent/final failure?

On September 17, 2013 at 3:36pm
KentG wrote:


I have a solar PV set up at my cottage. I have 4-6volt Trojan batteries, now 6 years old
The system gets used in the summer. then sits there all winter at -20 most of the time. I have a good charge regulator that allows the panels to top up constantly.

I had low voltage problems this spring. I tested the SG, and three cells, each in a different battery were way into the “discharged” zone so I tried to equalize on a sunny day (higher panel voltage available). hough I only had a bout 15.5volts available, two cells responded well, and after a few charge cycles seem fine. On cell did not, sooo…. what to do? Any comments on the following “Possible Options” would be greatly appreciated and just plain old nerdy interesting:

1 Do not try to rejuvinate anything. Order four new batteries and pay $900.

2. Buy one new $235 battery and add to the 85% functioning remaining three

3. Assuming a sulfation problem try epsom salt in the one bad cell

4. Assuming a sulfation problem try using Mikey Sklar’s (http://screwdecaf.cx/dapimp.html)or other capacative, desulfating, equalizing chargers or something else, on the one bad battery.

5. Try both Epsom salt and the charger?

6. Besides the $25,000 required to connect to the grid, any other ideas?

On October 2, 2013 at 10:01pm
Matheus Heru S wrote:

I tried to use epsom salt for my batteray. After I give my batteray with epsom salt I can’t breath for couple minute. I think I will die at that time because no air I can take.

On October 19, 2013 at 4:18am
Oscar Darwin wrote:


Go for example 4. Pulse the batteries.

On October 19, 2013 at 4:15pm
Bevan Paynter wrote:

Kent- I disagree with Oscar. Your batteries are worn out. At least that’s my opinion. Cheers

On December 12, 2013 at 10:02pm
Rod Rowan wrote:

Interesting article. I feel that Im qualified to add a small contibution after 41 years experience
reconditioning car and truck batteries. As you would be aware, people with vested interests only speak in favor of the views that suit their ongoing interests. I can tell you all that there is defnitely a method to recondition car and truck batteries but think about it this way.
Batteries are like humans, and can only be successfully maintained up to a point, or a number of years. In our case, if we are lucky and have the correct gemes we may last up to 100 years of age. When it comes to batteriess, every time you start your vehicle minute particles of active material sepeate from the plates (called shedding) Its usually around 6-7 years until the plates lose enough material so they no longer accept a charge.

I think you will understand when I say that I’m not going to divulge my approach that Ive used since 1972. Except to say, I and many other people have spent numerous years involved in the exact industry. Most of us see ourselves as the original greenies because we are helping to minimize old batteries going into landfil.I am not trying to be controversial and I dont mind if you disagree with my comments. I am simply making my humble contribution. Rod Rowan MBA ( from a real university)

On December 12, 2013 at 10:07pm
Rod Rowan wrote:

ps. My apologies for the typo errors

cheers rr

On December 12, 2013 at 11:48pm
John Fetter wrote:

Rod Rowan - You appear to be saying that, since 1972, you have been putting the active material, that separates out of the plates through starting, back into the plates.
I am not in disagreement with your observation about the separation but am rather curious how you manage to put the material back in, after most of it has accumulated as sludge, as result of inevitable shaking experienced by the batteries, under the force of gravity.

On December 13, 2013 at 12:27am
Rod Rowan wrote:

Thanks for your response.
I’m not sure how you came up with that version of what I was saying.
Allow me to have another attempt.
I was saying that batteries, just like humans, have a life cycle. Any attempt to recondition either humans or batteries must happen with a certain ‘window’ period. As you would be aware, access into modern batteries is virtually impossible, so any attempt to repack active material would be futile. My point is, restoration of any lead acid battery can only be attempted when there is adequate active material left on the plates, otherwise you are restoring lead and antimony grids. You are 100% correct when you said I have been doing this since 1972. Given your previous conversation threads,
I don’t expect you to agree with the concept of battery reconditioning but if the concept doesn’t work, I must have been living in a parallel universe since 1972 as I have sold literally millions of reconditioned batteries during those years. Regards Rod Rowan

On December 13, 2013 at 1:21am
John Fetter wrote:

Rod - I merely summarized, asked the obvious question.
You have now added that you have sold millions of reconditioned batteries, therefore your concept works.
My understanding of commercial scale battery reconditioning is that it is a statistical game. My understanding is that a modest percentage of batteries respond and that the percentage is high enough to make a living out of the business.
A cottage industry.

On December 13, 2013 at 1:54am
Rod Rowan wrote:

Millions of batteries sold is reasonable quantitative evidence wouldn’t you say ?
In your opinion, how many would I need to sell before you would consider the concept a successful one?
Taking a wholistic view of the battery reco industry then of course stats would apply but what are we calculating ? standard deviation of recovery rates and failure rates ? Don’t those statistics apply equally to the new battery industry ?
Perhaps we can call the battery reconditioning cottage industry that controls 10% of the
domestic battery market.
Cheers rod r

On December 13, 2013 at 2:00am
BigJonMX wrote:

@RodRowan: I wouldnt bother if i were you. There are some individuals on this site that must be employed by battery makers. they go above and beyond any scientific or technical debate to poo-poo any and all attempts to restore,recycle,extend,improve battery life.
Its as though they were married to a battery, that cheated and dumped them.
I have been shown many simple and involved ways to get extra life out of car batteries, and some actually work incredibly well. but like you i’ll pass this info to the deserving…

On December 13, 2013 at 2:45am
Rod Rowan wrote:

Thanks BigJon

You make me smile.
Mr Fetter is 100% predictable in his responses due to his background and vested interests.
Much to the disappointment of cynics and new battery companies, there will always be people like us cashing in on the differential in price between new batteries and reconditioned batteries which are sold with full replacement warranty.

regards rod r

On December 13, 2013 at 3:39am
John Fetter wrote:

Gentlemen - There are a billion automobile-type batteries in use around the world. Reconditioning might involve a few tens of millions of batteries per year. That defines reconditioning as a cottage industry. Very importantly, it has been around a long time.
There is a very powerful technical message behind this situation, which I suspect you may not be comprehending. (1) It works. (2) The technology is NOT on target.
I have no allegiance whatsoever to the battery industry. In fact, they get very upset with me.

On December 13, 2013 at 4:39am
Rod Rowan wrote:

Thank you for telling me it works. I waited 41 years to find that out.

What I am comprehending John is..you are all theory and no hands on practice. Not to mention condescending.

To set the record straight. The world of battery reconditioning does not start and finish with you, your perceptions and this website.

I have 41 years of empirical evidence gathered in the industry and to be frank, most of what you say is nonsense.
There is far more technology available than you are aware of. Time do catch up with your research. If you are going to continue to ride shotgun over his forum it helps if you know what you are talking bout

On December 13, 2013 at 6:08am
John Fetter wrote:

Rod - Why did you post your comment on this page?
You have absolutely no idea whatsoever what I know and what I don’t know.
You came on saying there is definitely a method to recondition car and truck batteries. You disparaged others for speaking in favor of the views that suit their ongoing interests. You concluded by saying that you are not going to divulge the approach that you’ve used since 1972.
I would suggest that is a very clear invitation for other people to engage you in debate

On December 13, 2013 at 6:33pm
Rod Rowan wrote:

To address your questions:-
1. I posted my comment on this page because, although you see yourself as a battery expert your knowledge has huge gaps which results in your propagation of extremely conservative half truths. My motivation for posting was simple. To let others know that it is quite possible to recondition lead acid batteries to a point where they can be sold with comparable warranty to a new battery with an extremely low failure rate. Forgive me if I don’t want to sacrifice my IP for zero return.
2. As far as my knowing what you know and what you don’t know John. It takes about 1 minute to learn about people on the net. I’m sure you are aware of that John. If you need qualitative evidence I can post my findings here fo you if you like.

Of course I invite intelligent debate..thats the whole idea isn’t it ?

regards rod r

On December 13, 2013 at 11:49pm
John Fetter wrote:

Rod - I do not see myself as a battery expert. I started off years ago trying to find out how battery reconditioning works. Then I discovered no one can tell me. Practitioners are keen to say they have been doing it for many years, have many happy customers. Plenty of anecdotal evidence, plenty of endorsements - but I found they don’t have proper scientific evidence.
The United States Bureau of Standards summed it up many years ago. Desulfation [product plus charging] and [charging alone] provide equally favorable results.
The other thing I discovered is that scrap battery prices to reconditioners have been going up and it appears this has put the squeeze on margins. It appears this caused you to switch to selling kits and bottles of additives.
Your line of argument appears to rely on involving the person rather than the object.

On December 14, 2013 at 1:45am
Rod Rowan wrote:

Its not that battery reconditioners cant tell you, more to the point, they don’t want to tell you. No-one is going to give you their trade secrets and provide extra market competition for themselves. Battery Reconditioners don’t worry about the science. We would rather leave that to people like yourself to wrestle with.

I was lucky enough to obtain a copy of the 750 page us senate report on the AD-X2 saga, to which you refer…interesting read.

Yes…you are correct. This business is about the operator and not the science.


rod r

On December 14, 2013 at 2:30am
John Fetter wrote:

Rod - I love your explanation!
Takes the average Joe hardly any effort to buy a kit, buy some additive, analyze. I have done that. Unable to find anything special.
Reconditioners set up shop, no IT protection, everyone copies. Ends up nickel and dime.
So they decide not to do the reconditioning work themselves, they sell kits instead. It’s a statistical game. They know deep in their hearts the technical aspects can be made irrelevant. They know they can rely on a scientifically proven effect - the Placebo Effect. It’s all in the advertising. Works quite well on the unemployed, retired.

On December 14, 2013 at 4:59am
Rod Rowan wrote:

To the initiated my last post was a representation of Australian humour.

Here are some statistics for you science man

During my career in batteries Ive manually handled 30,000 tonnes of batteries. (give or take a kilo)

To put that into perspective for you, the titanic weighed 52,310 tonnes. During that time Ive made a few observations. 1. batteries are heavy. 2. batteries are expensive 3. batteries are usually dirty. If you want to know the rest of my observations you will have to buy the book. lol

John ..you are an interesting case study. You like the conga line before you came searching for the secrets of battery reconditioning. When you actually come across someone with over 40 years industry experience, you don’t appear to have the listening skills to absorb a different perspective to your current well matured and biased views.
rod r


On December 14, 2013 at 9:44am
Rod Rowan wrote:


You’d like me to tell you my trade secrets wouldn’t you ? It wont happen.

Your just upset that someone has seen through all your BS.

I’ll leave the theorising to you….I can see its worked very well for you grin

have a great day
cheers rod r

On December 15, 2013 at 12:08am
John Fetter wrote:

Rod - No worries mate. I managed to negotiate my earlier years without mishap. But since you chose to disparage my state of health, without any evidence, I should think I should be permitted to offer you my insight into yours, which I shall attempt to do without causing the same kind of intentional offense.
You have been processing lead-acid automobile batteries with lead-antimony alloy grids for most of the 40-odd years. When the new batteries are formed, there is a peculiar smell. That smell is caused by predominantly by stibine, given off together with the hydrogen gas.. Stibine is a compound consisting of hydrogen and antimony and it is highly poisonous.
As batteries age, the antimony that resided in the positives, ends up in the negatives, where it readily combines with hydrogen when the battery is put on gassing charge. You charged 30,000 tons of old lead-acid batteries to pick out the ones that still worked and generated many kilograms of stibine, a significant portion of which you inadvertently inhaled.
The effects of antimony poisoning are well documented, including confusion and hallucination..

On December 19, 2013 at 4:13pm
Blue Koolaid wrote:

Ive been doing some due diligence on you John
It appears you are quite a nasty little man

On December 20, 2013 at 12:52am
John Fetter wrote:

Rod Rowan = Blue Koolaid - You seem to be promoting the headline “Victim Hits Robber, Unfair”.
We’ve had our share of others using our intellectual property without permission, buying our product but not paying. The better the technology, the more these things seem to happen.

On January 8, 2014 at 4:46am
John Fetter wrote:

This page is entitled, “Additives to Boost Flooded Lead Acid”. This is precisely what this posting is about.
I have tried most additives and methods. Found they left much to be desired. Continued searching.
In 2010 my investigations took me in an unexpected direction. I managed to latch onto the trail of a raging legal battle between the Federal Trade Commission and a large battery separator manufacturer, that had taken over a smaller company and by doing so had apparently created a situation bordering on a monopoly. They were ordered to reverse the deal, sell of the smaller company. They refused. It case dragged on for years. It was finally decided in 2013 in favor of the FTC by the US Supreme Court.
Clearly, whatever it was that was important enough to spend tens of millions of dollars in legal expenses to attempt to acquire had to be worth looking at.
Rubber. Plain old fashioned natural rubber. The battery separators made by the company in question were made of natural rubber. They are an important component in US golf-cart battery manufacturing and an essential component in US submarine battery manufacturing.
They are important because they maintain the batteries in which they are fitted at peak performance as they age - in other words, they extend battery life.
So I decided to run a few experiments to see for myself.
I sourced my natural rubber from natural rubber gloves. Powder-free. Chopped them up. Put the cut-up rubber gloves into some flooded lead-acid batteries and hit the jackpot. This stuff works superbly.

On January 13, 2014 at 4:37pm
John Fetter wrote:

Rubber battery separators, continued.
A string of technical papers written in the 1990s by acknowledged experts in the battery industry carry glowing descriptions of the special properties of natural rubber battery separators. Rubber reduces antimony transfer, reduces the end of charge current, reduces gassing, reduces water consumption and reduces dendrite formation. Amazing properties for a supposedly neutral material that is used to separate the positive and negative plates of a battery.
None of the other separator materials possess these properties.
Natural rubber separators, say the authors, exude trace materials into the battery acid electrolyte over the working life of the battery, that are beneficial to the battery.
It appears these materials interact with the electrodes of the cells in much the same way as additives interact in electroplating baths.
Rubber also reduces positive grid corrosion and reduces shedding of the positive active material. This means rubber extends battery life. None of the technical papers mention this.

On February 22, 2014 at 4:01am
Rashedul Hasan Rony wrote:

Dear Mr. John Fetter,
I was reading your discussion for the first time and It is really interesting. I wish I could have your personal e-mail address and communicate with with with many issues regarding battery manufacturing. My E-mail address is roni.dhk@gmail.com. Regards.

On March 9, 2014 at 12:19am
John Fetter wrote:

Rashedul Hasan Rony - The issues regarding battery manufacturing, that you explained to me as being of concern to you, seem to be caused by automotive battery technology being applied to deep cycling duty. Sorry, I do not know of any quick solution that can be passed on via email..

On March 9, 2014 at 9:58am
Tim Stone wrote:

My battery, a small Duralast, read 11.5 V and would not hold a charge for a day.  I emptied the electrolite, rinsed the battery 5 or 6 times, got lots of black stuff out, and replaced the electrolite with a solution of 1cup epsom salt disolved in hot water.  I charged the battery at 4 amps for 24 hrs and now have 16.4 volts (for two days).

Was I successful in rejuvinating this old battery?  Should I empty out the salt solution and replace with the old electrolite?

On March 9, 2014 at 4:58pm
John Fetter wrote:

Tim - Why don’t you test the battery by putting on a suitable load and measuring the ampere-hours and then letting us know the result?

On April 23, 2014 at 4:20pm
Oscar Ormond wrote:

Hi BigJonMX

The problem with the battery in your 5 year old second hand Jeep is old age. Perhaps the continuous drain by the middle aged virgin computer with overclocking eventually acellerated sulfation

On May 11, 2014 at 5:07am
raj wrote:

what happen when we drink inverter acid?

On May 25, 2014 at 4:39am
Craig wrote:

John Fetter - Thank You for a great forum and good to great info!

I really hope that is true about rubber being “the best (so far)” separator, and I deduced from your post that you tried it with rubber powder free natural rubber gloves - and are very impressed with the positive results? Didn’t know it was already being used in deep cycle batteries.  I have some electronics background & understand that 2 plates as close as possible without touching produce the most capacitance, but as they are brought closer together handle less voltage, because it will “jump” or arc - but in a 1.2 volt lead acid cell that’s probably not a problem (until the plates warp, or bang into each other if the separator has failed/crumbled. I “assumed” they used a fibrous paper compound cause it would hold some electrolyte and be able to allow electrons to flow “through” it. But then I thought about the common “plastic” cap or mylar, etc. using this as it’s “dielectric” and that these are good insulators like rubber, vinyl, etc.

What I’m trying to ask is do the electrons/current have to go “around” the edge of the rubber (or any non-porus insulator) to get to the plate of opposite polarity? Is this also true for most capacitors (except maybe an air capacitor?

Do we get better efficiency by using a rubber “grid” that lets electrons and electrolyte move easier between the entire surfaces of the plates?

Is there any known way to “liquify” rubber, to be able to use that as an additive for existing batteries? Does “finely ground or powdered rubber” do anything to help an aging battery? I think they use powdered rubber to make flexible magnets also?

Thank You

On May 25, 2014 at 5:55am
John Fetter wrote:

Craig - The earliest patent on rubber battery separators that I have been able to find is US Pat 761,345, to Theodore A Willard, issued on May 31, 1904 - who, ten years later, went on to invent the car battery as we know it today. Battery manufacturers have been using rubber separators ever since, especially in deep cycling batteries. Trojan Battery Co., for example, uses them in most of their batteries. US submarine batteries have rubber separators.
The rubber releases a substance into the electrolyte very, very slowly. This substance migrates to the negative plates, attaches to the surfaces of the negatives and then acts as an ion selective barrier similar to a reverse osmosis barrier. The barrier prevents heavy metal ions from reaching the negatives and depositing as metal impurities on the negatives. The barrier does not attach to the surface but hovers above the surface, which means it is not destroyed by charging-discharging cycles.
The barrier can be detected and can be measured with a digital multimeter and a reference electrode. The barrier reduces gassing, reduces water consumption, reduces positive grid corrosion and reduces self discharge. (It has no effect on sulfation. Only about 5% of lead-acid become sulfated, so this is not a big problem. The people who sell sulfation remedies claim the sufation figure is 80%.)
Natural rubber works. Synthetic rubber does not. I suppose the rubber can be frozen with liquid nitrogen and then be powdered. I believe powdered natural rubber will extend battery life.

On July 10, 2014 at 10:53am
allen lagnado wrote:

i tried epsom - zilch what about emptying power then charging - pole with positive lead of charger and positive battery pole to - of charger that way all the negative plates will dissolve their sulfated layers ,empty charge again then same charging for few times then charge normally would this help?

On September 17, 2014 at 1:26pm
William wrote:

I have followed the thread , I agree with the rubber separator,electrical desulphation of cells plates. Has anybody with the wealth of battery knowledge tried building a battery with better design plates, plate separator, better acid(gel) and better cell to cell connection with Ten to twenty year life? If not we will continue to have a lot of junk as land fill for our grand kids.

On September 17, 2014 at 5:29pm
John Fetter wrote:

William - 1. Ten- to twenty-year batteries can be built.  After selling a handful to knowledgeable people, the rest will remain on the dealer’s shelves, unsold. Batteries are a grudge buy. The majority of (automobile) battery users are surprisingly determined to buy the cheapest. They have a mindset that says all batteries are the same quality regardless of what is stated in the advertising, therefore there is no reason to pay more. Hence (automobile) battery life is determined by customer purchasing preference, not technical expertise.
2. Supermarkets, logistics organizations, manufacturers, etc. who use millions of forklift trucks world-wide and hence millions of very large (motive power) batteries, are the most cost conscious of all. A typical supermarket distribution center uses somewhere between 400 and 800 batteries, likely to cost a couple of million dollars. Battery life is critically important to their owners. Many have learned the hard way, over the years, that it pays to invest in equipment that helps to prolong the service life of their batteries.

On October 3, 2014 at 8:36pm
Brett Stankiewicz wrote:

Thank you for building this web sight, you did an excellent job.
This solution you are writing about you said water at 150 deg. mix 10 tablespoons of ebson salt, how much do I use of caustic soda and how much EDTA,

Best Regards

On October 4, 2014 at 12:12am
John Fetter wrote:

Brett - The stated cure became popular in the 1940s and 1950s, was sold as AD-X2. There were complaints. It was tested by the US Bureau of Standards. Their findings:. Batteries that had been (1) treated and then charged and batteries that had been (2) charged but not treated provided equally favorable results. Perhaps the reason behind the concluding statement of the article.

On November 19, 2014 at 9:27am
BJ wrote:

  I have used Epsom Salt in several automotive and deep cycle batteries,  One from my van that would no longer hold a charge more than a week, I drained it, Filled it with Epsom salts and distilled water and charged it at 2 amps for a week, That was 2.5 years ago and it has been in my Isuzu Rodeo since, It starts fine even in 0deg weather, I have 2 true deep cycle batteries that also had poor capacities,  Both these are in my garage and are showing 12.5-13v ..They each ran a 5amp blower fan for nearly a day before I noticed a drop in rpms…..

On November 19, 2014 at 9:48am
Brad wrote:


How much Epson salt did you add?  Did you dissolve it in the water first? So did you charge it with the salt water mixture in it?  I assume you then drained it and added new acid?


On November 21, 2014 at 11:39am
Peter wrote:

Mr. Fetter - Thank you very much for your first class website, hosting this discussion and especially for so freely sharing with unfailing civility your valuable knowledge gained from experience, experimentation, archival research & common sense.  I have a boaters & DIY collection of large & small starter & deep cycle batteries and lost more than a few due to neglect, so I now also have a collection of large & small chargers…  After having read through all the postings about the many additives considered, my take away question is simple—did you just write (in May) that the life of a flooded cell battery could be extended by sprinkling in some ground- up natural rubber between the plates?  — or does it need to be incorporated into the plate structure during manufacturing?  If the former is true, how much rubber is needed?  As far as I can tell, the most common items made from 100% latex are gloves and pillows.  Does the form of the latex matter?  Thanks.

On November 21, 2014 at 5:17pm
John Fetter wrote:

Peter - I am a visitor, have no connections, simply like to debate these issues. Thank you for your kind comments.
Battery experts have known since at least as far back as the early 1940s that natural rubber is highly beneficial in lead-acid batteries, have never managed to figure out why.
They improve the performance and the service life of batteries. However, natural rubber battery separators cost roughly three times the price of regular polyethylene separators.
I simply chopped up some rubber separators, put the pieces in a bottle, added battery acid, after about a week shook the mixture, discovered that it foamed. I used that acid in a battery and found it dramatically reduced the end of charge current. I then tried the same with plain natural rubber latex gloves, got the same results.
The benefit does not last. The chemical gets used up. Putting a quantity of rubber into the cells will resupply the battery. Obviously it leaches out slowly over time.
The makers of rubber separators have published papers explaining all the benefits of rubber. They say it reduces antimony transfer. So I made two small identical electroplating cells with antimony metal positives. Put plain battery acid in the one, “doctored” battery acid in the other. They are right. The “doctored” cell gave significantly less plating.
Rubber separators were long favored by Bell Labs, by submarine battery makers, golf-cart battery makers and some US stationary and motive power battery makers. No one uses them for car batteries.
I can only suggest you try and see what happens. 

On March 19, 2015 at 9:57am
Naresh Tuladhar wrote:

Can anyone suggest that it is ok to mix Epsom salt solution in distill water to sulfuric acid
filled lead acid battery for a repair as it is not holding the charge for longer period. By the way, it is a tubular battery of 150 Amp we are using in inverter,

On March 20, 2015 at 1:19am
John Fetter wrote:

Naresh - Do what you want to do. If you believe, you believe. Alternatively, try putting in an equalizing charge.

On March 20, 2015 at 2:43am
Blue koolade wrote:

Are you seriously still here arguing about
Battery reconditioning additives? You do realise that this forum will not give you any secrets and none
Of this means anything right ?
Newcomers…the best way to re-energise lead acid batteries is by taking a leak in them
Best to do this in private otherwise passers by might wonder why you are standing over your cars engine bay
Cheers blue koolade

On March 20, 2015 at 5:32am
bertie wrote:

Blue koolade = Rod Rowan

A pity you keep insulting people. This is a technical forum. If you know so much about batteries, why you are trying so hard hiding it? There are plenty of people interested in learning from you.

On March 20, 2015 at 7:11am
Blue Koolaid wrote:

I would hardly consider this a technical forum
Urine batteries are not a new idea. If you think I was taking the piss, check out these links.
Theres plenty of anecdotal evidence to support the notion.

Draw your own conclusions.

Cheers Blue Koolaid

On March 24, 2015 at 4:45am
John Fetter wrote:

Blue Koolaid - Luigi Galvani demonstrated what he called animal electricity on frogs legs. Alessando Volta realized that the muscle twitching was initiated by the metal probes that had been used by Galvani. In 1800 he succeeded in producing what he described as a wet battery - two metal probes in a wineglass filled with your favorite fluid. This led him to use salt water and eventually to build a vastly improved version with copper, zinc and sulfuric acid. The history of invention often repeats, sometimes runs in reverse.