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Why nobody reconditions a UPS battery

Discussion in 'Power Electronics' started by smilem, Feb 1, 2013.

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  1. smilem

    smilem

    61
    0
    Jan 5, 2013
    Hello, I tried to find some information why nobody tried to recondition not dead (no sulfation) but used CSB UPS battery for example the common type 12Ah.

    You could measure the electrolyte with a reflectoemter, you need only 1 drop.
    Then you could add water or acid to it.
    The actual acid gravity is not specified, but you can check new battery and find it that way.

    Given the fact that common death of UPS batteries is dried out batteries why nobody reconditions them? No discussions on forums etc. Are people too stupid to measure the the acid with a reflectoemter? Or there are other problems?
     
  2. CocaCola

    CocaCola

    3,635
    5
    Apr 7, 2012
    Most lead acid batteries are now sealed, with no consumer access to fill them... Making it a hazardous or at least a dangerous task to cut them open and refill them, not only the process of doing the refill but the sealing of the battery after the fact...

    And lets face it if they were not sealed no matter how many UP arrows you put on the device you can bet that there will be multiple battery acid leaks due to tipping and tilting, from the moment it leaves the factory opening up huge liability...

    This is why at least in the US, if the battery is not sealed the acid is sold separately or is a different sealed container when you purchase...
     
  3. smilem

    smilem

    61
    0
    Jan 5, 2013
    Every UPS battery has these plastic caps on top that are protecting the rubber caps that are sealed at negative pressure when battery works normally, but if overcharged the caps release gas and electrolyte is wasted. It is very easy to take the caps and refill.

    Most of the users refill only with water and then say they could not make the battery work.
    Well you need to test it before refilling with reflectometer acid meter, you need to rememeber that acid concentrations must be correct for the battery to work.

    Unfortunately the manufacturers hide the acid gravity, so a new battery could be checked to see proper acid levels. Given the fact that acid/distilled water is very cheap I see no reason why UPS battery (not sulfated) could not be salvaged.
     
  4. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
    But what do you do when the electrolyte isn't a liquid?
     
  5. CocaCola

    CocaCola

    3,635
    5
    Apr 7, 2012
    Most of the UPS systems I have seen use batteries like the one attached, they are not 'easy' to take apart as most of the time the lid is sonic welded in place...

    Also as Steve eluded to in many cases they are now 'gel' to further avoid spillage...

    I'm sure there are some that can be serviced, but again this is not a consumer friendly thing to do, it's a pretty strong acid and IMO a vast majority of homeowners should steer clear of playing with it...

    And last but not least obtaining the acid is getting harder and harder at least in the US, you can still get pre-mixed battery acid at some automotive stores and even some hardware stores but getting lab grade sulfuric acid to blend down is not exactly easy, in fact it's quite a hassle... In Illinois now you have to present ID and get logged into the stores database to purchase even watered down muriatic acid or drain cleaner, ironically pre-mixed battery acid is excluded from those requirements...
     

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  6. JMW

    JMW

    90
    3
    Jan 30, 2012
    Now that you have opened the battery and it is no longer sealed, what are you going to do? Sell it to me as a refurbished, almost as good as new, but not quite, battery? Stash a whole bunch of them on your roof and use them to go "off the grid"? Typically they fail after 30 mos or so. What do you expect? The sad part is they are so expensive to recycle, there is little or no salvage value. Plus the cost of the unusable electrolyte and plastic. Can't wait for plasma incineration to come on line.
     
  7. CocaCola

    CocaCola

    3,635
    5
    Apr 7, 2012
    They are troublesome to recycle because of the acid, thus it keeps the buy back price from recyclers lower, but the lead core itself if pulled is worth recycling you are not going to get rich but lead scrap is about 50 cents a pound right now...
     
  8. smilem

    smilem

    61
    0
    Jan 5, 2013
    Well I talked about CSB batteries the brand normally used by APC UPS systems.
    The reason I'm asking abour reconditionins is this:

    Quite few years back I had a situation where a CSB manufacturer rated battery for 8 years on standby failed after 4. I added 2ml of distilled water to every cell. Battery lasted for 74minutes instead of 10mintes.

    So I came into conclusion that:

    a) it is wise to measure the concentration with refractometer to make cells balanced
    b) even if you don't have one you can safely add 2ml of water to every cell.

    I had to replace them after 9 years. I now have new batteries just like before they are acting up after 4 years. I now have the idea to buy cheap refractometer and actually measure the electrolyte in them to repair them even better.

    There is not GEL, the material is called "silica gel" it's a binder to not allow the mixture to spill out.
     
  9. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    The web says...

     
  10. CocaCola

    CocaCola

    3,635
    5
    Apr 7, 2012
    The web also says (and I can personally verify by first hand experience) emphasis added...

    Just like Jello Gelatin in the cells I have personally cracked open...

    CSB is just one of dozens upon dozens of battery brands used in APC units...

    See here... http://www.apexbattery.com/ups-batteries.html

    Personally as I stated above I find it wiser for the average consumer to not attempt opening said batteries or servicing...

    Safely is wide open to interpretation... Ever been around a larger lead acid battery that overheats and explodes or boils over? Trust me not a pretty sight...

    I'm not saying you can't breath some life into dying cells by doing what you suggest, but it's not some miracle fix, and said fix should be taken with several precautions as it can be quite dangerous... In the end it might work, but the potential for danger both doing it and afterwards is real...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2013
  11. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
    Added to that, there are two rules you should remember:

    Always do things as you oughta, add the acid to the water.

    and

    If you think your life's too placid, add the water to the acid.
     
  12. smilem

    smilem

    61
    0
    Jan 5, 2013
    Battery never explode if you add water to it (it cease to work if acid is diluted), and besides it does have valves.

    Seems like Catalysts on VRLA Batteries Save Air Force Millions of Dollars
    http://webcache.googleusercontent.c...ries+by+adding+water&cd=2&hl=lt&ct=clnk&gl=lt

    So the question is where can I get these caps of catalyst?
     
  13. smilem

    smilem

    61
    0
    Jan 5, 2013
    Them millions of people who add water to heir batteries life's are too placid.
     
  14. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
    The point is, adding water to a battery is not a risk-free operation.
     
  15. CocaCola

    CocaCola

    3,635
    5
    Apr 7, 2012
    Chemistry 101 first day warning, you add acid to water not water to acid, because yes there is a potential for a violent reaction and even explosion if there are impurities in the water... Any tampering with a battery can increase the danger levels of using that battery, including but not limited to leaking and explosion... Regardless of your opinion that batteries never explode if you just add water, you are not just adding water, you are cracking open what is usually a sealed battery, altering the chemistry and breaking sealing and this can cause issues, whether you want to agree or not...
     
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