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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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Old 03-10-2013
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Want device to pump debris out of shorted battery cell

One cell of one of my batteries dries a lot quicker than any of the other cells when I'm charging them hard. I wonder if it's shorted, or partially shorted. That led to:

I see lots of articles on the web saying debris collects at the bottom and eventually shorts a cell. A few old-timers saying they (or a friend of a friend) took a battery, turned it upside down, dumped the fluid out of it, blasted a hose up into the cells, reloaded fluid, and voila !

Does anyone make a pump or pressure-washer type of device that you can stick into a battery cell to vacuum up debris or flush it out, and maybe remove a short ?
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Old 03-10-2013
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Re: Want device to pump debris out of shorted battery cell

bd, assuming you have an open wet cell battery and can do that, you REALLY don't want to be screwing around with battery acid that way. At best you'll need all new clothes, at worst it will blind you.

If a cell has shorted out, no, no one washes it. You replace the cell if you have a true modular battery. Otherwise you replace the battery. All batteries have empty space in the bottom to collect debris and "shorted" usually means in the plates, where you can't help it anyhow.
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Old 03-10-2013
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Re: Want device to pump debris out of shorted battery cell

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Originally Posted by bdietrich View Post

I see lots of articles on the web saying debris collects at the bottom and eventually shorts a cell. A few old-timers saying they (or a friend of a friend) took a battery, turned it upside down, dumped the fluid out of it, blasted a hose up into the cells, reloaded fluid, and voila !

Does anyone make a pump or pressure-washer type of device that you can stick into a battery cell to vacuum up debris or flush it out, and maybe remove a short ?
Just because it is on the net, does not make it true, or plausible, or safe, or.....

There is no repair or cleaning process for batteries of this type....you are lucky the EPA lets you even buy them, let them find out someone is wanting to dump out a half gallon of strong acid, "pressure wash" them and they will make some rules (more of them) that we truly do not need.

Use some common sense, take the battery to a reputable place and have it tested. Any attempt to "clean or filter" the acid is an accident waiting to happen, or worse. If it tests bad, do yourself a favor and buy a new one, and ask the technician his opinion on your post.

The crap you remove as well as the acid can blind you, burn you or worse.

I am surprised that a man with your credentials (looked at your site) would post this?
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Old 03-11-2013
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Re: Want device to pump debris out of shorted battery cell

Hey, I'm asking if a product exists and would work. I'm not advocating that people dump out battery contents or get battery acid all over themselves.

Suppose someone made a turkey-baster kind of thing, that screws into the port at the top of the cell, with a long plastic tube that could reach the bottom of the cell, and a shorter plastic tube that reaches the top of the cell. With each squeeze of the bulb, fluid and debris are sucked up from the bottom, go through a filter, clean fluid goes back into top of the cell. Would that work ?

If most shorting is between plates, not at the bottom, some more aggressive pressure-washer-type thing would be needed. Blast the fluid around inside the cell, filtering it to remove the debris. Would that work ?
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Re: Want device to pump debris out of shorted battery cell

Turkey baster. ROFL. No offense, bill, but you've led a sheltered life. Consider how similar a turkey baster is to a common hydrometer. I have never used a hydrometer without getting at least one drop of acid on something, and I usually find out where the acid went by the holes the next week.

Besides, how are you gong to get the turkey baster down past the plates? Oh yes, the plates generally FILL each cell from edge to edge, you'd have a good time trying to thread any snout over to the side and down past them. Or through them.

This is why a proctologist never asks "How many fingers am I holding up?"

You just know that won't end well.
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Old 03-12-2013
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Re: Want device to pump debris out of shorted battery cell

Yes, I figured plate clearance would be a problem.
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Old 03-12-2013
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Re: Want device to pump debris out of shorted battery cell

Given the price of a reasonable quality battery I think this is beyond penny wise and pound foolish. Be safe and just replace it. I understand trying to not be wasteful, but this does not seem to be one of those times. I have seen turkey baster type things for filling batteries, but not to suck out the acid.
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Re: Want device to pump debris out of shorted battery cell

My batteries are about 2.3 years old, so I'm reluctant to react to a shorted or partially-shorted cell by just buying a new battery. Would be GREAT if there was some simple short-fixer.

I'll have to experiment with some thin plastic tubing; maybe I can snake it down to the bottom of the cell and bring up some debris, using the tubing like a pipette (that is, NOT sucking on it).
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Old 03-13-2013
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Re: Want device to pump debris out of shorted battery cell

If you had that much debris in the bottom of the battery, the other cells would be ready to die soon as well. Potching around with acid with, apparently, no understanding of what is done with batteries and why...

I'm sorry but I think we all know how this movie ends. Badly.

Let one of the experts that told you this is going to pay off, do the job for you. And see how long the "salvaged" battery lasts when they're done.

There are some things not worth screwing around with, and what you are doing most definitely counts as screwing around. Next time, buy a battery from WalMart with a three year replacement warranty.

Last edited by hellosailor; 03-13-2013 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 03-13-2013
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Re: Want device to pump debris out of shorted battery cell

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdietrich View Post
One cell of one of my batteries dries a lot quicker than any of the other cells when I'm charging them hard. I wonder if it's shorted, or partially shorted. That led to:

I see lots of articles on the web saying debris collects at the bottom and eventually shorts a cell. A few old-timers saying they (or a friend of a friend) took a battery, turned it upside down, dumped the fluid out of it, blasted a hose up into the cells, reloaded fluid, and voila !

Does anyone make a pump or pressure-washer type of device that you can stick into a battery cell to vacuum up debris or flush it out, and maybe remove a short ?
Bill,

If your batteries have shed enough lead sulfate to short the cells they are already DEAD and there is no bringing them back. It takes a LOT of shed material to short cells internally.. Even with cheap 12V batteries it takes a LOT of shed material to short a cell.




Beyond that the last thing you want to do with old plates is hit them with pressurized anything. They become quite weak with age and can simply crumble away from the grid.

Removing sulfation is quite a bit of a misnomer. Sulfation occurs both on the plate and in its pores. The negative plate is a very sponge like material with many thousands of pores. Shedding somesulfate off via an equalization can help but that's it.. Sulfation is like cancer, there is no cure. Equalization is like radiation, it helps but also destroys active material in the process so you don't want to over do it.

The best thing to do is to charge the batteries to full as often as possible, use correct charging voltages, keep them as cool as possible (anything over 80F is shortening life) and don't cycle them too deeply.. When they wear out or cease to perform get your core charge back and buy new ones...
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 03-13-2013 at 04:24 PM.
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