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Old 19-02-2019, 02:35 PM
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Home made batteries.

I am thinking of having a go at making my own battery...actually proper name is an "accumulater" but the same sort of thing you have in your car.
So I ask has anyone here made their own battery or accumulator.
My plan is lots of lead flashing seperated by fibre glass with epsom salt in solution for the electrolyte.
I believe storage is worked out by surface area of the lead so I wonder does any one know how to work out potential storage.
I notice Bunnings have lead flashing in 3 mtr x 30 cm and I am thinking of using that much for just on 2.3 volt cell...so 1.5mtr x30cm plate area for each of positive and negative...and make 6 of them...but I would lke to know if it will work and storage potential.
Alex
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Old 19-02-2019, 03:54 PM
Wavytone (Nick)
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Epsom salts and lead alone do not a battery make.

A salt electrolyte requires alternating plates of two dissimilar metals well apart in the galvanic series (ie anodic potential) to function - copper or zinc often being the other.

What you suggest also sounds very messy, environmentally very unfriendly and potentially a safety hazard - wet cell batteries can overheat, boil or worse explode or start a fire and you don’t want to be anywhere near when that happens. Fire involving an aggressive electrolyte and electricity can get very nasty.

There is however a much easier, cheaper and safer solution - head to any auto electrical place and you can pick up old car batteries for nothing. These can be reconditioned with Epsom salts, well enough to do what you want.

Last edited by Wavytone; 19-02-2019 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 19-02-2019, 04:28 PM
julianh72 (Julian)
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According to http://wiki.diyfaq.org.uk/index.php/...y_construction a home-brew lead-acid battery can have a capacity of the order of 1 amp-hour per square inch of submerged anode and cathode.

You're going to have to source some 4-molar sulphuric acid (probably not available from your local Chemist Warehouse!), and make sure the whole assembly is rigid enough to not short out if bumped, made entirely of non-corrodible components, located in a secure facility which is well ventilated, and resistant to acid fumes and spray.

As for whether it's advisable (or legal) - I'll let you do your own research on that! If you don't know how to handle concentrated acid safely (and in particular, the hazards of adding water to concentrated acid) - don't even think about it!

(Personally, I'd feel much happier just buying commercial batteries - but where would we be if Volta and Faraday et al had never played with these things?!)
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Old 19-02-2019, 04:36 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Agreed
Your safety comes first
I use to install lead acid and nicad battery banks for central inverter emergency lighting systems in buildings back in the late 70ís and 80ís and it seems like a high risk idea. Iíve seen the aftermath of a single 5 volt cell explode in a battery room and it caused a real mess, lucky no one was in there at the time
Leave the battery business up to the engineers and the manufacturers in that industry
No disrespect or judgement intended
Cheers
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Old 19-02-2019, 06:28 PM
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Thanks very much for all the input.
I believe at this stage from my research that epsom salts which I think is magnesium sulphate ( I will check as I would have learnt that in high school) works well as an electrolyte...I will look into this aspect again as I have not considered the chemistry yet.
Explosions can occur from hydrogen and batteries need to be well ventilated.
The reason I am thinking about this is the high cost of large batteries.
I recently purchased 6 2volt batteries (little more than 2) to provide a 12 volt system of 1140 amp hours and that was about $4500.
I would like a greater capacity and so have started to look at what I could build.
So far the idea is...
6 containers ( each to house a 2 volt unit) the total providing 12 volts (approx but you should end up at about 13.5 colts for a 12 volt battery☺)...each container made of concrete formed around and holding plastic "boxes" or alternatively fibre glassed concrete boxes and painted with tar...they will be outside under cover and given the weight will never be moved.
Each "plate" to consist of 1.5 meters by 30 cm. of lead flashing folded to fit in the box...say 5 or 6 folds for each plate and fiber glass mat to seperate the folds... I have a few ideas how to form and attach a terminal to each plate ... this is not a problem...two such folded units fit in the box and these to be separated by a layer or two of pink bat (the stuff you place in the roof☺)...
Hopefully as I said epsom salts works as the electrolyte as I dont fancy buying or making sulphuric acid...
I dont think one needs dis similar metals as this is an accumulator ...as are most units commonly called batteries.

If the indicator of 1amp per square in applies (Which may be at 2 volt or 12 volts???) I can work out a range of expectation for storage.

Needless to say I will build a smaller proto type before going big...but for now I will do some calculations for the large model which although a wide range will give me a starting point.

Thanks again.
I had hoped that we had a member who may have built one.

I dont see any environmental concerns if using epsom salts and I think by venting each cell and placing the cells outdoors under cover will prevent any dangerous hydrogen build up.
Alex
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Old 19-02-2019, 06:40 PM
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As to storage..if 1amp per square inch. ..each plate would be 430 sq inch for one side....ie 430 amps if you worh on both sides of the plate which would seem reasonable...thats 860 amps approx...mmm need more lead.
But as to costing it seems at this stage a two third saving so more research is warranted☺
Alex
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Old 19-02-2019, 06:54 PM
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I miscalculated...each plate would be 4.5 ft x1 ft...maybe 1296 amps for what I have in mind...cost say $1500 which is less than $4500 for 1140 amps...but I really want double...
Alex
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Old 19-02-2019, 07:08 PM
glend (Glen)
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Alex i could tell you a number of horror stories about guys who were badly burnt in telephone exchanges, working on lead acid battery banks. And that is an environment where isolation devices were everywhere, and emergency first aid systems were readily available to flush eyes and skin, and people were trained to deal with accidents. Please make safety your number one priority and honestly, is it worth it?
And a reminder that lead itself is highly toxic, and it builds up in your body and is not easy to remove.
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Old 19-02-2019, 07:08 PM
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Why ?

Is this not a pointless idea in the 21st Century and not very environmentally good
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Old 19-02-2019, 07:18 PM
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Wait if it applies to anode and cathode and both sides it is double...I hope the proto type works.
Alex
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Old 19-02-2019, 07:19 PM
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All I need to do is build one zay with two plates each 10 inch square to make the sums easy and do some tests.
Alex
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Old 19-02-2019, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ukastronomer View Post
Why ?

Is this not a pointless idea in the 21st Century and not very environmentally good
You live in the city so probably dont realise there are places that are not connected to the electricity grid and therefore need to generate their own electricity...

So my research is far from pointless as the house at Tabulam is not on the electricity grid ($500,000 to connect to the grid maybe more) and so we use solar power to charge batteries...the batteries are 12 volts but you run the 12volts thru an inverter and get 240 volts to run everything...so I would suggest that my carbon footprint would be less than someone getting their electricity from a coal powered generating plant☺ and so my idea is really not environmentally unfriendly ..in fact the opposite..and there is a wind generator as well...but you need to store the electricity you generate from the Sun or the wind in batteries. ..I have one old set of 1200 amp hours and a new set (yet to be instaled) of 1140 amp hours...but I would like more storage capacity as the Sun does not shine all the time so the more storage the better.

Its not just a crazy idea in the context that battery storage reflects on simple things like how much tv you can watch or if you can run a fan on a hot day.

Alex
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Old 19-02-2019, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glend View Post
Alex i could tell you a number of horror stories about guys who were badly burnt in telephone exchanges, working on lead acid battery banks. And that is an environment where isolation devices were everywhere, and emergency first aid systems were readily available to flush eyes and skin, and people were trained to deal with accidents. Please make safety your number one priority and honestly, is it worth it?
And a reminder that lead itself is highly toxic, and it builds up in your body and is not easy to remove.
Hi Glen
Thanks for the cautions.

I have been doing off grid for over twenty years and know about the things that go wrong...up atTabby a lot of folk make the mistake of checking the water level with no protection...nasty and painful...when I was in hospital once up there a lady was brought in as the batteries bubbled as she looked and she copped it in both eyes..but she did not lose her sight fortunately.

A lot of folk do not realise batteries give off hydrogen which can be very explosive when mixed with air ad exposed to an ignition sourse....so batteries must be very well ventilated so the hydrogen does not build up.
Alex
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Old 19-02-2019, 07:57 PM
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Hi Martin.
I already manage quiet a few battery combinations but I am aware of what can go wrong and rather careful.
Alex
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Old 19-02-2019, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by julianh72 View Post
According to http://wiki.diyfaq.org.uk/index.php/...y_construction a home-brew lead-acid battery can have a capacity of the order of 1 amp-hour per square inch of submerged anode and cathode.

You're going to have to source some 4-molar sulphuric acid (probably not available from your local Chemist Warehouse!), and make sure the whole assembly is rigid enough to not short out if bumped, made entirely of non-corrodible components, located in a secure facility which is well ventilated, and resistant to acid fumes and spray.

As for whether it's advisable (or legal) - I'll let you do your own research on that! If you don't know how to handle concentrated acid safely (and in particular, the hazards of adding water to concentrated acid) - don't even think about it!

(Personally, I'd feel much happier just buying commercial batteries - but where would we be if Volta and Faraday et al had never played with these things?!)
Never do that !
Rule 1 of chemistry labs: NEVER add water to concentrated H2SO4 !!!

And making your own battery involves chemistry knowledge, more than high school chemistry, requires safety equipment such as a face shield, chemical gloves and if not outdoors, a well-ventilated fune hood.
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Old 19-02-2019, 08:49 PM
Wavytone (Nick)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xelasnave View Post
The reason I am thinking about this is the high cost of large batteries.
Alex you can collect used car/truck batteries from auto electricians for free - they would otherwise have to dispose of them so you're doing them a favour.

There is a simple process to recondition them using epsom salts, and these would work well enough for what you want to do for many years.
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Old 19-02-2019, 08:50 PM
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I found this amusing.
https://youtu.be/Vw7lLuy8-IU

Way more sophisticated than my plan..well actually not really☺.
Alex
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Old 19-02-2019, 08:51 PM
JA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xelasnave View Post
I miscalculated...each plate would be 4.5 ft x1 ft...maybe 1296 amps for what I have in mind...cost say $1500 which is less than $4500 for 1140 amps...but I really want double...
Alex
You could try some "good" used batteries which have been on standby/ups service, rather than deep cycle use. As an example, perhaps something such as these-

https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/sydn...lar/1175133546

Much easier and less than your build budget. I'm sure if you look around you could do even better price/capacity wise from similar sources

Best
JA
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Old 19-02-2019, 08:58 PM
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Thanks JA.
Still need six of them to make 12 volts...
I may check them out however.
Alex
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Old 19-02-2019, 09:00 PM
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Alex you are playing a dangerous game mate.

Leon
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