Maker Pro
Maker Pro

Why nobody reconditions a UPS battery

smilem

Jan 5, 2013
61
Joined
Jan 5, 2013
Messages
61
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?
 

CocaCola

Apr 7, 2012
3,635
Joined
Apr 7, 2012
Messages
3,635
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...
 

smilem

Jan 5, 2013
61
Joined
Jan 5, 2013
Messages
61
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...

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.
 

(*steve*)

¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd
Moderator
Jan 21, 2010
25,505
Joined
Jan 21, 2010
Messages
25,505
But what do you do when the electrolyte isn't a liquid?
 

CocaCola

Apr 7, 2012
3,635
Joined
Apr 7, 2012
Messages
3,635
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 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...
 

Attachments

  • sealed-lead-acid-ups-battery.jpg
    sealed-lead-acid-ups-battery.jpg
    15 KB · Views: 164

JMW

Jan 30, 2012
90
Joined
Jan 30, 2012
Messages
90
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.
 

CocaCola

Apr 7, 2012
3,635
Joined
Apr 7, 2012
Messages
3,635
there is little or no salvage value.

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...
 

smilem

Jan 5, 2013
61
Joined
Jan 5, 2013
Messages
61
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...

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.

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

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

(*steve*)

¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd
Moderator
Jan 21, 2010
25,505
Joined
Jan 21, 2010
Messages
25,505
There is not GEL, the material is called "silica gel" it's a binder to not allow the mixture to spill out.

The web says...

GEL cell batteries are also sealed just like the AGM battery listed above. That is where the similarities end. A GEL battery uses a silica (sand) to turn the sulphuric acid into a jelly like substance.
 

CocaCola

Apr 7, 2012
3,635
Joined
Apr 7, 2012
Messages
3,635
The web says...

The web also says (and I can personally verify by first hand experience) emphasis added...

The gel electrolyte is sulfuric acid combined with silica. The gel is immobile, like gelatin.
Just like Jello Gelatin in the cells I have personally cracked open...

Well I talked about CSB batteries the brand normally used by APC UPS systems.
CSB is just one of dozens upon dozens of battery brands used in APC units...

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

a) it is wise to measure the concentration with refractometer to make cells balanced

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

b) even if you don't have one you can safely add 2ml of water to every cell

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:

(*steve*)

¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd
Moderator
Jan 21, 2010
25,505
Joined
Jan 21, 2010
Messages
25,505
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.
 

smilem

Jan 5, 2013
61
Joined
Jan 5, 2013
Messages
61
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...

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?
 

smilem

Jan 5, 2013
61
Joined
Jan 5, 2013
Messages
61
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.

Them millions of people who add water to heir batteries life's are too placid.
 

(*steve*)

¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd
Moderator
Jan 21, 2010
25,505
Joined
Jan 21, 2010
Messages
25,505
The point is, adding water to a battery is not a risk-free operation.
 

CocaCola

Apr 7, 2012
3,635
Joined
Apr 7, 2012
Messages
3,635
Battery never explode if you add water to it (it cease to work if acid is diluted), and besides it does have valves.

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...
 
Top