The battery trick really works!

Profile picture of the author Kurt by Kurt Posted: 01/19/2012
My truck's battery went completely dead about a month ago. I drove it about 30 minutes at 60 MPH to try to recharge it. I went in the grocery store for about 25 minutes, came out and tried to start the truck. Nothing. Not even a click from the starter. The battery was totally dead.

From my research on the web and particularly Youtube, I heard there was a way to "recondition" car batteries. I was skeptical...Nothing could be this easy. BUT IT WORKED!!!!

Here's what I did. I took 8-9 tablespoons of epsom salts. I mixed it with just enough distilled water to create a liquid. The epsom salts dissolves the sulfate that builds up on batteries and causes them to die.

I put 1 tablespoon of the mixture into each of the 6 cells of the battery. I put the battery on a slow trickle charger for a couple of days...(The trickle charger was very weak/slow).

It's been a month since I did this, and the battery is still going strong and starts my truck like a new battery.

Doing a little more research, conditioning batteries like this can give a "4 year" battery a life span of 8-10 years. And adding a little of the mixture about once a year to a good battery can double the cranking amps.

The other possibility for a dead battery is a short in one of the cells, and this method won't work. But if it's sulfate, which is the most likely cause, adding Epsom salts will work.

As expensive as car batteries are, and as bad as they are for the environment, I really hope the next time your battery dies that you give this a try. And don't wait for it to die...When you top off your battery with distilled water, add a little Epsom salts to the water to keep sulfate from building up.

THIS REALLY WORKS!

  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    seasoned
    Ironically, Lead Acid Batteries, are probably among the MOST environmentally safe batteries. The kind used in MOST big vehicles, like motorcycles, cars, trucks, boats, and ships. They are powerful, USED to be maintainable, like yours, and had simple components. ALSO, there is an efficient and well done RECYCLING program! MOST, if not all companies in the US have a refundable "core" charge. You get the charge back when you return the dead battery. And it has been done for DECADES.

    Oh yeah, the biggest waste product from their operation? HYDROGEN!

    Steve
  • Profile picture of the author MoneyMagnetMagnate
    MoneyMagnetMagnate
    Interesting tip Kurt!
    I have never heard of this before, but I have a dead truck battery, and nothing to lose...I'm going to give this a try, revitalizing the cell plates - it makes sense, I don't know why it didn't occur to me before...epsom salts - so simple, it plumb evaded me...

    I wonder what kind of reaction would occur if you put it on standard charge, or if you overcook it ? (luckily for me my charger regulates itself)

    But slower is better. You were smart to trickle charge it.
  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Kurt
    Originally Posted by MoneyMagnetMagnate View Post

    Interesting tip Kurt!
    I have never heard of this before, but I have a dead truck battery, and nothing to lose...I'm going to give this a try, revitalizing the cell plates - it makes sense, I don't know why it didn't occur to me before...epsom salts - so simple, it plumb evaded me...

    I wonder what kind of reaction would occur if you put it on standard charge, or if you overcook it ? (luckily for me my charger regulates itself)

    But slower is better. You were smart to trickle charge it.
    Hey M3,

    I had the same question myself and thought about jumping the truck and driving it to see what the alternator would do. But figured the epsom salt needed to have some time to work.

    I also have an automatic trickle charger that will turn itself off when the batter is fully charged. Just to be safe, don't put the cell covers all the way in so that pressure doesn't build too high while charging.

    Also, be sure to use distilled water and to keep your containers and table spoon clean from any contaminants.

    But give this a shot and report your results here. I'm really curious about your results. From what I understand, if it's not a short, you can keep doing this until the walls of the cells collapse, which happens over time.

    BTW, the chemical name for epsom salts is magnesium sulphate.

    This is one of those things that so simple and cost effective, it should be common knowledge, IMO.
  • Profile picture of the author Robert Michael
    Robert Michael
    Yeah I used to watch my dad fill batteries with water & battery acid when I was a kid, I never understood why he did it until I grew up & got a car of my own.

    LOL
  • Profile picture of the author MoneyMagnetMagnate
    MoneyMagnetMagnate
    Originally Posted by Whos That Guru View Post

    Yeah I used to watch my dad fill batteries with water & battery acid when I was a kid, I never understood why he did it until I grew up & got a car of my own.

    LOL
    Yeah - I have done that many times in the past. I have even installed large battery rooms for network operations centers, and railroad installations...but for some reason, the connection between sulfuric acid and magnesium sulfide had not dawned on me...I've never seen anyone do it, and I also worked with a lot of "old-timers", and this never came up!

    I guess I should have paid more attention to my chemistry set and class when I was younger...:rolleyes:

    *also - I might not be testing this right away, as the truck battery is in an RV that is not driven very often, so there isn't any rush on it. But I will be testing it soon enough -
  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    HeySal
    Kurt - I had someone tell me once that a crushed aspirin in the terminals would revive a battery as well. What's your take on that one?
  • Profile picture of the author MoneyMagnetMagnate
    MoneyMagnetMagnate
    Pardon me for interjecting Sal, but it was such an interesting question, I had to look for an answer...(passage regarding your Q in blue) many ingredients will stimulate the electrolyte...nice to learn some new tricks!

    (full copy here:DIY Projects, Inspiration, How-tos, Hacks, Mods & More @ Makezine.com - Tweak Technology to Your Will - quite interesting if you ever happen to be in a MacGyver moment... )

    A battery is created when two different metals or carbon rods (called electrodes) are placed in an electrically conductive medium (called an electrolyte). Stick a penny (copper-plated zinc) and a nickel (nickel/copper alloy) into a lemon, and you have a battery. Put a copper wire and aluminum wire into a jar of urine, and you have a battery. You get the idea.

    Different metals react at different rates (i.e., create charged particles) with the electrolyte. This means one electrode will give up electrons at a faster rate than the other, creating an imbalance of the charge distribution in the electrolyte. Bits of charged electrolyte move from one electrode to the other (direction is positive to negative) to eliminate this imbalance. When these charged bits make contact with the negative electrode, they give up their electrons, and electricity is created. As this occurs, the lead electrodes become more chemically alike, the electrolyte becomes less active, and the voltage drops until the battery can no longer deliver the necessary voltage. Stimulating the electrolyte through some form of additive adds chemical energy to the system and may provide a brief energy boost to the battery. Feeding an electrical current back into the battery restores the chemical difference between the electrodes and recharges the battery (this doesn't work for all batteries, but it works for car batteries).

    So, recharging the battery involves either finding a way to stimulate the electrolyte, or finding a way to feed electricity back into the battery. Readers had interesting ideas on both counts. J. Russell proposed using the cola to stimulate the electrolyte:

    Pour some cola into the battery. Start the car after a few minutes. Of course, you'll have to replace the battery because you've destroyed it, but at least you'll be alive.

    G. Fetters proposed a different means of electrolytic stimulation:

    Take the battery out.
    Remove the fluid from the battery.
    Squeeze the dozen limes into the battery.
    Drink the soda and urinate into the battery.
    Fill the remainder of the battery with the water.
    Wait 9 hours and put the battery back in.
    Other proposed additives included saliva, potato chip brine, and hydrogen peroxide. Three disadvantages of this basic approach: (1) though the theory is sound, it generally won't work in practice for a variety of reasons (e.g., getting the proportions right), (2) if you try it and it doesn't work, you have likely ruined your battery and eliminated any other opportunity of getting the vehicle started, and (3) several proposed additives run a real risk of blowing up the battery. There is, however, one additive that avoids these disadvantages, as A. Seubert testified:

    ...Put two tablets [of aspirin] in each battery cell and wait no more than 1 hour (the acetylsalicylic acid combines with the sulfuric acid to get off one more charge.) You can pry the cell covers off with a screwdriver even on most maintenance-free batteries... Then the car will start right up (based on actual experience).

    D. Hottle corroborated the soundness of the approach stating:

    I know this solution works because I have done it before. To this day, I carry aspirin in my car for just that reason.

    As bizarre as this sounds, aspirin will often work depending on the degree of discharge of the battery. It is a reasonably safe approach and usually good for one more engine turn. Be warned that adding aspirin will shorten the battery life, as the aspirin will react with the sulfuric acid to form acetic acid. Good for a boost, but bad for the innards of the battery. Assuming you add no more than a couple of aspirins per cell, it shouldn't cause significant damage nor preclude additional efforts if it fails to work. So there is at least one safe, viable way to have a reasonable shot at getting the vehicle restarted by stimulating the electrolyte. J. O'Brien took this approach further, however, factoring in some key details that could be the difference between success and failure:


    Pour the cola on the battery terminals and connectors and wipe any corrosion off using bandages from the first aid kit. Cola is good at removing corrosion and cleaning the contacts will help get more current out of the battery. Reconnect the battery.

    Next, crush several aspirin from the first aid kit, put the powder in the battery, and add bottled water to the battery to fill it to the proper level. The acetylsalicylic acid from the aspirin will combine with the battery acid and increase the charge in the battery, and the water will help restore the electrolyte in the battery.

    Since it's cold out, the last thing we want to do is get the battery and engine warm and certainly not let it get any cooler. Using the sterno stove, heat water in the empty cola cans and pour warmed water over the battery and engine.

    Cola has yielded mixed results removing corrosion from battery terminals, but it is certainly better than nothing. Ensuring clean contacts will maximize energy transfer in the circuit. Topping off the water, if it is low, certainly won't hurt. Warming the battery and engine is a good move if it is very cold. Cold temperatures dramatically reduce the efficiency of the battery, as much as 50% when the ambient temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold temperatures also thicken engine oil, increasing the current required to crank the engine. Carefully pouring warm water over the battery and engine is among the safest ways of warming things up--certainly safer than warming the battery and engine over a fire.

    Enough about stimulating electrolytes. In terms of feeding electrical current back into the battery, two basic approaches were offered: (1) create a new battery to trickle charge the car battery, and (2) develop a means of using the vehicle's alternator to charge the battery.

    A small digression to set up some of the science. A typical car battery is composed of 6 cells (essentially mini-batteries), each creating about 2 volts for a total of 12 volts. These cells use two different kinds of lead (lead dioxide and sponge lead) as electrodes and a sulfuric acid-water solution as the electrolyte. The cells are connected to one another and to two terminals, one positive and one negative. To start a vehicle under normal conditions, a battery needs to be able to discharge around 12 volts at 200 amps.

    In case you don't know, voltage (measured in volts) is the force that pushes electrons from one electrode to the other. Current (measured in amps) is the rate of flow of electrons between the electrodes. By way of analogy, imagine you are at a batting cage. The force the pitching machine uses to pitch the ball is like the force pushing electrons (voltage). The number of balls pitched per unit time is like the number of electrons moving between two points per unit time (current). The force pushing electrons is a function of the different reactivities of the electrodes in the electrolyte. The current is a function of this reactivity and the surface area of the electrodes. Since a lot of current is required to start an engine, the electrodes are made into thin plates to maximize the surface area available to donate and receive electrons. The more surface area, the more current.

    One last tidbit. Connect multiple batteries in series (i.e., connect the terminals of one battery to terminals of opposite charge on another) and the voltage adds up as the current remains constant. Connect multiple batteries in parallel (i.e., connect the terminals of one battery to terminals of the same charge on another) and the current adds up as the voltage remains constant.
  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Kurt
    Originally Posted by HeySal View Post

    Kurt - I had someone tell me once that a crushed aspirin in the terminals would revive a battery as well. What's your take on that one?
    Sal...

    M3 gave a better answer than I could have...Seems aspirin is good for a one-time emergency, but not good for long term.

    To All...

    My main interest in this is from my interest in cheap DIY alternative energy.

    In "theory", you may be able to get dead 12v deep cycle batteries from golf courses (golf carts) and RV and marine repair shops. Or even place an ad to buy dead batteries on Craigslist for $5 each.

    If they aren't aware of how to recondition them, or can't sell recondiction batteries, you may be able to get some dead ones for free. In many areas it costs these places money to get rid of them. In these cases, you'd be doing them a favor.

    If you can come up with about 8 of them and recondition them, you have a pretty good start to a battery system to store your electricity and it could save $100's of dollars or more.

    Here's "Walt" showing how to recondition "non servicable" batteries. He sells plugs to fill the drill holes on his site:


    He also shows in great detail how to recondition batteries in another video. He went through a lot more steps than I did. He also tries to sell his own chemicals, but it seems epsom salts work just fine.
  • Profile picture of the author ThomM
    ThomM
    My first thought was about the sealed battery, good video Kurt.
    I think my father knew about this as he always had a container of epsom salts in the garage.
    As for myself, this is the first I heard of it.
    Collecting batteries for solar may have just gotten easier
  • Profile picture of the author MoneyMagnetMagnate
    MoneyMagnetMagnate
    Here's a site with a little more info on getting and reconditioning batteries...
    Alternative form of energy...alternative form of income -

    (*these are two separate links: )

    Learn the truth about battery reconditioning before you invest in equipment and tools

  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    HeySal
    Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

    Sal...

    M3 gave a better answer than I could have...Seems aspirin is good for a one-time emergency, but not good for long term.

    Yeah, I'd say it was pretty thorough. I just learned more than I ever wanted to know about the subject. Who knows though, some time in an emergency, I may just have a better solution because of it. Still can't believe I read the whole thing. I know relatively nothing about this type of science.

    Thanks M3 - very good coverage of the subject.

    Kurt - have you ever studied anything about helium3? I heard someone have quite a rant about that form of energy. Just another form that is being suppressed because of money in his view. It sounded good. All I can say is all this "drill" "don't drill" crap is getting old when there are so many ways we could escape the need for oil, or at least so damned much of it. Getting sick of our reps insane need for so much money when we could all live so much more well off if they cut the suppression of clean energies. 4 years ago we were promised greener sources along with all the jobs providing it would create. Where the hell is it? All I've heard is new turmoil over another drill site.

    I'm not a proponent for communes, but it seems like it wouldn't be a bad idea for a bunch of people with varied green skills and knowledge to get together and buy out a village somewhere and just run their own area accordingly - wind, solar, greenhouses, small production centers for making non-toxic products in quantities enough for solid trade, and anything else it takes for self sustenance. Not necessarily a commune where everyone shares their own money and belongings - just a village of people who all share the interest and skills in living green. Think of how well off each household could be. Put it in a metal bearing area with a metal processor (thinking of the silver processor going up in Idaho) so there would be a local currency source that can be used globally. New technology makes processing cleaner by a long mile, and with interest in sustainability, even mines can run fairly clean.

    Would that or would that not be a killer experiment in survival?
  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    yukon
    Cool thread, thanks everyone.

    I have two dead batteries I will test this on sometime soon. One is a set of golf cart batteries, the other is a riding lawn mower battery.
  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Kurt
    Originally Posted by ThomM View Post

    My first thought was about the sealed battery, good video Kurt.
    I think my father knew about this as he always had a container of epsom salts in the garage.
    As for myself, this is the first I heard of it.
    Collecting batteries for solar may have just gotten easier
    The only "hard" part is finding plugs for the drill holes. But I'm sure Home Depot has something that will work, you may have to adjust the drill hole size but that's nothing. Worse comes to worse, buy some caps from Walt. They're alot cheaper than batteries.

    And don't forget forklift batteries. They are probably the best for solar and if you can find a dead one someone will give you and you can recondition it, you're all set as far as batteries go.
  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Kurt
    Originally Posted by MoneyMagnetMagnate View Post

    Here's a site with a little more info on getting and reconditioning batteries...
    Alternative form of energy...alternative form of income -

    (*these are two separate links: )

    Learn the truth about battery reconditioning before you invest in equipment and tools

    YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.
    Here's an entire training video from "Walt". It's for those wanting to start a battery reconditioning business. I didn't have a voltmeter or any of the other stuff, so I just did the epsom salts. Figured I had nothing to lose.

    There's a Clickbank product that says the exact same thing as in the videos, but costs $50.

  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Kurt
    Originally Posted by HeySal View Post

    Yeah, I'd say it was pretty thorough. I just learned more than I ever wanted to know about the subject. Who knows though, some time in an emergency, I may just have a better solution because of it. Still can't believe I read the whole thing. I know relatively nothing about this type of science.

    Thanks M3 - very good coverage of the subject.

    Kurt - have you ever studied anything about helium3? I heard someone have quite a rant about that form of energy. Just another form that is being suppressed because of money in his view. It sounded good. All I can say is all this "drill" "don't drill" crap is getting old when there are so many ways we could escape the need for oil, or at least so damned much of it. Getting sick of our reps insane need for so much money when we could all live so much more well off if they cut the suppression of clean energies. 4 years ago we were promised greener sources along with all the jobs providing it would create. Where the hell is it? All I've heard is new turmoil over another drill site.

    I'm not a proponent for communes, but it seems like it wouldn't be a bad idea for a bunch of people with varied green skills and knowledge to get together and buy out a village somewhere and just run their own area accordingly - wind, solar, greenhouses, small production centers for making non-toxic products in quantities enough for solid trade, and anything else it takes for self sustenance. Not necessarily a commune where everyone shares their own money and belongings - just a village of people who all share the interest and skills in living green. Think of how well off each household could be. Put it in a metal bearing area with a metal processor (thinking of the silver processor going up in Idaho) so there would be a local currency source that can be used globally. New technology makes processing cleaner by a long mile, and with interest in sustainability, even mines can run fairly clean.

    Would that or would that not be a killer experiment in survival?
    Tjhe only thing I know about helium is that it's not renewable and that we'll probably run out of it pretty soon...I recently read that by as early as 2020 we could have a helium shortage.

    Also, some predictions see "micro energy companies" springing up in the new future. They will provide electricity to neighborhoods from solar and wind. It can even be someone selling electricity to their neighbors.

    If you think about it, large apartment buildings and housing delevlopments could easily set up either solar and/or wind (depending on where they are) to give their residents renewable, green electricity, make some extra money from it and save their residents some money.
  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Kurt
    Did anyone else try this yet? It's been about 6 months and my battery is still going strong.

    Again, my battery was not only totally dead, it wouldn't hold a charge at all. 20 cents worth of epsom salts seems to have saved me $75 for a new battery.
  • Profile picture of the author ThomM
    ThomM
    Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

    Did anyone else try this yet? It's been about 6 months and my battery is still going strong.

    Again, my battery was not only totally dead, it wouldn't hold a charge at all. 20 cents worth of epsom salts seems to have saved me $75 for a new battery.
    Haven't had the opportunity yet.
    But I haven't forgotten about it and have your original post copied and saved on my computer.
  • Profile picture of the author markreed757
    markreed757
    I remember looking into this as a viable business. I seen where some companies would charge you 5k to start up a business in this area. Then I seen one guy would charge you like 100 bucks for his secret powder. Now to see it was just Epsom salts. Wow I will have to give this a try next time for sure. I have been rebuilding alternators and starters. This will really add to my arsenal of car repair. You could even rebuild your own alternator I teamed up with a local rebuilder and developed a site to sell rebuild kits. You can find it at rebuilderinabox
  • Profile picture of the author tryinhere
    tryinhere
    Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

    Did anyone else try this yet? It's been about 6 months and my battery is still going strong.

    Again, my battery was not only totally dead, it wouldn't hold a charge at all. 20 cents worth of epsom salts seems to have saved me $75 for a new battery.
    Its funny this thread bobs up, a while back the trouble n stuff says to me the car is hard to start the battery seems like it is dying, so I remembered this thread, looked it up and grabbed the epsom salts and added it to my distilled water and topped up the battery.

    Every thing went well until today ( about 2 months later form the salts added ) when I got a call that the car was stuck down at the shopping center while the wife grabbed a cab home.

    Off I go to rescue the car and $150 later for a new battery the old one was spent.

    I guess the salts helped but the battery itself was shot and probably a dead cell or sells seen it eventually see its demise.

    What I have done though is added the salts to the normal distilled water container batteries so that when ever a top up happens we add a little of the salts as well.

    I am also untested in this topic in that these can be used for solar energy ?

    Interesting topic.
  • Profile picture of the author SteveJohnson
    SteveJohnson
    A couple of things - I know it was mentioned earlier in the thread, but a charging battery emits hydrogen. Be SO very careful around the battery when you have it on a charger. Remember the Hindenburg? All it takes is a tiny spark and you have a big TOXIC boom - if the explosion doesn't get you, the airborne sulfuric acid will.

    Second is that you shouldn't charge a battery with the vent caps off. If you're going to replace electrolyte or add water or whatever, do that first and then replace the caps. The vent caps keep the electrolyte from escaping from the cells during charging - and may save a big cleanup job if you happen to tip the battery over at some point.

    Last is that lead-acid batteries DO wear out. You may be able to put off spending the money for a new one for a year or two or three - and that's a good thing - but you WILL be replacing it eventually. The chemical reactions that store and release electricity within the battery also dissolve the lead in the plates, and there's no way to rejuvenate that.

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