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Looking for information on Edison Ed-240 Nicad batteries

 
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Hi, I stumbled on 40 cells of these industrial batteries. They are all at about 1.3 volts per cell so I think need charging. They are arranged in groups of 5 cells. What do I charge them to and how do I charge them? With my limited internet connectivity I’ve not been able to see the videos on Utube. A pdf of a battery manual would be great but have not found one yet. I’m going to put a trickle charge on them tomorrow and raise the voltage slightly. Then try and build some type of capacity tester. Someone told me the discharge voltage curve is very flat then drops off quickly. A bit like Lithium. What would the charge curve look like?  How would I know when they are near fully charged and near fully discharged?  Thanks, any suggestions are appreciated. My solar lead batteries are weak and I’m hoping to find a little more capacity. Oh, they are dated 1979-80 lol. Not spring chickens that’s for sure.
 
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According to Wikipedia the nominal cell voltage is 1.2V. So your 1.3V sound quite good.
Charging is stopped at 1.5V.

Wikipedia wrote:A fully charged single Ni–Cd cell, under no load, carries a potential difference of between 1.25 and 1.35 volts, which stays relatively constant as the battery is discharged.

 
Jeremy Baker
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Thanks Sebastian. I think you may be correct they are charged. I tried a few chargers on them this morning and the voltage went up quickly to 1.55 which I think means they are charged. These are big wet cells. They might need a equalizing charge. I’d be curious to hear if anyone else has used any of these. They look very similar to the Edison Nickel iron batteries but they have stickers labeling them Nickel cadmium.
 
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If they are Nicad batteries the grouping of 5 make sense as they are usually 1.2 volts. Wet cell Nicads were really popular with airlines and telecoms and railway switching gear but they do self discharge and do develop a memory. They are being replaced by NIMH and lithium.. I would not be surprised if once you put a load on them they will immediately drop to 1.2 volts each. If you cycle them down and fully recharge them they might gain some capacity. Another thing to consider is you have a significant quantity of Cadmium on your hands now which is a pretty toxic metal so stay conservative with the charge voltage. !.5 volts per cell and no more. I would make sure I had an agm charger since some flooded lead chargers can go up to 18 volts...
best of luck. I had a smaller bank of wet cells at one time I recycled them as I did not want that much heavy metal in the garage...
Cheers,  David
 
David Baillie
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I knew I remembered something... An old home power magazine. Check  out pages 18 and 19 for some Nicad tips...
https://ia800503.us.archive.org/29/items/Home_Power_Magazine_015.PDF/Home_Power_Magazine_015.pdf
 
Jeremy Baker
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Dave, thanks, you struck gold. I skimmed through the article and am going to read it again. In fact I’ll print a copy. I’d forgotten how great the early Home Power was!
 
Jeremy Baker
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I started tests of the ED-240 batteries today.  I connected 10 cells in series at 13.89 volts (1.39V/cell) to a 12 volt inverter and a 140 watt resistive load (and 8 watts for the inverter). Between the batteries and the inverter was a in-line amp hour-voltage meter. And I recorded the voltage of each cell with my digital multimeter. This battery bank new would be rated at 240a-h at 12 volts if fully charged. I recorded the readings every 5 minutes for 2 hours and 20 minutes until the inverter low voltage alarm came on. I had noticed one cell was lower voltage than all the rest. The low cell dropped fast at this point and I disconnected the load and hopefully that cell wasn’t damaged. The voltage had sagged to 1.1 volt per cell on 9 cells and 0.7 volt on the low cell under load but raised to 1.21 volts within 5 minutes with no load. When I charged them again the low cell was higher then the rest at first but then the cells began to even out. Is this cell stronger or weaker than the other cells?? It’s loosing and gaining voltage faster than the rest.
Plotting the data on a graph I think the batteries might need reconditioning. As I’m not sure if the pack was truly fully charged when I started testing I’m just getting a ball park idea what the pack does when charging and discharging.
The amperage was 10.5 amps at first and 11.5 amps at the end. So maybe 11 amps can be used as a average. I suck at conversions. How many amphours is 11 amps for 2.33 hours? I guess it’s about 25 ah? How many KWh was this first test? The battery temperature was 48 degrees.  
As 25a-h is a only small fraction of 240a-h I will try charging to a higher voltage and repeat the test. The low voltage alarm will be useful. The Home Power article says the cells can be charged as high as 1.65 volts. Thanks
 
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Jeremy Baker wrote:I started tests of the ED-240 batteries today.  I connected 10 cells in series at 13.89 volts (1.39V/cell) to a 12 volt inverter and a 140 watt resistive load (and 8 watts for the inverter). Between the batteries and the inverter was a in-line amp hour-voltage meter. And I recorded the voltage of each cell with my digital multimeter. This battery bank new would be rated at 240a-h at 12 volts if fully charged. I recorded the readings every 5 minutes for 2 hours and 20 minutes until the inverter low voltage alarm came on. I had noticed one cell was lower voltage than all the rest. The low cell dropped fast at this point and I disconnected the load and hopefully that cell wasn’t damaged. The voltage had sagged to 1.1 volt per cell on 9 cells and 0.7 volt on the low cell under load but raised to 1.21 volts within 5 minutes with no load. When I charged them again the low cell was higher then the rest at first but then the cells began to even out. Is this cell stronger or weaker than the other cells?? It’s loosing and gaining voltage faster than the rest.
Plotting the data on a graph I think the batteries might need reconditioning. As I’m not sure if the pack was truly fully charged when I started testing I’m just getting a ball park idea what the pack does when charging and discharging.
The amperage was 10.5 amps at first and 11.5 amps at the end. So maybe 11 amps can be used as a average. I suck at conversions. How many amphours is 11 amps for 2.33 hours? I guess it’s about 25 ah? How many KWh was this first test? The battery temperature was 48 degrees.  
As 25a-h is a only small fraction of 240a-h I will try charging to a higher voltage and repeat the test. The low voltage alarm will be useful. The Home Power article says the cells can be charged as high as 1.65 volts. Thanks



Hi Jeremy,

Good find!
Very similar to my Nickel iron batteries.
I think you should hear them bubbeling when you hit absorb voltages. Absorb voltage is slightly lower than NiFe.
I think it's a good idea to cycle them a few times. If they sat unused for a long time.
They will gain capacity. Give them a good long charge at say 1.55V ~
Check elektrolyte levels.
If the weak celll does not improve after charge/discharge, it's possible to change the elktrolyte.
But if possible, I would try the simple things first.

Spent elektrolyte from nicad can be contaminated
with cadmium, so please dispose in a responsible manner. Always wear eye protection when working with lye (koh or naoh)

Voltage without load can be very misleading with these. (like AA nicad or nimh =  also 1,2V)
Under 1V is definitly 'empty' :)
That cell will not be damaged.

Greetings!





 
Jeremy Baker
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Steven,
Thanks for the pointers. Yes, the Nicad cell voltages without a load were changing strangely while charging. It was confusing at first but I’m getting the hang of it. I’m coaxing these back from dormancy using low current until they are ready for higher current. Then I have a 75 amp brutish Charger I can try. That will really make them bubble. But they may foam I read. They only just began to bubble with my 12 amp charger and I’ll cycle them again.  I think they may have sat uncharged for a while as you mentioned. I’m glad my automatic charger has a “manual” setting so I can control the charge better.
That’s sweet you have some Nickel iron cells. Do they foam. Do yours take oil on the top like Nicads?. Tell me more please. Have you changed electrolyte and done testing of the electrolyte? Where do I get the oil and electrolyte?
Thanks for reminding me to get gallons of distilled water tomorrow. Some of these cells have recombining caps and they are full. The ones with ordinary caps are still above the plates but not by much.
 
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Hi Jeremy,

Jeremy Baker wrote:Steven,
I’m coaxing these back from dormancy using low current until they are ready for higher current.



That is Ok.

Jeremy Baker wrote:
Then I have a 75 amp brutish Charger I can try. That will really make them bubble. But they may foam I read. They only just began to bubble with my 12 amp charger and I’ll cycle them again.  I think they may have sat uncharged for a while as you mentioned. I’m glad my automatic charger has a “manual” setting so I can control the charge better.
That’s sweet you have some Nickel iron cells. Do they foam. Do yours take oil on the top like Nicads?. Tell me more please. Have you changed electrolyte and done testing of the electrolyte? Where do I get the oil and electrolyte?
Thanks for reminding me to get gallons of distilled water tomorrow. Some of these cells have recombining caps and they are full. The ones with ordinary caps are still above the plates but not by much.



Foaming is from the float oil on top of the elektrolyte. Generally I think you will be ok in this regard. I would always keep the top caps on them when charging. This to prevent any elektrolyte splatter.

Yes; manual control is very good. When testing them out, you do not have to worry about a little bit of overcharging. The only disadvantage is that you need to add more destilled water :)

Mine were bought new (direct from manufacturer). So the KOH was included in a bag. I filled the batteries myself
Making the KOH elektrolyte is fairly simple affair

Here are the steps:

- Add the required quantity (21%) to the destilled water kettle (slowly). Dissolves easily (but does generatie heat).
- Always add the alkali to the water, never the other way around.
- I used the supplied thermometer a stirrer.
- Let the kettle cool down.
- If desired, add LiOh power.
- Check specific gravity 1.21 -> Ok -> ready to fill ! :-)

Always wear eye protection and gloves.
https://www.restauro-online.com/epages/63807438.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/63807438/Products/112

Interesting to hear that some of your batteries have recombination caps. I hear that another name for them is hydrocaps?
Do they have a safety valve? It's something that I might consider adding to my NiFe batteries. I think it's a great way to prevent carbon contamination of the elektrolyte.
(besides the float oil).

Why I think this?
I have not found much information about this. Below are my toughts on the carbonisation problem:

- The water in the batteries has co² in it
- During charging, some water get elektrolysed
- The co2 remains in the remaining water/koh solution
- Now we add new destilled water.
- That new destilled water also has co2 in it.
- So now we get: co2 from the remaining water + co2 from the new water = increased co2 in the koh solution

Or another way to put it: every time we water our batteries, we are adding CO² to the cells...
Or yet another way of looking at it: very high overcharging = more water = more elektrolyte replacement needed, even with oil.

What do you think?

Has the weak cell a recombination cap? Or has it a normal (open) cap?
Are the most promising batteries the ones that have a hydrocap?

But yes, If the sat a long time, please cycle them a few times. My manual mentions this too.

Greetings!















 
Jeremy Baker
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Thanks again Steven.
The weak cell I mentioned was a from a group without hydrocaps.  I’ll capacity test the group with hydrocaps again tomorrow and see if they gained capacity. Its a time consuming process and the weather s not cooperating. And my equipment may not be discharging the cells enough to recondition them. But it will tell me something.
I read somewhere the cells should only be empty of electrolyte for 5 minutes max!  When changing electrolyte. Have you read that!
 
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Jeremy Baker wrote:Thanks again Steven.
The weak cell I mentioned was a from a group without hydrocaps.  I’ll capacity test the group with hydrocaps again tomorrow and see if they gained capacity. Its a time consuming process and the weather s not cooperating. And my equipment may not be discharging the cells enough to recondition them. But it will tell me something.
I read somewhere the cells should only be empty of electrolyte for 5 minutes max!  When changing electrolyte. Have you read that!



Hi Jeremy,

Take your time :) No problem at all.

From time to time I'll check in on the forum.

I read the following mention in the operating manual: "the elektrolyte should be injected in a timely manner"
Even after emptying the batteries, some Koh will stick on them. 5 minutes...15 probably still plenty Ok.

Last month I have picked up 2 antique Nife's from western electric. They were going to be recycled for scrap metal.
The sat almost totally empty for .... ?? a decade.
I rinsed them with a bit of destilled water. Gave them a good shake. Poured out the water
Then refilled with new KOH. They worked!

Also, you might have seen this video's from Rhandsom ? He has some ED-240's too.
Tough I probably would not cut them open unless really needed. (Having to deal with the hassle of sealing them  )
https://www.youtube.com/user/rhandsom/videos


 
Jeremy Baker
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Steven,
Thanks, I watched the informative videos by Handson on the ED-240 battery cell restoration. Looks hopeful. I think I’ll be a bit more careful. I notice him using gloves not meant for chemicals. My new hydrometer arrived. For anyone wanting a nice hydrometer I suggest Brady Instruments which are made in this country. Very nice quality and only cost a few more $. I dont work for them or get any kickbacks. And the model I bought has a long tube for reaching into the deep cycle battery. Im not sure if Handson ever checked the specific gravity or not. It would be nice if he was more step by step rather than bouncing around. His disassembly and cleaning is very experimental so he is a pioneer. Some cleaners and strong acids can leave residue which I’m concerned about. A strong acid cleaner can be hard to remove or react with metals. The mild acids he uses and suggested by others might be ok. Citric or boric acid?? Anyone more familiar with chemistry please chime in what type of cleaner to use inside a Nicad battery??
I will try restoring half these batteries for a my 24 volt system. If that is successful then restore the other half then add them to the system. First to find several 5 gallon buckets with tight lids for the electrolyte.
 And to study some chemistry before playing with these electrochemicals. Any suggestions are welcome.
Thanks
 
Jeremy Baker
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On second thought I’ll try the easier battery reconditioning steps mentioned by Steven. I’ll rinse with distilled water, add fresh KOH solution, and cycle the batteries. But i dug out my old titration labware I had intended to use for biodiesel. Isn’t glass awesome. I love glass.
D62F78D7-8D11-4549-8909-2A3EB51A8D54.jpeg
[Thumbnail for D62F78D7-8D11-4549-8909-2A3EB51A8D54.jpeg]
E19E2E7F-4168-4D2B-A07F-8381257DF2D7.jpeg
[Thumbnail for E19E2E7F-4168-4D2B-A07F-8381257DF2D7.jpeg]
 
Steven Di Maira
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Jeremy Baker wrote:On second thought I’ll try the easier battery reconditioning steps mentioned by Steven. I’ll rinse with distilled water, add fresh KOH solution, and cycle the batteries. But i dug out my old titration labware I had intended to use for biodiesel. Isn’t glass awesome. I love glass.



Hi Jeremy,

Very nice set!
Question:
Do you want to use the tritration set to determine the level of co² absorbtion in the elektrolyte?

Yes, this is what I would do.
For my two antique Nife batteries, that was all that was needed to put them into use.
(but everyone may have his opinion)
It's still possible to try the more difficult and more experimental things later?

When you test them:
Would be interesting tot see if the cells with hydrocaps turn out to be the 'best' batteries.




 
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Steven Di Maira wrote:

Jeremy Baker wrote:On second thought I’ll try the easier battery reconditioning steps mentioned by Steven. I’ll rinse with distilled water, add fresh KOH solution, and cycle the batteries. But i dug out my old titration labware I had intended to use for biodiesel. Isn’t glass awesome. I love glass.



Hi Jeremy,

Very nice set!
Question:
Do you want to use the tritration set to determine the level of co² absorbtion in the elektrolyte?

Yes, this is what I would do.
For my two antique Nife batteries, that was all that was needed to put them into use.
(but everyone may have his opinion)
It's still possible to try the more difficult and more experimental things later?
When you test them:
Would be interesting tot see if the cells with hydrocaps turn out to be the 'best' batteries.

Hi Steven and Co
That’s great you got those NiFe cells going by just flushing and changing the electrolyte. Thanks for the explanation.
Yes, according to the Home Power article the titration is to measure Potassium carbonate and test the Carbonate contamination in the electrolyte. I’m still learning what this means besides telling me it’s time to change the electrolyte. The test can prevent one from changing electrolyte too soon. . The oil is supposed to help prevent contamination also. I read your hypothesis on how adding water and electrolysis increases the Carbonate. It sounds sensible. I’ll look into the procedure more. Have you found a source for oil?? When I goggled Chevron Utility Oil 22 not much came up!
I’m working on a rocket stove build right now but when I’m done I’ll work on the batteries some more and order some KOH. I’m not sure whether to order LiOH also?? Do you suggest adding it. I think I will as it’s suggested by the company that bought Edison (SAB NiFe).
  Yes, I’ll keep you in mind regarding the hydrocaps after I’m done testing. This might take a while. I’m realizing I need to swap out to a more powerful charger at some point. And I thinking of getting a power supply to work on individual cells. What chargers do you have?
Thanks

 
Steven Di Maira
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Jeremy Baker wrote:
Hi Steven and Co
That’s great you got those NiFe cells going by just flushing and changing the electrolyte. Thanks for the explanation.
Yes, according to the Home Power article the titration is to measure Potassium carbonate and test the Carbonate contamination in the electrolyte. I’m still learning what this means besides telling me it’s time to change the electrolyte. The test can prevent one from changing electrolyte too soon. . The oil is supposed to help prevent contamination also. I read your hypothesis on how adding water and electrolysis increases the Carbonate. It sounds sensible. I’ll look into the procedure more. Have you found a source for oil?? When I goggled Chevron Utility Oil 22 not much came up!
I’m working on a rocket stove build right now but when I’m done I’ll work on the batteries some more and order some KOH. I’m not sure whether to order LiOH also?? Do you suggest adding it. I think I will as it’s suggested by the company that bought Edison (SAB NiFe).
  Yes, I’ll keep you in mind regarding the hydrocaps after I’m done testing. This might take a while. I’m realizing I need to swap out to a more powerful charger at some point. And I thinking of getting a power supply to work on individual cells. What chargers do you have?
Thanks



Hi Jeremy,

The carbonate will interfere with the negative plate of the battery. (Cadmium plate for NiCd or Iron plate for NiFe).
Or another way to say it: the Iron of Cadmium plate will be covered with carbon deposits. If this is too much, it will hinder the capacity of the cell.

LiOH powder: In my opnion it depends. My user manual says it is for improved performance. (how? Very vague if you google that) Since mine were new batteries I added it.
At high ambient tempertures the Chinese manufacturer of my cells recommend straight KOH.
But, since the lioh powder is a lot more expensive then KOH and not strictly needed...  

What I have seen another fellow done: Just filled his batteries with straight KOH for testing.
And if all goes well, then you can still add a bit of lioh powder to each filled cell. And/or the float oil.

I cant find the link immediately, but there is a site that does oil substitution/compare.

Greetings,
Steven.






 
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I have just joined the forum and I hope my first posting will help.
This is taken from a library resource where many very old books, as well as some modern ones on a myriad of subjects have been scanned and placed in the public domain, so no copyright issues.
You are free to download any of these books in a variety of formats (PDF works the best)
Hope it helps.
https://archive.org/details/edisonalkalines00compgoog/page/n4
https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.42361/page/n5
 
Jeremy Baker
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Steven Di Maira wrote:

Jeremy Baker wrote:
Hi Steven and Co
That’s great you got those NiFe cells going by just flushing and changing the electrolyte. Thanks for the explanation.
Yes, according to the Home Power article the titration is to measure Potassium carbonate and test the Carbonate contamination in the electrolyte. I’m still learning what this means besides telling me it’s time to change the electrolyte. The test can prevent one from changing electrolyte too soon. . The oil is supposed to help prevent contamination also. I read your hypothesis on how adding water and electrolysis increases the Carbonate. It sounds sensible. I’ll look into the procedure more. Have you found a source for oil?? When I goggled Chevron Utility Oil 22 not much came up!
I’m working on a rocket stove build right now but when I’m done I’ll work on the batteries some more and order some KOH. I’m not sure whether to order LiOH also?? Do you suggest adding it. I think I will as it’s suggested by the company that bought Edison (SAB NiFe).
  Yes, I’ll keep you in mind regarding the hydrocaps after I’m done testing. This might take a while. I’m realizing I need to swap out to a more powerful charger at some point. And I thinking of getting a power supply to work on individual cells. What chargers do you have?
Thanks



Hi Jeremy,

The carbonate will interfere with the negative plate of the battery. (Cadmium plate for NiCd or Iron plate for NiFe).
Or another way to say it: the Iron of Cadmium plate will be covered with carbon deposits. If this is too much, it will hinder the capacity of the cell.

LiOH powder: In my opnion it depends. My user manual says it is for improved performance. (how? Very vague if you google that) Since mine were new batteries I added it.
At high ambient tempertures the Chinese manufacturer of my cells recommend straight KOH.
But, since the lioh powder is a lot more expensive then KOH and not strictly needed...  

What I have seen another fellow done: Just filled his batteries with straight KOH for testing.
And if all goes well, then you can still add a bit of lioh powder to each filled cell. And/or the float oil.

I cant find the link immediately, but there is a site that does oil substitution/compare.

Greetings,
Steven.


Thanks Steven,
I’ll look for the float oil substitution. I see a few small bottles of the original oil listed on eBay but they are rather expensive for such small bottles.
It’s nice not to be concerned about low temperature. It’s not been -13 degrees here in living memory. And it doesn’t get very hot here either.
What charge rate did you charge those empty cells you found with?  I’m wondering if I’m much too timid (cautious) about charging ((and discharging) these NiCads.



 
Jeremy Baker
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Neil Binderman wrote:I have just joined the forum and I hope my first posting will help.
This is taken from a library resource where many very old books, as well as some modern ones on a myriad of subjects have been scanned and placed in the public domain, so no copyright issues.
You are free to download any of these books in a variety of formats (PDF works the best)
Hope it helps.
https://archive.org/details/edisonalkalines00compgoog/page/n4
https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.42361/page/n5



Neil
Welcome to Permies.
Thanks for the links. The links led me to a archive library fundraising page so I was unable to see the pdf book. I didn’t donate right now but will keep it in mind if I need more information. These type of Nicad batteries have been in production for about 120 years so there must be good books in those archives I would think.
 What brought you to Permies?
 
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Thanks Neil! There's a little X in the upper right corner that makes the fundraising thing go away. Looks interesting, but not necessarily a short read.

DK
 
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Jeremy Baker wrote:
Neil
Welcome to Permies.
Thanks for the links. The links led me to a archive library fundraising page so I was unable to see the pdf book. I didn’t donate right now but will keep it in mind if I need more information. These type of Nicad batteries have been in production for about 120 years so there must be good books in those archives I would think.
 What brought you to Permies?


Purely by accident.
I retired form my job as a New Mexico police officer and then had the time to concentrate on my 3 1/2 acres of desert dirt. We had a small fruit orchard and for years we have very little fruit and the trees always looked close to death. The final straw came when one of the local factory farms expanded and started to cover my property in a layer of cow manure dust which smothered and my trees and I believe one of my beehives. I got a preliminary injunction so the manure dust has stopped, but when I dug up the dead trees I found that the culprit was the local Siberian Ash trees. These were introduced years ago as they are fast growing and very drought tolerant. Problem was that their roots can travel hundreds of yards from the tree, which they did, and strangled the roots of my fruit trees. They also immediately suck up any water intended for my trees.
So I'm replanting in containers and was looking for information on soil types for the new fruit trees, hence my joining this group.

 
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Jeremy Baker wrote:Hi, I stumbled on 40 cells of these industrial batteries. They are all at about 1.3 volts per cell so I think need charging. They are arranged in groups of 5 cells. What do I charge them to and how do I charge them? With my limited internet connectivity I’ve not been able to see the videos on Utube. A pdf of a battery manual would be great but have not found one yet. I’m going to put a trickle charge on them tomorrow and raise the voltage slightly. Then try and build some type of capacity tester. Someone told me the discharge voltage curve is very flat then drops off quickly. A bit like Lithium. What would the charge curve look like?  How would I know when they are near fully charged and near fully discharged?  Thanks, any suggestions are appreciated. My solar lead batteries are weak and I’m hoping to find a little more capacity. Oh, they are dated 1979-80 lol. Not spring chickens that’s for sure.



I have overhauled and rebuilt a lot of these cells.  Here is my manual.

Good Luck.

Filename: Overhauling-the-ED-240.Ver.7.7.2.pdf
File size: 8 megabytes
 
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Neil Binderman wrote:

Jeremy Baker wrote:
Neil
Welcome to Permies.
Thanks for the links. The links led me to a archive library fundraising page so I was unable to see the pdf book. I didn’t donate right now but will keep it in mind if I need more information. These type of Nicad batteries have been in production for about 120 years so there must be good books in those archives I would think.
 What brought you to Permies?


Purely by accident.
I retired form my job as a New Mexico police officer and then had the time to concentrate on my 3 1/2 acres of desert dirt. We had a small fruit orchard and for years we have very little fruit and the trees always looked close to death. The final straw came when one of the local factory farms expanded and started to cover my property in a layer of cow manure dust which smothered and my trees and I believe one of my beehives. I got a preliminary injunction so the manure dust has stopped, but when I dug up the dead trees I found that the culprit was the local Siberian Ash trees. These were introduced years ago as they are fast growing and very drought tolerant. Problem was that their roots can travel hundreds of yards from the tree, which they did, and strangled the roots of my fruit trees. They also immediately suck up any water intended for my trees.
So I'm replanting in containers and was looking for information on soil types for the new fruit trees, hence my joining this group.



Wow, what’s next, a swarm of locusts, or paint stripping sand storms!!!? It sounds like a challenging environment but that’s where Permaculture design and methodology can work wonders. Maybe those Siberian Ash trees can produce a lot of biomass to mulch with?? I wonder if they are nitrogen fixing?
Congratulations on retiring and finding Permaculture. Ive found it fascinating. Please keep us posted on your progress with your land and plants.
 
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Mark Cunningham wrote:

Jeremy Baker wrote:Hi, I stumbled on 40 cells of these industrial batteries. They are all at about 1.3 volts per cell so I think need charging. They are arranged in groups of 5 cells. What do I charge them to and how do I charge them? With my limited internet connectivity I’ve not been able to see the videos on Utube. A pdf of a battery manual would be great but have not found one yet. I’m going to put a trickle charge on them tomorrow and raise the voltage slightly. Then try and build some type of capacity tester. Someone told me the discharge voltage curve is very flat then drops off quickly. A bit like Lithium. What would the charge curve look like?  How would I know when they are near fully charged and near fully discharged?  Thanks, any suggestions are appreciated. My solar lead batteries are weak and I’m hoping to find a little more capacity. Oh, they are dated 1979-80 lol. Not spring chickens that’s for sure.



I have overhauled and rebuilt a lot of these cells.  Here is my manual.

Good Luck.



Thank you Mark,
I enjoyed reading the detailed manual you linked. There’s loads of information and details. I’ll be reading it again very soon and collecting materials. It’s a careful process. The results were impressive. I gave a Apple but a whole apple pie would be more appropriate.
 
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Jeremy Baker wrote:

Wow, what’s next, a swarm of locusts, or paint stripping sand storms!!!? It sounds like a challenging environment but that’s where Permaculture design and methodology can work wonders. Maybe those Siberian Ash trees can produce a lot of biomass to mulch with?? I wonder if they are nitrogen fixing?
Congratulations on retiring and finding Permaculture. Ive found it fascinating. Please keep us posted on your progress with your land and plants.


You can't fight Mother Nature and I have no desire to cut the offending trees down as they act as a windbreak.
I've designed and started building some planters out of recycled lumber and ordered a few new fruit trees, so I'll simply start again.

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."

Sir Winston Churchill
 
Steven Di Maira
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Hi Mark,

That is a fantastic manual. Thanks!
It raises the following questions:

1. It is valid to say that excessive watering (non-LCDW, to use the term from the document) leads to increased carbon build up? After reading your manual I would say: yes.
Did you consider hydrocaps? I would guess anything that keeps the atmosphere out of the batteries will help?  I think it helps in the sense that the same water is kept inside the battery.

2. Do you have an idea what causes Iron Poisoning? I did not knew it could also happen to NiCad batteries.
Is there anything you can do to prevent it? Only some batteries of your ED-240 bank were affected.

I have added a picture of the two old batteries I have.
The battery poles and caps were re-created by me, because they were missing.
The wooden crate was modified to fit the two batteries (instead of the original of 5)

Still have some work to to on the brackets / wood paint.

Also attached, is a scanned copy of my NiFe batteries from China.



DSCN6272-(Small).JPG
[Thumbnail for DSCN6272-(Small).JPG]
Filename: Manual-Premies-TN-series.pdf
File size: 31 megabytes
 
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Hello Steven, Mark, and whomever is reading.
Good questions Steven. I printed Marks manual and am making my list.  
Im gathering materials. I found a big adjustable power supply, 0-50 amps @ 0-10 volts on Craigslist so I will be able to charge and test individual cells. Every power supply I looked at on eBay either didn’t have enough power or was out of my price range.
 
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Steven Di Maira wrote: It is valid to say that excessive watering leads to increased carbon build up?



Yup.

For us ..... this facet of battery ownership encourages water storage.  Which is a good thing.  Folks take water for granted.  

When you create LCDW for your batteries ..... your also storing sterile water for cooking, drinking, chemical, and medical purposes.  

We use "Mason" canning equipment that does not meet the minimum spec for food.  Chipped jars and used "flats".  Squeeze some extra mileage out of that investment.

One shot ...... multiple birds.

Steven Di Maira wrote:Did you consider hydrocaps?



Yup.  Then discarded the idea as being an un-necessary expense.  

The NiCd cells use a "ball float" cap and cell oil to minimize atmosphere exposure.  The newer NiFe cells have a similar auto sealing cap.

Steven Di Maira wrote:Do you have an idea what causes Iron Poisoning?



Yup.  Chemistry of the materials.   Here is a fairly recent paper on it.

"A common mode of failure of nickel-cadmium flooded pocket plate cells is iron poisoning of the positive plate due to transfer of iron into the active material from active materials and materials of construction."

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00620567

I forget the patent number,  but Edison spoke of it when he was doing work on rejuvinating alkaline elements.  Read his stuff.


Steven Di Maira wrote:I have added a picture of the two old batteries I have.



Nice work on those cells in the picture.  What is the Ah rating?



Steven Di Maira wrote:Also attached, is a scanned copy of my NiFe batteries from China.



Thank you for the book.  It's recommended practices pretty much mirror the other Nickel, (iron or cadmium), manuals I have.

 
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Jeremy Baker wrote:I will be able to charge and test individual cells. Every power supply I looked at on eBay either didn’t have enough power or was out of my price range.



That is one of the problematic areas.  

I mis - diagnosed a bunch of cells because I was doing them 10 at a time in a 12 vdc serial string.   Cells adjacent to the one I was interested in would either go high or low in attempt to compensate in that string.  

Eventually I had to do that work twice.  Wasted a bunch of KOH/LiOH and time.  LiOH is expensive.
 
Steven Di Maira
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Hi Mark,

Mark Cunningham wrote:
For us ..... this facet of battery ownership encourages water storage.  Which is a good thing.  Folks take water for granted.  

When you create LCDW for your batteries ..... your also storing sterile water for cooking, drinking, chemical, and medical purposes.  



Yes, that's also good view of it.

I have read the link on the Iron Poisoning. Interesting.
Edisons battery patents here:
http://edison.rutgers.edu/battpats.htm

As far as the LiOh powder is concerned
All of the manuals I read so far are a bit vague on what it does exactly:
Here is what I read on various forums. Is it for....
- ...Better performance (less gassing)
- ...Preventing Iron poisoning
- ...Preventing carbon build up
Or all of the above?


Mark Cunningham wrote:

Nice work on those cells in the picture.  What is the Ah rating?



I supect them to be in the 85Ah to 100Ah rating.



 
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Steven Di Maira wrote:
- ...Better performance (less gassing)
- ...Preventing Iron poisoning
- ...Preventing carbon build up

Or all of the above?



Nobody I've read to date has given a direct explanation of what LiOH does in the electrolyte.   I don't think that it has any effect on cell hydrolysis.

I remember reading that it was a preservative in one manual, (I forget which but it is in the references appendix).  I know that LiOH was the agent used in the Apollo emergency as a CO2 scrubber.


So my guess is that it is both a carbon scavenger and a rust preventative.
 
Neil Binderman
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Some bathroom reading for you
http://jes.ecsdl.org/content/162/10/A2036.full.pdf
 
Steven Di Maira
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Hi Mark,

Mark Cunningham wrote:
Nobody I've read to date has given a direct explanation of what LiOH does in the electrolyte.   I don't think that it has any effect on cell hydrolysis.
I remember reading that it was a preservative in one manual, (I forget which but it is in the references appendix).  I know that LiOH was the agent used in the Apollo emergency as a CO2 scrubber.

So my guess is that it is both a carbon scavenger and a rust preventative.



After carefully reading into Edisons patents...
...I think I have found Edison's patent on LiOH
This one.
It's a short read
http://edison.rutgers.edu/patents/00876445.PDF

I find it pretty amazing how accurate his work still is.

He also described "I am not able to explain why the addition of lithium hydroxid should result in such striking and noticeble phenonomens"







 
Steven Di Maira
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Hi Neil,

Neil Binderman wrote:Some bathroom reading for you
http://jes.ecsdl.org/content/162/10/A2036.full.pdf



I printed this out, just to have a good read.

Conclusion for the additives:
- LiOH do helps, performance a bit ~.
- But when a small amount of LioH is used with a moderate amount of Potassium sulfide we get the "magic" -> the best possible performance...

Anyone who wants to try?


 
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Neil Binderman wrote:Some bathroom reading



T.Y.  

Steven Di Maira wrote:"I am not able to explain why the addition of lithium hydroxid should result in such striking and noticeble phenonomens"



T.Y.  I have not seen that before.  Good read.

For real world operation / maintenance of NiFe/NiCd cells you should absorb the concepts in this patent.

Rejuvenation of Nickel Cadmium Aircraft Battery Electrolyte.


Ignore all of the apparatus and pay particular attention to the second and third paragraphs under the "Background of the Invention".  Think about what those dilution/rejuvenation tricks mean for the home installation.
 

Hope this helps
 
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Wow!
Thanks for the sharing a lot of good information. Is taking me a while to absorb all this.
 
Neil Binderman
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It goes on a bit to start but here's the 1905 film showing the original Edison batteries being made. (Skip to minute 7:00)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etfGlcxTzs4
 
Steven Di Maira
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Hi Mark,

Mark Cunningham wrote:

Rejuvenation of Nickel Cadmium Aircraft Battery Electrolyte.

Ignore all of the apparatus and pay particular attention to the second and third paragraphs under the "Background of the Invention".  Think about what those dilution/rejuvenation tricks mean for the home installation.
 

Hope this helps



Good read!
I'll put it in my own words below:


Concept:

If you run a few charge / discharge cycles, the elektrolyte gets pushed in and out of the plates.
This has an advantage for us: The carbon and impurities gets pushed out of the plates. They are dilluted into the elektrolyte.

So, If you get some carbonated NiFe's or NiCad's. You could make some straight KOH (without LiOH).
Go for some good charge/discharge cycles. ....
[rinse and repeat if needed ]
Then fill with the defintive KOH + LiOH Solution
= Better result.

As a side note:
On my battery bank I am experimenting with 'end of absorbtion triggered by current'. This is a charge controller setting.
I have found that a general absorbtion with a timer (say: 2 hours, 3hour absorbtion) is not optimal.

- During summer, the absorbtion time is too long. ->Water consumption for nothing.
- During winter, the absorbtion time is too shot -> Undercharge.
- During a sunny morning, then clouds the rest of the day. -> Absorbtion reached, but timer 'times out' before finishing absorbtion because of clouds.

Long story short: If you have a setting like 'end of absorbtion triggered by current': try it.

The implementation of Studer is flawed in this regard (It only works from a charger, not solar).
So I programmed it using their RS-232 commucation module. I will not bother you with all the code, but below is the simplified concept:
(I got wild, and read out the temperature compensation too, and all that stuff)



















 
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Neil Binderman wrote:original Edison batteries being made.



That was interesting.  T.Y.


Steven Di Maira wrote:Concept



Yup that is the main idea behind overhauling nickel cells.  But there is another one that most folks miss.

Manufacturers recommend changing out the electrolyte periodically to remove K2CO3 accumulation.  ChangHong says every 7 years or 15%.

But if you replace  a portion of the electrolyte annually you will keep that percentage down to manageable levels and avoid the costs, both in chems and labor/hassle, of a total electrolyte swap out.

That means you keep keep less KOH/LiOH on hand,  you have less electrolyte to dispose of, refreshing your electrolyte has just become like a normal watering maintenance event.



Steven Di Maira wrote:I am experimenting with 'end of absorbtion



I used to fiddle with my charging profile all the time.  But after a while I calculated that the little bit of wattage I was able to save was not worth the time I spent saving it.  Your mileage may vary.

One advantage of Nickel cells is that there is no equivalent of sulfation.    I feel for the L.A. folks, having been one.  It's not really a big problem to under or over charge.  Within reason.

I run my charge controllers wide open in bulk all day long.   I make my own D.W,  the costs of a little hydrolysis does not bother me.  

Making / storing D.W. is a practice I strongly recommend .... one bottle of pond water mis - marketed as distilled water from WallyWorld can ruin your day.  Especially if your running a L.A. bank.  

Overcharging counteracts the phase change in the nickel plate that most folks think of as cell memory.



Here is a good paper on Nickel cell memory




Filename: Memory-Effect-McDowall-SAFT-2003.pdf
File size: 235 Kbytes
 
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