"Up to 84% of batteries fail prematurely from sulfation"
Lead sulfation actually starts when you remove the charging voltage from a fully charged lead-acid battery. Though the lead sulfate crystals are converted back to lead during the normal charging cycle, the real question is, if all of the lead sulfate crystals are not turned back into lead, how long does it take before they become so hard that they can not be converted?
The answer is that varies–it could be weeks or months and depends on a number of factors such as the quality of the lead, temperature, plate chemistry, porosity, Depth-of-Discharge (DoD), electrolyte stratification, and so on.
How Sulfation Accumulate In Batteries
During the normal discharge process, lead and sulfur combine into soft lead sulfate crystals are formed in the pores and on the surfaces of the positive and negative plates inside a lead-acid battery. When a battery is left in a discharged condition, continually undercharged, or the electrolyte level is below the top of the plates or stratified, some of the soft lead sulfate re-crystallizes into hard lead sulfate. It cannot be reconverted during subsequent recharging. This creation of hard crystals is commonly called permanent or hard “sulfation”. When it is present, the battery shows a higher voltage than it’s true voltage; thus, fooling the voltage regulator into thinking that the battery is fully charged. This causes the charger to prematurely lower it’s output voltage or current, leaving the battery undercharged.
Sulfation accounts for approximately 84% of the lead-acid battery failures that are not used at least once per week. The longer sulfation occurs, the larger and harder the lead sulfate crystals become. The positive plates will be light brown and the negative plates will be dull, off white. These crystals lessen a battery’s capacity and ability to be recharged. This is because deep cycle and some starting batteries are typically used for short periods, vacations, weekend trips, etc., and then are stored the rest of the year to slowly self-discharge. Starting batteries are normally used several times a month, so sulfation rarely becomes a problem unless they are undercharged or the plates are not covered with electrolyte.
Most lead acid battery additives contain EDTA, or ethalene diamine tetra acetic acid has always been known to dissolve the lead sulfate layer on the plates. There are, however, two downsides to this:
EDTA reacts with the lead sulfate to form the complex compound above.
The plates are cleaned, but active material is not returned to the battery.
Complex compound formed by breaking the lead sulfate bond.
Battery life is ony extended temporarily with the removal of the lead sulfate crystals and increase of reaction surface area, but the lifespan of the battery cannot be maximized where active material is not returned to the battery.
Our Infinitum Battery Desulfators however, use a different process which generates Amplitude Modulated Pulses at the resonance frequency of the crystals to shatter the covalent bonds that hold it together. This allows the lead sulfate to be reconverted once the battery is charged. A battery free from lead sulfate crystals will have its lifespan stretched to its maximum! No more premature failure due to sulfation!
Chances are that your battery has some permanent sulfation, if it will not “take” or “hold” a charge and exhibits one or more of the following conditions:
Source: Greg Darden. Image by Charles Williams.
On very rare occasions, we do receive feedback from our customers that they're unable to recover their batteries even when using our Infinitum Desulfators. In most cases, the battery is simply too old and unrecoverable*. There are also those who cannot desulfate their batteries because an inadequate rated Amp charger was used. Some very sulfated batteries will require a higher Amp charger to 'force' a charge into the battery. This is because the high buildup of lead sulfate crystals on the battery plates, builds an insulating barrier preventing the charge to occur.
How you can recover 'stubborn' batteries:
CAUTION: This form of battery reconditioning should only be done by a professional as the battery should be monitored and if done incorrectly, the battery may over heat and explode.
It is important to know that desulfators work to recover batteries from sulfation but not the loss of active material that occurs through aging. The above mentioned charging method will only be successful for batteries that are relatively new with some active material still left in it. A battery with a desulfator installed from day one will still eventually expire due to aging which also means the depletion of active material within the battery. The difference with a desulfator is that you get a battery with its life span optimized up to 2 to 3 times.
This article has been selected or written for the benefit of our customers and visitors. Information found in these articles are of general nature and can not be applied universally. For this reason, we strongly advise anyone seeking advice or information to find a professional who can assist with your specific situation.
Image by Charles Williams
Unknown to many, 84% of automotive batteries die prematurely due to sulfation. Sulfation is a destructive forming of lead sulfate crystals on battery lead plates within a battery which eventually kills it prematurely.
The Infinitum desulfator is an electronic device that breaks the crystals and thereby reviving the battery's performance and maximizing its' life span as much as 2X! Reusable & robust, you will restore numerous batteries saving your hard earned money.
No one wants to be short changed. Now with the Infinitum Desulfator, you can:
Don't take our word for it, here is what others are saying
Unlike batteries used to start engines, deep cycle batteries are designed to store power. They have fewer and thicker lead plates as compared to starter batteries. Starter batteries are designed to provide a sudden surge of power needed to crank an engine, so there are more lead plates within these batteries and they are thinner, providing a larger surface area.
Deep cycle batteries are often used in marine vessels, RVs, motor homes or caravans to provide power to run electrical equipment and appliances. So you would need a battery that would store a large quantity of power, to discharge deeply, and to recharge over and over again.
There are three basic types of deep cycle batteries.
Lead Acid Flooded Cell
Lead Acid Flooded Cell batteries are the typical batteries that you see in most deep cycle applications. They are available in several sizes, in both 12v and 6v. They have very thick lead plates submerged in an acid solution (electrolyte). The majority of RV's or caravans use this type of battery.
Many RV's have two or more 6 volt batteries, wired in series and parallel to create a 12 volt battery bank. Golf Cart batteries are the primary example, and Trojan brand size T-105 is the industry standard.
Gel Cell Batteries
Besides the degenerative process of sulfation which occurs on 84% of lead acid batteries, there are other contributing factors you should know when buying a battery as well as maintaining one that directly affect the lifespan of your battery.
1. Regular care for wet batteries
#1 Leaving A 12V Battery To Discharge Below 10.5V
Auto start batteries are not made to be discharge below 10.5 volts. If this happens the lead sulfate formed on discharge will expand across the plates and separators and short the battery. The voltage across the terminals will measure 10.5 volts. This battery is dead and is not restorable.
The solution is simple, if you are not planning to drive your vehicle for a couple of days or weeks, make sure you charge the battery with an external charger regularly. This will dissolve the formation of sulfate as usable active material. Studies have shown however that cars are parked 95% of the time, the sulfation that is formed will crystalize and cannot be dissolved even with charging unless you use a desulfator.
SOLUTION: Charge often and use a desulfator that can potentially double battery lifespan
#2 Shocks Or Dropping The Battery
Shocks and dropping of the battery will result in active material being shedded from the plates. This leads to reduced capacity and the loose deposits can lead to a short if lodged across the plates, or if a connection across the plates is created at the bottom of the battery. These batteries are not considered for restoration.
SOLUTION: Handle batteries with care.
#3 The Forming Of Air Pockets Between Lead PLates
Air pockets form between the plates and if not dislodge that part of the plates is effectively rendered useless. Nothing can be done about this except to say that good grid design and quality separators will prevent this from happening. This is why cheap batteries don’t last, in addition to shedding of active material above.
SOLUTION: We all know the idiom - "Penny wise and pound foolish". Sometimes investing a little more in quality goes a very long way in savings.
#4 Electrolyte Falling Below The Permitted Threshold
If the electrolyte level falls too low the lead plates will oxidise with the air. This is lead oxide and not lead dioxide. The battery loses capacity. Always keep the battery top up with distilled water. Do not add acid or tap water. The fluoride and other chemicals reacts with the spongy lead and renders it useless. Shorting a battery can lead to a gas explosion in the battery.
SOLUTION: For wet cell batteries, always keep the electrolyte topped up with battery water.
DOUBLE YOUR BATTERY LIFESPAN