is made up of plates of lead in a case filled with an
(dilute sulphuric acid). When the battery discharges, some of the lead from the plates combines with the electrolyte to make
) which builds up on the surface of the plates as crystals (as electrons leave the battery as electricity). This is called
When the battery is next charged this process is
with the lead sulfate crystals breaking down – returning the lead to the plates and restoring the electrolyte to its original composition. BUT, each time a battery goes through this discharge/charge cycle some of the lead sulfate crystals remain and over time harden, thicken, and grow over the surface of the lead plates. This is a particular problem when batteries are left discharged for long periods of time and when they are
Lead sulfate on the plates of a battery acts like an insulator reducing the plate area in contact with electrolyte. Over time this build up of lead sulfate crystals will result in a battery which
cannot hold much charge
– i.e. effectively a dead battery which needs to be replaced.
Reconditioning a Lead Acid Battery
(also know as
) offers a way for
batteries to be brought back to life and for tired batteries to be rejuvenated. It can also be used every few months to keep batteries in the best possible condition all the time. Desulfation will not bring batteries with a shorted cell or worn out plates back to their former glory, but it is a valuable tool for anyone depending on battery storage for power who cannot afford to buy new batteries.
crystals build up on the lead plates, it is not an easy task to remove them and thereby
the battery. Breaking down hardened crystal build up and dissolving cystals back into the electrolyte requires a charging voltage much higher than would ever be used to actually charge the battery. But, if you were to put this constant
through the battery it would overheat, release gas, and could potentially explode. Therefore
is used to give very short blasts of high voltage sufficient to shift the lead sulphate crystals without overly raising the temperature of the battery as a whole.
Every lead acid battery has a
2 to 6 megahertz
. If pulses of electricity (high frequency, high voltage, but low power) are sent into the battery, rhythmic beating (resonance) of the plates causes the crystalline deposits to break up and the sulphate returns to the electrolyte solution.
This process takes three to four
typically during which time the battery must be
(in parallel with the desulphator) so that the battery ends up reconditioned and fully charged. Below is a video showing the lead plates inside two identical batteries – one which has been desulphating for three weeks, and one which has been left in its original sulfated condition.
Note that the voltage measured across the battery terminals will drop as the desulphation takes place as the internal resistance of the cells is reduced by the clearing of the crystals on the lead plates. At the same time, the amount of charge that the battery can hold will be increasing.
A quick note about the reviews on this site: I am an affiliate for every product I review. The vendors of these products give me them without charge in order for me to test them. However all my reviews are done as honestly as possible and I make no promises to the vendor prior to writing my review. Should you click a link on this site that takes you to a paid product this link will be an affiliate link and I will be paid a percentage of the sales price should you decide to purchase that product.