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Old 01-08-2021, 12:36 PM   #1
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Coach batteries and flooded acid batteries in general

I was talking to my neighbor the other day about golf carts and batteries. He ask what I added to my batteries and I said water. He said that he adds Epsom salt and mineral oil and his coach batteries and golf cart batteries and both have been going strong for 10 years. This was news to me, so I started reading up on both.

The Epsom salts supposedly dissolves the lead sulphate that builds up on the plates, blocking good contact with the sulfuric acid electrolyte, allowing for better electron transfer.

The mineral oil apparently forms a barrier between the air and sulfuric acid to prevent evaporation, reducing the sulfuric acid fumes from leaving the solution and stopping evaporation.

Has anyone experimented with either additive? Some articles say that both additives shorten the life of the battery and that they may improve the performance for a short period of time. A ten-year lifespan is longer than I ever had any battery.
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Old 01-08-2021, 12:52 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Civrel View Post
I was talking to my neighbor the other day about golf carts and batteries. He ask what I added to my batteries and I said water. He said that he adds Epsom salt and mineral oil and his coach batteries and golf cart batteries and both have been going strong for 10 years. This was news to me, so I started reading up on both.

The Epsom salts supposedly dissolves the lead sulphate that builds up on the plates, blocking good contact with the sulfuric acid electrolyte, allowing for better electron transfer.

The mineral oil apparently forms a barrier between the air and sulfuric acid to prevent evaporation, reducing the sulfuric acid fumes from leaving the solution and stopping evaporation.

Has anyone experimented with either additive? Some articles say that both additives shorten the life of the battery and that they may improve the performance for a short period of time. A ten-year lifespan is longer than I ever had any battery.
I have never heard of any of this ? Ive just been using distilled water :(
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Old 01-08-2021, 12:53 PM   #3
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A film of oil on top of the water reduces evaporation of the water underneath. It does that fine as long as you are careful in putting it in and don't get any on the lead plates themselves. The degree to which it improves battery life is arguable and depends on both climate and how the batteries are used.

Use of Epsom Salts is a bit more debatable, but it can help older batteries. Rather than me explaining it, I suggest you read about home-brew battery additives here:

https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/additives


A decent quality flooded lead-acid deep cycle ought to last 7 years for sure and often lasts 10 or more if well-cared for. "Well-cared" doesn't have to include additives either, just a good multi-stage charger and keeping the electrolyte up to standard with distilled or ion-free water as needed.


I think the warnings about additives are mostly cautions about causing harm with sloppy technique, polluted chemicals or excessive amounts. Far too many people simply aren't meticulous enough or figure "more is better" and go overboard. Either one can cause more harm than good.
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Old 01-09-2021, 08:50 AM   #4
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Sulfate in lead acid batteries.

Batteries do not age like tires. They deteriorate do to chemical processes and as some point are no longer usable. A time table for batteries depends on how it is used, how often it is charge, how deeply it is discharged.

A battery that is properly maintained and charged will be limited by the number of recharge cycles. Tests in a laboratory follow a prescribed plan depending on the battery design. Deep draw house batteries are frequently tested using a 20 hour discharge test plan. Fully charge batteries are discharge at a rate that takes 20 hours to discharge to 10% state of charge. A brief rest follows. The the battery is then fully charged.

Many lead acid deep draw house battery designs last for 300 to 400 cycles. So, in actual use, a full recharge every day will last for about 1 year. Two full charges a month will last 15 years.

Discharging to 50% state of charge instead of 10% usually provides twice as many cycles but provides half as much power. Three years ago I sold a TT that had a pair of 100 amp hour GEL batteries in it. They had been in service for about 10 years. I did not test them, but they appeared to be working perfectly.

Lead acid batteries produce electricity by dissolving lead from plates, combining the lead with sulfur ions, and depositing sulfate on the other set of plates.

The best way to get sulfate off the plates is to fully charge the batteries for 14 to 18 hours using a high quality voltage regulated charger. Do it soon after using them and never put them into storage without first doing a full 14 to 18 hour charge.

The longer the sulfate is on the plates, the larger the crystals grow. The larger they get, the harder it is to get them off (recharge). One winter storage period below 50% state of charge will kill most lead acid batteries.

Keep the terminal voltage above 12.4 volts in storage, and they will last for 300 to 400 full discharge cycles.

Battery University https://batteryuniversity.com/

How does the Lead Acid Battery Work? https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/...ased_batteries

Charging lead acid batteries https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/...d_acid_battery

AGM https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/..._glass_mat_agm

How to Charge and When to Charge? https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/...o_charge_table

How to Store Batteries https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/...tore_batteries

Summary of Do’s and Don’ts https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/..._battery_table

I wish you good luck and happy days ahead!
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Old 01-09-2021, 12:16 PM   #5
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On my first DP, I was new to multiple batteries and maintaining them (four 6 volt lead acid batteries). I constantly had acid issues and tried everything in the book, from custom battery oil (mineral oil) to battery caps, especially made to reduce acid. I still had acid issues.

One day, we were camping with a friend who had the same coach. He opened his battery bay and it was dusty and dry. I found out that my inverter/charger was set wrong and overcharging the batteries. Once I set it correctly, acid issues all but disappeared.

The second problem with lead acid batteries....they're rarely maintained properly because people hate dealing with them, so care/maintenance falls by the wayside. The best thing for this....Battery Watering systems, like the Flow Rite system. The system comes with battery caps, with built in floats, that are connected to all the other caps with tubing. Once a month, you connect a hose (quick connect fitting) and dip the hose end into a bottle of distilled water. The hose has a hand pump, like on a boat motor, that you squeeze until it gets firm. Once firm, all the batteries are topped off to their correct level.

Between properly maintaining them and the battery caps, you'll eliminate acid issues.

Adding a battery watering system to lead acid batteries is one of the BEST RV mods you can ever make.
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Old 01-09-2021, 02:15 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
On my first DP, I was new to multiple batteries and maintaining them (four 6 volt lead acid batteries). I constantly had acid issues and tried everything in the book, from custom battery oil (mineral oil) to battery caps, especially made to reduce acid. I still had acid issues.

One day, we were camping with a friend who had the same coach. He opened his battery bay and it was dusty and dry. I found out that my inverter/charger was set wrong and overcharging the batteries. Once I set it correctly, acid issues all but disappeared.

The second problem with lead acid batteries....they're rarely maintained properly because people hate dealing with them, so care/maintenance falls by the wayside. The best thing for this....Battery Watering systems, like the Flow Rite system. The system comes with battery caps, with built in floats, that are connected to all the other caps with tubing. Once a month, you connect a hose (quick connect fitting) and dip the hose end into a bottle of distilled water. The hose has a hand pump, like on a boat motor, that you squeeze until it gets firm. Once firm, all the batteries are topped off to their correct level.

Between properly maintaining them and the battery caps, you'll eliminate acid issues.

Adding a battery watering system to lead acid batteries is one of the BEST RV mods you can ever make.
I agree .. Simple , Fast, and Efficient
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Old 01-10-2021, 03:27 PM   #7
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I'm just going to assume that battery manufacturers hire one or two chemical engineers, as the university system produces a bunch of them every year. Now If dirt was good for your battery, they would come with dirt. If oil and salt was good for batteries, they would come with oil and salt. Battery business is like every other kind of business, it's competitive. If your battery lasts longer than everybody else's, then you are going to sell more that everybody else. Give these people some credit. I'm going to follow the manufacturer's recommendation which is to add distilled water.
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Old 01-11-2021, 05:47 AM   #8
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Old wives tales persist for almost everything. Nothing to back them up, just tales.

Proper maintenance with distilled water when needed will allow your batteries to last for as long as they are designed.
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Old 01-22-2021, 12:40 PM   #9
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Thanks!

Thanks for the input. It took me a while to get back and read through the posts. I would understand the mineral oil barrier for blocking the evaporation.
The Epsom salt additive I felt was a little out there. I figured in 30 years of RV experience, I would have run across adding Epsom salts a long time ago.
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Old 01-22-2021, 03:18 PM   #10
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Where do you nominate posts for craziest post of the year? If you add a shot of vodka, I wonder what would happen. Hey Mel, no one's ever done that before - so let's give it a try ;-)
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