When someone says “You can have these batteries if you want them,”…

…the socially correct answer is always “Okay, thanks!”

But it’s not yet clear who’s doing whom a big favor.


Neighbor just wants them out of his storage shed. Can’t blame him. Are they of any real use? I frankly had my doubts. But ever since mounting the new/old solar panels last summer…

…I’ve had more than enough power to keep my two batteries charged up. My little free sample of a battery bank is enough for my needs, though (especially near the winter solstice) not always enough for my wants. Two Generous Readers have offered to pay for more/bigger batteries, and I’ve turned them both down with thanks because I don’t want a lot more than I have – not because I’m practicing my asceticism but because batteries, unlike solar panels, are best considered consumables. I didn’t and don’t want a big storage battery bank I can’t afford to replace when it inevitable fails.

So I figured I’d carry on as before until my current batteries, which are only about three years old, deteriorate. Then I’d replace them with something about half again bigger.

Well, doing a little quick arithmetic, those four batteries up above are about half again bigger than my current bank taken all together. So. Okay. If they even work. If they don’t, maybe I can catch the recycler guy in town. If not I’ll eventually end up paying for the privilege of hauling them to the dump. But that’s the very worst that can happen, so why not experiment?

I rummaged around at Landlady’s yesterday, she used to have a bunch of old spare cables but I guess they’re gone. But I still have some large-gauge stranded wire I used for the 12-volt lighting project; wouldn’t cable the batteries together with it permanently but it’ll do for a test. And when I wired them all together, I only got ten point something volts. Not at all promising: That’s not just discharged, that’s ‘probably sulfated and maybe ruined.’ Crap.

Of course it’s really overcast this morning, so I didn’t want to use my Battery Minder with my own juice. So I loaded two of the batteries back into the Jeep and drove them over to Ian’s place. 😉

The Battery Minder, a gift from a Generous Reader from back in 2009, I think, is one of those tools you don’t need very often but when its time comes nothing else will do: It not only charges lead/acid batteries, it desulfates them if they’re not too far gone. Wouldn’t be the first time it saved a battery’s bacon. It only works on twelve volts and these are six-volt batteries, but that’s what heavy-gauge wire is for: I’ll work on them in pairs. And now we’ll see how it goes.

Of course as soon as I got back from doing that, the sun came out. So I could have saved hauling the damned heavy things all over the neighborhood if I’d only waited another hour. Figures.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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5 Responses to When someone says “You can have these batteries if you want them,”…

  1. Ben says:

    If nothing else, and they are really shot, you can save them to use as “cores” later.

  2. R says:

    Around here salvage places pay $3-$5 per battery, hope you don’t have to pay to junk them.

  3. Joel says:

    There’s a guy who comes to the little town nearest where I live from time to time paying for junk batteries, and the one time I caught him I made $25 on some old AGMs I had laying around. But that was just luck; I don’t get to town but once a week max, and never get word.

  4. Ben says:

    Well? Any luck bringing those batteries back to life?

  5. Joel says:

    Jury’s still out. I gave the first two batteries a full treatment at 2 amps and they wouldn’t take the charge. Not good. But 2 amps is the lowest setting, I only do that if there’s a chance the batteries will, you know, explode or something. So I’m running them through it again at 4 amps, and as of sundown they weren’t done.

    All in all it’s not looking good. I’ve already got two perfectly good batteries that are only halfway through their pessimistic life expectancy, so these new/old batteries will have to wow me with their awesomeness before I’ll make the switch. So far I remain unimpressed.

To the stake with the heretic!