DIY batteries / lead ballast as a battery

Discussion in 'OnBoard Electronics & Controls' started by Seafarer24, Jun 24, 2012.

  1. Seafarer24
    Joined: May 2005
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    Location: Tampa Bay

    Seafarer24 Sunset Chaser

    I'm thinking of designing a small cruising sailboat and in the interest of maximizing space I dreamed up the idea that 500lbs of lead ballast might pull double-duty as 500lbs of battery as well. It would still have to be in the shape of the keel, however, so I can't just drop some 8Ds in a box and be done with it.

    I'm doing a lot of research and getting a lot of varied information. Some say it's not hard to make a battery from scratch or by recycling parts of old batteries, others says it's virtually impossible, and still others say it is do-able but the power output will be abysmally low.

    I want to create a 24v battery with at least 500 Amp Hours. Maybe use some HydroCaps to keep it maintenance free / safe unless I can duplicate an AGM setup.

    Was planning to recycle the lead ballast from sailboats destined for the junkyard since it would probably take only one. Melt it down into .25" thick plates with shaped determined by the foil profile at its location.

    Does anyone have experience with making their own batteries or can point me in the direction of definitive data or instructions?
     
  2. Stumble
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: New Orleans

    Stumble Senior Member

    So what happens when a cell goes bad? Figure on a large battery bank this will happen every two to three years, are you going to have to remove the keel?

    An interesting idea in theory, but I have doubts about its practicality.
     
  3. pistnbroke
    Joined: Jan 2009
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    Location: Noosa.Australia where god kissed the earth.

    pistnbroke I try

    The plates in a battery are not made of lead......I think you need to come off the pills and let your brain work .....the only way you will do this is to make the keel hollow and lower in your 10 batteries.....
     
  4. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    Perfect Idea Piston but wont it be the first place to flood. Or do you suggest weld them in.

    I wonder why they call them lead acid batteries, Oh well I dunno.
     
  5. pistnbroke
    Joined: Jan 2009
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    Location: Noosa.Australia where god kissed the earth.

    pistnbroke I try

    Frosty you know and I know the plates are not 1/4 lead plates as the OP is talking about but lead oxide ...now get the OP to make that from melted down keel.
    First place to flood quite right ...like I said both you and the OP should come off the pills ( if your photo is anything to go by )
     
  6. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Adriatic sea

    CDK retired engineer

    BertKu's very long battery thread contains a lot of info about storing electricity in the keel of a boat: the bottom line is that it is an invitation for all kinds of disaster.

    Making a flooded cell battery is simple. All you need is a glass or plastic container, perforated plastic sheets, sulfuric acid and lead in a suitable shape, like sheets or plates. Once assembled, a low DC current will convert the surface of the plates into sulfide and oxide and turn it into a battery, albeit a poor one.

    But for maintenance each individual cell must retrievable from the keel and the whole assembly must stay dry even when some bilge water is present while there still must be an escape path for gasses. I doubt an amateur can come up with a construction which satisfies these three incompatible requirements.
     
  7. pistnbroke
    Joined: Jan 2009
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    Location: Noosa.Australia where god kissed the earth.

    pistnbroke I try

    Check your books CDK the plates are lead oxide and spongy lead which both go to lead sulphate when discharged ....No sulphide anywhere.....

    =============================================
    Never listen to old people. They die and take there knowlegde with them leaving you to live in ignorance.
     
  8. BertKu
    Joined: May 2009
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    Location: South Africa Little Brak River

    BertKu Senior Member

    CDK is right, I also had original that idea, but have abolished it.
    A number of reasons.

    1) If a homemade battery sits in the keel and has a problem. How do you solve it while somewhere when there is no host available, or you at sea?.

    2) If there is a leak, you sitting on a bomb. I did some tests, with only 7 Ampere-hour batteries, but it gave me a good idea what energy would be released at short notice under your belly. Not a pleasant idea.

    3) If I drop batteries in a shaft with a keel accessible from inside, it could be done, but the top has to be sealed with a waterproof lid and ventilation. Also the batteries has to be screwed and are not allowed to be loose.

    4) The cabling would be messy with solution no 3.

    I have now decided to have in the bilge 2 long waterproof casings, with easy removable lids. In the lids I will have a pipe with a flexible rubber pipe onto it, to ventilate the deep charging batteries. I also will have normal waterproof cable glands to have the cables coming out of the casing. I am then complying to the law to ventilate lead acid batteries. As a keel I will have the centre plate version as per original drawing by the designer.
    The batteries are thus still used as ballast, but are now accessible, can easy be removed, connections maintained and replaced.

    p.s. Pistnbroke is not a bad bloke, often wrong, very rude and has an self esteem problem. We have to accommodate him and try to help him. He is still so young.
    Bert
     
  9. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    there is an excellent all electric cruiser here made by duck flat wooden boats. the hull has a box keel and the full length contains the batterys and electric drive . really neat looking set up.
     
  10. BertKu
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    Location: South Africa Little Brak River

    BertKu Senior Member

    Would it be a seagoing all weather type boat?. I looked at their website, quite nice, not bad, however I am under the impression that Seafarer24 likes to have a real seagoing cruiser. Bert
     
  11. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    CDK retired engineer

    Sold my books half a century ago Steve when my allowance didn't cover cigarettes and gasoline.
    But you're right of course, no sulphide in a healthy battery, only in a worn one as a deposit on the inner walls and the plug.

    In the original 19th century invention plain lead was used for both anode and cathode. The charging or better 'formation' current covers the + with brownish lead peroxide. The spongy negative plate is a luxury to increase the surface area.
     
  12. BertKu
    Joined: May 2009
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    BertKu Senior Member

    My profound apology Steve, but I could not resist. Most of the time your knowledge is excellent, but sometimes I wonder why you have to be so personal, without that it was called for. What happened in your life that you are sometimes bitter?
     
  13. pistnbroke
    Joined: Jan 2009
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    Location: Noosa.Australia where god kissed the earth.

    pistnbroke I try

    Quote ...but sometimes I wonder why you have to be so personal,

    I learned the style from Frosty
     
  14. Boat Design Net Moderator
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    Boat Design Net Moderator Moderator

    OK guys, let's please try to keep the public discussions polite and not go too far with the jabs. Thanks.
     

  15. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    Oh,--- we are only playin----

    Piston had a go back --only playin,--we know that but its not globally funny I suppose.
     
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