After a time of non-use and being idle, most batteries will go flat and become unable to provide the power needed by vehicles and equipment. Leaving deep cycle batteries idle for a long time produces sulfate crystals, resulting in the sulfate crystal separating the plates from the battery acid. The end result is that the battery will have short discharge or fast charging, making the battery useless and ineffective. If this happens, you have two choices: bring a deep cycle battery back to life or you can buy a new battery.
The easiest way to handle this problem for some RVers is to buy a new battery. Here, we discuss the other choice to try and resuscitate the dead battery as a process. However, before attempting to revive the dead batteries, you must know the battery’s voltage first.
Bring a Deep Cycle Battery Back to Life – The Essentials
Before jumping into the process, it’s essential to understand the nuances and intricacies of deep cycle batteries. They differ from regular batteries in their design, purpose, and how they release energy. So, reviving them requires a different set of procedures.
Understanding Deep Cycle Batteries
A deep cycle battery is unique. Unlike car batteries that provide short bursts of energy, these are designed to give out a steady current over an extended period. This means they can discharge deeper than other batteries without causing damage.
Signs Your Battery Needs Revival
- Declining Voltage: If the battery’s voltage drops faster than usual.
- Swollen Cells: Physical deformities, such as bulging, suggest internal damage.
- Weak Appliances: Devices powered by the battery show reduced efficiency or performance.
Bring a Deep Cycle Battery Back to Life – The Steps
While going through the steps, there is a need to apply caution. Use gloves with safety goggles as a preventive material to avoid contacting toxic substances throughout the process.
Step 1: Battery Cleaning
When the batteries start getting older, corrosion starts to develop. You can identify the corroding nature of a battery from the appearance of white powder on the battery’s exterior. They are highly toxic, and wait for their removal before applying anything. So, prepare a cleansing mixture of proper substances of a pound of baking powder in a gallon of water – mix it well in a basin. Baking soda causes battery acid to become harmless. Also, add dish soap to the mixture if you have a greasy battery. With the help of two wrenches of the right size, remove the battery terminals. Take the prepared solution and a toothbrush to clean the clamps and terminals thoroughly.
When you are satisfied with the result, wipe them dry, taking note of any damage or cracks. For a mechanically sound battery, use petroleum jelly, or commercial protection spray onto the terminals before reattaching the clamps.
Step 2: The Battery Cell Lid Removal
After the cleaning of the battery is done, the next phase includes the restoration process. Use a screwdriver to withdraw all the battery cell lids in this step. However, a needle-nose peril will also come in handy during this procedure. While maintaining the same safety procedure, detach the cell covers. No foreign object should be allowed to be dumped into the battery cells. Keep a rag at hand to easily wipe off unwanted mess while working.
Step 3: Feeding the Cells Distilled Water
Any water that is not distilled has minerals, even though it looks clean. The presence of minerals here is unwanted because they promote the development of corrosion. Pour the water through a funnel in the cells, and there may be oxygen and hydrogen remaining and cause a spark or an explosion if the cells are not filled with distilled water. But avoid overfilling the cells because the overflowed water will contain acid. The battery size decides the amount of water needed in the cells alongside its acid levels. A 12-volt battery genuinely requires more water compared to a 6-volt battery.
Step 4: The Battery Connection With a Reviver
When the battery cells are done being fed with water, your battery should be expected to start working immediately. But before anything else, charge the battery with a regular charger and check if it is charging. Continue if it works, but failing to find any charge indication, a battery rejuvenator will save it. This device can pulsate power through the battery plates, breaking the accumulated sulfate apart. When the sulfate removal is done, charging becomes possible once again.
Step 5: The Battery Voltage Testing
After the charging of your battery is successfully covered, you will need a voltmeter for the next step. You must check how much the battery charge is holding with the voltmeter. Recheck the voltage after allowing the charged battery to idle for the next few days. It is good as new if it can successfully bear the same voltage for that period. But check the voltage periodically when you have reinstalled your vehicle’s revived battery to ensure it is still holding its charge.
Step 6: Restoring Deep Cycle Battery With Epsom Salt
Another effective method of bringing back a deep cycle battery to life is with the help of Epsom salt. Do not forget to use protective means- safety goggles and rubber gloves while going through all the processes.
The foremost step includes testing if the battery will respond to its restitution process. To be eligible for the reviving process, the battery’s voltage range should be between 10 volts to 12 volts. If the voltmeter reading indicates a value lower than 10 volts, continuing the process will be a waste of time.
Secondly, take about a half-quarter of distilled water and heat to a temperature of 65.5 Celsius or 150 Fahrenheit. Add 7-8 ounces of Epsom salt to the heated water.
Next, while maintaining your safety process, detach the battery lids or drill if sealed through the cells’ shadow plugs. Apply caution and drain out present acidic battery fluids. Now, the Epsom salt solution has to make each battery cell full through a plastic funnel. Now, you need a battery cap replacement or cover the drilled holes with plastic plugs into the battery. Carefully shake the battery to allow the solution to distribute evenly to all cell parts.
The final includes recharging the battery while following a slow charge. Let it sit for charging for about a minimum of 24 hours before reinstalling your battery into your vehicle. But to gain full capacity, the battery must be charged for about three to four nights.
Bring a Deep Cycle Battery Back to Life – Wrapping Up
Reviving a deep cycle battery isn’t just about saving money but also an eco-friendly approach. These batteries can serve you efficiently for years with proper care and maintenance. Embrace the techniques, be patient, and always prioritize safety. After all, a little love goes a long way in the world of batteries!
Bring a Deep Cycle Battery Back to Life FAQs
What is a deep cycle battery?
A deep cycle battery is designed to release energy steadily over an extended period.
How do deep cycle batteries differ from regular batteries?
Unlike car batteries that offer short energy bursts, deep cycle batteries provide a steady current and can be deeply discharged without damage.
Can all deep cycle batteries be revived?
No, not all batteries can be brought back to life. Those with physical damages or dead for an extended period might be beyond repair.
How often should I maintain my revived battery?
It’s best to check and maintain your battery at least once a month to ensure its optimal performance.
Is overcharging dangerous?
While equalization involves intentional overcharging, doing so excessively or without proper knowledge can be harmful.
What should I do if my battery doesn’t revive?
If, after multiple attempts, your battery doesn’t show signs of life, it might be best to recycle it and get a new one.
What are some good brand choices if I need a new deep cycle battery?
If you determine you should get a new one, there are a few very good choices for deep cycle batteries that we recommend, and these include: