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Q: automotive batteries ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: automotive batteries
Category: Science > Chemistry
Asked by: thehans-ga
List Price: $24.50
Posted: 24 Nov 2003 13:30 PST
Expires: 24 Dec 2003 13:30 PST
Question ID: 280150
I have read a paper by a chemical engineer detailing how to revive a
really dead car battery, one that does not respond to simply being
It involves draining the electrolyte, flushing the battery with
something and replacing the electrolyte with a commercially available

Request for Question Clarification by mvguy-ga on 24 Nov 2003 17:02 PST
What is your question? What would you consider an adequate answer? Thanks.

Clarification of Question by thehans-ga on 25 Nov 2003 08:18 PST
My question is: can you find that information for me?
Subject: Re: automotive batteries
Answered By: byrd-ga on 25 Nov 2003 19:22 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello Thehans,

Yes, really, I believe you.  There does indeed seem to be a chemical 
process for reviving dead batteries. However, it appears to be a 
remedy only for batteries that have become ?sulfated,? but not for 
those that have ?shorted out.?  Here's a site that explains this 
difference, and also gives a method for determining whether a 
particular battery has shorted out and is useless, or is only sulfated 
and thus restorable by this chemical method: http://homepage.ntlworld.

 This site describes sulfation as ?a slow ageing process. The battery 
plates are made porous to allow large current for starting the engine. 
The sulfate formation not only takes place on the surface of the plate,
but also within the porous cavities which makes the plate solid. Also 
as the sulfate crystals grow, they exert pressure from within the 
plate, which causes plate material to break off. It is called shedding 
which ruins the battery plates. The sediments at the bottom of the 
battery can short the cells.?

So then, any process to revive a dead battery must involve undoing 
this sulfate formation so the battery can again hold a charge.  A 
gentleman from South Texas by the name of Alton O. Moore III has 
posted some very clear instructions on exactly how to perform this 
procedure.  You?ll need to scroll about a third of the way down the 
page to the section entitled: ?Reviving Batteries.?  The instructions 
begin in paragraph four, but before that he gives this caution: ?If 
the plates look black, crumbly, and ugly, then the desulfating isn't 
going to work very well, but if there's an obvious layer of white 
sulfate on the plates, you'll probably have good luck.?  See the full 
text here:

Here is another source, an article from Home Power Magazine, that 
gives some very technical information about an experiment to discover 
whether this process actually works (it does, they say):
(Note that you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read this document.  
If you don?t already have it, you can get it here: )

Following is some additional information about the recommended 
chemical, i.e. Tetrasodium EDTA, as well as a few other sources for 
purchasing it, in case you have any trouble with the link included in 
Moore's article:

This site gives some alternate names for this chemical:

Here is a material safety data sheet, and another page with technical 
information (Note that in Australia at least, this substance is 
officially classed as an ?Irritant? and as ?Hazardous, although it 
actually is benign enough to be used as a food preservative) :

Here are some sellers (this chemical appears to be used for a wide 
variety of purposes, including as an ingredient in soap, cosmetics, 
and a bad breath remedy!).  Na4 EDTA (Tetrasodium EDTA) comes in both 
powder and liquid forms, but the instructions and accounts given above 
used the powder form of the chemical. (US),34709 (US ? larger 
quantities) (Canada)
Product_Code=IW120B (Canada)

I feel certain this is the information you were looking for.  However, 
if not, or you have any further questions or something isn?t clear, 
please do use the ?Request Clarification? feature to ask, so I can be 
sure you?re satisfied with the information provided.  Thank you for 
the opportunity to work on this very interesting and potentially 
useful question.

Best regards,

Search terms used:
"how to" revive dead sulfated car battery
?how to? revive dead battery car OR automotive OR lead-acid
method revive dead car battery
tetrasodium EDTA buy OR order
?how to tell? dead car battery short OR sulfated
car battery ?how to tell? ?shorted cell? OR ?shorted out?
thehans-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
This is a very detailed answer - I now know everything I wanted to
know and some things I didn't.
It is a pleasure to deal with someone who is intelligent, literate and funny.

Subject: Re: automotive batteries
From: byrd-ga on 26 Nov 2003 08:32 PST
Hi Thehans,

I'm so glad you're pleased with the answer. Thank you very much for
the kind words and rating, and may I say it is likewise a great
pleasure to work with a customer of the same qualities!

Good luck with your battery(ies), may they live again! 
Subject: Re: automotive batteries
From: ahs-ga on 20 Feb 2004 20:27 PST
"Na4 EDTA (Tetrasodium EDTA) comes in both 
powder and liquid forms, "

As stated that EDTA is a crystalline powder and 
not liquid.

In Acid (battery acid ie dil. sulphuric acid)
medium, the formd lead / iron sulphate reacts with
EDTA solution and removed.

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