Of light bulbs and pulse chargers

I will take a moment here to digress for a moment to mention pulse charging and present a brutally simple circuit that will charge Nicads, lead acid types and even the old style Zinc Carbon batteries. It is NOT to be used with alkaline batteries as they will leak and explode. In theory this charger should work with Nickel Metal hydride batteries, but I have not tried them at this time. It has been about 20 years since I constructed the last charger like this. I will be testing the latest rendition on some Nickel Metal Hydride batteries so stay tuned as they say in radio land. Update- it does work with Nickel Metal Hydrides with no problem.

I cannot take credit for the origin of the circuit, and my apologies to the original publisher for forgetting their name even. It may have been published in QST, but more likely it was published in a trade magazine like “Radio and Television” or “Radio Electronics.” The orignal article title was along the lines “Reverse Current battery Charging Adds New Life to Old Batteries. “

The circuit looks like it should not work, but the principles of operation are essentially the same as what you find in the reference from Electus Distribution http://www1.electusdistribution.com.au/images_uploaded/recharge.pdf where they discuss what the ideal waveform should look like for pulse charging or rapid charging Nickel Cadmium batteries.

I will add this circuit is from the 1950’s, it was originally called a “Reverse Current Charger”, and the principle had been in use in the electroplating industry for a good number of years prior to the original article being published. It is the notion of a “back pulse” that began with this circuit. The actual waveform looks like a regular sine wave with the lower portion crushed up towards the axis “zero voltage point” and the interaction with the 7.5 light bulb as it warms deforms the leading edge of the negative portion of the sine wave.

reverse current charger

reverse current charger

The components of the brutally simple/crude/primative charger are merely one rectifier, such as 1N5407 or other 3 amp rectifier with adequate PIV rating for the line voltage you have, a 40 Watt 120 volt light bulb and a 7 1/2 Watt 120 Volt lightbulb (For North American 120VAC 60 hz standard power). I actually used a 1N4007 rectifier just to test to see if would be adequate, and so far it has been. You can use a one amp rectifier if you choose to as the 40 Watt light bulb limits the current to about 350 Milliamperes. It does not sound like much, but it charges Nicads quite fast compared to the usual formula used to determine charging current which was supposed to be 1/10 the capacity of the cell or battery at just above the potential of the cell at full charge.

Reverse Current charger in action

Reverse Current charger in action


One must use great care with this because there is no isolation from mains power. I present this as a historical item, but it does work, I assure you. The circuit will be put up when I have assembled and initially tested something I have not constructed for over 20 years.

Elegant simplicity or brutally primitive?

Elegant simplicity or brutally primitive? It works.

Essentially on the positive cycle of the charging sine wave the current flows through the 40 Watt lighbulb, the batteries/cells and the rectifier. after the wave has crossed the zero point, the current flows through the 40 watt bulb, the batteries. and the 7 1/2 Watt bulb. It works out to be a 10:1 resistance ratio in the active circuit as long as you are using incandescents rated for use at 120 Volts. If you use a single 130 volt rated bulb (and they do differ) in the circuit it will not work correctly. If both are rated at 130 volts, it should be okay.

You can also use basic resistors also. The charger will charge from 2 to 12 cells (3 to 24 volts) with no external adjustments. I have not tried with European 50 hertz AC at 250 volts, but the principles should work for twice as many battery cells (4 to 48) in theory- you experiment at your own risk due to the fact these are voltages which can easily kill you. If someone on European standards does construct this and you find it works based on an actual test from the theoretical discussion here, please let me know, I would like to hear about it, because in theory it should work just fine.

You want to size fixed resistors for about 1/3 of an amp to an Ampere of current flow, using Ohm’s law. For the basic circuit you can assume zero resistance of the batteries and rectifier in forward bias and infinite in reverse bias. With the 10 to 1 ratio.

While it may seem a little odd and not following the theory, the 7.5 Watt bulb is actually a better match with the cold resistance of the filament to the desired 10:1 resultant.

The reason Alkaline batteries are a hazard with this circuit is their inability to absorb the negative portion of the AC pulse. They heat up and leak and could cause a fire. You can experiment carefully at your own risk of trying the DC half wave pulses by unscrewing the 7 1/2 Watt bulb to eliminate that back pulse, but you do so at your own risk. There will still be a slight backflow as rectifiers are never perfect, but careful monitoring of them is advised.

The pulse charging concept has been around for decades, and refined only fairly recently. There are circuits on the web from other groups that are serious about experimentation and construction of circuits. Their use in Photovoltaic systems has some potential for periods when sunlight is adequate to produce some voltage potential, but not enough for charging. With newer PV panel technolgies this is not as necessary unless you are attempting to recover every last photon possible. I will construct and test a few circuits later when I have some time for it. They are pretty basic, and yet they are refinements over a rectifier and two light bulbs. And they do work better too, but in a pinch…

Essentially the refined systems are superimposing a high frequency signal on the peaks of a DC pulse, akin to “Subcarrier audio” on powerlines, and is similar in a way to AM radio signals. That pulse is of short duration, and can be significantly greater in potential than the battery on the charger. The duration is short and due to an LC resonant discharge circuit, impulses of significant current can be achieved. The process will not reverse physical damage from sulpher crystals, but will in effect restore the lead oxide material in contact with the electrolyte to it’s original Oxide composition, only not as thick as it was originally.

If you have read the process of battery manufacture, there is a step where high voltage is applied to the initial battery assembly to establish a surface that will be able to react with the electrolyte in a manner that produces voltage potential with the battery and the ability to also produce significant amounts of current. Over time, the plates get less and less reactive for reason of surface contamination, insoluble salts that deposit, etc. Some of the salts will react when enough potential is put into the charge circuit, but sustained constant higher DC voltage will cause physical damage to the battery if not even failure or explosion. So the key is short duration. Your computer power supply for example uses this same principle in part: Pulse Width Modulation, for your various voltages needed by the computer, and there is no isolation from the mains power with these either.

Why Pulse Charge?
You can restore serviecability to lead acid batteries, and rapid charge other battery types, as well as recharge Zinc Carbon Batteries up to the point where the zinc casing erodes enough for evaporation to occur. Which is not long if you discharge them near complete depletion. There are simple chargers like the “Battery Minder” but they are limited to pulse charging only on a battery that is fully charged. They will trickle charge a battery capable of recieving a charge up to the point the pulsing begins, but there are times when pulse charging on a discharged battery will bring them back to life faster. While limited and a bit expensive for what you get, I have saved numerous batteries with them to easily cover their cost a number of times over. They will also pulse on a charged battery if the charger is not plugged into the wall.

Limitations of home constructed pulsers:
If you construct one, you should use an unregulated supply. Nothing more than a transformer and a bridge rectifier supplying power to the circuit. The reason is the RF superimposed on the DC also finds electrical paths back to the regulator circuit- which will be destroyed by the pulses of high frequency and energy.

Possible technology Scams?:
Possibly.

Too few people understand physics, electronics, and magnetism and the relationships of those three areas together to really grasp what they are seeing. People only superficially know what Tesla really did, so anything that gets the label applied to it, attracts followers. This is why some scams that have been on the web where they light flourescent tubes with RF energy get as far as they do. And technically in those particular scams they ARE employing Tesla technology and ideas, he envisioned central transmitters and people would draw power from the sky with special recievers. The scam was they would claim to be buiding a new innovative city around their power transmitter and they needed investors…. Be careful with your money.

Now, there are many pulse chargers available today, this circuit dates easily to the mid to late 1950’s so it has been around a while in some refined or unrefined form.

If you monitor some alternative energy groups on the web, listen to Short Wave radio, or scour through the “Free Energy” websites, you will encounter Rennaisance Chargers and John Bedini. I have looked at what Bedini has put up on the web and while the Rennaisance chargers that are often associated with him do work, I want to stress that they do, I believe them to be overpriced personally, and Bedini himself is over-hyped for what he has done. Some of what he has patented is not worth the patent per se, but claiming to have “patented technology” does aid in advertising.

A lot of people shut off their brains when they are bombarded with such advertising. Let me make it clear- and stress again the Rennaisance chargers work, and the principles of pulse charging is sound- but how you best achieve those results will vary depending on the battery: If it looks like a Rube Goldberg device, I have news for you: it is nothing more than a Rube Goldberg device. Patent or no. Many things get patented that are nothing more than parlor tricks.

Some people have made pulse charging motors all over the web, including Youtube, which in many ways is a waste of effort and energy. While the circuits and the mechanisms work, it amounts to a Rube Goldberg device, or parlor tricks because they are using energy to produce their charging through magnet charging much like your home lawn tractors use and expending slightly more energy to achieve the effect. Yes they work but if the “motor” were not driven by electrical energy, but rather driven by wind energy, or for a few people: water energy; you are not losing that energy lost in driving an armature.

Pulse chargers often have been hyped as “Tesla Technology”- they are not. Some are touted as “Free Energy” or “Over Unity”- I assure you they are not. And related to the claims of Tesla Technology, they are not. Now Bedinis odd chargers in a way, do work, the Bedini pulse circuit works however the driver coil aspect of what he has on the web is potentially better suited as part of a larger DC motor control circuit. And it is NOT Tesla technology as most would know it. Few know AC current in power transmission was Tesla’s idea, as is flourescent lighting (which is potentially why you can light a flourescent tube with RF energy; which was initially his version or vision of a “free energy” concept.

Bedini’s videos on the web of “The Schoolgirl Project” is highly inefficient, you also have to add energy initially because the device is not self starting. Oh, it will charge a battery- eventually it is nowhere near power unity. An over unity device would never require such an external applications of kinetic force such as starting a wheel to rotate. Nor would the driving circuit’s battery voltages drop. HOWEVER If you take his basic circuit from the charging coil side that is used to charge the other batteries: and instead of a bike wheel you use a radiator cooling fan from a modern era car- the one behind the radiatorl and you secure the magnets at regular intervals to that outer ring and mount charging coils at irregular intervals around the exterior circumferance. You would have a better perfoming pulse charging windmill that does not cog. One item I could patent off of his idea, more on that later. While not as efficient as other wind chargers, it would allow you to charge at relatively slow wind speeds, and you would also be able to take advantage of the smaller diameter windmill to pulse charge batteries of almost any sort. The above regulator circuits I have presented so far would not be suitable on such a pulse charging windmill however.

You could also put the magnets on the back side circumferance and mount the coils in line with the air flow for purposes of cooling the coils and potentially avoiding infringing on HoneyWell patents for one of their wind turbine designs. You would not be able to tie the coils together in a common circuit without certain modifications to the basic circuit, which could be a good or a bad thing. And when not in use for charging batteries, such a setup can be used for lighting flourescent lighting as the neon bulbs flickering on his “schoolgirl project” are proof enough that there is adequate energy there to at least minimally fire a 2 or 4 foot flourescent tube. And I will be getting into some of that in the future on this blog as well. Lighting conventional flourescent tubes in various ways. Most are not efficient, at least not as much as they could be for the amount of power they do consume.

The results you see in his video examples can be replicated, even of his multi fan demonstration setup. If your driving battery is in good condition and fully charged. The “batteries to be charged” if ADM types of marginal capacity from age or abuse make for ideal subjects because they will “charge” quickly to 12+ volts, but will also self discharge fairly rapidly too if left with a load. It also appears he is using a type of AGM battery as well for his batteries to be charged. AGM’s are notorious in the other pulse charging forums for not responding to pulse charging. They will charge to the capacity they are able to in their end of life state, but they don’t recover capacity like conventional lead acid batteries do.

But it makes for a great “looking” demonstration. Mind you the principles involved are not new, just slightly refined, and the fundamental priniciples DO actually work- it is the packaging and presentation that is the problem. I once unknowingly worked for a total fraud in the video business, and got burned financially, so when I see something suspect, I will speak out on it. I my opinion, based on what I see, and based on what I know from my diverse knowledge base, I think Mr Bedini is walking a fine line. I will not be attending his workshops, and certainly NOT paying for any workshop or kit offered: but if there is more to the story that is not being discussed, or presented on the web, I would be glad to hear about it as long as I could comment upon it.

Without a doubt the demonstrations ARE good enough “looking” to convince a lot of people who are looking for solutions who do not trust government or industry and are convinced there is supressed technology out there. And there likely is if you include the control of the patents for the Nickel Metal hydride batteries as applied to automotive use. (Those patents are controlled by Exxon Mobil). But as far as most of Tesla’s inventions, they are obsolete. Build one of his turbines, and you can understand why when you look at what industry has available to it today. You can find plans on the web, or buy a book for Lindsay publishing on the Tesla Turbines. http://www.lindsaybks.com

These are intelligent people who are suspiscious of government and industry but most are not adequately backgrounded in the technologies of electronics, motors, motion controls, magnetism and Tesla inventions to understand some of what they see. So it is possible good people might get fooled into parting with their money for the wrong reasons or the wrong device, from anyone with something to sell, or to have “backed.”

I have looked at a few of Bedini’s “audio patents” online and am not impressed. I also looked at the contents for one of his ” fan conversion kits” he offers, and for what you get for your hundred or so dollars is maybe 30 dollars in materials and parts. The hype is just that- hype. The sad thing about all of this is if he truly happens on a legitimate discovery in the future, the rest of the noise of his hype will drown it out and likely dilute the credibility. Not only his, but of Bearden as well.

I am not going to cut this short at this point because I grant you the possibility if Bedini puts his driver coil circuit to a conventional permanent magnet motor drive circuit, he may have a slightly more efficient driver circuit than the other other PWM control circuits that are in use out in industry currently if he can control the speed reliably from zero RPM through to the rated speed of the motor. If he has not patented this aspect of his device I could get a patent for that (more on that later).

The point is what he is doing in his demonstrations in principle do work- but is Rube Goldberg in approach. Do not misunderstand- it is how he is portraying these items as something they are not that is the problem. If you don’t mind odd looking gizmos that do something that could be accomplishing the intended purpose in a more efficient manner of parts and labor if constructed in a manner less “flashy,” go for it. But it is NOT over Unity, it is NOT Tesla technology and it is NOT supressed. It is just hyped that way.

You would have better efficiencies if you took the two solenoid windings in use in his “school Girl project” and replaced the welding rod cores with Ferrite cores from an AM radio antenna or a modern transformer and spaced them apart from each other slightly to reduce capacitive coupling. (They will make one heck of an electric fencer too), but to power a bicycle wheel with magnets affixed just makes it “look” special, when it loses efficiencies in the process.

You could also put the two windings on the same core if an unsaturable core material too. Hmm, since my idea now has a published date, I could patent this idea too….

See how special patents are in the big scheme of things? Patents do not mean much in the larger scope of things unless you plan to rely on the nebulous understanding most have about patents for the sole purpose of advertising.

Now getting to his demonstration fans: They are merely an adaptation of the old telephone systems generator that were a DC generator attached to an AC motor sharing the rotor shaft. All he does in his demo videos is rewire the 4 pole motor of the fan to a 2 pole motor, and uses the other two as his energy charging windings. The Fans ARE self starting, but not over unity, and nowhere near it as you can watch the voltage of his driving motor drop fairly fast, which means his driving coil circuit draws a fair amount of current.

At best with his fans he is demonstrating a parlor trick- which may be why he does not want dissenters on his Yahoo list. And his “Monopole motor” is nothing more than a type of servo motor. Are any of his items special? Not really. Novelties of “homebrew” at best, hype at it’s utmost, but most important he is doing more harm to alternative energy research by promoting things that are not what they are hyped to be.

He has a lot of lost energy in his driver coils for one specific example. However his monopole motor could also be directly coupled or indirectly coupled through any of several speed multiplication devices and it too could be harnessed for wind power generation. His magnets are far enough apart to minimize magnetic field interactions, so what you would generate from them is effectively half sine wave power, or put another way- pulsed DC if you use simple coils in series, or if you were to use his charging coil circuit(s), again, multiple different batteries could be charged. But so far that does not appear to be the focus of his seminars coming up based on what you see on his website, and in the radio ads.

But with all of this criticism I have levelled at what I have seen, his spinning gizmos should be refocussed as various wind driven systems for charging or flourescent lighting, not the goofy school girl or novelty setups as they are; just simplify it.

Use the wind as the driving energy for these systems. When the circuits are not in use for charging- they can be modified a little from his circuit to power flourescent tubes, or electrify a fence. Or in combination. The “driver coil circuit” is not needed at all. That is where my criticisms and cynicism rest.

Now, if you want to see innovative homebrew, you can check these homebrew transistors out:
l http://www.1010.co.uk/research.html
http://sparkbangbuzz.com/cds-fet/cds-fet.htm
http://www.josepino.com/diy/making-homemade-transistors
http://1010.co.uk/materials.html
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeriellsworth/2835459827/

Or if you want to see some stuff that defies a lot of conventional wisdom, check these items out on this page. http://tesladownunder.com/Lifters.htm

But I have digressed.
The key to even achieving energy efficiency to any degree is to minimize the resistance losses mechanical, aero, energy trasfer inefficiencies and electrical losses to minimize the required energy inputs. Sometimes the “losses” are needed to create the correct potentials across two or more points in a circuit, but a well designed circuit makes the most use of the least energy, with the greatest simplicity, and some other losses have to be lived with or overcome somehow.

We live in a universe where “Conservation of energy” is thus far the law. The best efficiency you can achieve is summed up as: energy input minus mechanical losses, minus electrictrical losses, minus the inefficiencies of energy transfer or conversion. This leaves you with the final output energy. You can dress it up as you like, but the total energy produced by the Bedini “patented” items is less than the inputs and losses. In other words: Not unity, and nowhere near overunity.

I will point out here too, that what I present here is a compilation of public documents, Application Notes, Tech sheets, Data Sheets, nothing incredibly special- except they are not easily found by those unfamiar with how many companies work. I am also making an effort to make sure what I put up is tested, to be easily replicated by someone on the other side of the world.

If I get wordy sometimes, it is because I am trying to fully explain something.

Too many times what is put up on the web is so poorly described it is almost worthless unless you have some significant back ground in the subject area to begin with and some of the books on this matter are poorly written in this area. All I have done is pull ideas together and compile them so you can know what is in the various “black boxes.” With that knowledge you can decide for yourself if you want to construct the items or buy them ready made.

There is no shame in buying certain things ready made, it just represents some tradeoffs. If you are in the middle of Indonesia, with a weekly postal and supplies flight coming to your island, you may not be able to buy much of anything, but you may have the pieces on hand to build something, and this blog might just give enough data to allow someone to do just that. Face it- those of us in developed countries do get rather spoiled and take these things for granted.

Bottom line, I do not see this as anything “special.” Only time will tell if it is or not. And here all you have done is invest a bit of time, bandwidth and possibly paper. You can tell me later if it has been a worthwhile deal.
*********************

I know I have a few circuits backlogged to get uploaded, and those will be up soon. And those circuits I have yet to put up, I will be reconstructing and testing them all over again to make sure my notes that I have located, have been correct. Case in point, the charger circuit I will be putting at the top of this page of the blog.

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9 Responses to Of light bulbs and pulse chargers

  1. vi shape says:

    I?m impressed, I must say. Actually hardly ever do I encounter a blog that?s both educative and entertaining, and let me let you know, you have got hit the nail on the head. Your concept is excellent; the issue is something that not sufficient individuals are talking intelligently about. I am very comfortable that I stumbled throughout this in my seek for something regarding this.

  2. marten says:

    hi there, very nice info… i have made one from http://www.alpharubicon.com/elect/3dollarbattggn.htm. and seems to be working fine. i’d like to ask you about the diffrent between both of them, and in your opinion which is the best one. as far as i know that i can change the bulb if i want to raise the amp. and i made this one in 220volt line. anyway i will give it a try, and once again thank you very much

    • occulist says:

      I am a little surprised I never came across that one. However he is usuing the single light bulb, which is okay. The Reverse current charger I have uses 2, and allows for a small back pulse close to what the Nickel Cadmium manufacturers suggest for Nickel Cadmium cells. Nickel Metal hydride cells charged nicely in the reverse current charger, and this charger is the only one that will relaibly work with the old style “Carbon Zinc” batteries without causing serious problems. This latter type does tend to dry out due to the much thinner zinc jacket. While I have tried rehydrating “Mallory Cells” which are found in some tube radios as a bias for the detector stage with good success, I have not tried rehydrating the carbon zinc cells, which is something for consideration, however once the zinc jacket has been degraded enough current output will be less as portions of the jacket become electrically isolated from the rest of the jacket. The single bulb chargers will work to some extent with alkaline cells, and lower Wattage bulbs should yield better results, especially on 250 volt mains as Difusion is a factor in trying to restore cells that were constructed with a single use in mind.

  3. marten says:

    seem i don’t have 7 watt bulb in my market, could it be possible to use 5 watt or 10 watt. thanks for your answer

    • occulist says:

      Yes, either can work, If using it as a resistive (single bulb charger) use the smaller bulb, if you are using it for the 2 bulb reverse current charger, the ratio should be 10 to 1 for the resistance ratios of filaments. The 5 Watt should work with a 30 Watt bulb, the 10 Watt would likely do well with a 50 or 60 Watt bulb, however the current through the circuit will be greater, so by extension the minimum number of cells for charging should be increased to 6 cells.

  4. marten says:

    thank you occulist…. i’ve been using one bulb for trickle charge/reviving dead or weak sla batteries, but i’m combining with infinitum desulfator, because it doesn’t work with ordinary charger that cause heat up very fast. and the result was good enough for weak batteries, that still hold from 3 to 11 volts. i did not have a good knowledge like you, but it’s said that one bulb is pulse charger and the desulfator i put them together ( The Infinitum Desulfator generates Amplitude Modulated Pulses (AMP) at the resonance frequency of the crystals to shatter the covalent bonds that hold it together. This allows the lead sulfate to be reconverted once the battery is charged. A battery free from lead sulfate crystals will have its life span stretched to its maximum! No more premature failure due to sulfation!) that’s what they said. and it’s fast enough to desulfate. less than 1 day. i don’t have load tester or analyzer (expensive stuff) i just use 12volt halogen 50 or 60watts to test about 1 minutes and see the volt dropping with multi meter, if stay at least 11volt that battery will live, (put it 2 in 1 again on charge for couples days) and the key was refilling distilled water not to full, just a little bit above the plate and exercise batt with my halogen lamp (discharge), open the batt again and change the white sulfate water cell with distilled water to rejuvenating quicker. that’s for simple way for me to do with sla batt, no overcharge, no heat up, and can change the bulb to desire amp. i use it for one batt. know i experimenting with 3 batts, same volts and one of them has different ah. i paralleled 3 of them, put the (-) or (+) to first batt terminal and (-) or (+) to the last batt terminal, same as the desulfator. one hour later i saw that the amp is flowing to the battery that needed amp with different rate. the bigger ah batt was not have amp to stay (i put it to the first line) but it flows to another batt. perhaps you can explain better than me. the bigger ah bubbling but not heat up. so i guess it is working then.
    know i will trying all possible way reviving lithium, nicad, alkaline, zinc, lipo, all the batteries we’re using everyday to be useful at least for some times until they are really dead!. i don’t care people said it’s wasting time, it’s not. i do it in my spare time. and doing this with help for guys like you for greener earth perhaps or just for hobby. in a cheaper and simple way. bye the way, sorry for long comments. i make one of this too http://poormanguides.blogspot.com/2009/05/updated-chargerdesulfator.html

    • occulist says:

      The link shows a capacitive charger. There are other ways to measure current than the bolt method, however, the setup he hss shown IS essentially what is inside an ammeter. The bolt is a low resistance shunt, as in an ammeter. In many circuits a torroid wound with fine wire is used as the current sensor. This is yet to be covered in one of my upcoming posts, however a current sensor operates on the principle of the inductance changes of that wound coil as the current level changes in the load wire that passes through the center of that torroid.

      For the GFCI to work correctly it needs to be connected to an easth ground or “common bond” ground. The setup shown on that link will draw a great deal of current, so the mains wiring needs to be up to the task. It is set up for 120 VAC, European standards and elsewhere that 250 volts is the mains voltage standard, use half of the values shown for capacitance.

      When using any of these types of chargers, there will be battery failures, so use care and if there happens to be a scrap appliance around, they make good explosion cabinets. Just make sure to vent the cabinet/kaput appliance so the hydrogen that is liberated from charging batteries can escape. Avoid using anything with a glass window- as that glass can become shrapnel.

      With the other battery types, Nickel cadmium should be handled with great care because the cadmium is toxic. Any evidence of salts forming on the cell are an indication it is beyond trying to salvage. It is very common that such cells were “cooked” by always being put on a charger, especially when it was not needed.

      The same criteria apply to Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH). These should be handled with great care as well because the paste is very caustic.

      In both cases, dendrites can be burned out by placing a single cell acrosss a 12 volt lead acid battery for only 1 or 2 seconds. Any longer time will burn out the electrode in the small cells. The remaining issue for lost capacity is in both cases- water.

      For salvaging those cells and extending the life of servicable cells, I do suggest the 2 light bulb Reverse Current Charger. http://altenciruits.wordpress.com/2011/02/24/a-renaissance-for-the-older-battery-charger/ This 2 bulb charger was developed well over 60 years ago, and was in use originally for metal plating, the charger was an adaptation. The 2 bulb “Reverse Current Charger” is your best bet for charging the NiMH and NiCd cells to recover the to maximum life. If a practical and reliable method for rehydrating the old cells can be determined for reliability and repeatability, there is no reason such cells could not be recovered and further extend their service life. The problem remaining would be the inevitable micro holes in the outer case of the cell, and the point of hydration.

      The cells that develop a “memory” which limits capacity can usually be salvaged by discharging them fully, and charging them fully, and performing this cycle a couple times to salvage some useful capacity that is left.

      In normal use, to achieve maximum life from either of these battery types is simply charging them fully initially, then when in use in a phone, a radio, or a tool: use them until the tool no longer has power, the radio no longer has power, or the phone will not remain on. Only then put the cells back on the charger.

      Lithium is a very toxic metal, It also happens to be used as a psychotropic medication in some people too. That toxicity is very insidious, and there are even some who believe it should be added to municipal water supplies to modify behavior. (More about that can be read at http://www.infowars.com ) I only mention it here because of the neuro-toxic nature of the metal.

      Lithium Ion cells should be scrapped if they show any evidence salt crystals as well. They also have a nasty habit of exploding when heated, something to be avoided. The basic charging circuit should utilize the priciples of the manufacturers of the Lithium Ion Charge Control ICs. National, Zetex, On Semiconductor, Motorola, and others make the data sheets and application notes avalable and make excellent reference material for attempting anything to do with charging Lithium Ion. Those chargers actually monitor the gasses liberated from the charging process.

  5. marten says:

    i tried charging lithium ion computer batteries type 18500, with one 100watts bulb charger, the batteries are 4 pairs to become 14.8 volts. each pair is serial connection, i opened the case and charged directly from battery itself, it takes 2 days to reach 4.0volt, but when i check all the batteries it’s 4.0volts, so i try putting to computer to have a test, it doesn’t work. should i charge to 4.2 volts?. or the batt board have damage or have protection, i didn’t take batt out and charged one by one. any suggestion? btw i also tried with 2 bulb charger, 10 watts and 60 watts but i did not continue cause it’s too long to take. many thanks

    • occulist says:

      The Lithium Ion packs have a couple means of protection, and they have been damaged, or may not be making adequate contact.

      With these types of chargers, they do not have the type of monitoring for charge that the official Lithium Ion chargers do, so it is possible they may be damaged. I would not use the reverse current charger (the 2 bulb charger) for anything but Nickel Cadmium, Nickel Metal Hydride, Lead Acid, and Zinc Carbon batteries.

      There is a high risk of explosion with the lithium cells, but one reason they may not have achieved full charge is that each cell of a Lithium Ion battery is equivalent to two cells of other types. Although the fact you are using a 250 VAC mains compensates for that, the serial resistance of the light bulb might have been too much to achieve the fully charged state. A 50 Watt and a 60 Watt bulb in parallel in place of the 100 Watt bulb might be a solution, but I would try it with Nickel Metal Hydrides first- they are approximately close enough in characteristics for testing purposes.

      But do excercise caution, especially around Lithium due to it’s highly toxic nature. The others are not benign either, but they are less toxic if they explode.

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