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Thread: Led Zinc Cells

  1. #1

    Lead Zinc Cells

    This post is about some experimental cells I have been working with and I wanted to share.

    Before I start I want to thank Mr. Bedini and Chuck for sharing their knowledge with everyone.

    Now about the cells:
    They are constructed with Lead wire (99.9% pure) and Zinc Wire (99.9% pure) both 1/8th inch diameter. I used 5 feet of each per cell.

    The electrolyte is a 50/50 mix of Alum and Sodium carbonate. To mix this I just put equal amounts dry into a cup and then added distilled water. Mix vigorously until reaction finishes. You may need to add a little water while mixing but in the end i made it to about the consistency of grits.

    The inner core is the zinc and is the negative pole of the cell. The lead is on the outer portion of the core. In the picture below you can see what the core looked like but I did change it. Originally I had a separator cut out of 1/2 inch PVC with windows cut out but I found that the Lead would not stay put with that design. Later I wrapped the inner core in a few coffee filters and electrolyte then wrapped the Lead tightly around; which I think improved the cells operation and kept the Lead evenly distributed around the inner core.

    cellcore1.jpg

    Cell1.jpg


    The housing for the cell is 1 1/4 inch PVC pipe. I constructed the core and put it down into the tube. Then I pored electrolyte down in there until it was about 1/4 inch from the top.

    Cells.jpg


    When charging these cells they get wet ( release water) and when discharging they solidify a bit. It is the action that Mr. Bedini has described. They do not dry up when discharged but for example you could tip them upside down and nothing would spill.


    Now the really cool part of this is that I am charging them from a Solid state energizer I built. These cells were formed, charged, everything with radiant energy. They have never seen normal DC power. They also have never had any acid, not even while forming.

    This charger is not the focus of this thread but here is a shot of it. It is wired up basically how Patrick does with his cap-diode mod and moving the bottom side of the trigger coil.

    Energizer.jpg


    Here is a chart of one cell charging, resting, under load, and resting, then repeated. I did that twice in a row on this chart to show that the cell operates consistently. These were also short tests. The scale on the bottom is seconds and on the left is volts. I did a 1000 sec count for each portion of the cycle.

    The load is a 2.5 volt 150ma bulb which is a very heavy load for just one cell. I am still conditioning these cells but soon I will start putting them in series which should be closer to the voltage that that bulb wants to see. I can say that these cells are getting better (more capacity) with each cycle i put them through and I expect them to be very useful once they get broke in.

    Another thing worth noting is that I am dragging these things down to like 40 mv under load and they bounce right back with no problem, just amazing!

    Cell2_cycle1.jpg


    I plan to get these broke in and then start charting them in series. You may be able to see in the pic that they are starting to form, the Zinc is getting a grey color and the Lead is brown'ish. Anyway there is a lot that could be done with these and I am having a blast tinkering with all of the technology I am learning about here at the forum. My main reason for posting this was to give others a look at what can be done by an amateur and maybe give others an idea for how to try it out themselves. I am very green to all of this so do not take me as if I know it all, I know that I have barley started to understand.
    Last edited by BobZilla; 01-18-2013 at 06:36 PM.

  2. #2
    I decided to take a cell apart to have a good look at what is happening inside. From what I see there is no damage to the metals: only a film forming over the surface.

    Here is the cell core removed, dissembled and rinsed off. You can clearly see brown and grey colors I mentioned before.

    core__breakin1.jpg

    And this is a shot of it after I re-wrapped it. I used four coffee filters stacked on top of each other for thickness and then rolled the inner (Zinc) core inside. I added rubber bands this time to help hold the insulator in place. I'm not sure if this will cause problems by adding substances to the cell but if it does I can always re do it. The Lead wire is re-wrapped around the coffee filters tightly.

    core_rewrap1.jpg

    I have also changed my method for mixing the electrolyte and I suggest anyone that is trying to work with these chemicals try the following instead of the dry mix I described previously. I also wanted to give more precise information on the amounts used.

    I started by heating distilled water only to the point where tiny bubbles start to form in the pan, not boiling it.

    In separate jars I added 4 tablespoons each of Alum powder and sodium carbonate. I filled each jar to 1/2 cup of the heated water(Mason jars have measurement notches).

    Mix each solution until all of the powder is dissolved and you now have two separate jars with liquid solution. Be sure to clean your spoon before dipping from one jar to the other so you do not start a reaction prematurely.

    Now by this time the temperature of each solution should be warm still but not hot. The next step is going to be mixing the two solutions which produces a reaction so have your cell assembled and ready for filling, you want to work fairly quickly once you start that reaction.

    Add equal parts of each solution into a third jar and stir. It is going to foam up a lot and get warm, this is expected. I suggest you use glass jars for your mixing and not plastic cups because of the thermal reaction. I have not observed it getting all to hot but for safety sake don't risk melting your mixing container. The reaction will happen quickly, just keep stirring until it settles down. At this point I pour the mixed solution into the cell housing.


    I hope this post will help others who want to experiment with these types of cells. I am also very interested in suggestions or comments from others who have experimented. Particularly I am wondering if there is a doping agent that may be beneficial?

    I believe some people are adding acid to their mixes, I have thought about trying that but I am a little hesitant to go down that road. I am getting pretty good results with these cells as they are but i'm sure there are many improvements that could be made.

    My testing load is really far too much for these cells (2.5v 150ma bulb). I am thinking to make an oscillator to drive up the voltage and run a high power led or something but first I am just doing charge and load cycles to condition them and observe them.

    I will say that charging with my device I can go as low as 10ma draw on primary all the way up to 950ma and the cells will charge, nice versatility. I have also tried using a negatively charged primary and these cells charge up just the same as with a positive primary. Currently I use 12v lead acid primary.

    Thanks for reading, and remember please comments / advise most welcomed!

  3. #3
    Time for an update.

    These Cells have performed very well over a long haul. I wanted to see if they would eat themselves up or if they could actually last for a long time. I continued to test with them as described already for many weeks and then I set them aside. They sat for at least 2 months without touching them and they dried up. To me this was a good test to see if something like this could be stored away, say in a remote cabin or something and then become useful again when needed.

    They had dried up completely when I got them back out. They looked only half full now because the foamy electrolyte had all settled down and lost all of the fluff. I added distilled water mixed with Alum to the cells, up to about 1/4 inch from the top and charged them back up. They performed pretty much as well as they had when I made them. I ran charge and discharge cycles just as before and as I said they worked perfect.

    Now I wanted to see how they looked on the inside so I took them apart and that is really why I am posting with a follow up. They seem to be in pretty much the same shape as when they were built. They had started growing some very interesting crystals in the bottom. These were long very clear looking crystals, almost like quartz on appearance but very soft. (see picture below). I think these formed from the sodium carbonate and the Alum mixing. I have seen similar crystals form in mixing jars of just sodium carbonate but not quite like these.

    coreremoved.jpg


    This next picture is from when I unwrapped the lead and took off the insulator. The Zinc core did sort of fuse with the coffee filter. There was a gritty feel to it when peeling it off and you can see a section I laid next to the core to show the bonding that formed between the two. I would not say that there is any real damage or deterioration of the material though.

    coreunwrapped.jpg

    For next phase of this experiment I am cutting the cores in half and plan to make four cells out of the original two. I want more voltage than the two cells produce so I think I will be putting 4 cells in series. Ultimately I am trying to use these on the front end of an ssg. They will run one of my machines as they were but not very well, that' why I am gong to divide them and make more voltage. They also do not run it for very long at all but I have plans for that too. Anyway this thread is about the cells and not ssg's.

    So to sum it up, these cells DO last for long periods of time. They can be dried out and then put back into service with no problem. I run them down to practically zero volts on a regular basis and they don't seem to mind. And the last point to keep in mind is that I charge these with ssg circuits (radiant charging), in fact that is all they have ever seen. ---Bob
    Last edited by BobZilla; 04-12-2013 at 02:44 PM.

  4. #4
    I have constructed the new cells out of the old.

    Basically I cut everything in half so that I could make four cells from the original two. I have also changed a few things in the design but not majorly.

    Here is a shot of the zinc cores after cutting them. It shows their condition pretty well after having been broken in for so long in the old cell. They are half the length of the old cores and I stretched them out a bit so that it is more like a spring than a pipe. I think this will allow for better coverage of the electrolyte between all of the turns.

    newcores.jpg


    I changed out the coffee filters as insulators and used a washcloth instead. It was a thin cloth and I wrapped the core three times with it. Again I think this may allow for better coverage of electrolyte. The Lead is now half the original length and is wrapped tightly around the cloth and Zinc core.

    newcores2.jpg


    This time I changed how these are filled and the consistency of the electrolyte. What I did was layer Alum powder, about a teaspoon at a time and moistened it with a mix I made of distilled water and sodium carbonate. The mix is 1/2 cup water and two teaspoons of sodium carbonate. I wanted these to be more like a solid crystal than a wet cell. Similar to a copper magnesium cell.

    I would added some alum then put an eye dropper full of the mix on that. It bubbles up and reacts like before but I am intentionally not saturating it. After a few minites I would tamp it down with a stick and add another teaspoon of alum and repeat the process. I did that in layers until the cells were full.

    Here is a picture of the finished cell.

    Newcells1.jpg

    newcellbirdeye.jpg

    Now I will be doing some charge/discharge cycles with the new cells. I will post back some results for those later. ---Bob
    Last edited by BobZilla; 04-12-2013 at 07:00 PM.

  5. #5
    Hi guys,
    It has been a long time since I posted on these cells. Well I'm happy to say that they are still going strong. I use them quite a lot.

    Lately I have just been filling them with only alum in wet form. I just mix it up and pour it in.

    Last night I ran some charts on one cell to share. I have 8 of these built now that I can hook up parallel or series, whatever and they are pretty strong but I thought it would be best to first show just one cell.

    Here is a picture of the setup. I am using a small solid state charger and set the draw to 150ma. It is capable of much more but if I cranked it up to much the charts would not look very progresive so I went with a somewhat slow charge.

    I setup one meter on the cell voltage and the other is connected in series with the load so that we can see the interaction between both charts when I load the cell. The load is a small light bulb which was rated at 1.5 volt but had no current rating. The black meter on the other side is measuring the current on the charge input. As I said I initially set it to 150ma but I noticed as the cell charges it pulls up a bit more, at max it was pulling 190ma.


    c1.jpg
    c2.jpg


    Here is the bulb when the load was first connected. It does not stay lit brightly for long as you can imagine but the current this cell puts out is pretty impressive.

    bulb.jpg


    So here are the charts. They auto scale so they do not match each other in scale but they are both running in the same time. The amp chart is only to show the load when it is connected. I did three cycles on the same chart which I marked. the "R" is for rest, "C" is charge ,"L" is when the load was connected. What is very interesting is if you look at the difference between the first charge and the second it looks very different. See how the voltage jumps up and then falls down before the cell starts charging again. I think it must be an impedance within the cell but i'm not sure what to make of it. These cells love to be charged high and drawn low. If you don't let them sit around between charges they respond very well to it. I am thinking about using these in a cap popper type of situation where I can keep them high and pulse a little in and out, but the idea is keeping them full. The light bulb is a bit much of a load for just one cell but actually when it gets down around 1/2 volt it is still delivering 40ma .

    voltchart_1cell.jpg
    amps_1cell.jpg
    Last edited by BobZilla; 09-07-2013 at 11:18 AM.

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