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Trouble With Alum Battery Conversion

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  • Trouble With Alum Battery Conversion

    Hello John:

    Love your research and I try to keep up!

    I took a car battery from a 2007 Kia Optima and dumped out the acid. I rinsed out with clear water and then mixed my alum and distilled water. I used Alum Aluminum Sulfate. My battery takes about one gallon of water. I mixed 1 and 1/2 cups of Alum to the gallon and put into my battery. I charged over night at 2 amps. It never seemed to completely charge. The battery started off weak from the beginning but would start the engine. This was two weeks ago. About five days ago the battery after sitting over the weekend was so dead it could not turn over the engine.

    When the engine is running I get a reading of 12.81 to 12.90 volts and can jump to 13 Volts. When I turn off the engine the volts immediately drops to 9.97. When I first turn off the engine the battery makes a hissing sound that gets slower and then stops all together. The battery does not seem to keep the charge.

    What is the solution to solving this problem. What have I not understood or what have I done wrong?



  • #2
    Hi Yoder,
    I will just offer my 2 cents here, maybe others will chime in.

    Alum batteries are best for storage batteries, not starters. They can hold a steady load for a long time and actually adjust to the load. The hissing sound I would guess is hydrogen and oxygen gassing off because your alternator is charging the heck out of it when you have the engine running. If you put a charger on it does it start bubbling up around 13v or so? If it does than it is probably like I said and it is getting held at a fully charged state the whole time your engine is running which causes the gassing.

    Also by nature the alum battery stands at a lower voltage so the 9.97 sounds reasonable. It should be a bit higher than that but perhaps something is going on with the constant over charging from the alternator. Ambient temperature is also going to play a role is how it operates, is it cold outside where you are?

    I would suggest you get a normal battery and keep it in the trunk or something so you can jump start if you get into trouble. Also please be careful, if I am right about the gassing it is highly explosive. There is a potential there for blowing the thing up when you connect jumpers. The more I think about it I really suggest you not run that alum battery until you figure out whats going on.
    Last edited by BobZilla; 11-06-2013, 06:36 AM.


    • #3
      Hello and Thanks!

      It does not seem to bubble at around 13V. The ambient temperature at this time is around 50F degrees. The battery seems to loose charge when sitting. The Charge is staying around 8V.

      Last edited by YoderIII; 11-08-2013, 12:55 PM. Reason: additional info


      • #4
        I am using Aluminium sulphate- (O12-S3.2Al) to convert my batteries. The MSDS -material safety data sheet- says this about Flammability of the substance;
        Non flammable.
        May evolve toxic gases (sulphur oxides) when heated to decomposition.
        May evolve flammable hydrogen gas in contact with some metals. When heated to above 650°C forms aluminium oxide and sulphur
        Also it has this to say about the dry powder form of this particular alum(O12-S3.2Al) ....
        Conditions to Avoid: Avoid heat, sparks, open flames and other ignition sources.
        Material to Avoid: Incompatible with oxidising agents (eg. hypochlorites), alkalis (eg. hydroxides) and some metals.
        Decomposition: May evolve toxic gases (sulphur oxides) when heated to decomposition.
        So we cannot be too casual about using these substances or any other...especially since we are mixing them with water and lead, then charging them, and the chance of sparks from wrongly connected SG's etc! Look at JB's icehouse pages and read his safety warnings and disclaimers, they are there for good reason. Be safe people!


        • #5
          Apparently they do not do well below 70 degrees. Wish I knew about that ....LAST YEAR.

          John H


          • #6
            I believe you have a shorted cell. Or two!
            I ran an alum battery in my car for 6 months and cell voltage was about 11.7+ v resting. It struggled with the lower voltage but would turn over and always start. Under charge it should still rise to the set alternator voltage. Usually 14.5v. It will return to its standing voltage with about 10-15 min off charge