The Interstate store near me sells "blems" which
have different or no stickers. Cosmetic problem
of some kind. I've found them to be good quality.
When my Dad died, I took his old dead battery to
Interstate. The guy tested a couple things, and
then gave me a new battery with not so much as
form to sign. Smile, no charge, off you go. I was
astounded, thrilled, and such. The battery worked
fine, the car sold.
A neighbor had trouble with his 2-year battery after 2 years, so he
replaced it. I got 11 more years out of it.
I normally didn't take that car more than 5 miles, so the battery didn't
endure much heat and vibration. Several times a year, I'd put it on an
automatic pulse charger. I'd plug the charger into a $15 watt meter.
Even if a battery starts out 90% charged, it can take hours to get all
the sulfate out of the plates and into the electrolyte. I'd leave it on
until the wattage no longer dropped significantly in half an hour.
When you hit the starter, sulfates can flake off. You lose plate
material, and when they accumulate on the bottom, electrical leakage can
speed up self-discharge. Left on, sulfates eventually harden, making
more and more of the plate useless.
Sulfation from self-discharge shortens the life of mower batteries left
over the winter. It would make sense to charge them periodically,
especially before cranking in the spring. I went to AGM for lower
self-discharge and better vibration resistance. Then I read that
charging above 120 F will shorten the life of AGM. An IR thermometer
showed the battery was getting nearly that warm even in cool weather. I
shoved a piece of foil-covered insulating board between the battery and
the engine. It made a big difference.
The OEM battery was 320 CCA. The AGM I found was 160. Then I read that
the OEM battery is 160 in another brand of mower with the same engine,
so I bought the AGM. Sometimes, it won't turn the engine over. If I
let off the key and immediately turn it again, it will crank merrily. I
guess if I catch the engine around bottom dead center, the battery won't
provide enough torque to overcome compression. I wonder if that means a
160 CCA AGM won't provide the same starting surge as a 160 CCA
If I remeber correctly they were just a big rheostat and the
rectifier tube, so they could put out almost half the peak to peak
voltage of the supply. Nominal 120 volt RMS is about 170PP - - Half
of that is 85 volts. which can charge 32 cells at 2,6 volts each.
Our local battery supplier has a 220 volt Tungar charger that would
maintain a string of 10 12 volt batteries, and I think I remember some
used "powerstats" instead of rheostats and could put out double the
AC line voltage into the tube.
I know that the garage where I did my apprenticeship had one of the
earliest metal plate rectifier high current battery chargers. The
rectifier was about a foot square and I think it dated to pre-WW2..
Also had the little Tungar bulk charger. Out tow truck was a 1943? ex
On 07/01/2014 12:41 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I have several of them and none have rheostats, all use transformer taps
and heavy duty rotary switches.
The Tungar bulb filament takes a lot of current.
As much as half of the total power consumed goes to light it.
The oldest one I have is from 1932 or so, still works fine!
Also have a few from the 50's
The 6 volt Vdub and the 12 volt VDub had different sized flywheels
too. (which is why , generally, when converting a 6v to 12v the
starter was not changed)
Dodge Brothers used 12 volts back around 1915.
BAck in the forties,Buick used Neg ground, Cadillac Pos , Chevy Neg,
Chrysler Pos,, Olds Neg, Studebaker Pos, and Pontiac Neg. Willys
used Negative as well, but most of the rest used Pos. - and virtually
all cars of THAT era were 6 volt.
When the switchover to 12 volts occurred, most North American
manufacturers standardized on Neg fround - It took the British
manufacturers till the late sixties to complete the switchover to Neg
ground at least for the North American Market)
There is a lot to be said for "experienced parts" over "new parts".
You KNOW the "experienced" part has a history of working, while the
"new" part is an unknown entity. If I have any question about my
batteries I have a midtronics tester put on early in the fall to see
what condition they are in. If they are questionable or weak, I
replace them Otherwize they try for another year. The original battery
in my 1980 Corolla went 8 years. The battery in my 1988 Chrysler went
12, IIRC. The brand new Canadian Tire Lifetime Warranty battery in the
Ambassador lasted 6 months for the first one, 9 months for the second
one, and was still in the car when I sold it about a year later. The
length of the warranty has nothing to do with the quality of the
battery. I generally get 6 or more years out of Interstate Megatron
batteries in my vehicles. The first CTC battery in the Ambassador
failed, appropriately enough, half way accross the Ambassador Bridge
while returning from Detroit to Windsor. We coasted all the way down
to the customs booth, got a boost, and made it to the closest Canadian
Tire store.(where I had to buy a new battery because the reciept was
at home in Waterloo) When I took the dead battery and both reciepts to
the Waterloo store I got the refund for the dead battery.
That would give you a 10 volt battery when it shorted. More plausible
explanation would be what I had on more than one battery - the last
one on the Aerostar - where the intercell link would open under
certain conditions. Absolutely stone dead - come back an hour later
after the sun had warmed up the car a bit, and it would start
perfectly. That is the only battery failure mode tht will fool a
Had the same problem on the 6 volt battery on the old 1949 Massey
Harris 44, but it let us know by blowing the bottom out of the battery
when it arced inside, setting off the hydrogen in the top of the
That's 2 that I remember.
At least one of the old ones I worked with didn't have a transformer
because it was not isolated - you could get a nasty shock from the
charging lead to ground. It had either a big wirewound rheostat or
switched resistance. I seem to remember it being fully variable -
which would have been either a rheostat or a powerstat (variable
On 07/01/2014 09:32 PM, email@example.com wrote:
I also repair vacuum tube radios and get a kick out of some of those old
advertisements showing someone lugging a 6v car battery down to their
local service station.
Asking if you are sick of having to keep recharging your "filament"
battery and tired of acid burns on the rug.
It was a for a "battery eliminator"
I'm not saying this contradicts you but FWIW, the difference between a
generator and an alternator was that alternators have higher output at
low rpm than generators did.
That's why everyone switched, Most of them around 1964?? And that's
why you can charge your battery while idling.
Used to be when the car idled, the red idiot light woudl come on that
said "Battery" or something. With a generator the battery was
discharging even thought the engine was running. Now you should be
able to remove the battery and drive all over without it, as long as you
don't turn off the car.
I had the opposite experience with BMW motorcycles. My '62 worked fine
with a generator. My '70 had an alternator. Magazine reviews talked
about how powerful it was. I discovered it wouldn't charge below 50
mph. It was an automobile alternator mounted on the crankshaft. I
think it was designed to run on a pulley, turning three times faster
than an automobile crankshaft.
My trailer tow truck had after market 150A alternator. it could charge
on idle including the pair in the trailer. It had heavier stator
winding in Y with triple diode packs. Racing guys often change pulley size.
You're probably right. Too late for me to tell.
But to add to this, it's the nature of batteries that they have almost
full voltage weven when they are substatially discharged. The battery
can be 80% discharged and still have iirc 90% or more of its max
voltage. So you put those 1200 ampere seconds into the battery and
you'll get them back at 11.3 volts, which is enough to start the car.
Someone showed me mathematically why the voltage stays so high, but I
forget who, when, and why.
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