The Automobile Storage Battery - Its Care And Repair
by O. A. Witte
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(b) There may be a slow short-circuit, due to defective separators or excessive amount of sediment. If preliminary treatment in (a) does not cause battery to hold charge, the opening of battery and subsequent treatment will remove the cause of the slow short-circuit.


1. Make sure every battery is properly tagged before going on line.

2. Determine as quickly as possible from day to day, those batteries that will not charge. Call owner and get permission to open up any such battery and do whatever is necessary to put it in good shape.

3. As soon as a battery charges to 1.280-1.300, the voltage is 2.5-2.7 per cell and the cadmium readings are 2.4 or more for the positives and -0.15 to -0.20 for the negatives and the gravity voltage and cadmium readings do not change for five hours, remove it from the line as finished and replace it with another if possible. Go over your line at least three times a day and make gravity, temperature, and cadmium tests.

4. Make a notation, with chalk, of the gravity of each cell each morning. Do not trust to memory.

5. Remove from the line as soon as possible any battery that has a leaky cell and neutralize with soda the acid that has leaked out.

6. Batteries that are sloppers, with rotten cases, and without handles are sick and need a doctor. Go after the owner and get permission to repair.

7. Keep the bench orderly and clean.

8. Remember that if you have a line only partly full and have other batteries waiting to be charged you are losing money by not keeping a full line.

9. Leave the Vent Plugs in When Charging. The atmosphere in many service stations, where the ventilation is poor, is so filled with acid fumes that customers object to doing business there.

The owners of these places may not notice these conditions, being used to it, or rather glory in being able to breathe such air without coughing or choking, but it certainly does not invite a customer to linger and spend his money.

The remedy for such a condition is to leave the vent plugs in place on the batteries that are charging so that the acid spray in the gas from the battery condenses out as it strikes these plugs and drips back into the cells, while the gas passes out through the small openings in the plug.

The plugs need only be screwed into the openings by one turn, or only set on top of the vent openings to accomplish the result.

This takes no additional time and more than repays for itself in the saving of rusted tools and improved conditions in the battery room and surroundings. In charging old Exide batteries, be sure to replace the vent plugs and turn them to open the air passages which permit the escape of gases which form under the covers. If you wish to keep these air passages open without replacing the plugs, which may be done for convenience, give the valve (see page 21) a quarter turn with a screwdriver or some other tool.

10. If the electrolyte from a battery rises until it floods over the top of the jar, it shows that too much water was added when the battery was put on charge, the water rising to the bottom of the vent tube, thereby preventing gases formed (except those directly below the vent hole) from escaping. This gas collects under the covers, and its pressure forces the electrolyte up into the vent hole and over the top of the battery. In charging old U.S.L. batteries it is especially necessary to keep the air vent (see page 20) open to prevent flooding, since the lower end of the vent tube is normally a little below the surface of the electrolyte.

Remember, do not have the electrolyte come up to the lower end of the vent tube.

NOTE: To obtain satisfactory negative cadmium readings, the charging rate should be high enough to give a cell voltage of 2.5-2.7.

Improperly treated separators, or separators which have been allowed to become partly dry at any time will make it impossible to obtain satisfactory negative cadmium readings.


Lead cannot be "burned" in the sense that it bursts into flame as a piece of paper does when a match is applied to it. If sufficient heat is applied, the lead will oxidize and feather away into a yellow looking dust, but it does not burn. The experienced battery man knows that by "lead burning" is meant the heating of lead to its melting point, so that two lead surfaces will weld together. This is a welding and not a "burning" process, and much confusion would be avoided if the term "lead welding" were used in place of the term "lead burning."

The purpose of welding lead surfaces together is to obtain a joint which offers very little resistance to the flow of current, it being absolutely necessary to have as low a resistance as possible in the starting circuit. Welding also makes joints which are strong mechanically and which cannot corrode or become loose as bolted connections do. Some earlier types of starting and lighting batteries had inter-cell connectors which were bolted to the posts, but these are no longer used.

The different kinds of lead-burning outfits are listed on page 143 The oxygen-acetylene and the oxygen-hydrogen flames give extremely high temperatures and enable you to work fast. Where city gas is available, the oxygen illuminating gas combination will give a very good flame which is softer than the oxygen acetylene, oxygen-hydrogen outfits. Acetylene and compressed air is another good combination.

There are two general classes of lead-welding:

(a) Welding connecting bars, called "cell" connectors, top connectors, or simply "connectors," to the posts which project up through the cell covers, and welding terminals to the end posts of a battery.

(b) Welding plates to "straps" to form groups. The straps, of course, have joined to them the posts which project through the cell covers and by means of which cells are connected together, and connections made to the electrical system of the car.

In addition to the above, there are other processes in which a burning (welding) flame is used:

(c) Post-building, or building posts, which have been drilled or cut short, up to their original size.

(d) Extending plate lug. If the lug which connects a plate to the plate strap is too short, due to being broken, or cut too short, the lug may be extended by melting lead into a suitable iron form placed around the lug.

(e) Making temporary charging connections between cells by lightly welding lead strips to the posts so as to connect the cells together.

(f) A lead-burning (welding) flame is also used to dry out the channel in cell covers before pouring in the sealing compound, in re-melting sealing compound which has already been poured, so as to assure a perfect joint between the compound cover and jar, and to give the compound a smooth glossy finish. These processes are not welding processes and will not be described here.

General Lead Burning Instructions

Flame. With all the lead burning outfits, it is possible to adjust the pressures of the gases so as to get extremely hot, medium, and soft flames. With the oxygen-acetylene, or oxygen-hydrogen flame, each gas should have a pressure of about two pounds. With the oxygen-illuminating gas flame, the oxygen should have a pressure of 8 to 10 pounds. The city gas then does not need to have its pressure increased by means of a pump, the normal pressure (6 to 8 ounces) being satisfactory.

Various makes of lead-burning outfits are on the market, and the repairman should choose the one which he likes best; since they all give good results. All such outfits have means of regulating the pressures of the gases used. With some the gases are run close to the burning tip before being mixed, and have an adjusting screw where the gases mix. Others have a Y shaped mixing valve at some distance from the burning tip, as shown in Figure 78. Still others have separate regulating valves for each gas line.

With these adjustments for varying the gas pressure, extremely hot, hissing flames, or soft flames may be obtained. For the different welding jobs, the following flames are suitable:

1. A sharp, hissing flame, having a very high temperature is the one most suitable for the first stage in welding terminals and connectors to the posts.

2. A medium flame with less of a hiss is suitable for welding plates to strips and lengthening plate lugs.

3. A soft flame which is just beginning to hiss is best for the finishing of the weld between the posts and terminals or connectors. This sort of a flame is also used for finishing a sealing job, drying out the cover channels before sealing, and so on.

In adjusting the burning flame, 4 the oxygen is turned off entirely, a smoky yellow flame is obtained. Such a flame gives but little heat. As the oxygen is gradually turned on the flame becomes less smoky and begins to assume a blue tinge. It will also be noticed that a sort of a greenish cone forms in the center portion of the flame, with the base of the cone at the torch and the tip pointed away from the torch. At first this inner-cone is long and of almost the same color as the outer portion of the flame. As the oxygen pressure is increased, this center cone becomes shorter and of a more vivid color, and its tip begins to whip about. When the flame is at its highest temperature it will produce a hissing sound and the inner cone will be short and bright. With a softer flame, which has a temperature suitable for welding plates to a strap, the inner cone will be longer and less vivid, and the hissing will be greatly diminished.

The temperature of the different parts of the flame varies considerably, the hottest part being just beyond the end of the inner cone. Experience with the particular welding outfit used will soon show how far the tip of the torch should be held from the lead to be melted.

Cleanliness. Lead surfaces which are to be welded together must be absolutely free from dirt. Lead and dirt will not mix, and the dirt will float on top of the lead. Therefore, before trying to do any lead welding, clean the surfaces which are to be joined. The upper ends of plate lugs may be cleaned with a flat file, knife., or wire brush. The posts and inter-cell connectors should be cleaned with a knife, steel wire brush, or triangular scraper. Do not clean the surfaces and then wait a long time before doing the lead burning. The lead may begin to oxidize if this is done and make it difficult to do a good job.

The surfaces which are to be welded together should also be dry. If there is a small hole in the top of a post which is to be welded to a connector or terminal, and this hole contains acid, a shower of hot lead may be thrown up by the acid, with possible injury to the operator.

Do not try to save time by attempting to weld dirty or wet lead surfaces, because time cannot be saved by doing so, and you run the risk of being injured if hot lead is thrown into your face. Remove absolutely every speck of dirt—you will soon learn that it is the only way to do a good job.

Safety Precautions. Remove the vent plugs and blow down through the vent holes to remove any gases which may have collected above the surface of the electrolyte. An explosion may result if this is not done. To protect the rubber covers, you may cover the whole top of the battery except the part at which the welding is to be done, with a large piece of burlap or a towel which has been soaked in water. The parts covered by the cloth must be dried thoroughly if any welding on them. Instead of using a wet cloth, a strip of asbestos may be laid over the vent holes, or a small square of asbestos may be laid over each vent hole.

Burning on the Cell Connectors and Terminals

Have the posts perfectly clean and free from acid. Clean the tops, bottoms and sides of the connectors with a wire brush, Figure 143. Finish the top surfaces with a coarse file, Figure 144. With a pocket knife clean the inside surfaces of the connector holes. Place the connectors and terminals in their proper positions on the posts, and with a short length of a two by two, two by one, or two by four wood pound them snugly in position, Figure 145. Be sure that the connectors are perfectly level and that the connectors are in the correct position as required on the car on which the battery is to be used. The top of the post should not come flush with the top of the connector. Note, from Figure 146, that the connector has a double taper, and that the lower tapered surface is not welded to the post. If the post has been built up too high it should be cut down with a pair of end cutting nippers so that the entire length of the upper taper in the connector is in plain sight when the connector is put in position on the post. This is shown in Figure 146. With the connectors in place, and before welding them to the posts, measure the voltage of the whole battery to be sure that the cells are properly connected, as shown by the voltage reading being equal to two times the number of cells. If one cell has been reversed, as shown by a lower voltage reading now is the time to correct the mistake.

[Fig. 143 Brushing connector before burning in]

[Fig. 144 Rasping connector before burning in]

The connectors and terminals are now ready to be welded to the posts. Before bringing any flame near the battery be sure that you have blown out any gas which may have collected under the covers. Then cover the vents with asbestos or a wet cloth as already described. You will need strips of burning lead, such as those made in the burning lead mould described on page 164.

Use a hot, hissing flame for the first stage. With the flame properly adjusted, hold it straight above the post, and do not run it across the top of the battery. Now bring the flame straight down over the center of the post, holding it so that the end of the inner cone of the flame is a short distance above the post. When the center of the post begins to melt, move the flame outward with a circular motion to gradually melt the whole top of the post, and to melt the inner surface of the hole in the connector. Then bring the lower end of your burning lead strip close to and over the center of the hole, and melt in the lead, being sure to keep the top of the post and the inner surface of the hole in the connector melted so that the lead you are melting in will flow together and unite. Melt in lead until it comes up flush with the upper surface of the connector. Then remove the flame. This completes the first stage of the welding process. Now repeat the above operation for each post and terminal.

[Fig. 145 Leveling top connectors before burning in]

It is essential that the top of the post and the inner surface of the hole in the connector be kept melted as long as you are running in lead from the strip of burning lead. This is necessary to have all parts fuse together thoroughly. If you allow the top of the post, or the inner surface of the hole in the connector to chill slightly while you are feeding in the lead, the parts will not fuse, and the result will be a poor Joint, which will heat up and possibly reduce the current obtained from the battery when the starting switch is closed. This reduction may prevent the starting motor from developing sufficient torque to crank the engine.

When the joint cools, the lead will shrink slightly over the center of the posts. To finish the welding, this lead is to be built up flush or slightly higher than the connector. Brush the tops of the post and connector thoroughly with a wire brush to remove any dirt which may have been floating in the lead. (Dirt always floats on top of the lead.) Soften the burning flame so that it is just barely beginning to hiss. Bring the flame down over the center of the post. When this begins to melt, move the flame outward with a circular motion until the whole top of post and connector begins to melt and fuse. If necessary run in some lead from the burning lead strip. When the post and connector are fused, clear to the outer edge of the connector, raise the flame straight up from the work.

[Fig. 146 Connector in position on post for for welding to post. Surfaces A-B are not welded together]

You will save time by doing the first stage of the burning on all posts first, and then finish all of them. This is quicker than trying to complete both stages of burning on each post before going to the next post. The object in the finishing stage is to melt a thin layer of the top of post and connector, not melting deep enough to have the outer edge of the connector melt and allow the lead to run off. All this must be done carefully and dexterously to do a first-class job, and you must keep the flame moving around over the top and not hold it in any one place for ally length of time, so as not to melt too deep, or to melt the outer edge and allow the lead to run off and spoil the job. Sometimes the whole mass becomes too hot and the top cannot be made smooth with the flame. If this occurs wait until the connector cools, soften the flame, and try again. Figure 147 shows the welding completed.

[Fig. 147 Connectors "burned" to posts]

Burning Plates to Strap and Post

First clean all the surfaces which are to be welded together. Take your time in doing this because you cannot weld dirty surfaces together.

Plates which compose a group are welded to a "strap" to which a post is attached, as shown in Figure 5. The straps shown in Figure 5 are new ones, as made in the factory. Plate lugs are set in the notches in the straps and each one burned in separately. In using old straps from a defective group, it is best to cut the strap close to the post, thus separating all the plates from the post in one operation, as was done with the post shown in Figure 96. If only one or two plates are to be burned on, they are broken or cut off and slots cut in the strap to receive the lugs of the new plates, as shown in Figures 148 and 149.

[Fig. 148 Sawing slot in plate strap]

Set the plates in a plate burning rack, as shown in Figure 96, placing the adjustable form around the lugs and strap as shown in this figure. Be sure to set the post straight, so that the covers will fit. A good thing is to try a cover over the post to see that the post is set up properly. The post must, of course, be perpendicular to the tops of the plates. If the slotted plate strap shown in Figure 5 is used, or if one or two plates have been cut off, melt the top of the lug of one of the plates which are to be burned oil, and the surfaces of the strap to which the plate is to be welded. Melt in lead from a burning-lead strip to bring the metal up flush with the surface of the strap. Proceed with each plate which is to be burned on.

If all the plates have been sawed from the strap, leaving the post with a short section of the strap attached, as shown in Figure 96, melt the edge of the strap, and the top of one or two of the end plate lugs and run in lead from the burning strip to make a good joint. Proceed in this way until all the lugs are joined to the strap and then run the flame over the top of the entire strap to make a smooth uniform weld. Be sure to have the lower edge of the strap fuse with the plate lugs and then run in lead to build the strap up to the proper thickness. Raise the flame occasionally to see that all parts are fusing thoroughly and to prevent too rapid heating.

[Fig. 149 Slotting saw, a group with two plates cut off, and slots in strap for new plates]

When enough lead has been run in to build the strap tip to the correct thickness and the plate lugs are thoroughly fused with the strap, raise the flame straight up from the work. Allow the lead to "set" and then remove the adjustable form and lift the group from the burning rack. Turn the group up-side-down and examine the bottom of the strap for lead which ran down the lugs during the welding process. Cut off any such lead with a saw, as it may cause a short-circuit when the plates are meshed with the other group.

Post Building

In drilling down through the inter-cell connectors to separate them from the posts in opening a battery, the posts may be drilled too short. In reassembling the battery it is then necessary to build the posts up to their original height. This is done with the aid of post-builders, shown in Figure 100.

Clean the stub of the post thoroughly and also clean the inside of the post builder. Then set the post builder carefully over the stub post, so that the upper surface of the post builder is parallel to the upper surface of the plate strap. The built up post will then be perpendicular to the surface of the strap, which is necessary, in order to have the covers and connectors fit properly.

With the post builder set properly adjust the burning torch to get a sharp, hissing flame. Bring the flame straight down on the center of the post stub. When the center of the post stub begins to melt, move the flame outward with a circular motion until the whole top of the stub begins to melt. Then run in lead from a burning lead strip, Figure 101, at the same time keeping the flame moving around on the top of the post to insure a good weld. In this way build up the post until the lead comes up to the top of the post builder. Then lift the flame straight up from the post. Allow the lead to set, and then remove the post builder, grasping it with a pair of gas or combination pliers and turn the post builder around to loosen it.

Extending Plate Lugs

It sometimes happens that a good plate is broken from a strap, thus shortening the lug. Before the plate may be used again, the lug must be extended to its original length. To do this, clean the surfaces of the lug carefully, lay the plate on a sheet of asbestos, and place an iron form having a slot of the correct width, length, and thickness, as shown in Figure 150. Use a medium hissing flame, and melt the upper edge of the lug, and then run in lead from the lead burning strip to fill the slot in the iron form. The plate may then be used again.

[Fig. 150 Extending lug on plate]

Making Temporary Charging Connections

After a battery has been opened it is often desired to charge a battery without burning on the intercell connectors. Temporary connections may be made between cells by placing a short length of a burning lead strip from post to post and applying a flame for an instant to spot-weld the strip to the top of the post.


In using special moulds for casting inter-cell connectors, plate straps with posts, terminals, etc., follow the special instructions furnished by the manufacturers as to the manipulation of the special moulds made by them.

Aside from the special instructions for the use of moulds, there are general rules for the melting of lead and handling it after it is melted, which must be observed if good castings are to be made.

Raw Materials. In every battery repair shop a supply of old terminals, cell connectors, posts, and straps, will gradually accumulate. These should not be thrown away or sold as junk, but should be kept in a box or jar provided for that purpose. Old plates should not be saved, since the amount of lead in the grid is small and it is often covered with sulphate. The lugs connecting the plates to the straps may, however, be used. Before using the scrap lead as much dirt as possible should be brushed off, and all moisture must be dried off thoroughly. Scrap lead contains some antimony, which is metal used to give stiffness to the parts. Using miscellaneous scrap sometimes gives castings which do not contain the proper percentage of antimony. If there is too much antimony present, cracked castings will be the result. To remedy this condition, bars of pure lead should be purchased from some lead manufacturing company. Adding pure lead will reduce the percentage of antimony. Bars of pure antimony should also be kept oil hand in case the castings are too soft.

Lead Melting Pots are standard articles which may be purchased from jobbers. A pot having a 25 pound capacity is suitable for small shops and for larger shops a 125-pound size is best. Before melting any lead in such pots, have them thoroughly free from dirt, grease, or moisture, not merely in order to get clean castings, but also to avoid melted lead being thrown out of the pot on account of the presence of moisture. Severe burns may be the result of carelessness in this respect.

In starting with an empty melting pot, turn oil the heat before putting in any lead, and let the pot become thoroughly heated in order to drive off any moisture. With the pot thoroughly hot, drop in the lead, which must also be dry. When the metal has become soft enough to stir with a clean pine stick, skim off the dirt and dross which collects on top and continue heating the lead until it is slightly yellow oil top. Dirt and lead do not mix, and the dirt rises to the top of the metal where it may readily be skimmed off.

With a paddle or ladle, drop in a cleaning compound of equal parts of powdered rosin, borax, and flower of sulphur. Use a teaspoonful of this compound for each ten pounds of metal, and be sure that the compound is absolutely dry. Stir the metal a little, and if it is at the proper temperature, there will be a flare, flash, or a little burning. A sort of tinfoil popcorn effect will be noticed oil top of the lead. Stir until this melts down.

Have the ladle with which you dip up the melted lead quite dry. When dipping up some of the lead, skim back the dark skin which forms oil top of the lead and dip up the clean bright lead for pouring.

In throwing additional lead into a pot which is partly filled with melted lead, be sure that the lead which is thrown in the pot is dry, or else hot lead may be spattered in your face.

Have the moulds clean and dry. The parts with which the lead comes into contact should be dusted with a mould compound which fills in the rough spots in the metal so that the flow of lead will not be obstructed, and the lead will fill the mould quickly. Dip tip enough lead to fill the part of the mould you use. When you once start pouring do not, under any circumstance, stop pouring until the lead has completely filled the mould. Lead cools very quickly after it is poured into the mould, and if you stop pouring even for all instant, you will have a worthless casting.

In a shop having an ordinary room temperature, it is generally unnecessary to heat the moulds before making up a number of castings. If it is found, however, that the first castings are defective due to the cold mould chilling the lead, the mould should be heated with a soft flame. After a few castings have been made, the mould will become hot enough so that there will be no danger of the castings becoming chilled.

When the castings have cooled sufficiently to be removed, strike the mould a few blows with a wooden mallet or a rawhide hammer to loosen, the castings before opening the mould. The castings may then be removed with a screwdriver.

Cracked castings indicate that the mould was opened before the castings had cooled sufficiently, or that there is too much antimony in the castings. The remedy is to let the castings cool for a longer time, or to add pure lead to the melting pot.


The electrolyte used in the battery is made by mixing chemically pure concentrated Sulphuric Acid with chemically pure water. The concentrated acid, or "full strength" acid cannot be used, not only because it would destroy the plates, but also because water is needed for the chemical actions which take place as a cell charges and discharges. The water therefore serves, not only to dilute the acid, but also to make possible the chemical reactions of charge and discharge.

The full strength acid has a specific gravity of 1.835, and is mixed with the water to obtain the lower specific gravity which is necessary in the battery. The simplest scheme is to use only 1.400 specific gravity acid. This acid is used in adjusting the specific gravity of a battery on charge in case the specific gravity fails to rise to a high enough value. It is also used in filling batteries that have been repaired.

Acid is received from the manufacturer in ten gallon glass bottles enclosed in wooden boxes, these being called "carboys." Distilled water comes in similar bottles. When distilled in the shop, the water should be collected in bottles also, although smaller ones may be used.

Neither the acid nor the water should ever be placed in any vessels but those made of lead, glass, porcelain, rubber, or glazed earthenware. Lead cups, tanks, and funnels may be used in handling electrolyte, but the electrolyte must not be put in containers made of any metal except lead. Lead is rather expensive for making such containers, and the glass bottles, porcelain, rubber, or glazed earthenware may be used.

In mixing acid with water, pour the water in the bottle, pitcher or jar, and then add the acid to the water very slowly. Do not pour the acid in quickly, as the mixture will become very hot, and may throw spray in your face and eyes and cause severe burns. Never add the water to the acid, as this might cause an explosion and burn your face and eyes seriously. Stir the mixture thoroughly with a wooden paddle while adding the acid. A graduate, such as is used in photography, is very useful in measuring out the quantities of acid and water. The graduate may be obtained in any size up to 64 ounces, or two quarts. In using the graduate for measuring both acid and water, be sure to use the following table giving the parts of water by volume. Although the graduate is marked in ounces, it is for ounces of water only. If, for instance, the graduate were filled to the 8 ounce mark with acid, there would be more than eight ounces of acid in the graduate because the acid is heavier than the water. But if the proportions of acid and water are taken by volume, the graduate may be used.

A convenient method in making up electrolyte, is to have a 16 ounce graduate for the acid, and a 32 or 64 ounce graduate for the water. In the larger graduate pour the water up to the correct mark. In the 16 ounce graduate, pour 1.400 acid up to the 10 ounce mark. Then add the acid directly to the water in the graduate, or else pour the water into a bottle or pitcher, and add the acid to that. For instance, if we have a 32 ounce graduate, and wish to make up some 1.280 acid, we fill this graduate with water up to the 5-1/2 ounce mark. We then fill the 16 ounce graduate with 1.400 acid up to the 10 ounce mark. Then we slowly pour the 1.400 acid into the graduate containing the water, giving us 1.280 acid. In a similar manner other specific gravities are obtained, using the same amount of 1.400 acid in each case, but varying the amount of water according to the figures given in the last column of the next to the last table.

The following table shows the number of parts of distilled water to one part of 1.400 specific gravity electrolyte to prepare electrolyte of various specific gravities. The specific gravity of the mixture must be taken when the temperature of the mixture is 70 deg. F. If its temperature varies more than 5 degrees above or below 70 deg.F, make the corrections described on page 65 to find what the specific gravity would be if the temperature were 70 deg. F.


For 1.300 specific gravity use 5 ounces of distilled water for each pound of 1.400 electrolyte.

For 1.280 specific gravity use 6-1/2 ounces of distilled water for each pound of 1.400 electrolyte.

For 1.275 specific gravity use 6-3/4 ounces distilled water for each pound of 1.400 electrolyte.

For 1.260 specific gravity use 7-1/2 ounces distilled water for each pound of 1.400 electrolyte.


For 1.300 specific gravity use 3-1/2 pints distilled water for each gallon of 1.400 electrolyte.

For 1.280 specific gravity use 4-1/2 pints distilled water for each gallon of 1.400 electrolyte.

For 1.275 specific gravity use 5 pints distilled water for each gallon of 1.400 electrolyte.

For 1.260 specific gravity use 5-1/4 pints distilled water for each gallon of 1.400 electrolyte.

In case you wish to use other measuring units than those given in the above table, this table may be written as follows, giving the number of parts distilled water to 10 parts of 1.400 specific gravity electrolyte:

Specific Gravity Desired Parts by Weight Parts by Volume ———————— ———————————- ———————- 1.300 3 4-1/4 1.280 4 5-1/4 1.275 4-1/6 6 1.260 4-7/10 6-1/2

The next table gives the number of parts of distilled water to 10 parts of concentrated sulphuric acid (which has a specific gravity of 1.835) to prepare electrolyte of various specific gravities:

Specific Gravity Desired Parts by Weight Parts by Volume ———————————— ———————- ———————- 1.400 8-1/2 15-8/10 1.300 13-1/2 15-8/10 1.300 13-1/2 25 1.280 15 27 1.270 16 28 1.260 17 30


New batteries are received (a) fully charged and ready for service, (b) fully assembled with moistened plates and separators, but without electrolyte, (c) in a "knockdown" condition, with dry plates and without separators, (d) fully assembled with "bone dry" plates and rubber separators, and without electrolyte.

Those received fully charged should be put on a car as soon as possible. Otherwise they will grow old on the shelf. Every month on the shelf is a month less of life. If the battery cannot be sold, put it into dry-storage. Batteries received in condition (b) should not be kept in stock for more than six months. Batteries received with dry plates and without separators or with rubber separators may be stored indefinitely without deteriorating.

Batteries Shipped Fully Charged, or "Wet." All Makes.

Unpack the battery, keeping the packing case right side up to avoid spilling electrolyte.

Brush off all excelsior and dirt, and examine the battery carefully to see if it has been damaged during shipment. If any damage has been done, claim should be made against the express or railroad company.

1. Remove the vent caps from the cells and determine the height of the electrolyte. It should stand from three-eighths to one-half inch above the tops of the plates. The level may be determined with a glass tube, as shown in Fig. 30. If the electrolyte is below the tops of the plates, it has either been spilled, or else there is a leaky jar. If all cells have a low level of electrolyte, it is probable that the electrolyte has been spilled.

2. Next measure the specific gravity of the electrolyte of each cell with the hydrometer, and then add water to bring the electrolyte up to the correct level, if this is necessary. Should the temperature of the air be below freezing, charge the battery for an hour if water is added no matter what the specific gravity readings are. This will cause the water to mix thoroughly with the electrolyte. If the battery were not charged after water is added, the water, being lighter than the electrolyte, would remain on top and freeze. For this one hour charge, use the "starting" rate, as stamped on the nameplate.

3. If the specific gravity of the electrolyte reads below 1.250, charge the battery until the specific gravity reads between 1.280 and 1.300. For this charge use the normal bench charging rates.

4. After this charge place the battery on a clean, dry spot for twenty-four hours as an extra test for a leaky jar. If there is any dampness under the battery, or on the lower part of the battery case, a leaky jar is indicated. An inspection of the level of the electrolyte, which even though no dampness shows, will show the leaky jar.

5. Just before putting the battery on the car, make the high rate discharge test on it. See page 266.


Exide Batteries

Storing. 1. Keep the battery in a dry, clean place, and keep the room temperature above 32 degrees, and below 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Put the battery into service before the expiration of the time limit given on the tag attached to the battery. The process of putting the battery into service will require about five days.

3. If the battery has been allowed to stand beyond the time limit, open up one of the cells just before beginning the process necessary to put the battery into service. If the separators are found to be cracked, split, or warped, throw away all the separators from all the cells and put in new ones. If the separators are in good condition, reassemble the cell and put the battery into service.

Putting Battery into Service. 1. Fill the cells with electrolyte of the correct specific gravity. To do this, remove the vent plugs and pour in the electrolyte until it rises to the bottom of the vent tubes. The correct specific gravities of the electrolyte to be used are as follows:

(a) For Types DX, XC, XE, XX and XXV, use 1.360 electrolyte. In tropical countries use 1.260 electrolyte.

(b) For Types LX, LXR, LXRE, LXRV, use 1.340 electrolyte. In tropical countries use 1.260 electrolyte.

(c) For Types MHA and PHC, use 1.320 electrolyte. In tropical countries use 1.260 electrolyte.

(d) For Types KXD and KZ, use 1.300 electrolyte. In tropical countries use 1.240 electrolyte.

2. After filling with the electrolyte, allow the battery to stand ten to fifteen hours before starting the initial charge. This gives the electrolyte time to cool.

3. No sooner than ten to fifteen hours after filling the battery with electrolyte, add water to bring the electrolyte up to the bottom of the vent tubes, if the level has fallen. Replace the vent caps and turn them to the right.

Start charging at the rates shown in the following table. Continue charging at this rate for at least 96 hours (4 days).

Table of Initial and Repair Charging Rates

Type and Size of Cell Charging Rate, Amperes Minimum Ampere Hours ——————————- ——————————— —————————— KZ-3 1/2 50 LX-5, LXR-5, LXRE-5 1-1/2 145 KXD-5 2 190 XC-9, XX-9 2-1/2 240 DX-11, KXD-7, LXR-9, LXRE-9, XC-11, XE-11 3 290 DX-13, KXD-9, LXR-11, XC-13, XE-13, XX-13 4 385 LXR-13, LXRE-13, XC-15, XE-15, XX-15 4-1/2 430 KXD-11, XC-17, XE-17 5 480 LXRV-15, LXR-15, LXRE-15 5-1/2 525 LX-17, LXR-17, LXRE-17, XC-19, XE-19, XXV-19 6 575 MHA-11, PHC-13 6 575 XC-21, XE-21 6-1/2 625 XC-23 7 675 XC-25 7-1/2 720

4. Occasionally measure the temperature of the electrolyte. Do not allow the temperature to rise above 110 deg. Fahrenheit (120 deg. Fahrenheit in tropical countries). Should the temperature reach 110 deg., stop the charge long enough to allow the temperature to drop below 100 deg..

5. At the end of the charge, the specific gravity of the electrolyte should be between 1.280 and 1.300 (1.210 and 1.230 in tropical countries). If it is not between these limits adjust it by drawing off some of the electrolyte with the hydrometer and replacing with water if the specific gravity is too high, or with electrolyte of the same specific gravity used in filling the battery, if the specific gravity is too low.

6. Wipe off the top and sides of the battery case with a rag dampened with ammonia to neutralize any electrolyte which may have been spilled.

7. Just before putting the battery into service, give it a high rate discharge test. See page 266.

Vesta Batteries

1. Remove vent caps from each cell and fill with electrolyte of 1.300 specific gravity. This electrolyte should not have a temperature greater than 75 deg. Fahrenheit when added to the cells.

2. After the addition of this acid, the battery will begin to heat and it should be left standing from 12 to 24 hours or until it has cooled off.

3. Battery should then be put on charge at the finish charging rate stamped on the name plate. Continue charging at this rate for approximately 48 to 72 hours or until the gravity and voltage readings of each cell stop rising.

4. Care should be taken to see that the temperature of battery does not rise above 110 deg. Fahrenheit. If this occurs., the charging rate should be cut down.

5. The acid in each cell will undoubtedly have to be equalized.

6. At the finish of this developing charge the gravity should read 1.280 in each cell. If below this, equalize by putting in 1.400 specific gravity acid, or if the contrary is the case and the acid is above 1.280 add sufficient distilled water until the gravity reads 1.280.

7. After the acid has been equalized and it has stopped rising in density the voltage of each cell while still on charge at the finishing rate should read at least 2.5 volts per cell or better.

8. The battery is then ready for service. Just before putting battery into service, make a high rate discharge test on it. See page 266.

Philadelphia Diamond Grid Batteries

1. Remove the vent plugs and immediately fill the cells With electrolyte until the level is even with the bottom of the vent tube in the cover. Do not fill with electrolyte whose temperature is above 90 deg. Fahrenheit. The specific gravity of the electrolyte to be used in starting batteries varies with the number of plates in each cell, the correct values being as follows:

Charging Rates

Fill batteries listed in Table No. 1 with 1.270 sp. gr. acid.


No. of LL-LLR Plates & LH LM, LMR LT, LTR LS, LSR LG LT LSF ——— ——— ———- ———- ———- —- —- —- 9 2.0 2.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 11 2.5 3.0 2.5 3.5 4.0 13 3.0 3.5 3.0 4.0 2.5 15 3.5 4.0 3.5 4.5 5.5 17 4.0 5.0 4.0 5.5 6.0 19 4.5 5.5 4.5 6.0

Special Battery: 136 USA ... 6. 0 amps.


Fill batteries listed in Table No. 2 with 1.250 sp. gr. acid.

No. LL-LLR LM LT LS S of Plates & LLH LMR LTR LSR SH ST LSF ————- ——— —- —- —- —- —- —- 5 1.0 1.0 2.0 1.5 7 1.5 1.5 1.5 2.0 3.0 2.0 1.5 9 4.0 11 5.0

Special Batteries: 330 AA .... 1.0 amps. 524 STD-H2 ................... 1.0 amps. 7 6 SPN ...................... 1.5 amps.

The number of plates per cell is; indicated in the first numeral of the type name. For instance, 712 LLA-1 is a 7 plate LL. For all lighting batteries, types S and ST. use 1.210 electrolyte.

2. Allow the battery to stand for one or two hours.

3. Remove the seal from the top of the vent caps, and open by blowing through the cap.

4. Insert vent plugs in the vent tubes.

5. Put the battery on charge at the rate given in the table on page 228. To determine the rate to use, see type name given on the battery nameplate and find correct rate in the table. Keep the battery charging at this rate throughout the charge.

6. Continue the charge until the battery voltage and the specific gravity of the electrolyte stop rising, as shown by readings taken every four hours. From three and one-half to four days of continuous charging will be required to fully charge the battery.

7. Watch the temperature of the electrolyte, and do not allow it to rise above 110 deg. Fahrenheit. If the temperature rises to 110 deg. F., stop the charge and allow battery to cool. Extend the time of charging by the length of time required for the battery to cool.

8. After the specific gravity of the electrolyte stops rising, adjust the electrolyte to a specific gravity of 1.280 at a temperature of 70 deg. Fahrenheit. If the temperature is not 70 deg., make temperature corrections as described on page 65.

9. The battery is now ready to be installed on the car. Just before installing the battery, make a high rate discharge test on it.

Willard Bone-Dry Batteries

A Willard Threaded Rubber insulated battery is shipped and carried in stock "bone-dry." It is filled with electrolyte and charged for the first time when being made ready for delivery.

Threaded Rubber Insulated Batteries received bone-dry must be prepared for service, as follows:

1. Mix electrolyte to a density of 1.275.

2. Remove the vent plugs and fill to the top of the vent hole with 1.275 electrolyte. Be sure that the electrolyte is thoroughly mixed by stirring and that its temperature is not above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. A portion of the solution will be absorbed by the plates and insulation because they have been standing dry without any liquid in the cells. The volume is thus decreased, necessitating the addition of electrolyte after first filling.

Wait five minutes and then again fill to the top of the vent hole with 1.275 electrolyte.

4. The battery must now stand at least twelve hours and not more than twenty-four hours before charging. After it has been filled an increase in temperature of the battery solution will take place. This is caused by the action of the acid in the solution penetrating the plates mid reacting with the active material, but does no injury. Since the acid in the solution joins the active material in the plates the density of the solution becomes proportionately lower. This is to be expected and should cause no concern.

In order that the entire plate volume of active material may be in chemical action during charge, the battery should stand before being placed on charge—until the solution has bad time to penetrate the entire thickness of the plates. This requires at least twelve hours, but not more than twenty-four hours.

5. Just before charging the battery, again fill with 1.275 electrolyte to 3/8 inch over the top of the separators. After this, do not add anything but distilled water to the battery solution.

6. The battery should then be put on charge at the finish rate until the gravity stops rising. At the end of this period the specific gravity should be between 1.280 and 1.300. It may take from 36 to 72 hours before this density is reached.

Care should be taken not to prolong the charging unduly, for that may cause active material to fall out of the grids, thus injuring the plates beyond repair.

7. Because of the evaporation of water in the solution during the charging process, it is necessary to add distilled water from time to time in order to keep the solution above the tops of the separators.

The temperature of the battery while on charge should never exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature rises above this point the charging must be discontinued for a time or the rate decreased.

If at any time during the initial charging the density rises above 1.300 some of the solution should immediately be drawn off with a syringe and distilled water added. This must be done as often as is necessary to keep the density below 1.300.

If the specific gravity does not change after two successive readings and does not then read within the limits of 1.280 to 1.300 it should be adjusted to read correctly. If the reading is less than 1.280 it should be adjusted by drawing off as much solution as can be taken out with a syringe and electrolyte of 1.400 specific gravity added. The battery must then be placed on charge for at least four hours and another reading taken. If it is again found to be less than 1.280 this operation should be repeated as many times as necessary to bring the density up to 1.280.

9. The height of solution when taking the battery off charge should be 5/8 of an inch above the top of the separators. After the battery has been off charge long enough to permit the solution to cool to normal temperature, draw off the excess to a final height of 3/8 inch above separators. Replace the vent plugs and battery is ready for service.

Unfilled Willard Wood Insulated Batteries

Unfilled, wood-insulated batteries have not had an initial charge and require a treatment similar to batteries with threaded rubber insulation. When shipment is made in this manner, such batteries should be placed in service before the date indicated on the tag attached to the battery.

To prepare such a battery for service:

1. Remove the vent plugs and fill each cell with 1.335 specific gravity electrolyte (one part of concentrated sulphuric acid by volume to two parts of distilled water by volume) to 3/8 inch above the tops of the separators.

2. Wait 5 minutes and then fill each cell again with 1.335 specific gravity electrolyte to 3/8 inch above the tops of the separators.

3. The battery must then stand from 10 to 15 hours before placing on charge.

4. After standing for this length of time, fill each cell again, if necessary, with 1.335 specific gravity electrolyte to bring the level of the electrolyte 3/8 inch above the tops of the separators before charging.

5. Place the battery on charge at the finish rate marked on the name plate until the gravity and cell voltage stop rising. This charging will require at least 48 hours.

6. If, after a charge of 48 hours or longer the specific gravity does not rise for two consecutive hours, the gravity should be between 1.280 and 1.300. If it is not between these limits, the specific gravity should be adjusted to these values at the end of the charge.

7. If, during the charge, the temperature exceeds 110 degrees Fahrenheit, the charge rate should be reduced so as to keep the temperature below 110 degrees Fahrenheit and the time of charging lengthened proportionately.

Preparing Westinghouse Batteries for Service

(These batteries are prepared for shipment in what is known as export condition.)

1. Remove vent plugs and discard soft rubber caps.

2. Fill all cells with 1.300 specific gravity sulphuric acid until top of connecting straps, as seen through vent holes are completely covered. Temperature of filling acid should never be above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Note: The aim is to fill the cells with acid of such a Specific gravity that the electrolyte, at the end of charge, will need very little adjusting to bring it to the proper specific gravity.

1.300 specific gravity acid has been found to be approximately correct for this purpose. However, if after several batteries have been prepared for service using 1.300 specific gravity acid, considerable adjusting at the end of charge is necessary, it is permissible to use a slightly different specific gravity of filling acid, but the use of acid above 1.325 specific gravity or below 1,250 specific gravity is not recommended.

3. Allow batteries to stand after filling for from two to three hours before putting on charge.

4. Put on charge at finish charge rate shown on name plate of battery.

Note: If temperature of electrolyte in battery reaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit (determined by inserting special thermometer through vent hole in cover), the charging rate should be immediately reduced, as continued charging at a temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit is injurious to both separators and plates.

5. Continue charging until all cells are gassing freely and individual cell voltage and specific gravity of electrolyte have shown no decided rise for a period of five hours.

Note: The length of time required to completely charge a new battery depends largely upon the time the battery has been in stock, varying from twelve to twenty-four hours for a comparatively fresh battery to four or five days for a battery six months or more old.

6. Keep level of electrolyte above tops of separators at all times, while charging by adding distilled water to replace that lost by evaporation.

7. After battery is completely charged the specific gravity of electrolyte in all cells should be adjusted to 1.285 at 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and the level of electrolyte adjusted so that after battery is taken off charge the height of electrolyte stands 1/8 inch above tops of connecting straps.

Note: Corrections for temperature if temperature of electrolyte is above or below 70 degrees Fahrenheit the correction is one point of gravity for each three degrees of temperature. See page 65.

If specific gravity of electrolyte is above 1.285, a portion of the electrolyte should be removed and replaced with distilled water.

If the specific gravity is below 1.285, a portion of electrolyte should be removed and replaced with 1.400 specific gravity sulphuric acid. Acid of higher gravity than 1.400 should never be put in batteries.

Batteries should always be charged for several hours after adjusting gravity to insure proper mixing of the electrolyte and to see that the correct specific gravity of 1.285 has been obtained.

8. After first seven sections have been followed examine vent plugs to see that gas passage is Dot obstructed and screw back in place. Battery is now ready for service.

The Prest-O-Lite Assembled Green Seal Battery

This type of battery is made up of the same sort of plates as the old partly assembled green seal battery. The elements are, however, completely assembled will wood separators and sealed in the jars and box in the same manner as a wet battery to be put into immediate service; the cell connectors are burned in place.

How to Store It. A room of ordinary humidity, one in which the air is never dryer for any reason than the average, should be used to store these batteries. They should be shielded from direct sunlight.

Examine the vents-they should be securely inserted and remain so during the entire storage period.

If these precautions are observed, this type battery may be stored for at least a year.

To Prepare Battery for Use. 1. Prepare sufficient pure electrolyte of 1.300 specific gravity. If during the mixing considerable heat is evolved, allow electrolyte to cool down to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Never pour electrolyte, that is warmer than 90 degrees Fahrenheit, into cells.

2. Remove the vents and lay them aside until the final charging operation has been completed.

Within 15 minutes from the time the vents are removed fill all cells to the bottom of vent openings with the electrolyte prepared, as stated above.

3. Allow the electrolyte to remain in the cells, not less than one hour. At the end of this time, should the electrolyte level fall below the tops of the separators, add enough electrolyte to bring level at least one-half inch above separators. If the temperature in the cells does not rise above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, proceed immediately (before two hours have elapsed) with the initial charging operation. If the temperature remains above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, allow the battery to stand until the electrolyte cools down to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Then proceed immediately with the charge. It is important that the acid does not stand in the cells for more than two hours, unless it is necessary to allow the acid to cool.

4. Initial Charging Operation. Place the battery on charge at the ampere rate given in the following table. The total initial charge must be for fifty-two hours, but at no time permit the electrolyte temperature to rise above 115 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature should reach 115 degrees Fahrenheit, take the battery off the line and allow the electrolyte to cool, but be sure that the total of fifty-two hours actual charging at the ampere rate specified is completed.

Initial Charge—-52 Hours

Plates Type of per Cell Plate AHS WHN RHN SHC BHN JFN GM CLN KPN ———— —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- 3 1.5 5 2 2 2.5 3 7 3 3 3.5 4 3 5 9 4 4 5 5 7 11 5 5 6 7 7.5 5 9 13 6 6 7 8 9 6 10.5 10.5 15 7 7 9 9.5 10.5 7 12 17 10 12 9 19 9 9 11 12 9

The nominal battery voltage and the number of plates per cell is indicated by the Prest-O-Lite type designations, i. e.: 613 RHN denotes 6 volts, 13 plates per cell or 127 SHC denotes 12 volts, 7 plates per cell.

5. The electrolyte density at the end of fifty-two hours charge should be near 1.290 specific gravity. A variation between 1.285 and 1.300 is permissible. If, after fifty hours of the initial charge, the electrolyte density of any of the cells is outside these limits, adjustment should be begun while still charging. For those cells in which the density is higher than 1.300 specific gravity replace some of the electrolyte with distilled water. In those cells where the density is lighter than 1.285 specific gravity replace some of the electrolyte with previously prepared electrolyte of 1.400 specific gravity. Wait until the cells have charged one hour before taking readings to determine the effect of adjustment, which, if not accomplished, should be attempted again as before. Practice Will enable the attendant to estimate the amount of electrolyte necessary to replace in order to accomplish the proper density desired-at the end of initial charge.

6. Following the completion of the fifty-two hour charge, if there is time to do so, it is good practice to put the battery through a development cycle, i. e., to discharge it at about the four-hour rate and then put it on the charging line again at the normal rate until a condition of full charge is again reached. The objects gained by this discharge are:

(a) Further development of the plates.

(b) Adjustment or stabilization of the electrolyte.

(c) Checking the assembly by noting the failure of any cell or cells to act uniformly and satisfactorily during discharge.

The four-hour discharge rate is, of course, like the normal rate of Initial Charge, dependent upon the size and number of plates per cell in any particular battery; the number of cells determines the voltage only and has nothing to do with the battery's charge or discharging rating. These four-hour discharge rates are as follows:

Plates per Cell Type of Plate AHS WHN RHN SHC BHN JFN GM CLN KPN ———— —- —- —- —- —- —- — —- —- 3 3 5 5 5 5.5 6.5 7 7.5 7.5 8 10 7.5 13.5 9 10 10 11 13 18 11 12.5 12.5 14 16 19 12.5 22.5 13 15 15 16.5 19.5 22.5 15 27 27 15 17.5 17.5 19 23 26 17.5 31.5 17 22 26 19 22.5 22.5 25 29 22.5

Immediately at the end of the four-hour discharge, put the battery on the line and charge it at the normal rate prescribed in the Initial Charge rate table until a state of complete charge, as noted by cell voltage and gravity is reached. This charging time should be about sixteen hours.

Any adjustments of electrolyte found necessary at the end of this charging period in the same manner prescribed in paragraph No. 5, for such adjustments made just before the completion of the initial fifty-two hour charge.

(TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: No item number 7. in original publication.)

8. At the end of the fifty-two hour charge, or, if the Development discharge has been given, at the end of the Development Cycle Charge, replace the vent plugs, wash all exterior surfaces with clean water and dry quickly. The battery is then ready for service.


A battery must be installed carefully on the car if it is to have any chance to give good service. Careless installation of a battery which is in good working order will invariably lead to trouble in a very short time. On the other hand, a properly installed battery is, nine times out of ten, a good working and long lived battery.

After you have removed the old battery, scrape all rust and corrosion from the inside of the battery box or compartment in which the battery is placed. This can best be done with a putty knife and wire brush. If you find that electrolyte has been spilled in the box, pour a saturated solution of baking soda on the parts affected so as to neutralize the acid. Then wipe the inside of the box dry and paint it with a good acid proof paint.

Next take out the hold down bolts. Clean them with a wire brush, and oil the threads on the bolt and in the nut to make them work easily. It is very important that this oiling be done, as the oil protects the bolts from corrosion, and to remove the nuts from a corroded bolt is an extremely difficult and aggravating piece of work, often resulting in the bolts being broken. Should such bolts become loose while the car is in use, it is hard to tighten them.

Wooden strips found in the battery box should be thoroughly cleaned and scraped, and then painted with acid proof paint. When you lower the battery into its box, lower it all the way gently. Do not lower it within an inch or so of the bottom of the case and then drop it. This will result in broken jars and plate lugs. Turn the hold downs tight, but not so tight as to break the sealing compound at the ends of the battery, thereby causing electrolyte to leak out, and battery to become a "slopper".

Cables and connectors should be scraped bright with a knife and brushed thoroughly with the wire brush to remove all corrosion. Old tape which has become acid soaked should be removed and the cable or wire underneath cleaned. Before applying new tape, take a small round bristle brush and paint Vaseline liberally over the exposed cable immediately back of the taper terminal. Then cover the Vaseline with tape, which Should be run well back from the terminal. The Vaseline prevents the corrosion of the cable and the tape holds the Vaseline in place. After the tape has been applied, paint it with acid proof paint. Cover the terminals of the battery with Vaseline. Cables must have enough slack to prevent strains from being put on the battery terminals.

By following these directions, you will not only have a properly installed battery, which will have a good chance to give good service, but will have a neat looking job which is most pleasing to the eye of the car owner.

Remove all dirt from the battery and cable terminals and thoroughly clean the surfaces which are to connect together, but do not scrape off the lead coating. Apply a heavy coating of pure Vaseline to these surfaces and tighten the connection perfectly, squeezing out the Vaseline. Then give the whole connection a heavy coating of Vaseline. This is very important in order to prevent connection trouble.

If battery is installed in an enclosing box, be sure that none of the ventilating holes are clogged.


When a battery is not in active use on a car it should be put into storage. Storage is necessary:

1. When a car is to stand idle for a considerable period, such as is the case when it is held for future delivery.

2. When a car is laid up for the winter.

3. When batteries are kept in stock.

Batteries may be stored "wet," i.e., completely assembled and filled with electrolyte, or "dry," i.e., in a dry disassembled condition, without electrolyte. In deciding whether a battery should be stored "wet" or "dry," two things are to be considered, i.e. the length of time the battery is to be in storage, and the condition of the battery. If a battery is to be out of commission for a year or more, it should be put into "dry" storage. If it is to be in storage for less than one year, it may be put into "wet" storage if it is in a good condition. If the condition of the battery is such that it will need to be dismantled soon for repairs, it should be put into "dry" storage, even though it is to be out of service for less than one year.

Batteries in "dry" storage require no attention while they are in storage, but they must be dismantled before being put into storage and reassembled when put back into service.

When a battery is brought in to be stored, note its general condition carefully.

(a) Its General Appearance-condition of case, handles, terminals, sealing compound, and so on.

(b) Height and specific gravity of the electrolyte in each cell.

(c) Age of Battery. Question owner as to length of time he has had battery. Read date marks on battery if there are any, or determine age by the age code. See page 243. If a battery is less than a year old, is in good condition, and is to be stored for less than one year, it may be put into "wet" storage. If it is more than a year old, put it into dry storage, unless it is in first class shape and is to be stored for only several months.

After making your general observations, clean the battery, add distilled water to bring the electrolyte up to the proper level, put the battery on charge and keep it on the line until it is fully charged. Watch for any abnormal condition during the charge, such as excessive temperature rise, failure of voltage to come up, failure of specific gravity to come up, and gassing before gravity becomes constant.

If no abnormal conditions develop during the charge, put the battery on discharge at a rate which will cause the voltage to drop to 1.7 volts per cell in about four hours. Measure the cell voltages at regular intervals during the discharge test. If the voltage of any cell drops much more rapidly than that of the other cells, that cell is defective in some way, and should be opened for inspection. If the voltage of all cells drops to 1.7 in three hours or less, the battery should be put into dry storage.

After completing the discharge test, recharge it fully, no matter whether it is to be put into wet or dry storage.

If no trouble developed during the charge or discharge, the battery may be put into "wet" storage. If trouble did develop, the battery should be put into "dry" storage.

If dry storage is found to be necessary the owner should be informed that the condition of his battery would cause it to deteriorate in wet storage and necessitate much more expensive repairs when put into use again than will be necessary in the thorough overhauling and rejuvenation of dry storage. He should be advised that dry storage involves dismantling, drying out elements and reassembling with the needed repairs and new separators in the Spring. Be sure that the customer understands this. If it is evident that repairs or new parts, involving costs additional to storage charges, will be necessary, tell him so. Do not leave room for a complaint about costs in the Spring.

To avoid any misunderstanding, it is highly advisable to have the customer put his signature on a STORAGE AGREEMENT which states fully the terms under which the battery is accepted for storage. The storage cost may be figured on a monthly basis, or a price for the entire storage period may be agreed upon. The monthly rate should be the same as the regular price for a single battery recharge. If a flat rate is paid for the entire storage period, $2.00 to $3.00 is a fair price.

"Wet" Storage

1. Store the batteries on a bench or shelf in a convenient location and large enough to allow a little air space around each battery.

2. Place each battery upon wooden strips in order to keep the bottom of the battery clear of the bench or shelf.

3. Apply Vaseline freely to the battery terminals, and to exposed copper wires in the battery cables if the cables are burned directly to the battery terminals. If the cables are not burned on, remove them from the battery.

4. If convenient, install the necessary wiring, switches, etc., so that batteries may be connected up and charged where they stand. Otherwise the batteries must be charged occasionally oil the charging bench.

[Fig. 151 Batteries connected for trickle charge]

5. Batteries in wet storage may be charged by the Exide "Trickle" charge method, or may be given a bench charge at regular intervals.

6. Bench Charge Method.—Once every month, add distilled water to replace evaporation. Then give battery a bench charge. See page 198. Before putting battery into service repeat this process and just before putting the battery into service, make the high rate discharge test on it. See page 266.

7. Trickle Charge Method.—This consists of charging the batteries in storage continuously at a very low rate, which is so low that no gassing occurs, and still gives enough charge to maintain the batteries in good condition. In many cases the "Trickle" Charge method will be found more convenient than the bench charge method, and it has the advantage of keeping the batteries in condition for putting into service on short notice. It should, however, be used only where direct current lighting circuits are available.

In the "Trickle" method, the batteries are first given a complete bench charge, and are then connected in series across a charging circuit with one or several incandescent lamps in series with the batteries to limit the current. In Fig. 151, an example of connections for a "Trickle" charge is given. The charging current for different sized batteries varies from 0.05 to 0.15 ampere. The following table gives the lamps required to give the desired current on 110 volt circuit.

In each case, the lamps are connected in series with the batteries. The "2-25 watt, (lamps), in parallel" listed in the table are to be connected in parallel with each other and then in series with the batteries. The same is true of the "3-25 watt (lamps), in series" listed in the table.

Series on 115 Volt Line

Amp. Hours No. of Cells No. 115 Volt Capacity Amperes in Series Lamps Required 5 Amp. Rate Approximate on Line 115 Volt —————- —————- —————— ——————— 50 or less 0.05 3 5-15 watt, in series 50 or less 0.05 30 2-15 watt, in series 50 or less 0.05 45 1-15 watt, in series 50-100 0.10 3 3-25 watt, in series 50-100 0.10 3 1-25 watt, in series 50-100 0.10 45 2-25 watt, in parallel 100 or over 0.15 3 2-25 watt, in series 100 or over 0.15 30 1-25 watt, in series 100 or over 0.15 45 3-25 watt, in parallel

Every two months interrupt the trickle charge long enough to add water to bring the electrolyte up to the proper level. When this has been done, continue the trickle charge.

Before putting the batteries into service, see that the electrolyte is up to the correct level, and that the specific gravity of the electrolyte is 1.280-1.300. If necessary, give a short charge on the charging bench to bring the specific gravity up to the correct value.

Dry Storage

1. Give the battery a complete charge. Pour out the electrolyte, and separate the groups. If the negatives have bulged active material, press them in the plate press. In batteries such as the Prest-OLite in which it is difficult to remove the plates from the cover, the groups need not be separated unless the negatives have badly bulged active material. It may not be necessary to separate the groups even then, provided that the positives are not buckled to any noticeable extent. If only a very slight amount of buckling exists, the entire element may be pressed by putting thin boards between the plates in place of the separators.

2. Immerse the negatives in distilled water for ten to twelve hours. If positives and negatives cannot be separated, wash each complete element in a gentle stream of water.

3. Remove plates from water and allow them to drain thoroughly and dry. The negatives will heat up when exposed to the air, and when they do so they should be immersed in the water again to cool them. Repeat this as long as they tend to heat up. Then allow them to dry thoroughly.

4. Throw away the old separators. Rubber separators may be saved if in good condition. Clean the covers and terminals., wash out the jars, and turn the case up side down to drain out the water. Examine the box carefully. It is advisable to wash with a solution of baking soda, rinsing the water in order to neutralize as far as possible the action of acid remaining on the box. If this is not done, the acid may start decomposition of the box while in storage, in which case the owner of the battery may insist on its renewal before acceptance at the end of the storage period.

5. When, the plates are perfectly dry, nest the positives and negatives together, using dry cardboard instead of separators, and replace them in the jars in their proper positions.

6. Replace the covers and vent plugs, but, of course, do not use any sealing compound on them.

7. Tie the terminals and top connectors to the handle on the case with a wire.

8. Tag the battery with the owner's name and address, using the tag on which you made the sketch of the arrangement of the terminals and top connections.

9. Store the battery in a dry place, free from dust, until called for.

10. When the battery is to be put into service again, put in new separators, put the elements in the jars, seal the covers, and burn on the top connectors and terminals (if these are of the burned-on type). Fill the cells with electrolyte of about 1.310 specific gravity and allow the battery to stand for ten to twelve hours in order to cool. Then put the battery on charge at one-half the normal charging rate and charge until the specific gravity of the electrolyte stops rising and remains stationary for five hours. The total time required for this development charge will be about four days. Watch the temperature of the electrolyte carefully, and if it should rise to 110 deg. Fahrenheit, stop the charge until it cools.

11. The specific gravity will fall during the first part of the charge, due to the new separators; at the end of the charge, the specific gravity should be 1.280-1.300. If it is not within these limits, adjust it by withdrawing some electrolyte with the hydrometer and adding water if the gravity is high, or 1.400 electrolyte if the gravity is low.

12. Clean the case thoroughly and give it a coat of asphaltum paint.

13. Just before putting the battery into service, give it a high rate discharge test. See page 266.


Battery manufacturers use codes to indicate the age of their batteries. These codes consist of letters, figures, or combinations of letters and figures, which are stamped on the inter-cell connectors or on the nameplate. The codes may also be burned on the case.

The codes of the leading makes of batteries follow. In addition to determining the age of a battery by means of the code, the owner should be questioned as to the time the battery was installed on his car. If the battery is the original one which came with the car, the dealer's or car manufacturer's records will help determine the battery's age. If a new battery has been installed to replace the one that came with the car, the battery distributor's records will help determine the age of the battery.

Familiarity with the different makes and types of battery will also help in determining a battery's age. Manufacturers make improvements in the construction of their batteries from time to time, and by keeping up-to-date on battery constructions, it is often possible to approximate the age of a battery by such changes.

If a battery was kept "dry" while in stock, its age should be figured from the time it was prepared for service and placed on the car, since batteries in dry storage do not deteriorate. Some batteries are shipped from the factory "wet," i.e., filled with electrolyte and fully charged and the age of such batteries should be figured from the time they were shipped from the factory, because deterioration begins as soon as a battery is filled with electrolyte. When batteries are "dry" no chemical action can take place, and the battery does not deteriorate, while in a "wet" battery, chemical action takes place which gradually causes a battery to deteriorate.

Exide Age Code.

Since October, 1917, the date of shipment of Exide batteries from the factory, or from Exide Deposts has been stamped on the top of the first inter-cell connector from the negative end of the batter instead of on the nameplate figures are used to indicate the dates, as follows:

[Image: Exide and Philadelphia battery age code charts]

All Philadelphia batteries shipped prior to April 1, 1920 and all batteries shipped from depot stock after this date carry double letter branding. The first battery is the factory date and the second letter in this code indicates latest month during which the guarantee may begin.

Batteries sold direct from Philadelphia to all classes of customers after April 1, 1920, carry the single letter branding code, indicating month of manufacture.

The letters used in the double letter age code are selected from the table given above, and the second letter is the important one, since it gives the latest date from which adjustment can be made. If a Philadelphia battery with a double letter age code comes in, therefore, the foregoing table should be consulted in determining the age of the battery.

If a Philadelphia battery with a single letter age code comes in, the following table should be consulted in determining the age of the battery:

[Image: Single Letter Philadelphia Batteries Age Code Chart]

Prest-O-Lite Age Code.

All Prest-O-Lite batteries carry a date letter stamped on the cell-connectors. This letter indicates the month and year in which the battery was manufactured. The letter is preceeded by a number which represents the factory at which the battery was built.

Prest-O-Lite Factory Marks.

Indianapolis—50 Cleveland—7 San Francisco—23

For example: "50-K" indicates that the battery was manufactured at Indianopolis in January, 1920.

In addition to the above, each "Wet" Prest-O-Lite battery is branded in the side with a date, as "9-19," indicating October, 1919. This date is really sixty days ahead of the actual building date, to allow time for shipping, etc., before the guarentee starts. The branded "9-19" was actually built in August, 1919.

Titan Age Code.

The age of Titan batteries is indicated by a number stamped on one of the inter-cell connectors, this number indicating the month the battery was hipped from the factory.

[Image: Age code charts for Titan batteries]

[Image: Age code charts for U.S.L., and Vesta batteries]

[Image: Age code charts for Westinghouse and Willard batteries]


Rental batteries are those which are put on a customer's car while his own is being repaired or recharged. They are usually rebuilt batteries turned in when a new battery is bought. They may also be made of the good parts of batteries which are junked. By carefully saving good parts, such as plates, jars, covers, and cases, a stock of parts will gradually be acquired from which rental batteries may be made. Rental batteries may also be bought from the battery manufacturers.

A supply of rental batteries should, of course, be kept ready to go out at any time. The number of such batteries depends upon the size of the business. 25 batteries for each 1000 cars in the territory served is a good average. Do not have too many rental batteries of the same type. Many of them will be idle most of the time and thus will not bring in any money. Rentals should be made to fit those makes of cars of which there are the greatest number in the territory served by the repair shop. Sufficient parts should be kept on hand to make up other rentals on short notice.

Terminals for Rental Batteries

There are several combination terminals on the market which allow rental batteries equipped with them to be easily connected to several of the various types of cable terminals that are in use. Yet it is a universal experience for the average service station always to have calls for rental batteries with just the type of terminals which are not on hand. When the station has many batteries with the clamp type straight posts the call always seems to be for the taper plug type and vice versa.

[Fig. 152 Best type of connection to be used whenever possible]

Most of us will agree that the clamp type post terminal is the cause of much trouble. It is almost impossible to prevent corrosion at the positive post and many a car owner has found that this has been his trouble when his lights burn all right but the battery seemingly does not have power enough to turn over the engine and yet every cell tests 1.280. Service Station men should not scrape and clean up a corroded clamp type terminal and put it back on again, but should cut it off and put on either a taper plug or, preferably, a lead-plated copper terminal lug. Of course either of these terminal connections necessitates changing the battery terminals to correspond.

For rental batteries it will be found that short cable terminals with lead-plated copper lugs at the end will enable a battery man to connect most any type of cable terminal on any car. It is true that such connections must be taped up, but the prompt service rendered more than offsets a little tape. Figures 152 to 158 illustrate how these connections can be made to the taper plug and clamp types which are used on most cars.

[Fig. 153 Method of connecting rental battery with cable terminals to car with taper plug]

[Fig. 154 Another method of connecting copper terminal lug to clamp terminal on car]

[Fig. 155 Method of connecting rental batteries with cable terminals to cars with clamp type terminals]

Fig. 155. Showing method of connecting rental batteries with cable terminals, to cars with clamp type terminals. In Fig. 155 the cable insulation is stripped for a space of an inch and the strands are equally divided with an awl. A bolt is passed through the opening and a washer and nut complete the connection.

[Fig. 156 and Fig. 157 Two methods of connecting a clamp type terminal to taper plug terminals]

Two methods of connecting a clamp type terminal to taper plug terminals. In Fig. 156 a taper plug is inserted and screwed tight. The projecting part of the plug has been turned down to fit the clamp type terminal which is clamped to it. In Fig. 157 a bolt is passed through and the clamp type terminal tightened to the plug type terminal with a washer and nut.

[Fig. 158 Lead plated copper terminal lug]

Fig. 158 shows a simple means of putting on a lead-plated copper terminal lug without solder. These lugs should be soldered on whenever possible, but it is often a difficult job to put one on in the confined space of some battery compartments. In such places, a quick and lasting job can be made with a band vise and a short piece of round iron. This latter is laid across the lug and the vise screwed up, making a crimp across the lug which firmly grips down upon the bared cable strands that have been inserted into the lug.

New batteries sold to replace other batteries should be installed with cable connections, as illustrated in Figure 152. This method of connecting a battery is superior to any other method and will never cause trouble. It will usually be found that the old taper plugs or clamp terminals that have been in use have started to corrode and that a new battery works increasingly at a disadvantage from the day it is installed until the corrosion becomes so great that the car cannot be started and then the customer kicks about his new battery. The best connection possible will pay handsome dividends to all concerned, in the end.

Marking Rental Batteries. Rental batteries should be marked in a mariner which enables them to be recognized quickly. Painting the cases a red color is a good way. The service station's name should appear somewhere on the battery. A good plan is to have a lead tag, which is attached to the handle at the negative end of the battery, or is tacked to the case. The name may also be painted on the case. Each battery should be given a number which should preferably be painted in large white figures on the end or side of each case. The number may also be stamped on a lead tag tied to the handle at the negative end.

A service station which sells a certain make of battery should not use cases of some other make if the name of the other make appears on the case. Such names may give a wrong impression to the customer, which will not be fair either to the service station or to the manufacturer whose name appears on the case. If the service station sells, another make of battery, the customer may get the impression that the service station man does not have enough confidence in the make which he sells, and must use some other make for his rentals. If the rental battery does not give good service, the customer will get the impression that the manufacturer whose name appears on the case does not turn out good batteries, when as a matter of fact, the plates, covers, jars, and other parts used in the rental battery may not have been made by this manufacturer. Some battery men would, perhaps, consider the failure of a rental battery as an opportunity to "knock" the manufacturer whose name appears on the case. Such an action may have the desired effect on a very few customers, but the great majority of men have no use for any one who "knocks" a competitor's products.

Keeping a Record of Rental Batteries. A careful record should be kept of all rental batteries. The more carefully such a record is kept, the less confusion there will be in knowing just where every rental battery is. A special rack for rental batteries, such as those shown in Figures 88 and 89 should be provided, and all rental batteries which are in the shop should be kept there, except when they are on charge or are being overhauled. Have them fully charged and ready to go out immediately, without keeping a customer waiting around, when he is in a hurry to go somewhere else.

General Rental Policy. No service station should make a practice of installing rental batteries on any car unless the owner leaves his own battery to be repaired or recharged. The purpose of having a stock of rental batteries is to enable customers to have the use of their cars while their own batteries are being repaired by the battery man who furnishes the rental battery and not to furnish batteries to car owners who may be taking their batteries to some other station to be repaired. It is, of course, a good thing to be generous and accommodating, but every battery repairman should think of his own business first, before he helps build up the business of a competitor.

The customer must have some inducement to bring in your rental battery and get his own. A rental charge of 25 cents-per day serves as a reminder to most customers. However, some customers are forgetful and the battery man must telephone or write to any owner who fails to call for his battery. If, due to failure to keep after the owner, a rental battery is out for several weeks, there is likely to be an argument when the rental bill is presented to the owner. If the delay in calling in a rental battery is due to failure to repair the customer's battery, the rental charge should be reduced.

A rental battery should not be put in place of a battery which is almost ready for the junk pile. The thing to do is to sell the customer a new battery. Repairs on an almost worn out battery are expensive and the results may not be satisfactory.


The wide-awake battery man will not overlook the new and rapidly growing field which has been opened for him by the installation of hundreds of thousands of radio-phone receiving sets in all parts of the country. The so-called radio "craze" has affected every state, and every battery repairman can increase his income to a considerable extent by selling, charging, and repairing radio storage batteries.

The remarkable growth of the radio-phone has, of course, been due to the radio broadcasting stations which have been established in all parts of the country, and from which concerts, speeches, market reports, baseball reports, news reports, children's stories and religious services are sent out. These broadcasting stations have sending ranges as high as 1,000 miles. The fact that a service station is not located near a broadcasting station is therefore no reason why it should not have its share of the radio battery business, because the broadcasting stations are scattered all over the United States, and receiving sets may be made powerful enough to "pick up" the waves from at least one of the broadcasting stations.

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