The Automobile Storage Battery - Its Care And Repair
by O. A. Witte
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Now put the battery on charge, and charge at a low rate. Do not allow the temperature of any cell to rise above 110 deg.F. Continue the charge until the electrolyte clears up, and its specific gravity stops rising and the plates have a normal color over their entire surface. Fully charged positive plates have a chocolate brown color, and fully charged negative plates have a dark gray color. By holding an electric light directly over a cell, and looking down, the color of both negatives and positives may be determined. Do not take the battery off charge until you have obtained these results, although it may be necessary to continue the charge for two, three, four, or five days. In this preliminary charge it is not necessary to bring the gravity up to 1.280, because the electrolyte is not to be used again, and the plates will become charged completely, regardless of what the gravity is. The essential thing is to charge until the electrolyte becomes perfectly clear, the gravity stops rising, and the plates have the right color. The Cadmium test may be used here to determine when the plates are charged. If the gravity rises above 1.280 during the preliminary charge, adjust it to 1.280 by drawing out some of the electrolyte and adding distilled water. The battery must stay on charge until you have the desired conditions. If one cell does not charge,—that is, if its specific gravity does not rise,—you have probably not freed all the shorts, and must take the element out of the jar again and carefully inspect it for more shorts.

Right here is where one of the most important questions may be asked about rebuilding batteries. Why must you free the shorts and put the battery on charge? Why not save time by putting in all new separators, sealing the battery, burning on the cell connectors, and then putting it on charge? If you have ever treated a battery in this way, what results did you get? Why did you have a badly unbalanced gravity of electrolyte? How could you know what specific gravity electrolyte to put in each cell? Perhaps one was charged, one only half charged, and the other dead. Suppose the dead cell had impurities in it. How could you get rid of them? Suppose the battery showed poor capacity on test, what would you do?

Washing and Pressing the Negatives

To continue the actual work on the battery. The battery being fully charged,—the electrolyte clear, the plates of normal color, the specific gravity no longer rising,— remove it from the charging bench and put it on the work bench. Draw each element and let drain as in Fig. 197.

[Fig. 219 Nesting plates]

Here again the labeled boxes described on page 183 come in handy. Separate one group, remove the separators, and put one group in each end of box to keep clean. Separate another group, And nest the plates, Fig. 219, the negative with the negative, and positive with positive. Separate the third element and put groups in the boxes. Pour the old electrolyte out of the jars, and wash out the jars as described on page 360. You now have the plates in the best possible shape for handling. Take the boxes containing the plates to the sink. Have the plate press and the plate press boards ready for use.

If, for any reason, you are called away from your work at this point to be gone for five minutes, do not leave the fully charged negatives exposed to the air, as they will become very hot. Cover them with water. A one-gallon stone or earthenware jar will hold the negative plates of a 100 ampere hour battery if you nest two of the groups. You may also put negatives back in jars from which they were taken, and fill with water.

Now hold a negative group under the faucet, and let a strong stream of water run down over each plate so as to wash it thoroughly, and to remove any foreign matter from the plate surfaces. All negative groups must be handled in exactly the same way so as to get the same results in each case.

After you have washed the first group, place it on edge on a clean board with the post down and pointing away from you, and the bottom of the group toward you. Now insert plate press boards which are slightly larger than the plates, and of the exact thickness required to fill the spaces between plates, Fig. 113. For the standard 1/8 inch plates, a 5-16 inch board, or two 1/8 inch boards should be placed between plates.

The 1/8 inch boards are actually more than 1/8 inch thick, and will give the proper spacing. For thin plates, use 1/4 inch boards. Do not push the plate press boards more than 1/8 inch above the tops of the plates, and be sure that the boards cover the entire plates. Put a board on the outside of each end plate of the group. In this way insert the plate press boards in each of the three negative groups.

Then place each negative group on the lower jaw of the plate press with the post of each group pointing toward you. Three groups may be pressed at one time. Bring the top edges of the transite boards flush with the front edge of the lower jaw of the press, so that no pressure will be applied to the plate lugs. See Fig. 114. Pressure applied to the plate lugs will break them off.

Now screw down the upper jaw of the press as tightly as you can with the handwheel, so as to put as much pressure on the plates as possible. Leave the plates in the press for about five minutes. Then remove them from the press, take out the boards, and replace the plates in the battery jar from which they were removed, and cover with water. They may also be placed in a stone or earthernware jar and covered with water, especially if there is any work to be done on the jars or case of the battery. If the spongy lead of the negatives is firm, they may be reassembled in the battery as soon as they have been pressed. If, however, the spongy lead is soft and mushy, keep the negatives covered with water for 12 to 24 hours. This will make them hard and firm. Then remove them from the water and dry them in the air. In drying, the plates will become heated and will steam. As soon as you notice any steaming, dip the plates in water until they are cool. Then remove them from the water and continue the drying process. Each time the negatives begin to steam as they dry in the air, dip them in the water until they are cool.

When the negatives are dry, they are ready to be reassembled in the battery and prepared for service. Negatives treated in this way will give good service for a much longer time than they would if not treated in this way. The spongy lead has been made firm and elastic. If you have other negatives in your shop which are not in use, treat them in the same way and put them away for future use, to use as rental batteries. Always put them through the same process:

1. Charge them fully.

2. Press them in the plate press to force the spongy lead back into the grids.

3. Soak them in water, if the spongy lead is soft and mushy, for 12 to 24 hours, or even longer until the spongy lead is firm. Dry them in the air, dipping them in water whenever they begin to steam and become heated. This will give you negatives that will give excellent service and have a long life. Many negatives treated in this way will be good for fifteen months to two years of additional service. The rental batteries should be assembled in the same way as those you are rebuilding for the owners.

The importance of pressing negatives cannot be exaggerated. Always press the negatives of the batteries which you rebuild. Do not do it to half, or three-fourths of the negatives, but to all of them. The work takes but a few minutes, and the time could not be put to better advantage. The spongy lead of the negatives swells and bulges out and makes very poor contact with the grids as a battery becomes discharged. This results in a loss of capacity, gradual sulphation of the loose active material, corrosion of the grids, failure of the gravity to rise high enough on charge, overheating of the battery on charge, gassing before the sulphate is reduced to active material with breaking off and roughening of the active material, and makes the battery lazy and sluggish in action. The spongy lead must make good contact with the grids if the battery is to have a long life and give good service.

No amount of charging will cure a negative with bulged, swollen active material. Once this material becomes bulged nothing but pressing will put it back where it belongs, and until it is pressed back into the grids the plates are in a poor condition for service. Even if the bulging is but very slight, the plates must be pressed.

Washing Positives

If you intend to use some of the positives, they should now be washed. If you intend to use all new positives, throw away the old ones, of course. The positives should not be held under the faucet as the negatives were, because the stream of water will wash out much of the positive active material. Rinse the positives a number of times in a jar of clean water by moving them up and down in the water. This will remove impurities from the surfaces of the plates and wash off any foreign or loose materials. After rinsing each positive group, replace it in the box.

Never attempt to straighten badly buckled positives, as the bending cannot be done successfully, and the active material will not have good contact with the grids. Positives cannot be pressed as negatives can, because the positive active material lacks the elasticity and toughness of the negative spongy lead. Slightly buckled positives may sometimes be straightened by bending them lightly all around the edges with a pair of thin, wide nosed pliers. This should be done very carefully, however, and the straightening done gradually. If the plates cannot be straightened in this way and the separators do not lie perfectly flat against them without pinching at the corners, the plates should be discarded, and new ones used in their place.

This is all the work to be done on the old plates, and those which are to be used again are ready to be reassembled in the battery. The process of treating the plates should be followed in every battery that you rebuild, and the same steps should always be taken, and in the same order. With one Standard method of rebuilding batteries you will do uniformly good work and satisfy all your customers. The essential thing for the success of your battery business is to learn the Standard method and use it. Do not rush a battery through your shop, and leave out some of the steps of the process, even though the owner may be in a hurry. If you have a good stock of rental batteries you can put one on his car and keep it there until you have done as good a job of rebuilding on his battery as you possibly can. Remember that the Standard method which has been described has not simply been figured out as being a good method. This method has been worked out in the actual rebuilding of thousands and thousands of batteries of all makes and in all conditions, and has produced batteries full of life and power, ready to give one to two years more of good, reliable service.

Burning on Plates

When you put new plates into a battery, or find some of the plates broken from the connecting strap, it will be necessary to burn the plates to the strap. Frequently you will find plates which are otherwise in a good condition broken from the connecting straps. This is most likely to happen when the plates have been cast on to the connecting strap instead of being burned on. These plates must be burned on.

New plates are frequently necessary. From pages 339 to 346 you see that new plates are required under the following conditions:

(a) Positives. Ruined by freezing; weak and brittle from age, large part of active material shed; badly buckled; rotten and disintegrated by impurities; reversed. Positives in a reasonably good mechanical condition can be restored to a good electrical condition by charging.

(b) Negatives. Active material granulated, bulged and disintegrated; charged while dry; positives disintegrated by impurities; ruined by overcharging; badly sulphated because allowed to stand idle, or used while discharged; much active material lost, and that which is left soft and mushy; negatives reversed by charging battery backwards.

When making plate renewals, never install plates of different design in the same group. Always use plates of the type intended for the battery. The battery should first be fully charged, as already explained. If all the plates in a group are to be discarded, clamp the post in a vise, being careful not to crack the hard rubber shell if one is on it, or to damage the threads on Posts such as the Exide or to draw up the vise so tightly as to crush the post. Then saw off all the old plates with a new coarse toothed hacksaw, a sharp key hole saw, or any good saw which has a wide set, close to the post. This separates the entire group of plates from the post in one short operation. This method is much better than the one of sawing the plates off below the connecting strap, and sawing or punching the old plate ends out of the strap. See page 217 for instructions for welding plates to the straps.

Work on the Jars

The work on the jars consists of removing any sediment which may have collected, washing out all dirt, and replacing leaky jars. The removal of sediment and washing should be done after the preliminary charge has been given and the old electrolyte poured out unless the preliminary charge was given with distilled water in the jars. The old electrolyte need not be poured down the sewer, but may be kept in stone or earthenware jars and used later in making electrical tests to locate leaky jars.

Testing Jars

Remove all sealing compound from the jar by means of a hot putty knife, finishing by wiping with a gasoline soaked rag. Inspect each jar carefully under a strong light for cracks and leaks. If you know which jar is leaky by having filled each cell with water up to the correct level, when you made the first examination of the battery, and then having it allowed to stand over night to see if the electrolyte in any cell has dropped below the tops of the plates, no tests are necessary, but if you are in doubt as to which jar, if any, is leaky, you must make tests to determine which jar is leaky. If you know that there is no leaky jar, because of the bottom of the case not being acid eaten and rotted, it is, of course, not necessary to test the jars.

One test consists in filling the jar within about an inch of the top with old or weak electrolyte, partly immersing the jar in a tank which also contains electrolyte, and applying a voltage of 110 or 220 between the electrolyte in the jar and the electrolyte in the tank in which the jar is partly immersed. If current Vows, this indicates that the jar is leaky.

[Fig. 220 Testing jar for leaks, using a 15-watt lamp in series with test circuit]

Fig. 220 shows the principle of the test. A suitable box,—an old battery case will do—is lined with sheet lead, and the lead lining is connected to either side of the 110 or 220 volt line. The box is then partly filled with weak electrolyte. The jar to be tested is filled to within about one inch of the top with weak electrolyte. The jar is immersed to within about an inch of its top in the box. The top part of the jar must be perfectly dry when the test is made, or else the current will go through any electrolyte which may be wetting the walls of the jar. A lead strip or rod, which is connected to the other side of the 110 or 220 volt line, through a lamp as shown, is inserted in the jar. If there is, a leak in the jar, the lamp will burn, and the jar must be discarded. If the lamp does not light, the jar does not leak.

Instead of using a lead lined box, a stone or earthenware jar may be used. A sheet of lead should be placed in this jar, being bent into a circular shape to fit the inside of the jar, and connected to one side of the line. The lead rod or sheet which is inserted in the jar may be mounted on a handle for convenience in making the test. The details of the testing outfit may, of course, be varied according to what material is available for use. The lamps should be suitably mounted on the wall above the tester.

[Fig. 221 Testing jar for leaks, using a voltmeter in series with test circuit]

This test may be made by using a voltmeter instead of lamps, as shown in Fig. 221. If a voltmeter is used, be especially careful to have the part projecting above the liquid perfectly dry. A leaky cell will be indicated by a reading on the meter equal to the line voltage.

[Fig. 222 Testing jar for leaks, using secondary of Ford ignition coil, or any other vibrator ignition coil]

A third method uses a Ford ignition coil, as shown in Fig. 222. A leak will be indicated by a spark, or by the vibrator making more noise than it ordinarily does. Instead of using the Ford coil, as shown in Fig. 222, the test may be made as shown in Fig. 223. Fill the jar to within an inch of the top with electrolyte and immerse one of the high tension wires in the electrolyte. Attach the other high tension wire to a wire brush, comb, or rod having a wooden handle and rub it over the outside of the jar. A leak is shown by a spark jumping to the jar.

[Fig. 223 Testing jar for leaks, using secondary of Ford ignition coil, or any other vibrator ignition coil]

The test may also be made without removing the jar. If the lead lined box be made two feet long, the entire battery may be set in the box so that the electrolyte in the box comes within an inch of the top of the battery case. Fill each jar with weak electrolyte and make the test as before. If this is done, however, remove the battery immediately after making the test and wipe the case dry with a cloth. To make the test in this way, the case must be considerably acid eaten in order to have a circuit through it to the jar.

Removing Defective Jars

The method of removing the jars from the case depends on the battery. In some batteries the jars are set in sealing compound. To remove a jar from such a battery, put the steam hose from your steamer outfit into the jar, cover up the top of the jar with rags, and steam the jar for about five minutes. Another way is to fill the jar with boiling hot water and let it stand for fully five minutes. Either of these methods will soften the sealing compound around the jar so that the jar may be pulled out. To remove the jar, grasp two sides of the jar with two pairs of long, flat nosed pliers and pull straight up with an even, steady pull. Have the new jar at hand and push it into the place of the old one as soon as the latter is removed. The new jar should first be steamed to soften it somewhat. Press down steadily on the new jar until its top is flush with the tops of the other jars.

Some batteries do not use sealing compound around the jars, but simply use thin wooden wedges to hold the jars in place, or have bolts running through opposite faces of the case by means of which the sides are pressed against the jars to hold them in place. The jars of such batteries may be removed without heating, by removing the wedges or loosening the bolts, as the case may be, and lifting out the jars with pliers, as before. New jars should be steamed for several minutes before being put in the case. When you put jars into such batteries, do not apply too much pressure to them, as they may be cracked by the pressure, or the jar may be squeezed out of shape, and the assembling process made difficult.

[Fig. 224 Washing sediment from Jars. Water supply controlled by foot valve]

Repairing the Case

The case may be repaired with all the jars in place, or it may be necessary to remove the jars. If the case is to be junked and the jars used again, the case may simply be broken off, especially if there is much sealing compound around the jars.

Empty the old acid from the jars, take the case to the sink and wash out all the sediment, Fig. 224. With the pipe shown in Fig. '14, you have both hands free to hold the case, as the water is controlled by' a foot operated spring cock.

If the case is rotten at top, patch it with good wood. If the top and bottom are so rotten that considerable time will be required to repair it, advise the owner to buy a new case. Sometimes the top of the case can be greatly improved by straightening the side edges with a small smoothing plane, and sometimes a 1/2 inch strip or more fitted all along the edge is necessary for a good job. Handles that have been pulled, rotted, or corroded off make disagreeable repair jobs, but a satisfactory job can be done unless the end of the case has been pulled off or rotted. Sometimes the handle will hold in place until the battery is worn out by old age if three or four extra holes are bored and countersunk in the handle where the wood is solid, and common wood screws, size 12, 1/2 or 5/8 inch long used to fasten the handle in place. Sometimes it will be necessary to put in one half of a new end, the handle being fastened to the new piece with brass bolts and nuts before it is put into place. Sometimes you can do a good job by using a plate of sheet iron 1-16 inch thick, and 4 inches wide, and as long as the end of the case is wide. Rivet the handle to this plate with stovepipe, or copper rivets, and then fasten the plate to the case with No. 12 wood screws, 1/2 inch long.

If the old case is good enough to use again, soak it for several hours in a solution of baking soda in water to neutralize any acid which may have been spilled on it, or which may be spilled on it later. After soaking the case, rinse it in water, and allow it to dry thoroughly. Then paint the case carefully with asphaltum paint.


Reassembling the Elements

Take a negative group and put it on edge on a board, with post away from you, and lower edge toward you. Mesh a positive in the negative group. The groups are now ready for the separators. Take six moist separators from your stock. Slip one into position from the bottom in the middle of the group, with the grooved side toward the positive plate, spreading the plates slightly if necessary. Take another separator, slip it into position on the opposite side of the positive against which your first separator was placed. In this way, put in the six separators, with the grooved side toward the positives, working outward in both directions from the center, Fig. 225. The grooves must, of course, extend from the top to the bottom of the plate. Now grasp the element in both hands, and set it right side up on the block, giving it a slight jar to bring the bottoms of the plates and separators on a level.

[Fig. 225 Inserting separators]

Now grasp the element in both hands, and set it right side up on the block, giving it a slight jar to bring the bottoms of the plates and separators on a level.

Next take a cover, and try it on the posts, Fig. 226. Pull the groups apart slightly, if necessary, before inserting any more separators, so that the cover fits exactly over the posts, Fig. 227. See that the separators extend the same distance beyond each side of the plates. You may take a stick, about 10 inches long, 1 1/2 inches wide, and 7/8 inch thick, and tap the separators gently to even them up. A small wood plane may be used to even up the side edges of wood separators. If you put in too many separators before trying on the cover, the plates may become so tight that you may not be able to shift them to make the cover fit the posts or you may not be able to shift the separators to their proper positions. It is therefore best to Put in only enough separators to hold the groups together and so they can be handled and yet remain in their proper position when set up on the block. Without separators, the posts will not remain in position.

[Fig. 226 Trying on a cover]

[Fig. 227 Shifting groups to make cover fit]

With the element reassembled, and the remaining separators in their proper positions, see that all the plates are level on bottom, and no foreign matter sticking to them. Place the element in box shown in Fig. 219 to keep clean. Reassemble the other elements in exactly the same way, and put them in the box. The elements are now ready to be put in the jars.

Putting Elements in Jars

Steam the jars in the steamer for about five minutes to soften them somewhat, so that there will be no danger of breaking a jar when you put in the elements.

With the case ready, look for the "+", "P" or "POS" mark on it. (Cases which are not marked in this way at the factory should be marked by the repairman before the battery is opened.) Place the case so that this mark is toward you. Grip an element near the bottom in order to prevent the plates from spreading, and put it in the jar nearest the mark, with the positive post toward you, next to the mark. Put an element in the next jar so that the negative post is toward you. Put an element in the third jar so that the positive post is toward you, and so on. The elements are correctly placed when each connecting strap connects a positive to a negative post. If the case has no mark on it, reassemble exactly according to the diagram you made on the tag before you opened the battery. Set the jars so that the posts are exactly in line so that the cell connectors will fit.

[Fig. 228 Tightening a loose element by placing a separator against outside negative]

If an element fits loosely in the jar, it must be tightened. The best way to do this is to put one or more separators on one or both sides of the elements before putting it in the jar, Fig. 228. If you leave the elements loose in the jars, the jolting of the car will soon crack the sealing compound, and you will have a "slopper" on your hands.

If element fits very tight, be sure that the corners of the plate straps have been rounded off and trimmed flush with outside negatives. Be sure also that there is no compound sticking to the inside of jars. Take care not to break the jar by forcing in a tight fitting element when the jar is cold and stiff.

Filling Jars with Electrolyte or Putting on the Covers

With all the elements in place in the jars, one of two things may be. done. First, the jars may be filled with electrolyte and the covers then sealed on, or the covers may first be sealed on and the jars then filled with electrolyte. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. If the jars are first filled with electrolyte, acid may be splashed on the tipper parts of the jars and sealing made very difficult.

On the other hand, if the electrolyte is first poured in, the charged negatives will not become hot, and sealing compound which runs into the jar will be chilled as soon as it strikes the electrolyte and will float on top and do no harm. If the covers are sealed before any electrolyte is added, it will be easier to do a good sealing job, but the negatives will heat up. Furthermore, any sealing compound which runs into the jar will run down between the plates and reduce the plate area.

If care is taken to thoroughly dry the upper parts of the jars, add the electrolyte before sealing on the covers.

Use 1.400 Acid

If you have followed the directions carefully, and have therefore freed all the shorts, have thoroughly charged the plates, have washed and pressed the negative groups, have washed the positives, have then added any new plates which were needed, and have put in new separators, use 1.400 specific gravity electrolyte. This is necessary because washing the plates removed some of the acid, and the new separators will absorb enough acid so that the specific gravity after charging will be about 1.280.

The final specific gravity must be between 1.280 and 1.300. In measuring the specific gravity the temperature must be about 70 deg.F., or else corrections must be made. For every three degrees above 70 deg., add one point (.001) to the reading you obtain on the hydrometer. For every three degrees under 70 deg., subtract one point (.001) from the reading you obtain on the hydrometer. For instance, if you read a specific gravity of 1.275 and find that the temperature of the electrolyte is 82 deg.F., add ((82-70)/3 = 4)four points (1.275 + .004), which gives 1.279, which is what the specific gravity of the electrolyte would be if its temperature were lowered to 70 deg.. The reason this is done is that when Ave speak of an electrolyte of a certain specific gravity, say 1.280, we mean that this is its specific gravity when its temperature is 70 deg.F. We must therefore make the temperature correction if the temperature of the electrolyte is much higher or lower than 70 deg.F.

Putting on The Covers

This operation is a particular one, and must be done properly, or you will come to grief. Get the box containing the covers and connectors for the battery you are working on; take the covers, and clean them thoroughly. There are several ways to clean them. If you have gasoline at hand, dip a brush in it and scrub off the compound. The covers may also be cleaned off with boiling water, but even after you have used the hot water, it will be necessary to wipe off the covers with gasoline. Another way to soften any compound which may be sticking to them, is to put the covers in the Battery Steamer and steam them for about ten minutes. This will also heat the covers and make them limp so that they may be handled without breaking.

If the covers fit snugly all around the inside of the jars so that there is no crack which will allow the compound to run down on the elements, all is well and good. If, however, there are cracks large enough to put a small, thin putty knife in, you must close them. If the cracks are due to the tops of the jars being bent out of shape, heat the tops with a soft flame until they are limp, (be careful not to burn them). Now, with short, thin wedges of wood, (new dry separators generally answer the purpose), crowd down on the outside edges of the jar, until you have the upper edge of jars straight and even all around. If the jars are set in compound, take a hot screwdriver and remove the compound from between the jar and case near the top. If the cracks between cover and jar still remain, calk them with asbestos packing, tow, or ordinary wrapping string. Do not use too much packing;—just enough to close the cracks is sufficient. When this is done, see that the top of the case is perfectly level, so that when the compound is poured in, it will settle level all around the upper edge of the case.

Sealing Compounds

There are many grades of compounds (see page 149), and the kind to use must be determined by the type of battery to be sealed. There is no question but that a poor grade used as carefully as possible will soon crack and produce a slopper. A battery carelessly sealed with the best compound is no better.

The three imperative conditions for a permanent lasting job are:

1. Use the best quality of the proper kind of compound for sealing the battery on hand.

2. All surfaces that the compound comes in contact with must be free from acid and absolutely clean and dry.

3. The sealing must be done conscientiously and all details properly attended to step by step, and all work done in a workmanlike manner.

With respect to sealing, batteries may be divided into two general classes. First, the old type battery with a considerable amount of sealing compound. This type of battery generally has a lower and an upper cover, the vent tube being attached or removable, depending on the design. The compound is poured on top of the lower cover and around the vent tube, and the top covers are then put on. Most of the batteries of this type have a thin hard rubber sleeve shrunk on the post where the compound comes in contact with it; this hard rubber sleeve usually has several shallow grooves around it which increase its holding power. This is good construction, provided everything else is normal and the work properly done with a good stick-, compound. There are a few single cover batteries with connecting straps close to top of covers, and the compound is poured over the top of the straps. See Fig. 262.

The second general type consists of single one-piece cover batteries that have small channels or spaces around the covers next to the jars into which the sealing compound is poured. This type of battery is the most common type.

[Fig. 229 Pouring compound on lower covers]

Compound in bulk or in thin iron barrels can be cut into small pieces with a hatchet or hand ax. To cut off a piece in hot weather, strike it a quick hard blow in the same place once or twice, and a piece will crack off. Directions for properly beating sealing compound will be found on page 150.

Sealing Double Cover Batteries

The following instructions apply to batteries having double covers. These are more difficult to seal than the single cover batteries. If you can seal the double cover batteries well, the single cover batteries will give you no trouble.

Always start the fire under the compound before you are ready to use it, and turn the fire lower after it has melted, so as not to have it too hot at the time of pouring. If you have a special long nosed pouring ladle, fill it with compound by dipping in the pot, or by pouring compound from a closed vessel. If you heat the compound in an iron kettle, pour it directly into pouring ladle, using just about enough for the first pouring. The compound should not be too hot, as a poor sealing job battery will result from its use. See page 150.

Before sealing, always wipe the surfaces to be sealed with a rag wet with ammonia or soda solution, rinsed with water, and wiped dry with a rag or waste. If you fail to do this the compound will not stick well, and a top leak may develop. Then run a soft lead burning flame over the surfaces to be sealed, in order to have perfectly dry surfaces. Remember that sealing compound will not stick to a wet surface.

[Fig. 230 First pouring of sealing compound]

[Fig. 231 Cooling compound with electric fan]

Pour compound on the lower covers, as in Fig. 229. Use enough to fill the case just over the tops of the jars, Fig. 230. Then pour the rest of the compound back in compound vessel or kettle. To complete the job, and make as good a job as possible, take a small hot lead burning flame and run it around the edges of case, tops of jars, and around the posts until the compound runs and makes a good contact all around. If you have an electric fan, let it blow on the compound a few minutes to cool it, as in Fig. 231. Then the compound used for the second pouring may be hotter and thinner than the first.

Fill the pouring ladle with compound, which is thinner than that used in the first pouring, and pour within 1/16 inch of the top of the case, being careful to get in just enough, so that-after it has cooled, the covers will press down exactly even with the top of the case, Fig. 232. It will require some experience to do this, but you will soon learn just how much to use.

As soon as you have finished pouring, run the flame all around the edges of the case and around the post, being very careful not to injure any of the vent tubes. A small, hot-pointed flame should be used. Now turn on the fan again to cool the compound.

[Fig. 232 Second pouring of sealing compound]

While the compound is cooling, get the cell connectors and terminal connectors, put them in a two-quart granite stew pan, just barely cover with water, and sprinkle a tablespoon of baking soda over them. Set the stew pan over the fire and bring water to boiling point. Then pour the water on some spot on a bench or floor where the acid has been spilled. This helps to neutralize the acid and keep it from injuring the wood or cement. Rinse off the connectors and wipe them dry with a cloth, or heat them to dry them.

[Fig. 233 Pressing covers down to make them level with top of case]

Now take the top covers, which must be absolutely clean and dry, and spread a thin coat of vaseline over the top only, wiping off any vaseline from the beveled edges. Place these covers right side up on a clean board and heat perfectly limp with a large, spreading blow torch flame. Never apply this flame to the under side of the top covers. The purpose is to get the covers on top of the battery absolutely level, and exactly even with the top of the case all around it, and to have them sticking firmly to the compound. There is not an operation in repairing and rebuilding batteries that requires greater care than this one, that will show as clearly just what kind of a workman you are, or will count as much in appearance for a finished job. If you are careless with any of the detail, if just one bump appears on top, if one top is warped, if one cover sticks above top of case, try as you may, you never can cover it up, and show you are a first-class workman. See that you have these four conditions, and you should not have any difficulty after a little experience:

[Fig. 234 Pressing covers down around posts to make them flush with top of case]

1. You must have just enough compound on top to allow the top covers to be pressed down exactly even with upper edge of case.

2. The top covers must be absolutely clean and have a thin coat of vaseline over their top, but none on the bevel edge.

3. A good sized spreading flame to heat quickly and evenly the tops to a perfectly limp condition without burning or scorching them.

4. Procure a piece of 7/8-inch board 1-1/2 inches wide and just long enough to go between handles of battery you are working on. Spread a thin film of oil or vaseline all over it.

Having heated the covers and also the top surface of the compound until it is sticky so that the covers may be put down far enough and adhere firmly to it, place the covers in position. Then press the covers down firmly with a piece of oiled wood, as in Fig. 233, applying the wood sidewise and lengthwise of case until the top of cover is exactly even with the top of the case. It may be necessary to use the wood on end around the vent tubes and posts as in Fig. 234, to get that part of the cover level. If the compound comes up between covers and around the edges of the case, and interferes with the use of the wood, clean it out with a screwdriver. You can then finish without smearing any compound on the covers.

[Fig. 235 Wiping bottom of spoon filled with sealing compound]

[Fig. 236 Filling cracks around covers with sealing compound]

When you have removed the excess compound from the cracks around the edges of the covers with the screwdriver, take a large iron spoon which has the end bent into a pouring lip, and dip up from 1/2 to 2/3 of a spoonful of melted compound (not too hot). Wipe off the bottom of the spoon, Fig. 235, and pour a small stream of compound evenly in all the cracks around the edges of the covers until they are full, as in Fig. 236. Do not hold the spoon too high, and do not smear or drop any compound on top of battery or on the posts. No harm is done if a little runs over the outside of the case, except that it requires a little time to clean it off. A small teapot may be used instead of the spoon. If you have the compound at the right temperature, and do not put in too much at a time, you will obtain good results, but you should take care not to spill the compound over covers or case.

[Fig. 237 Final operation of cleaning off excess compound]

After the last compound has cooled,—this requires only a few minutes,—take a putty knife, and scrape off all the surplus compound, making it even with the top of the covers and case, Fig. .237. Be careful not to dig into a soft place in the compound with the putty knife. If you have done your work right, and have followed directions explicitly, you have scraped off the compound with one sweep of the putty knife over each crack, leaving the compound smooth and level. You will be surprised to see how finished the battery looks.

Some workmen pour hot compound clear to the top of the case and then hurry to put on a cold, dirty top. What happens? The underside of the cover, coming in contact with the hot compound, expands and lengthens out, curling the top surface beyond redemption. As you push down one corner, another goes up, and it is impossible to make the covers level.

Sealing Single Cover Batteries

Single cover batteries are scaled in a similar manner. The covers are put in place before any compound is poured in. Covers should first be steamed to make them soft and pliable. The surfaces which come in contact with the sealing compound must be perfectly dry and free from acid. Before pouring in any compound, run a soft flame over the surfaces which are to be sealed, so as to dry them and warm them. Close up all cracks between Jars and covers as already directed. Then pour the cover channels half full of sealing compound, which must not be too thin. Now run a soft flame over the compound until it flows freely and unites with the covers and jars. Allow the compound to cool.

For the second pouring, somewhat hotter compound may be used. Fill the cover channels flush with the top of the case, and again run a soft flame over the compound to make it flow freely and unite with the covers, and to give it a glossy finish. If any compound has run over on the covers or case, remove it with a hot putty knife.

Burning-on the Cell Connectors

With the covers in place, the next operation is to burn in the cell connectors. Directions for doing this are given on page 213. If you did not fill the jars with electrolyte before sealing the covers, do so now. See page 364.

Marking the Battery

You should have a set of stencil letters and mark every battery you rebuild or repair. Stamp "POS," "P," or "+" on positive terminal and "NEG," "N," or on negative terminal. Then stamp your initials, the date that you finished rebuilding the battery, and the date that battery left the factory, on the top of the connectors. Record the factory date, and type of battery in a book, also your date mark and what was done to the battery. By doing this, you will always be able to settle disputes that may arise, as you will know when you repaired the battery, and what was done.

To go one step farther, keep a record of condition of plates, and number of new plates, if you have used any. Grade the plates in three divisions, good, medium and doubtful. The "doubtful" division will grow smaller as you become experienced and learn by their appearance the ones to be discarded and not used in a rebuilt battery. There is no question that even the most experienced man will occasionally make a mistake in judgment, as there is no way of knowing what a battery has been subjected to during its life before it is brought to you.

Cleaning and Painting the Case

The next operation is to thoroughly clean the case; scrape off all compound that has been spilled on it, and also any grease or dirt. If any grease is on the case, wipe off with rag soaked in gasoline. Unless the case is clean, the paint will not dry. Brush the sides and end with a wire brush; also brighten the name plate. Then coat the case with good asphaltum paint. Any good turpentine asphaltum is excellent for this purpose. If it is too thick, thin it with turpentine, but be sure to mix well before using, as it does not mix readily. Use a rather narrow brush, but of good quality. Paint all around the upper edge, first drawing the brush straight along the edges, just to the outer edges of rubber tops. Now paint the sides, ends and handles, but be careful not to cover the nameplate. To finish, put a second, and thick coat all around top edge to protect edge of case. Paint will soak in around the edge on top of an old case more easily than on the body of the case as it is more porous.

Charging the Rebuilt Battery

With the battery completely assembled, the next step is to charge it at about one-third of the starting or normal charge rate. For batteries having a capacity of 80 ampere hours or more, use a current of 5 amperes. Do not start the charge until at least 12 hours after filling with electrolyte. This allows the electrolyte to cool. Then add water to bring electrolyte up to correct level if necessary. The specific gravity will probably at first drop to 1.220-1.240, and will then begin to rise.

Continue the charge until the specific gravity and voltage do not rise during the last 5 hours of the charge. The cell voltage at the end of the charge should be 2.5 to 2.7, measured while the battery is still on charge. Make Cadmium tests on both positive and negatives. The positives should give a Cadmium reading of 2.4 or more. The negatives should give a reversed reading of 0.175. The tests should be made near the end of the charge, with the cell voltages at about 2.7. The Cadmium readings will tell the condition of the plates better than specific gravity readings. The Cadmium readings are especially valuable when new plates have been installed, to determine whether the new plates are, fully charged. When Cadmium readings indicate that the plates are fully charged, and specific gravity readings have not changed for five hours, the battery is fully charged. If you have put in new plates, charge for at least 96 hours.

Measure the temperature of the electrolyte occasionally, and if it should go above 110 deg.F., either cut down the charging current, or take the battery off charge long enough to allow the electrolyte to cool below 90 deg.F.

Adjusting the Electrolyte

If the specific gravity of the electrolyte is 1.280 to 1.300 at the end of the charge, the battery is ready for testing. If the specific gravity is below or above these figures, draw off as much electrolyte as you can with the hydrometer. If the specific gravity is below 1.280, add enough 1.400 specific gravity electrolyte with the hydrometer to bring the level up to the correct height (about 1/2 inch above tops of plates). If the specific gravity is above 1.300, add a-similar amount of distilled water instead of electrolyte. If the specific gravity is not more than 15 points (.015) too low or too high, adjust as directed above. If the variation is greater than this, pour out all the electrolyte and add fresh 1.280 specific gravity electrolyte.

After adjusting the electrolyte, continue the charge until the gravity of all cells is 1.280-1.300, and there is no further change in gravity for at least two hours. Then take the battery off charge and make a final measurement of the specific gravity. Measure the temperature at the same time, and if it varies more than 10 deg. above or below 70 deg., correct the hydrometer readings by adding one point (.001 sp. gr.) for each 3 degrees above 70 deg., and subtracting one point (.001 sp. gr.) for each 3 degrees below 70 deg.. Be sure to wipe off any electrolyte which you spilled on the battery in adjusting the electrolyte or measuring the specific gravity. Use a rag dipped in ammonia, or baking soda solution.

High Rate Discharge

Whenever you have time to do so, make a 20-minute high rate discharge test on the rebuilt battery, as described on page 266. This test will show up any defect in the battery, such as a poorly burned joint, or a missing separator, and will show if battery is low in capacity. If the test gives satisfactory results, the battery is in good condition, and ready to be put into service, after being charged again to replace the energy used by the test.




Exide batteries may be classified according to their cover constructions as follows:

1. Batteries with single flange covers, as shown in Figs. 15 and 238. This class includes types DX, LX, LXR, LXRV, PHC, XC, XX, and XXV.

[Fig. 238 Exide Battery, partly disassembled]

2. Batteries with double flange covers, as shown in Fig. 242. This class includes types MHA, KZ, KXD, LXRE, and XE. The cover constructions are-described in Chapter 3.

All Exide batteries, except types KXD, LXRE, and XE, have burned-in lead top connectors. All types have a removable sealing nut around each post to make a tight joint between the post and cell cover, as described on page 19. Formerly some Exide batteries had cell connectors which were bolted to the cell posts, but this construction is now obsolete. Types KXD, LXRE, and XE have cell connectors made of flexible, lead coated copper strips.

Types DX, LX, LXR, LXRV, MHA, PHC, XC, XX, and XXV have been designed and built to meet the requirements of starting, lighting and ignition service for passenger automobiles and power boats.

Types KXD, LXRE, and XE have been especially developed to meet the requirements of the starting, lighting and ignition service on motor trucks and tractors.

Type KZ has been produced particularly for motorcycle lighting and ignition service.

[Fig. 239 Exide Battery with Single Flange Cover]

Type Numbers

The type of an Exide battery is stamped on the battery name plate. Thus, on one of the most popular Exide batteries is marked Type 3-XC-13-1. Other Exide batteries have different numerals and letters in their type numbers, but the numerals., and letters are always arranged in the same order as given above. The first numeral gives the number of cells. The letters give the type of cell. The numerals following the letters give the number of plates per cell. The last numeral indicates the manner of arranging the cells in the battery case. Thus, in the example given above, 3-XC-13-1 indicates that there are three cells in the battery, that the type of cell is XC, that each cell has 13 plates, and that the cells are arranged according to method No. 1, this being a side to side assembly.

Methods of Holding Jars in Case

Two methods of holding Exide jars in the battery case are used:

1. Types MHA, KXD, LXRE, and XE have the jars separated by horizontal wooden spacers, there being two spacers between adjoining jars. Running horizontally between these two spacers are tie bolts which pass through the case. These bolts are tightened after the jars are placed in the case, thus pressing the sides of the case against the jars and holding them in, place.

Types KXD, LXRE, and XE, in addition to the tie bolts, are secured in the case by sealing compound beneath and around the jars. Each cell is provided with two soft rubber buffers which are V shaped, and are placed over the ridges in the bottom of the jars, thereby minimizing the effect of shocks on the plates and separators which rest on the buffers.

2. In types DX, LX, LXR, LXRV, PHC, XC, XX, and XXV, there are no spacers between adjoining jars, and the jars simply fit tight in the case. Should they not fit tight enough to hold them in place securely, thin boards are inserted between the jars and the case to pack them in.

Type KZ has the three sets of plates in one jar, having three compartments, with a three compartment cover.

Opening Exide Batteries

1. Drilling Off the Top Connectors. Do this as described on page 329. For type KZ batteries use a 3/8 inch drill. For all other types use a 5/8 inch drill.

2. Removing Plates from Jars. Follow the general instructions on page 333.

Types DX, LX, LXR, LXRV, PHC, XC, XX, and XXV. In opening these batteries, all of which have the single flange cover, you may remove each cell complete from the case, and then draw out the plates; or you may draw out the plates without taking out the jars. To remove the complete cell, heat a thin bladed putty knife and work it down all around the outside of the jar. Then lift out the complete cell by pulling steadily on the cell posts with two pairs of gas pliers. The battery should be placed on the floor when you do this, and you should stand with one foot pressed against the side of the case.

If you do not wish to remove the complete cells, or should the jars fit too tight in the case, unseal the covers and remove the plates according to the instructions given on page 333.

Types KZ and MHA. These batteries have the double flanged cover. Several methods may be used in removing the plates from the jars. In each case, the top of the cell is cleaned, gas blown out of the vent holes, and the sealing nuts removed before opening the cells.

[Fig. 240 Removing double flange exide cover]

First, a flame may be used to soften the sealing compound which is placed in the slot formed by the two flanges of the cover. If you wish to use a flame, first remove each complete cell from the case, loosening the tie bolts that pass through the case to release the jars. Then hit out each complete cell. Now get two strong boards which are about one fourth inch longer than the height of the jar. See Fig. 240. Support the jar on these boards by resting the lower edge of the sides of the cover on the top edge of the boards. Then run a moderate flame around the outside of the flange until the cover is soft, and the compound melting. Then press down on the cell posts with your thumbs, and the jar and plates will drop free of the cover. The plates are then drawn out and rested on the top of the jars to drain, as usual.

Another method is to remove the cells from the case and put them in the battery steamer for ten minutes as described on page 332. Instead of first taking the complete cells out of the case and then steaming them separately, you may steam the entire battery for about ten minutes, and then draw out the plates and cover of each cell with gas pliers without removing the jars. This method must be used in opening types KXD, LXRE, and XE, which have sealing compound under the jars.

Work on Plates, Separators, Jars, and Case

Having opened the battery, follow the instructions given on pages 335 to 361 for examination of plates and separators, and all work on plates, jars, separators, and case.

Reassembling Plates

[Fig. 241 Upsetting threads to prevent nut from turning]

First slip the positive and negative groups together without separators. Then wipe the posts with a rag moistened with ammonia, rinse them with water, and dry thoroughly with a clean rag. Next slip the soft rubber washers over the posts and place the cover in position. Lubricate the lead sealing nuts with graphite that has been mixed to a paste with water. Do not use grease or vaseline to lubricate these nuts. Then put on the sealing nuts and tighten them partly with your fingers.

You are now ready to insert the separators as directed on page 361. Types MHA, PHC, KXD, KZ, LXR, LXRE, LXRV, XX, and XXV have, in addition to the usual wooden separators, perforated rubber sheets, which should be placed against the grooved side of each wooden separator before inserting, and insert with rubber sheet against the positives.

Make a careful examination to see that you have not left out any separators.

When the separators are all in place, even them up on each side. Then tighten the sealing nuts with the special Exide wrench. When you have turned the nuts down tight, lock them in place by driving a center punch on the threads on the post just above the nut, Fig. 241. This will damage the thread and prevent the nut from turning loose.

Putting Plates In Jars

The next step is to lower the plates into the jars, as described on page 362. In types KXD, LXRE, and XE be sure to first replace the two soft rubber buffers in the bottom of the jar, one over each ridge.

Filling Jars With Electrolyte

As soon as you have an element in place in the jar, fill the jar with electrolyte of the proper strength, as described on page 364, to prevent the separators and plates from drying. The negatives, especially, must be covered with electrolyte to prevent them from heating and drying.

Sealing Exide Battery Covers

[Fig. 242 Laying "worm" of sealing compound]

[Image: Chart showing capacity of Exide batteries]

For Types DX, LX, LXR, LXRV, PHC, XC, XX, and XXV, which have the single flange type of cover, slowly heat the sealing compound until it runs, but do not get it so thin that it will run down into the cell between the cover and jar. Then pour it into the channel between cover and jar walls. Allow it to cool and finish it off flush with a hot knife. When pouring, be sure the compound is liquid and not lumpy, as in such a case a poor seal will result. A glossy, finished appearance may be given to the compound by passing a flame over it after the job is finished.

For Types KXD, KZ, LXRE, MHA, and XE, which have the double flange type of cover, have ready a string or worm of sealing compound about 3-16 inch in diameter, made by rolling between boards some of the special compound furnished for the purpose. The cover may or may not have been attached to the element, depending on how repairs have been made. In either case the procedure is the same as far as sealing is concerned. Assuming the element is attached, stand it upside down, with the cover resting upon two strips, Fig. 242. Lay the string of compound all around the cover channel. Now turn right side up and insert in the jar, taking care that the jar walls enter the cover channels at all points. Apply heat carefully to the edges of the cover and gently force cover clown. If too much compound has been used, so that it squeezes out around the cover, scrape off the excess with a hot knife while forcing cover down.

Putting Cells In Case

When the covers have all been sealed, put the cells in the case, taking care to put the negative and positive posts in their proper positions, so that each cell connector will connect a positive to a negative post.

In Types MHA, KXD, LXRE, and XE, which have wooden spacers between the cells, take care that the spacers are in position and then, after cells are in place, tighten the tie bolts with a screw driver to clamp the jars.

In Types DX, LX, LXR, LXRV, SX, XC, XX, and XXV the cells should fit tight in the case; pack them in with thin boards if necessary.

Burning on the Cell Connectors

See instructions on pages 213 to 216.

Charging After Repairing

See also instructions on page 373.

Not sooner than ten to fifteen hours after filling battery with electrolyte, add electrolyte to restore level if it has fallen.


The instructions for rebuilding batteries which have already been given, pages 328 to 374, apply also to all U. S. L. batteries. In working on the old U. S. L. batteries, illustrated in Fig. 243, draw out the electrolyte down to the tops of the plates so that the electrolyte is below the lower end of the vent tube. Then blow out any gas which may have collected under the cover with compressed air or bellows. Never fail to do this, as there is only a small vent hole in the cover through which the gas can escape, the vent tubes extending down into the electrolyte when the cells are properly filled.

[Fig. 243 Cross section of old type USL battery]

[Fig. 244 Cross section of new type USL battery]

Fig. 244 shows the new U. S. L. cover construction. Note that the special cell filling device is no longer used. U. S. L. batteries have lead bushings moulded into the cover. These bushings fit around the posts, and are burned to the posts and top connectors, Figs. 243 and 244, thus giving leak proof joints between the cover and the posts. In burning on the connectors, melt bottom edge of hole first, then top of post and cover bushing, and melt in your burning lead slowly.

[Image: Chart showing capacity of USL batteries, Page 1]

[Image: Chart showing capacity of USL batteries, Page 2]


[Fig. 245 Old type Prest-O-Lite battery with lead bushings that screw up into cover]

Some of the old Prest-O-Lite batteries have a lead bushing around the post, Fig. 245, similar to the U. S. L. batteries. This will make a perfectly tight seal, provided that you screw the bushing up tight. The new types of Prest-O-Lite batteries have a "Peened" post seal, special instructions for which follow.

The general instructions for rebuilding batteries given on pages 328 to 374 apply to Prest-O-Lite batteries in every respect. The "Peened" post seal is, however, a special construction, and directions for working on this seal are as follows:

[Fig. 246 Prest-O-Lite Element Locked]

All Prest-O-Lite batteries designated as Types WHN, RIJN, BHN, JFN, KPN, and SHC, have a single moulded cover which is locked directly on to the posts of the element. This feature is the result of forcing a solid ring of lead from a portion of the post, projecting above the cover, down into a deep chamfer in the top of the cover. Figs. 246 and 247 show this construction.

This construction makes a solid unit of the cover and element, which does away with the sealing compound, washers, nuts, etc., for making the acid tight seal around the posts.

The locking operation requires some special instructions and shop equipment for assembly and all repairs which involve removal from and replacement of the cover on the element.

The majority of battery repairs such as renewal of jars, separators, straightening of plates, and removal of sediment, can be made without separating the cover and element. In such cases the connectors are drilled off, compound is softened and removed from around the covers and the complete unit is removed from the cell. It may be handled throughout the repair as a unit, and the cover serves as a bridge to hold the plates of both groups in line just as they remain in the jar.

[Fig. 247 Sectional view of Prest-O-Lite battery with peened post seal]

However, where the cover is broken or must be replaced for other reasons, when plates have to be renewed, or the posts have been broken off below the cover, the element and cover must be separated.

All the apparatus and special tools which are used in connection with the locking, as well as the building-up, unlocking (freeing), and rebuilding, of the posts in all Prest-O-Lite battery types are grouped together and collectively termed the type "N" Post Locking Outfit.

This outfit, complete, is carried in stock at all Prest-O-Lite warehouses under the part number 27116. Each of the individual parts or tools also has a separate part number and may be bought separately.

Prest-O-Lite Type "N" Post Locking Outfit

Arbor Press (complete with following 12 parts) 27115 Main Casting 27114 Latch 27107 Bed Plate 27113 Lever 27108 Rack 27211 Washer 27112 Pinion Shaft 27110 Pinion 27109 Latch Pin 27111 *Special CLN & KPN Spacer 27233 *Special CLN & KPN Latch 27232 *Special CLN & KPN Bed Plate 27234 Large Peening Tool (9-21 RHN, WHN, BHN, SHC, KPN, CLN; 11-17 JFN) 27101 Small Peening Tool (7-WHN, RHN, SHC; 9-JFN) 27100 Peening Tool for small terminal posts in which are east threaded brass inserts (Columbia) 27105 Large Post Freeing Tool 27103 Small Post Freeing Tool 27102 No. 8 Post Freeing Tool (13/16" diameter straight post) 27123 [1] Large Post Re-Builder (9-21 RHN, WHN, BHN, SHC, KPN, CLN; 11-17 JFN) 27005 [1] Small Post Re-Builder (7-WHN, RHN, SHC; 9-JFN) 27004 [2] Ford Positive Post Builder 27006 [2] Ford Negative Post Builder 27224 2 No. 8 Post Builder (13/16" diameter straight post) 27225 Style "B" Prest-O-Lite Torch, with six feet of red gum tubing A-3116 Automatic Reducing Valve A-427 COMPLETE TYPE "N" OUTFIT including all parts above 27116

* The CLN and KPN Spacer block, bent Latch and Bed Plate are special parts used only in the Arbor Press when it is especially assembled to lock CLN or KPN posts.

[1] The Re-Builder is used to build up posts before attempting to lock on the cover. The replacing of the metal cut away from the original diameter of the post when the jar cover was removed is necessary to the correct operation of the Peening Tool.

[2] The Builder is used to build up posts, after they have been locked and shaped by the Peening Tool, to a size large enough to take some special terminal. For example, the Ford Positive Post Builder is used in building up posts, locked by the Large Peening Tool, to the proper size to take the Ford positive terminal.

The Automatic Reducing Valve delivers the gas from the P-O-L tank at a uniform pressure of 3 pounds per square inch, whether the tank is full, half empty, or nearly empty, and regardless of the volume of gas used. The volume or flow of gas is regulated by the key.

The style "B" torch mixes the pure acetylene from the gas tank with the proper amount of air necessary to an efficient heating flame.

The heating flame is conducted or delivered to the Peening Tool by the short length of brass tubing known as the Torch-Holder, over which the "B" Torch is pressed by hand in completing the assembly.

[Fig. 248 Special Prest-O-Lite Peening Press]

Both the "B" Torch and the Automatic Reducing Valve are absolutely essential to the use of the Prest-O-Lite gas tank for heating the Peening Tool.

Prest-O-Lite gas tanks, style A, B, C, or E, may be used in connection with the Automatic Reducing Valve, as shown in Fig. 248. To use a welding size gas tank it is necessary to insert a "W to A" Adapter between the tank and Reducing Valve. This Adapter can be purchased from the Prest-O-Lite Co., Inc.

The Arbor Press when received by the Service Station is fully assembled, ready for mounting and operation with all P-O-L locked post types except CLN and KPN.

Mount the Press in a vertical position (Fig. 248) in a convenient place and at an accessible height on a wall or post. Holes are provided in the Press for mounting by lag screws or bolts. The position of the Peening Tool should be well below the level of the eyes, to prevent serious injury from a possible spattering of overheated lead.

Screw the proper size Peening Tool into the bottom of the Press rack, as shown in Fig. 248. The Torch-Holder must be removed from the Peening Tool to do this; it should be immediately replaced.

In using the Press to lock CLN or KPN posts it is necessary to remove the Bed Plate and the Latch, and replace these parts with the Special Bed Plate and Special Latch provided for this purpose, using the spacing block or Spacer (also provided) between the Special Bed Plate and the bottom of the Press.

[Fig. 249 Reaming Prest-O-Lite peened post to remove cover]

Connect the "B" Torch to the Peening Tool. The Torch is merely pressed by the hand over the Torch-Holder.

Connect the Torch with the Automatic Reducing Valve on the gas tank by the rubber tubing, and turn on the gas and light. The flame should be blue and hot.

Allow the Peening Tool to become just hot enough to melt the end of a piece of 50-50 solder. Do not allow it to get any hotter than this. The tool is then ready for use. The flame may be left on while the Tool is in use. In case the Tool becomes too hot turn the flame off and allow it to cool to the proper temperature before using.

To Remove Cell Covers from Elements

Drill off cell connectors and terminals as usual. Insert the proper size Freeing Tool (or reamer), furnished with the outfit, in an ordinary hand-power drill press or bit-and-brace. With this reamer remove the ring of metal or flange on the post, thereby releasing the cell cover. Fig. 249. The Freeing Tool should not be used in a power-driven press, as slow speed is essential to prevent breaking cell covers. To get the best results, center the Freeing Tool over the post, gradually forcing it down, at the same time keep it turning slowly until the ring of metal which locks the post in the cover has been removed. A little machine oil should be put on the metal directly under the tool for this operation. After the metal ring has been removed, the cover can be easily lifted off the posts, Fig. 250.

[Fig. 250 Removing Prest-O-Lite cover]

[Fig. 251 Building up posts on Prest-O-Lite element]

The use of the Freeing Tool in removing the cell cover cuts away a certain amount of metal from the diameter of the posts. Before these posts can be relocked by the Peening Tool in replacing the cell cover they must be built up in size or diameter again so that there will be enough lead to insure a tight joint.

To Rebuild Posts

Thoroughly clean the post. Place the proper Post Re-Builder so that it rests on the shoulder of the post, and run in enough new lead to fill the Re-Builder. Fig. 251. Be sure and bring the lead surface of the post into fusion before the new lead is run in, to insure a strong post.

To build a smooth, solid post, be sure that the post is thoroughly clean; then use a hot flame.

To Lock or Peen Posts

(1) Assemble positive and negative groups without separators, and paint the posts (just above the shoulder) with hot sealing compound.

(2) Prepare the cell covers by immersing them in hot water until they are flexible.

(3) Place a warmed cover over the posts of the two assembled groups (the elements). Fig. 252.

[Fig. 252 Replacing Prest-O-Lite cover on built-up posts]

(4) Slide the element over the Bed Plate directly under Peening Tool, with the bottom of the plate connectors resting on the Bed Plate. (See Fig. 253).

(5) Pull down the Latch to hold the Bed Plate in alignment.

(6) Center the post with Peening Tool. Then force the Peening Tool down slowly until it has covered about two-thirds of the distance to the cover. Pause in this operation to allow the metal of the post to become heated; then force tool the rest of the distance. Raise the Peening Tool slightly and force down again.

(7) Release the Latch, withdraw and reverse the element, and repeat operations 4, 5 and 6 on the other post.

(8) The assembled groups are now ready to receive separators.

[Fig. 253 Peening Prest-O-Lite post with special peening press]

Precautions in Post Locking Operations

1—Be sure all covers are warmed until they are flexible before attempting to assemble.

2—Be sure that the Peening Tool is not too hot. If it is, the post will melt away and be ruined. A very hot tool sometimes causes dangerous spattering of hot lead.

3—Be sure that the post is centered with the Peening Tool before forcing the Tool down on the post.

4—Be sure the cover has been forced down, so that it rests on the shoulder of the post, before releasing.

General Instructions

In breaking in a new Peening Tool it is advisable to squirt several drops of machine oil inside the Tool, as well as putting some oil on the top of the post, before forcing the hot Tool down over the post. This will prevent the Tool from sticking to the post.

If the Peening Tool should stick to the post, force the Tool down again, being certain that the cover is slightly compressed. Sticking of the Peening Tool indicates either that the Tool has not yet been broken in, or that there is not sufficient compression in the cover to free the Tool on releasing the pressure on the lever of the Press.

To repair the 13/16" diameter straight terminal post, the Ford positive terminal post, the Ford negative terminal post, it is good practice to remove the cover in the usual manner, then cut the upper portion of the posts off and rebuild them with the large Post Re-Builder. Reassemble the element and cover in the recommended manner and then use the proper Post Builder to burn the post to its original size.

Standard Types of Prest-O-Lite Starting, Lighting and Ignition Batteries

[Image: Chart for Prest-O-Lite starting batteries, 6-volt]

[Image: Chart for Prest-O-Lite starting batteries, 12-volt]

[Image: Chart for Prest-O-Lite starting batteries, 16-18-24 and 30-volt]

[Image: Chart for Prest-O-Lite special heavy duty truck batteries for starting and light; Chart for 6-volt lighting and ignition types]


Old Type

[Fig. 254 Cross section of old type Philadelphia diamond grid battery]

Figs. 254 and 255 show the construction of the old type Philadelphia Diamond Grid. Battery. Figs. 254 and 256 show the diamond shaped grid from which the battery derives its name. It is claimed that this construction gives a very strong grid, holding the active materials firmly in place, and giving a large amount of contact surface between the grid and the active material.

Figs. 254 and 255 show the old type battery, and give the details of the cover, terminal posts, vent plug, and so on. The post seal is made tight by pouring the compound into the cover well so that it flows in around all of the petticoats on the post.

[Fig. 255 Cross section old type Philadelphia Diamond Grid]

This construction increases the distance that the acid must travel along the post, in order to cause a leak, about two and one-half times the vertical distance on a smooth post. The hard rubber washer which fits around the post acts as a lock to prevent the post from turning. This applies especially to the two terminal posts to which the cables are attached. The washer is intended to prevent any strain in the cable from turning the post and breaking the seal between the post and the compound.

New Development in the Philadelphia Battery

[Fig. 256 Cross section new type Philadelphia battery]

[Fig. 257 New type Philadelphia Diamond Grid Battery]

Rubber Lockt Seal Covers. During the last few years there has been a marked tendency in the battery industry to do away with the use of sealing compound for making a joint between the cell cover and the terminal posts and to substitute a mechanical seal of some kind at this joint. The Philadelphia Storage Battery Co. has developed the "Rubber Lockt". cover seal, the construction of which is shown in detail in Figs. 256 and 257. On the cell posts there is a. flange which supports the cover, and above this there is a recessed portion into which is slipped a soft rubber sleeve or bushing. This portion of the post is made with a ridge extending around the post and with the rubber sleeve forming a high point over which a corresponding locking edge in the terminal hole of the cover is snapped. This construction makes a joint which is flexible and at the same time acid tight. Vibration tends to push the cover down on the supporting flanges, as the post diameter is smaller below the locking edge. The design is simple, both from the assembly and the repair standpoint, as no tools are required for either operation. In the assembly operation the groups are lined up so that the post centers are correct and, after wetting the soft rubber sleeves, the cover is snapped in place with a quick downward push. See Fig. 258. In removing the covers, catch under each end with the fingers and pull upward, at the same time pressing with the thumbs on the top of the posts. See Fig. 259.

[Fig. 258 Replacing cover of Philadelphia Diamond Grid Battery]

[Fig. 259 Removing cover of Philadelphia Diamond Grid Battery]

Rubber Case Batteries. Another development of recent years consists of the replacing of the wood case and rubber jars by a one-piece container of hard rubber with compartments for the elements The Philadelphia Storage Battery Co. has developed the Diamond Rubber case, which combines strength and lightness with an attractive appearance. See Fig. 260. One of the troubles experienced with the earlier designs of the rubber case was the bulging of the end, due to the pull of the battery hold down rod on a small handle attached to the center of the end. In the Philadelphia battery this has been overcome by the use of a wide handle which snaps into openings in the end of the case in such a way that the pull on the handle is transferred to the sides. Another feature of this type handle is that it is a separate piece snapped into the case without the use of any metal insert in the rubber case, and if the handle should break, it can be replaced at small expense without the use of any tools.

[Fig. 260 Philadelphia Diamond Grid Battery with rubber case]

The Philadelphia vent plug is of the bayonet type, and is tightened by a quarter turn. The plug simply has a small vent hole in the top, and may either be taken out or left on while battery is charging.

The Philadelphia Separator

The Philadelphia separator is made of quarter sawed hardwood. It has a hard resinous wood in which the hard and soft portions occur in regular alternating vertical layers. The soft layers are porous, and permit the diffusion of the acid from plate to plate. The hard layers give the separator stiffness and long life. The alternating hard and soft layers are at right angles to the surface of the separator, so that the electrolyte has a direct path between plates.

The methods of repairing Philadelphia Diamond Grid batteries are no different from those already given, on pages 328 to 374.

When the elements of the old type batteries have been assembled and returned to the jars, put the covers in place, and pour the compound around the edges of the cover, and in the post wells. The old compound must be removed from the petticoats on the posts before new compound is poured in. The compound must be warm and thin enough to flow around and fill up the petticoat spaces on the posts in order to get a good seal. When the post wells are full of compound, and while compound is still warm, put on the square sealing washers and press them down so that the holes in the washers fit closely around the octagonal part of the posts.


It is claimed by the manufacturers that the sulphate which forms in the Eveready battery during discharge always remains in the porous, convertible form, and never crystallizes and becomes injurious, even though the battery is allowed to stand idle on open circuit for a considerable length of time. Due to this fact, the Eveready battery is called a "Non-Sulphating Battery."

The manufacturers state that Eveready batteries which have stood idle or in a discharged condition for months do not suffer the damages which usually result from such treatment, namely: buckling, and injurious sulphation. The plates do become sulphated, but the sulphate remains in the porous, non-crystalline state in which it forms. Charging such a battery at its normal rate is all that is necessary to bring it back to its normal, healthy condition. Due to the excessive amount of sulphate which forms when the battery stands idle or discharged for a long time, it is necessary to give the battery 50 percent overcharge to remove all the sulphate and bring the battery back to a healthy working condition. The colors of the plates are good guides as to their condition at the end of the charge. The positives should be free from blotches of white sulphate, and should have a dark brown or chocolate color. The negatives should have a bright gray or slate color.

Description of Parts

Eveready plates are of two general types. Plates of the R type are each provided with two feet on lower ends, the positive set and the negative set resting on two separate pairs of bridges in the jars, thereby preventing the sediment which accumulates on top of bridges from short circuiting a cell.

Plates of the M type, instead of having feet, are cut away where they pass over the bridges of the opposite group. See Fig. 261. This construction secures a greater capacity for a given space, and gives the same protection against short circuit from sediment as the foot construction does, since the same amount of sediment must accumulate with either type of plate to cause a short circuit.

[Fig. 261 Type "M" Eveready grid]

The separators used in Eveready batteries are made of cherry wood because it is a hard wood which will resist wear, is of uniform texture, even porosity, and has a long life in a given degree and condition of acid.

Eveready cherry wood separators go to the repair man in a dry condition, as they do not require chemical treatment. Separators when received should be soaked in 1.250 specific gravity acid for four days or longer in order to expand them to proper size and remove natural impurities from the wood. After being fully expanded they should be stored moist as previously described. Stock separators may be kept indefinitely in this solution and can be used as required. Fig. 262 shows the top construction in the Eveready battery.

[Fig. 262 Eveready Battery, cell connectors covered by compound]

Cell connectors are heavily constructed and are sealed over solidly with a flexible sealing compound, Fig. 262. Two types of cell connectors are used-the crescent and the heavy or "three way" type.

Repairing Eveready Batteries

To properly open and re-assemble an Eveready battery, proceed as follows:

1. Take a hot putty knife and cut the compound from the top of each of the inter-cell connectors until the entire top of the connector is exposed.

2. Center punch tops of cell connectors and terminal posts.

3. Drill off cell connectors. In drilling off crescent cell connector use 1/2 inch drill, and for heavy type connector use 5/8 inch drill.

Drill deep enough, usually 3/8 to 1/2 inch, until a seam between connector and post is visible around lower edge of hole. Having drilled holes in both ends of connector, heat connector with soft flame until compound adhering to it becomes soft. Then take a 1/2 inch or 5/8 inch round iron or bolt, depending on connector to be removed, insert in one of the holes, and pry connector off with a side to side motion, being careful not to carry this motion so far as to jam connector into top of jar.

4. After connectors have been removed, steam and open the battery, as described on pages 332 to 335.

5. Examine plates, and handle them as described on pages 335 to 355. Remember, however, that Eveready plates which show the presence of large amounts of sulphate, even to the extent of being entirely covered with white sulphate, should not be discarded. A battery with such plates should be charged at the normal rate, and given a 50 percent overcharge.

6. Before re-assembling plate groups preparatory to assembling the battery, take negative and positive plate groups and build up the posts with the aid of a post builder to their original height.

Assemble groups in usual manner, taking care that posts on straps are in proper position relative to group in adjoining cell, so that cell connectors will span properly. Eveready batteries use a right and left hand strap for both positive and negatives, making it necessary to use only one length of cell connector.

7. After inserting assembled plate groups into battery in their proper relation as to polarity, heat rubber covers to make them fairly pliable and fit them over posts and into top of jar, pressing them down until they rest firmly on top of plate straps. See that covers are perfectly level and that vent tubes are perpendicular and all at same height above the plates.

8. Heat compound just hot enough so that it will flow. Pour first layer about one quarter inch thick, being careful to cover entire jar cover. Take a soft flame and seal compound around edges of jar and onto posts.

9. Now proceed to burn on top connectors. Cell connectors need only be cleaned in hole left by post, and top of each end.

10. While burning in cell connectors the first layer of compound will have cooled sufficiently to permit the second layer to be applied. This should be done immediately after burning on connectors and while they are still hot. Also heat the terminal posts, as compound will adhere to hot lead more readily than to cold.

Start second layer of compound by pouring it over cell connectors and terminal posts, first filling in with sufficient compound to bring level just above the tops of jars. Apply flame, sealing around edges of wood case, being particularly careful to properly seal terminal posts. Let this layer cool thoroughly before applying third layer.

11. The third layer of compound should be applied in the same way as second layer, pouring on connectors and terminal posts first, and filling in to the level of top of wood ease. The spaces between bars of cell connectors will fill and flow over properly if second layer has been allowed to cool and if cell connectors have not been burned up too high. In sealing last layer with flame, care should be taken not to play flame on compound too long as this hardens and burns the compound. Burned compound has no flexibility and will crack readily in service, thus causing the battery to become a "slopper." In pouring compound be sure to have battery setting level so that compound will come up even on all edges of case. Do not move battery after pouring last layer until thoroughly cool.

Before installing battery on car be sure that no compound, etc., has been allowed to get onto taper of terminal post, as this will make a poor connection. If this has happened, clean with medium grade sandpaper.


[Fig. 263 Vesta grid with 3-piece isolator]

Vesta Isolators. The Vesta plate embodies in its design devices which are intended to hold the plates straight and thus eliminate the buckling and short-circuiting which form a large percentage of battery trouble. Fig. 263 shows clearly the construction of the old type of plate. Each isolator used in the old type of plate consists of two notched strips of celluloid, with a plain celluloid strip between them. The notches are as wide as the plates are thick, the teeth between the notches fitting into the spaces between plates, thus holding the plates at the correct distances apart. The plain celluloid strip holds the notched strips in place. At each corner of the Vesta plate is a slot into which the isolator fits, as shown in Fig. 263. Since the teeth on the two notched pieces of each isolator hold the plates apart, they cannot "cut-out" or "short-out" by pinching through the wooden separators, or "impregnated mats" as they are called by the Vesta Company.

The celluloid of which the isolators are made are not attacked by the electrolyte at ordinary temperatures. At higher temperatures, however, the electrolyte slowly dissolves the isolators. The condition of the isolator, therefore, may be used to determine whether the temperature of the electrolyte has been allowed to rise above 100 deg. Fahrenheit.

The Vesta Type "D" Battery

The appearance of a group of the new Type "D" construction is shown in Fig. 265, where Type "C" and Type "D" groups are illustrated side by side for purposes of comparison. It will be seen that the "D" isolator is of one piece only (shown separately in Fig. 266). The material is a heavy hard rubber stock which will be no more affected by acid or by electrical conditions in the cell than the hard rubber battery jar itself. The indentations on the two edges of isolator engage in hook shaped lugs on plate edges (Fig. 267 shows these clearly) and lock the plates apart fully as efficiently as the three-piece construction.

[Fig. 264 Cross section, Vesta Isolator Battery, type C]

There are a number of important advantages which have been gained by the new method of isolation. The illustration (Fig. 265) shows how the "D" isolator permits the separators to completely cover and project slightly beyond the edges of the plates, whereas in the old construction there is an edge just above the isolators where the plates are not covered. This improvement means protection against shorts due to flaking, always so likely to occur during the summer "overcharging" season. Overcharging is, of course, a form of abuse, and Type "D" batteries are designed to meet this sort of service. Another great advantage gained is in the arrangement of lugs, It will be noted that the positive isolator hooks are in alignment, as are the negative hooks, but that these two rows, of opposite polarity, are separated from each other by the full width of the isolator; whereas in the Type "C" construction the outer edges of the plates, of opposite polarity, were separated only by the usual distance between plates.

[Fig. 265 Vesta elements: showing old 3-piece celluloid isolator and new one-piece hard rubber isolator]

[Fig. 267 Vesta plates type U and DJ]

[Fig.268 Inserting Vesta hard rubber isolator]

The new isolator is simple to insert and remove. Being made of hard rubber, it will soften and become pliable if a sufficient degree of heat is applied. The heat required is approximately 150 deg. to 160 deg.F., a temperature far above that reached by any battery cell, even under the most extravagant condition of abuse, but readily attained in the shop by means of a small flame of any kind-even a match will do in an emergency. The flame (which should be of the yellow or luminous variety, as the blue flame tends to scorch the rubber) is played lightly over the isolator a few seconds. The rubber becomes soft and is then removed by inserting under the end of the isolator any narrow tool, such as a small screw driver, a wedge point, chisel, etc., and prying gently. In replacing isolators, a small hot plate is convenient but not at all necessary. The isolators are placed on the hot plate, or held in a luminous flame, until soft enough to bend. They are then bent into an arched shape, as shown in Fig. 268, and quickly fitted into place under the proper lugs. The regular isolator spacing tool is convenient and helpful in maintaining the plates at uniform intervals while this operation is carried out. The job is completed by pressing down the still warm isolator with any handy piece of metal having a flat edge that will fit the distance between the lugs (Fig. 269). The shank of a screw driver does splendidly for this work. The pressure causes the isolator to straighten out, and the indentations fit snugly under the respective hooks on the plates. At the same time the contact with the cold metal chills the rubber to its normal hard condition. It is especially to be noted that the entire operation of isolator removal and replacement can be carried out with none but the commonest of shop tools.

[Fig. 269 Pressing down Vesta hard rubber isolator]

[Fig. 270 Complete vesta battery]

All of the "U" size batteries have been changed to Type "D," so that all "CU" types are superseded by corresponding "DU's." Type "D" will not be used on cells of sizes "L," "H," or "A", all of which remain of the "C" or three-piece isolator construction. Type "S" remains old style as before.

Type "DJ"

The Vesta Company has added a new plate size, produced in the "D" style (one-piece) isolator only, and known as "DJ."

This plate is one-half inch higher than the "U," as shown in Fig. 267. It has 10 per cent more capacity. "DJ" batteries are available in all forms corresponding with "CU" types, and can be obtained by merely changing the type form name in ordering, as for example, to replace form 150, 6-DJ11-Y-150. The overall height of the completed battery is, of course, one-half inch more, and the "DJ" should therefore be ordered only when this additional height space is available in the battery compartment of the car.

Vesta Separators

The Vesta separators, or "mats," are treated by a special process. The Vesta Company considers its "mats" a very important feature of the battery. See page 15.

Vesta Post Seal

A lead collar fits over each post to hold the cover tight against the soft rubber gasket underneath. This collar is not screwed or burned on the post, but is simply pressed down over the post, depending for its holding power upon the fact that two lead surfaces rubbing against each other tend to "freeze," and unite so as to become a unit. The connector rests upon the upper race of the collar, and also helps to hold it down in its proper position. Fig. 270 shows the complete battery with the lead collar, and the large vent plug.

In rebuilding Vesta batteries having the lead collars, the cover should be left in place when working on the plates, if possible. If, however, it is necessary to separate groups, and the lead collars must be removed, this is done as shown in Fig. 271. A few blows on the side of the collar with a light, two ounce hammer expands the lead collar several thousands of an inch so that the collar may be removed.

[Fig. 271 Expanding lead collar of Vesta battery with light hammer]

[Fig. 272 Placing soft rubber gasket over post of Vesta battery]

In replacing the covers, the lead collar must be forced down over the post, and special pressure tongs are required for this purpose. Before driving on the old collar, the post should be expanded slightly by driving the point of a center-punch into the shoulder on the post. Instead of expanding the shoulder a new collar may be used.

Fig. 272 shows the soft rubber gasket being placed over the post, and shows the construction of the cover with its recess to fit the gasket.

Fig. 273 shows the lead collar being placed over the post after the cover is in place.

Fig. 274 shows the special long lipped tongs required to force the collar down on the post shoulder. One lip of the tongs has a hole into which the post fits. The necessary driving force may be obtained by applying pressure to the ends of the lips of the tongs With an ordinary vise. This forces the cover down on the rubber gasket to make the acid-tight seal.

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