The Automobile Storage Battery - Its Care And Repair
by O. A. Witte
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[Fig. 273 Placing lead collar over post of Vesta battery]

[Fig. 274 Pressing lead collar over post of Vesta battery]


Westinghouse batteries have a special seal between covers and posts, as shown in Fig. 275. A lead foundation washer (J) is set around the post. A "U" shaped rubber gasket, (K) is then forced between the cover and post, with the open end up. The lips of this gasket are tapered, with the narrow edge up. A tapered lead sleeve (L) is then forced between the lips of gasket (K), thereby pressing the inner lip against the post and the outer lip against the cover.

[Fig. 275 Westinghouse battery, partly dis-assembled]

The lead sleeve is held in place by broaching or indenting the collar on taper lead sleeve into the posts.

To break the seal, a hollow reamer or facing tool, fitted into a drill press or breast drill, is slipped over the post. A few turns will remove that part of the sleeve which has been forced into the post. Remove sealing compound around cover, remove group from cell. The cover can then be lifted off and if any difficulty is experienced, it can easily be removed by prying up cover with screwdriver. After removing the cover, the tapered lead sleeve and "U" shaped gasket can be removed. If these instructions are followed, the "U" shaped gasket and taper lead sleeves can be used when battery is reassembled.

With the addition of the foregoing instructions on the post seal, the standard directions for rebuilding batteries given on pages 328 to 374 apply to Westinghouse batteries.

Westinghouse Plates

In any given size, the Westinghouse battery has two more plates per cell than the usual 1/8 inch plate battery. It has the same number of plates as the 3/32 inch thin plate battery, but the thickness of the plates is about half-way between the 1/8 inch and 3/32 inch plates.

The Westinghouse negative grids, Fig. 276, have very few and small bars, just enough to hold the active material. It is slightly thinner than the positive but has the same amount of active material, due to the design of the grids. The condition of Westinghouse negatives should not be determined by cadmium readings as these plates may be fully charged and yet not give reversed cadmium readings.

[Fig. 276 Westinghouse positive and negative plates]

Aside from the special instructions given for the Westinghouse Post Seal, the Standard Instructions for Rebuilding Batteries, given on pages 328 to 374 may be used in rebuilding Westinghouse batteries.


Type "A" Batteries

The type "A" series was designed to fit the battery compartment in certain rather old models of cars. Owing to a lack of space this series is not of as efficient design as the "C" and "B" series. It does have the Westinghouse Post Seal, however.

Type "A" batteries are not recommended for use when "B" or "C" batteries can be used.

Ampere Hours Ampere Ampere Length Weight at Usual Rate for Rate for in Inches in Type Part No. Lighting Rate 20 Minutes 5 Hours L. Pounds —— ———— ——————- ————— ———— ————- ———

6-A-11 100071 64 68 9.1 8 38 6-A-13 100072 79 82 11.0 9-1/8 42 6-A-15 100073 94 96 12.8 10-1/4 46 6-A-17 100074 109 109 14.6 11-9/16 52 6-A-21 100075 139 136 18.2 14-3/16 63 6-A-25 100076 169 164 22.0 17 75 12-A-7 100077 34 41 5.5 10-7/16 48 12-A-11 100078 64 68 9.1 14-15/16 70 12-A-17 100079 109 109 14.6 22-1/16 102


Width Height Thickness ——- ——— ————- 5-5/8 4-1/8 .098

Type "B" Batteries

The type "B" series of batteries has been designed for use on a number of cars now in service that do not have a sufficient headroom in the battery compartment for type "C."

Type "B" batteries carry all of the features of the type "C." Due to the fact that the plates of necessity must be somewhat shorter than in the type "C" batteries their efficiency from the point of ampere hours per pound of weight is slightly less than the type "C" series.

Ampere Hours Ampere Ampere Length Weight at Usual Rate for Rate for in Inches in Type Part No. Lighting Rate 20 Minutes 5 Hours L. Pounds —— ———— ——————- ————— ———— ————- ——— 6-B-7 100031 41 44 6.6 5-3/4 30 6-B-9 100032 59 66 8.8 6.7/8 36 6-B-11 100033 77 82 11.0 8 41 6-B-13 100034 95 99 13.2 9-1/2 47 6-B-15 100035 114 115 15.4 10-1/4 52 6-B-17 100036 132 131 17.6 11-9/16 57 6-B-19 100037 150 148 19.8 12-7/8 60 6-B-21 100038 168 164 22.0 14-3/16 68 6-B-23 100039 186 181 24.2 15-1/2 75 6-B-25 100040 205 197 26.4 17 82 12-B-7 100041 41 49 6.6 10-7/16 54 12-B-9 100042 59 66 8.8 12-11/16 66 12-B-11 100043 77 82 11.0 14-15/16 78 12-B-13 100044 95 99 13.2 17-3/16 91 12-B-15 100045 114 115 15.4 19-7/16 102 12-B-17 100046 132 131 17.6 22-1/16 113


Width Height Thickness ——- ——— ————- 5-5/8 4-3/4 0.1

Type "C" Batteries

The type "C" series of batteries is the Westinghouse standard. The outside dimensions and capacity are such that some one of this design may be used in a majority of cars now in service. The Westinghouse design was built around this type and it should be used for replacement or new equipment.

Type "C" batteries are provided with the Westinghouse Post Seal wherever possible.

Ampere Hours Ampere Ampere Length Weight at Usual Rate for Rate for in Inches in Type Part No. Lighting Rate 20 Minutes 5 Hours L. Pounds —— ———— ——————- ————— ———— ————- ——— 6-C-7 100001 45 54 7.3 5-7/8 34 6-C-9 100002 65 73 9.7 7 39 6-C-11 100003 85 91 12.1 8-1/8 44 6-C-13 100004 105 109 14.6 9-1/4 50 6-C-15 100005 125 127 17.0 10-3/8 56 6-C-17 100006 145 145 19.4 11-11/16 63 6-C-19 100007 165 163 21.8 13 70 6-C-21 100008 185 181 24.3 14-5/16 77 6-C-23 100009 205 199 26.7 15-5/8 85 6-C-25 100010 225 218 29.2 17-1/8 93 12-C-7 100011 45 54 7.3 10-9/16 59 12-C-19 100012 65 73 9.7 12-13/16 72 12-C-11 100013 85 91 12.1 15-1/16 84 12-C-13 100014 105 109 14.6 17-5/16 96 12-C-15 100015 125 127 17.0 19-8/16 110


Width Height Thickness ——- ——— ————- 5-5/8 4-1/4 0.1 inch

Type "E" Batteries

The type "E" series was designed for replacement work on a few old model cars now in service where a narrow, high battery was necessary. The design is not as efficient as the "B" and "C" lines, due to a lack of space and further, it has been necessary to omit the Westinghouse Post Seal for the same reason.

Ampere Hours Ampere Ampere Length Weight at Usual Rate for Rate for in Inches in Type Part No. Lighting Rate 20 Minutes 5 Hours L. Pounds —— ———— ——————- ————— ———— ————- ——— 6-E-13 100058 79 82 11.0 9-1/8 40 6-E-15 100062 94 96 12.8 10-1/4 44 6-E-17 100065 109 109 14.6 11-9/16 50 6-E-21 100067 139 136 18.2 14-3/16 62 12-E-11 100088 64 68 9.1 14-15/16 70 12-E-13 100060 79 82 11.0 17-3/16 79 12-E-15 100069 94 96 12.8 19-7/16 90 18-E-9 100070 49 54 7.3 15-5/16 75


Width Height Thickness ——- ——— ————- 4-1/8 5-5/8 .098

Type "H" Batteries

The type "H" battery is built with heavier plates than the type "C" and "B" batteries for use in cars where the necessary increased space is available and where the weight per ampere output is not a consideration. Under the same use the battery will give a greater life than the type "C" or "B" battery having the same positive area.

This battery has a greater space between the plates than the "C" or "B" battery and will therefore have less internal discharge when standing on open circuit, and is more desirable for miscellaneous use where open circuit discharge is of consideration.

Ampere Hours Ampere Ampere Length Weight at Usual Rate for Rate for in Inches in Type Part No. Lighting Rate 20 Minutes 5 Hours L. Pounds —— ———— ——————- ————— ———— ————- ——— 6-H-17 100089 61 74 9.9 7-3/4 35 6-H-9 100090 88 89 13.2 9-1/4 43 6-H-11 100091 115 124 16.5 11-1/2 55 6-H-13 100092 143 149 19.8 12-5/8 36 6-H-15 100093 170 173 23.2 14-5/16 70 6-H-17 100094 197 109 26.5 16 79


Width Height Thickness ——- ——— ————- 5-5/8 5 .19

Type "J" Batteries

The type "J" battery is an extremely heavy construction battery with thick plates, and it was designed primarily for use on trucks and other vehicles of this type where there is excessive vibration and other possibility of mechanical abuse. This battery will give a greater life than either the "H", "C" or "B" battery with the same plate area. It is provided with wood separators and rubber sheets.

This battery has a greater space between the plates than the "C" or "B" battery and will therefore have less internal discharge when standing on open circuit, and is more desirable for miscellaneous use where open circuit discharge is of consideration.

Ampere Hours Ampere Ampere Length Weight at Usual Rate for Rate for in Inches in Type Part No. Lighting Rate 20 Minutes 5 Hours L. Pounds —— ———— ——————- ————— ———— ————- ——— 6-J-5 100095 38 55 7.35 6-7/16 38 6-J-7 100096 68 82 11.0 8-1/8 40 6-J-9 100097 98 110 14.7 10-3/8 50 6-J-11 100098 128 137 18.4 11-7/8 60 6-J-13 100099 159 165 22.1 13-3/4 69 6-J-15 100100 189 192 25.7 15-5/8 84 6-J-17 100101 220 220 29.4 17-1/2 96


Width Height Thickness ——- ——— ————- 5-5/8 5 .19

Type "0" Batteries

The "0" type battery sacrifices some capacity in obtaining a rugged strength. It is a special battery made only with nineteen plates per cell where the percentage of sacrificed capacity is not great as compared with the twenty-one plate "C" type. It fills the same space as does a 6-C-21. It has greater life and strength. It has less capacity but it is built for conditions requiring less capacity than a twenty-one plate cell.

Ampere Hours Ampere Ampere Length Weight at Usual Rate for Rate for in Inches in Type Part No. Lighting Rate 20 Minutes 5 Hours L. Pounds —— ———— ——————- ————— ———— ————- ——— 6-O-19 100143 185 185 24.5 13-11/16 68


Width Height Thickness ——- ——— ————- 5-5/8 5-1/4 .123

Type "F" Batteries

There is only one type "F" battery. It is of big heavy construction exactly the same dimensions as the battery used for a number of years on the Cadillac and certain other cars. This battery is heavier than type "C" of the same capacity and it has a greater life.

Ampere Hours Ampere Ampere Length Weight at Usual Rate for Rate for in Inches in Type Part No. Lighting Rate 20 Minutes 5 Hours L. Pounds —— ———— ——————- ————— ———— ————- ——— 6-F-13 100086 150 160 21.2 17-11/16 79


Width Height Thickness ——- ——— ————- 4-3/4 5-1/4 .17


Since 1912, when the Willard Storage Battery Co. began to manufacture storage batteries for starting and lighting work, various types of Willard batteries have been developed. The original Willard starting and lighting batteries used two-piece, or "double" covers. These are shown in the cuts used to illustrate the sealing of double-cover covers in the preceding chapter, and no further description will be given here. The doublecover batteries are no longer made, but the repairman will probably be called upon to repair some of them. The instructions given in the preceding chapter should be used in making such repairs.

Following the double cover batteries came the single cover battery, of which a number of types have been made. One type used a rectangular post, and was very difficult to repair. Fortunately, this type was not used extensively, and the battery is obsolete.

Willard Batteries With Compound Sealed Posts

The oldest type single-cover Willard battery which the repairman will be called upon to handle is the compound sealed post type, illustrated in-Fig. 277. This battery includes types SEW, SER, SJW, SL, SLR, SM, SMR, STR, SXW, SXR, SP, SK, SQ, EM, and EMR. As shown in Fig. 277, there is a well around each post which is filled with: sealing compound. On the under side of the cover is a corresponding well which fits into the post well, the sealing compound serving to make the seal between the cover and the post.

[Fig. 277 Willard Battery cross section]

Aside from this post seal, no special instructions are required in rebuilding this type of Willard battery. A 3/4 inch drill is needed for drilling off the connectors. When the plates have been lifted out of the jars, and are resting on the jar to drain, and while the compound and cover are still hot, remove the cover by placing your fingers under it and pressing down on the posts with your thumbs.

With a narrow screw driver or a knife, clean out all of the old compound from the wells around the posts, and also remove the compound from the under side of the cover which fits into the post wells.

In reassembling the battery first try on the covers to see that they will fit in the post wells. Then remove the covers again and heat them with a soft flame. Then heat the post wells perfectly dry with a soft flame. Pour the post wells nearly full of compound, and quickly press the cover into position.

Willard Batteries With Lead Inserts In Covers

The types SJWN and SJRN Willard batteries have lead inserts in the cover post holes, as shown in Mg. 278, the inserts being welded to the posts. For removing the connectors and for separating the post from the cover insert, the Willard Company furnishes special jigs and forms. The work may also be done without these jigs and forms, as will be described later.

When the special jigs and forms are used, the work is done, as follows:

1. Place Willard drill jig Z-72 (Fig. 279) over the connector, and with a 13/16 inch drill, bore down far enough to release the connector from the post (Fig. 279).

[Fig. 278 lead insert used on Willard Batteries; Fig. 279 Willard Drill Jig Z-72; Fig. 279 Willard Drill Jig Z-72 and how it is used]

2. File off the post stub left by drilling. This will give a flat surface on top of the cover insert and will make it easier to center the drill for the next operation.

3. With a 57/64 inch drill, and Willard jig Z-94 (Fig. 280), drill down to release the post from the cover insert.

[Fig. 280 Willard Jig Z-94; Fig. 281 Willard Post-Builder Z-93]

4. In reassembling, build the post up to a height of 1-5/16 inches above the top of the plate strap, using Willard post builder Z-93 (Fig. 281).

5. After removing the post builder, bevel the top edge of the post with a file, as indicated at "A" (Fig. 281). Then replace plates in the jars.

6. File off tops of cover inserts at "A" (Fig. 282), to a height of 3/16 inch above the cover. Also remove any roughness on surface "B" caused by pliers when cover was removed.

[Fig. 282 Willard Battery cross section of cover insert; Fig. 283 Willard burning form Z-87 and how it is used]

7. Put on the covers so that their tops will be 1/32 inch above the top edge of the jars, tapping them lightly with a small hammer.

8. Place Willard burning form Z-87 (Fig. 283) over the post and cover insert and burn the post to the insert.

9. Remove form Z-87 and thoroughly brush off the top of the post stub. Then build up the stub post, using Willard burning form Z-88 on the positive posts and form Z-89 on the negative posts (Fig. 284).

[Fig. 284 Willard burning forms Z-88 and Z-89]

10. Now seal the covers with sealing compound as usual, and burn on the connectors.

11. If the terminal posts are made for clamp terminals, build up the posts by using Willard burning form Z-90, for the positive posts and Z-91 for the negative posts (Fig. 285).

[Fig. 285 Willard burning forms Z-90 and Z-91]

To work on the post seals of Willard types SJWN and SJRN without the special Willard jigs and forms:

1. Remove the connectors and terminals as usual.

2. Saw off the posts close to the covers, taking care not to injure the covers; This will separate the posts from the cover inserts, and the covers may be removed.

3. In reassembling, Ale off the top of the cover insert at "A" (Fig. 292).

4. Put covers on so that their tops will be 1/32 inch above the top edge of the jars, tapping the covers lightly with a small hammer.

5. Brush the top of post and cover insert perfectly clean. Now make a burning form consisting of a ring 1-1/8 inside diameter and 1-5/8 inch outside diameter and 3/16 to 1/4 inch high. Set this over the stub post and cover. With a hot lead burning flame melt the top of the post and cover insert together. Then melt in lead up to the top of the special burning form (Fig. 286). Then remove the form.

[Fig. 286 Cross section Willard Battery Posts Types SJWN and SJRN]

6. Set post builders on the part of the posts which has been built up and build up the posts as usual, Fig. 286. Then burn on the connectors and terminals.

Willard Gasket Type Batteries

Fig. 287 shows this type of construction, used on types SJRG and SLWG.

Fig. 288 shows the seal in detail. A soft rubber gasket is slipped over the post, and the cover is pushed down over the gasket. For removing the covers, have a cover removal frame made as shown in Fig.

289. Fasten the frame to a solid wall or bench so that it will withstand a strong pull. In rebuilding this type of battery proceed as follows:

[Fig. 287 Willard Gasket Seal Battery cross section]

1. Drill off the connectors and terminals, leaving the post stubs, as high as possible, since the only way of removing the plates is by grasping the post stubs with pliers.

[Fig. 288 Details of Willard Gasket Seal]

2. Steam the battery to soften the sealing compound and lift out the plates as usual.

3. To remove covers. Saw the post stubs off flush with the covers. Place the element in the cover removal frame (Fig. 289) and pull steadily on the element. A little swaying motion from side to side may help in loosening the covers. If any of the gaskets remain on the posts when the covers are removed, replace them in the cover and thoroughly dry the inside with a rag.

[Fig. 289 Cover removal frame for Willard Gasket Seal Battery]

4. To replace covers. With a rag or tissue paper wipe off the posts and then dry them thoroughly with a soft flame.

With a 3/4 inch bristle bottle brush apply a thin coating of rubber cement to the inside surfaces of the gaskets. Do this to one cover at a time and apply the cover quickly before the cement dries. The cement acts as a lubricant, and without it, it will be impossible to replace the covers.

Willard Separators

Fig. 290 shows the Willard Threaded Rubber Separator which is made of a rubber sheet pierced by thousands of threads which are designed to make the separator porous. This separator is not injured by allowing it to become dry, and makes it possible for the Willard Company to ship its batteries fully assembled without electrolyte or moisture, the parts being "bone-dry."

[Fig. 290 Willard threaded rubber separator]


Types. The Universal Battery Co. manufactures batteries for (a) Starting and Lighting, (b) Lighting, (c) Ignition, (d) Radio, (e) Electric Cars and Trucks, (f) Isolated, or Farm Lighting Plants, and (g) General Stationary Work.

Construction Features. The Universal Starting and Lighting Batteries embody no special or unique constructions. The boxes are made of hard maple, lock cornered and glued. The jars have single rubber covers. The separators are made of Port Orford white cedar wood, this wood being the same as that used in some of the other standard makes of batteries. The space between the covers and connectors is sufficient to permit lifting the battery by grasping the connectors.

[Fig. 291 Universal Battery Cover cross section]

Fig. 291 shows the Universal Co. Post Seal construction. A soft rubber washer (A) is first slipped over the post. The cover (B) is then put in place, and rests on the washer (A) as shown. A second washer (C) is then slipped over the post, resting on the upper surface of the shoulder of the cover. The lead sleeve washer (D) is then forced down over the post, pressing washer (C) down on the cover, and pressing the cover down on washer (A). The two rubber washers serve to make a leak proof joint between post and cover. The lead sleeve-washer (D) "freezes" to the post, and holds cover and washers in position.

In rebuilding Universal batteries the cover need not be removed unless it is desired to replace plate groups. To remove the cover, after the cell connectors have been drilled off, drill down through the post-stub until the drill has penetrated to the shoulder (E). This releases the seal and the cover may be lifted off. To save time, the post-stub may be cut off flush with the top of the cover with a hack saw after the cell connectors have been drilled off. The drill is then used as before to release the grip of the washer. Using a drill to release the grip of the washer makes it necessary to build up the posts when the battery is reassembled. Instead of using an ordinary twist drill, a special hollow drill may be obtained from the Universal Battery Co. This drill cuts away the lead sleeve gasket without injuring the post. If an ordinary drill is used, a 3/4 inch drill is required for the seven plate battery and a 13/16 inch drill for all other sizes.


The standard practice in battery assembly has always been to place the plates of each cell in a separate, hard rubber jar, the jars being set in a wooden box or case. Each six-volt battery thus has four containers. When a wooden case is used, jars made of rubber, or some other nonporous, acid-resisting material are necessary.

[Fig. 292 One-piece battery container]

Wooden cases have been fairly well standardized as to the kinds of wood used, dimensions, constructional features, and to a certain extent, the handles. The disadvantage of both the wooden case and the iron handles is that they are not acid proof. Acid-proof paint protects them from the action of the acid to a certain extent, but paint is easily scraped off, exposing the wood and iron to the action of the acid. It is practically impossible to prevent acid from reaching the case and handles, and corroded handles and rotted cases are quite common.

A recent development is a one-piece container which takes the place of the jars and wooden case. Such a container is made of hard rubber or a composition of impregnated fibre which uses a small amount of rubber as a binder. These cases are, of course, entirely acid proof, and eliminate the possibility of having acid soaked and acid rotted cases. Painting of cases is also eliminated. The handles are often integral parts of the case, as shown in Fig. 292, being made of the same material as the case.

The repairman should not overlook the possibilities of the one-piece containers. In making up rental batteries, or in replacing old cases, the one-piece containers may be used to advantage. These containers are suitable for Radio batteries, since they have a neater appearance than the wooden cases, and are not as likely to damage floors or furnishings because the acid cannot seep through them.


The Titan Battery is built along standard lines, as far as cases, plates, separators, and jars are concerned. The ribs of the grids not arranged at right angles but are arranged as shown in Fig. 293. Each pellet of active material is supported by a diagonal rib on the opposite face of the grid.

[Fig. 293a Titan Battery grid] [Fig. 293b Titan Post Seal construction]

The Titan Post Seal is shown in Fig. 293. A soft rubber gasket (G) is slipped over the post, and rests on a shoulder (F) on the post. The cover has a channel which fits over the gasket and prevents the gasket from being squeezed out of place when the cover is forced down on the gasket. The post has two projections (DD), as shown, the lower surface of each of which is inclined at an angle to the horizontal. A lock nut (H), which has corresponding projections (IJ) is slipped over the post as shown at (0), and is given a quarter turn. The top surfaces of the projections on the lock-nut are inclined and as the locknut is turned, the projections on the post and nut engage, and the cover is forced down on the gasket (G). To lock the nut in place, a lock washer (L) is then slipped over the post, the projections (MM) fitting into spaces (KK) between the projections on the post and nut, thus preventing the nut from turning. A special wrench is furnished for turning the lock-nut. The cell connectors rest on the tops of the lock washers and keep them in place.

The overhauling of Titan batteries should be done as described on pages 328 to 374.





Although the large Central Station Companies are continually extending their power lines, and are enlarging the territory served by them, yet there are many places where such service is not available. To meet the demand for electrical power in these places, small but complete generating plants have been produced by a number of manufacturers. These plants consist of an electrical generator, an engine, to drive the generator, and a storage battery to supply power when the generator is not running. The complete plants are called "House Lighting," "Farm Lighting," or "Isolated" plants.

The batteries used in these plants differ considerably from the starting batteries used on automobiles. The starting battery is called upon to deliver very heavy currents for short intervals. On the car the battery is always being charged when the car is running at a moderate speed or over. The battery must fit in the limited space provided for it on the car, and must not lose any electrolyte as the car jolts along over the road. It is subjected to both high and low temperatures; and is generally on a car whose owner often does not know that his car has such a thing as a battery until his starting motor some day fails to turn over the engine. All starting batteries have wooden cases (some now use rubber cases), hard rubber jars, and sealed on covers. The case contains all the cells of the battery. Automobile batteries have, therefore, become highly standardized, and to the uninformed, one make looks just like any other.

Farm lighting batteries, on the other hand, are not limited as to space they occupy, are not subjected to irregular charging and discharging, do not need leak proof covers, and are not called upon to delivery very heavy currents for short periods. These facts are taken advantage of by the manufacturers, who have designed their farm lighting batteries to give a much longer life than is possible in the automobile battery. As a result the farm lighting battery differs from the automobile battery in a number of respects.

Jars. Both glass and rubber are used for farm lighting battery jars, and they may or may not have sealed-in covers. Fig. 294 shows a glass jar of an Exide battery having a hard rubber cover, and Fig. 295 shows a Prest-O-Lite glass jar cell having a cover made of lead and antimony. Unsealed glass jars, such as the Exide type shown in Fig. 324, generally have a plate of glass placed across the top to catch acid spray when the cell is gassing. Each jar with its plates and electrolyte forms a complete and separate unit which may easily be disconnected from the other cells of the battery by removing the bolts which join them. In working on a farm lighting battery, the repairman, therefore, works with individual cells instead of the battery as a whole, as is done with automobile batteries.

[Fig. 294 Exide "Delco Light" farming lighting cell with hard rubber cover]

Batteries with sealed jars are generally shipped completely assembled and filled with electrolyte, and need only a freshening charge before being put into service, just as automobile batteries which are shipped "wet" are in a fully charged condition when they leave the factory and need only a charge before being installed on the car.

[Fig. 295 Prest-O-Lite farm lighting cell with lead-antimony cover]

Jars that are not sealed are set in separate glass trays filled with sand, or sometimes the entire battery is set in a shallow wooden box or tray filled with sand. This is necessary because the absence of a sealed cover allows acid spray to run down the outside of the jar and this acid would, of course, attack the wooden shelf and make a dirty, sloppy battery. Batteries using jars without sealed covers cannot be shipped assembled and charged, and hence they require a considerable amount of work and along initial charge to put them in a serviceable condition.

[Fig. 296 Exide farm lighting cell with sealed glass jar]

Farm lighting battery jars are less liable to become cracked than those of automobile batteries because they are set in one place and remain there, and are not jolted about as automobile batteries are. Cracked jars in farm lighting batteries are more easily detected as the jar will be wet on the outside and the acid will wet the shelf or sand tray on which the jar rests.

Batteries with sealed rubber jars are normally assembled four cells in a case or tray, with a nameplate on each tray which gives the type and size of cell. The cells are connected together with lead links which are bolted to the cell posts by means of lead covered bolt connectors.

[Fig. 297 Combination wood and rubber separator used in Delco-Light and Exide Farm light cell]

Plates. Since farm lighting batteries are not required to deliver very heavy currents at any time, the plates are made thicker than in starting batteries, this giving a stronger plate which has a longer life than the starting battery plate.

All makes of starting batteries use the Faure, or pasted plate. This type of plate is also used in many farm lighting batteries, but the Plante plate (see page 27) may also be used. The Exide "Chloride Accumulator" cell, Fig. 323 uses a type of positive plate called the "Manchester" positive as described on page 497.

Separators. Grooved wooden separators are used in some farm lighting batteries, while others use rubber separators, or both rubber and wooden separators. Some use wooden separators which are smooth on both sides, but have dowels pinned to them.

Electrolyte. In a starting battery the specific gravity of the electrolyte of a fully charged cell is 1.280-1.300, no matter what the make of the battery may be. In farm lighting batteries, the different types have different values of specific gravity when fully charged. The usual values are as follows:

(a) Batteries with sealed glass jars 1.210 to 1.250

(b) Batteries with open glass jars 1.200 to 1.250

(c) Batteries with sealed rubber jars 1.260 to 1.280

A brief discussion of specific gravity might be helpful at this point. In any lead acid battery current is produced by a chemical action between the active material in the plates and the water and sulphuric acid in the electrolyte. The amount of energy which can be delivered by the battery depends on the amount of active material, sulphuric acid, and water which enter into the chemical actions of the cell. As these chemical actions take place, sulphuric acid is used up, and hence there must be enough acid contained in the electrolyte to enter into the chemical actions. The amount of water and acid in the electrolyte may be varied, as long as there is enough of each present to combine with the active material of the plates so as to enable the cell to deliver its full capacity. Increasing the amount of acid will result in the plates and separators being attacked and injured by the acid. Increasing the amount of water dilutes the acid, giving a lower gravity, and preventing the Acid from injuring plates and separators. This results in a longer life for the battery, and is a desirable condition. In starter batteries, there is not enough space in the jars for the increased amount of water. In farm lighting batteries, where the space occupied by the battery is not so important, the jars are made large enough to hold a greater amount of water, thus giving an electrolyte which has a lower specific gravity than in starting batteries.

Take a fully charged cell of any starting battery. It contains a set of plates and the electrolyte which is composed of a certain necessary amount of acid and a certain amount of water. If we put the plates of this cell in a larger jar, add the same amount of acid as before, but add a greater amount of water than was contained in the smaller jar, we will still have a fully charged cell of the same capacity as before, but the specific gravity of the electrolyte will be lower.

Charging Equipment. Automobile batteries are being charged whenever the car is running at more than about 10 miles per hour, regardless of what their condition may be.

In farm lighting outfits, the charging is under the control of the operator, and the battery is charged when a charge is necessary. There is, therefore, very much less danger of starving or overcharging the battery. The operator must, however, watch his battery carefully, and charge it as often as may be necessary, and not allow it to go without its regular charge.

The generator of a farm lighting outfit is usually driven by an internal combustion engine furnished with the outfit. The engine may be connected to the generator by a belt, or its shaft may be connected directly to the generator shaft. A switchboard carrying the necessary instruments and switches also goes with the outfit. The charging of farm lighting batteries is very much like the charging of automobile batteries on the charging bench, except that the batteries are at all times connected to switches, by means of which they may be put on the charging line.

Some plants are so arranged that the battery and generator do not provide current for the lights at the same time, lights being out while the battery is charging. In others the generator and battery, in emergency, may both provide current. In others the lights may burn while the battery is being charged; in this case the battery is sometimes provided with counter-electromotive force cells which permit high enough voltage across the battery to charge it and yet limit the voltage across the lamps to prevent burning them out or shortening their life. In some cases the battery is divided into two sets which are charged in parallel and discharged in series.

Relation of the Automobile Storage Battery Man to the Farm Lighting Plant. Owners and prospective owners of farm lighting plants generally know but little about the care or repair of electrical apparatus, especially batteries, which are not as easily understood as lamps, motors or generators. Prospective owners may quite likely call upon the automobile battery repair man for advice as to the installation, operation, maintenance, and repair of his battery and the automobile battery repairman should have little trouble in learning how to take care of farm lighting batteries. The details in which these batteries differ from starting batteries should be studied and mastered, and a new source of business will be opened.

Farm lighting plants in the vicinity should be studied and observed while they are in good working order, the details of construction and operation studied, the layout of the various circuits to lamps, motors, heaters, etc., examined so as to become familiar with the plants. Then When anything goes wrong with the battery, or even the other parts of the plant, there will be no difficulty in putting things back in running order.

Selection of Plant

"Farm Lighting Plant" is the name applied to the small electric plant to be used where a central station supply is not available. Such a plant, of course, may be used for driving motors and heating devices, as well as operating electric lights, and the plant is really a "Farm Lighting and Power Plant."

Make. There are several very good lighting plants on the market and the selection of the make of the plant must be left to the discretion of the owner, or whomever the owner may ask for advice. The selection will depend on cost, whether the plant will fill the particular requirements, what makes can be obtained nearby, on the delivery that can be made, and the service policy of the manufacturer.

Type. Plants are made which come complete with battery, generator, engine, and switchboard mounted on one base. All such a plant requires is a suitable floor space for its installation. Other plants have all parts separate, and require more work to install. With some plants, the generator and engine may be mounted as a unit on one base, with battery and switchboard separate.

The type of jar used in the battery may influence the choice. Jars are made of glass or rubber. The glass jars have sealed covers, or have no covers. The rubber jars generally have a sealed cover. The glass jar has the advantage that the interior may be seen at all times, and the height of the electrolyte and sediment may be seen and the condition of the plates, etc., determined by a simple inspection. This is an important feature and one that will be appreciated by the one who takes care of the battery. Jars with sealed covers, or covers which although not sealed, close up the top of the jar completely have the advantage of keeping in acid spray, and keeping out dirt and impurities. Open jars are generally set in trays of sand to catch electrolyte which runs down the outside walls of the jars. The open jars have the advantage that the plates are very easily removed, but have the disadvantage that acid spray is not kept in effectually, although a plate of glass is generally laid over part of the top of the jar, and that dirt and dust may fall into the jar.

Size. The capacity of storage battery cells is rated in ampere hours, while power consumed by lights, motors, etc., is measured in watt hours, or kilowatt hours. However, the ampere hour capacity of a battery can be changed to watt hours since watt hours is equal to

Watt hours = ampere hours multiplied by the volts

If we have a 16 cell battery, each cell of which is an 80 ampere hour cell, the ampere hour capacity of the entire battery will be 80, the same as that of one of its cells, since the cells are all in series and the same current passes through all cells. The watt hour capacity of the battery will be 32 times 80, or 2560. The ampere hour capacity is computed for the 8 hour rate, that is, the current is drawn from the battery continuously for 8 hours, and at the end of that time the battery is discharged. If the current is not drawn from the battery continuously for 8 hours, but is used for shorter intervals intermittently, the ampere hour capacity of the battery will be somewhat greater. It seldom occurs that in any installation the battery is used continuously for eight hours at a rate which will discharge it in that time, and hence a greater capacity is obtained from the battery. Some manufacturers do not rate their batteries at the 8 hour continuous discharge rate but use the intermittent rate, thus rating a battery 30 to 40 percent higher. Rated in this way, a battery of 16 cells rated at 80 ampere hours at the 8 hour rate would be rated at 112 ampere hours, or 3584 watt hours.

In determining the size of the battery required, estimate as nearly as possible how many lamps, motors, and heaters, etc., will be used. Compute the watts (volts X amperes), required by each. Estimate how long each appliance will be used each day, and thus obtain the total watt hours used per day. Multiply this by 7 to get the watt hours per week. The total watt hours required in one week should not be equal to more than twice the watt hour capacity of the battery (ampere hours multiplied by the total battery voltage) at the eight hour rate. This means that the battery should not require a charge oftener than two times a week.

The capacity of a battery is often measured in the number of lamps it will burn brightly for eight hours. The watts consumed by motors, heaters, etc., may be expressed in a certain number of lamps. The following table will be of assistance in determining the size of the battery required:

Watts Equivalent Number No. Type of Appliance Consumed of 20 Watt Lamps —- ————————- ———— ————————-

1 16 candle power, Mazda lamp 20 1 2 12 candle power, Mazda lamp 115 3/4 3 Electric Fan, small size 75 4 4 Small Sewing machine motor 100 5 5 Vacuum cleaner 160 8 6 Washing machine 200 10 7 Churn, 1/6 h.p. 200 10 8 Cream Separator, 1/6 h.p. 200 10 9 Water pump 1/6 h.p. 200 10 10 Electric water heater, small 350 18 11 Electric toaster 525 26 12 Electric stove, small 600 30 13 Electric iron 600 30 14 Pump, 1/2 h.p. 600 30

From the foregoing table we can determine the current consumption of the various appliances:

Amps at 32 Amps at 110 No. Watts Volts Volts —- ——- ————— —————— 1 20 0.625 0.18 2 15 0.47 0.14 3 75 2.34 6.80 4 100 3.125 0.90 5 160 5.00 1.44 6 200 6.25 1.80 7 200 6.25 1.80 8 200 6.25 1.80 9 200 6.25 1.80 10 350 11.00 3.20 11 525 16.4 4.77 12 600 18.75 5.40 13 600 18.75 5.40 14 600 18.75 5.40

The following tables show how long the battery will carry various currents continuously:

[Images: various charts/tables]

Location of Plant

The various appliances should be placed as near to each other as possible. The lights, of course, must be placed so as to illuminate the different rooms, barns, etc., but the power devices should be placed as close as possible to each other and to the plant. The purpose of this is to use as little wire as possible between the plant and the various appliances so as to prevent excessive voltage drop in the lines.


The wires leading to the various appliances should be large enough so that not more than one or two volts are lost in the wires. To obtain the resistance of the wire leading to any appliance, use the following equation:

Knowing the resistance of the wire, and the total length of the two wires leading from the plant to the appliance, the size of the wire may be obtained from a wiring table.

Rubber insulated copper wire covered with a double braid should preferably be used, and the duplex wire is often more convenient than the single wire, especially in running from one building to another. Wiring on the inside of buildings should be done neatly, running the wires on porcelain insulators, and as directly to the appliance as possible. The standard rules for interior wiring as to fuses, soldering joints, etc., should be followed.


(See also special instructions for the different makes, beginning page 460.)

The room in which the plant is installed should be clean, dry, and well ventilated. It should be one which is not very cold in winter, as a cold battery is very sluggish and seems to lack capacity. If possible, have the plant in a separate room in order to keep out dirt and dust. If no separate room is available, it is a good plan to build a small room in a corner of a large room. Keep the room clean and free of miscellaneous tools and rubbish.

If the entire plant comes complete on one base, all that is necessary is to bolt the base securely to the floor, which should be as nearly level as possible. If the battery is to be installed separately, build a rack. Give the rack several coats of asphaltum paint to make it acid proof. The location of the battery rack should be such that the rack will be:

(a) Free from vibration.

(b) At least 3 feet from the exhaust pipe of engine.

(c) Far enough away from the wall to prevent dirt or loose mortar from dropping on the cells.

Figs. 298 and 299 illustrate two types of battery racks recommended for use with farm light batteries. The stair-step rack is most desirable where there is sufficient room for its installation. Where the space is insufficient to make this installation, use the two-tier shelf rack. The racks should be made from 1-1/2 or 2 inch boards.

[Fig. 298 "Stair-Step" rack for farm lighting battery]

The cells may be placed on the battery rack with either the face or the edges of the plates facing out. The latter method requires a shorter battery rack and is very desirable from the standpoint of future inspections. In very dark places, it is more desirable to have the surface of the plates turned out to enable the user to see when the cells are bubbling during the monthly equalizing charge. Either method is satisfactory.

All metal parts such as pipes, bolt heads, etc., which are near the battery should be given at least three coats of asphaltum paint. Care must be taken not to have an open flame of any kind in the battery room, as the hydrogen and oxygen gases, given off as a battery charges may explode and cause injury to the person and possible severe damage to the battery. When making an installation, it is always a good plan to carry the following material for taking care of spillage and broken jars:

1. 1 Thermometer 2. 2 Series Cells 3. 6 Battery Bolts and Nuts 4. 1 Hydrometer Syringe 5. 2 Gallons distilled water 6. 1 Jar Vaseline 7. 1 Gallon 1.220 specific gravity electrolyte

[Fig. 299 Installation of a Delco-Light plant, showing two-tier shelf rack for battery]

When a battery arrives at the shipping destination, the person lifting this shipment should remove the slats from the top of each crate and inspect each cell for concealed damage, such as breakage: Should any damage be discovered, it is important that a notation covering this damage be made and signed by the freight agent on the freight bill. This will enable the customer or dealer to make a claim against the railroad for the amount of damage. If a notation of this kind is not made before the battery is lifted, the dealer will be forced to stand the expense of repairing or replacing the damaged cells.

When removing cells from a crate, avoid lifting them by the terminal posts as much as possible. This causes the weight of the electrolyte and jar to pull on the sealing compound between the jar and cover, and if the sealing is not absolutely tight, the jar and electrolyte may fall from the cover. A cell should never be carried using the terminal posts as handles. The hand should be put underneath the jar.

Sometimes a battery will arrive with electrolyte spilled from some of the cells. If spillage is only about one-half to one inch down on the plates of three or four cells, this spillage may be replaced by drawing a little electrolyte out of each cell of the other full cells in the set. Oftentimes several cells will have electrolyte extending above the water line, which will aid greatly in making up any loss in other cells. After all cells have been drawn on to fill up the ones that are spilled, the entire set may then have its electrolyte brought up to the water line by adding distilled water.

Very carefully adjust spillage of pilot cells (Delco), as it is very important that the specific gravity of the pilot cells be left as near 1.220 as possible.

In case the spillage is more than one inch below the top of plates or glass broken, remove cell and install a new cell in its place. The spilled or broken cell must not be used until given special treatment.

Connecting Cells

Before connecting up the cells the terminals should be scraped clean for about 11/2 inches on both sides. An old knife or rough file is suitable for doing this work. After the terminals are thoroughly brightened, they should be covered with vaseline. The bolts and nuts used in making the connections on the battery should also be coated with vaseline. The vaseline prevents and retards corrosion, which is harmful to efficient operation.

If a new battery is to be installed in parallel with one already in service, connections should be made so that each series will consist of half new and half old cells. The pilot cells for the new battery should be placed in one series and that for the old battery in the other, unless local conditions may make some other arrangement desirable.

A drop light must always be provided to enable the user to inspect his battery, particularly when giving the monthly equalizing charge.

Initial Charge

When a battery is connected to the plant, it should be given a proper INITIAL CHARGE before any power or lights are used.

Batteries shipped filled with electrolyte are fully charged before leaving the factory. As soon as a storage battery cell of any type or make is taken off charge and stands idle for a considerable length of time, some of the acid in the electrolyte is absorbed by the plates, thereby lowering the gravity and forming sulphate on the plates. This process is very gradual, but it is continuous, and unless the acid is completely driven out of the plates by charging before the battery is used, the battery will not give as good service as the user has a right to expect. Due to the time required in shipment, the above action has a chance to take place, which makes it necessary to give the initial charge.

The initial charge consists of charging the battery, with the power and light switch open, until each cell is bubbling freely from the top to bottom on the surface of the outside negative plates and both pilot balls are up (Delco-Light), and then CONTINUING THE CHARGE FOR FIVE HOURS MORE. If the battery has no pilot cells, measure the specific gravity of the electrolyte of each cell, and continue the charge until six consecutive readings show no increase in gravity.

As an accurate check on giving the initial charge properly (Delco-Light), we strongly recommend that hourly hydrometer readings of both pilot cells be taken after both balls are up, the charge to be continued until six consecutive hourly readings show no RISE in gravity.

Due to the fact that it is impossible to hold each cell in a battery to a definite maximum gravity when fully charged, there is likely to be a variation of from ten to fifteen points in the specific gravity readings of the various cells. It should be understood, however, that the maximum gravity is the gravity when the cells are fully charged and with the level of the solution at the water line. For example, with each cell in a battery fully charged and therefore at maximum gravity and with the level at the proper height, some cells may read 1.230, one or two 1.235, several 1.215 and 1.210. All of these cells will operate efficiently, and there should be no cause for alarm. An exception to this is the pilot cell of the Delco-Light Battery.

If this check on the initial charge is properly made, it assures the service man and dealer that the battery is in proper operating condition to be turned over to the user. Negligence in giving the initial charge properly may result in trouble to both user, service man and dealer.

The initial charge may require considerable running of the plant, depending upon the state of charge of the cells when installed.

Instructing Users

During the time the initial charge is being given, the service man should instruct the user on the care and operation of the plant and battery.

The best way to give instructions to the user is to tack the instruction cards on the wall near the plant in a place where the user can read them easily.

Proceed to read over the plant operating card with the user. Read the first item, go to the plant, explain this feature to the user and allow him to perform the operation, if the instruction calls for actual performance.

Remember, the user is not familiar with the plant and battery, and the actual performance of each operation aids him to retain the instructions.

After the first item has been covered thoroughly, proceed to the second, etc. During the course of instruction, the user will often interrupt with questions not dealing directly with the point being explained. The service man should keep the user's attention on the points he is explaining. When the service man has finished explaining both plant and battery instruction cards, he should answer any points in question which the user wants explained.

When the monthly equalizing charge is explained to the user, the service man should always take the user to the battery and show him a cell bubbling freely. This is necessary in order that the user may recognize when the cells are bubbling freely at the time he gives the monthly equalizing charge.

Impress upon the user the importance of inspecting each cell when giving the monthly equalizing charge to see that every cell bubbles freely. If a cell fails to bubble freely at the end of the equalizing charge, the user should inform the service man of this condition immediately.

Caution the user against the use of an open flame near the plant or battery at any time. The gas which accumulates in a cell will explode sufficiently to break the glass jar if this gas is ignited by a spark or open flame.

Care of the Plant in Operation

(See also special instructions for the different makes, beginning page 460.)

The battery repairman should be able not only to repair the batteries, but should also be able to keep the entire plant in working order, and suggestions will be given as to what must be done, although no detailed instructions for work on the generator, engine, and switchboard will be given as this is beyond the scope of this book.

Battery Room. The essential things about the battery room are that it must be clean, dry, and well ventilated. This means, of course, that the battery and battery rack must also be kept clean and dry. A good time to clean up is when the battery is being charged. Clean out the room first, sweeping out dirt and rubbish, dusting the walls, and so on. Both high and low temperatures should be avoided. If the battery room is kept too hot, the battery will become heated and the hot electrolyte will attack the plates and separators. Low temperatures do no actual harm to a charged battery except to make the battery sluggish, and seem to lack capacity. A discharged battery will, however, freeze above 0 deg. Fahrenheit. The battery will give the best service if the battery room temperature is kept between 60 deg. and 80 deg. Fahrenheit.

Do not bring any open flame such as a lantern, candle or match near a battery and do not go near the battery with a lighted cigar, cigarette or pipe, especially while the battery is charging. Hydrogen and oxygen gases form a highly explosive mixture. An explosion will not only injure the battery, but will probably disfigure the one carrying the light, or even destroy his eyes.

It is a good plan to keep the windows of the battery room open as much as possible.

Engine. The engine which drives the generator requires attention occasionally. Wipe off all dirt, oil or grease. Keep the engine well lubricated with a good oil. If grease cups are used, give these several turns whenever the engine is run to charge the battery. Use clean fuel, straining it, if necessary, through a clean cloth or chamois, if there is any dirt in it. The cooling water should also be clean, and in winter a non-freezing preparation should be added to it. Do not change the carburetor setting whenever the engine does not act properly. First look over the ignition system and spark plug for trouble, and also make sure that the carburetor is receiving fuel. If possible, overhaul the engine once a year to clean out the carbon, tighten bearings and flywheel, remove leaky gaskets, and so on.

Generator. Keep the outside of the generator clean by wiping it occasionally with an oiled rag. See that there is enough lubricating oil in the bearings, but that there is not too much oil, especially in the bearing at the commutator end of the generator. Keep the commutator clean. If it is dirty, wipe it with a rag moistened slightly with kerosene. The brushes should be lifted from the commutator while this is being done. Finish with a dry cloth. If the commutator is rough it may be made smooth with fine sandpaper held against it while the generator is running, and the brushes are lifted.

The surfaces of the brushes that bear on the commutator should be inspected to see that they are clean, and that the entire surfaces make contact with the commutator. The parts that are making contact will look smooth and polished, while other parts will have a dull, rough appearance. If the brush contact surfaces are dirty or all parts do not touch the commutator, draw a piece of fine sandpaper back and forth under the brushes, one at a time, with the sanded side of the paper against the brush. This will clean the brushes and shape the contact surfaces to fit the curve of the commutator. Brushes should be discarded when they be come so short that they do not make good contact with the commutator. See that the brush holders and brush wires are all tight and clean. Watch for loose connections of wires, as these will cause voltage loss when the generator is charging the battery. Watch for "high mica," which means a condition in which the insulation between the segments projects above the surface of the commutator, due to the commutator wearing down faster than the insulation. If this condition arises, the mica should be cut down until it is slightly below the surface of the commutator. An old hack saw blade makes a good tool for this purpose. A commutator may have grooves cut in by the brushes. These grooves do no harm as long as the brushes have become worn to the exact shape of the grooves. When the brushes are "dressed" with sandpaper, however, they will not fit the grooves, and the commutator should be turned down in a lathe until the grooves are removed.

A steady low hum will be heard when the generator is in operation. Loud or unusual noises should be investigated, however, as a bearing may need oil, the armature may be rubbing on the field pole faces, and so on.

Watch for overheating of the generator. If you can hold your hand on the various parts of the generator, the temperature is safe. If the temperature is so high that parts may be barely touched with the hand, or if an odor of burned rubber is noticeable, the generator is being overheated, and the load on the generator should be reduced.

Switchboard. Clean off dirt and grease occasionally. Keep switch contacts clean and smooth. If a "cutout" is on the board, keep its contacts smooth and clean. If the knife switch blades are hard to move, look for cutting at the pivots. Something may be cutting into the blades. If this is found to be the case, use a file to remove all roughness from the parts of the pivot. See that no switches are bent or burned.

Keep the back of the board clean and dry as well as the front. See that all connections are tight. Keep all wires, rheostats, etc., perfectly clean. A coat of shellac on the wires, switch studs, etc., will be helpful in keeping these parts clean.

Care of Battery

Cleanliness. Keep the battery and battery rack clean. After a charge is completed, wipe off any electrolyte that may be running down the outsides of the jars. Wipe all electrolyte and other moisture from the battery rack. Occasionally go over the rack with a rag wet with ammonia or washing soda solution. Then finish with a dry cloth. Paint the rack with asphaltum paint once a year, or oftener if the paint is rubbed or scratched.

If sand trays are used, renew the sand whenever it becomes very wet with electrolyte. Keep the terminals and connectors clean. Near the end of a charge, feel each joint between cells for a poor connection. Watch also for corrosion on the connections. Corrosion is caused by the electrolyte attacking any exposed metals other than lead, near the battery, resulting in a grayish deposit on the connectors or bolts at the joints. Such joints will become hotter than other joints, and may thus be located by feeling the joints after the battery has been charged for some time. Corrosion may be removed by washing the part in a solution of baking soda.

Be very careful to keep out of the cells anything that does not belong there. Impurities injure a cell and may even ruin it. Do not let anything, especially metals, fall into a cell. If this is done accidentally, pour out the electrolyte immediately, put in new separators, wash the plates in water, fill with electrolyte having a gravity about 30 points higher than that which was poured out, and charge. The cell may be connected in its proper place and the entire battery charged. Vent plugs should be kept in place at all times, except when water is added to the electrolyte.

Keep the Electrolyte Above the Tops of the Plates. If the battery has glass jars, the height of the electrolyte can be seen easily. If the battery has sealed rubber jars, the height of the electrolyte may be determined with a glass tube, as described on page 55. In most batteries the electrolyte should stand from three-fourths of an inch to an inch above the plates. Some jars have a line or mark showing the proper height of the electrolyte. A good time to inspect the height of the electrolyte is just before putting the battery on charge. If the electrolyte is low, distilled water should be added to bring it up to the proper level. Water should never be added at any other time, as the charging current is required to mix the water thoroughly with the electrolyte.

Determining the Condition of the Cells. The specific gravity of the electrolyte is the best indicator of the condition of the battery as to charge, just as is the case in automobile batteries, and hence should be watched closely. It is not convenient or necessary to take gravity readings on every cell in the battery on every charge or discharge. Therefore, one cell called the "Pilot" cell should be selected near the center of the battery and its specific gravity readings taken to indicate the state of charge or discharge of the entire battery. Delco-Light batteries each have two pilot cells with special jars. Each of these has a pocket in one of its walls in which a ball operates as a hydrometer or battery gauge. One pilot cell contains the pilot ball for determining the end of the charge, and other pilot cell containing the ball for determining the end of the discharge. See Fig. 294.

Hydrometer readings should be taken frequently, and a record of consecutive readings kept. When the gravity drops to the lowest value allowable (1.150 to 1.180, depending on the make of battery) the battery should be charged.

Once every month voltage and gravity readings of every cell in the battery should be taken and recorded for future guidance. These readings should be taken after the monthly "overcharge" or "equalizing charge" which is explained later. If the monthly readings of any cell are always lower than that of other cells, it needs attention. The low readings may be due to electrolyte having been spilled and replaced with water, but in a farm lighting battery this is not very likely to happen. More probably the cell has too much sediment, or bad separators, and needs cleaning. See special instructions on Exide and Prest-O-Lite batteries which are given later.

There are several precautions that must be observed in taking gravity readings in order to obtain dependable results. Do not take gravity readings if:

(a) The cell is gassing violently.

(b) The hydrometer float does not ride freely. If a syringe hydrometer is used, the float must not be touching the walls of the tube, and the tube must not be so full that the top of the float projects into the rubber bulb at the upper end of the tube.

(c) Water has been added less than four hours before taking the readings. A good time to take readings is just before water is added.

The hydrometer which is used should have the specific gravity readings marked on it in figures, such as 1.180, 1.200, 1.220 and so on. Automobile battery hydrometers which are marked "Full," "Empty," "Charged," "Discharged," must not be used, since the specific gravities corresponding to these words are not the same in farm lighting batteries as in automobile batteries and the readings would be incorrect and misleading. If the manufacturer-of the battery furnishes a special hydrometer which is marked "Full," "Half-Full," "Empty," or in some similar manner, this hydrometer may, of course, be used.

Temperature corrections should be made in taking hydrometer readings, as described on page 65. For Prest-O-Lite batteries, 80 degrees is the standard temperature, and gravity readings on these batteries should be corrected to 80 degrees as described on page 461.

Gravity readings should, of course, be taken during charge as well as during discharge. The readings taken during charge are described in the following sections on charging.


(See also special instructions for the different makes, beginning page 460.)

Two kinds of charges should be given the battery, the "Regular" charge, and the "Overcharge" or "Equalizing Charge." These will be spoken of as the "Regular" charge and the "Overcharge." The Regular charge must be given whenever it is necessary in order to enable the battery to meet the lighting or other load demands made upon it. The overcharge, which is merely a continuation of a regular charge, should be given once every month. The overcharge is given to keep the battery in good condition, and to prevent the development of inequalities in condition of cells.

When to Charge. Experience will soon show how often you must give a regular charge in order to keep the lights from becoming dim. When the voltage reading, taken while all the lamps are on has dropped to 1.8 volts per cell a Regular charge is necessary. When the specific gravity of the pilot cell indicates that the battery is discharged, a Regular charge is necessary. It is better to use the specific gravity readings as a guide, as described later.

A good plan, and the best one, is to give a battery a Regular charge once every week, whether the battery becomes discharged in one week's time or not. A regular charge may be required oftener than once a week. Every fourth week give the Overcharge instead of the Regular charge.

If a battery is to be out of service, arrangements should be made to add the necessary water and give an overcharge every month, the Regular charges not being necessary when the battery stands absolutely idle.

Overcharge. Charge the battery as near as practicable at the rate prescribed by the manufacturer. If the manufacturer's rate is not known, then charge at a rate which will not allow the temperature of the electrolyte to rise above 110 deg. Fahrenheit, and which will not cause gassing while the specific gravity is still considerably below its maximum value. One ampere per plate in each cell is a safe value of current to use. A battery having eleven plates in each cell should, for example, be charged at about 11 to 12 amperes.

Watch the temperature of the pilot cell carefully. This cell should have an accurate Fahrenheit thermometer suspended above it so that the bulb is immersed in the electrolyte. If this thermometer should show a temperature of 110 deg., stop the charge immediately, and do not start it again until the temperature has dropped to at least 90'. Feel the other cells with your hand occasionally, and if any cell is so hot that you cannot hold your hand on it measure its temperature with the thermometer to see whether it is near 110'. A good plan is to measure the temperature of the electrolyte in every cell during the charge. If any cell shows a higher temperature than that of the pilot cell, place the thermometer in the cell giving the higher reading, and be guided by the temperature of that cell. You will then know that the thermometer indicates the highest temperature in the entire battery, and that no other cell is dangerously hot when the thermometer does not read 100 degrees or over. Another point in the selection of a pilot cell is to determine if any particular cell shows a gravity which is slightly less than that of the other cells. If any such cell is found, use that cell as the pilot cell in taking gravity readings while the battery is on discharge and also on charge. No cell will then be discharged too far.

When all cells are gassing freely, continue the charge at the same current until there is no rise in the specific gravity of the pilot cell for one to two hours, and all cells are gassing freely throughout the hour. Then stop the charge.

After the overcharge is completed, take gravity readings of all the cells. A variation of about eight to ten points either above or below the fully charged gravity after correction for temperature does not mean that a cell requires any attention. If, however, one cell continually reads more than 10 points lower then the others, the whole battery may be given an overcharge until the gravity of the low cell comes up. If the cell then does not show any tendency to charge up properly, disconnect it from the battery while the battery is discharging and then connect it in again on the next charge. If this fails to bring the gravity of the cell up to normal, the cells should be examined for short circuits. Short circuits may be caused by broken separators permitting the active material to bridge between the plates; the sediment in the bottoms of the jars may have reached the plates, or conducting substances may have fallen in the cells.

Broken separators should be replaced without loss of time, and the cells cleaned if the sediment in the jars is high.

Regular Charge. A Regular Charge is made exactly like an Overcharge, except that a Regular Charge is stopped when cells are gassing freely, when the voltage per cell is about 2.6, and when the specific gravity of the pilot cell rises to within 5 points of what it was on the previous Overcharge. That is, if the gravity reading on the Overcharge rose to 1.210, the Regular Charge should be stopped when the gravity reaches 1.205.

Partial or Rapid Charge. If there is not enough time to give the battery a full Regular Charge, double the normal charging rate and charge until all the cells are gassing, and then reduce to the normal rate. Any current which does not cause excessive temperature or premature gassing is permissible, as previously mentioned. If a complete charge cannot be given, charge the battery as long as the available time allows, and complete the charge at the earliest possible opportunity.


Do not allow the battery to discharge until the lights burn dim, or the voltage drops below 1.8 per cell. The specific gravity is a better guide than the lamps or voltage. The gravity falls as the battery discharges, and is therefore a good indicator of the condition of the battery. Voltage readings are good guides, but they must be taken while the battery is discharging at its normal rate. If the load on the battery is heavy, the voltage per cell might fall below 1.8 before the battery was discharged. Lamps will be dim if the load on the battery is heavy, especially if they are located far away from the battery. The specific gravity readings are therefore the best means of indicating when a battery is discharged.

Overdischarge. Be very careful not to discharge the battery beyond the safe limits. Batteries discharging at low rates are liable to be overdischarged before the voltage gives any indication of the discharged condition. This is another reason why hydrometer readings should be used as a guide.

A battery must be charged as soon as it becomes discharged. It is, in fact, a good plan, and one which will lengthen the life of the battery, to charge a battery when it is only about three fourths discharged, as indicated by the hydrometer. Suppose, for instance, that the specific gravity of the fully charged battery is 1.250, and the specific gravity when the battery is discharged is 1.180. This battery has a range of 1.250 minus 1.180, or 70 points between charge and discharge. This battery will give a longer life if its discharge is stopped and the battery is put on charge when the gravity falls to 1.200, a drop of 50 points instead of the allowable 70.

Allowing discharged battery to stand without charge. A battery should never be allowed to stand more than one day in a discharged condition. The battery will continue to discharge although no current is drawn from it, just as an automobile battery will. See page 89. The battery plates and separators will gradually become badly sulphated and it will be a difficult matter to charge the battery up to full capacity.

Battery Troubles

Farm lighting batteries are subject to the same general troubles that automobile batteries are, although they are not as likely to occur because the operating conditions are not as severe as is the case on the automobile. Being in plain view at all times, and not being charged and discharged irregularly, the farm lighting battery is not likely to give as much trouble as an automobile battery. Neglect, such as failure to keep the electrolyte up to the proper height, failure to charge as soon as the battery becomes discharged, overdischarging, allowing battery to become too hot or too cold, allowing impurities to get into the cells, will lead to the same troubles that the same treatment will cause in an automobile battery, and the descriptions of, and instructions for troubles in automobile batteries will apply in general to farm lighting batteries also.

When a battery has been giving trouble, and you are called: upon to diagnose and remedy that trouble, you should:

1. Get all the details as to the length of time the battery has been in service.

2. Find out what regular attention has been paid to its upkeep; whether it has been charged regularly and given an overcharge once a month; whether distilled water has been used in replacing evaporation of water from the electrolyte; whether impurities such as small nails, pieces of wire, etc., have ever fallen into any cell; whether battery has ever been allowed to stand in a discharged condition for one day or more; whether temperature has been allowed to rise above 110 deg. F. at any time; whether electrolyte has ever been frozen due to battery standing discharged in very cold weather.

3. Talk to the owner long enough to judge with what intelligence he has taken care of the battery. Doing this may, save you both time and subsequent embarrassment from a wrong diagnosis resulting from incomplete data.

4. After getting all the details that the owner can supply, you will probably know just about what the trouble is. Look over the cells carefully to determine their condition. If the jars are made of glass note the following:

(a) Height of sediment in each jar.

(b) Color of electrolyte. This should be clear and colorless. A decided color of any kind usually means that dirty or impure water has been added, or impurities have fallen into the cell. For discussion of impurities see page 76.

(c) Condition of plates. The same troubles should be looked for as in automobile batteries. See pages 339 to 346. An examination of the outside negatives is usually sufficient. The condition of the positives may also be determined if a flash light or other strong light is directed on the edges of the plates. Look for growths or "treeing" between plates.

(d) Condition of separators. See page 346.

If cells have sealed rubber jars, proceed as follows:

(a) Measure height of electrolyte above plates with glass tube, as in Fig. 30. If in any cell electrolyte is below tops of plates that cell is very likely the defective one, and should be filled with distilled water. If a considerable amount of water is required to fill the jar it is best to open the cell, as the plates have probably become damaged. If the jar is wet or the rack is acid eaten under the jar, the jar is cracked and must be replaced.

If you have not found the trouble, make the following tests, no matter whether glass or rubber jars are used:

(a) Measure specific gravity of each cell. If any cell is badly discharged it is probably short-circuited, or contains impurities and had better be opened for inspection.

(b) Turn on all the lamps and measure the voltage of each cell. If any cell shows a voltage much less than 1.8 it is short-circuited or contains impurities, and should be opened for inspection.

(c) Examine the connections between cells for looseness or corrosion; and examine the connections between the battery and the generator, going over cables, switches, rheostats, etc. Make sure that you have a complete and closed charging circuit between the generator and the battery.

(d) If cutout is used on the switchboard, see that its contact points are smooth and clean, and that they work freely.

(e) Run the generator to see if it builds up a voltage which is sufficient to charge the battery, about 42 volts for a 16 cell battery. If the generator is not working properly, examine it according to directions on page 451. Check up the field circuit of the generator to be sure that it is closed. A circuit-tester made of a buzzer and several dry cells, or a low voltage lamp and dry cells, or a hand magneto is convenient for use in testing circuits. Test armature windings and field coils for grounds.

By the foregoing methods you should be able to determine what is to be done. The following rules should also help:

Cleaning and renewal of electrolyte is necessary when:

(a) Sediment has risen to within one-half inch of the bottom of the plates.

(b) Much foreign material is floating in the electrolyte, or electrolyte is of a deep brown color.

Replacement of parts is necessary when

(a) Separators are cracked or warped. See page 346 for Separator troubles.

(b) Plates are defective. See rules on pages 339 to 346.


[Fig. 300 Element from Prest-O-Light farm light cell]

The Prest-O-Lite battery which is designed for use in connection with farm lighting plants is known as the FPL type. Cells of 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15 plates are made, the number of plates being indicated by putting the figure in front of the type letters. A seven plate cell is thus designated as a 7 FPL cell, which has an 80 ampere hour capacity at the 8 hour continuous discharge rate.

The FPL cell, the construction of which is shown in Figs. 295, 300, 301, 302 and 303, has a sealed glass jar with a lead antimony cover. The cover construction is shown in detail in Figs. 301 and 302. Insulation between the posts and cover is provided by a hard rubber bushing, a hard rubber washer, and a soft rubber washer. The bushing is shaped like a "T" with a hole drilled in the stem. The stem of the bushing fits down into the post hole in the cover, the flange at the top testing on the raised portion of the cover around the post hole. The post has a shoulder a little less than halfway up from its lower end. Upon this shoulder is placed the hard rubber washer, and upon the hard rubber washer is placed the soft rubber washer. This assembly is fastened to the cover by the "peening" process used in Prest-O-Lite automobile batteries as described on page 386. This forces the soft rubber washer tightly against the cover so as to make a leak proof joint-between the bushing and cover. The ring of lead formed around the posts by the peening process supports the posts, plates, and separators, which therefore are suspended from the cell cover. The plate straps extend horizontally across the tops of the plates, and thus also act as "hold-downs" for the separators. The separators are held up by two rectangular rubber bridges which fit Mito slotted extension lugs cast into the lower corners of the outside negative plates. An outside negative having these extension lugs is shown in Figure 303.

[Fig. 301 Cover of Prest-O-Light farm lighting cell]

[Fig. 302 Parts of Prest-O-Light farm lighting cell: nut, stud, terminal, hard rubber bushing]

[Fig. 303a Parts of Prest-O-Light farming light cell: glass jar, rubber jar, rubber cell connector, glass cell connector]

[Fig. 303b Parts of Prest-O-Light farm lighting cell: positive plate and outside negative plate]

[Fig. 303c Parts of Prest-O-Light farm lighting cell: long lead jumper, jumper, separator, short lead jumper]

Specific Gravity of Electrolyte. The values of the specific gravity of Prest-O-Lite farm lighting batteries are as follows:

Battery fully charged reads 1.250 Battery three-fourths charged reads 1.230 Battery one-half charged reads 1.215 Battery one-fourth charged reads 1.200 Battery discharged completely reads 1.180

These readings are to be taken with the electrolyte at a temperature of 80 deg. Fahrenheit. Readings taken at other temperatures should be converted to 80 deg.. To convert readings at a lower temperature to the values they would have at 80 deg., subtract one point for every two and one-half degrees temperature difference. For example, suppose a cell reads 1.225 gravity at 60 deg.. To find what the gravity would be if the temperature of the electrolyte were 80 deg. divide the difference between 80 deg. and 60 deg. by 2-1/2, or 80 deg. minus 60 deg. divided by 21/2 equals 8. The gravity at 80 deg. would therefore be 1.225 minus .008, or 1.217, which is the value of specific gravity to use. If the specific gravity is read at a higher temperature than 80 deg., divide the difference between 80 deg. and the temperature at which the gravity reading was taken by 21/2, and add the result to the actual gravity reading obtained. If, for example, the gravity were 1.225 at 100 deg., the gravity at 80 deg. would be 1.225 plus .008, or 1.233.

Charging Rates. The normal charging rate to be used in giving Prest-O-Lite batteries a regular charge or overcharge are as follows:

Battery Charging Rate ———- ——————- 5 F.P.L. 5.0 amps. 7 F.P.L. 7.5 amps. 9 F.P.L. 10.0 amps. 11 F.P.L. 12.5 amps. 13 F.P.L. 15.0 amps. 15 F.P.L. 17.5 amps.

Rebuilding Prest-O-Lite Farm Lighting Batteries

Opening the Cell.

1. Make sure that the cell is as fully charged as possible. Since it is not very convenient to charge a single cell, a good time to open a cell for cleaning and repairing is immediately after the battery has been given an overcharge. See page 455.

2. Disconnect the cell from the adjoining ones.

3. Heat a thin bladed putty knife and insert it under the edge of the lead-antimony cover to melt the sealing compound. Run the knife all round the cover, heating it again if it should become too cool to cut the compound readily.

4. Grasp the lead posts above the cover and lift up gradually. This will bring up the cover, plates, and separators.

5. Place the plates on a clean board for examination. Use the instructions given on pages 339 to 346. Do not keep the plates out of the electrolyte long enough to let them dry, and the negatives heat up. If you cannot examine the plates as soon as you have removed them immerse them in 1.250 acid contained in a lead or non-metallic vessel until you can examine them.

6. In renewing the electrolyte, pour in as much new 1.250 acid as there was old electrolyte in the jar. (It is assumed that the electrolyte was up to the lower ridge of the glass jar before the cell was opened.) The new electrolyte must not have a temperature above 100 degrees when it is poured into the jar.

7. The separators can be pulled out easily when the plates are laid on their sides. All that is necessary is to remove the small rubber bridge at the bottom corners of the plates. The separators can then be pulled out. If the old separators are to be used again brush off any material that may be adhering to them, and keep them wet with 1.250 acid until they are replaced between the plates. Any separators that show cracks or holes, or that split while being replaced between the plates should be thrown away and new ones used.

8. It is not necessary to remove the sediment from the bottom of the jar unless it is within one half inch of the bottom of the plates. If the sediment is to be removed, carefully pour off the clear electrolyte into a lead, hard rubber, or earthenware jar, if the electrolyte is to be used again.

9. If one or two of the plates in either positive or negative groups need to be replaced it is best to burn a new plate to the strap without removing the peened cover. This is done by blocking under the row of plate lugs with metal blocks after cutting off old plate and cleaning the surface of strap. Insert new plate, the lug of which has been cut about 1/4 inch short, to allow for new metal. Choosing small oblong iron blocks of suitable size, build a form about the plate lug which fits same well. Now with a torch and burning lead fuse the new plate onto the old strap. When cool remove and test joint by pulling and slightly twisting the plate at the same time.

Sometimes one group of a starting and lighting battery may be in sufficiently good condition to pay to combine it with a new group, but this condition will very rarely, if ever, be met in farm lighting cell service. We advise the replacement of the complete cell element if either group is worn out, for the cost of repairs and of new group will probably not be warranted by the short additional life which the remaining old group will give.

10. Putting Repaired Cell Back into Service. After having finished all necessary cleaning, replacement, or repairs, remove all old sealing material, return the element with attached lead cover to the cell jar. It is not necessary to reseal the cover to the jars this sealing is essential only for insurance against breakage or leakage in shipment.

Add through the vent plug opening sufficient cool acid of 1.250 Sp. Gr. to reestablish the proper electrolyte level, which means that the electrolyte is brought up to the lower moulded glass ridge near the top of jar.

Connect the cell with any other repaired cells and charge at normal rate already indicated under "charging rates" until dell voltage reads 2.5 or above, at 80 deg.. The positive to cadmium voltage should be at least 0.10 volts less than cell voltage itself. When this condition is obtained cell may be replaced in operating circuit with others and should give satisfactory service.


Exide Farm lighting Batteries are made with sealed glass jars, open glass jars, and sealed rubber jars, each of which will be described.

Batteries with Sealed Glass Jars.

Two types with sealed glass jars are made, these being the Delco Light Type, and the Exide type.

1. Delco-Light Type. This type is shown in Fig. 294. The cell shown is a pilot cell, there being two of these in each battery as explained below.

These cells are made in two sizes, the KXG-7, 7 plate, 80 ampere hour cell, and the KXG-13, a 13 plate, 160 ampere hour cell. These cells are assembled into a 32 volt, 16 cell battery, or a 110 volt, 56 cell battery.

The plate groups are supported from the cover, the weight being carried by the wooden cover supports as shown in Fig. 294. The strap posts are threaded, and are clamped to the cover and supports by means of alloy nuts, just as is the case in Exide automobile batteries.

A hard rubber supporting rod or lock pin extending across the bottoms of the plates holds the separators in position and prevents the plates from flaring out at the bottom. A soft rubber bumper fastened on each end of the rod acts as a cushion to prevent jar breakage in shipping.

The hard rubber cover overlaps the flanged top of the jar, to which it is sealed with special compound.

Battery Gauges and Instruments for Testing.

Every set of Delco-Light batteries has either one or two cells equipped with a pilot ball. Such a cell is known as a PILOT CELL. Fig. 294.

Pilot Cells are used to indicate to the USER the approximate state of charge or discharge of the battery.

The pilot ball is a battery gauge which is UP or DOWN, depending upon the state of charge of the battery.

Very high temperature affects the operation of the pilot ball. This accounts for-the fact that occasionally a battery will be charged and the pilot ball will be at the bottom of the pocket. A few hours later, after the electrolyte has cooled, the pilot ball will rise to the top.

We urge that the user be made to feel that the pilot ball is an excellent gauge and a good signal to watch in connection with the care and operation of his Delco-Light plant and battery. (Further mention will be made of the pilot ball in connection with the subject of proper operation.)

It is necessary that the maximum specific gravity of pilot cells be as near 1.220 as possible. Any great variation higher or lower will affect the operation of the pilot balls. Therefore, every effort should be made to adjust the maximum specific gravity of pilot cells to 1.220 when placed in service.

Batteries equipped with one pilot cell contain a white pilot ball which will be up when the specific gravity of the electrolyte is approximately 1.185. This ball will drop DOWN when the specific gravity falls a little below 1.185.

In other words, the pilot ball will float at a specific gravity of 1:185 or higher, and will sink at a specific gravity lower than 1.185.

Therefore, when the pilot ball is UP, the battery is more than half charged. When the pilot ball is DOWN, the battery is more than half discharged.

Batteries equipped with two pilot cells have one cell which contains a white ball and the other cell a white ball with a blue band.

The plain white ball will be UP when the specific gravity is approximately 1.175. The blue band ball will be UP when the specific gravity is approximately 1.205.

When both balls are UP, the battery is charged. When DOWN, the battery is discharged. The blue band ball will drop soon after the battery starts on discharge, or, in other words, when the specific gravity falls below 1.205. The white ball will remain UP until the specific gravity falls below 1.175.

The Ampere-Hour Meter

The ampere-hour meter, Fig. 304, is an instrument for indicating to the user the state of charge of the battery at all times and serves to-stop the plant automatically so equipped, when the battery is charged. (Further mention will be made of the ampere hour meter on page 471.)

In order to check the speed of the ampere-hour meter, use the following rule: On charge, the armature disc should give 16 revolutions in 30 seconds, with a charging rate of 15 amperes; on discharge, the armature disc should give 20 revolutions in 30 seconds, with a discharging rate of 15 amperes.

[Fig. 304 Delco-Light Ampere-Hour Meter]


The standard hydrometer for service men is known as the Type V-2B.

A special type hydrometer showing three colored bands in place of numbers has been designed for users.

The bands are red, green and black. When the hydrometer test shows the bottom of the red band in the electrolyte, the battery, whether in glass or rubber jar, is discharged. When the top of the green band is out of the electrolyte, the glass jar battery is charged. The top of the black band out of the electrolyte indicates the rubber jar battery is charged.

When and How to Charge Battery

Plants with Average Loads

Loads of legs than ten (10) amperes can be taken directly from the battery, until:

1. The large hand on the ampere-hour meter reaches 12, or

2. Both pilot balls are down, or

3. Hydrometer test shows bottom of red band in the electrolyte.

If any or all of the three gauges listed above show the battery discharged, the plant should be started and operated continuously until the battery is charged, as indicated by:

1. Ampere-hour meter hand at FULL, or

2. Both pilot balls UP, or

3. Hydrometer test shows top of FULL band out of electrolyte.

(NOTE: Any one or all of the above three items may indicate battery charged. Meter hand at FULL would necessitate both balls UP. If both balls are not up, set hand back and charge to bring them up; then set hand at FULL.)

Should the user be operating for two or three hours with a seven or eight-ampere load, it would be more efficient to run the plant to carry this load. This only applies for those cases where the battery is partly discharged.

Carry Heavy Loads Greater Than 10 Amperes.

If there is a constant load of 10 amperes or more, the plant should be started up when the heavy load comes on. When the heavy load is off, the plant may be stopped, but it would be entirely satisfactory to allow the plant to continue to run until "Charged," as indicated by:

1. Ampere-hour meter hand reaches FULL, or

2. Both pilot balls are UP, or

3. Hydrometer test shows top of FULL band out of electrolyte.

In any case, plant should be run until battery is "Charged" at least once a week.

Always Start Charging When Battery Gauges Indicate Battery Discharged.

On ampere-hour meter plants, when the hand is at FULL, the plant cannot be operated on account of the ignition circuit being broken.

In such cases allow load to be taken from the battery until the hand travels back sufficiently to allow the plant to run.

Occasionally the plant and battery are used to carry continuous loads of from 10 to 15 amperes each night, with practically no day load. This condition necessitates running the plant to carry the load, but at the same time the battery is continually receiving from 10 to 15 amperes charge, with the result that the battery may receive too much charging. This would be indicated by the battery bubbling freely every time the plant is operated. To prevent this condition, the user should be instructed to carry the load off the battery frequently enough to prevent continual bubbling.

Where Small Load Is Used.

There are many installations where the battery capacity is sufficient to last several weeks. On installations of this kind it is advisable to charge the battery to FULL at least once a week.

The dealer or service man should use his own judgment on the preceding instructions as to which is best suited for the different conditions encountered.

Regularly on the first of each month, regardless of whether or not the battery has been used, a special charge, called the Equalizing Charge, should be given. This charge should be given as follows: The battery should be charged until EACH cell is bubbling freely from top to bottom on surface of the outside negative plates and then the charge should be continued for TWO MORE HOURS.

The monthly equalizing charge is a NECESSARY precautionary measure to insure that the user will bring each cell in the battery up to maximum gravity at least once a month. It also provides a means on the ampere-hour meter plants to set the ampere-hour meter hand at FULL when the battery is FULL.

The users should be cautioned to inform the service man or dealer immediately if any cell fails to bubble at the end of an equalizing charge, when all others are bubbling freely. This will enable the service man to inspect such cells for trouble and remedy same before the trouble becomes serious. (See further information under inspection and repairs.)


Undercharging or injurious sulphation is the most common trouble encountered. Undercharging causes the plates to blister and bulge, and in place of good gray edges on the negative plates and good brown color edges on the positive plates, the edges will show a faded color, with very little brown color showing on the edges of the positive plates.

Overcharging is not so evident on inspection, except that in such cases the active material from the positive plates, which is brown in color, will be thrown to the bottom as sediment more rapidly than the sediment would accumulate due to normal wear.

Heavy usage on a battery will also cause considerable sediment in the bottom of the cells, so that it is necessary to investigate carefully whether it is overcharging or overwork. A few questions as to method of operation and load requirements will aid in deciding the cause of excessive sediment. (See When and How to Charge, page 468.)

Sediment Space Filled.

When the space below the plates is filled up with sediment and touching the plates, the cell becomes short-circuited and will deteriorate very rapidly. It will be noticed, however, that the sediment is heaped in the middle of the cell. If the cells are unbolted and unshaken, it will level the sediment and leave a space between the sediment and plates. It is very important that the sediment be shaken down before the cell becomes short-circuited. This will very often prolong the life of the battery a number of months. When the sediment space is completely filled, approximately all the active material will be out of the positive plates.

A thorough study should be made as to the general condition of the battery and method of operation before forming an opinion or suggesting any change in method of operation.

Check Ampere-Hour Meters

On plants which have ampere-hour meters, the meter should be checked as to its speed on discharge, and also check position of the meter hand at the time of inspection, to see if it checks with the specific gravity and the pilot balls. (See Ampere Hour Meter, page 467.)

It will generally be found that when a battery is sulphated, it is operating in very low specific gravity, or, in other words, the charges have not been carried far enough to drive all the acid out of the plates.

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