Is "battery desulphation" a scam?

As I have a number of vehicles and machines with batteries, I often deal with batteries in poor condition.
There is a theme out there that old batteries in poor condition can be
"desulphated".
Apparently, the logic behind this is as follows: as a battery is discharged normally, lead sulphates form due to galvanic action and producing electricity. This is normal. As the battery is charged back, those sulphates are converted back to lead.
If the battery is poorly maintained, (discharged and not recharged), those lead sulphates allegedly form "bad crystals", which are not broken up by charging. So, the battery is degraded.
There are products out there called "desulphators", which supposedly break up those "bad crystals" and convert them back into battery lead.
Information about them, as well as numerous forum discussions, shows some extreme ignorance, lack of scientific validation, as well as claims that are not supported by evidence.
I tried to find some tests, like taking two more or less identical batteries, and comparing results of charging one regularly vs. applying "desuphation" to another and comparing.
Nothing like that seems to be shown. Instead, there is hoopla and nonsense, people experimenting with garbage batteries without any valid "controls" or even valid testing methods.
As this is a vital question for me, due to the amount of batteries I have to deal with, I wanted to know if anyone has researched this issue.
My question is
1) Does "desulphation" increase CCA 2) Does it increase reserve amp-hour capacity?
We have a company out here (Battery Sales) that takes old battery cores, does whatever electrical magic, and sells "reconditioned" batteries in exchange for cores. The general conclusion from their own salespeople is that their "reconditioned" batteries are good for equipment that you want to sell right away, but it is not even close to getting a new battery.
I used them for a while and saw their facility.
So... For poor condition batteries, can at least some of them be somewhat spruced up?
Has Anyone here tested "desulphation" equipment?
i
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SOME of them can be brought up SOME in capacity. Few, actually.
I built a rig to apply a de-sulfurizing charge (with high-frequency pulses), just for the interest in the claims. I tried it on some golf cart batteries that were all dead, and had not taken a proper charge in some weeks.
Two of twelve of them came back up to about 30% of original capacity. The rest did not rejuvinate at all.
Then I tried some of the mouse-milk cures, including also trying magnesium sulfate on my own. Same deal... none of the batteries that did not rejuvinate with the charger would improve with the 'magic potion", and the ones that did improve improved some more, to about 35-40% of original capacity.
It's a goofball scam. 'Doesn't work.
Lloyd
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On 2015-09-19, Lloyd E. Sponenburgh <lloydspinsidemindspring.com> wrote:

What about batteries that are not dead, just degraded?
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Never tried any. It's not all that complex a circuit for a guy like you to build and try!
The magnesium sulphate (epsom salts) "cure" is at your local drugstore.
Lloyd
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On Sat, 19 Sep 2015 18:08:30 -0500, "Lloyd E. Sponenburgh"

As a business, he'd also likely have to get hazardous material disposal equipment, licensing, and regulation. Sounds fun, huh?
--
I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.
--Duke Ellington
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On 2015-09-19, Lloyd E. Sponenburgh <lloydspinsidemindspring.com> wrote:

Lloyd, I forgot to say thank you in my previous reply.
Thank you.
i
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On 9/19/2015 5:54 PM, Lloyd E. Sponenburgh wrote:

I also thank you for the info! Do you have any thoughts on battery rebuilding?
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wrote:

"battery rebuilding" in many cases just involves removing shed plate material from the well at the bottom of the battery to eliminate inter-plate shorts resulting from the shed material bridging the plates. This makes the battery functional, but does not restore lost capacity.
Sometimes it involves removing bad cells, and replacing them with good cells from another battery.
Sometimes it just involves rewelding a bad inter-cell connection.
Depends what is wrong with the battery. Back in the day of rubber battery boxes and pitch tops, it was not a terribly difficult process.
Opening s sealed poly battery case is a bit more involved.
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On Saturday, September 19, 2015 at 5:34:57 PM UTC-4, Ignoramus9943 wrote:

No data on desulphering. But will say I am a believer in having a float changer on batteries that do not get used often. Like a battery in a lawn tractor that is not used from say Oct to March.
Dan
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On Sat, 19 Sep 2015 16:34:55 -0500, Ignoramus9943

Nothing will restore a totally sulphated battery, but some "desulphaters" can drive some of the sulphate out of the plates of a moderately degraded battery and restore it to very close to original CCA and capacity.

Yes.

I have a battery charger/tester/rejuvinator that has a "desulphation" mode - and it HAS improved some batteries. Some by only a small amount, and a few dramatically.
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OK, thanks, this is what I wanted to know.
i
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On Sat, 19 Sep 2015 20:05:22 -0500, Ignoramus9943
snip

I ran a commercial desulphator on a below par but still in use car (12V 600 CCA) 8 year old OEM (filled for life) battery for 2 months measuring the 100 Amp discharge voltage accurately at weekly intervals from prior to use to the end. The desulphator was doing a lot, car wouldnt start after 3 days unused without recharging! The battery was fully charged to peak prior to each measurement. Here is a pic of the desulphator output while working: The bursts are at about 63KHz.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/mzc653wc1z439e7/Imgp1174.jpg . Conclusion: Its a snake oil solution, just doesnt work on this test with a premium battery that has never been mistreated and is just loosing peak cold cranking capacity, measurements showed 10.2v (after 10 seconds under 100A load) from start to finish. A brand new battery under the same test only shows about .5v more, its a fairly severe test. Second conclusion: Dont bother! C+
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underneath :

PS This is the commercial desulphator type I used in this test: (Clen branded - baught on eBay) not a kit. http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/Mzc1WDUwMA==/z/BtcAAOxyeglTWn-D /$_57.JPG C+
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I've had some limited success by applying enough voltage to make a few hundred milliamps flow and leaving it on for hours or days. http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/sulfation_and_how_to_prevent_it " If a battery is serviced early, reversible sulfation can often be corrected by applying an overcharge to a fully charged battery in the form of a regulated current of about 200mA. The battery terminal voltage is allowed to rise to between 2.50 and 2.66V/cell (15 and 16V on a 12V mono block) for about 24 hours. Increasing the battery
crystals."
I use either an adjustable current-limited lab supply or a home-made LM317 regulator with a voltage + current meter to show me what's happening.
I just ordered one of these to build into a 3A LM350T charger that I can run off my solar panels. (Amazon.com product link shortened)01108428&sr=1-53
The initial voltage needed to force current into a sulfated battery might be 15 - 16V at 100mA or less. As desulphation proceeds the current rises. I limit the current (or reduce the voltage) to the manufacturer's suggestion if I can find it. Flooded batteries with filler caps can be checked and topped up, at first only enough to cover any exposed plates since the level rises as the battery charges. Usually I find that only one cell is bad, since that's enough to make the battery fail. The other cells may need makeup water due to the overcharging necessary to salvage the bad one.
Sealed batteries are more easily damaged if the charging current generates hydrogen faster than it can recombine. Check the specs.
When it works I can get several more years of service from a 'dead' battery that a standard automatic charger won't touch.
Equalizing batteries every few months by charging them until all cells bubble freely seems to ward off sulfation, for example the battery in my truck which was installed in early 2002. The battery currently working fine in my tractor was being thrown away as dead. http://www.trojanbattery.com/tech-support/faq/
My guess about the pulse desulfators is that that the pulse circuit provides an automatically limited amount of charge energy at enough voltage to break through the sulfation. The pulser doesn't let the current rise too high and overheat the battery as the required voltage decreases, a possible problem with my method if you don't have a good DC current control such as on a lab supply. Also I have to match my supply settings to the battery type and size, keep an informed eye on the progress and don't leave it unattended overnight.
These are a reasonably good deal on a fairly hefty lab type variable power supply with an adjustable current limit: (Amazon.com product link shortened) I have a similar one with a different name.
They sell higher current models but in my experience desulfation and equalization require no more than about 1 - 2 amps, or 1% ~2% of the battery's Amp-Hour capacity. That experience extends to only Group 31 105A-H marine batteries, not forklift sizes.
I usually put a 10A or 15A Schottky diode in series to protect the supply from being back fed from the battery if the AC power goes out.
This gives some electrical parameters for battery recovery: http://www.touratech-usa.com/media/fromoldsite/media2/01-130-0010-03.pdf "The OptiMate's unique automatic desulfation mode works like this : Once the OptiMate determines that the battery is sulfated it applies a voltage of up to about 20V at a controlled low current for a maximum period of 2 hours, to recover the battery to the extent that it can again accept a charge using the more normal charging algorithm."
Other references say to apply the current-limited high voltage for up to a week before giving up on the battery.
-jsw
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On Sat, 19 Sep 2015 16:34:55 -0500, Ignoramus9943

The answer to both is "probably", if only because sulphation decreases the efficiency of the battery and cleaning it off would cause the reverse.

I've known people who bought refurb batteries, but they didn't seem to last very long or be very strong. Having considered it and found that I didn't like the results, I'd recommend against that purchase, Ig.
Silk purse/sow's ear, y'know?
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I have an 'electronic' battery charger - love and hate with it... it has a desulphator cycle on it. It uses an AC mode. Charge / discharge. back and forth. Converting the native sulfur into acid.
I bought it from Sears a half dozen years ago. I still like a brute force charger when the battery gets poor. The electronic ones give up.
Martin
On 9/19/2015 4:34 PM, Ignoramus9943 wrote:

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wrote:

I've been testing the idea, a synthesis of manufacturers' suggestions, that equalizing old batteries by forcing a charging current of about 1% of the Amp-Hour rating for a few hours every month or so is enough to preserve them. http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/equalizing_charge "Some [VRLA] manufacturers recommend monthly equalizations for 2 to 16 hours."
I should know more after I build an adjustable cutoff disconnect that allows unattended load testing. A DC-AC inverter running a lamp or crock pot serves for the test load but its fixed low voltage cutoff won't fully exercise an old battery whose internal impedance rises sharply as it discharges. For example the inverter might shut off at 10.5V, then the battery recovers to 12.0V which isn't a complete discharge. A laptop used as the load may trip the shutoff prematurely from the briefly higher power draw of writing test data to the hard drive.
I'd like to have a laptop monitor the discharge and periodically suspend it to measure the voltage the battery recovers to, with an adjustable independent shutoff for backup. https://pssurvival.com/PS/Batteries/Lead_Acid/Lead-Acid_Battery_State_Of_Charge_Vs_Voltage_1993.pdf "The bottom line is that the internal resistance of all lead-acid cells changes with the cell's state of charge."
This buck-boost converter is effectively a DC autotransformer that can output a steady DC voltage from a higher or lower input, for example a solar panel or a nearly discharged battery. (Amazon.com product link shortened)40107160&sr=8-9&keywords=buck+boost+converter
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single-ended_primary-inductor_converter
-jsw
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