Old tech-carbide batteries?

Somebody here must know the answer. Last Sunday we had some friends
over for brunch and one of the guys, a wood worker, told me about an
old house he worked on that was built before electricity was available
here on the island. He said there was a large steel tank sunk into the
ground and that "carbide" was poured into this tank to make
electricity for lighting. I'm thinking that what was really happening
was acetylene gas was being produced for gas lighting. I said as much
but he was pretty sure they were making electricity with the setup,
that it was some kind of battery. After looking online I am even more
convinced what he was looking at was an acetylene gas generator. But
since I'm not known for always being right, seeing as how I have made
one or two misteak's in the past; like speling or punctuatioin, I
though I'd ask the experts here if anyone has heard of "carbide
batteries".
Thanks,
Eric
Reply to
etpm
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My 2 cents (when did they take the "cent" sign off keyboards?)
Never heard of carbide electrical stuff. I usta play with my dad's old carbide headlamp many moons ago, he was a coal miner in his youth.
technomaNge
Reply to
technomaNge
I don't think he is correct. When I was small during WWII we stayed for part of a summer at a ranch in Montana. In the yard was a round tank that stood about 18" above the ground that was said to be an acetylene generator and the house was plumbed for gas light. I don't know how far below ground the tank went or what was inside as I was forbidden to lift the lid.
CP
Reply to
Pilgrim
[ ... ]
When they switched from typewriters to ASCII keyboards for computers. They needed too many other weird characters for computer languages -- and even used the '$' as the lead-in character to certain variable types instead of for money. :-)
a cents sign? On mine it is a backslash followed by "242", indicating that it is a character which my selected ISO-8859-15 won't/can't display, or my editor can't display) is present on some mainframe computers, which use EBCDIC instead of ASCII. (Also some other weird symbols, including one like a square with the borders made of parens like this ") (" (with two more above and below).
with "COMPOSE-N-~", It seemed like a likely code for that. A check on another window shows that it does produce a cents sign -- on a Sun Unix computer, at lest. :-)
There was someone in this group about a year ago talking about refurbishing old batteries which used a steel (or perhaps cast iron) tank. I forget what the anode was. And I think that it used NaOH (Sodium Hydroxide) as the electrolyte -- lye instead of carbide. Perhaps this is what the tank was.
Enjoy, DoN.
Reply to
DoN. Nichols
It goes out fine, but may or may be reproduced on your end depending on any number of software compatibilities.
There is a 'Keyboard Viewer' included in OSX that can be turned on in the upper right menu bar area. With it, you can quickly find & type most anything.
I know little about 'dark side' (non Mac) machines, but I'm sure they provide something similar.
Erik
Reply to
Erik
Very likely that it was an "acetylene generator", essentially a tank of water that you drop a little carbide into to generate acetylene for either welding or lighting. There certainly is no magic Calcium Carbide into electricity pixy dust available :-)
Reply to
John B.
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Reply to
Jim Wilkins
"Jim Wilkins" fired this volley in news:ldvh46$n22 $ snipped-for-privacy@dont-email.me:
That's a terrible web site! They advertise a cost of '20-25% more than lead acid", then ask $3300 for a 250AH battery! A 250AH lead/acid costs in the range of about $220. So what is that price -- a pallet of 10? They sure don't say so...
Then, in their specs page, they say one "should keep a 1/4" layer of consumable grade mineral on top of the electrolyte". Oooohhhkay! Which 'grade mineral' might that be... basalt? granite? Ohhh... you mean't "Consumable-grade mineral OIL!".
These guys are illiterate, incompetent, or liars. Asking 50% up front and not shipping for 30 days after receipt of payment makes me leery. Of all the types of batteries available, those can be built and stored almost indefinitely -- so why would they not have stock ON HAND?
LLoyd
Reply to
Lloyd E. Sponenburgh
Whoever heard of _those_?
It may work for MS keyboards, but it doesn't work with my ACER
Times New Roman font. Other fonts use different mapping. I use Windows' own Character Map.
Reply to
Larry Jaques
I found re-prints of old ads for carbide to use for gas lighting when looking for carbide batteries. I too am pretty damn sure there is no such thing as a carbide battery. After asking here I'm even more convinced. Tonight I'll be seeing the guy who told me about it. I may be able to get a look at the actual tank, or what's left of it. There is such a thing as a nickel/iron battery, but for any battery to be useful it would need to have several cells, in order for the voltage to be high enough to be useful for the lights available at that time. Looking at the tank, if the lid comes off, would tend to answer that question. If only one chamber then almost positive not an electric cell of any kind. If several chambers then maybe they are cells. I guess there would need to be nickel electrodes too. Eric
Reply to
etpm
7 hour dicharge? KWH battery prices? 2-yr warranty on "lifetime" batteries? All their "rock bottom prices" have commas in them. Hmm, Zapp 250Ah for $3,950 vs. IronEdison 300Ah for $2,910, and Zapp calls their pricing "rock-bottom"? Lotta damned gall, wot?
50% up front at the time of consult, then the remaining 50% prior to waiting a month to ship? That's just crazy!
Short shelf life on a "lifetime" battery, perhaps?
In total, the site makes me want to RUN AWAY!
This was an interesting read:
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Is Zapp really rebuilding Edison cells?
Until there are more mfgrs, I think the pricing is going to remain high, but the bastids are using centuries old technology and putting it up as "new" and "green" for obscene profits, while likely reaping rewards from the government's renewable energy programs.
Reply to
Larry Jaques
the first giveaway that these batteries are complete made in a shed trash is how the cover is fastened. Note the two visible screws.
Reply to
Cydrome Leader
Larry Jaques fired this volley in news: snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com:
So far, it seems like BeUtilityFree.com has the longest track record, and warantees that exceed the others by 700%! They also warantee capacity over time as well as workmanship and materials, while those dufuses at Zapp guarantee nothing except the quality of their job, when delivered, IF delivered.
Lloyd
Reply to
Lloyd E. Sponenburgh
I think this gizmo is called an acetylene generator; if someone referred to a 'carbide generator' for lighting, it was for a gas, not electric, light. The 'generator' term is ambiguous enough to create confusion and miscommunication.
Reply to
whit3rd
[ ... ]
Which -- the "COMPOSE" key? -- anyone who is using a Sun keyboard for unix workstations. Gunner (below) pointed to web pages documenting the Microsoft keyboard sequences, and a link from there for Mac keyboard sequences
But the original question was:
"when did they take the "cent" sign off keyboards?"
And it is truly *off* all computer *keyboards* using the ASCII characterset (as it is not part of the standard 7-bit ASCII characterset. All of the above and below are work-arounds to make up
keyboards.
While I *can't* use it -- since I don't use Windows itself, and it won't even *run* on most of my computers. :-)
And -- this incompatibility of special characters between various systems and various programs on the *same* systems even, is why I normally suggest that if the character isn't on a keycap on the keyboard, *spell* out it's name so everyone can read it. I only used it here to prove that there *were* work-arounds for many systems.
Enjoy, DoN.
Reply to
DoN. Nichols
In the late '50s, a local welding shop had two of these instead of using bottled acetylene. One had been removed from a local church when they changed thier lighting system over from gas to electricity. The shop owner claimed that his cost was much lower due to much reduced handling and transportation costs.
Reply to
geraldrmiller
(scratching head) I don't recall -ever- seeing a cent key on a computer keyboard, but they were on typewriters. I didn't get into computing until well after the PC came out, ca 1990 for me.
Well, if Mr. Luddite ever came into the 21st century and got away from his springpole lathe and gaslight computers...
Reply to
Larry Jaques
Acetylene generators are fairly common in Asia, outside the big cities. No bottle rental and calcium carbide and water are cheaper then acetylene too :-)
Reply to
John B.
A few years ago this was discussed and someone found a Swiss company that made them still and was rather surprised. A quick search on "swiss acetylene generator" turned up
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.
Reply to
David Billington
IBM keyboards had the cent sign, as it was a character in their EBCDIC character code.
Jon
Reply to
Jon Elson

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