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Battery on concrete floor

John Herald

Registered
Have anyone heard that leaving/storing a car type battery on a concrete floor will drain it? How could that be? Seems to me that it sitting in a steel battery tray with ground hooked dosent "drain" it, how could sitting on concrete "suck" the power out??:shrug:
 

Harry

Administrator
I've heard that old wives tale about the concrete floor too. There is absolutely no electrical explanation for that. It could be however, that the floor is colder (winter) and batteries do not like cold temperatures.

The best way to keep a battery (lead/acid) for a long time is to keep a trickle charger on it.

-- Harry
 
F

Franz

Guest
Harry cast a gaze back to the 50s, and remember battery cases were made from Hard Rubber, using graphite as a coloring. Factor in osmosis.
Old wives tale my butt, those batterys did self drain due to the construction of the battery itself. Plastic battery cases pretty much eliminated that.
 

Harry

Administrator
Franz© said:
Old wives tale my butt, those batterys did self drain due to the construction of the battery itself. Plastic battery cases pretty much eliminated that.
But, what did the concrete have to do with the circuit?
 

Jan4CMF

Registered
Last Subscription Date
11/02/2013
My guss would be that the condesation that comes up out of the concrete would cause a short or draw.:shrug:
 

Harry

Administrator
OK, condensation along with a rubber and graphite case I can accept. I was about ready to try my megger on the concrete floor. With today's plastic batteries, I think we can put this story away, but if you can't, there's always a wooden block.
 
F

Franz

Guest
Harry, did you ever get over to the battery factory at Niagra Falls? It closed in the late 70s, but before that, we used to get machine batterys repaired there.
 

scottde57

Registered
Age
62
I heard that old tale back in the '70s when I worked in an independant auto parts store. We stocked 100 or more batteries all the time and 90% of them were always stored on a concrete floor. We never had a problem except for the occasional old timer that refused to buy one because he saw where we stored them and was just sure it was ruined. I always heard that the story came from the fact that some concrete floors, especially basements, were very damp. Dust accumulating on the top of the battery along with a certain amount of moisture would eventually create a circuit between the two posts and drain the power. But, I never saw it proven. I'm still in auto parts and won't hesitate to store them on concrete.
 

Harry

Administrator
Franz© said:
Harry, did you ever get over to the battery factory at Niagra Falls?
My memories of Niagara Falls consist of the Hooker Chemical Company and its nightly smoke fallout all over our car and anything else in its pathway. An aluminum ham radio antenna I had was eaten and destroyed in one year, yet I have no idea what we were breathing there. The air smelled like sulphuric acid as I did my daily commute across Grand Island to Channel 7 in Buffalo. I also remember the massive smoke cloud that covered the highway south of Buffalo. I'm sure that I missed a lot of good industrial tours and information, but my young focus was elsewhere at that time.
 

Larry Rusch

Registered
Lead acid batteries will self discharge if a leakage path develops between the positive and negative posts on the battery. This is exacerbated by dirty battery cases and wet conditions. Sulfuric acid is hygroscopic and if any acid residue exists on the exterior of the battery it will stay damp in humid conditions and provide the necessary leakage path. Early battery construction made this situation worse because the cell connectors were outside of the battery and offered many more spots where leakage could develop. Additionally, lead acid batteries self discharge because of small local cells developing within the battery itself. This is primarily due to sulfation but can happen because of non-uniformity in cell construction. Thus a battery can discharge even if suspended in the air. Battery manufacturers typically store (charged) wet cell lead acid batteries in freezers. As long as the temperature is above the freezing point of the electrolyte no damage will occur. They do this to preserve the battery as the chemical reactions that cause discharge and degradation slow significantly as the temperature is lowered.
 

ListerDiesel

In Memory Of
Age
73
Last Subscription Date
10/24/2016
Harry said:
OK, condensation along with a rubber and graphite case I can accept. I was about ready to try my megger on the concrete floor. With today's plastic batteries, I think we can put this story away, but if you can't, there's always a wooden block.
We supply battery charging equipment and batteries to the utilities here in the UK, and amongst our current work is a replacement battery for a substation which is 18 X 6V 200AH lead-acid batteries. These are replacements for 54 2V 200AH cells, which will go for recycling after removal.

In all the jobs we have done, every battery has either a rack or a cabinet, and the main reason for not standing on concrete or other such surfaces is to prevent earth leakage from either battery pole to ground. At 2V it is not a big problem, but at 110V DC or 220V DC it is a major problem and causes lots of sporadic faults on line transmission equipment.

It's a pity that the batteries coming out are not smaller, as they are in really nice condition and made in 1990. No plate material deposits in the bottom of the cells, but bl**dy heavy! :))

We supplied a charger to the same substation back in 1990 which is remaining in service.

Peter
 

Forrest A

Registered
Franz© said:
Harry cast a gaze back to the 50s, and remember battery cases were made from Hard Rubber, using graphite as a coloring. Factor in osmosis.
Old wives tale my butt, those batterys did self drain due to the construction of the battery itself. Plastic battery cases pretty much eliminated that.
Lead acid batteries, due to chemical reactions with impurities in the acid and plate material, cause a resistance to electron flow, will eventually make the potential in the battery drop. It only takes about a month or two of inactivity to make the battery start to show signs of discharge. The graphite cases haven't been made for some time now due to the fact they were a fire looking for a place to happen.

If you still have one of those (graphite/polimer) batteries around that works you have a rare antique!

If you are convinced that a slab of cement below the battery is the cause, buy two batteries with the same date code and make sure they are fully charged. Place one battery on a cement floor and the other one would be placed on a wooden shelf. Both batteries should be in the same location though to keep environments the same. Measure the batteries once a day for two to three months and log you reqadings then post your results. Be your own Mythbuster!

My opinion is that the battery on the wooden shelf will be the one that shows signs of discharge first because it's temperature would be higher which is what is needed for electrolisis to start to happen. Cement floors are cooler and would slow the chemical reactions in the battery on the cement.

Forrest A
 

Mark Birdeau

Registered
Last Subscription Date
12/04/2012
A couple of years ago at a mechanics meeting we had a battery manufacture
there to give a presentation on batteries.The questian of the concrete floor came up and he stated that it was true of the old rubber case batteries but it was not a problem now with the plastic cases.He also stated a fully charged battery will last longer in cold weather (above freezing I think he said) then in hot weather.As to why the concrete would be a problem I never thought to ask,but I would bet it would be moisture related.I just tried a quick experment with a digital volt meter.I had 122 volts at the outlet,with the positive lead still in the hot side of the outlet and the negitive to a wooden bench I had 14 volts,to the concrete floor 51 volts and with a little water on the floor 118 volts.If I remember right any time I ever left the old style batteries on the concrete,the floor and the battery both sweated,and I would guess that they would then make a connection enough to discharge. Of course I'm only guessing but with what I saw on the volt meter it seems possable. Mark:
 

ListerDiesel

In Memory Of
Age
73
Last Subscription Date
10/24/2016
ListerDiesel said:
In all the jobs we have done, every battery has either a rack or a cabinet, and the main reason for not standing on concrete or other such surfaces is to prevent earth leakage from either battery pole to ground.
Probably worth qualifying what I said there, as it doesn't read right!

One of the older sub-stations had open-topped cells, big glass rectangular containers with the plates coming up to the top and interconnecting bus-bars, real Frankenstein stuff :))

Where there is cell electrolyte spillage, either from over filling or from overcharge, then you get electrical leakage along the cell chain, and this is worse where the bases are stood on anything that will hold moisture.

Peter
 

Bud Tierney

Registered
Might as well put my 2 cents in...I'm 74, a long-time jalopy driver, and I didn't believe it either..until an older shade-tree mechanic showed me: left a battery (disconnected) in a car that couldn't run (engine out) for a month, took it out, put it in another car, it fired it right up...took same battery, put on garage floor (in New Mexico!) in three weeks it wasn't dead, but all it'd do was click the solenoid on the same car...he said he didn't know why, and didn't really care, just not to put 'em on cement floors...
 

F. Beddo

Registered
I've been in the battery business for over 25 years. I rebuilt more batteries than I can count. A battery will self discharge by itself over time reguardless if it is sitting on concrete, metal or ectoplasm. The rate of discharge will vary with many factors such as temp. how clean the battery is (dirt with traces of electrolyte conduct), what condition the battery was in, etc., etc., etc. I've had many down right arguments with customers insisting that concrete will kill a battery. I shut them up with: Tell me how! Not one person has ever been able to answer that. I actually have battery rebuilding publications that totally disprove the old wives tale.
 

ChadYelland

Registered
Age
39
Larry Rusch said:
Lead acid batteries will self discharge if a leakage path develops between the positive and negative posts on the battery. This is exacerbated by dirty battery cases and wet conditions. Sulfuric acid is hygroscopic and if any acid residue exists on the exterior of the battery it will stay damp in humid conditions and provide the necessary leakage path. Early battery construction made this situation worse because the cell connectors were outside of the battery and offered many more spots where leakage could develop. Additionally, lead acid batteries self discharge because of small local cells developing within the battery itself. This is primarily due to sulfation but can happen because of non-uniformity in cell construction. Thus a battery can discharge even if suspended in the air. Battery manufacturers typically store (charged) wet cell lead acid batteries in freezers. As long as the temperature is above the freezing point of the electrolyte no damage will occur. They do this to preserve the battery as the chemical reactions that cause discharge and degradation slow significantly as the temperature is lowered.
I work for Sargents auto electric and have disscussed this many times i think Larry pretty well covered it, most of the tale came from Glass batterys with open lead connectors that had a tendency to sweat, There is no reason to be concerned about your Plastic batterys, There is one shop out here won't let the delivery guy even drop them off alone, he has to carry every battery and put in 0n the rack, wont let them touch the floor!!! NUTs
 
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