Thursday, July 26, 2012

Qdessa / VA / New project

Just got back from Odessa yesterday after a few days there to visit family and keep an appointment at the VA clinic there. I've noticed going and coming back each time that the highway (I 20) is really trashy. Used to be that the cities of Odessa and Midland took pride in keeping the highways clean and well groomed around them but not anymore. Seems that all of the out of state and out or area workers are not so keen on keeping it clean because there is trash littering the highway for about 20 miles. Too bad people move there during oil booms and evidently all they are interested in is making $.

I made the VA clinic and I guess I got my wish to get back in the system. It was actually an evaluation, but I had a bad sinus infection again and needed help with that. Had to sit in the waiting room for about 5 hours before the doctor could squeeze me in between other patients. I have two more appointments for September and yesterday they called and told me I have at least one more at the hospital in Alpine and will probably have two more after that.

New Project
My older brother in law Clinton Noble had a couple of old handicapped electric wheel chairs he no longer needed and my sister Ann wanted them gone so I wound up with them.
All four batteries were real low on charge and some wouldn't take a full charge so I got the stuff to doctor them and Ring and myself spent a good while doctoring them. Looks like all 4 will come around with a little more time for the Epsom salt solution to work on them. My plans are to make sort of a Moon buggy "Terlingua style" out of them with 4 wheel drive and all wheel  suspension. I really don't need another project, but will put some of the others off until I can get this done. I'll keep the batteries  charged off of solar so it will be a free ride to the mailbox, Legion and to explore on. I couldn't haul them in the Jeep so Ring will have to bring them on the next trip down here. I may go ahead and build the buggy with the gas powered charger on it so I could extend the range indefinitely and be able to pull up to the battery banks and charge them also when I'm not riding it. My nephew Pat came up with a couple of added batteries, but I only had room for the four other batteries. We doctored those two and Ring will keep them on a solar panel to try and get them back in shape and bring them later.

Santiago Peak
Yesterday evening it was cloudy to the west and it so happened there was a break in the clouds just enough to allow Santiago Peak to be lighted up. All of the other mountains were shrouded in the clouds shadows. I tried to take a picture with my binocular camera and get a really good close up picture, but that camera malfunctioned and wouldn't take so I had to revert back to my old camera.


  1. Tffguy,
    I think the moon buggy is a great idea. Can’t wait to see what you come up with. When you recondition the batteries with Epsom salt, do you leave the solution in the battery, or drain them and replenish them with distilled water?

  2. I'm also curious about the Epsom salt procedure to fix batteries. Sounds like something I could use.

    The moon buggy project sounds fun, please keep us posted.

    Lastly, great photo of Santiago peak!

  3. That is going to some great set of wheels. Keep us updated.

  4. Don't understand how you gonna get the acid out of a AGM battery. I can see ya drill'n big ol' holes in the top of a sealed battery, but AGM's have no liquid acid in them.

    Good news bout get'n back in the system. Hope they can fix ya up just like brand spank'n new. I've been out of the system for so long I probly never get back in. But with Medicare and supplemental, I'm good to go.

    Can't wait to see the "moon rover".

  5. lou & QKid, I used the solution for the first time about 4 years ago when the battery in the falcon died (Or at least wouldn't start it anymore.) It took and I still have the same battery in it and it is still doing good. I think the battery was about 4 or 5 years old back then. While I was staying at BBMI I bought a bunch of OLD golf cart batteries and doctored them. Some turned out to be 8 volt which I couldn't use so I doctored the 6 volt batteries and had almost 100% success with them. That gave me 8 good batteries for my battery bank. I'm down to two of them that are still good enough for what I use them for and that's to run the water pump and LED lighting in this trailer. All 6 of the others lasted about 2 years and I only paid $5 or $6 each. (Can't remember now because of CRS.) BTW now the core charge is $16 each.

    Here is how it works. The Epsom salt solution helps clean the sulfide crystals off of the plates which allows the battery to start working again.

    Hot to do it:

    Get a gallon of DISTILLED water and a 16 Oz package or box of Epsom salt. (Make sure it is pure with nothing else added.) Some sold as Dr ????'s has perfume added so stay away from anything like that. All total this shouldn't cost over about $5 and the gallon of solution should do about 4 batteries. Ideally the batteries should be low enough on water so that about a quart of the solution would do one battery.

    Pour the water in a pot big enough to hold the gallon of water. Pour the Epsom salt in the jug the water came in. Heat the water to about 150 degrees and no higher. Pour that water back in the jug leaving enough room at the top to allow the water and Epsom salt to be shaken until all the Epsom salt is dissolved.

    You might want to wear gloves while handling the jug from then on or until the solution cools a little. Its best to put the hot solution in the batteries, but it will still work even if it was cold. Might take a good while longer to work though.

    Top the battery off with the solution and then charge it. This might work immediately or it could take several days or over a week if its real bad. A cheap turkey baster is great for using to add the solution to the battery, but you may come up with some other way. I poured it in until we did this in Odessa and Ring came up with the baster idea. Pouring it is can get pretty messy.

    If a battery has a dead cell then it won't work, but if the problem is cause by sulfide on the plates it should work unless there is too much buildup.

    As for the question "Do you remove the solution? No it stays in the battery. Just add distilled water from then on when they get low.

    DISCLAIMER. It works for me and I won't be held liable if it doesn't work for you or you drop a battery on your foot or any other damage or anything else or....

  6. DD, I've had the moon buggy idea for a long time and now will have everything I'll need to build it. The burn ban is over so I can use the tools (including welder) to build it.

  7. BB, you are right. AGM batteries can't be doctored. Your normal led acid batteries is all this will work with. However, there are a lot of marine batteries and some other deep cycle batteries that are only sealed by a piece of thin plastic glued over the filler holes so you can't see them. That was the case with 2 of the 4 batteries we doctored. We pried off that plastic, removed the caps, doctored them and then I'll glue that back in place (If I get around to it)

    Maybe I'll grow up one day and won't be building weird stuff, but probably not? I think I'm in my second childhood so there's probably no chance of getting out of that. (Unless there's a third one)

  8. Questions. What do you do if the battery if full or nearly full? Do you only use batteries with removable caps? Seems most car batteries are sealed.

  9. rj, in the case of a full battery its likely had some water added not too awfully long ago. I have removed some of it down to where the top of the plates are visible looking through the filler before adding the solution. (Despose of that in an eco-friendly way) If a battery is truly sealed then you might as well forget it. It isn't worth messing with. If the fillers are just hidden under a sheet of plastic then you can see what we did in the above message.

    Sealed batteries may be fine, but I'd bet your common led acid battery with fillers can be made to outlast sealed batteries by a long time. I have an old deep cycle battery that is sealed and it lasted about 10 years. I'd bet the old golf cart batteries I bought back about 2 1/2 year ago were at least 10 and maybe 15 years old before I got them.

    You know how stuff is made now days. About everything is made to fail in a fairly short time (right after the warranty is expired) I suspect battery manufactures do the same thing and they don't want anyone to use them past that point so they can sell more batteries.

  10. Thanks Tffguy, I'll give it a try. Trying not to drop it on my foot.

  11. Great info on how to restore a battery, thanks for detailing the procedure! I have several batteries that I can try this on.

  12. lou, Hope it helps you and QKid out.

    Qkid you may wind up with three good batteries. Maybe Not?

  13. Cool idea to build a moon buggy. That's an awesome pic of Santiago Peak.

  14. Denese, I've built something along those lines before, but it was gas powered only. More than likely this one will be mainly electric with a gas engine for extended range. (Gas engine would only be used when needed)

    Wish my binocular camera would have worked on the Santiago picture. It would have been a much better picture.

  15. Is that your metal barn in the bottom picture?

  16. Anon, no, but I wish it were. That's across 118 from me.

  17. Tffnguy,

    (captaincrunch again)

    I like the idea of turning the power chairs into a buggie. Gives me the idea that you should work for NASA making robot buggies for Mars exploration. You could make a working remote controlled buggie for about $300 thousand and not $300 million that NASA pays for the remote controlled buggies.

    Back to that Mexican Midget wrestling thing. Maybe we should use Mexican Midget wrestlers for Astrounots going to Mars. The weigh less so less fuel is needed, along with air and food. Just feed them "wrestler chow" (same as puppy chow) and they can scurry all over surface of mars searching for Elvis and Jimmy Hoffa.

  18. I am glad that you are back in the system and that you got to see the doctor about your sinus infection even though you had to wait five hours.

    What did he say about your arm and your hand? Glad your hospital appointments are in nearby Alpine.