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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Even The Simple Things - The Easiest Way to Add Water To Your Batteries


    Over the last few weeks I have been working on "de-winterizing" my RV. There are lots of big and small jobs to perform and most of them are pretty easy. Well, except for the cleaning. I hate cleaning. Even if it's easy it seems to take forever to finish. One of the things I do on a regular basis is check the water levels in my Lead-Acid batteries. I have two of them in a pull out drawer. If they need any distilled water added I usually use a funnel and a gallon jug of distilled water and pour away. The front battery cells are very easy to reach. The rear ones...not so much. Lots of spilling and water wasting. Until now!


Acid "Proof!"
There are several kinds of automatic and semi-automatic battery refill systems on the market. Lots of hoses and/or caps to install and maintain and to be honest...they are pretty pricey. While shopping for miscellaneous gadgets at a local tool emporium I stumbled on a "Bulb Type Battery Filler." Looks like a large bulb turkey baster with a much narrower neck. It's also immune to the acid used in batteries. It was only $1.99! The idea is simple, open your gallon jug of distilled water, squeeze the bulb then insert the end in the liquid and release the bulb. A good amount of distilled water will be drawn up into the bulb and you can easily insert the end into each battery cell and give a little squeeze to dispense as much or as little as you need. No muss, no fuss. And no mess!

When I used the funnel and gallon jug approach I often spilled distilled water while filling every cell. Since it was hard to control the amount AND the funnel blocked the opening I often found that I had overfilled the cell.Mainly because I couldn't see into it. That's not good. With this little gizmo, I get exactly the amount I need and because the nozzle is so small, I can see how much I put in at any given time. Today, I filled all 12 cells in under 2 minutes. It took longer to get to the batteries and remove the caps then it did to fill them up properly! Now that it is so easy, I'll probably check them more often. That could lead to longer lasting batteries. We all know how expensive they can get!

This will work on any Flooded (Wet) Cell Lead Acid battery. If it was designed to be filled/refilled with distilled water, this is the tool for the job! You could even use it to remove some liquid from overfilled cells. As usual, the simplest things can work miracles.

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"
www.thewanderman.com




9 comments:

  1. Good article Rich, the battery bulb has been around almost since the model T. Simple is best.
    I am concerned about your ending comment about removing liquid from the battery. This is some that should Never be done since it will upset the chemical balance of the electrolyte.

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    Replies
    1. Dennis,
      Not true. If you add too much distilled water and you need to remove some from the top, it will not really affect the mix as no agitation nor settling/outgassing will have occurred.

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  2. I have never seen a battery bulb. However, a common turkey baster works just fine. The nozzle, being glass, also is not affected by the battery acid.

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    Replies
    1. Gene and Jean,
      Wow I haven't seen a glass nozzle turkey baster in MANY years! I would be afraid of shattering the nozzle since I can be quite clumsy!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  3. Hi Rich,

    If you have enough space above the batteries you could use one of these. It stops flowing when the cell is full. Thanks for the article.

    http://www.amazon.com/Cycle-Battery-Water-Filler-Bottle/dp/B00NB808P0

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nolan,
      That's a pretty cool filler...I think I remember seeing those in old fashioned garages back in the day... I wish I had the space above the rear battery in my rig for that...it's only about 3 inches of clear height.

      Thanks for the link!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
    2. I will shop for one of these, in the meantime please tell me how full do you fill the batteries with distilled....Im a new rv owner and trying to check everything before my maiden voyage. (fifth wheel batteries?

      Delete
    3. Im a new rv owner....how full do you fill your batteries with distilled water?

      Delete
    4. Kenneth,
      Congratulations on your new RV! Different manufacturers require different fill amounts. For example, my Trojan batteries want me to fill them with distilled water up to the plastic "fingers" inside each cell. Never all the way to the top!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete

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