Phenomenon Question

Beyond the boundaries of established science an avalanche of exotic ideas compete for our attention. Experts tell us that these ideas should not be permitted to take up the time of working scientists, and for the most part they are surely correct. But what about the gems in the rubble pile? By what ground-rules might we bring extraordinary new possibilities to light?

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Phenomenon Question

Unread postby Reticon » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:40 pm

Hypothetically, if any of you EU enthusiasts/experts were to find a somewhat pinpoint location where two perfectly good vehicle batteries, in two completely different vehicles, completely failed within a week of each other and within a very short time of entering that location... again, hypothetically, what sorts of tests would you perform in that location?

These batteries were fully charged, fairly new, worked great and went completely dead instantly. One of them went completely dead, came back again with enough power to start a v8 only to completely die again, no current at all between terminals. I've never seen one instance of this more less 2.
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Re: Phenomenon Question

Unread postby jacmac » Sun Jun 04, 2017 9:26 pm

wow:
One of them went completely dead, came back again with enough power to start a v8 only to completely die again,

Sounds like one O them Buddhist reincarnation black vortex tragedy things. Forget the tests, just get out of there....
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Re: Phenomenon Question

Unread postby comingfrom » Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:38 am

Sorry to hear about your batteries.

My first test would be to operate another vehicle at that location, with a new battery. Just to eliminate that it was not just a coincidence, and to know that every battery used in the locality will be effected.

Arrange a burnout competition at the location. If all the competitor's batteries die, you won't be popular, but you will have found a genuine phenomenon. :P And with a lot of vehicles, you should be able to pinpoint precisely where in the locality this phenomenon occurs.

~Paul
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Re: Phenomenon Question

Unread postby Webbman » Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:05 am

Sounds like someone don't want you there.
The secret to the universe is a rubber band.
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Re: Phenomenon Question

Unread postby Maol » Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:54 am

What was the climate, day-night 24 hr. temperature range, what type of batteries were they, wet cell, or AGM like Optima perhaps, post of side-terminal, and what are the vehicles?
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Re: Phenomenon Question

Unread postby Reticon » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:20 pm

Avg Low 49, high 74. 1 old tractor with 6v lead acid battery, 1 2004 Gmc truck with fancy "Platinum gel" 12v battery. Both batteries worked fine all winter and are < 5 years old. I drove the truck for 30 minutes this morning and as soon as I turned off the ignition everything was dead, couldn't even power lock.

I'm not kidding, the truck seemed to go completely dead, I watched the clock dim and go away, then after about 2 minutes it came back dim, then brightened, I started the truck, drove around for a while and when I shut off dead, not so much as static between the terminals.
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Re: Phenomenon Question

Unread postby Reticon » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:21 pm

Tractor has post, truck has side terminals.
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Re: Phenomenon Question

Unread postby Maol » Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:00 am

I think you can look at this as a coincidence. Five years is a long time for any car battery, premium “Platinum” quality or not. A six-volt wet cell with post terminals, in a tractor no less, has a tough row to hoe.

Vibration is always a battery killer and tractors vibrate more than passenger vehicles. The post/clamp terminals are problematic because they tend to grow a film of Lead/Zinc sulfate between the post and cable clamp. The film causes resistance between the battery and the charging system and that resistance interferes with achieving a full charge, even though the machine may be operated for sufficient time as would normally reach a full charge.

The sulfate is the white, green, blue or turquoise colored corrosion that extrudes from between the clamp and post.

Although it may not be evident and the cables appear “clean”, if there has been no maintenance for a year or two there is nearly always a film, moist or dry, between the clamp and post. This is why battery maintenance was always a part of the twice annual tuneup, Spring and Fall, recommended by vehicle manufacturers in the 'old days'.

The reason I asked about climate and temperature is, years ago, before side terminal batteries and back when post terminal batteries were predominant, in the Fall around Halloween when the overnight temperature started getting near freezing and the day/night temperature swings cause more dew to form, you could count on a rash of battery failures. The cold is a big part, but the dew encourages formation of the sulfate film between the post and cable clamp, resulting in less than ideal state of charge in a battery already vulnerable because of its age.

A battery becomes “sulfated” when it is not fully charged. When providing power (electrons flowing out) sulfur enters the plates, when charging (electrons flowing in) the sulfur is driven back into the electrolyte. If the sulfur stays in the plates too long, it doesn't want to leave at all and the battery is deemed “sulfated” and becomes non-functional. Well maintained or not, the older a battery is, the more sulfated it becomes, until it ultimately fails.

Another disadvantage a 6 V battery faces is they don't sell as often, so are more likely to be on the shelf a longer time before entering service. Time from manufacture is the biggest factor for battery life.

The AGM batteries are in some ways an improvement over wet cells, but they are quirky. I think more quirky than wet cell. When you deal with repairing cars for the public, so you see a lot of vehicles every day for years, it becomes evident the AGM batteries will do some odd things, act normal one day and not the next.

I have seen one cause a programmable EFI system to loose its memory overnight, some nights and not others. Finally, that battery blew up and spewed acid all over under the hood of a very nice car, and the new battery solved the mystery of the forgetful EFI. I should say solved the problem, it is still a mystery. Ordinarily, the ECU could be disconnected for an indefinite time and not lose its memory.

Another mystery is how an AGM battery acted as a rev-limiter. A race engine which easily turns 8,000 RPM began simply going flat at 6,000. This used up several hours of labor and chassis dyno time in diagnosis. Change every possibility with a new part, ignition system, fuel system, torque converter, remove the alternator, check valve springs, etc, etc. Finally run it with another battery and jumper cables, zoom...... go figure. I think it had something to do with the vibration frequency of the car at the 6,000 RPM engine speed, because after that episode the battery went on to another year or more of service in a beater pickup.

I know what you are thinking about the location, Earth's ground current or ??, and it may well be a factor, though I don't know how it could be proven. It seems unlikely Earth's electromagnetic environment could have much effect on a car battery. I have had occasions to wonder, the first almost 40 years ago when a rash of battery failures occurred during a period of high solar flare activity. Since that time, and particularly after the internet made it easy to do so, when a cluster occurs I check the Solar activity, but as they say, “the results are inconclusive.”
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Re: Phenomenon Question

Unread postby Reticon » Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:10 am

I'm leaning toward coincidence as well. The truck actually shut off from running when I turned on the turn signal last evening. I'd had a trailer and associated wiring hooked up for longer than normal as well. The odd location of the failures isn't as uncanny as they seem since it was the tractor battery failure that led to me hooking up the trailer and dragging it out into the field.

Thanks for the great description, I'd really had trouble finding any info on how batteries could fail so utterly and so instantly. Kept asking myself, where did the charge go?
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