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Old 07-27-2011, 03:01 PM
tankman1989 tankman1989 is offline
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Question Obtaining lead from old batteries - what is the procedure?



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I have about 30 lbs of UPS backup powersupply batteries to get the lead from but I don't know how to do it appropriately. Some of them have dried up but some still have liquid I believe. Does anyone know what the liquid is in these seal batteries? Is is sulfuric acid, the same as car bat's?

Also, how do you rip apart car/truck/tractor batteries for the lead? I guess it might be smart to save the sulfuric acid as well, does anyone know what concentration it should be? Can replacement sulfuric acid be purchased to recharge them?

Any ideas on any lead acid battery is appreciated. I'd like to start casting some slugs for shotgun reloads!
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:25 PM
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That's a lot of work for lead. Batteries are sealed pretty good so your going to need a big hammer. You can boil the sulfuric acid down to a strong concentration over a fire. Stand really far away! There's a TM or FM manual that the army put out, don't remember the number.
Improvised explosives and incenerieres.
You really need to get some Safety equipment/personal protection gear first.
There's other stuff like don't put sulfuric acid in alum pots. Forget if white smoke is a good or bad thing.... It's probably more dangerous than cooking meth if you don't know the right way to handle the chemicals.
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Old 07-27-2011, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tankman1989 View Post
I have about 30 lbs of UPS backup powersupply batteries to get the lead from but I don't know how to do it appropriately. Some of them have dried up but some still have liquid I believe. Does anyone know what the liquid is in these seal batteries? Is is sulfuric acid, the same as car bat's?

Also, how do you rip apart car/truck/tractor batteries for the lead? I guess it might be smart to save the sulfuric acid as well, does anyone know what concentration it should be? Can replacement sulfuric acid be purchased to recharge them?

Any ideas on any lead acid battery is appreciated. I'd like to start casting some slugs for shotgun reloads!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead-acid_battery

Forget the batteries & go with wheel weights. Or just buy lead ingots.
After skimming the Wiki article, seems much safer all the way around.
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Old 07-27-2011, 04:04 PM
tankman1989 tankman1989 is offline
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Where does someone buy lead for an inexpensive (market) price? I would like to pay current prices http://www.metalprices.com/ - lead is about $1.20 / lb. IDK where to buy lead ingots but it always seems that new material is always outrageous in price - like 5-6x the market price for scrap.

I have a rotozip with a cutting wheel and it just slices right through the case. Tearing the top off seems to be a bit of a challenge.
Old 07-27-2011, 04:11 PM
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WOW! I have no idea where to begin! UUUUMMM well some recycle centers will actually pay for them, so... take the batteries there, then take the money and buy some lead ingots. If you have to ask the question of how do I (fill in the blank) with a lead acid battery, then chances are...you probably should not be messin with it! You can get lead ingots pretty cheap on ebay or a bass pro, gander mountain, etc. Why take the chance with YOUR LIFE!!!! Seems like a silly way to save a couple bucks, but that's just me.
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Old 07-27-2011, 04:14 PM
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I finally got the top off and boy what a mess!



It looks like I will be taking these to a recycle shop.

As for the suggestion for wheel weights - that is a good idea but it seems that most places here already have a contract with someone to take the scrap (the pickup person pays). Any ideas on how to get the business to change pickup people?

I want to do a major rant here because it is so frustrating trying to find people who will give away or sell their scrap. All the businesses seem to have something setup already and who's to blame them.
Old 07-27-2011, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revelations View Post
WOW! I have no idea where to begin! UUUUMMM well some recycle centers will actually pay for them, so... take the batteries there, then take the money and buy some lead ingots. If you have to ask the question of how do I (fill in the blank) with a lead acid battery, then chances are...you probably should not be messin with it! You can get lead ingots pretty cheap on ebay or a bass pro, gander mountain, etc. Why take the chance with YOUR LIFE!!!! Seems like a silly way to save a couple bucks, but that's just me.
Wow, IDK lead could be purchased for such good prices online. It looks like some of it is even selling below the market price and with the USPS's flat rate boxes, shipping shouldn't be too bad, especially if I buy close to the max weight to get the most out of the shipping $$. Thanks for pointing that out.

Just out of curiosity I would love to know how old you are and education. Your response, well, sounds like you are an arrogant teen know it all. IDK if you live in constant fear with believing these warnings like the battery thing. There is nothing wrong with emptying the acid out of a car bat and cutting it open with a grinder cutting wheel - nothing is going to happen but you probably think it might explode or something. I'm guessing you have no idea why some batteries explode too and probably believe what you see in movies with the huge fireball and dead people from a few D cell batteries, lol.

I did and asked nothing wrong nor inappropriate or unsafe. Believe it or not some people can handle dangerous materials and understand that the usually overstated warnings are for ignoramuses like you (yes, ignoramus is the correct word and it isn't insulting - you obviously are ignorant of the true danger potentials for batteries). I asked how to take apart car/(lead acid) batteries and you scold me, lol! SERIOUSLY!? Can I not ask what tools work best for ripping apart or cutting that plastic?

There is not one thing in my post that should have lead you to believe that I didn't know what I was doing safety wise. Your over-inflated ego has made you make assumptions that are totally incorrect. Maybe you should change your tone and realize that some people may know a little bit about that which they are doing.
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Old 07-27-2011, 04:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revelations View Post
WOW! I have no idea where to begin! UUUUMMM well some recycle centers will actually pay for them, so... take the batteries there, then take the money and buy some lead ingots. If you have to ask the question of how do I (fill in the blank) with a lead acid battery, then chances are...you probably should not be messin with it! You can get lead ingots pretty cheap on ebay or a bass pro, gander mountain, etc. Why take the chance with YOUR LIFE!!!! Seems like a silly way to save a couple bucks, but that's just me.
Man, your tone is just ridiculous. It's overall chastising for no reason! WTF is your deal!? How am I taking a chance with my life, PLEASE tell me this. Really, tell me how my life is at risk with ONLY referencing my original post. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do this and if you make sense I will totally apologize, remove my comments and try to change my ways, but I don't think you can - lol.
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:20 PM
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If you ever have a battery explode near you, you'll understand how serious those things can be. I had one explode in a car while the hood was still down and locked in position. It blew the upper right corner of the hood upwards without breaking the lock mechanism. That corner of the hood was pointed up at about a 45 degree angle and acid was dripping everywhere. Pieces of the battery were embedded all over the place. It was just like a mini-grenade blowing up and throwing acid all around. Now imagine getting some of that acid in your eyes. You'll need a seeing eye dog and a white cane.
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:31 PM
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i second wheel weights you can get lots for free
Old 07-27-2011, 06:32 PM
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You can get replacement sulfuric acid at most automotive stores. But reclaiming the lead is far more hassle than it's worth. They had a thread about it on traditionalmuzzleloadingforum.com a few years back. It's a dangerous procedure and there are heavy metal vapors to deal with (cadmium and such). It's very much not worth it when there are so many other sources of free or cheap lead all over the place, such as dental X ray backer, lead roofing sheathing, old pipes, lead wheel weights, etc.
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Old 07-27-2011, 07:44 PM
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Batteries used for backup power are lead acid chemistry. Often the acid is a gel.

The lead plates react with the sulfur in the electrolyte if the battery remain discharged for much time. This means the lead is not immediately usefull to you. The resultant contamination must be removed, ie the lead must be refined again.

You can remove it by melting it and fluxing it but this is not a safe proceedure. You would end up burning the sulfur in air and the resulting smoke (H2S & SO2) is both stinky and toxic.

Leave lead recycling to those who have the equipment.
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:16 PM
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Just pull the plates out, wash them with a strong sodium bicarbonate solution to neutralize the acid, melt it down OUTSIDE with a slight breeze( be sure to stand upwind).

Batteries explode when they are shorting out, overloaded, or over-charged. The sulphur gas is explosive to an extent, you don't want to be welding over the top of a car battery.

As with anything like this, a little common sense goes a long way.
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
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Just pull the plates out, wash them with a strong sodium bicarbonate solution to neutralize the acid, melt it down OUTSIDE with a slight breeze( be sure to stand upwind).

Batteries explode when they are shorting out, overloaded, or over-charged. The sulphur gas is explosive to an extent, you don't want to be welding over the top of a car battery.

As with anything like this, a little common sense goes a long way.
It's the hydrogen that explodes.

The plates are usually a sulphated wreck is why the battery was trashed. Converting it back to lead is hazardous, as is melting them down. Not only because of the lead vapor, but also other heavy metals like cadmium. I wish I had the link to the conversation about it at traditionalmuzzleloadingforum.com. One read and nobody would even consider it.
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:46 PM
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I tried the battery thing once, it was a waste of time, scavenging lead fro the battery. now I buy pure lead from http://rotometals.com for my reloading. TP
Old 07-27-2011, 08:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeK View Post
It's the hydrogen that explodes.

The plates are usually a sulphated wreck is why the battery was trashed. Converting it back to lead is hazardous, as is melting them down. Not only because of the lead vapor, but also other heavy metals like cadmium. I wish I had the link to the conversation about it at traditionalmuzzleloadingforum.com. One read and nobody would even consider it.

That's why I recommended doing this process OUTSIDE and standing UPWIND.

Yes, you will get a lot of garbage out of it, but there is still a lot of good lead to be had.

I've been scrapping batteries since I was a young-un and never had to "convert" the plates back into lead. Just wash with soda to neutralize the acid.

Big "6 series" truck batteries usually yield around 45 pounds of bullet material.
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Old 07-27-2011, 09:22 PM
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Even if you can reclaim the lead it's usually not worth it. You'd get more value by selling them to those places that recycle them.

Problem being that it won't have the right alloys for making anything but soft lead bullets. For handguns, and rifles you need wheel weights. At least they come closer to having the right alloys to make harder lead. (like the right amounts of tin and antimony.)

Places that sell tires, and not chain stores are your best bet. Or make friends with the shop manager. Pizza and beer go a long way towards getting this stuff. Offer to bring some by weekly for the whole crew at the shop once a week, near closing time.

Give them a bucket to put it all in and save them from having to do much else.

Ohterwise, I've found fairly good deals on Gunbroker or Ebay. USPS, with flat rate shipping keeps shipping costs down too. Better to get the already melted down ingots then plain wheel weights, since you're then paying for the lead and not the clips and other junk that's in bucket of wheel weights, which can be over 1/3 of the total weight.
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Old 07-27-2011, 09:26 PM
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I cast little lead soldiers.
Scrap lead is best from old pipes, wheel weights, old fishing weights, curtain weights etc.
You get a scum or dross from impurities and oxidized lead that has to be skimmed off. real dirty lead means more smoke and more dross.
But
You need to make an alloy of lead.
Plain lead has a higher melting point and it will eventually burn out most molds over time.
By adding tin or any other scrap metal like pewter, antimony or bismuth, you reduce the melting point considerably.
Also plain lead is lazy in a mold.
You get better flow and crisper detail with alloy.
Ideally 60% lead and 40% tin is used for toy soldiers, but bullets and bullet ingots I've seen are 95% lead and 5% alloy.
So you don't need a lot of the other stuff to get what you need.
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Old 07-27-2011, 11:03 PM
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I go through a lot of lead in my fishing lure business as I pour molten lead into the belly cavity of several of my wooden Musky lures. Its ballast for me. I use scrap, wheel weights, pipe, lead sheeting, lead bars and ingots. I tore battery apart once and melted the lead. It was no biggie. The battery has sat outside for about 10 years in pile. I tore down several of them with an axe. They were all long since dry inside. Once I stripped out the lead I tossed the rest in the garbage can. But I would agree that taking wet ones apart is dangerous and burning them will get you a ticket. Kingfish
Old 07-27-2011, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rover View Post
That's a lot of work for lead. Batteries are sealed pretty good so your going to need a big hammer. You can boil the sulfuric acid down to a strong concentration over a fire. Stand really far away! There's a TM or FM manual that the army put out, don't remember the number.
Improvised explosives and incenerieres.
You really need to get some Safety equipment/personal protection gear first.
.
I cracked open and got lead out of few batteries in my childhood and still alive and well. All you have to do is not be stupid. Crack that battery open with hammer and melt internals over open fire while staying upwind from it. Use heavier steel container to melt it in.
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