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Old 05-06-2019, 03:06 PM   #1
California Travieso
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Default Charging a dead battery

When I put my Model A in the garage, I routinely turn off the gas valve and let It run until the gas in the carb is gone and the engine stops. Unfortunately, the last time I forgot to turn off the key. The next time I tried to start it the battery was completely dead.

I have an old Diehard 6/12 volt charger so I took the battery out Saturday and set in on charge. The charger automatically goes to 12 volt charge and I left it on. This morning I checked it and realized I didn't change the setting to 6 volts!

I got confused because have a modern 6/12 volt electronic battery tender that I can use on the Model A as well as my modern cars. It automatically detects whether the battery is 6 or 12 volts and sets it to the correct voltage.

I hope I didn't ruin the battery.

David Serrano
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Old 05-06-2019, 03:14 PM   #2
Mike V. Florida
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Default Re: Charging a dead battery

Get a new battery is my advice. Also, I would change the coil because all the voltage going through the coil, it had to get hot and could act intermittently now.
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Old 05-06-2019, 03:33 PM   #3
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Default Re: Charging a dead battery

Don’t play with the old battery if there is a chance it’s bad get rid of it ! Because it will only stranded you .i know this is not what you want here . Best of luck to you!
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Old 05-06-2019, 04:05 PM   #4
Chris Haynes
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Default Re: Charging a dead battery

Most auto parts stores will check you battery for free.
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Old 05-06-2019, 05:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: Charging a dead battery

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Originally Posted by Mike V. Florida View Post
Get a new battery is my advice. Also, I would change the coil because all the voltage going through the coil, it had to get hot and could act intermittently now.
Good advice Mike. I'll get a new battery and a new coil as well. It's the same battery that came with the car so I'm sure it's bad.

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Old 05-06-2019, 05:43 PM   #6
Kurt in NJ
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Default Re: Charging a dead battery

So does it start the car now???
I too forgot the ignition when starting the new routine of running the carb bowl empty, battery dead must have been for months, I only had a 3 amp charger, had to get to a show, hand cranked it to start, coil survived---still working over 10 years later, for me a 20 min drive and the generator charged the battery enough to start the car ---the battery finally failed 6 years later
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Old 05-06-2019, 05:49 PM   #7
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Default Re: Charging a dead battery

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Originally Posted by California Travieso View Post
Good advice Mike. I'll get a new battery and a new coil as well. It's the same battery that came with the car so I'm sure it's bad.

David Serrano
I must have missed something. You said in your first post that you took the battery out of the car to charge it. If that were so, how would the coil be damaged?? That said, my advice would be as others have said. Get rid of that battery and work out a way to remind yourself to turn off the ignition or better still, isolate the battery.
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Old 05-06-2019, 07:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Charging a dead battery

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I must have missed something. You said in your first post that you took the battery out of the car to charge it. If that were so, how would the coil be damaged?? That said, my advice would be as others have said. Get rid of that battery and work out a way to remind yourself to turn off the ignition or better still, isolate the battery.

Same here.

Did you check how many volts the battery was after charging?
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Old 05-06-2019, 07:26 PM   #9
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Default Re: Charging a dead battery

Drawing a battery down to completely dead will reduce its capacity, however it seems kind of premature to replace it without charging it and seeing if it will be adaquate. The best is to use a trickle charger on it for 48 hours. Setting the charger on 12 volts won't hurt the battery as long as it wasn't left on too long. It sure is hard on the charger though, might want to check if it still works.
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Old 05-06-2019, 08:21 PM   #10
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Default Re: Charging a dead battery

The reason the battery is dead, is because the key was on, and obviously the points were closed, so the coil was energized continuously , which overheats and damages the coil. They’re cheap, why take a chance.
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Old 05-06-2019, 08:24 PM   #11
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Default Re: Charging a dead battery

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The reason the battery is dead, is because the key was on, and obviously the points were closed, so the coil was energized continuously , which overheats and damages the coil. They’re cheap, why take a chance.
OK, Gotcha. Like I said, I missed something!
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Old 05-06-2019, 08:25 PM   #12
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Default Re: Charging a dead battery

Didn't he say he charged it on 12 instead of 6 volts for several hours? I'd bet the battery is trashed and lucky it didn't blow it's guts. Check the points too, if you left the key on until it killed the battery over winter it probably destroyed the points, depended if they were closed.
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Old 05-06-2019, 10:50 PM   #13
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Default Re: Charging a dead battery

I forgot to mention that the charger has a setting "75 amps 12/6 volts START" to start the car. I tried that first but the starter didn't turn over so I took the battery out of the car.

I charged it for two days at 12 volts and 2 amps. The charger has five levels and it never moved out of the first level. I'm going to get it checked just to make sure.

I'm probably going to get a new battery and a new coil. I'll also check the points and will get a new set if necessary. I've got two extra distributors so I might just put one of those on first and time it.

Thanks again for all the good advice.

David Serrano
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Old 05-07-2019, 09:46 AM   #14
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Default Re: Charging a dead battery

Did you check the battery for water (electrolyte)?
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Old 05-07-2019, 10:14 AM   #15
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Default Re: Charging a dead battery

I bought a 6v battery maintainer just so I wouldn't mix up my charging rates. I did it and it killed my battery so I decided to get a dedicated one just for the "A".

I also left the key on all night once but my coil survived and haven't had any issues with it. It makes one wonder what the odd's are to have the point's land in the perfect position that would save your coil from overheating.

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Old 05-07-2019, 03:58 PM   #16
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Default Re: Charging a dead battery

Katy: The first thing I did was fill the battery with distilled water before I charged it.

BillCNC: I'm not a mathematician so I don't know whether the chances of having the point closed are 1 in 4 (4 cylinders) = 25% or whether you have to take into consideration the amount of time the points are open compared to the time they are closed. Interesting question. Could be that I'm just unlucky since I have never won the lottery.

So far, the Model A has been reliable unlike my 2010 BMW which just went over 100K miles and I recently had to replace the alternator. When I went in for an oil change on the BMW I was told there is an oil leak in the oil filter housing. From videos on YouTube, it looks like I can expect to replace the electric water pump in the BMW as well since they are also known to fail. Should have traded it in before 100K!

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Old 05-07-2019, 05:05 PM   #17
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Default Re: Charging a dead battery

It's not a good idea to fill water before charging.

When you drain current from the battery, the electrolyte goes into the porus lead, make lead sulfate, and the "water" level will sink. When you charge the battery, the lead sulfate is made into lead and sulfuric acid again. And the "water" level will rise again, but because of heat generated while charging, some water will evaporate.

If you top up water before charging, the added excess "water" will come out through the vents and your acid Will become weaker (a new battery Will measure 1,28 to 1,30 kg/liter)

If you have a dead battery, check the density og the acid, charge with 2,8volts/cell and low current for three days and check again.

If the density has risen, but is below 1,28: charge for a week, check and full water.

If density stays the same after three days: get a new battery.

Rune Waltoft from Norway
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Old 05-07-2019, 06:00 PM   #18
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Default Re: Charging a dead battery

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Originally Posted by California Travieso View Post
Katy: The first thing I did was fill the battery with distilled water before I charged it.

BillCNC:

So far, the Model A has been reliable unlike my 2010 BMW which just went over 100K miles and I recently had to replace the alternator. When I went in for an oil change on the BMW I was told there is an oil leak in the oil filter housing. From videos on YouTube, it looks like I can expect to replace the electric water pump in the BMW as well since they are also known to fail. Should have traded it in before 100K!

David Serrano
Ditch the BMW and buy almost anything else but not a Benz. Awfully expensive for not much extra and very expensive to maintain. IMO, Japanese or Korean are the best Oh how it hurts to say that!
Alternatively, use your A as your daily driver.
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Old 05-07-2019, 06:00 PM   #19
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Default Re: Charging a dead battery

rune,

I charged it at 2 amps for two days and the electrolyte did not rise nor did it spill out. I'll check the battery with a multimeter to see if has held a charge.

I don't have a battery hydrometer to check the density of the acid but I'll look into it.

David Serrano
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Old 05-07-2019, 06:07 PM   #20
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Default Re: Charging a dead battery

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Ditch the BMW and buy almost anything else but not a Benz. Awfully expensive for not much extra and very expensive to maintain. IMO, Japanese or Korean are the best Oh how it hurts to say that!
Synchro909,

Yes, my wife wants me to trade it in so she can buy a new Lexus. Should have done it before It reached a 100K miles. Would have saved me a lot of money.

David Serrano
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