The Edison cell - again

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by GW4MRM, Jan 6, 2018.

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  1. GW4MRM

    GW4MRM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Since I wished to construct a battery to power QRP equipment, I was very much drawn to the NIFE Edison battery (the “immortal” battery). However, as the price of these units are prohibitively high, I decided to build an Edison single cell first, before embarking on making an entire battery. I made two pillows: one of Iron Oxide in low carbon steel can, and the other of Nickel Hydroxide in a Nickel- plated can (both perforated). The electrolyte was Potassium Hydroxide (Caustic Potash) of a specific gravity of around 1: 2. Result: a cell which has excellent charge retention; but very little capacity to drive a current of say 200ma for more than a half hour or so! My question to my fellow amateurs is: what improvements can I make to my homemade the Edison cell (apart from abandoning it all-together) so as to extend its capacity - to drive said current for a longer period? Your answers would be most appreciated. 73, Dorian Stonehouse (GW4MRM, Carmarthenshire, Wales). doriansto@aol.com
     
  2. W1AAF

    W1AAF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Dorian,
    First of let me congratulate you on your battery accomplishment. Not everyone can do what you did - take a bow ! While I don't have any specific first hand information on the Edison cell, I would imagine that by increasing the size of the cell would increase its amperage capacity. By that I mean you should make each "plate" larger and increase the surface area. I checked the Web in regard to Edison cells, and one of the characteristics of the battery is low capacity as compared to other types of batteries. Now, I must ask, why don't you use a lead acid battery - such as a junk automobile battery. Even when they cannot start an automobile, they usually are able to supply a considerable amperage demand. Here in the States, there is a core charge on the "dead" batteries which is refunded when you return the "dead" battery to where you purchased your new battery. Ask the sales people if you can look over the dead batteries and choose one that is best suited for you. Use a voltmeter to check the open circuit voltage. A 12 volt lead acid cell which reads less than 10 volts is probably no good. Also test the battery with a moderate load such as a large light bulb (car head light) if it can operate the headlight for a minute or so, it is probably OK for your use. You can charge a car battery with a 12 v. DC wall wart. I hope this sheds some light on your project. 73 Mark, W1AAF
     
  3. GW4MRM

    GW4MRM Ham Member QRZ Page


    Thank you Mark for appreciating my endeavours in experimenting with the Edison Cell.
    I cannot explain why I am so interested in Edison NIFE batteries, but I think it stems from the fact that I have been building batteries since I was a kid, and I simply love the Edison Cell! Lead acid batteries are okay, but the NIFE ones keep going longer – especially when left discharged for months and then recharged!
    I have now managed to keep a 200 ma bulb running for over two hours, so I am getting there!
    The problem appeared to be with the negative plate, which I built using black Iron Oxide in a pouch of perforated mild steel (Black Oxide is very messy to work with). Anyway, instead of using the black stuff, I took out the pouch and in its place inserted two very rusty door hinges, connected by a strong crock clip. It worked a treat! I am now looking to scrape off rust from rubbish tip iron, and enclose this in a perforated mesh, which will run inside the girth of the peanut-butter jar, with the Nickel Hydroxide pouch in the centre. I have also increased the specific gravity of the Potassium Hydroxide (Caustic Potash) and that has also made a big difference!
    Thanks again for your interest and for your reply. All the very best to you and yours.
    73
    Dorian
    (Mr Dorian Stonehouse [GW4MRM] Wales)
     
  4. GW4MRM

    GW4MRM Ham Member QRZ Page

     
  5. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Have you ever played around with a "gravity cell"? It has nowhere near the capacity of an Edison cell, but it has some interesting chemistry, if you just like playing around with batteries and such.
     
  6. AC2QH

    AC2QH XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have an old Edison battery in my collection of techno artifacts. I am sending some pixs that I hope you will find of interest. 73 Larry AC2QH DSC01062.JPG DSC01062.JPG DSC01063.JPG DSC01063.JPG DSC01064.JPG
     

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