Battery salts

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Electrical failures, more than any other trouble, are still responsible for the majority of roadside stoppages. Even though alternators put much more into a tired battery than dynamos ever did and, for those stranded, jump leads are now universally available. As for tired batteries, you may have heard of the ‘EDTA’ cure for them, which KL Martin has been advocating in almost every club magazine. His theme is that you can often revive a battery that might otherwise be scrapped by adding to its cells the tetrasodiurn salt from EDTA’s organic ethylenediaminetetraacetio acid. (See if you can get EDTA from that…!)

Having a battery which over the years had been getting increasingly less effective if left without charge, I decided to try the EDTA treatment. Especially as I had been unable to buy a replacement that would fit the battery-box of the Gould imitation Ulster A7. Those for MG-Bs, using one of the two 12-volt batteries, have a lip that just precludes dropping it in, and while you can enlarge a wooden or steel battery-box, one made of fibreglass is harder to alter. So this age-old heavy (a good sign in a battery) Type 421 18 amp six-volt Exide accumulator was given the EDTA cure, carefully following the instructions. Where once this battery, after being put on charge overnight and used in the A7 for a shortish run, would restart the engine on the tarter after standing for 10 days or so, now it wouldn’t. It still doesn’t, alas. Maybe it is just too far gone to get a kick, even from these obscure salts. To be fair, the odds are that it definitely is, because reports I have read in the American Home Power magazine speak well of EDTA. If you want to try it, Mr Martin’s address is 8 Taylor’s Close, Meppershall, Shefford, Beds SG17 5NH. For a small car battery a sachet costs £1.50, for a large car battery £2.00. If it fails to do the trick, don’t blame me …

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