Battery Restoration, Improvised Insulation, and Switchel: Hints From C.D. Prewitt

A grab bag of ideas and recommendations on battery restoration, improvised insulation from materials readily at hand, drinking switchel, and using D.C. power.

| January/February 1973

  • batteries - Fotolia_14355010
    With proper care, you can make your batteries last longer and even revive them for a short time.
  • vinegar and honey - Fotolia_12191285
    Switchel is made from a mix of vinegar, honey, and water.

  • batteries - Fotolia_14355010
  • vinegar and honey - Fotolia_12191285

I notice that under "Feedback on Buying Used Pickups", Robert Stewart says that he uses a piece of emery cloth to brighten the contacts of his storage battery and give it longer life. He could also use a "male-female" wire brush made for this purpose and obtainable from auto suppliers. The stainless steel kind are best, since the others rust out rather quickly. To prevent corrosion of the terminals, grease (preferably not thickened oil) can be applied.

Since Ohm's law says E=IR, it's good practice to keep the contacts of dry cells clean, and I lengthen the life of my flashlight batteries by the same method . . . only I prefer steel wool for this job.

Another trick with flashlight cells: If you're in a tight spot for light and your batteries have just run down, try heating them . . . not too hot! You should be able to pick them up and give them some additional mileage. (I believe the heat drives away some hydrogen which is polarizing them.)

And here's another: a way to charge flashlight batteries. With the aid of a short length of wire as a connector, hold your cells across a storage battery so as to join them positive to positive and negative to negative. (The battery is six-volt, of course, unless you're trying to charge four flashlight cells.) If you hold the connection for a minute or so—until you feel the cells getting just a bit warm—they will again give a fairly bright light. It won't last long, but it may be enough to get you out of a tricky situation . . . as it has done for me.

And still another: If you want a bright flashlight in a small package, go to the dime store and buy a $1.00 two-cell model (that uses "D" batteries). Change the bulb to about a five-volt type . . . I like a PR-13 (4.75 volts) best because it lasts very well and will outlive several batteries. Then, instead of the regular two "D" cells, put in four "1/2 D". Those I've seen (by Eveready) are alkaline, and at least the equivalent of the carbon-zinc "D" kind.

Now you really have a light in your pocket!

4/4/2015 3:13:57 AM

Everyone knows that if you stick a sharp screwdriver in a car tyre it soon deflates. The point I'm making (sic) is look at the size of the wheel and the amount of air that comes out, then look at the pinprick of a hole made, Now look around your house for pinprick holes that allow heat to escape! Lets take a closed bedroom that contains central heating, the radiator inside it is chirping away producing heat..... feel how hot the radiator is .... now touch the bedroom walls ... there cold ... touch the ceiling... its cold... so where has the heat gone... remember the tyre example.... its escaped through the hole surrounding the bedroom lights .... it can be caulked £1.00 tube of bath sealant .. does anyone bother to do so? N-O, no.

Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019


Next: April, 27-28 2019
Asheville, NC

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters