12 V Battery Conversion to HHO Generator

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  • #1
WhoWee
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I'm trying to convert an old 12 Volt car battery into an HHO generator. I want to achieve electrolysis of water using a dead battery as the vessel. A battery seems to have all of the necessary components: water tight case, electrodes, connections, and vent holes.

I've witnessed other devices that achieve electrolysis (using titanium and stainless electrodes and a little baking soda) and then hold a small charge...so I figured "why build a battery...why not use a battery?

Unlike everyone else doing this, I'm not trying to fuel a motor or improve gas mileage. Instead, I want to generate a small quantity of HHO on demand, run it through a 1/8 plastic tube and try to achieve/test a small flame with a very clean burn (ultimately for use in a very light manufacturing process).
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Phrak
4,254
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You want to generate water with a battery?
 
  • #3
WhoWee
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No, I want to use the battery to separate the water into hydrogen and oxygen.
 
  • #4
WhoWee
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I want to add current to the battery to achieve electrolysis in the cells and capture the gas to a tube.
 
  • #5
Phrak
4,254
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I would read this before you blow something up and/or scatter acid in someone's face.

http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=3495731"

The evolution of gas is an explosive mixure of H2 and O2. If you ignite the end of a tube it will follow back to the battery igniting the cavity of H2 and O2 remaining within the battery case.
 
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  • #6
WhoWee
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I should have offered more details. First, I drained the battery of acid and neutralized with a baking soda and water solution...and rinsed several times. Next, I refilled with tap water and added a small amount of baking soda to each cell. Now I'm trying to decide if it would be better to reverse the polarity or connect normally to a power source...battery charger...to achieve the reaction?
 
  • #7
Phrak
4,254
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Look, normally, you have the plates separted to generate gases. The gasses of each plate should not mix. As you can expect, one will be oxidizing and one a reducing--together they explode when ignited.

You need to keep your gases separate unless a gas bomb is what you're after.
 
  • #8
WhoWee
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The battery will be full of water and a spoon of baking soda. The gas will be captured by 6 tubes and travel into a plastic cylinder full of plain water to "bubble". The rising gas will be exhausted out of a 1/8 tube (or smaller if necessary) and then ignited. A gas bomb is definitely not the plan.
 
  • #9
WhoWee
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I thought the individual cells and plates in the battery would be ideal.
 
  • #10
Phrak
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I thought the individual cells and plates in the battery would be ideal.

In each cell of a lead acid battery, there are several interleaved plates.
 
  • #11
Topher925
1,565
7
I'm not really understanding how your going to be capturing the gas from the vents in the battery. The gas forms at the electrodes and that's where it needs to be captured. Just going and letting the gases mix then collecting it isn't a very good idea.
 
  • #12
Pumblechook
359
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How much H do you want and what for?

I filled a balloon once.
 
  • #13
WhoWee
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This is a work in progress.

Yesterday, I drilled holes through all 6 battery caps and inserted hoses...tight fit. These 6 hoses are running into a closed cylinder containing water. The gas will bubble into the water and rise to the top...hopefully create a little pressure...a filled balloon is encouraging...and be vented to a single 1/8 hose at the cap. I'm looking for a steel tip for the 1/8 hose...where I'll ignite a small flame.

The issue I want to discuss is the polarity of the connection...I drained the battery completely...it won't hold a charge. Should I connect the battery charger normally or reverse the poles? Would a reversed polarity create a better reaction? Also, (safety is an issue here) is there a better alternative to the baking soda to achieve electrolysis?
 
  • #14
Pumblechook
359
0
I blew up a large balloon but not with electrolysis....Caustic Soda and Aluminium chippings in a glass bottle. Just put the neck of the balloon over the bottle.

Dangerous stuff.
 
  • #15
WhoWee
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Way too dangerous! I want to achieve electrolysis using a battery...drained of acid and refilled with tap water and either baking soda or (I don't know what...it's part of my question).
 
  • #16
Phrak
4,254
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Yesterday, I drilled holes through all 6 battery caps and inserted hoses...tight fit. These 6 hoses are running into a closed cylinder containing water. The gas will bubble into the water and rise to the top...hopefully create a little pressure...a filled balloon is encouraging...and be vented to a single 1/8 hose at the cap. I'm looking for a steel tip for the 1/8 hose...where I'll ignite a small flame.

You're not listening. The plates are in each cell are interleaved. Opposites plates are in each cell in close proximity. You can't hope to separate the gases with this arrangement.

You'd have to open the battery and separate the plates.

If you are going to persue in generating explosive mixtures in a fragmentary glass container, complete with a fuse hole, at least wear something over your eyes and face. It makes it easier for the surgeons.
 
  • #17
russ_watters
Mentor
21,606
8,724
If you are going to persue in generating explosive mixtures in a fragmentary glass container, complete with a fuse hole...
....and an electronic ignition source!
 
  • #18
WhoWee
180
0
I thought the interleaved design would be ideal...lots of surface area.

By the way, the "cylinder" is a very lightweight plastic shampoo bottle filled nearly to the top with water...I don't have any kind of death/disfigurement wish.

The power supply is a battery charger...located 10' away.
 
  • #19
WhoWee
180
0
The ignition source is a candle...located about 10' away in the other direction.
 
  • #20
delfinjulius
2
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Hy WhoWee

I am Jorge from Chile..Have you been able to use old car battery as a HHO Unit?

Please feedback me on your experience, by logic it should work

Jorge
 
  • #21
Gnosis
147
4
I'm trying to convert an old 12 Volt car battery into an HHO generator. I want to achieve electrolysis of water using a dead battery as the vessel. A battery seems to have all of the necessary components: water tight case, electrodes, connections, and vent holes.

I've witnessed other devices that achieve electrolysis (using titanium and stainless electrodes and a little baking soda) and then hold a small charge...so I figured "why build a battery...why not use a battery?

Unlike everyone else doing this, I'm not trying to fuel a motor or improve gas mileage. Instead, I want to generate a small quantity of HHO on demand, run it through a 1/8 plastic tube and try to achieve/test a small flame with a very clean burn (ultimately for use in a very light manufacturing process).

Phrak has provided sound information. Respectfully, please read this slowly and give it plenty of open-minded thought. You aren't the first to want to use a lead-acid battery in this manner and likely won't be the last.

I understand that you’ve removed the normal electrolyte and have neutralized the battery and that it’s not being used as normally intended. However, you are missing a very important detail.

A lead-acid battery is assembled in a manner that has interwoven plates per each of its 6 cells and this of course, is how each cell develops its 2.1 ~2.2 volts and THIS is where the problem begins per YOUR intended usage.

Regardless of the water and manner of salt used to make the water conduct current for electrolysis purposes, EACH of the interwoven plates will develop a small voltage drop per Kirchhoff’s law. In doing so, the alternate sides of each plate will develop both a negative polarity (producing the fuel, hydrogen) and a positive polarity (producing the oxidizer, oxygen). Therefore, per EACH of the 6 cells, a highly explosive mixture of hydrogen AND oxygen will be produced and already premixed prior to your usage. In these portions, it does NOT allow for a controlled burn. It will simply explode the instant that it is ignited because the oxidizer is already combined with the fuel, so there's no means to meter oxygen intake to the fuel (HH).

This is why batteries are fully capable of blowing up (and I know several guys who found this out the hard way, including my own younger brother) if sparks and prevailing winds allow the gases emitted during battery charging to be ignited. (My brother lived and is o.k., but he did not forget the lesson that he learned the hard way. Now batteries give him the jeebies. Good! LOL)

In a normal electrolysis set up, there is only one positive electrode and one negative electrode and they are separated via the electrolyte. Since this configuration has no multiple interwoven plates, each electrode’s surface area remains at its greatest positive and the other at its greatest negative potential therefore, no positive and negative per alternate sides of the same electrode. This allows the hydrogen and oxygen to be produced exclusively per each electrode (neg, HH, Pos, O), as well as collected separately and safely.

Unfortunately, the lead-acid battery assembled with its interwoven plates makes it essentially useless for your intended purpose.
 
  • #22
delfinjulius
2
0
Dear Gnosis
Thanks for your info..My purpose, is not for burning flame, is just to collect from each cell, widening the standar plastic bolt with a high seal connector, the hydrogen plus the oxigen and to be send to a bubble collector, and then to feed from the car engine air intake and be mixed with the normal fuel and from there to be burned on the piston camera as a normal fuel, and to test trial if it can work as a hho generator for fuel economizer..

I am not an electrician, but as I have reviewed many sites that shows you how to build the hydrogen booste for this purpose, it seems that taking all the security issues into account, it should work just fine, and what I am looking for it is exactly this oxygen plus hydrogen mix in a controled way.

Jorge
 
  • #23
TVP45
1,041
4
Many controlled studies have shown that this does not work as a fuel economizer, but that's another story. If you do this, please make certain you are not wearing any synthetic fiber clothing (No, I don't mean nude - wear cotton, preferably treated with flame retardant); the burn center folks hate shrink wrapped victims. I have designed industrial flame arresters and the ones described on typical water-gas sites don't cut it.

There is a safer way to get the same results. Take $2000 US, put it in a pile and set it afire. Then pour 100 ml of sulfuric acid into your intake manifold. Drill one or more holes in the throttle body. And last, smack the lambda sensor with a good hammer (:devil: this paragraph is satirical; don't actually do it).
 
  • #24
chayced
157
0
I honestly don't see the problem with using a battery to produce electrolysis. Yes you will be producing an explosive mixture, and yes that isn't particularly safe, but when charging a battery they do the exact same thing just not at as high a volume. The problem is when you want to be able to ignite what you produce. The HHO car guys, at least the ones that don't blow up, use a bubbler. The gas comes in at the bottom, bubbles through water then goes on to where it is ignited. This way the flame does not make it all the way back to the electrolysis cell.

If you are planning on using this for some sort of welding, that would be the way to do it.

P.S. I am not telling you that your setup is safe. Nor am I saying that my recommendation will make it safe. Just that this is how I would do it if I was doing it. Also, have good ventilation. Hydrogen disappears pretty quick, but you don't want a pocket of it to blow up on you.
 
  • #25
Gnosis
147
4
I honestly don't see the problem with using a battery to produce electrolysis. Yes you will be producing an explosive mixture, and yes that isn't particularly safe, but when charging a battery they do the exact same thing just not at as high a volume. The problem is when you want to be able to ignite what you produce. The HHO car guys, at least the ones that don't blow up, use a bubbler. The gas comes in at the bottom, bubbles through water then goes on to where it is ignited. This way the flame does not make it all the way back to the electrolysis cell.

If you are planning on using this for some sort of welding, that would be the way to do it.

P.S. I am not telling you that your setup is safe. Nor am I saying that my recommendation will make it safe. Just that this is how I would do it if I was doing it. Also, have good ventilation. Hydrogen disappears pretty quick, but you don't want a pocket of it to blow up on you.

You cannot compare this HHO producing process to that of “charging of a battery”. When charging a battery, there is no ignition source installed to purposely ignite the explosive HHO gases of the battery and no ignition sources are placed anywhere near the battery per the vehicle manufacturer.

Also, the problem doesn’t exist ONLY when trying to ignite the HHO mixture, the danger exists in storing the greater volume of highly explosive HHO gases than would otherwise be gathered by the battery itself (greater HHO volume due to additional lengths of tubing and/or additional containment of the HHO gases). If an HHO leak should occur prior to the isolating bubble-bladder, the fuel source in its entirety will explode. Depending upon the volume of explosive mixture gathered/contained, this may or may not prove damaging or harmful. You need to look at the whole picture and pay greater attention to detail. It is unwise to advise anyone to produce highly explosive HHO mixtures, but there’s more.

Additionally, the HHO fuel source cannot be burned in a “controllable manner” despite any desire to do so. It is a “highly explosive” mixture only. Even a combustion engine does NOT use an “explosive” A/F mixture. Its A/F mixture is intended to burn rapidly, but even a rapid, clean burning stoichiometric A/F ratio of 14.7:1 does NOT combust instantaneously, as demonstrated by combustion chamber cameras. If the A/F mixture were to instantaneously explode at TDC or BTDC, as is commonplace for most modern day combustion engines, it would exert far greater forces than intended on the connecting rods, the wrist pins, the pistons, and the head gasket. For this reason, changes to ignition timing should be made to help reduce the increased stress associated with the use of this highly explosive HHO mixture. However, these days, it has become increasingly difficult to alter the ignition timing, as some ECM’s use a fixed sensor position to determine crankshaft position. From that fixed position, the programming of the ECM makes the appropriate ignition timing changes based upon a constantly metered “gasoline A/F ratio” that is rapid burning, but not outright explosive.

So, in truth, harm can actually be caused to the engine that is unseen until the added stress finally causes premature engine failure.

I realize some people are going to do as they please regardless of the greater knowledge bestowed upon them and that’s certainly their prerogative. Ultimately, I wish them and their vehicle no harm and so I take the time to provide this info.
 
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  • #26
BrockLee
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I am forseeing a device to make pressure, that is what would make it harmful. unless the intentions are for other things then welding.
 
  • #27
chayced
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Here is a link that goes into more of what I am talking about. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxyhydrogen

Also Gnosis, I never said anything about storing any quantity of the hydrogen oxygen mixture. Yes, storing any large amount of hydrogen and oxygen is a BAD idea, but using an on demand electrolysis cell with a bubbler and a very low total gas volume can be safe.

Another thing, where did everyone get the idea that this was a water car post? I thought the OP was asking about this for creating some sort of welding device.

I really get sick of hearing "OH MY GOD IT'S HYDROGEN". Yes it does have a wide explosion range with air. Yes it also is even more dangerous when mixed with pure oxygen. But it also disappears very quickly when vented to atmosphere and is relatively safer than gasoline. I've never had hydrogen pool around my feet when a project went wrong.
 
  • #28
TVP45
1,041
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Here is a link that goes into more of what I am talking about. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxyhydrogen

Another thing, where did everyone get the idea that this was a water car post? I thought the OP was asking about this for creating some sort of welding device.

.

I apologize. I was replying to the immediately preceeding post (which was about a fuel enhancer), and I did it incorrectly.
 
  • #29
WhoWee
180
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The OP was regarding a small and portable welding device...to be used in a large open space. One of the reasons for choosing a battery design was the substantial availability of used batteries, economic fuel cost, and the HHO mixture was believed to burn hotter than hydrogen only. I assumed the pressure (flame intensity) could be regulated by the amount of voltage applied to the production vessel.

Prior to choosing a battery, I looked at a number of the car set-ups...but most (whether they intended to or not) seemed to be building batteries of one type or another. Also, some of the devices did appear to be dangerous.

As Gnosis pointed out, if the timing isn't altered on a vehicle equipped with an HHO generator...it could cause problems. I did find a very high output unit a fellow designed in Cleveland, OH out of scrap titanium that works very well. He uses it to supplement fuel and draws the "Brown's Gas" out of the production vessel with a vacuum pump and forces it into the intake manifold of his car...it seems to work well...but who knows the long term damage done? He said he's sold about 100 of them.

I haven't tried his unit (for my welding project) because I don't have a safe vessel or delivery method...again, I don't have a death/destruction wish of ANY kind.
 
  • #30
TVP45
1,041
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There are people who use this sort of setup for small welding, particularly people who do jewelry and like the low heat. You can achieve the same control with a small oxyacetylene torch but you do have to pay demurrage. The one thing I would caution you about in burning hydrogen is that, when you get it right, you can't see the flame easily - no carbon, no glow. So, invest in a bundle of long straws that you can stick in to see what's happening.
 
  • #31
joedupont
1
0
If weight is not a problem, then your idea should work. and I would suspect that you don't have to change out the acid, if the batteries are placed in a safe location.
I had a battery explode on me when I used one to weld. I was lucky.
but you might have to drill out all of the caps and pull through some oversized flex pvc
with heated ends which will not be able to be pulled through the hole.
such a unit might be ok to weld. however you must use bubble units to stop flash back
to the batteries from the torch and from each battery so you don't lose them all.
 
  • #32
famousken
108
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Itll explode, dont do it
 
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