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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Why not get a hydrometer for a battery ?

This will enable you to top up the battery and adjust electrolyte levels via the rubber bulb sucker, and monitor the specific gravity and state of charge etc..

Specific gravity is called relative density, and distilled water is called De ionised water these days.

Electrolyte is still called electrolyte, the solution of pure white after and sulphuric acid, that's SULPHURIC ACID !!!

Read up on wet battery safety and charging, failure to do so could be quite "explosive" with severe burns risk, heat and chemical....

You have been warned !!!
Thank you for the advice! I hadn't thought about getting a hydrometer, but that's a great idea. Apparently luck was on my side because I was able to charge the battery and get the bike running today!
 

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Hey guys, distilled and deionized water is different as indicated.....both "OK" for a battery...
Quality of de-ioinized water varies....the better ones are made by a distillation process followed by reverse osmosis (so more pure than general distilled).....the cheaper ones usually just use precipitation, so not as good as "well made" distilled water.
Distilled water often still contains some residuals like chlorine....unless it uses additional steps e.g. triple distilled and "filtered"...so look for triple distilled if you can find it.

Hydrometers for (checking) bike batteries don't really work specially those filled with "floating balls" (inconsistent readings) but they can tell you if a batteries in a poor state.....but a hydrometer when mixing acid for initial electrolyte addition is fine...remember "do as you oughta, add acid to water" old chemist saying....when diluting!

Going forward....upgrade to a AGM battery.....one of the best things I've done with my bikes.....they only need a refresher charge every 3 to 6 months ....and youll never get boil-over or corrosion secondary to fumes around the battery carrier...
( Re the water question worked in a QC/R&D lab for many years....;))
Perhaps chemistry is done differently in Australia, but I doubt it.

Distilled water is obtained by evaporating or boiling water, condensing the vapour and condensing it. It may be done more than once in order to get purer water. Reverse osmosis is another process and has nothing to do with distillation. Distilled water will not contain chlorine because the distillation process removes it. Repeated distillation is used, usually in laboratories, to obtain water of sufficient purity for chemical research but is unnecessary for refilling lead-acid batteries.

Deionised water is obtained by running the water through a resin which replaces the dissolved salts with water, thus removing them. Read more here here. Deionised is also suitable for refilling lead-acid batteries.

Floating ball hydrometers are perfectly adequate. The are limited in precision but are good enough for purpose. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead–acid_battery#Electrochemistry

AGM (absorbent glass mat) batteries are indeed wonderful in that they essentially give a maintenance free battery but this has nothing to do with the topic at hand except that they rarely need refilling.

Something to keep in mind is that the chemistry is fixed when it is new. The only change that should happen is that water either evaporates or is decomposed into hydrogen and oxygen gases and escapes. This is why pure water (never sulphuric acid solution) is used to top them up -- the acid always remains and does not change. New AGM batteries contain a catalyst that recombines the hydrogen and oxygen, making refilling them with water a rare event. This is why they are so good; you never forget to maintain them.

If you have a 'maintenance free' battery then you probably don't need a hydrometer. Otherwise one will be useful, especially one sized for motorcycle batteries.
 

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Perhaps chemistry is done differently in Australia, but I doubt it.

Distilled water is obtained by evaporating or boiling water, condensing the vapour and condensing it. It may be done more than once in order to get purer water. Reverse osmosis is another process and has nothing to do with distillation. Distilled water will not contain chlorine because the distillation process removes it. Repeated distillation is used, usually in laboratories, to obtain water of sufficient purity for chemical research but is unnecessary for refilling lead-acid batteries.

Deionised water is obtained by running the water through a resin which replaces the dissolved salts with water, thus removing them. Read more here here. Deionised is also suitable for refilling lead-acid batteries.

Floating ball hydrometers are perfectly adequate. The are limited in precision but are good enough for purpose. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead–acid_battery#Electrochemistry

AGM (absorbent glass mat) batteries are indeed wonderful in that they essentially give a maintenance free battery but this has nothing to do with the topic at hand except that they rarely need refilling.

Something to keep in mind is that the chemistry is fixed when it is new. The only change that should happen is that water either evaporates or is decomposed into hydrogen and oxygen gases and escapes. This is why pure water (never sulphuric acid solution) is used to top them up -- the acid always remains and does not change. New AGM batteries contain a catalyst that recombines the hydrogen and oxygen, making refilling them with water a rare event. This is why they are so good; you never forget to maintain them.

If you have a 'maintenance free' battery then you probably don't need a hydrometer. Otherwise one will be useful, especially one sized for motorcycle batteries.
If you re-read my post I didn't say RO is part of distillation....I made mention that some "purified waters" sold as deionized use distillation followed by RO steps in commercial production.
The reason for this is that 1 resin pass will only remove a small group of ions e.g cations with 2+.

General distilled water can contain chlorine....ask any aquarium keeper that has tested distilled..or a chemist.. this will generally be due to vapour pressure differentials or spillover in smaller distillation apparatus.
If you do a quick google asking "is distilled water Chloride free?" you will see confirmation of this.
Chlorine gas can evaporate and simply recondense on the other side of the distillation column .....

I did say both distilled and deionized waters are suitable for wet-batteries we agree on that.

Sorry Tim, as I was quoted I needed to redirect to my original post and what was actually said.....

Wikipedia that you linked to doesnt always give the complete picture! Wiki cant be used as a school reference....let alone for science or technical debate....in Oz at least ...😉
Manufacturing processes differ, Wiki makes broad statements that dont capture this....

I like friendly sparring, and if the members local I always offer to discuss over a coffee or beer...but please dont dismiss other members posts 'cause Wiki tells different.....

Cheers.
 
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