Converting a 12V Lead acid to a hydrogen generator?

Is it possible to take a 12V lead acid battery, remove the acid from all 6 cells and replace with water and connect to a 12V power source, and get H2 and O2 gasses bubbling out the top?

The reasoning behind this question is that the 12 volt lead acid batteries are made of 6 cells, each producing about 2 volts, connected in series.  If instead of producing 12V we could (by removing the acid and replacing with salt water) feed it 12V, wouldn't we have 6 hydrolysis cells running at 2V each?  

6 cells of 2V hydrolysis cells is nothing new, but has anyone of you ever tried to convert a lead acid battery before?
Is the lead going to be any good as electrodes?
Will the lead oxidize too fast?
Will the there be any chemical reaction that would change the produced gasses?
Should I be worried about lead poisoning for even typing these words?
Should I be asking anything else I haven't thought about?


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petercd3 years ago

I wouldn’t risk converting anything that used acid to an electrolytic cell,
but rather build anew.

1 this isn’t generally considered a safe diy experimental arena.

2 electrolytic cells use an alkali as an electrolyte, but the battery lead
still has residual acid in the plates, sounds like trouble to me.

3 no proper electrolyte for an E cell is considered safe and by proper I
mean caustic soda, not any product found in the kitchen cupboards, baking soda

4 batteries also have a vent hole in addition to all the fill holes, more
drama trying to seal them for proper working as an E cell

5 I very much doubt a converted battery will produce enough gas for a

To lower the danger factor, start with a proven design to make a risky business
safer and learn all the hazards/do's and don'ts of this industry.

In my opinion the simple series plate cell design of Scuffy44 is a safer
starting point for the newbie.

Attached my version of a dual 6 cell running on 12V dc, dual for greater gas production, yet still able to use an atx pc power supply.

dual side.jpg
Morgantao (author)  petercd3 years ago

Scuffy's design is what I'm aiming for, but were I live it's pretty hard to come by some of the needed supplies. That's why I thought of using old batteries - They kinda already have all I need in them.

I see your safety concerns, and agree with most of them.

Well... Back to the drawing board.

can i use the battary for dc supply of elctrolytic cell

NoviceRick3 years ago

Using 1% sulfuric acid is a popular catalyst for making HHO, many say a superior one. I thought of this when considering people complaining about the acid eating the stainless steel in their generators. Lead has a high resistance to sulfuric acid. I dont see why this wouldnt work. I am a fan of seperating out the two gasses because they are so volatile together, so I will probably tweak the design of the battery, I'll see once i break it open.

Morgantao (author)  NoviceRick3 years ago

Please consider making an instructable when you do. :)

I'd love to see how well this would work, as I haven't yet tested the idea.

Good luck with it!

Vyger3 years ago

One thing that immediately comes to my mind, is that you have no mechanism for separating out the two gasses. Normally one would come from the anode and another from the cathode. But you have no physical set up for collecting them as separate gasses so you would be producing a perfect mix of the two. All that is lacking is the slightest trigger to set them off. In other words your increasing the chance of an explosion by having the two mixed together. Batteries blow up just from the hydrogen they produce when charging. Make it a perfect mix and lead shrapnel is the more likely problem rather than lead exposure, although I suppose you could call that a form of lead poisoning.

Morgantao (author)  Vyger3 years ago

I wanna make a burner, so I need the perfect gas mix. I have no intention of storing the gas, I want it to rise up through a hose, into a backflash stopper, then into a nozzle where it will burn.

The batteries usually explode because they are sealed and don't allow the gas to escape fast enough. That's kinda what blew the roof off of the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

iceng3 years ago

Didn't we have a similar talk about H generator recently ?

Salt water will generate chlorine gas that will eat your lungs and then most of your mucus tissues.

Gas masks come to mind.

Morgantao (author)  iceng3 years ago

Well, yeah, I was n't actually planning on using salt, it was just an laymen's term for electrolyte. I suppose baking soda is a safer soluble substance.