My Sad Battery Desulfator Story

Some shady people are selling a scam product called a “battery desulfator” online. I fell for the stories, and then bought one. This is an embarrassing story about how I was blinded by hope.

Needless to say, I bought a desulfator, and it didn’t work.  I’ll explain what it is, below.

I was so disappointed, and also angry at myself for falling for it.  But, then I did something that I shouldn’t have: I sold the desulfator back into Ebay.

I tried to be forthright in my listing, and said it didn’t work for me, but the unit was intact and functioned as I described, so if someone is interested in the desulfators being sold on Ebay, you can try a used one out for $5.

The item got purchased, and then the buyer complained that it didn’t work as advertised.  Ebay said I needed to do a return or give a refund, so I gave a refund.

I was out the cost of the original, and the shipping for the resale. (That’s the Ebay policy – a full refund for products that don’t function as described. I said it made a noise. They said it didn’t make a noise.)

The lesson I learned: don’t try to scam a scammer, especially not where they’re running their scam.

Here’s what I think happened. The desulfator vendor was in the Ebay marketplace, looking for competitors. They saw that I was reselling their product, had a listing that would probably have harmed their sales, overall.  They had someone buy it, and and then claim that it was defective.

I have no proof of this, as the buyer wasn’t the seller.

However, their complaint was that the item didn’t make a noise. (I said it did.)  Did it get damaged in delivery? I didn’t think it could: I sent it out, packed better than it was delivered originally. The device was sturdy.

At the time, I was shipping novice, but, I’ve since sent several glass items in the mail, and nothing arrived broken.  I think my shipping was fine.

What is a Battery Desulfator?

Car batteries and other lead acid batteries are lead plates sitting in sulfuric acid. As the battery is discharged, sulfate crystals form on the plates, and the surface area between the lead and acid decreases, and that causes the battery to hold less charge.  As the battery is charged again, the crystals dissolve.

If the battery is held at a low charge a long time, the crystals harden and become permanent.

You can remove the some of the crystals with charging and vibration, like inside the car’s engine compartment.  However, you can’t get rid of all of it.  It just happens.  You can reduce sulfation by keeping the battery charged up, and on a trickle charger, overnight.  The long charge allows most of the crystals to be dissolved.

Because batteries are so expensive, everyone who owns an extra battery that’s gotten weak wants to try and restore the battery.  That’s when they find out about these desulfators.

The way desulfators allegedly work is by sending a pulse into the battery, at a specific frequency, to cause crystals to dissolve.

This particular device was not a charger, but some kind of resonant circuit that just drained the battery (slowly).  I suppose it could have something in there that would kick up the voltage and feed it back into the battery.

The idea of desulfators is debunked here, and the comment thread is a great resource.

Regardless of the merits (or lack thereof) of the device, the entire transaction above, I think, explains a lot more.  The desulfator vendors are selling hope.

Author: John

I can be reached at johnk@riceball.com.

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