Shocking Use Of Ice Cube Trays

Looks like ice-cube trays are once again proving their versatility as this one is serving as the vessel for a home made lead-acid battery. With a collection of uniformly sized non-conductive containers, it makes the perfect base for a set of small cells. This project is the culmination of a Hackerspace class about batteries, and was put together to turn theoretical knowledge into a hands-on lab.

This is a captured image from the low-quality video found after the break. [Carpespasm] describes the setup; the black pieces are lead plates which are bent into a U-shape to straddle two ice-cube compartments. The each end of the plate is dipping into the acid to make the connection. Once assembled the battery was connected to a charger for about two hours. It puts out 8.5V and is tested by powering an LED cube. This works for just a short period and really drives home the lesson that battery concepts are easy to understand, but reliable battery technology is a bit harder to achieve.

[via Reddit]

13 thoughts on “Shocking Use Of Ice Cube Trays

    1. Indeed! I was going to say the video was encoded in some crappy format with strange motion compensation but your remark is more sensible.

      It is still nice, it looks like the lead surface is reacting with acid producing a coating which is preventing electron flow. Does someone with chemistry skills can explain this a little better?

  1. I once rebuilt a less acid battery. I made positive plates by taking lead plates and putting them in salt water, and using electrolysis to expose them to oxygen, then I stuffed the cells with wood seperators and about 8 plates each. Some soldering and battery acid, and bam. It worked well, had a couple amp hour capacity

  2. The funny thing is I actually think the kind of motion compensation they used for the video is far more interesting. It actually looks like whatever algorithm was used will actually try to warp images to the correct angle to slow down camera shake and smooth out deliberate camera motion. It’s clearly distorted, but it’s also pretty smooth when it comes to motion. Anyone know what the guy used?

  3. Hey guys. Sorry for the poor video quality. My hand was sprained that day (hence the ace bandage) and my phone’s card was almost full. Didn’t expect this would hit hackaday or I’d have deleted something to make room for better video.

    As for the warping motion correction that was something youtube offered to do on it after I uploaded it. I agree it’s about as distracting as it is helpful.

  4. This isn’t the first video I’ve seen with that weird motion-smoothing sort of thing to it. There is probably some camera feature going on there, but I was present during the time it was filmed and can confirm it is not fake.

    More interesting, in my opinion, is the fact that the lead was melted down in-house.

  5. Talk to some DIY solar power people who do their own rebuilding of car batteries, including making their own lead plates.

    Could try your own version of absorbed glass mat, which has an old predecessor in the wood, rubber and tar box batteries that used thin wood veneer to separate the plates, which were compacted together with a press. Poke around the web, there’s a scan of a circa 100 year old book on rebuilding those batteries.

    When precision plastic molding came along, battery companies dispensed with the wood separators, relying instead on slots in the case to keep the plates apart. That made the batteries vulnerable to impacts bending the plates and anything else that could cause the plates to bend and short together.

    The AGM type just replaces the wood with fiberglass and compressed flat plates with rolled ones. If they used flat plates there wouldn’t have been anything new to patent.

  6. PRE-PS: ahh the classic LA-battery. reliable, and easy to make at home. very high currents considering its made at home. :)

    non-rechargeables can supposedly be made at home too, with enough… campfires? yup! == goooooogle

    if you believe politics and are politically correct, then this is modern science at it’s best! awesome!

    if your politically incorrect and are a bad, dangerous, and are an “undesirable mind in societey”, then you believe the scientists and historians that say such techonology(lead-acid battery) is 4000 years old!!!

    “…leadacid battery is from over 3000 years ago…”
    -National Geographic, unknown author, unknown year, unknown episode

    given to man by other, destroyed and forgotten for 4000 years by war, and now being utilized to help in war!

    but of course scientists and historians dont know anything!

  7. Great stuff!
    Although i have t say, i see a lot of energy wasted in the 5v regulator (assuming that’s an arduino using some linear type). Try a buck converter. (Als an awesome way to power even blue leds from one single, used 1.5v batt).

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.