FAQs and comments
- Is Megapulse a battery charger?
- Why do I need Megapulse if I already have a desulphating charger?
- How long a battery can power Megapulse without being recharged
- Megapulse costs more than a battery, so is not worth the money!
- How do I know Megapulse really works?
- Can I fix NiCd and Li-Ion batteries, like in my laptop/notebook?
- How can I tell if Megapulse is working?
- Will Megapulse affect the electronics & computers on modern vehicles?
- Can I use Megapulse on an aircraft?
- Can I use Megapulse on a golf car?
- Why golf car suppliers don't want you to fit Megapulse
- How do I fit Megapulse to both batteries in my 4x4?
- The 3 best ways to look after an idle battery
- Rebuttal of claims by BatteryVitamin re sulfation efficacy
- Threats and obfuscation by battery manufacturers and suppliers
- Ask your own question or make a comment
Is Megapulse a battery charger?
- Megapulse is not a battery charger. In fact, Megapulse uses a tiny amount of power from the battery that it is maintaining: this is why Megapulse continues working even when batteries are in vehicles that are not being used, unlike so-called desulphating chargers.
- Since battery sulphation occurs more rapidly when a battery stands idle, this is when Megapulse is most required!
- If the battery starts running low because it has not been used for weeks or months, Megapulse automatically switches off to prevent deep discharge. In most applications where a battery is used/recharged regularly, this problem never occurs.
- Vintage cars, caravans and boats at the holiday home are examples of situations where batteries may run down over long idle periods. In these cases, some form of charging is advised. If mains power is available, a simple trickle charger is ideal. Where there is no mains power, a small solar panel and regulator is all that is required to keep the battery fully charged.
Why do I need Megapulse if I already have a desulphating charger?
- There are two very significant differences between a desulphating battery charger and Megapulse, but let's state the similarity first:
- Both the charger and Megapulse use some form of pulsing to reduce or eliminate sulphation. The actual pulsing method is very significant - see below.
- Megapulse uses the power of the battery being desulphated to operate. Thus no external power or wiring of any kind is required. So as long as it is connected to a battery in a reasonable state of charge, Megapulse will work all the time keeping the battery in its best possible condition.
- The charger however desulphates the battery only when it is connected. All the time that it is not connected, which may be for 95% of a battery's life, the battery is being degraded by sulphation. The net result is that the very occasional use of a desulphating charger is ineffective in controlling battery sulphation.
- Most popular desulphating chargers create pulses by switching the charging current on and off rapidly. Thus, the pulse voltage is therefore the same as the charging voltage.
- Megapulse generates very low energy high voltage pulses that may be 2x - 4x the nominal battery voltage, which numerous tests have shown to be much more efficient at removing sulphation.
Megapulse costs more than a battery, so is not worth the money!
- This comment only applies to applications using small, low-cost single batteries, such as small cars and boats with a single outboard motor, where the cost of Megapulse can be greater than the battery itself.
If all that Megapulse does is make batteries last a little bit longer - even doubling the life of a battery as is claimed - then attaching Megapulse to a low-cost battery appears to make no financial sense.
- However this simplistic argument misses the point of what Megapulse does, which is a lot more than simply extending the life span by 2 or 3 times:
- Megapulse keeps a new battery working in almost new condition for its entire life. This means the cranking speed of the motor in a truck, boat, car or aircraft will be maintained for the life of the battery, and not get gradually worse as the battery ages. Golf cars will continue to run the full length of the course and not conk out on the 16th! Alarm systems and UPS will not die prematurely during an extended blackout. The question to consider is rather: how does an under-performing battery affect me? How does the price of Megapulse compare with the consequences of battery failure?
- Megapulse can be used on each new battery when the old one is replaced. It will last many battery life-times, so comparing the price to one battery is not realistic. Each unit comes with a 7-year warranty, so Megapulse is a long-term investment.
- The value of Megapulse also depends on how critical battery power is. For example, if a refrigeration unit relies on low-cost batteries but contains R100,000 of perishable goods, the cost of battery failure is very significant. By reducing the risk and consequences of failure, Megapulse can be seen as a very cost-effective and long-term insurance.
- The inconvenience of battery failure should also be considered. If, due to battery problems, the fridge on a 4x4 fails in the middle of nowhere, or the autopilot on a boat fails in stormy weather when it is needed most, the value of Megapulse becomes immediately apparent!
- One Megapulse unit can be used on battery banks containing multiple batteries, such as trucks (two 12v batteries), UPS and solar system arrays using multiple batteries up to 1500 Ah, golf cars and forklifts (4 - 12 batteries) etc. In these cases, Megapulse costs significantly less than the batteries it is looking after.
- The comment "I'd rather spend the money on two batteries than waste it on Megapulse" overlooks the fact that Megapulse will outlast many more than just 2 batteries, while making every one of those batteries work better and more reliably during their lifetime.
How do I know Megapulse really works?
- Well, obviously you don't, unless you see it for yourself! But prior to deciding to use Megapulse, consider some of these facts:
- Firstly, Megapulse is based on tried and tested technology. This technology of battery desulphation was pioneered by the US Department of Defense back in the late '90s. The Megapulse product has been around for over 10 years, and during that time the technology has been greatly refined and improved for commercial use.
- Megapulse has been extensively tested by various laboratories around the world, and comes with prestigious certifications such as CE, Emark and ISO 9001. Various truck and car manufacturers have put Megapulse through extensive test regimes lasting many years before coming to the conclusion that Megapulse works as advertised.
- There is a large body of anecdotal information about how Megapulse has improved the performance of batteries in various environments, that cannot simply be dismissed. See some of the testimonials here
- Of course there have also been those times that Megapulse has not worked as expected, almost invariably when trying to revive a dead or dying battery. Often Megapulse is used where all other attempts to revive a battery have failed, so the chances of success are slim, to say the least. In most cases, one or more shorted cells have been the reason the battery could not be put back into service. Long-term exposure to sulphation can end up with shorted cells, and once that is the case there is no way to revive the battery.
- That's why applying Megapulse to a new battery is the sure-fire way to avoid all the consequences of sulphation.
- Megapulse cannot fix mechanical problems such as shorting plates, or recover the sludge from the bottom of batteries!
- However where Megapulse has got rid of the sulphation in an otherwise fit and working battery, the improvement in cranking power and battery capacity has been very significant.
Can I fix NiCd and Li-Ion batteries, like in my laptop/notebook?
- The short answer is: No.
- Megapulse specifically fixes the sulphation problem in lead-acid batteries, which is a consequence of the lead / sulphuric acid chemistry. Batteries which are not based on this technology will not benefit in any way from Megapulse, and may even be damaged if Megapulse is attached to them.
- It should be noted that there are many variants of lead-acid batteries known by different names, which is confusing. Here is a list of some of the more popular names and descriptions for lead-acid batteries:
- Silver calcium
- Lead antimony
- Deep cycle
- Maintenance free
- Low maintenance
- All the above types of lead-acid batteries will benefit from Megapulse.
How can I tell if Megapulse is working?
- The consequences of fitting Megapulse to a new battery will only become apparent after many months, when the expected degradation of battery performance will not occur as expected.
- If Megapulse is used to improve the performance of a mid-life battery, depending on battery size and degree of sulphation, noticeable improvement may occur after a few days or a week, although it typically takes a couple of months for Megapulse to restore a sulphated battery to its best possible condition.
- As the battery desulphates and is charged up, the electrolyte SG will increase. If the battery is not sealed and the SG can be measured with a hydrometer, this usually provides the first sign of improvement.
- In terms of determining whether the Megapulse unit is working properly or not, there are a number of ways described on the web site at www.necon.co.za.
- Briefly, if the LEDs are flashing in the prescribed manner, this is a good indication that Megapulse is working correctly. Using an AM MW radio to tune into the interference produced by the pulses is a sure way to know that the unit is working.
- If the unit appears dead, it may be for a variety of obvious reasons; however if a previously working unit no longer shows any LED indications, it is likely that the battery has discharged to the point where Megapulse has switched off. Measuring the battery voltage with a voltmeter will confirm this. Simply putting the battery on charge will wake up Megapulse automatically when the minimum threshold voltage is reached. In HIGH mode, Megapulse will, by design, switch off unless the batteries are on charge.
Will Megapulse affect the electronics & computers on modern vehicles?
- Good question! The answer is: the pulses do not affect the modern computer-controlled vehicles (cars or trucks), for the following reasons:
- pulses are very low energy (narrow pulses, widely spaced) pulses rapidly decay over wires longer than 1½ metres (which is why you must connect Megapulse directly across the battery)
- a battery in reasonable-to-good condition will absorb the pulses reducing the electrical noise accordingly
- vehicle electronics are designed to withstand alternator and solenoid noise, which can exhibit quite high voltage spikes, and therefore have a high degree of resilience built in.
However, The proof of the pudding is in the eating:
- Various truck manufacturers in Norway and Sweden have done extensive tests with Megapulse over the last two years, giving the product the thumbs up.
- No issues have arisen on the latest trucks which have a lot of electronics, digital buses, etc. (See success stories on www.necon.co.za)
- Megapulse has been tested in an aircraft, where no interference with any of the many radios or computers was noted over a 6 month period. (See success stories)
Can I use Megapulse on an aircraft?
- In an AIC 61.6 issued on 12th February 2009, the South African CAA have published the rules governing the application of modifications to registered aircraft.
In this publication, a minor modification is defined, and it would appear that fitting Megapulse across an aircraft's battery complies in all respects.
- There are 3 ways to fit Megapulse to an aircraft in the 'Normal' category:
- Directly across the battery (requires an AMO to do the work and update the log book)
- Fit a charger socket (requires an AMO to do the work and update the log book), then plug the Megapulse in while on the ground
- Fit to the appropriate plug where an external power receptacle has been fitted to the aircraft
- NOTE: the latest version of Megapulse incorporates 'window' mode. This is the recommended configuration for aircraft where the unit is fitted directly. What this does is shut down Megapulse while the engine is running, so that desulphation occurs only while the aircraft is on the ground. While not strictly necessary, this is nevertheless an extra safety precaution against any unexpected interference during flight and taxi.
Click here for details about our own tests on an aircraft, and AIC 61.6
Can I use Megapulse on a golf car?
- Megapulse is the ideal product to keep the expensive battery bank on a golf car working at peak performance for a longer life. Read some of the testimonials here.
- However there are a few points to note:
- The OBC (on-board computer) on the old PowerDrive Club Car is sensitive to the pulse noise generated by Megapulse, which can lead to performance problems. However, this is easily fixed by using the Megapulse filter.
- Megapulse can also be used on walk-behind golf trolley batteries. In this case, the Megapulse unit should be connected across the battery while on charge and a simple timer used to prevent constant overcharging as explained here.
- The OBC (on-board computer) on the old PowerDrive Club Car is sensitive to the pulse noise generated by Megapulse, which can lead to performance problems. However, this is easily fixed by using the Megapulse filter.
Why golf car suppliers don't want you to fit Megapulse
- Very simply, Megapulse threatens the revenue stream by making batteries last longer, which leads to a reduction of profits.
The customer who would benefit from the cost savings is the loser.
- Golf car warranty: on new golf cars, any changes or additions to the golf car may invalidate the warranty.
Note that most golf car suppliers will allow GPS and other "approved" modifications: check to see if Megapulse is actually not permitted. If so, simply wait out the warranty period then fit Megapulse. After 2 years, the batteries should be recoverable to nearly-new condition by Megapulse to provide a long life and trouble-free operation.
- Battery warranty: somehow golf car batteries can withstand the rigours of high-power hill-climbing and flat-out acceleration but not, it is falsely claimed, a 20mA load like Megapulse!
Any load that falls within the limits of a battery's ratings is by definition permitted. The very low power consumption of Megapulse clearly falls within the ratings of all batteries large and small. Ask the supplier for the manufacturer's written terms and conditions of the battery warranty and battery specifications, to confirm any restrictions relating to using Megapulse. Don't be surprised if there aren't any!
How do I fit Megapulse to both batteries in my 4x4?
- The starter battery in a 4x4 powers the engine and the winch.
The deep-cycle battery powers auxiliary equipment such as lights, the fridge, etc. Where there are multiple deep-cycle batteries connected together, these can be considered as one as far as Megapulse is concerned.
Using a battery management system (such as the National Luna and Genesyz), both batteries can be kept fully charged by the engine's alternator.
- However, because the starter and deep-cycle batteries are on different circuits, each needs its own Megapulse.
Further, the wiring length between the starter battery at the front and the deep-cycle battery at the back is usually much greater than 2.0m, so the other battery will not benefit from the Megapulse connected to one of the batteries.
- In other words, to look after all the batteries in a well-equipped 4x4 requires 2 Megapulse units.
One unit can be used either for the starter battery or the deep-cycle, but not both.
The 3 best ways to look after an idle or seldom-used battery
- Always keep the battery on trickle charge while not in use
- Connect Megapulse across the battery while it is on charge
- If possible, check the electrolyte level and top up if necessary every few months
Threats and obfuscation by battery manufacturers and suppliers
- Unfortunately, battery manufacturers see Megapulse as a threat rather than a useful device that improves battery performance. The reason for this is obvious: by extending battery life, the volume of battery sales will be reduced. That's seen as a direct threat to the revenue stream and profitability.
- By increasing the useful life of batteries, the replacement market will be reduced, which will affect the bottom line for the manufacturers. Whether this is really significant in the overall scheme of things appears to be irrelevant. This would appear to be the primary motivation of the manufacturers to frighten users away from Megapulse as much as possible.
- The customer is the loser, unnecessarily replacing batteries due to sulphation, which according to Battery Council International's statistics is 84% of the time.
- As awareness of environmental issues grows, Megapulse should be seen in a positive light, reducing battery waste and recycling energy requirements.
- Most batteries (somewhere around 95%) are recycled in South Africa, so that the lead and other materials are reused rather than being thrown away. Reprocessing the lead is a very energy-intensive process, and given Eskom's current lack of capacity, anything that reduces energy usage is a good thing. By extending battery life and reducing the amount of recycling, Megapulse makes a small but positive contribution to reducing South Africa's energy requirements.
- Lead is a toxic material. Unfortunately a small percentage of battery waste does end up on waste dumps. By extending the life of batteries, Megapulse reduces the amount of battery waste polluting South Africa's land. However small this may be, it is nevertheless a step in the right direction.
- By purchasing Megapulse, the end user gains the benefit of improved performance, more reliable operation and an extended battery life. Whether or not the user cares about the environmental issues mentioned above, using Megapulse improves the environment which benefits everyone.
- Even if the battery manufacturers recognize the benefits mentioned above, they certainly won't openly endorse Megapulse. In fact, they are already on record for instilling fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) in the minds of would-be users and purchasers.
- Frightening off users with misleading and patently false technical arguments on the one hand, and non-existent or irrelevant warranty limitations on the other hand, is the primary tactic of the suppliers and manufacturers. They present one or other of the following arguments, whichever suits their case better:
"Ineffective" (the opposite of harmful)
- This argument suggests that Megapulse is completely ineffective, and a waste of money. The truth is, the technology was invented by the US Department of Defense in the late 1990's for improving battery reliability on the battlefield. In other words, it really works; the military uses it; the pedigree of the technology is impeccable.
"Harmful" (the opposite of ineffective)
- The converse of the 'useless' argument is that Megapulse is somehow harmful to batteries, and thus invalidates the battery warranty.
- The precise nature of the 'harm' done to a battery by Megapulse is never explained by proper technical argument. This is hardly surprising since Megapulse actually prevents the real harm caused by sulphation such as overheating (boiling electrolyte), warped plates, shorting cells, and the formation of sludge. Further, Megapulse can actually remove sulphation from a battery, thus eradicating a potentially harmful condition.
It can't be both harmful and ineffective, so which is it?
- No battery warranty that I have ever seen allows some types of load but not others, provided of course that the battery specifications are not exceeded (e.g. overcharging, maximum current draw, depth of discharge, etc). The specific suggestion that the peak pulse voltage produced by Megapulse will damage a battery, while connecting an electric motor is quite acceptable despite the fact that the back EMF from a motor can easily exceed the peak pulse voltage of Megapulse, is another self-contradictory argument that has no foundation in science or empirical fact.! See 'Experimental evidence' below.
- Megapulse is a load, just like a camping fridge, or electric motor, or ignition system, or mains inverter, or any of the myriad other applications powered by batteries. At 20ma, the power drain is almost negligible, less than 1/5000th of the capability of a typical battery
- In summary, there is no scientific justification for voiding a warranty based on Megapulse being attached. Indeed, respected international test facilities, such as TU and CSIRO have reported the positive benefits to be gained by using Megapulse. Not to mention reports by respected customers attesting to the very significant benefits to be gained by using Megapulse.
The advantages - for the customer: better performance with none of the normal battery problems, and longer battery life; for the environment: reducing toxic waste and recycling energy requirements - are unfortunately incompatible with the profit motive, so are overlooked.
The cost argument
The following commentary referring to stepping motors (original article at http://www.cnczone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7242) sums it up:
Actually, a stepping motor "back EMF" can be many, many times higher than the supply voltage. Don't believe it? Then try this experiment:
To set the stage, accelerate a 24vdc stepping motor to 3,000 RPM. That should be easy to do if the motor is unloaded.
Now put an AC voltmeter across one winding and spin the stepping motor with a drill-press or other motor to 3,000 RPM.
I just did that using a servo motor to spin the stepper and I measured 127v across the stepper at 3,000 RPM. The "back EMF" was 5.3 times higher than the supply voltage (24v)!
How is this possible? It has to do with the driving phase angle. At high speeds, the motor phase lags the drive's phase by the ratio formed by the supply voltage and the motor's "back EMF" voltage.
When you rapidly decelerate the motor from high speed (or desynchronize it), the motor phase advances and this "hidden" voltage appears on the drive's power supply pins. This phenomena is called "load dump" or "returned energy".
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