Big Batteries in 1957

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Big Batteries in 1957

Electric Vehicle Discussion List mailing list
This is the 101'st anniversary of Sputnick.  It was a pair of 3 tube
transmitters.   Hams are talking about it, but this comment on batteries
caught my eye.  Just a passing thought about batteries...

The power supply of the onboard radio equipment of the first satellite was
completely autonomous - from silver-zinc batteries. The filament battery
consisted of five elements SCD-70 with a capacity of 140 Ah and provided a
voltage of 7.5 V. The anode battery consisted of 86 cells SPD-18 with a
capacity of 30 Ah and provided a voltage of 130 V to supply anode
batteries. transmitter chains. It had taps for powering the screen (90 V)
and pentode grids of the output stages (10 V), as well as the manipulator
(20 V). The mass of these batteries was about 50 kg, i.e. it was a
significant part of the mass of the entire satellite. The batteries were
supposed to provide uninterrupted transmitters for 14 days.
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Re: Big Batteries in 1957

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On 5 Oct 2018 at 11:06, Robert Bruninga via EV wrote:

> It had taps for powering the screen (90 V) and pentode
> grids of the output stages (10 V), as well as the manipulator (20 V).

I did some tinkering with tubes back in the day, and as far as I can
remember, that's mostly gibberish.  A pentode has a control grid, screen
grids, and suppressor grids.  I've never heard of a "manipulator."  Maybe
someone else knows what that might be.

As for silver zinc batteries, they do have outstanding specific energy.  The
downsides are limited cycle life, I think because of dendrite growth, and a
price like they were made out of silver, which they are.

IIRC GM used them in at least one of the Electrovairs (Corvair conversions)
they built back in the 1960s.  

BAT (remember them?) also built a bragging-rights conversion EV with them in
the 1980s, so they could send out news releases about their hundreds-of-mile
range (craftily not mentioning how much the battery cost or how long it
would survive).

Yes, NASA used them.  Maybe still does.

Also back in the 1980s, an acquaintance of mine who'd designed target drones
for the US Navy told me that about the only thing he could say about the
drones was that they were powered by silver-zinc batteries.  That's a lot of
our tax dollars that got blown out of the water.  

David Roden - Akron, Ohio, USA
EVDL Administrator

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Re: Big Batteries in 1957

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> Robert Bruninga wrote:
> This is the 101'st anniversary of Sputnick...

Sputnik was a monumental achievement. It was instrumental in putting
mankind in space. It certainly inspired me (and I was only 7 at the
time). Though it was just 61 years ago (not 101).

>> It had taps for powering the screen (90 V) and pentode
>> grids of the output stages (10 V), as well as the manipulator (20 V).

EVDL Administrator via EV wrote:
> I did some tinkering with tubes back in the day, and as far as I can
> remember, that's mostly gibberish. A pentode has a control grid, screen
> grids, and suppressor grids. I've never heard of a "manipulator."  Maybe
> someone else knows what that might be.

My guess is that it's a bad translation of the Russian words for
cathode, grid, screen, suppressor, and plate (what Americans called the
5 elements in a pentode).

> As for silver zinc batteries, they do have outstanding specific energy.  The
> downsides are limited cycle life, I think because of dendrite growth, and a
> price like they were made out of silver, which they are.
>
> IIRC GM used them in at least one of the Electrovairs (Corvair conversions)
> they built back in the 1960s.

I think both Electrovairs used them. Great batteries; but only good for
a couple hundred cycles life. Silver is expensive; but back then, its
price was fixed by the government (like gold). And you did get the
silver back when the batteries were recycled.

Both silver and zinc are good at growing long thin crystals. Good for
surface area (high capacity); but bad for producing shorts. I worked
with silvercells at Kodak in the 1970's -- they were interested in the
silver recovery end of it (taking the charged battery apart to recover
the silver). :-)

> BAT (remember them?) also built a bragging-rights conversion EV with them in
> the 1980s, so they could send out news releases about their hundreds-of-mile
> range (craftily not mentioning how much the battery cost or how long it
> would survive).

I think they actually achieved a range of over 1000 miles? Besides not
mentioning that using a ton of silver batteries, they neglected to
mention that the vehicle was essentially a golf cart, driven on a closed
track at low speeds for days.

I keep wondering when someone will pile hundreds of lbs of lithium cells
on a bicycle, and ride it 1001 miles to beat their record.
--
Imagination is your preview of life's coming attractions.
        (Albert Einstein)
--
Lee Hart, 814 8th Ave N, Sartell MN 56377, www.sunrise-ev.com
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Re: Big Batteries in 1957

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1000 miles on a bike: the limiting factor isn't the battery, it's the
butt !

------ Original Message ------
From: "Lee Hart via EV" <[hidden email]>
To: "Electric Vehicle Discussion List" <[hidden email]>
Cc: "Lee Hart" <[hidden email]>
Sent: 05-Oct-18 9:31:37 AM
Subject: Re: [EVDL] Big Batteries in 1957

>>Robert Bruninga wrote:
>>This is the 101'st anniversary of Sputnick...
>
>Sputnik was a monumental achievement. It was instrumental in putting
>mankind in space. It certainly inspired me (and I was only 7 at the
>time). Though it was just 61 years ago (not 101).
>
>>>It had taps for powering the screen (90 V) and pentode
>>>grids of the output stages (10 V), as well as the manipulator (20 V).
>
>EVDL Administrator via EV wrote:
>>I did some tinkering with tubes back in the day, and as far as I can
>>remember, that's mostly gibberish. A pentode has a control grid,
>>screen
>>grids, and suppressor grids. I've never heard of a "manipulator."  
>>Maybe
>>someone else knows what that might be.
>
>My guess is that it's a bad translation of the Russian words for
>cathode, grid, screen, suppressor, and plate (what Americans called the
>5 elements in a pentode).
>
>>As for silver zinc batteries, they do have outstanding specific
>>energy.  The
>>downsides are limited cycle life, I think because of dendrite growth,
>>and a
>>price like they were made out of silver, which they are.
>>
>>IIRC GM used them in at least one of the Electrovairs (Corvair
>>conversions)
>>they built back in the 1960s.
>
>I think both Electrovairs used them. Great batteries; but only good for
>a couple hundred cycles life. Silver is expensive; but back then, its
>price was fixed by the government (like gold). And you did get the
>silver back when the batteries were recycled.
>
>Both silver and zinc are good at growing long thin crystals. Good for
>surface area (high capacity); but bad for producing shorts. I worked
>with silvercells at Kodak in the 1970's -- they were interested in the
>silver recovery end of it (taking the charged battery apart to recover
>the silver). :-)
>
>>BAT (remember them?) also built a bragging-rights conversion EV with
>>them in
>>the 1980s, so they could send out news releases about their
>>hundreds-of-mile
>>range (craftily not mentioning how much the battery cost or how long
>>it
>>would survive).
>
>I think they actually achieved a range of over 1000 miles? Besides not
>mentioning that using a ton of silver batteries, they neglected to
>mention that the vehicle was essentially a golf cart, driven on a
>closed track at low speeds for days.
>
>I keep wondering when someone will pile hundreds of lbs of lithium
>cells on a bicycle, and ride it 1001 miles to beat their record.
>-- Imagination is your preview of life's coming attractions.
> (Albert Einstein)
>--
>Lee Hart, 814 8th Ave N, Sartell MN 56377, www.sunrise-ev.com
>_______________________________________________
>UNSUBSCRIBE: http://www.evdl.org/help/index.html#usub
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>Please discuss EV drag racing at NEDRA
>(http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NEDRA)
>

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Re: Big Batteries in 1957

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 >> I keep wondering when someone will pile hundreds of lbs of lithium
 >> cells on a bicycle, and ride it 1001 miles to beat their record.

Peri Hartman via EV wrote:
> 1000 miles on a bike: the limiting factor isn't the battery, it's the
> butt !

Indeed! OK, so use a 3-wheel recumbent with a good seat. It would be a
purpose-built vehicle anyway, just to set the record.

Oh, and it would need a fancy futuristic body shell, to hold all the
advertising!

--
Imagination is your preview of life's coming attractions.
        (Albert Einstein)
--
Lee Hart, 814 8th Ave N, Sartell MN 56377, www.sunrise-ev.com
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Re: Big Batteries in 1957

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In reply to this post by Electric Vehicle Discussion List mailing list
On 5 Oct 2018 at 11:31, Lee Hart via EV wrote:

> Great batteries; but only good for a couple hundred cycles life.  

I recall reading that it was more like a couple DOZEN cycles.

> I think they actually achieved a range of over 1000 miles? Besides not
> mentioning that using a ton of silver batteries, they neglected to
> mention that the vehicle was essentially a golf cart, driven on a closed track
> at low speeds for days.

Right!  From what I can find in my archives, it was 1043 miles, some time
around 1997. I can't find the original reference at the moment, though. I'll
scout around a little more.

I'd forgotten about that demonstration until you mentioned it.  I was
actually thinking of an earlier BAT publicity stunt, in the late 1980s or
early 1990s.  They made a run of several hundred miles with one of their
subcompact conversions, a Geo Metro, IIRC.  They sidestepped questions about
the battery, but some EV detective dug out purchase records that showed
they'd bought a bunch of Eagle-Picher silver zinc batteries.  

I don't know how many EVs BAT ever really sold.  From what I could see, they
seemed more interested in making PR than in making EVs.  

David Roden - Akron, Ohio, USA
EVDL Administrator

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Re: Big Batteries in 1957

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In reply to this post by Electric Vehicle Discussion List mailing list
Unless we are talking dog years or you have moved to 2058 that should be 61st anniversary. Lawrence Rhodes

   
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Re: Big Batteries in 1957

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In reply to this post by Electric Vehicle Discussion List mailing list
Re Silver Zinc batteries: I worked on a charging system for the U2 aircraft that replaced the manual procedure used to charge the silver zinc battery that provided backup power in case the primary electrical systems failed. If the battery was used in flight, they would take it out of the aircraft and recharge it on the bench, using an Airman with a voltmeter as a BMS!

As I recall, the cells were rated for 10 charge/discharge cycles and a calendar life of around a year.

Bill
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Re: Big Batteries in 1957

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Hmm. I have a military silver zinc charger on the shelf in the Junquyard. Going to have to have another look at it and see where they hid the Airman, LoL. Dach

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are" - Theodore Roosevelt “We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes .... I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.” - Aldo Leopold

    On Saturday, October 6, 2018, 5:45:44 AM MST, Bill Collins via EV <[hidden email]> wrote:  
 
 Re Silver Zinc batteries: I worked on a charging system for the U2 aircraft that replaced the manual procedure used to charge the silver zinc battery that provided backup power in case the primary electrical systems failed. If the battery was used in flight, they would take it out of the aircraft and recharge it on the bench, using an Airman with a voltmeter as a BMS!

As I recall, the cells were rated for 10 charge/discharge cycles and a calendar life of around a year.

Bill
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Re: Big Batteries in 1957

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The Lunar Rover used Silver Zinc cells. It's usually reported that
these were primary cells, but they were the same cells used by NASA in
rechargable applications, they just didn't bother with any provision
to recharge them.

Looking around, available Silver Zinc cells seem to have an energy
density of around 130 Wh/Kg, so Lithium have them matched on energy
density and well beaten on cycle life.


--
Paul Compton
www.morini-mania.co.uk
www.paulcompton.co.uk (YouTube channel)
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Re: Big Batteries in 1957

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We use them now at NASA. The SLS rocket has silver zinc cells for the Booster Avionics as well as the Core stage Avionics. The rocket is one time use, they don’t recover it so cycle life is irrelevant. It’s hard to get them past safety hazards with lithium. Although they are using a small one on Core stage.

Sent from my iPhone

> On Oct 7, 2018, at 3:25 AM, Paul Compton via EV <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> The Lunar Rover used Silver Zinc cells. It's usually reported that
> these were primary cells, but they were the same cells used by NASA in
> rechargable applications, they just didn't bother with any provision
> to recharge them.
>
> Looking around, available Silver Zinc cells seem to have an energy
> density of around 130 Wh/Kg, so Lithium have them matched on energy
> density and well beaten on cycle life.
>
>
> --
> Paul Compton
> www.morini-mania.co.uk
> www.paulcompton.co.uk (YouTube channel)
> _______________________________________________
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>

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