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A Lead-Acid Battery Desulfator – a reason to learn KiCad

Partial Schematic for the Desulfator

Partial Schematic for the Desulfator

Not every project has to be your own design. However, it is good to understand the design once you do copy and build a design. That way you can modify, extend, and enhance the design to make it the way you want it to be.  There is another very good reason to grab a design.  It can be a very good way to learn new skills and only fight one thing at a time.   Once you learn the skills you can then move on and use those skills in your own work.  It may also be that there is a workable design to do the function you want, so why design from scratch?

All of those reasons are why I am taking on building a Battery Desulfator.  Lead-Acid batteries are probably the kind most of us are most familiar with.   Every automobile except the new hybrid and all-electric cars comes with that type of battery for starting the car.  Almost all heavy duty types of batteries are also Lead-Acid batteries and it is the heart of an off-grid system.  It is the cheapest way of getting a lot of power in a fairly small container although it is a heavy container.  Lead-Acid batteries have one major problem.  If they are left in a partially charged state for a long time, the sulfur from the acid forms crystals on the plates and the battery can no-longer hold a charge.   I have just such a battery and I would like to try to make it operational.  The circuit I am going to build is described in this pdf:  By Alastair Couper: the “Lead-Acid Battery Desulfator“.

Also after building the thermistor circuit last year by the perf-board and the point-to-point wiring method, I want to learn how to design my own Printed Circuit Boards (PCB).   The Desulfator is a relatively simple project and will be a good one to learn how to use the PCB design software.  The software I am using is called KiCad.  I chose this software because it is free and open software and is available for Linux, Mac, and Windows.  The description of the software is here at the KiCad Site.  On that page you will also find links of where to find the downloads and some instructions on how to download and install it.

I am completely new with the software, but there are some very good videos and other documentation to teach how to use it.  I am slowly learning how to do that.  Slowly is the working word in that sentence. Because I currently have a few too many things going I am slow on all of them.  I do not intend on creating any videos and very few posts about this project because I am so slow in learning it. But, I will show you where to learn it.

Some videos I have personally used and found helpful are:  DPRG Videos.
I have just found this set of videos tonight and they look very helpful:  KiCad Tutorials

Finally:  The two videos I am going to embed are some created by EEVblog.  He is an actual experienced Electronics Engineer that designed electronics circuits for a living.   He is used to working with a very high end proprietary design software, but gives KiCad a good report in these two long, but not boring videos.  These really are not training videos, but they do show the power of this software.   What takes him minutes to do takes me hours.

I will keep you updated with my progress, but expect it to be slow going for awhile with updates being infrequent.


None of the material on this blog post is my own… The only credit I take is the combining of all this material.


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