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Author Topic: Car batteries and concrete floors
Chava
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captain1 is basically right. A battery discharges by a flow of current between its positive and negative terminals. Connecting either of them to ground (or anything else) and leaving the other unconnected will cause no change to the battery's charge.

If the battery consisted of separate globs of positive and negative charge, connecting one terminal to something would cause the charge on that terminal to be dissipated. This is what happens to charge stored on capacitors. (Television sets have or used to have large capacitors that you could discharge into yourself long after unplugging the TV set.)

But that's not how batteries are constructed. As captain1 said, there are chemicals in the battery (D cells, lithium batteries, car batteries, ...) and chemical reactions produce the voltage difference between the two terminals. It's the voltage difference that makes the charge flow. The chemical reaction is not associated with power-company ground or the garage floor (unless the battery is leaking), so there is no voltage difference produced between the terminals and "ground".

The electrical wiring in your house is usually arranged (US electricity) so that you have a "hot" terminal that supplies 110 volts alternating at 60 cycles per second. The other terminal is usually grounded. Three-wire outlets provide a separate ground which is supposed to be connected via the house wiring to an actual ground, like a metal water pipe. This actual ground is the same as the power company ground. This third wire is what is normally connected to the outside case of an electrical appliance. Older appliances may not connect anything to the outside case, since the old two-wire electrical plugs were made so that either side could be plugged into the hot side of the wall socket. This is considered to be less safe, since one side or other of the appliance power supply can accidentally become connected to the case and cause a nasty shock. If the case is grounded and this happens, you just blow a fuse.

Chava

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RichardM
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Electricity does operate by smoke. If you look at where a wire has shorted out, you will always find smoke. Hence, electricity is smoke. If you let it out of the wires, it escapes and will not do any work. :-)

No, I do not play an electrical engineer on TV, I am one.

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BlackForge
We Three Blings


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I can not figure a logical reason for the battery to ground itself on a garage floor. The first time I asked heard this quest. I asked the mechanic why doesn't the battery have the same problem sitting in your car? It is sitting on metel plate that is attatched to the car body that is connected to the negive terminal of the battery. That sounds like it is well grounded to me. So why don't the batter go dead if they sit in the unused for a long time?

The only thing that would make any sense is. The battery case does or more likey did at one time. Create a chemical reation with the concreate that ruined the battery.

Older batteries were known for leaking acid in the days before they started to seal the caps. If nothing else that was bad for the concreate. I know if you stored them on wood they left burn marks.

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MilkyWay Midway Bill
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by That's Ali-right, Baba:
...He said that if you go into any automotive parts store, you'll notice the batteries they carry are on a shelf or a table, never on the ground...

Actually, in most parts stores the car wax and Tweety Bird floormats are on a shelf too [Smile] 'bout the only thing they put on the floor are those giant pyramids of jugs of washer-fluid.

quote:
Originally posted by Warlok:
This just does not make sense -- if a concrete floor can 'ground' the battery, so can the typically metal shelves sitting on the concrete floor...

IIRC dry concrete ain't a very good conductor either?

Midway "leave no thread un 2¢'d" Bill

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abbubmah
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Oh, it's so obvious to me now, after re-reading this thread. Ground (dirt) is the same as ground (electrical)! Oh how silly of me to think otherwise. After all, they're the same word, right?

So, the original warning was probably something like this:

Knowledgable person says - "Be careful not to ground the battery terminal when you're installing the battery, and when you store it, make sure you don't ground it by laying something metal across it."

Jethro hears - "Don't set the battery on the ground."

Uncle "It's so clear, it's crystal." Bubba

--------------------
Fundamentally Unfundie since 1975

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captain1
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by kjbrasda, w/a Suspicious Mind:
I do not think you understand what a ground is for.
A ground helps to prevent you from getting shocked by providing a quicker route to the earth than through you. All electricity (unrestrained) wants to find the quickest route to the earth.
Grounding a house has nothing to do with a ground at the power station. (Houses were not always grounded)
unless i'm completely misunderstanding what you are saying (then i'm sorry)[/QB]

I understand completly what purpose ground serves in a houshold electrical system. You are correct, the ground is there for an alternative route between the wires. However if you touch a wire that route includes your body. Fortunatly this route also includes a lot of high resistance dirt and such resulting in a much lower shock to you.
Also with this system a earth leackage safety system can be put in place using the third earth plug.

However the only reason the ground plays a part in this is because it has wired up to play a part and is now a part of the electrical circuit.

You can remove it from the circuit with what is commenly refered to as an isolation transformer. In this case you will have two wires at say 100V. If you touch and hold the positive one (please no arguments about which one is positive in AC) you will not feel anything at all because the electricity has no way of getting from your body to the negative wire. Ground is no longer part of this circuit. Our power supply engineer here routinly works like this to minimise the electric shocks he gets.

This is the same in the case of a car battery. The ground or earth is not part of the electrical cirsuit and therefore the charge cannot escape through it.

Actually there is more chance of the charge leaking through the dielectric properties of the air between the terminals than through the earth!!

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Dimitrij
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Chava:
This is considered to be less safe, since one side or other of the appliance power supply can accidentally become connected to the case and cause a nasty shock. If the case is grounded and this happens, you just blow a fuse.

Chava

No you wont, the human body cannot generate the
amperes required for that. During an electrical
experiment we overloaded a 10 or 16A fuse
(don't remember which) to see how much it would
take. It broke just after 34A and that's well
enough to kill a person over and over again since
anything beyond 30mA is considered lethal.

What is used to protect from this event is a
ground fault circuit breaker, which notices if
some of the electricity is "missing", meaning,
it has gone through something that has eaten up
more than 30mA, and if it does detect something
like that, it kills the power.

Simple yet ingenious [Smile]

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Etienne
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by captain1:

The power to your house has a ground in earth because at the power station there is an electrode placed deep in the earth and this is for safety reasons!!

So you're telling me that they have huge metal rods under LG-2, LG-3, Manic-5 and so on, wich are over a thousand klick from my house (And more from New York, wich they also supply in part) and those grounding devices make the computers, light, etc, work?

What about that time I used a generator to power a drill on a raft in the middle of a lake? (It did happen, long story) Did it spiritually connect to the rod at Chaudière?

And how come is it that in none of the books I've read about the building of La Grande, Manicouagan or Churchil Falls (It's a hobby of mine...) none of the workers mention "Digging to get the grounding rod in there"?

'tie"Might be misled"nne

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Chava
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I did not mean that you would blow a circuit breaker when you connected yourself to the badly grounded appliance. I meant that the appliance would blow the breaker when you plugged it in, before you had the opportunity to zap yourself. You are correct that you would not want to blow a breaker by connecting yourself across the electrical terminals.

Etienne, the grounding techniques do not make your stuff work. The voltage difference between the two prongs of your electrical cord makes it work. Grounding just helps keep them from electrocuting you. And yes, the power plant may be hundreds of miles away. The power is transmitted (at much higher voltages than 220) to a substation near your neighborhood. The substation puts out lower voltages for transmission to the neighborhood, where a nearby transformer may generate the 220 that actually runs into your house. And there are ground connections at every stage.

A generator, like a battery, does not have to be connected into the electrical grid. You can think of a generator as a sort of mechanical battery. You turn the windings relative to the magnets (or vice versa) and hey presto, a voltage appears across the windings. Nothing has to be grounded.

Chava

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BULLDON
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Electricity does operate by smoke. If you look at where a wire has shorted out, you will always find smoke. Hence, electricity is smoke. If you let it out of the wires, it escapes and will not do any work. :-)

No, I do not play an electrical engineer on TV, I am one.

love that one, i once read an article on putting smoke back into ICs
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captain1
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Abducted Etienne:
So you're telling me that they have huge metal rods under LG-2, LG-3, Manic-5 and so on, wich are over a thousand klick from my house (And more from New York, wich they also supply in part) and those grounding devices make the computers, light, etc, work?

What about that time I used a generator to power a drill on a raft in the middle of a lake? (It did happen, long story) Did it spiritually connect to the rod at Chaudière?

And how come is it that in none of the books I've read about the building of La Grande, Manicouagan or Churchil Falls (It's a hobby of mine...) none of the workers mention "Digging to get the grounding rod in there"?

'tie"Might be misled"nne[/QB]

I did not say the gound was part of the circuit when an appliance is used. The earth in an electrical system is a safety measure used to detect earth leakage. There is also a gorund connection at the home side too. When you switch on your toaster the electricity is not meant to go to this ground connection it is meant to travel from the positive terminal to the negative terminal.

Now in the case that something has come loose and is touching the case how is this detected?? Simple - include the earth as part of the circuit then attach a trip switch on this with a very small current rating. When a current is detected via this earth leakage then the switch trips and the electricity is stopped.

In your raft experiment thigs are a lot different - your generator has its own circuit and has nothing to do with the power company's circuit. If we assume that your generator has no earth connection whatsoever and only has two terminals then you can safely touch one of those wires an you will not get shocked - why?? Because even though you have become part fo the circuit you are not completing it - the earth now does not offer a return path to the other terminal and the elecgtricity cannot flow.

why is this less safe than an earth system?? Because now if you touch the other wire ther is one path only for the electricity and you get the full zap (possibly lethal) whereas going trhough earth would be far less!!

With all do respect reading how powerstations are built may be a hobby for you but my profession is an electronic engineer. Although I am light current the rules of electricity apply no matter what the voltage.

Hope this explained it the way I intended it!!

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kjbrasda
Happy Holly Days


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Sorry if I insulted you [Smile] I didn't mean to.
The wording in your original post was a little confusing. Wouldn't a ground in a home work whether there was a ground at the power station or not? (noting that the earth absorbs the electricity rather than transmitting it) or do I have it wrong?

--------------------
"Long ago, when we all lived in the forest..."
Who are you? Who? Who?

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abbubmah
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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kjbrasa, for the ground to work, it must complete an electrical path. Indeed, there is a ground reference at the power station. The neutral is also grounded at your house. We're basing this discussion on 120V house current; the feed to your home is 220V, or two 120V lines, NO NEUTRAL.

When you look at power distribution at higher (and multi-phase) voltages, the ground is an essential part of the circuit. Local grounding is essential.

The earth does "absorb" the current, and returns it to the power company. The resistance in that path is enormous, and the current is distributed so that it is generally harmless.

However, there's an interesting thing called "ground potential", which has to do with the differences in electrical conductivity between ground points. In a building with multiple ground rods, there may actually be enough difference for current to flow through a wire connected between rods. Usually more rods, and a "grid" of connected cabling will eliminate this hazard.

I do disagree with captain1 over the hazard part. You can't predict when you might be "better grounded" when working with electricity. Some people are also more conductive than others. A mild shock for one person may be fatal for another in the same situation. Also, the "ground fault protectors" only work if a high current situation exists on the ground wire. If you're between the hot and neutral, you might have a problem.

Uncle "Been shocked by a multitude of voltages" Bubba

--------------------
Fundamentally Unfundie since 1975

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kjbrasda
Happy Holly Days


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All apologies to captain1.
It is still a bit over my head, but I'll bow to your better knowledge. Thanks hambubba, for clearing it up a little.

kj'feeling a little foolish'brasda

--------------------
"Long ago, when we all lived in the forest..."
Who are you? Who? Who?

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sdd5555
The Red and the Green Stamps


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The myth about putting batteries on concrete floors is from years ago when battery technology was not as advanced as it is now. It has nothing to do with the concrete or the ground though. A cool, damp location was a poor place to store a battery if you didn't want the charge to drain, and because concrete is usually cold and damp that's were the myth comes from. Most new batteries will drain about the same on the ground or on a shelf.
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captain1
The Red and the Green Stamps


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kjbrasda,

No insult taken!!

Cheers

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captain1
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Uncle Bubba:

I do disagree with captain1 over the hazard part. You can't predict when you might be "better grounded" when working with electricity. Some people are also more conductive than others. A mild shock for one person may be fatal for another in the same situation. Also, the "ground fault protectors" only work if a high current situation exists on the ground wire. If you're between the hot and neutral, you might have a problem.

Uncle "Been shocked by a multitude of voltages" Bubba

Uncle, I did not say that you would be better grounded. What i was getting at is that sinking current through your body then to ground is always way better than sinking current from the one terminal to the other.

About the earth leakage, it is not a high current that is required to trip it. Well I suppose that depends on what you refer to as a high current!! It is common knowledge that switch-mode powersupplies (as found in PC's) leake a bit of current onto the case. In some offices with too many PC's they have a lot of earth leakage power cuts because of this.

Also I do stand corrected on the matter of the Electrode buried in the earth on teh power company's side. I have never seen this but I was going on what a lecturer once told us back in university. The earthing done per house is definite since I have seen this.

Then again I am talking from the perspective of someone from South Africa where we use real voltage (240V) not a mere 110V!! [Wink]

Cheers

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RichardM
The Red and the Green Stamps


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captain1, your power is also grounded. Just with a higher voltage. The safety ground is also called the grounding conductor according to the National Electrical Code. It is a parallel path to the grounded conductor more commonly called the neutral conductor. The ground is a separate electrical path back to the transformer or other source of electricity. It is connected to the metal housing of appliances, the metal water pipes, etc. It is also connected to earth or dirt. However, this is not an absolute requirement to make the appliance work. It does improve safety. Don't get me started on isolated grounds that some computer types think are required.

As to where electricity comes from, that is easy. It comes from lightning. The lightning strikes the ground and goes deep into the earth where is forms coal. We dig the coal up and convert it back to electricity at the power plant. Now you see why a proper ground is important.:-)

Richard remeber I do this for a living M

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BlackForge
We Three Blings


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I did the old google search on "battery", "concrete" and "floor" and got a lot of good pages. Here are a few.
Tech Talk

Auto Tips

YUASA Battery
Car Talk

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Ziffhara
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by RichardM:
As to where electricity comes from, that is easy. It comes from lightning. The lightning strikes the ground and goes deep into the earth where is forms coal. We dig the coal up and convert it back to electricity at the power plant...
[/QB]

You are just kidding on this one, right?
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Warlok
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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quote:
Originally posted by Ziffhara:
quote:
Originally posted by RichardM:
As to where electricity comes from, that is easy. It comes from lightning. The lightning strikes the ground and goes deep into the earth where is forms coal. We dig the coal up and convert it back to electricity at the power plant...

You are just kidding on this one, right?[/QB]
Of course he is -- everyone knows that the lightning heats the water and creates steam, which is what we turn back into electricity. Coal is just a by product from when the steam escapes, and cooks the rocks... which is why we can also use it for SOME electricity, but it is not nearly as efficient.

War 'zap' lok

--------------------
Inconceivable

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RichardM
The Red and the Green Stamps


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What? Me? Kidding? Everyone knows engineers never tell jokes.
RichardM

PS: Yes, that was a joke proving that the above statement is true.

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captain1
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by RichardM:
captain1, your power is also grounded. Just with a higher voltage. The safety ground is also called the grounding conductor according to the National Electrical Code. It is a parallel path to the grounded conductor more commonly called the neutral conductor. The ground is a separate electrical path back to the transformer or other source of electricity. It is connected to the metal housing of appliances, the metal water pipes, etc. It is also connected to earth or dirt. However, this is not an absolute requirement to make the appliance work. It does improve safety. Don't get me started on isolated grounds that some computer types think are required.

As to where electricity comes from, that is easy. It comes from lightning. The lightning strikes the ground and goes deep into the earth where is forms coal. We dig the coal up and convert it back to electricity at the power plant. Now you see why a proper ground is important.:-)

Richard remeber I do this for a living M

Richard,

That is exactly what I was saying - the only reason the normal electricity (ie from the plug in the wall) goes to "earth" or "ground" is because the earth is grounded and thus the ground acts as part of the curcuit. In the case of a battery the earth, moon, sun, house, baby, fridge, etc all do not play a part of the circuit so attaching on of the batteries terminals to any of these cannot and will not drain the battery. Nor will resting the battery on any of said items!!

About the source of electricity - interesting theory - but pray tell where does the lightning come from???

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RichardM
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Where does lightning come from? That's easy, it comes from Thor!
Richard

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Atlanta Jake
Xboxing Day


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quote:
Originally posted by RichardM:
Where does lightning come from? That's easy, it comes from Thor!
Richard

Duh, It comes fron Zeus!

--------------------
Remember Kids, Don't try this at home!

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Blown and Injected
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also got to ask why is the battery on the floor?

i submit that many suspect batteries are removed and set on the floor because there was some battery/charging problem to begin with

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snopes
Return! Return! Return!


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Comment: I just heard on a TV program that storing automotive
batteries on concrete WILL NOT drain them. This is contorary to
everything I've heard since 20 years old. I'm now 47.

What's the truth????

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Rehcsif
We Three Blings


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Sorry no cite handy, but Click & Clack debunked this one. Your TV program is correct.

-Tim

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Bad Company
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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It used to be true. The older batteries were made from natural rubber and it would "leak" energy. Modern batteries are made of plastic and no longer have this problem.
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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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I have a bunch of batteries stored on concrete for several years, with no problems. I also can't see how it could drain them, so, just this time, trust TV.

--------------------
/Troberg

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EmeraldCityAlchemist
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Actually, the role of the Earth in grounding does not come from any role in the "circuit" but is because the earth serves as an enormous sink into which a great deal of electrical charge can be conducted without changing the voltage. The Earth is considered to be zero volts - a point of reference. If I take a 220-volt electrical power line and plunge it into the Earth, the voltage will discharge into the Earth (the electrons will flow into/out of the ground) but the voltage of the Earth will not change significantly (except it may change a tiny bit locally, depending on what the ground there is made of). It does not "complete a circuit" in the sense of returning any electrical current to the power station. It DOES serve as a common reference point... the "zero" voltage for both your house and the power station. If I touch a live wire, the voltage will discharge through me into the Earth, since the Earth is always zero voltage relative to the wire. If I touch the "neutral" wire (from the power supply) nothing happens, since the neutral wire has the same voltage (zero) as the Earth.

--------------------
I wish I knew what the hell I was doing.

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Rehcsif
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by EmeraldCityAlchemist:
Actually, the role of the Earth in grounding does not come from any role in the "circuit" but is because the earth serves as an enormous sink into which a great deal of electrical charge can be conducted ...

How does this tie into the topic?

Straight question, not being snarky.

-Tim

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HollowMan
Deck the Malls


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There were a few posts on the first page speaking of the ground completing a circuit to drain the battery. I believe this is what ECA is talking about

--------------------
Heisenberg may have slept here.

I got an idea... an idea so smart my head would explode if I even began to know what I was talking about.

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FullMetal
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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well, this is from my dad, and why he doesn't do it, but he was told the draining circuit thing, but what he really found was that concrete hold the cold more than wood, and putting on the concrete floor, (as it's more often in winter when you remove car batteries for extended periods) it doesn't drain the battery. but the cold concrete floor ends up causing the plastic casing to crack, spilling battery fluid all over the floor. so now he has a cabinet he puts the batteries in and hasn't had one freeze since
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Floater
Xboxing Day


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quote:
Originally posted by FullMetal:
... what he really found was that concrete hold the cold more than wood ...

There is no such thing as "hold the cold". What happens is that wood is a much better insulator than concrete and does not transfer as much heat to you (or from you in this case) when you touch it.

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Små hönor skall inte lägga stora ägg för då blir de slarviga i ändan

Posts: 1334 | From: Sweden | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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