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 Post subject: Willard Storage Battery 2-Volt Question?
PostPosted: Aug Fri 01, 2008 10:48 pm 
New Member

Joined: Aug Fri 01, 2008 10:29 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Everett WA
We just received 8 Willard Storage Battery 2 Volt cells. The battery number is BB-54-A. They are dry and have never been filled with acid. I received 8 total with 5 of them in their original boxes. They are cased with clear plastic, I will write line for line what is says on the front of the battery for a better describtion...

SIGNAL CORPS U.S. ARMY

BATTERY BB-54-A
2 Volts


Order No. 30194-PHILA 45.33

Date of Manufacture 5 1945

Made by
WILLARD STORAGE BATTERY CO.
Cleveland, OHIO

Printed in U.S.A. 114-454 3-45

From what I have researched they seem to have been made for the army and for their radio's of something? Are these valuable? Does anyone collect these? Any additional information on these would be greatly appreciated!!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Aug Fri 01, 2008 11:23 pm 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 654
Location: Rochester, NY USA
I have a circa 1946 GE Model 260 portable radio that is designed to use a similar type of 2 volt Willard cell. It has a 2 volt vibrator power supply for the B+ and uses 1.4 volt filament tubes. There is a built-in charger. Probably your batteries were designed for a similar piece of Signal Corps equipment. Too bad these cells are out of production!

David


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Aug Fri 01, 2008 11:48 pm 
Silent Key

Joined: Jan Tue 16, 2007 11:48 pm
Posts: 9664
Location: Hueytown, AL
This is interesting. What you have are apparentlly "dry charged" batteries? That was a big sales point 25 or 30 years ago. Sort of faded away, probably because folks damaged themselves with the acid. Sears used to sell garden tractor batteries that way mail order. Got one that never worked at all. They replaced it.

I think the so-called advantage of these things was that they didn't deterioate on the shelf. Be interesting to sacrifice one by filling it with the appropriate acid and see if it would work. Anybody have a clue as to what the specific gravity of the acid would need to be?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Aug Sat 02, 2008 12:15 am 
Silent Key

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 34328
Location: Sandpoint, IDAHO 83864
Yes, these are nice batteries and will operate a lot of the 2 volt tubd filaments in the older farm type radios that used the 2 volt tubes. A number of years ago I bought the last ones that Fair Radio Sales had in their catalogs. I ordered six and received three with a note saying that it was the last ones they had in stock and no indication of getting any more. I guess I am notorious for cleaning out their stocks as the same thing happened when I ordered several of their dynamotors for the Command Set receivers.

But a lot of them were sold to model airplane guys who used them for their glow plugs and even for the R/C transmitters. My neighbor had one that used a 3B7 dual triode and a vibrator power supply to power the transmitter and it all ran off one of these BB-54 batteries.

Been a few years since I messed with one, but I seem to recall that ordinary car battery electrolyte was not the same as what they call for. I think they required a stonger acid solution, but can't remember exactly now. But in the sealed cardboard boxes, there should be a data sheet that lists the specific gravity of the electrolyte to use in them.

To me, they are neat! Of course, I have to admit that I am a battery freak from way back. :lol:
Curt

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Curt, N7AH
(Connoisseur of the cold 807) CW forever!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Aug Sat 02, 2008 12:30 am 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 477
Location: Sedro-Woolley WA
Here is a thread about BB-54-A batteries and their activation. I cannot verify the accuracy of the information but it may help.

http://www.g503.com/forums/viewtopic.ph ... 328cbb0ade

Richard


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Aug Sat 02, 2008 2:41 am 
Silent Key

Joined: Jan Tue 16, 2007 11:48 pm
Posts: 9664
Location: Hueytown, AL
Still doesn't say what specific gravity of electrolyte should be installed upon initial fill. If the battery was not charged so the plate composition isn't that of a charged cell (which was implied that is the case), then the acid would be low end of range for a discharged cell, which also is implied but not stated, but what would that actually be? Probably a little research would reveal that.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Aug Sat 02, 2008 2:47 am 
Silent Key

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 34328
Location: Sandpoint, IDAHO 83864
Well, I will venture a guess that it is supposed to be 1.280 but please don't hold me to that. It has been a fair number of years since I last played around with them.
Curt

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Curt, N7AH
(Connoisseur of the cold 807) CW forever!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Aug Sat 02, 2008 3:19 am 
Silent Key

Joined: Jan Tue 16, 2007 11:48 pm
Posts: 9664
Location: Hueytown, AL
That's my problem too Curt, had to go look it up to be sure the instrumeter used to measure it was a hydrometer! And I think I have one hanging in the basement :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Aug Sat 02, 2008 3:41 am 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 5072
Location: Ortonville, Michigan
If you're lucky, the batteries will activate, but don't rely on it. I used to work for the Army, and we had a fine battery lab, and a crackerjack guy on charge of it. That was in the days of the "dry charge" batteries. If the battery wasn't perfectly sealed, atmospheric mousture would contaminate the plates, and the battery would either have reduced capacity or none at all.

However, if I had one of those cells, I'd sure take a chance on it! I have a couple of those GE self-charge radios.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Aug Sat 02, 2008 4:21 am 
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User avatar

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 9738
Location: Omak,wa,usa
Hello PacificPower,
I too have opne of those Ge Radios that use that wilard battery
It sure would be nice to find one to use in my Ge radio


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Aug Sat 02, 2008 4:52 pm 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2772
Location: Northport wa. USA.
It is quite possible that is the battery used in the GE portable set. I have a Radio Masters catalog from about 1951 that list the battery and it's size. Something like 25 or 28 Amp hour. Listed as the battery for those GE sets. Have any dimensions and terminal type?


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 Post subject: Reply Willard Battery
PostPosted: Aug Sat 02, 2008 5:27 pm 
New Member

Joined: Aug Fri 01, 2008 10:29 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Everett WA
Wow I can't believe i received so many replies so soon on these batteries. Thanks guys! It was very interesting reading your reply's and learning more about these batteries... One question I think I have the answer to is what to fill them with. Well on the back of the battery there is filling and charging instructions. I will type what it says.

FILLING AND CHARGING INSTRUCTIONS

1. Remove seal over vent.
2. Fill to level line with sulphuric acid of
1.265 Sp. Gr. at 80 F.
3. Stand 1 to 4 hours after filling, then
adjust electrolyte to level lie.
4. Charge at 2 1/2 amperes for 20 hours.

SERVICE
1. Keep electrolyte at level line by addi-
tion of approved water.
2. Recharge at 2 1/2 amperes for 12 to
20 hours or until voltage stops rising
when checked at hourly intervals.
3. Do not store in discharged condition.
4. Recharge every 30 days when stand-
ing in stock.

What should I do with these batteries? Do you think there is anyone out there who would want to buy these? Any idea what would be a selling price? Thanks everyone...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Aug Sat 02, 2008 6:35 pm 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 27669
Location: Pocasset, Cape Cod, MA
If I recall, the GE radios used a cell with side terminals, not the top terminals of the BB-54. Or maybe the charge indicator was in a different place.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Aug Sat 02, 2008 9:27 pm 
Silent Key

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 34328
Location: Sandpoint, IDAHO 83864
Well, you could post them down in the Classifieds forum. Hard to know what they would be worth. The last ones I bought from Fair Radio Sales were either $3.95 or $4.95 apiece, but it has been so long that I forgot.

I don't want to turn this thread into an auction, but I will offer you ten bucks for each one, as I could use two of them.
Curt

_________________
Curt, N7AH
(Connoisseur of the cold 807) CW forever!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Aug Sat 02, 2008 10:40 pm 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 787
Location: Wells, ME and Scottsdale, AZ
It's possible that we're making this too complicated. I would add the following two steps under "Filling and Charging".

5. After charging as specified above, measure and record the specifc gravity of the cell.

6. Confirm that the charged battery has capacity it is supposed to have (in other words, that the battery is good). Here's how to measure the battery's actual capacity. Given the amp-hour capacity of the battery (specified or estimated), connect a load that draws 5% of the amp-hour capacity (for a 20 amp-hour capacity, connect a 1 amp load, for example) and see how long it lasts. End the test when the voltage starts to drop precipitously (say, to 1.4 volts for a 2-volt start voltage). In the example above, the battery should support a 1-amp load for 20 hours, more or less.

If you can find a specified amp-hour capacity on the net somewhere, so much the better. If you can't, simply take the weight of a 12-volt battery (in your car, for instance), and scale its amp-hour capacity by the weight of the battery in question. The answer will be approximate, but close enough.

Lead-acid batteries are all pretty much the same in principle.

Let the flames begin!

Bill


Last edited by Bill Jeffrey on Aug Sun 03, 2008 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Aug Sun 03, 2008 12:34 am 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 27669
Location: Pocasset, Cape Cod, MA
I looked up the BB-54A in the 1945 SIG-5 catalog: it's 20 amp-hours at the 1-hour rate, and was used with the BC-728, a 2-6MHz receiver.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Aug Sun 03, 2008 12:40 am 
Silent Key

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 34328
Location: Sandpoint, IDAHO 83864
Didn't some later versions of the TBY manpack VHF transceiver used by the Marines also use the BB-54 to replace the earlier dry cells that corroded overnight in the hot humid tropics of the Pacific?

Or am I thinking of something else?
Curt

_________________
Curt, N7AH
(Connoisseur of the cold 807) CW forever!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Aug Sun 03, 2008 2:02 pm 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 533
Location: dayton oh usa
i had a bunch of those i sold at hamfests to military radio guys.
i used acid packs i got from a battery dealer. iirc sg of 1.280
used a bench supply set to 2.75 v at an amp to charge them.
every one of them worked fine.
most folks would buy several as spares.the acid bottles were free from my local battery shop.they filled the batteries from a bulk tank and never used the bottles that came with the motorcycle,ect batteries.
i sold the last few at $30 ea.
btw my test on one was to charge it and connect a kpr141 flashlight bulb.
ran bright for about 20 hours.
this goes without saying do not fill or even open till they are to be put in service.
i sold 50 or so of these and no duds.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Aug Sun 03, 2008 5:19 pm 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 13255
Location: Tennessee,USA
Hi,

I posted photos of the original battery in the GE sets, on a similar thread:

http://antiqueradios.com/forums/viewtop ... highlight=

_________________
Gary Rabbitt


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Aug Mon 04, 2008 7:55 am 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 740
Location: U.S.
If you decide to part with these batteries then I could use a few. Since you're in Everett, shipping the batteries may not be necessary.

73's


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