Faradic Battery Restoration


So this is an antique Faradic battery with rheotome that I purchased at an antique store a couple of years ago. The left side is the cover that flips down over the base seen on the right. There is a metal cover inside the lid that opens with instructions on the surface. Inside here the cables and accessories are stored.

3 faradic cables

The cables above are inserted into the connectors. The brass tubes in this picture would have been attached to the wood handles. The other end of the cables would have been connected to the brass/wood handles. When you would turn the unit on you could hold the brass tubes and get a mild electrical shock. This was supposed to do great things for your health.

4 Fardic description

This is a close up of the metal cover that goes inside the wood cover. There is an instruction label here. You can see kinks in the metal cover from being bent at some point in history.

5 Faradic top

The top of the cover has a corroded handle and the wood is pretty dirty.

6 Faradic top

This is a side view of the bottom with the coil and other hardware removed. You cannot see it here but the bottom seams were separated probably from moisture exposure at some point.

9 Regluing base

So I clamped and re-glued the bottom.

7 Faradic Apart

This is the rest of the unit disassembled.

8 faradic wiring

This is the inside of the control surface. The wiring looks pretty simple. The coil appears to have served as a step up transformer and relay at the same time. Two batteries would have been held inside the bottom of the box. Probably between 6 and 12 volts each. You would turn on the switch to use one or both batteries. One being low power and two high power modes.


When switched on the battery would energize the primary coil. This would act as an electromagnet at the same time pulling open the spring switch above on the left. This would open the switch and de-energize the coil. This would turn the switch back on along with the coil. This would re-open the switch. So the coil would turn on and off quickly like a buzzer. Meanwhile the secondary winding would have a higher voltage induced into it from the primary. Probably some where between 40 and 60 volts AC at a lower current. This voltage is what would have been applied to the cables and that you would feel as a shock if you held the brass tubes.

This is the box after gluing and sanding.

14 Box stained

The box was then stained with red oak color stain.

This is the control surface with all the electrical hardware removed. On the right I varnished the surface after cleaning in order to hold the old black paint in place.

The hinge and latch hardware before and after polishing.

21 Handle polished

This is the handle after cleaning and polishing.

22 Varnished parts

The box has also been varnished in this picture.

23 Rheotome remounted

Here the hardware has been re-installed onto the base cover. In doing this I managed to break the fine secondary wire pointed to in a picture from the wiring shown earlier. If I want to make the system work, and I do, I will have to come up with a work around. With the primary coil still working the unit will still buzz from the spring switch turning on and off. It just won’t shock anybody until I can find a fix. I really don’t want to have to rewind the coils.

This is the metal lid inside the cover remounted. I flattened out the kinks and applied a coat of varnish to the outside (non-label) side to prevent further paint chipping.

These are some views of the hardware reattached to the box. I uses small #0 brass wood screws instead of the nails that were used originally.

32 box retsored

The restored box closed.

31 Restored open

And open. The black piece is not screwed in place here. Brass screws will be used to hold it in place. You can see the holes for the screws on the surface in this picture.

This is a short video of the unit energized.  Next up is finding a way to supply the shocking voltage to the brass tubes now that my secondary coil has lost contact with the outside world. I will also polish up the brass tubes and reattach them to the wood handles. The wood handles will be sanded, stained and varnished as well. I will also try to restore the cables as best as I can.


Today I worked on refinishing the handles. The one on the left is how they started. I used paint stripper to get them down to bare wood. Then I re-stained and varnished them.

34 Handles original 1

I found this picture on line and it is from a similar unit. It looks like the handles had some cloth pads that screwed onto the ends, so they were separate from the brass tubes. I guess you would soak the cloth disks in salt water then they would conduct.

I also polished up the brass tubes. They were originally chrome plated, but I will leave them brass. I will also add some brass connector plugs to the ends.

37 Wires start

This is a view of the way the wires looked on the unit. I tried fishing in the hole on the top left in order to find the secondary wire, but wasn’t successful.

38 Wires final

Here I cleaned up the wires and added plugs for attaching to the battery. I am going to use just one battery so I wired the high and low power lines to the same connector. Looks like I’m just going to have high power mode.

39 Ready for battery

This is another view where the battery plugs are more clear (lower left). The black and red wires are to power my electric shock transformer. The yellow wire will act as a trigger for the circuit as it is attached to the energizing line going to the separate shock coil. The small wall wort transformer visible on the right will be used as the step up transformer for providing the shocks. It is a 120VAC to 24VAC unit. If I use the secondary as the primary I get a 5:1 increase in voltage. For 12 volts that will step up to 60V. The coil on the Faradic battery is about 1.5 ohms. The coil on my wall wort is about 15 ohms. If I try wiring the coils in parallel the Faradic coil energizes, but the wall wort/ shock transformer doesn’t get enough current to feel anything. If I wire them in series, most of the voltage drops across the shock coil without enough voltage left the activate the Faradic coil. So I will be wiring the shock coil into a separate circuit that uses the yellow wire to trigger an FET transistor. This should provide a pulsing input current to the shock coil.

42 Battery location

This is the size of lead/acid gel cell battery I will use and its placement. I will make some kind of bracket to hold it in place. This will make my Faradic battery recharge able. That’s all for today.

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