Batteries will get non-functional after a period of time and many people just replace it with a brand new battery. However, some smart people will recondition the old battery and make it functional just like the new battery. If you’re one of those smart people, this article is written just for you!
Many people assume that reconditioning battery is a complex and time-consuming work. But actually, it’s simple and will be definitely worth your time.
Reconditioning is basically turning an old rusty battery into a new one with the same capacity. Sound’s too good to be true, right? I get it.
Let me explain whether it’s really possible to recondition the battery.
- 1 Is it possible to recondition the battery?
- 2 Why Should You Trust me?
- 3 Precautions to be taken before reconditioning the battery
- 4 Find out the Type of Battery
- 5 How to Recondition a Car Battery
- 6 How to Recondition a Laptop battery
- 7 Conclusion
Is it possible to recondition the battery?
Most people dump their old battery thinking that there is no way it can regain its efficiency. While others assume that the batteries after owing them service of about 5 years have practically lost its life. Although in the packaging the lifetime of batteries specified is about 5 years it can be reconditioned to make it work like new ones.
This way, you will avoid spending on new batteries and follow a simple process at home to turn your old batteries into brand new ones.
Why Should You Trust me?
I’m a Mechanical Engineer, who loves to get into technical stuff. Ever since I got my first car (It was a Honda) I started to explore under the hood and played with the batteries. During the past 5 years, I’ve reconditioned plenty of car batteries and I’m kinda famous in my friend’s circle because I’m the guy who brings back dead batteries back to life. You can read about me here.
The goal of this article is to share my knowledge about the battery reconditioning methods, whether it’s possible to recondition, finding out the type of battery, etc.
Unlike many other Battery related sites, which tend to share only the sugar-coated words just so they promote a product. Wellograph is different than other sites. We share only the proven working methods and our intention to provide informational content rather than pushing some product in your throat.
Precautions to be taken before reconditioning the battery
In order to ensure the accomplishment of a safe battery reconditioning process you should consider following the below steps:
- You should not wear any type of jewelry or metallic items when performing the process.
- Always make use of safety goggles to protect your eyes, eye spectacles would not do. And make sure to wear a pair of high voltage gloves during the main procedure.
- Batteries comprise of sulfuric acid, so be careful when handling it. You might consider wearing an apron during the experiment.
- When reconditioning lead batteries, make sure the ambiance is properly ventilated.
- To avoid damage to your refurbished battery, connect the positive terminal of the battery to the positive terminal of the instruments used and the negative terminal of the battery with the negative terminal of the instrument.
- Don’t ever connect the negative terminal of the battery with its positive terminal without any intermediate instrument as this will lead to the occurrence of a short circuit.
Find out the Type of Battery
Before reconditioning, you’ve to find out the type of battery which you have. The most commonly used batteries in electronic devices are mostly lithium based.
Basically, the batteries are the collection of cells which undergo many chemical reactions so that the energy can be converted into an electrical one. There are three components of batteries namely the anode, the cathode, the electrolytes.
The above image shows that Lithium-ion tops the chart with 37% in the market. Lithium is most commonly used battery followed by a starter and Alkaline batteries.
Although batteries can be categorized on the basis of their chemical composition, size, and usage, here we have classified them into two types:
These are the batteries that cannot be charged again once they are discharged. They are made up of the electrochemical cells which undergo the electrochemical reactions that cannot be reversed.
Batteries consist of electrochemical cells and which cannot be recharged once worn out is named primary batteries. The electrochemical reaction cannot be reversed which is why it cannot be recharged. A common example includes alkaline batteries.
Alkaline Batteries are budget-friendly and are considered to be gentle to the atmosphere. They carry a high specific energy and do not owe any leaking problems even when charged at its fullest. As these are considered to be practically safe, one can carry them in aircraft by not violating any airline laws.
The shelf life of Alkaline Battery is pretty amazing; however, the only downside is they can work only for devices with low current requirements like the TV remote
also comprising of electrochemical cells, these electrochemical reactions can be reversed in nature after applying a specified voltage in the reversed direction. Also known as rechargeable batteries, these batteries can be utilized across various genres of electrical equipment, for example, mobile phones. The following are the types of secondary battery
Lead Acid Battery
Lead Acid Battery was invented in the years 1859 by a Physicist of France named as Gaston Plante and this is the oldest type of rechargeable available and is used till today.
Because of their gigantic size, these types of batteries find their utility in non-portable machinery. The oldest-type of rechargeable battery, these are considered to be a low-cost reliable power source. The fact that it comprises of very low energy to weight and energy to volume ratios, makes it very efficient across heavy-duty applications like solar panels.
Nickel Cadmium Battery
Nickel Cadmium Battery produced using a fusion of nickel oxide hydroxide and metallic cadmium playing the function of electrodes, when not in use these batteries can keep their voltage balanced retaining charge. These types of rechargeable batteries are preferred over its counterparts owing to the fact that it performs excellently at low temperatures and offers longevity.
But what individualizes it form the rest is its capacity to supply their full rated capacity at considerably high discharge rates. It may suffer from a dreaded memory issue when a battery is partially charged is recharged again, thereby leading to compromising the life of the battery.
Nickel Metal Hydride Battery
Nickel Metal Hydride Battery (NiMH) another type of rechargeable batteries, their configuration resembles Nickel-cadmium batteries. However, the reaction at the negative electrode involves a hydrogen-absorbing alloy instead of nickel-cadmium.
Another differentiating factor is that its capacity equals thrice of the capacity of the Nickel-cadmium. Speaking of energy density, it is somewhat similar to that of lithium batteries. Due to all of these contrasting attributes these batteries are widely used in high drain devices. Fortunately, this does not fall victim to memory issues, unlike nickel-cadmium batteries.
Lithium-ion Battery of the most popular type of rechargeable batteries invented, here the lithium ion of the negative electrode migrate to the positive electrode when it is in a discharged state and vice versa when it is charged.
Lithium batteries show the best performance when used in electronic devices based on lithium iron phosphate and are considered to be safer because it emits lower energy density. Owing to their light weight they are widely used in equipment like aerospace.
How to Recondition a Car Battery
Often car batteries based on lead-acid die due to the accumulation of lead sulfate crystals formed on the inner plates of the battery. Cleaning this is not a difficult task, and providing you execute the process successfully using simple ingredients, your battery would be all new.
Without any further ado, let’s get into the procedures!
List of materials you need
• Battery charger
• Damaged battery
• Dropper or syringe
• Epsom salts
• Distilled water
Step by Step Procedures to Restore the Car Battery
- Take out the battery from your car put it on a work table.
- While some battery’s cells are clearly visible some may be concealed with sealed strips. You need to cut open the strips to remove them.
- Once they are removed, you will have to go on removing the caps from the cells in order to obtain the battery acid.
- Now take a syringe or dropper, whichever is available to you and then start draining the fluids from each cell until they are only 50 % full. If you find that few cells contain acid less than 50 % then you have to fill it with the fluids from the other cells. Always remember that the fluid is a concentrated acid so you should secure it in a glass container right away.
- Now boil some distilled water and add some quantities of Epsom salt simultaneously stirring the solution to dissolve the Epsom salt, and continue this until the solution becomes saturated.
- Now all you have to do is to fill this solution with a syringe or dropper in the half-full battery cells.
- Now get hold of a battery charger and connect it to the terminals of the battery. If your battery is severely drained or damage then you might need to charge them overnight with a trickle charger.
- While you are charging the reconditioned battery, some gas is expected to be emitted so no need to freak about it. Leave the caps open so to allow the gas to pass and everything will go as planned.
- The next morning start your car and go out for an hour drive so that your battery can get accustomed to the new substitute.
- This way you will extend the life of your battery by a minimum of 6 months. Repeat this process once it gets drained out.
How to Recondition a Laptop battery
After the wear and tear of the laptop batteries, what happens is they tend to lose the hold on the charges. People always recommend the replacement of the battery with a new one but reconditioning the batteries can let the battery perform like a brand new one all over again. This can be done at a home as well but there are requirements of the certain equipment.
The laptop contains secondary batteries namely: nickel-cadmium, nickel metal hydride, and lithium –ion. Since the battery composition is different it is quite obvious that the process of bringing them back to life will be diverse. So to begin with here is the process of reconditioning a battery composed with:
Nickel-Cadmium batteries do not literally die but the accumulation of sulfur crystals cause them to degenerate. The crystals are formed either due to leaving the cell exposed to high temperature or overcharging it. The crystals make its way to both ends of the cell thereby hindering the process of charging. So in simpler words, getting rid of the crystals would make the battery regain its former efficiency.
- A capacitor with display ratings of about 100,000uF 60v. However, a cheaper option will be the capacitor of a disposable flash camera.
- Your damaged nickel-cadmium battery
- High power switch
- Battery holder to hold the dead batteries in place.
- Small switch
- Wire strippers and cutters
- A screwdriver preferably flat headed
- And a soldering iron to be on the safe side.
Here’s a video that explains how to open the laptop battery without causing any damage.
Follow these steps if you want to extend the life cycle of your dead laptop batteries:
- According to experts, this is the step you need to the most careful about. With the screwdriver open the camera’s case, be a little careful because you would not want to get a shock from the capacitor. Now take an insulated screwdriver and discharge the capacitor. If you notice a big spark, do not be scared it is because the capacitor got discharged.
- For the sake of the procedure, you would have to remove the charge switch in order to add an external switch. Unlike the former step, you can accomplish this with your bare hands because the charge switch is easily removable.
- We would notice two exposed pieces of metal slabs. Solder each piece of wire on both the metal slabs. Now with the soldering iron, you would have to solder a charge switch onto the other wire ends.
- Again a bit of soldering work should be performed between the battery holder and high power switch together with the black capacitor. Now again you have to solder the lead of the capacitor with the black wire of the battery holder. And then continue the same with the other lead of the capacitor. In the red wire of the battery holder, you have to solder the push button switch.
- Needless to say, the battery holder you have just combined with the setup, that is where you will be placing your batteries.
- Since the setup process is completed. You need to insulate all the high voltage parts for safety.
- Then to initiate the process of bringing back your battery life you have to put the laptop battery into the battery holder and a new alkaline battery in the camera circuit’s battery holder.
- Now all you have to do is to turn on the charge switch to begin the reconditioning procedure. When you find the neon colored bulb glowing, you will have to hit the push button. Repeat the process once more just to be sure that the sulfur crystals have vaporized.
- After completing this process, you will have to charge your battery with the charger.
Nickel Metal Hydride Battery (NiMH)
Although it resembles Ni-cad batteries by a few attributes, its advantage over the former has turned it into a rage. Unlike the Ni-cad here hydrogen is used to build the composition rather than cadmium which needless to say, diminishes the chemical effects. It is important to remember that these batteries do not fall prey to the memory effect and their lifespan is highly impressive.
But in case they have worn out due to prolonged use and you wish to revive it, follow these steps. The steps are very simple and you would not need a ton of materials to accomplish it:
- The first step is to charge your battery to its fullest. Charge it for an hour or two to ensure that it completely charged.
- Now you have to drain the charge from the battery that is the reversal of the last process. To do this you would have to put it under a heavy load so that it sucks out all the charge. For example, you can connect your batteries to a digital camera or touch or even a drill and keep it on for an hour to ensure that all the charge drains out completely.
- Now all you have to do is to repeat the cycle once more. That is taking the battery and leaving it to gain a 100 % charge and then again connecting to a drill or camera to drain the charge out. This time when the battery dies to keep it for rest for an hour or two before recharging it. After completion of this cycle, you have to put your batteries back into the charger to let them absorb charge.
- After that insert, those inside your laptop and you will begin to notice that they are performing excellently.
Lithium-ion batteries have come out as the favorite of most electronic freaks due to its advantageous features over its contenders, Li-cad and Ni-Mh batteries. It does not suffer from any memory effect and owns a reputation of displaying low self-discharge and high capacity.
- Lithium-ion battery charger
- A power source, it could be another battery.
- USB cable
- Metal clips
- Crocodile clips
- Safety goggles
Follow this process and in no time you will see your dead batteries working efficiently again:
- Lithium-ion batteries tend to go on a sleeping mode if they get discharged way too much and then refuse to obtain any charge even if you connect it to the charger. Grab a voltmeter to record the voltage reading. If your batteries have gone in the sleep mode then you will get very low readings, so you have to use another power source to keep it a jump.
- Put another healthy battery into the battery holder and connect it together with the dead battery with the help of crocodile clips. Make a circuit by connecting the positive to negative and vice and versa. Keep them under monitoring for 15 minutes and you would notice that the voltmeter reading has jumped by a few figures and the battery would now accept the charge.
- Then take out the battery and connect it to a lithium battery charger so that it is completely charged. Next drain out the charge by connecting with a digital camera or a drill and keep it on.
- After you have completed the charging and discharging process completely, you would have to seal your batteries inside an airtight bag and insert it into the freezer.
- Make sure the bag is completely moisture-proof before packing the charger in it. Freeze the charge for at least 24 hours.
- The next day take it out of the freezer and left it to thaw for at least 8 hours.
- After it had thawed completely, it’s time to charge it with a lithium-ion battery charger. After that, you are bound to notice a decent improvement in terms of the performance of the battery.
Reconditioning battery is not only beneficial for you but also beneficial for the environment. If you learned how to recondition batteries through this article, feel free to share it with your friends and help them to save money.
Learning the skill of battery reconditioning will help you to save alot of time and money in the long run.