Rechargeable batteries allow you to reuse the same battery multiple times, which reduces the waste entering landfills and benefits the environment. However, after a few hundred charge/discharge cycles, your batteries can begin to lose their capacity, or if you left a battery idle for several months, it may have a diminished ability to retain a charge. This is due to the formation of crystals in the chemicals which form the battery; the larger the crystals, the less of a charge the battery can hold. To recondition the battery, you must break down the crystals to allow the charge to flow freely again.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Battery charger with a discharge setting
Wrap your battery in plastic or place it in a zip-top bag. Place it in your freezer for at least one hour. Batteries are sensitive to heat and have a reduced capacity at higher temperatures. Reducing the heat will allow you to more fully charge your battery.
Place the battery on the charging station and charge it for five minutes, then switch the battery to discharge mode. Allow the battery to completely discharge. Measure the voltage on your battery -- it should be between 0.6 volts and 0.9 volts for the most effectiveness.
Freeze the battery again for at least one hour. Recharge the battery for at least 24 hours. Fully discharge the battery until it reads less than one volt on your voltmeter.
Repeat this cycle of freeze, charge and discharge a few times to recondition your battery. Start with two and then test it under normal working conditions. If you need more capacity, you can continue to recondition it with this process. Stop after every two or three cycles to test the capacity. At a certain point, you will stop seeing significant improvement.
Tips and warnings
- Do not use a battery with a broken or damaged case. The chemicals within a battery can be damaging or harmful. Properly dispose of any damaged batteries.
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