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How to refurbish lithium-ion batteries

Updated April 05, 2017

After a battery's power runs out a person has the option of either replacing it or refurbishing it. Replacing a battery is generally more expensive while refurbishing it eliminates toxic byproducts and prolongs its performance. The refurbishing process differs based on the battery that is being used. For example refurbishing a car battery requires the use of a salt solution to clean the inside of the battery. On the other hand, refurbishing a lithium-ion battery is a simple process and can be completed in a number of steps.

Allow the battery's power to run out. This can be done by installing the battery in a device and keeping the device on until the battery energy expires. Lithium-ion batteries are commonly used in handheld or portable devices such as laptops or gaming systems. They are unique because they function better after a full discharge rather than a partial one. This is because most lithium-ion batteries contain fuel gauges that create a sort of digital recording of the battery's charge state. Full discharges will effectively provide a resynchronization of the battery's current charge state with the fuel gauge level. This will help to reduce any added load to the circuitry in the battery.

Place the battery in a battery charger. Let the battery charge to its full power capacity. Once the battery is fully charged remove it from the charger. This is a simple step and stands in contrast to the methods used when refurbishing lead acid batteries in cars. These batteries require a user to fill the battery with epsom salt then place the battery on a charger. The charger then releases an electric current that removes the sulphur residue from the battery plate.

Place the battery in the device of your choosing. This process will cause the battery's fuel gauge to synchronise with the battery's current charge state and helps to maintain functional capacity. An important tip to maintain longevity of the battery is to keep it in a cool location because elevated temperatures can damage the circuitry. Also when storing the battery it is best to do so when the battery still has some partial charge remaining. To maintain proper fuel gauge calibration it is recommended to do a full discharge after at least 30 charges.

Warning

Do not let the battery die out multiple times. This will result in additional strain upon the circuitry. It is much better to frequently recharge the battery while it has some partial charge.

Things You'll Need

  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Battery charger
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About the Author

Asad Mohammad began freelance writing for various websites in 2010, bringing his expertise in medicine and health. His first publication occurred in 2008 when a case report and poster presentation were accepted at Nassau University Medical Center. He graduated from medical school in 2009 and is in residency. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in biology and economics from Binghamton University.