How to Recondition Old Batteries The Right Way

Published in Green Ideas on 2nd July 2018
how to recondition old batteries

How to recondition old batteries? Well, this is a very profitable skill if you master it. You know that a significant number of portable electronic devices are powered by rechargeable batteries. These batteries are usually extremely efficient and offer the much-needed convenience of providing power on the go.

However, after some time, they tend to lose their initial charge and eventually stop charging. Thankfully, you can rejuvenate your batteries so that they become fairly more efficient once again.

Battery reconditioning is the surest way to save money and get a 100% functional battery. It is a technique that restores your battery’s initial condition, prolonging its lifespan while at the same time making it highly efficient.

If your laptop or car battery isn’t operating at its optimal level and you are planning to discard it, don’t dispose of it just yet! Today in this particular post, we are going to discuss in excruciating details, how to recondition old batteries.

You will realize that reconditioning batteries is an incredibly basic technique that nearly everyone can easily master. So, peruse the article and get to know.

What are the Benefits of Reconditioning a Battery?

There are some compelling reasons why you would want to recondition your old batteries including:

  • Increased lifespan: The approximate lifespan of a regular car battery is between five and seven years. After this period, most batteries, be it a laptop or car batteries, may not operate normally as they used to. By reconditioning an old battery, you would be practically extending its life by at least three years! This implies that you would have used the battery for an additional three years, which presents an excellent trade-off for your initial investment.
  • Cost savings: Car, laptop as well as mobile phone batteries can be extremely costly to replace. What’s more, they are quite expensive to repair and even after being repaired, they may not be as effective as much. Reconditioning old batteries is a great way to preserve their function, rejuvenate them so that they operate as they used to, offering ample charge and saving you lots of cash in the process.
  • Saving the environment: Lead-acid batteries can be harmful to the environment and pose a significant threat to the safety of the soil and groundwater. Batteries are extremely difficult to recycle and on most occasions, end up in landfills, leaking dangerous chemicals to the environment. Reconditioning ensures no used battery finds its way into the environment.

How to Recondition Old Batteries – Does the Process Present Safety Challenges?

Without proper knowledge on how to handle them, as well as the right safety equipment, batteries are arguably one of the most dangerous devices to deal with. Car batteries are filled with sulfuric acid, which is one of the most powerful of acid compounds. Below are a few safety tips you MUST follow:

  • Only recondition lead-acid battery in a well-ventilated area.
  • Equip yourself with safety goggles, acid gloves, and an apron before handling lead-acid batteries.
  • A battery’s positive terminal should never be connected directly to its negative terminal.
  • If you have a cracked or leaking battery that you intend to recondition, it is highly advisable to dispose of such a battery as soon as possible!
  • Don’t attempt to recondition an old battery more than three or four times.
reconditioning a car battery

How to Recondition an Old Car Battery

The steps involved in reconditioning a car battery are simple and straightforward. All you need to do is to follow the below simple steps.

You will need the following:

  • Voltmeter.
  • Magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt)
  • A funnel (plastic)
  • A large amount of distilled water.
  • Steel wool.
  • Toothbrush.
  • 2 Buckets.
  • Battery terminal cleaner.
  • Safety gear (goggles, gloves, and apron)
  • Baking soda.
  • Flathead screwdriver.

8 Steps to Recondition a Car Battery

Step #1: First and foremost, you need to put on all your protective gear including gloves, apron, mask and a pair of goggles. You also need to prepare a weak basic solution of baking soda and water in advance to help neutralize any accidental acid spillage.

Step #2: After this, you now need to get rid of the corrosion on the battery terminals. Prepare a paste-like mixture of water and baking soda. Dip your toothbrush into the paste-like solution then rub it against the terminals of your battery to eliminate corrosion. Alternatively, you can use sandpaper grit or steel wool to remove the corrosion.

Step #3: The next step will involve testing the battery to check if it’s likely to respond to reconditioning as needed. You’ll be using the voltmeter for the testing.

The voltmeter’s red wire should be connected to your battery’s positive terminal whereas the black cable should be connected to the battery’s negative terminal.

If your voltage reading is 12.6 or higher, then this is a clear indication that the battery is still in a good working condition. Consequently, if the reading is between 10v and 12.6v, then the battery is in dire need of reconditioning.

Step #4: Using your flathead screwdriver, carefully remove all the battery caps. Put them temporarily inside a container to avoid losing them. Then, with extreme care, lift the battery and pour out the existing electrolyte solution in the bucket.

Related article: 7 Signs Your Car Battery Is About To Die And Needs To Be Replaced (or reconditioned).

Step #5: Using the distilled water and baking soda, prepare a solution in the ratio of 1:1. Next, fill up all the cells using this solution. Lock them up with the caps and shake the battery gently.

After this, unlock the caps once again and pour out the solution into the bucket you used previously. You now have a car battery that is ready to be reconditioned as well as a bucket full of waste which you can safely dispose of.

Step #6: Now it’s time to refill the cells. You are going to use the Epsom salt and distilled water to create your electrolyte. This will dramatically increase the voltage as well as the amps that the reconditioned battery can discharge to your car.

To create this electrolyte, use a half-gallon of boiling distilled water and half a pound of Epsom salt. Mix the two in the second bucket and stir thoroughly to ensure that no solids are left behind. Using a clean funnel, pour this new electrolyte into every cell.

You should ensure that every single cell filled to the brim. Wrap things up by putting the caps back on ad shake your battery for a couple of minutes. It is now ready for charging!

Step #7: Before you proceed with the charging process, remove the caps once again. This is to ensure that the electrolyte solution doesn’t heat and overflow.

Now take the battery charger and connect its positive lead to your battery’s positive terminal and repeat the same for the negative terminal as well. Let the battery charge for about a day and a half.

Step #8: You now need to test the battery. Using the voltmeter, test the battery and if it records a reading of 12.43v and above, the battery is on course to go for a test.

If it records a voltmeter reading of less than 12.43v, don’t fret! You only need to continue charging the battery for a couple of additional hours. You will want to check to see if there was any electrolyte overflow.

If there is, refill it with more solution and allow the battery to charge. You will ultimately achieve the 12v+ after 12 hours of extra charging.

With a battery load tester at your disposal, you can easily test the battery. If you don’t have one, you can as well use a voltmeter. Put the caps back on and put the battery into the car as usual. Do the necessary connections and put on high beams but don’t start the car.

This is another reliable and super simple way to put the battery under load. Take the readings from the voltmeter and if it records a 9.6v and above, your battery is in a perfect condition.

If the reading is below 9.6v, your battery wasn’t fully reconditioned you may be forced to repeat these steps and do everything correctly.

Related article: 8 Simple Tips & Tricks To Extend The Life Of Your Car Battery.

reconditioning a laptop battery

How to Recondition Old Laptop Batteries

There are many ways through which you can successfully recondition a laptop battery. All these are simple approaches which you can successfully do by yourself at home.

Method 1:

  • Remove the battery from your laptop and wrap it using a plastic bag.
  • Put it in a freezer and let it stay there for 12 hours. Remove it from the bag, insert it back into the laptop and recharge it fully.
  • If there are no visible leaks around the battery, you would have successfully reconditioned the battery and it is ready to serve you for a couple of years!

Method 2:

This is a very easy yet highly effective technique. Just plug in your battery and allow it to charge at full strength. Wait for the battery to drain itself empty and plug it in once again to recharge fully. Repeat the same procedure a couple of times until you get a rejuvenated battery.

Method 3:

Our third method involves resetting the laptop rather than reconditioning the battery itself. It is an equally effective solution and worth trying. In other words, it’s more or recalibrating your laptop than to rejuvenating its battery.

  • Charge the laptop and ensure the battery is 100% full.
  • Now, unplug the laptop from the power source, turn off the laptop and allow it to completely drain the battery.
  • Leave it in this condition for about five hours.
  • Recharge your battery until is full. You would have reconditioned the battery, increasing its efficiency as well as its lifespan.

Method 4:

It has been proven that reducing your laptop’s overall temperature can have a positive impact on the functionality of its battery. You only need to purchase a cooler and put your laptop on it. It will eventually reduce your device’s temperature thereby allowing the battery to serve you for an extended period.

Related article: Prolong The Life Of Lithium-ion, Laptop, and Cell Phone Batteries

Reconditioning NiCad Batteries

Globally, billions of nickel-cadmium batteries are used every year. Unfortunately, a huge chunk of them ends up in our landfills. If you have a few of them in your home, you easily recondition these batteries as well.

In most instances, these types of batteries stop working because of the sulfur coating on their two terminals. You can easily solve this problem by following the few simple steps outlined below.

  • You’ll need a flash camera capacitor. Design a switch and a battery holder and then connect them to your capacitor.
  • Connect the wires to the black cylinder and subsequently connect them to the switch and the battery holder.
  • You will want to ensure that all the wires are adequately insulated and that they don’t come into contact with each other.
  • Place your NiCad battery into the holder and the alkaline battery inside the capacitor.
  • After this, flick the switch and the LED lights should glow. Repeat this procedure once. At this stage, you will hear a noise. It indicates that you have successfully destroyed the sulfur crystals and the battery is raring to go once again!

Reconditioning Hybrid Batteries

Hybrid cars feature a conventional engine, a battery, and an electric motor. They boast a less sophisticated set-up and the battery is usually highly durable, lasting up to 150,000 miles.

However, the problem is that these batteries are extremely costly, and once they start to misbehave, you can expect to part with up to $3,000 to have a new one!

Imperative to note is that hybrid car batteries are made up of different modules though every module functions on the same principle. For instance, the Toyota Prius boasts twenty-eight modules.

You can replace a damaged module at a cost of $700. And if you were to replace a few of them, you can easily see how it would result in significant repair costs!

Requirements: Voltmeter, distilled water, a battery charger, and a syringe:

Thankfully, you can recondition a hybrid battery by following very simple steps as outlined below:

  • Uninstall the battery from the car and remove the insulating rubber fitted to the caps.
  • Now, remove the caps, which are usually between 6 and 7 in number.
  • Fill your battery with the distilled water and recharge it for up to an hour.
  • You’ll see bubbles forming in the holes, a clear indication that everything is under control. If there aren’t any bubbles, just swap the positive and negative wires and wait for a minute. You’ll see the bubbles forming. Switchback the wires and allow the battery to charge for half an hour.

Conclusion

Alternatively, you can recondition old batteries by discarding the existing acid and replacing it with a new one mixed with distilled water. After this, allow it to charge for one hour. These two techniques should restore your battery’s initial performance, allowing it to serve you for a further seven years.

By reconditioning your old batteries, you will not only save extra cash, restore your battery’s peak performance, but you’ll also save the entire environment from the potential dangers of harmful compounds. We have equipped you with simple yet effective methods on how to recondition nearly all types of batteries in your home.

If you’re really serious to have a great profitable skill of how to recondition old batteries (almost any kinds of them), then it means you need a really great guide to master it. Getting to the most important principles of battery reconditioning skill will help you doing it the right way. I recommend you check out this great guide called: EZ Battery Reconditioning. They provide a lot of great resources out there that will help you. 

 

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