Reconditioning Batteries-A Compact Guide
Reconditioning Batteries: A Compact Guide
Almost every device that we use today makes use of a battery to a lesser or greater extent. It goes without saying that most of these have a limited active life. This differs from battery to battery.
For example, you can charge the average laptop battery around six hundred times before it will cease to function. Similarly, the average car battery tends to last about five years in a properly maintained vehicle. At some point, a battery reaches the end its active life, and performance starts to degrade more or less rapidly.
People usually throw away or recycle a battery at this point. But the simple fact is that these batteries can usually be brought back into working order by a person with the right skills and knowledge.
Different types of batteries fail for different reasons
In the case of lithium-ion batteries, for example, a simple lack of knowledge about the correct charging cycle can reduce the active life of the battery by half. As for the lead-acid battery you use in your vehicle, incorrect use can lead to sulfation, that is to say, a layer of non-conducting material that begins to cover the plates of the battery, and which makes the battery unusable.
Actually, this process is part of the normal working of a lead-acid battery. Lead dioxide on the plates of the battery reacts with the acid in the battery to create lead sulfate. Usually, when you recharge the battery, this lead sulfate tends to break down into the original components.
However, if the sulfation is allowed to harden, it then prevents the battery from working properly. The lead sulfate forms into crystals and these crystals will then adhere to the plates of the battery. Ultimately, it will become impossible to recharge the battery.
What many people don’t know is that it is possible to revive even a completely sulfated battery by following certain procedures.
Not only will the reclamation process (called reconditioning) save you the entire price of a new battery, but you must remember that batteries are actually made of extremely hazardous chemicals, such as the extremely poisonous metal lead and sulfuric acid.
By reconditioning your battery, you’re essentially ensuring that that battery does not have to be recycled, and are thus contributing to preserving the environment.
You’ll need certain specific equipment if you want to recondition batteries.
You will, of course, need a multi-meter, as well as a charger that is optimized to your particular kind of battery. You will need rubber gloves to protect you from the corrosive liquid inside the battery, as well as a few liters of distilled water.
Nevertheless, these materials combined still cost far less than the price of a new battery.
Besides, you can reuse them whenever you want to recondition a battery. You also don’t need any specialized knowledge in order to recondition a battery – the methods are really rather simple. In the case of a lead acid battery, a constant charge of electricity is applied to the battery for around seven hours, which begins the breakdown of the sulfate, followed by a secondary charge at a much lower voltage that is sustained for another ten hours or so. A reasonable lead-acid battery charger will easily be able to handle this.
The restored battery can be used in your vehicle or else set to work in any other device that uses lead-acid batteries.