Bring Dead Ni-Cad Batteries Back To Life | Prepper Skills
Learn how to restore those Ni-Cad batteries and don’t give up just yet on that battery-powered gadget you’re using!
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How to Bring Dead Ni-Cad Batteries Back to Life
Ways to Restore Ni-Cad Batteries
You might have been wondering how to bring dead Ni-Cad batteries back to life since your favorite appliance simply died out. Recharging it has absolutely no effect.
Now your power tool is not working and you cannot continue with your project. The cordless phone batteries are no longer usable whenever you needed to call someone.
The razor just won’t turn on no matter how long you leave it on the charging dock. Your kid’s remote control car is set aside, leaving you wondering whether it is still worth keeping in the room.
It is a common reaction to throw away the electronic device or the battery pack. But don’t give up on that gadget just yet.
Every prepper and survivalist knows very well that there is always a workaround for almost anything that is broken and there is no need to run to the hardware store and spend hard-earned money to get a replacement.
Resourcefulness and improvisation are essential survival skills because when SHTF, we will have no one and nothing else to rely on but ourselves.
Now there are many ways to restore Ni-Cad batteries and we have put them all together in one place. Once again, you will need to conjure up your handyman skills, but these methods don’t really take rocket science to succeed.
The following are some of the articles and videos that show how it can be done. Notice the differences and similarities of their restoration techniques.
WARNING: Before we go any further, please remember we are talking about Ni-Cad or nickel-cadmium rechargeable batteries here. These methods don’t work with NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) or Lithium batteries, otherwise, they will explode. You have been warned. This is especially important for those who are new to prepping and survivalism.
What are Lithium Batteries? Lithium batteries are lighter compared to the nickel-cadmium types. These things are commonly used as cell phone batteries and computer batteries.
1. Revive Ni-Cad Batteries with a Welding Machine
One of the most popular methods suggested by some DIYers is by zapping the battery with an arc welder. While it may be true that this method is effective, most people would be afraid of using a machine with such a high voltage output.
The risk of electric shock is very high with a welding machine, despite the fact that adjustments are possible to make the output lower and safer.
Another danger is the possibility of the battery exploding as the inexperienced folks might zap the battery for too long.
In addition, welding machines draw a lot of power, which makes them the least economical option to bring dead Ni-Cad batteries back to life. And worst of all, arc welders are expensive equipment.
RELATED: Batteries Need A Little Extra Juice?
2. Restore Your Nickel Cadmium Batteries with a Motorcycle Battery Charger
The nudging process is essentially similar to the use of the arc welder. Compared to using a welding machine which can be large, heavy, expensive, risky, and eat up a lot of power, a motorcycle battery tender is smaller, lighter, cheaper, more economical, and far safer to use.
3. Use Your Healthy Ni-Cad Batteries in Series to Zap the Old Ones to Life
In case you don’t have a battery tender or welding machine, you can use any extra nickel-based battery you may have. You will need two batteries connected in series so that the voltage will be enough to zap the cells.
4. Build Your Own Battery Reconditioning Machine
Just like the other methods mentioned here, this homemade contraption is designed to give a much-needed jolt to your Ni-Cad battery. Building the machine is fairly straightforward and the materials are quite cheap.
The great thing about it is that you will have a device purpose-built to resurrect old Ni-Cad packs. Consider it a valuable addition to your home prepper/self-sufficiency kit.
Since you’re building an electronic device, take all the safety precautions in order to avoid electrical shock. To learn how to build it, click here.
Here’s another video by masczone that will show you how to revive your old Ni-Cad batteries:
Now you don’t have to dispose of nickel-cadmium batteries and battery packs right away. There is no need to buy new ones, either.
Just choose any of the methods we have mentioned, whichever suits you best. Restoring dead Ni-Cad batteries is another survival skill that you have just learned.
Do you have another idea on how to bring Ni-Cad batteries back to life? Tell us about it in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on December 28, 2015, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
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Michael W. Perry
October 30, 2014 at 8:43 AM
Others will point this out, so I might as well be the first. Consider investing about $25 in one of the programmable charging machines sold by La Crosse Technology. You can set up modes that recondition dying batteries. They cost a little more than ordinary rechargers, but they can do much more.
Unfortunately,I couldn’t get La Crosse to even try to charge a NiMH battery that’d become totally discharged by sitting in a Bluetooth mouse for about two years. Instead, I used a very cheap, brute-force USB battery charger to force a charge into those batteries. Once given a partial charge, the La Crosse was willing to recondition it.
November 2, 2014 at 1:08 AM
Why do NiCads go bad? And how do these tricks restore them?
December 26, 2014 at 11:36 AM
Because everything goes bad eventually! Not all Rechargeable Batteries can be revived, but Nicads can take a high short burst of voltage to give them a kick start to help them take a charge again, but they will not be able hold it as when new. I/we in the business have used a 12 volt car charger and just give them a quick (1 or 2 second) shock to get them started before starting the recharge/conditioning cycle. The reason for the shocking is to restore the polarity that sometimes reverses when they go Very DEAD for to long! Other reasons they go bad is Short Charging times, you should run nicads down till they aren’t doing what they should then charge for the full time recommended on the charger or until slightly warm (full charge!) Running them for short times then recharging over and over will shorten the run time every time you do that! Always run down completely & recharge till warm when you can or when you see the charge is not lasting as long as you think it should! Hope that helps? Charlie
December 26, 2014 at 11:38 AM
PS. The main reason things die is the chemical makeup reactions required within them stop working, same thing goes for people!
December 26, 2014 at 11:41 AM
PS again! The shock of the higher voltage reenergizes the chemical activity! (sometimes) Which gets the batt. going.
OK, That should be it!
September 11, 2018 at 8:26 PM
The battery grows crystals that create a short circuit within the cell. The Zapping burns out the short circuit and allows the cell to again take a charge. This has been known at least since the 1960s. By most Electronic Engineers.
May 17, 2017 at 11:28 PM
When using the battery charger method why are you reversing the polarity of the battery charger in relation to the battery,this is counterintuitive and could very well explode the battery as well as ruining the battery by possibly reversing the polarity of the battery?
I have repaired electronics professionally for 45 years and this does not sound right.
November 2, 2017 at 6:03 PM
Seems backwards to me too.
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