Lesson #4 – How to Recondition Consumer Batteries

Table of Content:
  • Why you cannot just throw away a battery
  • Scope of application and types of consumer batteries
  • Battery replacement time and how to determine if it has charge left
  • How to use a battery charger properly
  • #1 Get an appropriate charger
  • #2 Use only the appropriate batteries in the charger.
  • #3 Mind the indicators on a charger
  • #4 Insert batteries properly
  • How to recondition a battery
  • Kit for reconditioning a consumer battery
  • Tips for using batteries, how to contaminate the environment less

Why you cannot just throw away a battery

Hello, my friend. Today I will tell you about consumer batteries that we use in our everyday life. In the beginning of the article, I would like to tell you, why you cannot just throw a battery in a garbage bin. Perhaps, you already heard about it, I just want to give you some more information.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 50 percent of all contamination material of domestic household waste was owed by consumer batteries which contain mercury, cadmium, magnesium, lead, tin metal, nickel, zinc.

So, if you just throw a battery to a bin, all of these hazardous substances end up in the city dump. Unfortunately, city dumps don’t have special filtering system from contaminants and heavy metals. It means that all hazardous substances get to groundwater aquifers.

Just think about it, all of these contaminants can be consumed by you. Meanwhile, even the small amount of these substances can cause serious harm to your body. For example, cadmium can actually cause cancer.

That’s why, my friend, you should think twice before just dumping batteries.

Scope of application and types of consumer batteries

There are many types of consumer batteries used depending on the application. Each battery type has unique properties, which require unique safety measures and recycling processes. You can find a short review of the most common types sorted by size in the table below.

Type of batteriesSizeCapacity (mAH)Application
Cylindrical

There are rechargeable and non-rechargeable types, specified on the battery

cylindrical-batteries

½AA 850-1200Used in small electronics, pulse oximeters, some computer models as the CMOS battery. Also used in US military MILES gear and DAGR.
AAAA 625Used in pen flashlights, laser pointers, powered styluses, calculators, fishing lures, or electronic glucose meters.
AAA 800-1200Used in small electronic devices, such as TV remote controls, MP3 players and digital cameras.
AA 600-3000Most common type, widely used in portable electronic devices.
AUsed in older laptop batteries and hobby battery packs.
B 8350 (alkaline)Mostly used for military purpose
C 4500-8000Used in medium-drain applications such as toys and musical instruments.
Sub-C 1200-5000 Commonly used for building and rebuilding drill packs and radio controlled battery packs.
D 2000-12000Used in high current drain applications, such as in large flashlights, radio receivers and transmitters, boomboxes, products with electric motors, safety systems, Geiger counters, megaphones.
Rectangular 

Usually non-rechargeable

rectangular-batteries

4.5-volt 1200-6100Used primarily in flashlights or lanterns/
9-volt or E 120-580Used in walkie talkies, clocks and smoke detectors.
6-volt Lantern (Spring) 10500-26000Used primarily in spring terminals.
Lantern (Screw) 10500-26000Used in locations susceptible to high vibration/shock
Lantern (Big) 22000-52000Used in locations susceptible to high vibration/shock
J 625Used in such devices as a blood glucose meter or blood pressure cuff.
Camera

Rechargeable

camera-batteries

CR123A 700-1500 Used in flashlights.
CR2 600-800 Used in flashlights.
2CR5 1500 Used in cameras and photographic equipment.
CR-P2 1500 Used in cameras and flashlights.
Button cells

Non-rechargeable

button-batteries

CR927 30 Used extensively in blinkies, some LEGO toys.
CR1025 30Used in watches, computers, calculators, IC cards, electric keys and other electric products.
CR1220 35-40Used in keychain LED flashlights, sometimes in electronic tea lights
CR1225 50 Used in watches, computers, calculators, and other electric products.
Cylindrical lithium-ion

Rechargeable

cylindrical-rechargable-batteries

 

10180 90Used in tiny flashlights
14430 400Used in solar garden lights, rechargeable shavers
10440 340Used in small electronic devices, such as TV remote controls, MP3 players and digital cameras.
18650 1500-3500Used in many laptop computer batteries, the Tesla Model S, electronic cigarettes and LED flashlights.
18350 700-1200 Widely used in e-cigarettes

Battery replacement time and how to determine if it has charge left

A lifespan of any battery is limited due to several reasons. The main reasons are limited lifespan of internal physical and chemical reaction, and damage of active components they are made of. A battery service life depends on its type. The shelf life of zinc-carbon batteries does not exceed 3 years, after that only 60-70% of charge remains. Alkaline batteries can be stored up to 5 years. Lithium-ion batteries have the longest keeping time and can be stored up to 10-12 years.

Normally, the lifespan of a rechargeable battery is 500-1200 cycles of charging.

So, in order to be sure that you used all the charge of a battery, you need to know how to check if it has charge left. There is one very simple operation you have to do. All you need is to drop a battery and look how it bounces. A good battery bounces just a little. If you drop a dead battery it bounces significantly higher that a good one, as you can see on this video:

The reason lies in battery’s electrolyte, the dead battery’s electrolyte is dense, so the whole battery is harder. That is why you can see that it bounces quite high.

How to use a battery charger properly

Now when you know that there are rechargeable and no-rechargeable batteries, you can choose what type works better for you. We would like to share some tips with you regarding proper use of a charger.

#1 Get an appropriate charger

The first rule you should know is never use inappropriate charger for batteries, because it can lead to the battery or charger damage. Most often, rechargeable batteries are charged in an A/C adapter, which you can plug into a basic home outlet. This charger should be compatible with the size of your battery (from AAA to D).

#2 Use only the appropriate batteries in the charger.

The same rule works vice versa. Some batteries were not produced to be charged in a charger, so don’t try to charge them in such devices, it can lead to exposure of the battery, and leak of the hazardous substance.

#3 Mind the indicators on a charger

Most of the chargers have indicators on its housing. Power indicator lights should come on automatically when you plug them, also other indicator lights let you know when charging is finished. Be careful, don’t overcharge you batteries and don’t leave the charger on for a long time.

#4 Insert batteries properly

Put the positive (+) ends into contact with the charger’s positive terminals and likewise with the negative (-) ends. This is very important because improper installation can be a reason of the damage.

Watch more about battery recondition business in the video:How to make money on reconditioning almost any batteries

How to recondition a battery

You already know that some batteries can be charged in a special charger, and other batteries don’t have this option. But there is also a room for some lifehacks. Here, I’d like to tell you how to easily recondition a non-rechargeable battery

For reconditioning you need:

– Awl or sharp nail;
– Syringe;
– Distilled water;
– Clay or resin.

Before starting reconditioning, you need to know that not every item is suitable for it. The voltage level of a battery should not be lower the significant value, (for AA battery of 1.5 V, this value is 0.7-0.8 V).

So, just follow the instructions:

Step 1

Use an awl to make two holes along the central rode in the middle of the battery. The hole depth should not exceed ¾ of the battery length.

Step 2

Using a syringe, inject few drops of water (preferably distilled) through one of the holes. The second opening is needed to let the air out. As soon as you see the water in the second hole, remove the syringe. After “refueling” the battery, seal the hole with clay or hot resin.

From this moment you can continue using the battery.

If this option didn’t work for you, consider the other way (requires alkaline acid).

Step 1

Take an awl and remove the back of the battery. Remove the metallic rod.

Step 2

Using a syringe, put few drops of alkaline acid into the battery cavity and then insert the rod immediately.

Step 3

Heat the battery for a minute, then cool it down fast, then warm it again a bit.

From now on, you can continue using your reconditioned battery.

Kit for reconditioning a consumer battery

  1. Awl or sharp nail;
  2. Syringe;
  3. Distilled water;
  4. Clay or resin.

Tips for using batteries, how to contaminate the environment less

Every person should try to preserve our planet and contribute to the work of environmental organizations. We prepared some tips for you which can help to contaminate the environment less using batteries.

  1. Use rechargeable batteries: it is better for your wallet and the environment.
  2. Buy batteries labeled “mercury-free” and “without cadmium.”
  3. Never dispose batteries with other trash! Use special containers in collection stations.
  4. Contact a local environmental organization to install a container for used batteries in your work or university.

Follow the following easy rules to extend the life of batteries:

• Always insert a battery in the device correctly “terminal-to-terminal”;
• Do not use batteries of different manufacturers in a device;
• Do not keep the batteries under the direct sunlight.

Remember, we have only one planet to live in! Please, be reasonable!

What you can do right now:

  • Bookmark this page in your social networks, so you can easily get back to it.
  • Read our detailed instructions on reconditioning almost any batteries.
  • Create your own expert kit to service batteries.

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