Lithium-ion batteries are a popular choice for all sorts of electronic devices. They are compact, convenient, easy to use and relatively simple to recharge and reuse.
With demand rising and technology improving, prices have tended to come down, too. They have high power storage capacity and long usage hours. They can also go through many recharge cycles. But when your battery starts to fail, is reconditioning lithium-ion batteries a good choice?
Here are 7 ways you can get some more use out of your Lithium-ion battery by doing it yourself.
Equipment to have handy:
- Safety goggles
- A Lithium-ion battery charger
- A Lithium-ion battery of the same rating as the one being reconditioned
- A USB cable (optional), preferably one you don’t use any more
- A voltmeter
- Crocodile clips or some way of connecting the battery to another one, such as wires or paper clips
1. The “Dead” Battery
You may find that your battery seems to be dead and does not even accept recharging. This may mean that it’s discharged completely. It may also have gone into “sleep” mode after a period of heavy load without recharging.
Most Lithium-ion batteries are designed to do this. Don’t worry, the battery may still be reusable. First, check that the battery has no physical signs of damage and that the terminals are clean and dry.
2. Charging and Recharging
Sometimes, your Lithium Battery Power seems to be dead or close to being unusable. The first thing to do in such a case is to give it a partial recharge. Partial recharging of the battery can be done in many ways, but the easiest is to connect it to a healthy battery. Crocodile clips or a couple of wires can be used to do this.
Of course, the batteries’ ratings and capacity should be the same. First, measure the battery’s voltage with a voltmeter. If the battery has a rating of, say, 3.7 volts and shows a charge of 1 volt or less, that shows it can probably be reconditioned. Connect it to a healthy battery for 15 to 20 minutes. Check that you connect the positive terminal to the negative to complete the circuit.
Another option is to use a USB cable. This should be a cable that you don’t use anymore because you will have to cut off one end of it. Connect the red (positive) and black (negative) wires to the terminals on the battery. Connect the cable to a computer. Watch the battery for a few minutes and, after a while, you should note an improvement in the voltage.
Signs of overheating during this process could be a sign that the battery is no longer usable.
After that, the battery should be able to accept charging in the normal manner. Connect the battery to a Lithium-Ion battery charger and charge it to full capacity. When done, discharge the battery completely by connecting it to a device such as an LED torch. You could also use it in a device and keep switching it on till the battery cannot boot the device up anymore.
3. Freeze The Battery
Put the discharged battery in an airtight bag and put it in the freezer for 24 hours. Make sure the battery stays completely dry. This process serves to refresh the battery, very much like formatting a hard drive on a computer.
After the freezing time is over, thaw the battery for six to eight hours. Make sure it is at room temperature before moving on to the next step.
Using a normal charger, charge the battery to 100% capacity. This should take about 3 hours, depending on the type and size of battery you are reconditioning.
Using the voltmeter, check that the battery has charged to its full capacity before using. The battery should now function normally and accept several recharge cycles.
Check the voltage and condition of your battery constantly. If the battery is damaged, the voltage should be the first indicator that something is not right. Make sure your battery is charged constantly.
Placing a battery under heavy loads for extended periods affects the performance. This reduces the useful lifetime of the battery. Two or three hours charging a day will keep your battery in good condition and extend its working life.
Be careful about connecting the terminals on a battery. An incorrect connection could cause battery discharge or explosions and fire hazards. Batteries that tend to overheat should be disposed of. Wear safety goggles whenever handling a battery. Lithium-ion batteries are pressurized and the innards are flammable. Care should be taken in their handling and disposal.
Unless you are a qualified technician, please do not take the battery apart for any reason. This exposes materials that could cause harm to you and the environment.
As with all electrical equipment, every device has a working life. You may get lucky and manage to extend the period of use, but don’t push it. When time is up, it may be simpler to just replace it. Note, too, that research and development are moving apace.
You may find that there are cheaper and better alternatives. Please dispose of used batteries responsibly. But, should you think the battery may come in useful in the future, place it in a drawer by all means.
Reconditioning Lithium-Ion Batteries
Store all batteries at room temperature. Hot batteries are dangerous as they are likely to either explode or cause fire and other hazards. Remember, this is energy you’re dealing with; treat it with the respect it deserves and your life will be much safer. Batteries should be stored away from materials that conduct electricity.
Lithium-ion batteries are compact, but they pack quite a punch. This makes them popular for electronic device use. Observe caution should when handling them. Keep batteries dry at all times.
Separate them from other batteries and electronic devices they are not being used on. Consumers should know how to take care of things like this in all situations