As you probably already know rechargeable batteries do not last forever. Sometimes they just stop holding a useful charge. In fact most have a stated life expectancy, expressed as the number of charge cycles that they expected to undertake before replacement becomes necessary. However you can give rechargeable batteries a longer life if you follow these 5 steps next time one start to fail. Learning how to recondition NiCad batteries can save you money, and you help the environment too as you keep them out of landfill longer.
These kinds of cell have what is known as a memory effect. The unit remembers the point at which the charging usually starts in its cycle, and sets this as its zero charge point. This makes a large part of its capacity unusable for storage. There is nothing wrong with it, other than this false memory effect. The following process helps reset this, and enables the battery to use more of its charge holding potential.
Place the battery in it's charger, or the item it powers, and charge it to the maximum it currently holds.
2. Fully discharge.
Place the fully charged unit into your equipment, and switch it on. Then let the item run until it shuts down due to low power. Then turn it on again, this is important because often the battery will still have a residual charge. Keep repeating this until nothing happens.
When you have a fully flat power cell, place it in a zip lock bag. When closing the bag get as much air out of it a possible, this reduces the chance of condensation. Place your battery in the sealed zip lock bag into your freezer. Freeze for 24 hours.
This process will cool the electrolyte gel, and break up crystallization that occurs due to the memory effect. Once the 24 hours is over remove it from the freezer, and allow it to return naturally to room temperature.
Remove the battery from the bag and check it for leaks or damage. Also make sure it is dry and free of condensation. If there is any damage, or leakage, you must discard it and replace with a new one, but this is unlucky to happen.
All you have to do now is recharge the unit. You should see a great improvement. If for some reason it does not perform better, simply repeat the process.
This wont give them their original factory fresh capacity, but you should achieve 70% to 90% of this figure. This should make your battery usable again, and delay replacement. Plus you can repeat the process over and over again. Why not give rechargeable batteries a longer life by using this short procedure on how to reclaim NiCad batteries.