You’ve probably heard of how battery reconditioning can help you save money, and it’s good for the environment too, but does it work? Here’s everything you need to know about reconditioning old batteries and how you can do it yourself or with some professional help.
Ever since the electrical revolution took over, batteries have changed our lives for the better all over the world. From lighting remote villages in the deep jungles of Africa to powering the electric cars of the future, batteries are everywhere. Over the years, the technology behind how batteries work and how long they last, have evolved with scientific advancements. However, batteries are depletable resources, and require replacing every few years.
What is Battery Reconditioning?
Over time, standard batteries lose their charge holding capacity and are also physically damaged when not cared for. In the case of larger batteries, the technique of battery reconditioning claims to be a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution to repurposing old technology. Batteries used for inverters, laptops, and mobile batteries, are expensive to replace, and sometimes, even finding a replacement can be difficult.
Reconditioning batteries that are underperforming can very well save you the cost of replacing them. Albeit, replacing a battery is an optimal way of getting the most performance out of the device you’re using it with, and it usually requires you to just swap the old one out and put in a new one. However, most mobile and laptop batteries cannot be efficiently reconditioned, and the results will leave you wanting to buy a replacement instead.
Reconditioning Lead Acid Batteries Actually Works!
The basic definition of battery reconditioning is bringing it back to a healthy life cycle. In the case of car batteries, the technology used is lead-acid, and over time, the deposition of lead sulfate crystals around the plates is what affects its ability to charge up and hold it. By reconditioning a battery, you cannot expect it to go back to its original 100% charge capacity, but it can still significantly improve the battery cycle.
Here’s how you too can recondition a battery, with the correct equipment and safety gear at your disposal:
- While wearing safety gloves, disconnect the battery terminals and clean them off where some corrosion may have occurred.
- Using some baking soda and distilled water, you can brush the connectors to remove the excess dirt and corrosion.
- With the help of a voltmeter, check the reading of the battery, which should ideally be 12.6V.
- Open the battery caps and carefully pour out the battery acid into a bucket. Make sure you have protective gear on since the acid is corrosive.
- Once you have poured out the acid into the bucket, add half a pound of baking soda to neutralize it and dispose of the solution.
- In a clean and empty bucket, create a mixture of 250ml boiling distilled water and add Epsom salt to it.
- Add as much Epsom salt that the water can hold and stir it until the salt dissolves to create an electrolyte solution.
- Let the electrolyte solution cool and wait until the salt is dissolved and clear. Use a funnel to pour the solution into each cell of the battery until it reaches the max capacity.
- Begin reconditioning the battery by connecting the positive and negative terminals and slowly charging it.
- Make sure that you leave the plastic caps off to avoid spillage of the electrolyte solution due to overheating.
- After a day of charging, use a voltmeter to ensure that the battery charge is around 12.4V or higher.
- Now, feel free to put the caps back in and insert the battery back in its place to see if the battery life has actually increased.
After a successful cycle of battery reconditioning, you can perform it again after 12 – 18 months of use. Ideally, a battery can be reconditioned 2 – 3 times over its entire lifespan, but you need to dispose of it.
Simply put, yes – battery reconditioning does work, but it widely varies based on the type of battery, how old the battery is, and how well you follow the instructions to recondition it. In the case of a standard laptop and mobile batteries, replacing them is usually an easier option since mass manufacturing has made batteries fairly cheap. However, lead-acid batteries used in cars and inverters are expensive, which is why getting the most out of them while doing what’s best for the environment should compel you to recondition it.