An easy, step-by-step guide for beginners
Hello guys! Thanks for visiting our place. Today we are going to share with you some of our ideas on battery reconditioning. Most people think reconditioning old and dead batteries is highly technical and complicated.
Well, it is not that difficult to follow, and the battery reconditioning method we’re going to share is practical and straightforward. There are several types of cells that we can recondition, but today we are going to show you how to recondition any dead batteries at home.
There are a few benefits that we can enjoy when we recondition a dead battery. One, we can save a few bucks from buying a new one. Second, we can help mother nature by reducing its pollutants.
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Just read through the whole article to know more so that you’d know how to recondition batteries at home. Let’s get started…
What is Battery Reconditioning
Battery reconditioning means bringing back the healthy life of a battery, that is, full charging capacity and standard electrolyte level. This is important because whether you have a regular car or a luxury type, low charge, and acid stratification are the typical concerns among owners.
Every time a battery discharges, lead sulfate crystals are formed around its plates. The massive buildup of these crystals affects the charging and discharging capacity of your battery.
Some of the batteries which can be reconditioned include AGM, 12v car battery, gel batteries, golf cart battery, lithium-ion batteries, prius battery, NiCad, and NiMH rechargeable batteries.
Having practical knowledge of reconditioning batteries is excellent so that you’d be able to keep your battery at optimal performance.
Who Benefits From Reconditioning Dead Batteries
Knowing how do you recondition a dead battery is practically beneficial to the owner and the environment.
For the car owner, gaining that knowledge and skill would save you a few bucks and the hassle it brings when the battery dies, and you are in the middle of nowhere.
Aside from that, for those who want to have a few incomes. You can practically charge a few bucks from people who wish to their battery reconditioned. Perhaps, you can recondition some of your old and dead cells in the garage and resell it for a reasonable price.
Moreover, the environment also benefits from battery reconditioning as a lesser amount of lead-acid solution is disposed of in the surrounding. These chemicals, when not cured before disposal, can pollute the soil and groundwater, which causes several health consequences.
Safety Tips for Battery Reconditioning
When reconditioning batteries, safety measures must be kept in mind to avoid accidents along the way. Be reminded that the electrolyte inside a lead acid battery is corrosive and harmful when in contact with skin, eyes, and garments.
These are some of our tips you can follow to maintain safety during battery reconditioning:
We highly emphasize prevention over cure. Be careful in preparing and transferring electrolyte solutions to your battery.
How to Recondition Batteries
Are you still there? Now, we are here for the meat of the article on how to recondition old batteries. Just read through the whole process, and in no time you would grasp the entire concept.
So, here are the necessary things you will need for the entire procedure.
- Distilled water
- Baking soda
- Epsom salt
- Screwdriver (flat head)
- Disposable rubber gloves
- Battery Reconditioning Charger
STEP 1 Prepping the Battery
Before you prepare your battery, make sure you are wearing your safety gear: goggles, rubber gloves, and apron. Likewise, ensure you are working in a well-ventilated area which is also near to a water source in case you would have spills or splashes on your skin or clothes.
In preparing your battery for reconditioning, make sure its terminals are clean and free from corrosion or any salt buildup. The battery must be removed or detached during the whole reconditioning process.
You can prepare a DIY baking soda solution for cleaning some corrosion in the battery terminals. The ratio for baking soda and water can be either 1:1 or 2:1. The corrosion or salt buildup in the terminals is slightly acidic, and so this basic cleaning solution can help in the removal and neutralization.
Mix baking soda and water in a container until you reach a gritty or paste-like textured solution. After, take a clean or used toothbrush and dip it in the solution and then rub it on the battery terminals.
Meanwhile, for heavy corrosion on the terminals, we recommend the use of a steel brush, steel wool, or a fine sandpaper grit. The extra abrasive texture will provide better scraping performance in removing corrosion.
STEP 2 Check Voltage Level of Your Battery
After the prepping, you need to check the voltage level of your battery if it is in good condition or not. It would be best if you had a reliable voltmeter in doing this one which can be readily bought in electronic shops.
The voltmeter has two wires with one metal clip at both ends for each cable. One wire is color black for the negative terminal, and the other wire is red in color for the positive terminal.
Connect the clip of the red wire to the positive terminal of the battery and the black coil to the negative terminal. If it’s a car battery an indicator to know if your battery is already in good condition and fully charged is the reading must be 12.6 volts and above. When the battery is inside the car, and the engine starts, the reading must be between 13.7V to 14.7V.
If the voltmeter reading is below 12.4V, then your battery needs reconditioning. Write down the details of your voltage reading for reference.
STEP 3 Remove the Old Electrolyte Solution and Wash Battery Plates
Before doing this, you need to have your bucket ready for receiving the old electrolyte solution and some weak baking soda solution to neutralize some spills while emptying the battery.
Take your flat head screwdriver and remove the battery caps. After, secure your battery caps in one container and slowly lift the battery and pour out the old electrolyte solution into the bucket. For any spills, pour a substantial amount of the baking soda solution on the affected area to neutralize it.
To neutralize the battery acid solution inside the bucket, you can add 1/2 pound of baking soda powder into the bucket. Another option is to make a 3:1 baking soda and water solution to pour into the bucket for neutralization of the acid. Once neutralized, do not dispose of this yet.
For cleaning the battery plates inside, prepare a baking soda and water solution with a ratio of 1:1 or 2:1. After making the baking soda solution, fill each battery cell to the full level, and close it back with the battery caps. Lift the battery and do some shaking for like 30 seconds to 1 minute, then you can let it sit for another 1 minute to allow some reactions to happen. After, open the caps, empty the battery and pour the baking soda solution into the same bucket.
Check the bucket for a neutral pH level between 6.8 to 7.2 before disposal. You can contact Earth911 for further details on the proper disposal of battery acid solution.
STEP 4 Bring it Back To Life: Reconditioning Batteries
The next step is to replenish the electrolyte solution in your battery. For this, you can use Epsom salt and distilled water to create a new battery solution.
The concentration of Epsom salt solution must be around 1molar. This is created by dissolving 120 grams salt in 1 liter of distilled water. You can slightly warm the water to ensure all salts are dissolved.
After preparing the salt solution, fill each battery cell to the full level and return, and cover the cap. Once all battery cells are filled, your battery is now ready for recharging.
STEP 5 Charge the Refilled Battery
Grab your battery charger and connect the red wire to the positive terminal of the battery and the black to its negative terminal. Place the charging condition in slow mode 2 Amps for 12V and let it sit for 24 to 36 hours.
Detach the charger from the battery after 24 to 36 hours. Then measure the voltage of the battery. If it measures 12.4V to 12.6V, then your battery is in excellent condition already.
STEP 6 Subject it to Load Testing
You can do this using a battery load tester which you can buy in any hardware shops. To pass the load test, the reconditioned battery must sustain 9.6V for 15 seconds tested at half the CCA rating.
CCA rating refers to the Cold Cranking Amps delivered by a 12V car battery at zero degrees Fahrenheit and a minimum of 7.2V for 30 seconds. The higher the CCA rating of the battery, the better its performance.
Your battery must have a higher CCA rating as it degrades through time and to cope during cold seasons. It is easier for your engine to start in warmer temperatures but to have a higher CCA rating gives it more advantage during low-temperature conditions.
If your reconditioned battery failed the first load test, you need to discharge it and recharge it back. Then do the load test again to check its CCA rating.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Now, we are done sharing our thoughts on how to recondition old batteries. However, there are other things we were not yet able to cover for this article. Nevertheless, we have some FAQs below where you can find some of your unanswered questions.
How long is the lifespan of a reconditioned battery?
The lifespan much depends on what type of battery you were reconditioning. On average, reconditioned batteries can have a lifespan of 1 year.
What are your estimated savings from battery reconditioning?
When you buy a new battery, the cost can range between $75 to $100. Meanwhile, if you know how to recondition dead batteries, you can save around 25 to 50 percent of the retail cost.
Can you pour vinegar into your battery to refill the lost electrolytes?
Never add vinegar to the electrolyte solution inside your battery as the sulfuric acid and acetic acid will react and form lead acetate in the terminals. Instead, add a little distilled water to fill up the lost electrolytes.
How long can a battery sit without being used?
On average, an unused battery can stay in good condition for about three to four years. However, this condition will also speed up battery degradation, particularly when exposed to extremely warm or cold conditions.
When is it not advisable to recondition your batteries?
There are three factors that can tell you if it is not good to recondition your batteries.
- If you have already reconditioned your battery three times, for each reconditioning, you do not fully restore the whole performance of the battery. Likewise, it degrades in every reconditioning process, so you do not expect the same condition as the brand new ones.
- If the battery incurs excellent damage, then it is no longer suitable for reconditioning as it may worsen.
- If you do not have the right materials, then do not push through in reconditioning batteries at home. This might put you and your battery in a risky situation.
Are there other methods of battery reconditioning?
Yes, there are other methods you can apply for reconditioning batteries. The way you can use will also depend on the type and size of battery you have.
Likewise, some batteries have a “memory effect” on their capacity. Frequently, this happens when you overcharge or immediately charge a battery even if it is not yet below the stated level, opt for charging.
Below are some of the other methods:
- Deep Cycle Charging
- Replacement of Electrolyte solution
- Replacement of Battery Cell
Great for you were able to finish the whole article about battery reconditioning methods. If you want to know more about reconditioning batteries of all sorts, you can visit EZ Battery Reconditioning. They offer flexible and versatile courses that you can apply and later do for business.
Their course package includes a manual with pictures and a step-by-step guide to teach you everything about the topic. They also have some pdf files on how to recondition batteries at home. Likewise, their teacher is available for questions and concerns.
Well, now you have gained some insights on battery reconditioning. If you like, you can experiment and try doing this at home and give me some feedback about it. If you have any clarifications or comments, we have the comment section below at your disposal. I will read through your comments and questions do my best to answer all of your inquiries. You can also share this with your families and friends who are having trouble with their batteries.
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3 thoughts on “Battery Reconditioning”
Whats the ratio between epsom salt and acid solution may I know? Well if there was that much different in the voltage before -after it just might start a car.
It’s a back breaker, fumes, spills, recycling of waste. But it does work:)