Batteries: Priming, Reconditioning and Care

Whether you’re prepping for a global disaster or just want to save money on batteries, there is a lot of information out there about a lot of different kinds of batteries. I’m currently racing against a ticking battery life countdown right now as I type this. My laptop battery is having issues holding a charge which means it’s time to recondition it. I’ll try to get this done before I have to run in the bedroom and drag the cord out and plug it in. This battery probably could have been in better shape if I had taken proper care of it since I’ve had it, but since I’ve learned the steps to recondition the battery, I can do that and then ensure I treat it properly from now on.

Common Types Of Batteries:

Lithium Ion: these are going to be most common in small devices such as cell phones, tablets, laptops and cordless tools. The electrodes are lithium cobalt oxide and graphite with a solid lithium electrolyte.

Nickel-Metal Hydride: These are common in the form of small rechargeable versions of disposable batteries such as AA. The NiMH batteries use positive electrodes of nickel oxyhydroxides and the negative electrodes use a hydrogen-absorbing alloy.

Lead-Acid: These are going to be you car batteries and solar storage batteries. They are made up of plates of lead and separate plates of lead dioxide, which are submerged into an electrolyte solution of about 38% sulfuric acid and 62% water. This causes a chemical reaction that releases electrons, allowing them to flow through conductors to produce electricity.

 

battery-recyclingPriming:

Now there is some argument over whether or not Lithium Ion batteries need to be primed after initial purchase. The battery manufacturers seem to believe the Lithium Ion battery is perfect straight out of the box. The experts at batteryuniversity.com say people have reported capacity gains by priming the battery after long storage times. It’s up to you.

Nickel based batteries should be trickle charged for 24 hours when new and after long storage periods. The slow charge helps redistribute the electrolytes and bring the batteries to a full charge. Then you need to charge and then discharge the battery several times through normal use to get it up to maximum capacity.

Lead acid batteries are formatted at the factory and then it is advised not to give it a heavy duty use right away. You should gradually work up with moderate discharges over the first 50-100 cycles to build up it’s full capacity potential.

Reconditioning:

All types of batteries can be reconditioned. Deep cycle marine batteries, car batteries and even computer and cell phone batteries. It’s definitely worth it to learn how to recondition batteries if you use a lot of batteries. If you have a battery bank for a solar power system, you could save thousands of dollars by reconditioning batteries instead of buying new ones.

Each battery has a different method and you can find instruction online on how to recondition whatever type of battery you have. You can click here to see instructions on how to recondition a Lead Acid battery.

charge-levelStorage:

The method of storing a battery is going to depend on the type of battery.

Lead Acid: These batteries should be stored in a full charged state and be topped off from time to time to compensate for the self discharge of the cells. They should be stored in a cool area.

Nickel-Metal Hydride: These batteries can be stored in either a charge or discharged state. These should also be stored in a cool place and have a more rapid discharge rate than other batteries so they will definitely need to be charged before use.

Lithium Ion: These should be stored with a charge of around 30-40%. Again store in a cool place and check the charge level periodically to prevent over-discharge.

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