Electric batteries have been into great use ever since they were invented, electric batteries are also known as voltaic cells named after the inventor Alessandro Volta.
Electric batteries are one of the most crucial elements of one’s day-to-day life. From pendulum clocks to television remotes and solar panels – all of them rely on electric batteries as the power source.
Even though, everyone’s educated about the functioning of a battery and the different brands manufacturing it. The majority of us are still unaware of the term ‘reconditioned batteries’ and the type of positive impact it has.
What is Battery Reconditioning
To understand the real significance of ‘reconditioned batteries’ one has to dig deeper into the science behind electric batteries and its functioning.
So, what are electric batteries? Electric batteries are energy sources that are capable of storing electric energy in the form of chemical energy that produces electricity.
Antoine Allanore who is a postdoctoral associate at MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering explains it very well in his statement that – one cannot catch and store electricity, but one can store electrical energy in the chemicals present inside an electric battery.
A voltaic cell comprises of three major components: two separate terminals specifically made of metals, the cathode, and the anode and the electrolyte.
The electrolyte is responsible for the flow of chemical energy between the two terminals. So, when a device is connected to a voltaic cell chemical reactions occur in the electrolyte that facilitates the flow of electrical energy to the device.
Now, every electrical battery that is manufactured comes with a certain power threshold and a lifespan, after the lifespan the battery is no more capable of producing the same electrical energy.
Most of us just throw the dead batteries straight to the dustbin, whereas you’ll be surprised to know that dead batteries can be brought back to life and usefulness again.
Dead batteries can be replenished back to their former state again, as nearly as 90 per cent as same as when they were new. It’s obvious, one cannot use one battery for a lifetime, even after multiple restorations the battery will eventually die.
What most of us do is dump the dead electric batteries in the trash, which is not only hazardous but also keeps one away from the benefits that ‘reconditioned batteries’ provide.
What is Battery Regeneration?
Battery regeneration is one of those concepts that has stayed in the shadows of unawareness. People hardly know about it and have a misconception that it’s a tedious process and require a technical skillset.
Battery regeneration is an easy process and as easy as setting up electrical batteries in a television remote control. One just has to understand what is battery regeneration?
When a voltaic cell is completely degenerated, there is a crystalline layer of lead sulphate that accumulates on the surface of electrodes and the electrolyte transforms from a chemical solution to distilled water.
When a battery is regenerated, high-powered electrical pulses flow through the electrodes to break down the layer of lead sulphate accumulated. This ends up in the lead sulphate convert into sulphuric acid and the plates are reconstituted.
Well, now since you’re aware of ‘reconditioned batteries’ and how they work, let’s go ahead discover about the ten things you didn’t know about reconditioned batteries.
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Reconditioned Batteries
Reconditioning Battery is Easy
The process of reconditioning batteries is pretty simple. Although, there are different types of batteries that need to be treated with different regeneration techniques. Many of us just have preconceived notions about reconditioned batteries.
Depending on the type of the battery, the time that batteries take to regenerate varies – some take a longer time, but some recharge in less than an hour. The best example is the lithium-ion batteries present in smartphones.
There are some heavy-duty batteries that may require one to have the know the process of soldering and basic knowledge of electronics. But that shouldn’t keep one from reconditioning batteries.
Majority of batteries that we use in our day-to-day life doesn’t require soldering and other electronic processes and is least complicated.
Types of Reconditioned Batteries
- Lithium-ion Batteries: Lithium-ion batteries are the most popular form of rechargeable batteries present in all smartphones, which can be regenerated multiple times without the threat of wearing out permanently.
- NiCad Batteries: NiCab ‘nickel-cadmium’ batteries are the ones which are widely in use for the electronic tools which constitutes of series connections. They come in all sizes from triple-A to large D-size. Although, due to recharging them multiple times they go through ‘voltage depression’.
- NiMH Batteries: NiMH ‘nickel-metal hydride’ rechargeable batteries are merely an advanced version of NiCad batteries. Being available in all sizes, they are better in performance in comparison to NiCad batteries. Multiple recharges may have similar effects on these batteries, but not as severe as one experiences in NiCad batteries.
- Lead Acid Car Batteries: These batteries are used in the railway and automobile industry massively for storing electricity. These batteries are used in case of emergency power supply for automobile and other heavy-duty equipment. Although, a completely different methodology is used in regenerating these batteries.
- AGM and Gel Type Batteries: AGM ‘absorbed glass mat’ batteries have a specially designed glass mat in the electrolyte which acts as the flow medium between the two electrodes. The issue with AGM batteries is that if the battery is broken – there is no free liquid available for leak-out. Whereas, Gel type batteries are the ones that have silica material suspended in the electrolyte so that there is no possible leak-out in case the battery is broken.
Basic Tools Required For Reconditioning
Well, reconditioning batteries are always a task and there are some basic tools that are required in order to execute the regeneration process successfully. Ahead is the list of tools that one must-have.
- Rubber Gloves (in case of battery’s acid leakage)
- Safety Glasses (a crucial tool)
- Screwdriver (depending on the battery’s casing)
- Voltmeter (to check voltage and memory effect)
- Battery Regenerator (depending on the type of battery to be reconditioned)
- Spare Cable (any spare cable can be used in order to impart voltage boost in the battery)
- Distilled Water and Epsom’s Salt (for making personalized electrolyte)
- Toothbrush, Steel Wool, Sandpaper.
These are some of the basic equipment required for reconditioning basic batteries but in case of lead-acid batteries and other such batteries that are used in the automobile industry and other manufacturing industries advanced tools are required. Tools which are used by engineers to facilitate battery reconditioning.
Battery Reconditioning Methods
This is one of the most important aspect anyone should know, as there isn’t one method to recondition batteries. The method depends on the type of battery that has to be reconditioned. Depending on the size, the voltage, the age and other electrical factors. Batteries usually stop working when there is a layer of crystalline material accumulated on the surface of the electrodes.
Most of the methods depend upon the removal of that crystalline layer. Many times due to age the batteries undergo corrosion and voltage depression – so even after recharging them multiple times, it won’t work anymore.
Ahead are some of the battery reconditioning methods that you should know about.
- Electrolyte Replacement: when a battery has completely discharged the oxygen from the electrodes mix with the electrolyte to form ‘distilled water’. After this point, electrical energy can no longer be stored in the form of chemical energy. Replacing electrolyte rejuvenates the battery and makes it completely new to use.
- Deep Cycle Charging: only batteries which are of a similar nature undergo this process – here the deep-cycle batteries require a recharging volt of 2.3 – 2.4 units per cell. To fully recondition the battery voltage needs to be applied until the charging current taper to approximately 3 per cent.
- Battery Regenerators: this is one of the best methods and the most reliable method to rejuvenate batteries that are recurring – that we witness in our daily lives. Battery regenerators simply pass pulses of electric current that breaks the layer of ‘lead-sulphate’ collected on electrodes.
Know When To Recondition Batteries
Well, even though reconditioning is always an option – but one must know when to actually recondition a battery and when to not. All you have to do is read the signs of the battery properly. From small appliances to automobiles – batteries are used in all of them. With our television remotes, we always face an issue of the channels not changing appropriately or the need to press the buttons multiple times to change channels. Such signs show that battery needs reconditioning and shouldn’t be waited until the battery to be dead to regenerate it.
The lead-acid batteries used in cars, many times due to the 12-volt battery being discharged the car takes multiple ignitions and one must understand that the car battery needs to be reconditioned.
When You Shouldn’t Recondition
More so than one needs to know when to recondition batteries, they need to know when not to recondition batteries, given below are some important points to keep in mind before going to for the reconditioning process.
- Do not indulge in battery reconditioning if you do not have all the safety tools to carry out the process. Even though unprotected measures may have minor repercussions, but still the damage that may incur can be major.
- If the battery is completely discharged and shows signs of swelling, breakage or leakage the best way is to efficiently dispose of. Such batteries don’t qualify for reconditioning as they aren’t manufactured that well.
- Remember, a single battery won’t last until eternity after reconditioning. So, after charging them for maximum 4 times, it’s best to dispose them of. Recharging a battery multiple times only has depreciating effects.
The Lifespan of Reconditioned Batteries
The lifespan of reconditioned batteries is a varied concept, it varies from battery to battery. A basic air-conditioner pencil-type battery doesn’t last as long as lead-acid battery of an automobile does.
Car batteries have the capability to come back to life for another twelve months after being regenerated, all one has to do the replace the distilled water accumulated in the car battery with Epsom’s salt. In the similar way, you can recondition it for another 3 – 4 times and use them for a period of 3 – 4 years.
Similarly, a basic pencil-type battery operates well for two months. One can recharge them with battery regenerates 3 more times and use it for a period of eight months.
Cost-Efficiency of Reconditioned Batteries
It’s pretty obvious that concepts like recycling and re-using have been in favour of everybody’s yearly budget. It’s always better to re-use a battery, it saves your money. Depending on your lifestyle, battery expenses can incur a much significant cost than you think it does. So, choose to recondition – as it is easy and hassle-free.
Opt For Reconditioned Batteries
Opt for reconditioned batteries because usually, people don’t. We assume of batteries as another insignificant entity. We think of it only when it’s dead and we replace them. Batteries can be reconditioned saving your money, especially saving the environment – as the chemicals and the materials batteries are made of are hazardous for the environment.
Batteries are majorly hazardous to the environment as it contains lead, zinc, mercury, lithium and nickel. When the batteries are thrown in the environment, they start corroding which leads to chemicals leaching out and seeping into the environment. These chemicals enter deep and mix with the groundwater, which also leads them to mix with rivers and seas. The batteries that we throw only backfires. Reconditioning batteries ensures that a battery is completely used and are disposed of in a way that is less hazardous to the environment.
People are the least aware of the various array of benefits that reconditioning batteries have. Batteries are an integral part of every industry from manufacturing to production to instrumental to construction and importantly automobile. Being a hundred per cent aware of reconditioned batteries is the best way to utilize electrical batteries sustainably.