If we look back in history – batteries were invented centuries back which in today’s world is one of the most important elements in various industries from the automobile industry to the manufacturing industry, it plays a major role.
The voltaic cell or electrical battery that we know today was invented in 1800 by Alessandro Volta. We cannot trap and store electricity, but we can store electrical energy in the form of chemical energy.
Ever since the 1800s, there have been many advancements and now different batteries serve different purposes as per the requirement.
Batteries such as lead-acid batteries and NiCad batteries are used in the automobile industry. Similarly, a basic pager-type cell is used in television remotes, alarm clocks, and air-conditioners controllers.
About Lithium-ion Batteries
Lithium-ion batteries are a part of discovery from a recent past. Lithium-ion batteries are majorly used in cellular devices and electric vehicles.
The inventors of the lithium-ion batteries won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry this year. They’re one of the most revolutionary forms of rechargeable batteries.
If you dig deeper into the construction of a lithium-ion battery – their negative electrode which is ‘cathode’ is made up of carbon and the positive terminal ‘anode’ is composed of a metal oxide.
Both the electrodes are suspended in an electrolyte which is made up of lithium salt, which is an organic solvent. Although, there are also various variations to their construction.
The negative terminal or the ‘cathode’ is also graphite in many lithium-ion batteries. Whereas, the positive terminal ‘anode’ is mostly one of the three: lithium cobalt oxide, lithium iron phosphate or lithium manganese oxide.
What Are Lithium-Ion Batteries?
The lithium-ion battery is the most in-demand due to the various array of benefits it provides. Lithium is one of the lightest metal available and has great electrochemical potential.
In the early days when the lithium-ion battery was being developed, the use of lithium metal in the anode showcased extraordinarily high energy densities, making it hazardous. There were also cases faced by ‘Samsung’ in their Note 7 series which were exploding due to unstable lithium-ion batteries.
If you see the growth of lithium-ion batteries commercially – in 1994 it cost $10 dollars to manufacture a lithium-ion battery in the 18650 cylindrical cells that delivered a capacity of 1000 mAh.
Ever since the capacity of lithium-ion batteries has been going high and the price has been dropping. In 2001, the price of manufacturing went down to $2 dollars and the battery capacity touched 1900 mAh.
There have been several advancements in the way lithium-ion batteries are used in portable devices. The capacity that 18650 cylindrical cells of lithium-ion deliver a capacity that’s minimum 3000 mAh.
In 2009 as per statistics 38 percent of batteries by revenue were lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries by their very nature are low maintenance batteries, that many other batteries couldn’t claim their names to.
Unlike NiCad batteries that are victims to ‘memory effect’ which is when the battery remembers a certain recharge cycle and doesn’t provide as much voltage after reconditioning. They go through a voltage depression. On the other hand, lithium-ion batteries don’t show any traces of ‘memory effect’ and can be recharged as many times.
Reconditioning Lithium-Ion Batteries
Not many of us are aware of the ‘reconditioning’ process of batteries, but knowing about will not only prove to save you a lot of money and hassle but also play a major role in saving the environment from the disposed of batteries.
In simple terms, reconditioning batteries mean bringing dead batteries back to life; making them almost as new to use. Reconditioning batteries gives the added advantage of extracting more lifespan out of the batteries.
Lithium-ion batteries in portable devices and provide a long lifespan and recharging option. But lithium-ion batteries that are used in electric vehicles and other devices discharge after one full cycle and require reconditioning.
How To Recondition Lithium-Ion Batteries?
To inform you beforehand, the ‘reconditioning’ process of any battery has to only be carried out if you have all the tools for it. In the case of lithium-ion batteries, the electrolyte is inflammable and requires more precautions. Given below is a list of tools that one would require to get started.
- Safety Glasses.
- Lithium-Ion Battery Charger.
- ‘USB’ Cable.
- A Power Source (maybe another battery).
- Crocodile Clips.
- Metal Nails.
If you have all these tools, lithium-ion battery reconditioning is an easy process and doesn’t require high-level technical skills.
- The first step is to connect the voltmeter with the battery and take a voltage reading for further references.
- Lithium-ion batteries have a feature called ‘sleep mode’ which activates if the battery reaches an absolute discharge. Which means, the battery was left in a particular device discharged for too long.
- Most of the lithium-ion battery comes with a voltage reading of 3.7 volts and if the voltage reading shows 1 volt as the reading that means the battery won’t accept any charge.
- In such cases, the battery can be brought back from the dead or you can say the ‘sleep mode’ can be disabled. You have to shock the battery with another ‘power source’.
- To do this, take another battery that’s rated the same as your lithium-ion battery and they have to be connected together.
- Here is when the crocodile clips come to use. Use wires and the crocodile clips to connect the dead battery and fresh battery from positive to negative to put them in a circuit. Now the battery needs to be left for 10 – 15 minutes, after which it will start accepting the recharge.
Step 1: Using The USB Cable
There is another way lithium-ion batteries can be reconditioned and would require spare USB cable as the end of the cable will be cut-off. Cut the smaller end of the cable, the part that goes into the device. Then carefully place the other end to your computer.
The cut-off end will be split into two separate thin wires. The red one amongst the two has to be touched with the positive terminal of the battery and the black one with the negative terminal. Place them there for 10 – 15 minutes.
Now check the voltage of the battery with a voltmeter, and keep the process on until there is a considerable improvement in the battery voltage.
Step 2: Give It a Complete Charge and Discharge
After the battery is ‘shocked’, you can now put the battery for a complete charge which will at most take 2 – 3 hours depending on the lithium-ion battery you have.
After the battery is fully charged, let it drain out naturally and completely to absolute zero percent. Once, a complete charge + discharge is carried out the battery is ready for the next step.
Step 3: Freeze The Discharged Lithium-ion Battery
In the final step, seal the lithium-ion battery in an air-tight bag and put it for freezing for the next twenty-four hours or maybe less. The next day, after removing the battery let it settle down to room temperature for the next 5 – 7 hours. After this, you can give the battery a complete charge and experience a considerable improvement in the performance.
One can use any of the methods to ‘recondition’ their lithium-ion battery as both of them are easy to do and the batteries become equally efficient as they were when new.