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Whats the best way to store batteries between use?

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  • Whats the best way to store batteries between use?


    Just picked up a RIDGID kit and want to make sure it lasts as long as possible and I take care of it right. Whats the best way of storing batteries while they aren't being used? I use the kit at least once a month.

    Should they stay on the charger, off the charger. Should they stay on the charger and plugged in, or on the charger and not plugged in. should they stay plugged into a tool or just sit free in the bag?

    Any advice is appreciated.


  • #2
    Re: Whats the best way to store batteries between use?

    Depends if they're NiCD or lithium ion batteries. Store both in a cool place and never let the charge deplete during storage. It will degrade or ruin them if they are let to discharge completely.

    NiCD looses its charge very quickly on its own. About 20% the first 24 hours and 1% every following 24 hours. Pop them in the charger every 2 weeks or so at least. As far as leaving them on the charger, it's normally safe since most modern smart chargers detect charge level and prevent overcharging. If you leave them on the charger and plugged in they fall into a trickle charge mode which basically charges it very slowly to keep them topped off for quick use. It's also good to leave them on the charger overnight every now and then trickle charging as a maintenance prodedure. Helps balance out and fully charge all cells. While there's no risk to just leaving the battery indefinately on the charger to keep it topped off for immediate use it's not recommended. The continuos charge keeps the battery hot and heat is eventually what degrades batteries. It's also a small waste of energy.

    Lithium Ion holds its charge for well over a year so maintenance is not a big deal as long as you don't store them dried out. You don't necessarily need to top them off before long term storage. Lithium ion actually degrades much less if stored at around 40% charge during extended periods. Don't worry too much about that though as its impractical and impossible to stick to that. Just store them with a reasonable amount of juice if not fully charged. Charging is all computer controlled so no maintenance like tricke charging or cell balancing is required. If you leave it on the charger it will optimally charge the battery and should just cut off as soon as it's done and not restart until there's a sufficient drop in power to reach the recharge threshold.


    • #3
      Re: Whats the best way to store batteries between use?

      It might be just me, but it seems that every time I go to grab a battery that has been stored in the charger, sometime after it has been charged, it is almost dead, while the battery that was charged with it is still in the drill, still has some power...dunno..but I always take mine out of the charger once charged.


      • #4
        Re: Whats the best way to store batteries between use?

        What model charger do you have? It really depends on the brand/model and features.


        • #5
          Re: Whats the best way to store batteries between use?

          Always remove the batteries from the charger. Doesn't matter what kind they are or what the manufacturer recommends. Obviously if you are a porofessional using the batteries every day, that is a different situation. I am assuming an occasional user.

          If you have NiCd batteries storing them on the charger will slowly degrade them due to heat from the charger, and the potential for overcharging, if the trickle charge is more than the natural loss of the battery. Surprisingly, cold conditions are more prone to damage a battery this way. Nicd batteries will retain their charge easily for 3 months. I have a set for a tool I rarely use, and just put them on the charger every 6 months. They charge up fine, and I check their decay rate for the first week to ensure they are OK, and they are still as good as new (they are 5 years old now). Unless you really need to rely on a fully charged battery every time you pull out the drill, there is no problem leaving them 3 months between charges. Even at 3 months, you will still have plenty of power to do most 'little' jobs. With a 30 minute charge time, the second battery would be ready before the first ran down. Charging too frequently will reduce the life of the battery.

          Occasionally leaving the battery on the charger overnight is OK. Supposed to be good for conditioning a battery and 'leveling' the charge between cells. I've not noticed any benefit with this.

          Keep them as cool as practical, don't leave in a hot car. Some folks store them in a fridge, I think that is extreme, but it will reduce power loss. The cooler the battery, the less power is lost over time. This loss is recoverable with charging.

          Li batteries can be stored for long periods without noticeable loss of charge. However, if stored fully charged, their capacity (amperage) will permanently reduce quicker than if stored in a low charge condition. Also heat is the enemy of Li batteries.

          No conditioning of Li batteries is needed. I recommend removing them from chargers. If everything works OK, there would be no problem, but if the charger gets a faulty circuit and slowly overcharges the battery, it can heat heat up, boil, and explode. If charging does continue unabated, the internal temperature rises high enough to ignite anything it comes in contact with if the battery explodes (a couple of thousand degrees).