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Extending the life of batteries?

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  • Extending the life of batteries?

    Hi,

    I have 6 RIDGID power tool 18v batteries of which only 2 will currently take a charge.

    I bought these along with a mix from tool combos, 2 18v drills, a planner, a circular saw and a reciprocating saw.

    When I originally purchased this hodge podge from a friend 4 of the 6 batteries were working fine now only 2 of them are working.

    Does anyone know enough about these batteries to let me know if there is a way to get more life out of them?

    Can they be opened up and something done to them?

    Anyone's expertise on this would be greatly appreciated.

    I would love to get more use out of the batteries if it is possible.

    John

  • #2
    Re: Extending the life of batteries?

    One alternative would be to have someone like these guys rebuild yours for you.
    Teach your kids about taxes..........eat 30 percent of their ice cream.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Extending the life of batteries?

      You can ZAP them and some say it will help, I have not done this and I do not know how will it will work, USE AT YOUR OWN RISK!


      Web site describing the process,
      http://www.instructables.com/id/Revi...with-a-Welder/



      You tube demonstration of the process that is similar to the above information,
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzIlVLOH9XI

      now I have heard of this same basic idea being done with 2 or 3 12 volt car batteries, instead of a DC welder,

      I have an acquaintance that bought a bunch of stuff off of Ebay and all the batteries were gone and he payed $5 for the information from some on on Ebay and tried it and he said it worked is what my son in-law, who works with him from time to time said, he has not reported on how long term it is or was and if there still taking a charge,
      Last edited by BHD; 04-20-2009, 08:04 PM.
      Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
      attributed to Samuel Johnson
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

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      • #4
        Re: Extending the life of batteries?

        If you do try to ZAP (force charge) them you need a way to limit current if they do start conducting. One way would be to connect two 12 Volt automotive batteries in series and also connect a #5001 head lamp in series. That is everything gets connected in series. Give them a few seconds and see if the head lamp glows or lights up after a few seconds. If it does, then put the battery in the charger and see if it charges but if after about 15 seconds of ZAP nothing happens then give up. You can find places that will open the case and install new Ni-Cad cells for less $$$ than what a battery pack normally sells for. BatteriesPlus is a chain of stores and a web site. They normally do this for customers. I'm sure there are other battery dealers that rebuild battery packs. While it can be a DIY project, I can't recommend that most people attempt it. It has to be done with care, proper type of cells and normally a special spot welder is needed too.

        WARNING: Trying to force charge any battery without proper current limiting can and in too many cases results in KABOOM. Use care if you do attempt it.

        The right way is to use an adjustable DC power supply where you can set Voltage and current. Set the current limit to about 100 mili Amps and have an Ammeter inline. You'll need an electronics tech to help with such.

        Personally I strongly suggest letting a trained and equipped expert try anything. He/she will know about taking safety precautions. If any of the cells have been dead for a length of time, I doubt you could restore them anyway.

        Above all else take safety seriously. $1000 can't repair you, if you do end up with an exploding battery injury, but it can buy a good many new batteries and a new charger. Next think about pain and suffering.

        Last edited by Woussko; 04-21-2009, 12:12 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Extending the life of batteries?

          Originally posted by Johnz414 View Post
          Hi,

          I have 6 RIDGID power tool 18v batteries of which only 2 will currently take a charge.

          I bought these along with a mix from tool combos, 2 18v drills, a planner, a circular saw and a reciprocating saw.

          When I originally purchased this hodge podge from a friend 4 of the 6 batteries were working fine now only 2 of them are working.

          Does anyone know enough about these batteries to let me know if there is a way to get more life out of them?

          Can they be opened up and something done to them?

          Anyone's expertise on this would be greatly appreciated.

          I would love to get more use out of the batteries if it is possible.

          John
          Nickel cadmium batteries tend to be fairly temperamental. Regular maintenance is the only way to keep them in shape. They need to be excecized or cycled at least once or twice a month. They should be discharged normally but not to the point of running them flat dead. Keeping them continuosly topped off or on the charger alone will not slow their deterioration. Don't let them sit around to the point they fully discharge either. This can permanently ruin them.

          Once a battery has gone bad there really is no fix. The zapping method is at best a short term solution that also poses other dangers such as a fire or exploding batteries. When they go bad what happens is some or all cells in the pack go dead so the battery will not get full voltage and the remaining good cells will get overworked. Dead cells are unfortunately irreversible. This is usually caused by crystaline formations (dendrites) in the cell and there is no way to get them out. The zapping method basically shatters these crytals so the battery can work again briefly but they are still formed in the cell already so they will form back again very quickly. Either dispose of your dead batteries by sending them to be recycled or have them recelled. They can't be fixed. If you decide on recelling services check the prices. Every service I've seen ends up costing more than just getting a new pack.

          Another thing is never buy more batteries than what you can reasonably use. Having batteries sit around unused will deteriorate them.
          Last edited by Velosapien; 04-21-2009, 12:11 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Extending the life of batteries?

            LIKE I SAID USE AT YOUR OWN RISK,
            I DO NOT ENDORSE THE METHOD,
            ONLY THAT SOME SAY IT WORKS,

            I just provided the information, that most any one could have found on the web. with a simple search.
            Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
            attributed to Samuel Johnson
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Extending the life of batteries?

              First off, just try repeatedly putting them on the charger. It is possible that they have just discharged too low and the charger doesn't recognise them as batteries. When you place a battery on a charger it gives it a small charge while it is checking it. Only when it decides it has a battery does it go to fast charge.

              Use a voltmeter before you start to see what the battery registers. Then place the battery on the charger for 15 minutes. If it has not started charging, remove it, wait 10 minutes and then repeat. Do this 3 or 4 times and then check the battery voltage. If the voltage is going up, something is happening to it; keep going. do NOT check for battery life using a tool, you will just drain the small amount of new charge you have put in the battery.

              This is a safe way of reviving a battery. The other is 'zapping'. I don't know what damage it does to a battery. I have successfully used a fully charged 18 volt battery to revive an 18 volt battery. Two things to remember. 1) Connect +ve to +ve and -ve to -ve. 2) When you make the final connection, just tap it to make the circuit. Rapidly tap the two connections for no more than 5 seconds. If you connect too long you can damage both batteries from overheat, and worse, cause an explosion. Always keep the connection time low; you can always repeat the procedure. If you use a voltmeter you can check your progress. If you get the voltage to about 12 to 14 volts, the charger should work OK.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Extending the life of batteries?

                Thanks for saving me some typing time! I agree totally. I have also revived completely dead batteries by jumping them as you describe, using a welder is nuts. If the electronic chargers see 0 volts or in some cases (Craftsman) less than 6 V on an 18 V battery they will not charge. Jumping brings the residual battery voltage up enough to allow the charger to 'see' the battery and charge it

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Extending the life of batteries?

                  The open current on that type of welder is about 28 volts,
                  http://www.hobartwelders.com/product...ed/handler140/
                  25 volts,
                  http://www.sjdiscounttools.com/fir14440302.html
                  30 volts
                  http://www.cromwell.co.uk/KEN8801960K
                  Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                  "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
                  attributed to Samuel Johnson
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                  PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Extending the life of batteries?

                    The open voltage is not the concern it is the massive current capacity should you find a battery that is actually shorted. Good batteries have fuses to prevent them from catastrophic failure but some of the cheaper one (that tend to fail often) do not have this safety feature built into the battery.

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