Life is always a paradise when your portable devices have enough charge to keep them running throughout the day. That is, however, not meant to be the case forever. Your batteries will eventually wear out, leading to disappointments when the devices you use daily keep on running out of power. Even worse, is when you are unable to recharge your device’s battery, which means that you can’t use the electronic.
But since most of the devices we use each day are quite small, you may be wondering what types of batteries keeps them powered. Well, Nickel-Cadmium is the commonly used battery technology in almost every portable device. The reason why they are highly preferred is that they are cheap and are easy to store. They also come in varying sizes, which means that they can be used in large and small devices as well.
These batteries are, however, affected by ‘memory effect,’ a phenomenon that is commonly associated with rechargeable batteries.
So, what are NiCad batteries?
NiCad batteries are basically made of Nickel hydroxide and Cadmium which is suspended in a potassium hydroxide solution. These batteries produce a voltage of 1.2v for each cell before the charge in the battery is depleted completely.
For this reason, devices using NiCad batteries can be used for extended periods, without requiring a recharge. Also, the batteries also have a low internal resistance, which is why they charge quickly.
‘Memory effect’ in NiCad batteries
As mentioned above, the ‘memory effect’ problem is quite common in NiCad batteries. The effect causes your battery to discharge quicker than it did when new. If, for example, the battery has charged up to 60% in reality, the device being charged would display 100%, suggesting that the battery is fully charged. As such, the battery’s charge does not last long, compared to when it was new.
If you were thinking that overcharging can lead to such an issue as commonly experienced in phones, then you are right. The good thing is that you can overcome the effect by discharging the battery completely several times, before recharging it again. The discharge method, which is also referred to as an exercise, can be done once or more every 1-3 months, even though the process reduces your battery’s lifespan.
When to repair a NiCad battery
Nickel Cadmium batteries mostly need repair after showing signs of the memory effect. Your NiCad battery may also need repair after having high levels of self-discharge due to prolonged storage.
The process of reviving a dead NiCad battery
Due to the memory effect, overcharging, self-discharge, and high temperature, sulfur crystals form in the cells, and reach the terminals after some time, interfering with recharge. That does not mean that your battery is useless.
Reconditioning a NiCad battery can get it working as though it was new, which prolongs the life of your battery and saves you some bucks. Besides, the process is not as complicated as you might think, as the main goal is to pass a high voltage current through the battery to break the crystals.
The steps you should follow are as follows:
1. Get a camera capacitor, preferably from a camera that is not being used anymore.
2. Get a battery holder, some wires, and a switch, then connect the wires to from the cylinder to the battery holder and use a switch in the connection.
3. Insulate the wires if they are not well insulated, and also ensure that they are not touching anything that can conduct electricity, except at contact points.
4. Use an alkaline battery to charge the capacitor and then fit the NiCad battery into the battery holder you had installed earlier.
5. Press the switch until an LED light glows, and then wait to hear a sound. The sound should signify that the sulfur crystals are destroyed and that your battery is okay for use again.
There you go,
Reconditioning NiCad batteries is as simple as the steps listed above, and the good thing is that you can use the gadget you made to recondition batteries as required. Besides, the process is not complicated, and is inexpensive as the materials needed are easily available.
If you can’t access a flash camera capacitor, you’d have to buy a new capacitor, though that may not produce the desired results. Nevertheless, bringing your dead NiCad back to life is quite a simple process that can save you some bucks by prolonging your battery’s life.