Nickel-cadmium, or nicad batteries, are still common, although they are quickly being replaced by lithium-ion ones. However, chances are you have a battery-powered appliance or tool that uses nicad batteries, and some of the rechargeable AA and AAA batteries in your solar lights or flashlights may be nicads.
The biggest problem with nicads -- especially the older ones -- is that they are subject to the memory effect, whereby the battery "" an unusually short charging cycle and no longer charges to its full capacity.
This typically happens when you put one on the charger before it has completely discharged or you leave it on the charger longer than necessary. This causes a build-up of crystal deposits on the negative terminal.
It''s safer to use a capacitor or a 12V battery charger instead.
What''ll need a car charger, two nails and a voltmeter.
This procedure is potentially dangerous and involves the possibility of explosion. Wear goggles and gloves for safety.
Check the battery voltage, then clamp a nail in each of the alligator clips of the charger, plug it in and set the charging current to 10 amps. Touch one nail to one of the battery terminals, then momentarily tap the other nail to the other terminal and remove it immediately. You''re done. Repeat the procedure if you don''ve reconditioned the battery, put it in the tool or appliance and discharge it completely. Once you have run it down, put it in the charger, leave it there until it''t have a smart battery charger that shuts off automatically when the battery is charged, be sure to remove the battery as soon as the LED on the charger turns green, indicating that it is fully charged.
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About the Author
Chris Deziel holds a Bachelor's degree in physics and a Master's degree in Humanities, He has taught science, math and English at the university level, both in his native Canada and in Japan. He began writing online in 2010, offering information in scientific, cultural and practical topics. His writing covers science, math and home improvement and design, as well as religion and the oriental healing arts.
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