Rechargeable Batteries Can Be Easy Reconditioned
Rechargeable batteries (Ni-Cd batteries) can have the charge refreshed with a standard charger or the newer rapid chargers advertised today.
The rapid charger can shorten the life of a battery because they charge at full rate for a pre-determined length of time.
Standard chargers have a control mechanism that measure the charge added to the battery.
If you use them correctly, both types of chargers are fine. If you place a partially charged or half charged battery into a rapid charger the device doesn't know how much charge is already present.
It will simply deliver a full charge as it's intended to do. If this is done repeatedly, it will reduce the life of the battery through overcharging.
Another problem is partial charging. For example, if your cell phone indicates a low battery and you place it on the charger only until it's showing a half charge you will reduce battery life. This is a common problem with cell phones as you may need to take the phone with you and so remove it from the charger prematurely.
Don't second guess a battery charger. If you remove your cell phone from the charger just to see "if it's done" and then replace it, the charger will start from the beginning. Interrupting the charging cycle is one of the biggest reasons for short lived cell phone batteries.
Most battery chargers continue to provide maintenance charge if a battery is left on the charger over time. This is also referred to as a "trickle charge". This low charge is designed to maintain the battery at the maximum level until it's removed from the charger.
On occasion, it's fine to leave an extra battery in the charger so it will be ready to use when needed but long term this can reduce battery life.
The best charging units send only an intermittent pulse once a battery is charged rather than a continuous rate of power. This charger is the best option if you want to keep batteries in the charger for weeks or months until they may be needed.
To recondition rechargeable batteries you need to discharge the battery to minimum voltage and then fully recharge it. For a cell phone, this means allowing the battery to "die" and shut off the cell phone due to low battery power.
Ni-Cd batteries will begin to lose power after a dozen charging cycles if the battery is not allowed to fully discharge before being placed in a charger.
To condition a new Ni-Cd battery after purchasing you should charge the battery 3-5 times while allowing it to discharge in between to the lowest level.
Once the new battery is conditioned in this way, you should allow it to fully discharge before being placed on the charger at least every 10 charging cycles.
Using this simple method can extend battery life for years. For an NiMH battery the initial conditioning is not necessary but the same method of reconditioning applies.
There are no tools or chemicals needed and no special technical knowledge required to recondition batteries. However, most people don't bother to use these simple guidelines to extend battery life.
Summaryp>At least every few times you recharge your cell phone or laptop battery, let the battery fully discharge to the point where it turns off your phone or computer.
Place the battery on the charger and let it stay there until the charge is completed. It's best to remove the battery from the charger as soon as the full charge is reached.
However, for batteries that are seldom used you can leave the battery in place and an intermittent pulse will keep it at full charge until needed.