In this article, I’m going to quickly but thoroughly cover How to Recondition Batteries at Home.
Now, as you no doubt know, a huge part of being a successful survivalist is knowing how to improvise and re-use things that most people would consider dead and gone. Take your dead car battery, for example, the simplest solution would be to buy a new one. The problem is that:
- This costs money (new car batteries can be expensive).
- It is terrible for the environment (your dead car battery may end up polluting some landfill somewhere).
- You may not be in a position to get a new one in time which is quite frustrating and in some conditions, life threatening.
So it would hold to reason that learning how to recondition batteries at home might be a better option for those of us who would rather be self-reliant and resourceful.
Table of Contents
- 0.1 Is a reconditioning a battery the same as recharging one?
- 0.2 What type of batteries can you recondition?
- 0.3 How to recondition your run-of-the-mill car battery
- 1 Steps to reconditioning your car battery
Is a reconditioning a battery the same as recharging one?
Not really. Reconditioning a battery is a quite different than recharging one. While recharging a battery will restore its charge, it will only do so for a limited amount of time. Reconditioning it, on the other hand, restores the battery to its full capacity even once it’s dead.
What type of batteries can you recondition?
Your cell phone battery, your laptop battery, your car battery (deep cycle/gel batteries to your average 12V car battery)…all types of batteries can be reconditioned provided you know what you are doing. It is, however, prudent to take some time to familiarize yourself with the different types of batteries in the market and within your household.
Learning about these batteries will not only give you the kind of information you need to recondition them when the time comes, but it will also give you insight on how to best handle them so they will last longer before they need reconditioning.
How to recondition your run-of-the-mill car battery
There is a good chance that one of the batteries you want to recondition is a typical 12V car battery. The good news is that this is actually quite possible. The bad news is that you will be dealing with and be handling some rather corrosive components (acid) that require great care if you are to avoid inflicting any more damage to the battery or to yourself.
What you will need:
- Distilled water.
- A voltmeter.
- A battery charger.
- A syringe.
A reconditioned battery can have up to 70% of the power a brand new battery typically holds. This is more than enough for your vehicle.
Steps to reconditioning your car battery
The very first thing you need to do is to test and see if the battery is likely to respond to your conditioning efforts. As much as you can recondition any battery, there are some that are just too far gone to be worth the effort.
By using your voltmeter, you need to see if the battery reads anywhere between 10-12 volts. Within this range, restoration is highly advisable. Anything below 10 volts might not be worth it.
Remove the car battery from the vehicle and place it somewhere safe before you get started. After that, remove the rubber protecting the caps to allow access to them. Remove all the caps. Some batteries may have 6 or 7 caps, it is imperative that you remove all of them. If your car battery is sealed then you need to drill through the ‘shadow plugs’ that cover the battery cell openings.
Heat up a half quart (0.125 gallons) of your distilled water to about 150 degrees F. After that, dissolve about 7 or 8 oz. of Epsom salts into that water.
Get a plastic funnel/ syringe that you will use to pour the Epsom salt solution into the battery cells. First, however, you need to ensure that the battery is drained of any fluid. After that, fill each cell with your Epsom solution using the PLASTIC funnel or syringe.
Replace the battery caps or use plastic plugs to seal the holes you drilled into the shadow plugs. Once you have ensured the caps are fitted tightly or that the holes are plugged properly, shake the battery to distribute the Epsom salts solution properly.
Once you are satisfied that the Epsom salt solution is well distributed, plug in your battery to the charger and set it to high amps. Avoid using a smart charger because this might not come up with a reliable readable meter. At this point, the meter on your charger will either say ‘Zero’ or ‘charged’. Give it a few minutes before switching over to low current so that your battery charges fully.
Once your battery is fully charged, discharge it and then charge it again. Only this time use low current. This process will allow the magnesium sulphate to do away with the lead sulphate. Give it time to charge fully and after that, you have a battery that is as good as new. The thing about this process is that it can be repeated about 5 times to extend the life of your battery by months, if not years.
For a full Video Overview of the process, check out this video by Repairman Jared from Youtube, he does a great job at explaining it:
Why learn how to recondition batteries at home?
Learning how to recondition batteries at home brings with it a lot of advantages:
- It will save you from needing to buy a new battery every few months.
- Once you learn the skill you can pick up discarded batteries for free and work on them thus increasing your access to charge.
- You will be doing the environment a great service.
- You learn a valuable survival skill that might prove vital and even profitable in the right circumstances.
What you need to know is that leaving your battery on the charger for a few nights (3 or 4) to ensure that you get maximum capacity. In the future, should you want to minimize the loss of performance from your batteries, put them on a trickle charger if you do not intend to use them for a while (weeks or more).
Stored batteries often lose their charge thus allowing sulphur to form around the lead plates. These little tricks will give you the ability to power your survival abode should the worst come to worst plus, if you are so inclined, you could turn it into a money making venture.
Want to read more on this topic? We’ve got some more amazing blog posts you’ll enjoy, check them out below:
- How to Fix a Dead Cell in a Car Battery
- How to Restore A Car Battery
- What Is Battery Reconditioning?
- EZ Battery Reconditioning Review
For more Videos, Step by Step Videos, Tutorials and More – Check out EZ Battery Reconditioning.