Is it possible to recharge old, long-dead, camcorder batteries?

I am wondering of there is a method for revitalizing old camcorder batteries which refuse to charge. I know that certain camcorder battery chargers used to come with a "refresh" button. However, the chargers that came with my batteries lack this feature. I believe that most of the batteries are Ni-Cd's. However, one of them is lead-acid. The lead-acid battery is from a VERY old camera, one in which you placed the camera on your shoulder, and slung a VHS VCR from the other. When you were done recording, you would then take the VCR and plug it into the a matching TV tuner. This would charge the battery. Any ideas that would help me get some charge into these batteries would be appreciated. Thanks!

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If the battery will hardly take a charge at all, then it's probably "sulfated". This means there is an insulating layer of sulfate on the plates. This happens to any battery that sits around in a discharged condition. A battery that is heavily sulfated is going to be difficult to revive by just charging it. There are electronic and chemical ways to get the sulfate off, though.

For a simple commercial option, check this out:

For a more technical explanation and some do-it-yourself options to try, see here:

And finally, here is another DIY circuit that will "pulse" charge and dissolve the sulfate crystals without boiling or melting the battery:

Do a search on Google for "revive lead acid battery" for many more options as seen here:

Whatever you do, be careful!

Good luck!
Infinitevortex (author)  siliconghost8 years ago
Thank you! :-D I'll look into it.
Lead acids are dead easy to charge, with a constant voltage, about 2.2V for every 2 V of battery voltage, but a long empty cell will not hold anything, and will need replacing. That should be pretty easy. Measure the cell, and look up a suitable supplier online. Nicads are easy to charge slowly, they really need a constant current of about 1/10th of their capacity in Ah, so a 1 Ah battery would need to be charged at 100mA for about 12 hours.
Infinitevortex (author)  steveastrouk8 years ago
Thanks for the info!
What connections do they have?
Infinitevortex (author)  memyselfand18 years ago
The NiCd's have contact plates in various locations on their cases. I'm not sure about the lead-acid, but I think it has a small socketed connector on the end of a short length of wire. It's been awhile since I've looked at it.
Re-design8 years ago
Long dead batteries - no. Definitively no. Sometimes you can rejuvinate nicads if they are not too far gone.