Instructables

Reconditioning Lithium Ion Batteries

I'm looking for a DIY method for reconditioning Lithium Ion batteries. Or, if that's not easily doable, someone who knows to tell me so i can just bite the bullet and buy a new one. Thanks in advance!

Punkguyta6 years ago
Well like nihm and nicad batteries, you'd assume that the lose of capacity has something to do with cellulite buildup on the contacts within the battery (cellulite right or is it electrolyte??) But I think that due to the characteristics of lithium metal, I think the loss of capacity is probably just the lithium powder inside just can't hold a charge anymore.

You ya wanna try zolting it with some high voltage like Someone tried before, be prepared to lose a finger or some limb on your body. Apparently lithium batteries like to explode when you try to restore them.
Correct word: Electrolyte.. the catalyst that makes the electrochemical reactions work
royalestel (author)  Punkguyta6 years ago
Yeah, I didn't want to ignite the thing.
There's a chance it might not do anything but get warm. But lithium as it is as a material on the periodic table, it's chemical properties are VERY unstable. Early lithium batteries (1960's era) were solid lithium batteries, like solid lithium metal, not powdered lithium that's in batteries now. They were found to be very unstable with charging, but had capacity capabilities that are supposedly even better than current lithium batteries (that's a first). But sadly because of fires and whatnot, that's why they searched for an alternative and that's what we have now. This is why there were so many problems with "exploding laptop batteries" a while ago, while the explosions were caused by manufacturing defects in the battery, if they weren't lithium batteries, they wouldn't have burst into flames like they did. Again, it's very unstable even today.
So just to add to this which is really better nicd NiMh or Li-Ion
It really depends on the application bro. I still personally think Li-on batteries are the best other than price range and charging can be a little tempermental. Ni-cad batteries are shite, they don't have that many charge cycles and heat is an easy destroyer of Ni-cads. Ni-mh batteries are kind of similar but heat doesn't affect them as badly as Ni-cd, also they have 1000-2000 charge cycles.
Thanks for the info. but still have to buy a new battery
Ahem, that would be cellulose.
Nope, not cellulose either. ;-)

Not sure which word you're looking for, but the loss of capacity in NiCd cells is due to formation of large(r) Cd crystals at the anode. These crystals reduce the surface area the battery has to work with, and can even do internal damage. Doing a full discharge (or zapping the batteries) gets the Cd back to the preferred micro-crystalline state.

Here's a nice illustration of what happens.

Not that this is *only* for NiCd (and perhaps Nimh) batteries. Lithium batteries use an entirely different chemistry.
Patrik6 years ago
Li Ion batteries don't have the kind of memory effect that NiCd batteries have, so they can't be reconditioned.

Some Li Ion battery packs (e.g. laptop batteries) have a little circuit that keeps track of the capacity of the battery. Occasionally, this sensor can get thrown off-track by repeated shallow discharge and recharge cycles. If so, you can recalibrate the sensor by letting the battery discharge fully (to the discharge cut off - put that screw driver down!!). This doesn't actually do anything beneficial for the battery itself, it just resets the little monitoring circuit.

Plenty of info to be found by Googling "reconditioning Lithium Ion Batteries"...
royalestel (author)  Patrik6 years ago
Hmm. Well, I didn't get very good results when I Googled it, just some rambling about Mac laptops that weren't very useful, which why I bothered everybody here (Thanks, by the way!). So, many lithium batteries have say, five contacts instead of just two. Do you think I could get a large resistor and find two contacts that short and discharge it that way?
Li ion batteries are *very* finicky about charge & discharge parameters! To quote Wikipedia (emphasis mine):

A stand-alone Li-ion cell must never be discharged below a certain voltage to avoid irreversible damage. Therefore all Li-ion battery systems are equipped with a circuit that shuts down the system when the battery is discharged below the predefined threshold. ... This is also one of the reasons Li-ion cells are rarely sold as such to consumers, but only as finished batteries designed to fit a particular system. ... Short-circuiting a Li-ion battery can cause it to ignite or explode, and as such, any attempt to open or modify a Li-ion battery's casing or circuitry is dangerous. Li-ion batteries contain safety devices that protect the cells inside from abuse, and, if damaged, can cause the battery to ignite or explode.

That's why I made the quip about "put that screwdriver down" in my earlier post. You simply cannot discharge Lithium batteries in the same way you might NiCd ones. And even if you did, it would only damage the battery, rather than making it work better.

(I assume the reason Lithium batteries have so many contacts is because of the built-in charge/discharge and capacity gauge circuitry. Probably also has a temperature sensor.)
royalestel (author)  Patrik6 years ago
Actually, I got good results by letting the battery discharge fully through normal use. Otherwise you're basically saying what I was guessing - fuggedaboudit. Thanks!
royalestel (author) 6 years ago
By the way, anyone seen these batteries. Came up as a google ad in my email. Kind of interesting.
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