Step 7: Zap the hell out of the battery!

Picture of Zap the hell out of the battery!
To zap a dead Ni-Cad battery back to life, put the Ni-Cad battery into the 'zapping' battery holder and a good alkaline battery into the battery holder on the camera's circuit.

The turn on the charge switch and wait for the neon/LED to glow. When it starts glowing, push the push-button switch and you may hear a loud 'POP'. That is OK for it to pop, it shows the battery has been zap an it is alive! But to be sure the sulfur crystals are really vaporized, zap the Ni-Cad battery one more time...

After zapping the Ni-Cad battery, charge it in its charger to really get it working again.

This works for me very well, I hope it works for you!

If you have any questions, or need help, or found an error, or anything, make a comment!
I like comments! :-)

Also, could you spare your few seconds on voting this instructable? Please?
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crazypj1 year ago
Really like the idea of using a capacitor plus all the circuitry from disposable camera, much safer than 'taping' wires onto battery
Could also place battery into 'explosion proof' cylinder or somesuch metal box with plenty of expansion room?
codongolev3 years ago
if I can track down a disposable camera (I think we have a few from when we cleaned out my grandmother's house), I'm totally doing this to my roomba's battery. it'll save me 25 bucks. (I believe, based on others' stories, that the first battery on the positive side is usually the bad one [they're in series]. however, I'll probably zap all of them just in case.)
alright, folks. here's what just went down. I was thinking about this instructable, and I really wanted to do it. however, the only disposable cameras in the house were ones that my mom was keeping for some reason, and I'm sure it wasn't for me to take them apart. so I thought about it a while, and I remembered playing around with this AC adapter (that's a pretty old instructable, by the way, so keep in mind if you decide to read it that at the time I was still around middle school/high school freshman age). I thought, "that produces high voltage!" so I tried it. my setup was three nine volts in series to create 27 volts, which was then fed backwards (as per the instructable) through the transformer, then over to the battery. by the way, you can't just connect the nine volts then shock the batteries. to create the high voltage pulse, you have to attach the battery to the transformer, then repeatedly connect and disconnect the batteries so you get a spark. otherwise there will be no flow and you'll be wasting your time.

thought I'd share this, as it was very helpful to me (ran my roomba today for about an hour or so, so I'd say it worked especially seeing as before it couldn't even make the startup noise).
Nice 'ible, I've been doing this for years to bring NiCad batteries back to life (and no, it doesn't work on other chemistries, like NiMH). Usually I just turn on my 12V power supply, which charges up the output caps, turn off the power supply, then quickly zap the battery with the stored charge in the output caps. 12V is plenty when backed up by nice big caps (like on the output of most power supplies).

Don't think your batteries are going to be "good as new" afterwards though. Yes, you can get some more life out of the battery, but I've found they never have the same capacity afterwards (apparently it does some irreversible damage) and it only works a few times on a battery before it's gone for good. For this reason, I don't like to do it on a battery from a multi-cell pack -- then you just wind up with a weak battery in series with stronger ones, which is doomed to be overworked by the stronger cells and will die very soon anyhow.
azmatanwar4 years ago
Can we use this trick on 12 V car battery??? regards.
Shaji474 years ago
It is a nice tip..... but an disposable camera is not available in our village. How to make that high voltage circuit? lol, hlep me please....
PCelec5 years ago
well wreten i just am afraid of the batery part. i have taken apart a digital camera and never got shocked but when shorting the capacitor scared me so much i don't want to mess with it. do you think that a plasma lightning ball would work thay make like 60-1000v.
Schober5 years ago
Can this be done with batteries larger than AA's? Say, something like a 7.2v or 8v r/c battery or would you need to increase the power?
Plasmana (author)  Schober5 years ago
That will burn out the transistor...
Is there another setup that would make it possible to zap a larger battery in a similar manner?
Plasmana (author)  Schober5 years ago
virushacker5 years ago
dont use this method on lithium -ion batterys its really dangerous.
Plasmana (author)  virushacker5 years ago
Yeah I know, lol
Hubiewan5 years ago
Thanks, man!   Although, can I just remove the flash bulb and wire in a battery holder, using the intact camera as is?  Just a thought.    Hubiewan
Yes you could  :D
Great Instructable. I have a couple of these cameras dismantled and this is the best use seen for them yet.

You can use a Wall Wart to power it - but the output needs to be DC Volts and likely < 2.0VDC at that. I would also suspect that the output would need to be filtered abit to be safe.

You can use additional battery holders - to fit C and D cells, for instance - wired in parallel to allow "Zapping" different size cells.

Many Battery-powered Tools that use ni-cad battery packs are actually six or so 1.5vdc "C"-sized cells that can be removed and "Zapped" individually.

I would suggest that your slide switch might be replaced with a Momentary Contact switch so the charging cycle can be better controlled and the battery life extended somewhat.

Nice job.

MrLWJ5 years ago
could this  be used to give laptop batts a second life?
those suckers are pricey.
 Do you know if this will work for nickel metal hydride batteries? Very well written, simple instructable, as well. I can see why it won.
is there a way of doing that with 24v drill batteries
albertjol6 years ago
hey, does it work if I just just charge an old 400V 470 uf capacitor from an old computer power supply, with rectified mains electricity? (230 V) (should be 230 * sqrt(2) = 325 Volts or something)
Plasmana (author)  albertjol6 years ago
Here is my question(s) Will this work on a portable radio battery pack? its ultrasonically welded shut and rated for 7.2 volts. It does have one + and one - tab on the battery.. If it would work, how many times would I need to "zap" it compared to a normal AA battery? (I am using a disposable camera set up) Thanks. Oh, and does anyone have a suggestion on how to "revive" a li-ion battery?
Plasmana (author)  unlisted84956 years ago
It should do.
refer to your small circuit math text book and gang together a few of these.
Plasmana (author)  unlisted84956 years ago
Yes, it should work, I would zap it about 4 times.
dogshan6 years ago
How would I test the suitability of a Capacitor. I am very wary of electrical shocks as I understand that a strong shock can cause heart problems, Atrium Flutter. That is what my cardiologist told me.
phil galati6 years ago
I have known about this since the 70's when I used to fly radio control plains. It does work. Your process is much nicer and I will try it. Thanks for the great idea Phil Galati
Plasmana (author)  phil galati6 years ago
Thanks for your nice comment! :-)
I didn't know you could fly an entire plain remotely.
DualPhase6 years ago
I have two Capacitors: 1) 120,000uF 15v 2) 52,000uF 30V max surge 40v Which would be better to use the higher F (1) or the higher V (2)? Also what would be the best way to charge up the capacitors. Car batter, DC wall adapter... ??? Thanks
Plasmana (author)  DualPhase6 years ago
the 52,000uF 30V would be the most suitable, and you can hook the capacitor directly to the DC wall adapter - but watch out for the capacitor's polarity!
Capfl2k56 years ago
I really like this. I have a few question about the possibility of modifying the design. Would it be possible to remove the camera capacitor and replace it with a larger one like say out of a central air unit and still use the circuitry from the camera? Also instead of the aa battery that charges the flash use a dc adapter and plug it directly into the wall? And use an assorted number of battery holders and do more than one at a time? I know its a lot of questions but i was wanting to make one that would do this in bulk say 4 or more and or different sizes at one time and put it all in a nice big project enclosure.
LightSpeed16 years ago
Thank you for a really practical instructable! Some suggestions: <> Get two used flash cameras and use the battery compartment in the second as the holder for your target AA cell. <> Reassemble the original camera and its case provides a safe box for the project. Just drill a couple of holes to route out the wires. You can thus use the original charge button. <> If there is any chance of the cell exploding, wear safety goggles and gloves. <> To revive a battery with multiple cells, you could zap individual cells within the battery. You will need to disassemble the battery enough to get to the leads in and out of each cell and treat them as with a single cell. Do you know if this works on multiple cell batteries going through all the cells in series at once? That would be easier than disassembly. I think the short duration makes this method safe. The cell has no chance to heat up enough to explode. I would not do this more times than can be done without the cell getting hot to the touch. If it gets hot, stop and let it cool off. Also if the cell case looks bulged, stop. Gas pressure could cause that--potential explosion. As long as the cell looks and feels normal and is cool, you are probably safe.
prodlad6 years ago
Plasmana (author)  prodlad6 years ago
eavendanho6 years ago
Nice stuff. Would it work with notebook bateries?
Plasmana (author)  eavendanho6 years ago
Unfortunately, no...
As long as I am able to repeat this proccess I will be eternally grateful to you for bringing back to life all of this batteries I have around me at home. Thanks again for the instructable.
Plasmana (author)  carloshdezaraujo6 years ago
Your welcome!
jaimex076 years ago
Ok every thing it´s ok , but what about if we use an old spark car system , we can get a strong capacitor and the swicht from the points inside the distributor, plus the high energy coil. regards.
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