The battery will exhibit 1.3-1.4 volts when initially constructed.
Conditioning requires repeated charge/discharge cycles. Run it up, run it down. It will start showing some capacity after 10-15 charge/discharge cycles.
I'm not 100% on the charge voltage, but I believe it is somewhere between 3 and 3.5 v - my guess is 3.25 or so. I'm still working on the reactions.. and from experience putting it right at 2.75 or 2.8v doesn't seem to get us much above the 2.5v "steady state"
I recommend a joule thief, or 100Ohm resistor for discharging. I prefer a joule thief (boost converter), because it runs a white LED, and is at least providing some "work" that I can watch.
It will tend to discharge to 2.5v overnight, which is something I'm still working on, but for a primitive setting, especially with a joule thief, we'll just abuse it as much as we want - the goal is light, and deep discharges don't seem to be a huge problem. Perhaps 2.5v is actually where the battery wants to live in daily use... only time will tell as we continue to experiment with it. It has a STRONG arc around 1.9-1.7v, but I don't know if we have to have the full 2.8v+ charge voltage to get that.
The cell doesn't handle high current well, which is why 100Ohms is a bit of a high drain for it. 1kOhm (about 2 mA) is a perfect drain for it. By using two cells in parallel, you could easily light a high brightness LED all night. Internal resistance is likely a problem with the electrolyte, or perhaps I should mix aluminum powder and graphite with the anode (-), or Manganese Dioxide in the Cathode(+) - but that puts me outside the parameters of the "junk battery"