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

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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siliconghostBest Answer (author)2009-09-21

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:
http://www.batterylifesaver.com/default.htm

For a more technical explanation and some do-it-yourself options to try, see here:
http://www.alton-moore.net/batteries.html

And finally, here is another DIY circuit that will "pulse" charge and dissolve the sulfate crystals without boiling or melting the battery:
http://www.electronics-lab.com/projects/power/036/index.html

Do a search on Google for "revive lead acid battery" for many more options as seen here: http://www.google.com/search?q=revive+lead+acid+battery

Whatever you do, be careful!

Good luck!

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user

Thank you! :-D I'll look into it.

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user
steveastrouk (author)2009-09-19

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.

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memyselfand1 (author)2009-09-18

What connections do they have?

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user

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.

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Re-design (author)2009-09-19

Long dead batteries - no. Definitively no. Sometimes you can rejuvinate nicads if they are not too far gone.

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