Increase Battery Life for Electronics




About: ––––––––––––––––––––––– "Energy cannot be created nor destroy...

On this instructable (well, not really an instructable), I will show you a few tips and tricks to increase life for a few different types of batteries for electronics.

There has been an instructable about "Increase battery life for electronics" posted already, but this one is a much better version...

I hope you enjoy this instructable and learn something new!

Step 1: Increase Alkaline Battery's Storage Life

If you want to increase the alkaline battery's storage life, you should store them in a cool, dry, and non-corrosive place, like in a closet or other places like that.
Storing the alkaline batteries in a cool place will slow down the chemical's reaction activity thus increasing the alkaline battery's life.

However, if you store the alkaline batteries in a warm or hot place, it will dramatically decrease the alkaline battery's life because the chemical's reaction activity speed's up. However, there is an advantage of having the alkaline battery's fast chemical's reaction activity, it will give much better performance in electronics like digital cameras...

You should never ever try to recharge the normal alkaline batteries! They will heat up so dramatically that it can melt the charger and catch on fire...
You can only recharge the the rechargeable alkaline batteries.

Step 2: Increase Rechargeable Alkaline Battery's Useful Life

The rechargeable alkaline batteries are an unusual type of rechargeable batteries, because they are not common, they charge differently form the normal Nicad and NiMH batteries...
But I will tell you how to treat them properly and other.

Always use an alkaline battery charger for only the rechargeable alkaline batteries. Never use the alkaline battery charger for the other batteries like normal alkaline, Nicad and NiMH batteries. And never charge the rechargeable alkaline batteries on the Nicad and/or NiMH battery charger. Because of this, the alkaline battery charger and the Nicad and/or NiMH battery charger are different from each other, they have different output voltages and currents.
Charging an rechargeable alkaline battery on the Nicad and/or NiMH battery charger will not get charged and possibly damage the rechargeable alkaline battery.
Charging an Nicad and/or NiMH on the alkaline battery charger will overcharge and damage the Nicad and/or NiMH battery and possibly cause an nasty explosion.

The good thing about the rechargeable alkaline battery is they have an ability to hold their charge for a few years, where the Nicad and/or NiMH battery can only hold their charge for no more than 90 days...
However, the rechargeable alkaline battery is not suitable to use in high-drain devices like digital cameras, they are good for using in low-drain devices such as remote controls, and for periodically used items such as flashlights, television remotes, portable radios...

Step 3: Increase the Nicad Battery's Useful Life

The Nicad batteries are a bit difficult to maintain, they are quite picky about how they are treated...

Here is a few ways to extend the Nicad battery's useful life...

  • Before you charge the Nicad batteries, they should be fully discharged first then you can charge them. Because you have to do this is the Nicad batteries suffers from memory effect,so if you charge the Nicad batteries from a particularly charged state, they will suffer from memory effect and their life useful is dramatically decreased... So discharging and charging the Nicad batteries properly will extend the Nicad battery's life.
  • You should never leave the Nicad batteries in the discharged state! Because the crystals will begin to grow inside the battery and eventually, the crystal will short out the battery and become unusable... But they are ways to make the battery come back to "life" again, check out this instructable about how to's... Revive Nicad Batteries by Zapping with a Welder
  • Store them in a cool, dry, and non-corrosive place. It will extend the Nicad battery's life.
  • Use smart chargers. It may be expensive but it will increase the Nicad battery's life. If you don't use the smart chargers but use ordinary chargers, you are very likely to overcharge the NiMh batteries, and that can result a permeant damage to the Nicad batteries...

Step 4: Increase the NiMh Battery's Useful Life

Maintaining the NiMh batteries is easier because unlike the Nicad batteries, they have no memory effect...

Here is a few ways to extend the NiMh battery's useful life...
  • In every few months or so, completely discharge the NiMh battery and recharge them again. Doing so will prevent crystals forming inside the battery...
  • Do not leave the NiMh batteries in the discharge state as the crystals will begin to grow inside the batteries and result a permeant damage to the NiMh batteries.
  • Use smart chargers. It may be expensive but it will increase the NiMh battery's life. If you don't use the smart chargers but use ordinary chargers, you are very likely to overcharge the NiMh batteries, and that can result a permeant damage to the NiMh batteries...
  • Store them in a cool, dry, and non-corrosive place. It will extend the NiMh battery's life.

Step 5: Increase Your Laptop Battery's Working and Useful Life

Increasing the laptop battery's working and useful life can be a very good thing for anybody who is always on the move...

Here is a few ways to extend your laptop battery's working life...
  • Defrag your hard drive regularly. Defragging your hard drive will make the hard drive work faster, and when the hard drive works faster, it demands less energy from the laptop's battery...
  • Dim your laptop's screen! Dimming your laptop's screen will dramatically increase the laptop battery's working life, so dim your laptop's screen to the lowest level you can tolerate.
  • Turn off all of your computer's unused program in the back ground! Having many unused programs on at the same time will draw more power from the battery because the CPU and the RAM will need to do more work to support the unused programs therefor taking up more energy from the laptop's battery.
  • Turn off the active wireless communication when not in use! Doing so will make the battery work longer, because the active wireless communication is another big energy consumer of the computer and cell phones, it need a lot of energy because it need to make strong radio-waves for the receiver to pick up...

And here is a few ways to extend your laptop battery's useful life...
  • Clean your laptop's air vents. If the laptop's battery is exposed to high temperatures it will shorten its useful life, so cleaning your laptop's air vents will not only extend the laptop's battery, it will also extend your whole laptop's life...
  • Charge your laptop's battery properly. When you charge your laptop's battery, let it charge all the way to 'full' point before you unplug the laptop's power supply, that will increase the laptop battery's useful life, and don't leave the battery in the discharge state, it may decrease the laptop battery's life...

Step 6: Increase Lead-acid Battery's Useful Life

Heres a few tips and tricks to increase lead-acid battery and sealed lead-acid battery's useful life...

  • Charge the lead-acid battery properly, use an "smart" charger. Overcharging the lead-acid battery will decrease its life and if its over charged even more, the battery will overheat and cause the electrolyte to boil and the battery may explode...
  • Never discharge any 12v battery below 10.5v, if you do, the lead sulfate crystals will begin to accumulate, harden and that reduce the capacity of the battery and shortened its life.
  • Do not let your lead-acid battery freeze during cold weather. This will cause the electrolyte to expand when freezes, and that can damage the plates, separators or even crack the battery case. If the battery is frozen, you must let your battery thaw, physically inspect case for leakage, then fully recharge it with a "smart" charger.
  • Provide adequate ventilation. High ambient temperatures above 80° F (26.7° C) will shorten battery life, because it increases positive grid corrosion, causes "thermal runaway" and increases its self-discharge rate.

Also you should never charge a lead-acid battery near source of ignition, like flame, fire, sparks, because the battery will give of hydrogen and oxygen while charging, and will cause an explosion if the hydrogen-oxygen mix makes contract with the source of ignition...

Step 7: More Information About Batteries

If you cannot find what you are looking for, try some of wikipedia's sites, they have more information about the batteries and might help you.

Alkaline battery
Zinc-carbon battery
Oxyride battery
Rechargeable alkaline battery
Nickel-cadmium battery
Nickel-metal hydride battery
Lithium battery
Lithium-ion battery
Lithium-ion polymer battery
Lead-acid battery
Silver-oxide battery
Zinc-air battery

If you still cannot find what you are looking for, check wikipedia's list of battery types.

Step 8: Endings

I hoped you enjoyed this instructable, and if feel there is something missing or incorrect, PLEASE tell me and I will edit this instructable.

Also if you know any more types of batteries and want information about how to increase its life, tell me and I will do some research and edit this instructable.

If you liked this instructable or find it helpful, or need help, or anything, please comment!

Oh, and sorry for the bad quality pictures...

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    114 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Non rechargable batteries could be rechargable with a Bedini-Imhotep fan (to prevent heating). It doesn't last that long as new and if repeated it loose efficiency.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I use a Vaio laptop with a Vaio wireless mouse. And my mouse consumes batteries like crazy! So i after two weeks of using two Duracell batteries, i always charge them even though they're not rechargeable, after every charge for about 6-7 hours, they would serve for a few days. I think it only depends on what batteries and what charger are you using.

    doo da do

    5 years ago on Step 2

    I have got a charger that charges all alkaline batteries, it works great ( made to charge Nimh, nicad,also. I just make sure it is on the correct setting. Doodado


    9 years ago on Introduction

    NiCad do not need to be regularly discharged.  "Memory" is a myth.  Doing so will only use up the cycle life faster.   You are sorta right about NiMh.  They do form plate crystallization - but so do NiCad.  And also it take a lot longer than a few months.  Also more important for NiMh is leaving them discharged below 1v per cell causes oxidation of the plates.  Though, it take more than a few months.  It depends on the brand of NiMh - some are more resistant so oxidation than others.  Take low self-discharge types sitting on a shelf.  They'll take a decade to get below 1v.  So they are inherently very resistant to oxidation as long as they aren't left in a device that slowly discharges them.

    3 replies
    Bad Maxxhansonsux

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Memory is a myth? Oh my I beg to differ! Although yes indeed this phenomenon has been eliminated it is not a myth. And to be fair you are sorta' right about Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries... I will not go into the long story about my experiences with this in the Navy, but instead will provide a link to the best description I have found on-line. I hope this helps clear up the confusion.

    hansonsuxBad Maxx

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Carefully controlled conditions in a lab are needed to reproduce the original, classic condition that created the concept of "memory". That is the classic "memory" of voltage depression due to discharging to the same point repeatedly. It just doesn't happen in real life due to the discharge point has to be extremely close for it to be reproduced.

    It may have existed or does exist, but realistically it just doesn't happen in real life day to day usage. How can you "eliminate" something that you can't even prove that may or may not have even existed?

    These days, "memory" is used by people to describe any sort of cell failure to hold charge. Like plate crystallization will cause people to scream "memory". I don't like to use the word "memory" since these days it's a blanket statement and doesn't hold true anymore to the original meaning, of which that something may or may not even exist.

    Why people still continue to perpetuate the "memory myth" is beyond astounding. In doing so, people will heavily deeply discharge their cells believing their actions will make their cells healthier, but in reality they are probably doing more harm than good in the process. I know one thing for sure: that deeply discharging cells wears them out faster. You can do it occasionally, but certainly not every time or frequently on purpose. Memory? How can I tell someone to do something based purely on belief and the thing may not/have even existed?

    Bad Maxxhansonsux

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Although you are correct about people using the term memory to describe many different problems regarding charging and discharging batteries.
    Unfortunately you seem a bit confused about the actual logistics of the original term "memory" referring to battery charge-discharge issues. I originally left a link explaining the phenomenon as it originally occurred on our Navy submarines, certainly not Lab produced results. I'm hoping it doesn't take another year to hear your opinions though!


    7 years ago on Step 4

    I read various places to discharge a NiMH before recharging but what is considered discharged? 0.5V for a AA 1.2V 1500mAh type? And how fast should it be discharged? 0.1A or 1A?


    8 years ago on Step 7

    there's even more battery's then that but most aren't used at all anymore, or don't provide enough energy for today's electronics goods


    8 years ago on Step 4

    I will mention here that 15 to 45 minutes of high-amp (10A+) charging will revive large capacity NiMH cells. I don't recommend such vicious amperage on smaller cells...


    8 years ago on Step 5

    ensuring that you never allow the battery to run too low does. Laptop batteries do not contain<a href=>acer aspire 5550 battery</a> matched cells, and therefore it is possible when you allow your battery to run very low for one or more cells to completely acer aspire 5580 battery discharge before the others. Once completely discharged a Li-Ion cell is destroid. It is also important to remember that Li-Ion batteries discharge when not in use.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I like batteries. I once had a shirt that had a monkey licking a battery on it with lightning coming out of his ears, and in words it said "Don't lick batteries". I like monkeys too. Well, this would be useful for my gaming chair. I think it takes AA batteries. It's been out of batteries for a pretty long time though.

    7 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I once made connected a wire to both ends of a battery and I licked the middle of the wire. It goes a bit NUMB...


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    if you think that was powerful take a telephone wire connected to the wall and then to your tounge, ouch!!!!!!!!!!!


    I've done it before (I was testing if the phone wire was working), Don't have a computer case open with the dial up modem still connected either,If you touch it, it hurts and it is usually unexpected...

    ISDN is a kind of telephone cable (digital), but the voltage is pretty high (and I was pretty young, so I sticked in my mouth)