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View b2rtch's profile

Do you "zap" your cordless tool batteries?

by b2rtch
posted 08-09-2012 03:29 PM


37 replies so far

View GMman's profile

GMman

3902 posts in 3698 days


#1 posted 08-09-2012 03:35 PM

Bert I do it with a 12vdc battery charger, works fine.

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

17387 posts in 3007 days


#2 posted 08-09-2012 03:35 PM

Ive smashed a few but cant say ive ever “zapped” any of em. Ive got an 18v dewalt thats startin to get under my skin. Id like to hear more on the zapping.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

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b2rtch

4861 posts in 3049 days


#3 posted 08-09-2012 03:51 PM

How come I received a reply from Gman in my email but it does not appear here?

-- Bert

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b2rtch

4861 posts in 3049 days


#4 posted 08-09-2012 03:53 PM

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dbhost

5712 posts in 3233 days


#5 posted 08-09-2012 04:07 PM

I steer clear of battery powered tools. Too many opportunities for them to let me down at the wrong time.

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/c/daves-workshop

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b2rtch

4861 posts in 3049 days


#6 posted 08-09-2012 04:13 PM

True but it seems that cords are always in the way and some places have no power

-- Bert

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2899 posts in 2249 days


#7 posted 08-09-2012 04:36 PM

I’ve got a really nice old NiCAD cordless drill with 2 dead batteries. I think I’ll give this a shot when I get home. I also hate cordless tools, but I do see value in a cordless drill/driver.

-- https://pinepointwoodworks.wordpress.com/

View GMman's profile

GMman

3902 posts in 3698 days


#8 posted 08-09-2012 05:01 PM

Bert I do it with a 12vdc battery charger, works fine.

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4861 posts in 3049 days


#9 posted 08-09-2012 05:09 PM

I am going to try.

-- Bert

View Loren's profile

Loren

10403 posts in 3649 days


#10 posted 08-09-2012 05:13 PM

I’ve done it on nicad batteries that weren’t taking a charge
anymore… “Surge charging” I think is what it’s called. It’s kind
of fun to do, resurrect your batteries.

Unfortunately they are really zombies and they don’t stay
resurrected long. It varies depending on what’s going on
with the cells in the battery, but in general I’ve found
it’s a short-term fix at best.

View Brett's profile

Brett

660 posts in 2684 days


#11 posted 08-09-2012 05:20 PM

I have a cordless drill that doesn’t require batteries:

:)

-- More tools, fewer machines.

View hhhopks's profile

hhhopks

651 posts in 2378 days


#12 posted 08-09-2012 09:02 PM

I am not famillar with this “zap” business.
Since you guys aren’t either, please take precaution.
Better be safe than sorry. Wear insulated gloves or something.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View ajosephg's profile

ajosephg

1880 posts in 3562 days


#13 posted 08-09-2012 11:45 PM

I agree with hopks especially if you put “high” voltage on them, you’re asking for an explosion.

-- Joe

View bunkie's profile

bunkie

412 posts in 3148 days


#14 posted 08-09-2012 11:51 PM

NiCd batteries have a nasty habit of exploding. I would be really careful trying to zap them, especially with 110V…

A better (safer) solution is to send the battery packs out to be rebuilt with new cells.

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

View sonnyr's profile

sonnyr

131 posts in 2129 days


#15 posted 08-10-2012 12:48 AM

I looked into the posibility of “rejuvenating” ni-cads a little while back and found this site:

http://www.r-charge.net/

They have changed the way they describe what their 1.2 -24vdc charger would do, but at one time it was touted to be able to bring almost any ni-cad back to life. Their products are really pricey, but I looked into it because of the large amount of cordless drills that were being used where I used to work.

http://www.r-charge.net/RC-1AU--Universal-Battery-Charger-12-24VDC_p_89.html

I also found this for the electronically inclined:

http://www.sentex.ca/~mec1995/gadgets/rejuv.html

-- I may be slow, but I'm easy to stop!!!

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2899 posts in 2249 days


#16 posted 08-10-2012 12:26 PM

I work with a lot of hardcore electrical nerds and got a good tip that worked for me last night, It seemed a lot safer than the alternatives.

1 – get a GOOD fully changed battery for a cordless drill.
2 – rig up some wire and alligator clips. Clip the wires to the positive and negative terminals on the known good battery.
3 – electrical tape other end of the positive wire (exposed of course) to the positive terminal on the dead NiCad
4 – “Zap” the negative terminal a few times with the exposed negative wire
5 – Check it with a multimeter a few times. Once I got it to about 4V (it’s a 19.2v battery), I popped it in the charger. To my surprise, no fault lights and it took a charge!

I don’t think this is a permanent fix though, although it depends on why your batteries won’t charge. I am going to run this one dead and see if it will take another charge.

-- https://pinepointwoodworks.wordpress.com/

View BTK's profile

BTK

8 posts in 2148 days


#17 posted 08-10-2012 01:30 PM

I’m careful with batteries. Even if it worked, they will die soon. I would just get new batteries and move on wIth less frustration.

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8049 posts in 2329 days


#18 posted 08-10-2012 01:50 PM

There are several techniques used to “rejuvenate” batteries….. unfortunately, the modern chargers regulate and control the charging process (for uniform and safe charging) and don’t give you any control.

If you’re dealing with 12 volt batteries, you could use an automotive charger and give them a higher amp charge rate (which is essentially what Joe just described, but using another battery as the power source). I’d be very careful using this with compact batteries though…. as Ni-Cads can explode.

The best preventive medicine for batteries is to cycle them completely! Use them hard and run them down to a low state of charge and then fully charge them (leaving them on trickle charge for a few hours after the normal charge cycle is complete). Then take them off of the charger. Let them cool and do it again….. and so on.

The worst thing you can do to a battery is to leave it on a trickle charge for days (weeks) on end. Use them for 15 min. and then charge them again…. leaving them on trickle charge for days (weeks) again.

If you’re fond of the tools…. you can send the batteries to Voltman Batteries and they will spot weld new cells in them (most likely better toriginalsrigianls, as the newer oneimprovedimporved) for ~ $40 ea.

I did this on my old Porter Cable 12 volt drill/driver and it works like new.

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

18272 posts in 3677 days


#19 posted 08-10-2012 02:13 PM

When researching the technique, I ran into warnings about explosions. I have seen the results of too many electrical explosions. I want no part of the risk.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2899 posts in 2249 days


#20 posted 08-10-2012 02:18 PM

When I did it, I used a 6.2V battery out of one of my sons toys. Use a multimeter. Tap the negative terminal, check with a multimeter, repeat. It took about 20 “taps” to get the pack from dead 0 to 4v.

Again, it’s probably not worth it. From what I read if this technique lets you charge your batteries twice, you are lucky. There are many ways NiCad batteries “die”. The only one this actually works for is if you have not used a GOOD condition battery in a very long time. Otherwise you just have a zombie battery that will work until it dies again.

-- https://pinepointwoodworks.wordpress.com/

View sonnyr's profile

sonnyr

131 posts in 2129 days


#21 posted 08-10-2012 02:21 PM

It would be nice if manufacturers had their chargers fully “drain” your battery for you, then recharge it. Thus extending the life of the battery.

-- I may be slow, but I'm easy to stop!!!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

18272 posts in 3677 days


#22 posted 08-10-2012 02:30 PM

By the time you add shipping both ways to getting them rebuilt, may as well just go buy new ones or replace the set. How come every time my batteries wear out, I reach the same conclusion? ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2899 posts in 2249 days


#23 posted 08-10-2012 02:33 PM

I’m not that upset when a battery runs out. Since a replacement battery (if you can even find one) is about the same price as the tool, I buy a new one. Since cordless drills are a wife pre-approved purchase (she uses it a lot as everything you buy now has to be put together), it’s a good excuse for a new toy.

-- https://pinepointwoodworks.wordpress.com/

View danr's profile

danr

154 posts in 3186 days


#24 posted 08-10-2012 02:38 PM

I have a lot of experience with batteries from working on laptop computer designs. I am not a battery expert but have worked with some guys that do nothing but design battery packs and chargers. They tell me that the worst thing that you can do to a battery pack (to shorten its working life) is to always keep it charged up. I have had a few NiCad and LiIon cordless drills over several years with no battery pack issues at all. I attribute this to 2 factors:

1.) decent quality products (Makita and Milwaukee)
2.) almost always using the packs until they fully run out of charge and not re-charging them when I am done using them.

Most of the time, this allows the packs to be fully drained before charging them back up. In our work place this is referred to as “cycling” the battery packs (i.e. fully discharge before fully charging). I try to do this with all of my re-chargable battery devices such as tools, phones, laptop, etc. It is not always possible to do this but just be aware of it.

With my older Makita (NiCad) this was a bit of a pain because the re-charge time is a bit on the long side (I had 2 packs so that helped). With my Milwaukee (LiIon) the re-charge time is amazingly fast (full re-charge in about 7 minutes or less).

Anyway that is my 2 cents. If you treat them like this from the start I think you will see longer battery life.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

18272 posts in 3677 days


#25 posted 08-10-2012 02:39 PM

These battery tools are definitely not like buying a Milwaukee 120 volt drill 30 years ago. It would last a lifetime, maybe need brushes a couple times. All the battery tools I see on jobs are temporary at best even if the batteries would last 3 x as long, the tools would go away ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

18272 posts in 3677 days


#26 posted 08-10-2012 02:44 PM

I used to put my Makita 9.6 volt Ni Cads in a flashlight to fully drain before recharging. That kept them going for years a danr says.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Oldtool's profile

Oldtool

2624 posts in 2191 days


#27 posted 08-10-2012 02:48 PM

What is happening is as follows:
All batteries produce electricity through a chemical process in a cell or multiple cells. The chemical reaction in Nickel Cadmium batteries will produce 1.2 volts per cell, while lead antimony (lead acid) car batteries produce 1.5 volts per cell. In the case of a car battery, there are 8 cells, times 1.5 volts per cell equals 12 volts total.
Recharging a battery requires forcing energy back into the cells by connecting a power source to the battery in parallel (positive to positive, neg. to neg.) BUT AT A HIGHER VOLTAGE THAN THE BATTERY BEING CHARGED. This then forces the power into the lower voltage battery.
There are basically two charge rates on most chargers, Float and Equalize. The difference between these is the voltage of the charging source, because as this charging source voltage rises, it forces more energy into the dead battery. A typical car battery charger (and your car’s alternator too) will charge a 12 volt battery with 14 volts.
By taking a dead Ni-Cad and forcing power into it at a high voltage, unless one or more cells are internally shorted, it will store this charge.
HOWEVER, consider that this is a chemical based process, and too much reverse power can make the battery explode. Also, depending upon the reason for the batteries demise, If there is a shorted cell or two, “zapping” won’t help, and battery life will be short lived, and if the cell are deteriorated sufficiently, little or no real life will be obtained.
Attempting to do this can’t create any monetary adverse effects, as I assume the battery isn’t under warranty anyway. But it could bring about injury, so be careful.
If you wish to further investigate, try this web site: http://www.howstuffworks.com/search.php?terms=Batteries

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Doss's profile

Doss

779 posts in 2265 days


#28 posted 08-10-2012 02:54 PM

This is a battery care tip:

The practice I’ve heard to do is run the battery down to empty, let it cool down, then throw it on the charger for just long enough to take a full charge. That has worked well for me so far. As others have said, partially using a battery and then throwing it back on a charger for days or weeks is a terrible practice.

Also, I don’t think I can fully stress the importance of keeping battery packs cool. Yes, I know we work in shops and sometimes outdoors, but keep the batteries as cool as possible especially when storing. Heat kills batteries.

Joe, I do the same thing. The only thing I have trouble explaining is why I still have an “old” drill, driver, saws, etc. if they didn’t work any more and I just bought a new one.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8049 posts in 2329 days


#29 posted 08-10-2012 07:56 PM

when I did my 12 volt PC batteries…. factory replacements were running ~$75/ea…. AND… had most likely been sitting on somebody’s warehouse shelf for yearsl….

Voltman cost me ~$40 ea. and the NiCad cells were newly manufactured…. the cost included return shipping… though I did have to pay for UPS ground to send them in. They were better than new when I got them. As the newer cells have a slightly higher amp-hour rating.

I did a review on them and several guys responded with the same results as Topomax… too expensive so they bought new…... but I think this just depends on your model battery pack and what’s out there for OEM replacements.

No one who had actually used them had anything bad to say.

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View fussy's profile

fussy

980 posts in 3051 days


#30 posted 08-11-2012 04:16 AM

I tried it on my DeWalt 14.4 volt batteries using my Lincoln 225 welder. I used a dvm and dialed it down to 30 volts dc (about 20 amps I think) and zapped the battery about twice. The two I did seem to be as good as new. The idea is they form sulfite dendrites that keep the battery from accepting or passing a charge.
The high curreent/low voltage charge disolves the dendrites and restores the battery.

One battery showed 0 volts and the other around 3 volts before zapping. After zapping and a normal charging
cycle, both are showing 14.4 volts. It’s too soon to tell about longevity, but they have plenty of power. Use caution, but if you don’t use way too much voltage, it should be fine.

Steve

-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

18272 posts in 3677 days


#31 posted 08-11-2012 04:23 AM

fussy, Is part of the process reversing the polarity a time or two?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View fussy's profile

fussy

980 posts in 3051 days


#32 posted 08-11-2012 04:39 AM

Top,

I was using a 225 buzz box, it’s ac, so I suppose the answer is yes; but at 60 hz reverse polarity isn’t sustained long enough to be a problem. Also, I just brushed the wire in the stinger across the + pole very quickly. Just enough to see a small arc. Did that twice and all was well.

Can’t say the same about the battery I had rebuilt. Charged it, used it a few times, sme,,ed something acrid, and burned my hand removing it. $35 down the poop chute.

Steve

-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

18272 posts in 3677 days


#33 posted 08-11-2012 05:05 AM

OK. Back when I learned to weld, we had DC and AC welders ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View fussy's profile

fussy

980 posts in 3051 days


#34 posted 08-11-2012 08:27 AM

Top,

I would have loved to have an ac/dc machine, but Lincoln didn’t make the 225 ac/dc back then. I got mine brand new in Ft. Wayne for $125 + tax with 60 feet extra for the stinger and 40 ft for the ground. Good buy. It did all the mild, stainless, cast,etc I wanted, but for aluminum, copper, ar steel (low Hydrogen) hard surfacing or out of position anything, dc reverse is just so nice.

I don’t use it much any more and occasionaly think of selling. Then a friend brings an exhaust maNIFold in 5 pieces from a Farmall Cub (tricycle wheels) and he was desperate/ A magnet still stuck to it so we used the gasket as a template pieced and bolted it to a plywood backer and tacked, ground some and welded it up. It’s still going today. The battery re-hab was its’ last use for a while. Got to build wood stuff. Take care.

Steve

-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View syenefarmer's profile

syenefarmer

488 posts in 3081 days


#35 posted 08-11-2012 03:05 PM

I looked in the Owners Manual for the directions on how to ZAP my batteries. For some reason they left out how to do it so I guess I won’t!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

18272 posts in 3677 days


#36 posted 08-11-2012 06:15 PM

syenefarmer There must have been a paper shortage when they were printed. Too bad they couldn’t put that part in ;-(

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11819 posts in 3689 days


#37 posted 08-11-2012 06:42 PM

I also use my 12volt battery charger…I have had good luck on everything from my 9.6v Makita up to 18v DeWalt batteries. I did have some 18v Craftsman batteries that were junk from day one , that the jump start brought back to life , but they never really held a good charge….found out the stock recharger never put out more than 17.5 volts , so they never stood a chance : (

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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