Battery or charger bad?

I bought a 9.6v Ryobi from Home Depot but hardly use it. The battery does not seem to charge because it lasts only a minute or so now. The yellow light on the charger has never come on, just the red "charging" light. How can I tell if the battery is bad or the charger? TIA.
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Stubby wrote:

Chances are it is the battery. They don't like to set around unused for a long time.
I suggest buying a new battery and trying it out. You likely need one and if it turns out that it was the charger, you can get one of those and you will have a spare battery. That is better than a spare charger.
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One trick that often works is to zap the 9.6 v battery with a 12 volt car battery for 5-10 seconds. The sudden rush of current will melt the crystal dendrills that form thru the electrolite and discharge some cells. After the zap, if you have full voltage on the battery (check with a voltmeter!) then the battery will charge normally on the charger and work in use. The fix won't last forever, you'll probably have to zap it every time you want to charge it because the crystals punched a hole in the separator that will allow the crystals to regrow. If your use is infrequent you can live with it for years.
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I was wrong each cell would be 1.35v, , its 8 cell and full charge is 10.8v. 9.6 is actualy discharged
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m Ransley wrote:

However, a sudden drop to below 9.6 is a pretty certain indication of a shorted cell.
This guy has a pretty good graph of voltage as the cell discharges. Much of the time it will be reading about 1.2 volts but once it hits the "knee" it drops fast. Discharge to that point should be avoided because it can result in reverse current through any weak cells.
http://www.uoguelph.ca/~antoon/hobby/techbat.htm
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If its nicad put a voltmeter on the battery after charging , it should be 1.35v, 1.2 is discharged, I have 20 yr Makita packs that still work.
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I got one of those Ryobi's for doing inside stuff when I didn't want to be handling an 18v Rigid. Used it a lot. Didn't take long before the same thing happened. I went through the trouble of sending it back to a Ryobi service center and got a new battery under warranty free. After the warranty expired so did the replacement I got.
I know they are shit get what you pay fors but didn't expect that. Not even worth buying it as "if it lasts for a year I got my moneys worth".
In your case, since you use it so infrequently, the battery may have discharged to low for too long and it's hosed.
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Stubby wrote:

You can test it with a voltmeter. A 9.6v battery has 8 cells of 1.2 V each. If shortly after charging the voltage drops below 9.6, cells have shorted.
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