Reviving old NiCd batteries

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<stuff snipped>

FWIW, I still have about 20 Lafayette hi-cap NiCads that were always stored fully charged that still take and hold a charge. I've had cheap Chinese batteries fail no matter which way they were stored. I've also tried the whisker burning zapping method but the cells would never work as well as unwhiskered cells afterwards. The damn whiskers would ALWAYS grow back.
I finally got a LaCrosse charger with an LCD readout of charge rates, voltage, amount of charge taken, etc. for each individual battery (it holds four AA/AAA's. When a cell turns up bad (i.e. takes 3Ah of charge instead of 800mAh) into the trash it goes. Life's too short to risk injury from zapping. I had an AAA NiCad cell explode with the force of a .22LR. That was that for zapping. I found myself asking "are you so damn cheap you can't throw away a bad battery?"
I also test cells by charging them up and bagging them with a date on them. A month or two later I discard all the cells that show under 1 volt. I've had some interesting results with the newer NiMH batteries that can hold 80% of their charge for a year. Oddly, the expensive Enerloop batteries fared much worse in my tests than the much cheaper AC/Delco version. Go figure. I'm guessing that each battery maker uses slightly different "goo" and manufacturing techniques and one size/method of charging does NOT fit all.
I might try adding "drained and shorted" to some of what my wife fondly calls "my science projects" but I've largely stopped using individual NiCad cells for anything. Not enough power or longevity of charge compared to NiMH. The new AC/Delco's seem to be ideal for things that tend to get accidentally left on.
-- Bobby G.
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On Jun 20, 7:44 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

At least I've cited multiple credible sources that disagree with Panasonic. You've cited exactly one source, Panasonic and choose to rely on that to establish what you call best practice. And even that one source does not say that not keeping them charged in storage will lead to damage, shorter life, etc. It's quite possible it only leads to what some of the other sources say, which is that if left discharged it will take several charge/discharge cycles to get them back to full capacity. That could be behind the Panasonic recommendation, but we don't know because Panasonic does not explain what the issue is.
Relying on one source and then claiming that establishes best practices is a big leap.
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On Tue, 21 Jun 2011 05:34:50 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

always been taught - and from Β what I gather from the very limited information on the net, nothing has changed my mind." do you not understand?
There is not enough definitive information on the net to establish what is correct - or if there is, in fact, any REAL difference. Over the years I've been taught you keep them charged, but not on float, if you cannot store them DEAD and shorted - and you NEVER short a string of cells in series.
Shorted dead strings are OUT due to the danger of cell reversal. That leaves dead open circuit, or charged.. The question that remains is which is most likely to grow cadmium needles?? It APPEARS dead open circuit batteries are more likely to suffer this than charged batteries, but nothing totally definitive has been produced to say for sure.
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On Jun 21, 8:43 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

The part where you then proceed to claim that the " best practice" is not to store them discharged. Fact is, if anything, there are more sources saying to in fact store them discharged. It's Panasonic that says that you should keep them charged.

The part where you then proceed to claim that the " best practice" is not to store them discharged.

Again, YOU are the only one here who ever suggested shorting batteries. None of the sources I've seen, nor the many I've cited say that.

Appears based on exactly what? Certainly nothing that you've cited, just your own speculation. The one source you provided, Panasonic, doesn't say it.
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On Wed, 22 Jun 2011 03:41:12 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

It's not like you have a choice. They *are* going to self-discharge anyway. The worst possible condition is to store NiCds on a constant charge. Storing them discharged is the only other possibility. ;-)

Shorting *any* battery is a dumb thing to do.
<...>
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On Wed, 22 Jun 2011 03:41:12 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

source, for information about cell reversal, and mention of shorting cells for storage - but I don't use Wikipedia as a sourse.
http://www.saftbatteries.com/SAFT/UploadedFiles/Aircraft/PDF/tn1.pdf is talking about flooded NiCad batteries and recommends storing them filled and discharged, and notes that shorting is not required. NOTE - This is a FLOODED battery for aircraft use.
Nasa is the only source that I have found on the net so far that is not manufacturer specific OR just some useless rambling by idiots like yourself and Me.
They are quoted here: http://users.frii.com/dlc/battery.htm and I'll quote from there so you don't need to follow the link and then find the relevant part.
SOME of this is not from the NASA site - so best you look up the link given - and research the rest yourself (from Nasa - it should be on the net somewhere in "virgin" form).
What you are looking for is: NASA Reference Publication 1326, February 1994 Handbook for Handling and Storage of Nickel-Cadmium Batteries: Lessons Learned by Floyd E. Ford Swales & Associates, Beltsville, Maryland) and Gopalakrishna M. Rao, Thomas Y. Yi (Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland) Published by NASA Scientific and Technical Information Branch.
"Storage of NiCd Batteries Guideline No. 2 Flight batteries should be maintained in a discharged and shorted condition and stored at cold temperatures when not required for "critical" spacecraft testing. Optimal temperature is around 0 degrees C. NASA does it this way:
Discharge at C/2 constant current rate to first cell at 1.0 Volts Drain each cell with a 1 ohm resistor to less than 0.03V Short each cell with a bar Place batteries in a sealed bag with dessicant (stops condensation) Store in cold temperature (about 0 deg C) "
Also: "Guideline No. 8 Batteries should not stand on open circuit for more than 7 days without being charged. Charging should be initiated only after implementing Guideline No. 3. "
Also: "Guideline No. 9 A battery should be "reconditioned" if it has been on open circuit, subjected to intermittent use, i.e, open circuit, trickle charge, occasional discharge, etc., for a period of 30 days. Reconditioning is effected by performing the following sequence at 20 deg C:
discharge at C/2 constant current rate to first cell at 1.0V Drain each cell with 1 ohm resistor to less than 0.03V Short each cell for a minimum of 4 hours Recharge battery at C/20 constant current rate for 40 hours +/- 4 hours (see NOTE below) NOTE: The re-charge method following step 2 is not critical if the cells have not been discharged and shorted for extended periods. After a few hours (4-8) at the C/20 rate, charging at high rates is acceptable. If the battery is integrated into the spacecraft, final charging can be accomplished with the spacecraft battery charger. "
Also: "The final one is our most common fault, don't let your packs just lie around. When not in use they should be either stored shorted, or, if you are about to race with one, on a C/60 or C/100 trickle charge in preparation for use. When I say shorted I mean that each cell is shorted, not the whole pack. You can't short your whole pack at once without risking damage to it! Also note the careful process used to short cells."
Note, Batteries stored discherged - one cell at a time - and shorted. We do not know if these are flooded cells or "dry" type cells.
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For the record, zapping will only temporally fix cells. Charging them making them warm all the time is very bad. I charge my Johnson nicads, almost 50 years old, once every 2 or 3 years, and the receiver always works.
Greg
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wrote:

like that any more!!!!
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On Fri, 17 Jun 2011 07:58:21 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

that are shorting out the cell. The battery works untill the burned off tendrils regro, shorting the battery again. This may be hours, weeks, or months - then you have to do it again. A BIG capacitor, charged to a voltage at least 4X cell voltage, and discharged across the battery usually does the trick - just a couple of similar batteries MAY, but I would't count on it as their internal resistace may be high enough to limit the current to a level too low to do the job. You want to VAPOURIZE the little suckers.
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On Fri, 17 Jun 2011 07:04:49 -0700 (PDT), RicodJour

The trick that people used in the olden days was zapping them with a big capacitor. You charge it up to the battery voltage or a little more and then discharge it across the battery (plus to plus). Do that a couple times and it blows the internal shorts out. (small hairs grow between the elements) The down side is if the battery pack has a fuse, you probably blow the fuse.
I have also heard of people doing the same thing with a car battery but the down side of that is that the battery pack can blow up if there are to many internal shorts.
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car batteries plates are consumed and fall apart after awhile, you might get a shorted cell once in a great while but the vast majority of car batteries plates just disengrate
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He's refering to USING the car battery to zap the nicad, not trying to restore a car battery.
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wrote:

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wrote:

I was talking about using the car battery to fix the nicad
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On Jun 18, 11:56 am, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Sorry i miss toook what you said:(
But nicad cell wear out too, one failure must be shorted cell, but nothing lasts forever:(
A local tool store had a big business going for awhile, apparently zapping battery packs. Ther business ended as people lined up for refunds....
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In message

cells) for around 5 seconds with a 'pokey' 12V car battery charger. The 20A ammeter rattles on the end-stop. The battery gets hot, so caution is advised.
The next step is to measure the short-circuit current (typically over 5A with an AA cell), letting the current drop to near zero (it usually only takes a few seconds). Next, I measure the voltage. If the battery is recovering from the short circuit (voltage rising slowly), then the whisker has been successfully vaporised, and it can be given a charge. If not, I try a repeat zap or two. If still no go, the battery gets marked for 'green' disposal.
I've got a few surviving batteries which are nearly 30 years old.
--
ian

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Interesting. I like the computer power supply idea. The part I don't like is that last weekend I brought all of the electronic recyclable stuff to the recycling center dropoff. Hmmm, I wonder who's not using their computer around here....? ;)
Thanks for the info and idea.
R
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On Tue, 21 Jun 2011 22:37:24 -0700 (PDT), RicodJour

want it to be "simple"
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wrote:

You are correct - it's not rocket science - but the old XT/AT supplies were also significantly more reliable. LOTS of them still going strong at 20 years of age, while the "average" ATX supply is toast in less than 10 - many not lasting 2.
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On 6/22/2011 9:57 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Yea, the original IBM PC made in America was built like a tank with high quality components which is why the darn things cost 4-5 thousand dollars back then. :-)
TDD
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