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Thread: Can I actually "ZAP" my Nicads back to life?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Lafayette, Indiana

    Can I actually "ZAP" my Nicads back to life?

    Ok, many of you here are going to think I have lost my mind and maybe I have but I have been reading several articles tonight about how to bring my old dead rechargeable Ni cad (cordless drill) battery packs back to life. I have read everything from smacking them hard with a block of wood to "zapping" them with higher voltages to placing them in the freezer. The theory is that the cells have produced "crystals" within themselves and therefore short themselves out. By zapping them you break down these crystals and the cells will then again take a charge and continue to work again. The idea is to apply twice the voltage for just a few seconds then check the voltage with a meter until it responds with about 2 volts over the rating of the pack. Has anyone ever tried this?
    I read all this here on the INTERNET so it MUST be true. Right?
    Yes I know the battery will not be covered under warranty anymore and yes I understand that they can overheat and explode. So I am not suggesting to anyone to try it. I'm simply thinking of trying this for myself.

    Here is a link to one of the places I was reading.
    Last edited by Tom Baugues; 02-10-2011 at 12:06 AM.
    It's not what you achieve in life...It's what you overcome!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Central NY State
    I tried those things - the freezer, the car battery. Zip, nada, zero.

  3. #3
    I've done it to my 2 ridgid 18 volt nicad batteries. I used my mig welder to do it. I used a setting that had about 24 volts on it and then tapped it across the terminals. Before I did it the batteries would not take a charge. Now they will take a charge and would only charge to about 13 volts. After they sat for a few more months I did it again with another 18 volt battery and now they charge to their full 18 volts. Why that is I don't know but All I know is that I have 2 more batteries to use again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    more information then you probubly wanted...
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    I've not tried it, but if the packs are dead already, it doesn't seem like you have anything to lose by trying it. (Taking appropriate safety precautions, of course.)
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Decatur, Alabama
    I used to race RC cars back in the day with nicad batteries, adn there were a ton of tricks to charging and conditioning, because even .1v difference in a battery pack or 5-6 seconds life made a difference in winning/losing.

    We did dead shorting on packs, but you had to link each cell individually or there are side effects. Also there were battery "zapper" devices to get a little extra charge out of a battery pack. The results didn't last very long, only a few charges. A lot of people thought it shortened the overall lifespan of the batteries also.

    Usually when a battery pack dies, really you're only losing one cell out of it. It would be nice if it were easier to open/access the nicad packs and replace the bad battery.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Whittier, CA, USA
    I recently tried it on 4 18 volt battery packs. Tried it with 36 volt strung together battery packs, auto battery charger, MIG welder. A little better for a couple of charges, then back to useless.

    Dan Gonzales
    Whittier, CA, USA
    Dona nobis pacem

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Northern Lower Michigan/Troll
    I tried it on my Hilti's. Loved my Hilti stuff but it would go through batteries, and replacements for Hiltis are pricy. Didn't work.

    I switched to Makitas because the whole unit costs less than a Hilti battery set.

  9. #9
    Chris Hatfield is offline Former Member (by the member's request)
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    I'd save the time and upgrade to the Lithium, if its available for your tools. I did, and I'm not going back. I still have my original two Ni-Cds that I keep around, but I haven't bothered to charge them in months. They'll be relegated to the fan and radio once spring rolls around. The actual tools get the Lithiums.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    charleston wv
    i tried it on some milwaukee nicads and it didnt make no difference at all. packs were still weak and charge didnt last no longer. personly i think its a waste of time and the dangers involved arent worth it and my spelling sucks right now.

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