Battery Reconditioning: An ultimate guide on Reconditioning the Battery

Over the years, batteries have stopped powering up the vehicle as they did in the past. However, it is not the reason, and you can revive it by battery reconditioning.

In this article, we will see what it is and the cases where you need it.  

What is Battery Reconditioning?

Battery reconditioning means reviving and rejuvenating your battery so that it starts to charge properly. 

How to Recondition the Battery?

Acid stratification and sulfation are the death of the battery.

Reconditioning can only be done when you reverse these two causes and restore the components.

Sulfation

Sulfation happens when the lead particles on the plates react with the sulphuric acid, causing the formation of a hard layer of lead sulfate over them.

As the layer forms, it covers all the active metal underneath that releases the free electrons for electric energy formation. 

As a result, the batteries die faster than they have to.

Even some junked batteries have enough chemical energy to power the whole vehicle, but since the sulfation has accumulated its plates, the energy is blocked from releasing.  

Causes

Sulfation results from suspending the lead plates in the acidic solution because the chemical reactions happen as soon as they come to contact.

These reactions are bound to happen, and without them, there will be no potential difference between the positive and negative plates. Hence, you cannot do anything about it. 

However, you can control the factors that will make sulfation faster. These factors are

  • Partially Discharged Battery: Leaving the battery unused for many days will worsen the sulfation.
  • Undercharging: The sulfation also worsens when you do not provide enough voltage to the battery during charging. When the charge voltage is low, the lead sulfate will not break down and dissolve into the acid-water solution. 

Fix

You can use the methods of desulfation for battery reconditioning.

In this method, you will again apply high voltage to the battery plate so that the sulfate crystals remove from them.

But, this voltage level can damage the plates rather than cleaning them. Hence, pulse voltage technology solves the issue. 

For desulfation, you can use two tools.

  • Desulfating/conditioning charger, which has desulfation mode in the conditioning charger
  • Desulfator, which is a standalone product, only designed for desulfation

Both of these methods have clamps that you can attach to the battery’s terminals and, upon operation, emit high-frequency pulse to the plates.

These pulses are short blasts of extremely high energy, so it doesn’t affect the overall environment of the batteries. 

As for the working, the high-voltage pulse causes resonance in the battery plates.

Due to this rhythmic beating, the plates shake, causing the crystals to break down and fall into the electrolyte.

The solution dissolves these crystals, restoring the byproduct to its original elements.

Acid Stratification

Open the hood of a car battery

Open the hood of a car battery

All batteries have a liquid material called the electrolyte, which transfers charges from negative to positive.

This medium is usually made of sulphuric acid mixed with distilled water in lead acid batteries.

When a battery suffers from acid layering, it indicates acid stratification due to poor mix-up.

Due to this, there are liquid layers inside the battery with different densities. 

The layer with more water will be on top of the container, whereas the layer with more acid will settle at the bottom.

As for the middle layer, where the concentration of water and acid is optimal, the battery only charges and discharges using this portion. 

Cause

The following reasons cause acid stratification in a battery

  • Undercharging: When you charge or operate the battery on lower voltages, layers of acid form. It is because the acid and water require full voltage to mix. Voltage can be lower due to poor-quality chargers or the components in the car taking too much power. 
  • Overcharging: If you are providing the battery too much voltage during charge, it can also cause the formation of separate hydrogen and oxygen ions. 
  •  Unused Battery: Again, in this case, the battery doesn’t get enough voltage to let the mixing happen and causes layering of the electrolyte. 

Although acid layering is not a common problem as sulfation, it can still cease the battery’s normal functioning.

Hence, you will need reconditioning process to be followed for this issue. 

Fix

Since the battery cannot operate properly when its important components are not okay, you must fix the issue as soon as possible.

As in acid stratification, the electrolyte is now affected, causing the movement of the charges to stop. 

As a solution, you can mix the electrolyte so that the layers are again mixed up from top to bottom of the battery.

The battery conditioners do the same thing, and they mix things up through the process called equalization. 

In equalization, you will apply a voltage across the nodes of the battery higher than the one it usually gets during charging.

This voltage will create a gassing environment in the battery that will cause the acid and the water to mix up. 

The bubbles form due to gassing and stir up the sulphuric acid settled at the bottom with the water on top.

As a result, the acid and water levels equalize across the battery, giving a larger crossectional area to the charges that have to pass from the positive to the negative plate. 

Good quality chargers can provide reconditioning modes that will provide the needed voltage level to the battery.

That way, the bubbling or gassing happens in the battery, but at a moderate level, so it doesn’t damage it.  

Dissection of a car battery

Dissection of a car battery

Safety Tips for Battery Recondition

While reconditioning a battery, it is best to consider some safety measures to prevent any harmful hazards since the electrolytes inside the battery may damage the body when it comes in contact with human skin, eyes, or clothes.

Hence, you should

  • Wear gloves to save your hands from the battery acid
  • Use goggles to avoid splatters from going into the eyes
  • Use an apron to protect your garments from acidic liquid
  • Keep a weak base solution on-hand to neutralize any acid spills. You can make it by using baking soda and water
  • Make sure that your workstation has proper airflow and ventilation. It reduces the chance of inhaling harmful fumes. You can also wear a mask to avoid breathing into the toxic air.

How to recondition a battery at home?

Corrosion on terminals of Car Battery

Corrosion on terminals of Car Battery

Recondition the batteries at home requires the following material

  • Battery Reconditioning Charger
  • Funnel
  • Epsom Salt
  • Water
  • Baking Soda
  • Voltmeter
  • Flathead Screwdriver
  • Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Apron
  • Bucket

Instructions

Prepare the battery

First of all, prep the battery terminals for the reconditioning.

For that, you have to see whether the terminals are clean and have no corrosion that will prevent the voltage from reaching the plates. 

If there is any buildup, you can clean it up using a basic solution of baking soda and water in the ratio of 2:1 or 1:1. Take the solution and rub it over the terminal using a brush.

You can also use a steel brush, wool, or sandpaper for a hard corrosive layer.

Check the Voltage Level

After the initial prep, you will need to check the voltage level of the battery.

For that, you will use a voltmeter with clear reading. Digital would be best in this case.

Clip the voltmeter’s black wire to the battery’s negative terminal and the red to the positive terminal.

Then check the reading on the screen when the battery is detached from the car and when it is attached, and the engine is running.

In a disconnected state, the reading must be 12.6V, and when the engine is running, it should give a 13.7 to 14.7V reading. 

If the readings are anywhere below this threshold, you will need reconditioning. 

Clean the battery

Remove the battery caps using a flathead screwdriver and empty the contents into a bucket.

Neutralize the inside of the battery using baking soda plus water solution and let it sit there for 1 to 2 minutes.

Shake the battery cell so that the plates are also fully cleaned.

Recondition the Battery 

As you are done with the cleaning, use Epsom salt and water solution to refill the battery cells.

For that, you have to keep the concentration of this solution around 1 molar. It can be created using 120 grams of salt in one liter of water. 

Fill each cell to the top level and return the cap over these cells.

Recharge the battery using a charger as you fill up all the cells.

Again, use red wire for the positive terminal and black for the negative, and let it charge the battery for 24 to 36 hours. 

After 24 to 36 hours, detach the battery and measure the voltage. If it shows an optimal voltage level, the battery returns to its original state.

Test the battery 

You can use a battery load tester to check whether the process succeeds.

Check whether the battery is sustaining 9.6V for 15 seconds at half of the CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) rating.

The higher the CCA rating, the better the quality of the battery since it will let the battery endure lower temperatures during winter.

However, if the battery fails the load test, repeat the recharging process and check the CCA rating.

Conclusion

Reconditioning a battery is important to improve its performance over time.

For that, you can follow the process mentioned above without any problem.

Also, you can talk to Cloom to solve your charging cable problems.