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Minnesota Musing: 18 Volt Battery Reconditioning

Updated on January 21, 2017

Battery Recharging

I have a bag full of Ryobi Power Plus 18 volt power tools. I also have several batteries to use with these handy tools. I also have an extra charger.

The problem? My batteries no longer hold a charge for very long. My husband said that he had heard that Batteries Plus would recondition them for a small fee, which was less expensive than buying a new $100 battery since we have quite a few battery packs that are functioning less than their intended power.

I was told that Batteries Plus would refurbish the batteries and when I went to their webpage, saw nothing about refurbishing.

I Researched Online

When I Googled battery reconditioning, I was presented with a list of pages that were unavailable to me. There was no safe Norton signature on their page, just a black question mark, which made it impossible to check out their page. All my computer would give me was a picture of a sheet of paper with a sad face.

Interesting Diversions

Now, I did learn a few new things today. I learned that if you want to learn to recondition hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) batteries, there is a course that you can take and start a repair service.

The class costs $375 dollars and classes are limited to 12 people.

YouTube Instructions

As I Google, it seems that there are a few videos on how to recondition 18 volt batteries, so I am going to watch one and I will include it on this page. Perhaps we can learn together.

18 Volt Ryobi Batteries

Well, so, I have seven 18 Volt batteries in a box, just sitting there. They don't work. When you put the Ryobi batteries in the charger, the orange yellow light and the green light light up at the same time.

According to the experts, when those two are lit up, we are told that the batteries are toast and that we have no choice but to buy new batteries.

Professional Reset

I did drive to Batteries Plus in Mankato and I did inquire whether they did reconditioning of 18 volt batteries. Yes. They do.

How much does it cost to redo a battery? He told me that they charge $55 for each one. Well. That's more than the $10 figure that I was picturing. I said I'd think about it. That I had seven batteries. He said, with seven there is a discount. The discount brought the price down to $51.

Ugh. I said I'd think about it and be back. I drove away, with my dead batteries.


I went on my computer and watched a few videos at Youtube. They ranged from guys who showed the steps, to guys who explained why the steps worked, to guys who did extreme things to the batteries and, like television stunt men, advised that you should not do these thing in your own home, that you'd be dead.

Well, then.

So, you have to be careful when you perform a battery reconditioning function. Ohhh.

Well. I started with my first battery, put it in the charger and had the two 'dead' lights light up.

A Few Facts About the Charger

Okay, so, the lights on my charger indicate that the battery doesn't work. Apparently how these lights work, is that the battery is the only thing that lights them up.

Isn't that interesting? It takes a certain amount of power to light each light on your charger. The power comes from your battery. How clever, eh?

A Few Facts About the Batteries

The battery has a few batteries inside, hooked up in series, which means they have soldered the ends to the next battery from the first battery to the next battery and their power multiplies until it comes off the last battery, each single battery producing approximately 3 volts, but in series three times five is eighteen. 18 Volts.

The are encased in a protective shell and that can be opened with a screwdriver. If you have a lot of time on your hands, you can cut the non functioning batteries off and resolder new batteries on, but, unless you do it correctly, it's not guaranteed.

A Few Facts About the Circuit Board

These batteries have a circuit board that, in time, can grow things on it that will decrease the overall functioning of your battery.

Circuit boards get an electronic mold on them, called a dendrite. A dendite basically is a growth that causes a connection between things that should not be in contact. If you cause a certain amount of power to go through a dendrite, it will electronically ignite and burn off, leaving the circuit able to function again.

Shocking or Exciting Your Battery

My only hope for my batteries, was to shock or excite them. If you can cause a build up of power going to your battery for a short period of time, it's supposed to be enough to perform a shocking to the board

The steps that I followed:

  1. take a finger, spit on it, and put your spit on the three contacts on the battery.
  2. insert the battery into the charger
  3. unplug the charger
  4. plug the charger
  5. unplug the charger

Repeat the plug/unplugging until the orange and green lights go out and the red light comes on. When your red light goes on, your battery is okay and is ready to take a charge.


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