The world runs on the laws of physics. Understanding laws like gravity, inertia, and electromagnetism has enabled humanity to remain the dominant species on Earth. But those laws also set limits to how far certain technologies can advance. And the batteries you use to power your cars and homes are no different.
In the year 1800, no one except for a few genius minds could fathom that you could light and heat your homes without burning oil. Today, we can utilize lithium-ion batteries that are light enough to keep heavy cars running for hundreds of miles. Even with such advancements, the device eventually gives out its potential after a few years of extensive use.
Still, you need not start saving up to buy a new one. There are methods you can apply to extend a battery’s life cycle. If you want to know how to make battery health 100 again without casting spells, this guide is for you!
Causes For a Draining Battery Life
Regardless of the type of battery and how well you use it, there comes a time when it becomes incredibly inefficient at storing and supplying enough charges. Any battery has a fixed usage cycle, after which you might have to get it repaired or replace it altogether. Some common causes of the drain include:
Charging and Recharging Cycles
Every battery works on the principle of ion exchange. As the battery discharges, one electrode loses ions and electrons, and the other gains them through a circuit externally and an electrolyte internally. That flow gets reversed during charging.
Of course, the flow is not entirely efficient. Some ions get left in the electrolyte, whereas many electrons lose their energy in the form of heat. So, after some time, there are fewer particles to store and transfer electricity, which translates to a less efficient battery.
No matter how well you seal a battery, some electrolyte leaks from the valves or through the terminals. Ever wondered why a room filled with lead acid batteries smells foul? That’s because of the vaporized sulfuric acid in the air. While the process is slow for new batteries, it accelerates as the thermal runoff forces more of the electrolyte to leave its supposed place. Eventually, there is so little left that it becomes unreasonable to store any electricity.
The charging and recharging cycles take their toll on the electrodes as well. Over time, the electrodes start reacting with other chemicals instead of the electrolyte ions like they’re supposed to. Imagine it like you being left alive on a large island where you have everything you will ever need, and all you have to do is cut one tree each day. There will be a time when you will get fed up with the routine and try building a boat to explore more of what lies beyond the horizon.
As the electrode degrades, it gets undesirable spots that reduce its efficiency. Iron sulfate deposits are a common occurrence in lead acid batteries. They ultimately give out, and you must replace or clean the electrodes to continue using them.
How to Check the Status of a Battery
The decomposition of a battery is a gradual process. Therefore, you can detect it early and take the necessary precautions to save you potentially hundreds of dollars on replacements. A few proven methods include the following.
There are telltale signs that a battery is about to go dull you can spot without any equipment. It starts giving off a strong smell even after a thorough cleaning. There are humming sounds at the terminals, and you can feel immense heat by holding your hand just a few inches from them.
Using a Multimeter
A multimeter is a must-have if you have to deal with anything electrical, which is almost your entire house these days. Set it to detect the voltage within a range as per the battery specifications and measure it across both terminals. You may have to keep the manual handy. If the battery’s capacity is 80% of its initial rating at full charge, then it is only viable for short-term emergencies.
Using a Hydrometer
As most lead-acid batteries have an aqueous solution, you can use a hydrometer to check whether it is performing at acceptable levels. Usually, the water-to-acid ratio is 65:35. If the water is more than 80% of the solution, you may need to add more concentrated acid to balance the reactions.
How to Make Battery Health 100 Again
Even if you encounter any of the phenomena mentioned above, you don’t need to throw out your battery immediately. You can get it back to 100 health using a few methods.
Replace the Electrolyte
You can drain the entire battery of the polluted electrolyte and add a new solution. It resets the ion exchanges and starts off your battery as good as new. Many battery replacement shops do just that, only selling the refurbished batteries as pricey as new since there is so little difference.
Clean the Electrodes
Cleaning the electrodes gets the ion exchange rate back on track and instills more life into the battery. You can even use cleaning reagents like Epsom salts that work without affecting the electrolyte and taking any sulfate deposits off the electrodes.
Swap Out the Terminals and External Wiring
When you change the terminal and wirings, you reseal the ports where electrolyte leakage occurs. That gives you extended battery life for only a few buck’s worths of investment. Moreover, new wires free from rusting can transmit the current more effectively.
Get a New Case
Sometimes, you replace so many parts and chemicals in a battery that the protective case is no longer usable. So, if you’ve tried everything and the battery is still not up to par, try putting all the components in a newer, more intact case. It may not have any leaking holes or detrimental chemicals that may have infected its predecessor.
Control the Battery Storage Environment
Once you replace the necessary parts, always check the environment where you keep the battery. It should be away from sunlight or open space, just close enough to the house’s electrical mains to minimize transmission losses. Temperature is a critical factor, too. High or low heat interferes with the charging/discharging reactions. Ensure that the temperature is kept no higher than 35°C (95°F) and no lower than 5°C (41°F).
Safety Measures to Consider
When dealing with chemicals, there is always the risk of poisoning or chemical burns. Thus, you should exercise a few precautionary measures to ensure your safety.
- Wear insulating gloves whenever dealing with wires or electrodes.
- Wear a face mask and full-sleeved clothes when draining or refilling electrolytes.
- Always perform battery maintenance in an isolated location, away from any bystanders or plant life.
- When checking the battery or making repairs, disconnect all wires from your home’s/car’s power supply.
- Clean the terminals and coat them with petroleum jelly before reconnecting.
And that concludes your definitive guide on how to make battery health 100 again. Do you think that we’ll have genuinely no-maintenance batteries in the future? What are your thoughts on keeping a battery healthy? Share your ideas in the comments below.