Welder saves nicad batteries!
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  1. #1
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    Welder saves nicad batteries!

    Got battery-powered tools? Experienced failed batteries? Purchased new batteries, taken the case apart and replaced dying cells? Me too!
    How'd you like a simple, cheap and super-fast way to return them to peak performance? ***Use your welder!***

    I saw on YouTube a way to do this using a welder... tried it...
    IT WORKED GREAT ON MY NICAD BATTERIES!

    What you do is...
    1. connect your welder negative ground clamp to the negative terminal of the battery
    2. briefly touch the positive output of your welder to the positive terminal of the battery... repeat 5 to 10 times
    3. try the 'fixed' battery in your power tool, if good you're done, else go back to 2)

    See the photo's...
    I used wood screws to connect the welder to, in order to protect the battery terminals when I touched them - arc strikes.
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    In the photo below I used a DC arc welder, briefly tapping a positve electrode (flux removed from end to prevent any sustained arc) on a wood screw pressed again the positive terminal of the battery.
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    My recent experience...
    I had three 14.4 volt NiCd batteries for my electric drill. I had rebuilt each one of them at least once, using any NiCd batteries that I had found on clearance sales; I removed the cells from the 'new' batteries (different battery cases) and used those new cells as needed to replace the low voltage cells in my existing batteries. That worked but it was time consuming... requiring disassembly of the batteries and much soldering.
    I tried this Welder Trick = Simple, Fast & Easy.

    I would describe my three batteries as #1: poor, #2 fair, #3 good.
    I recovered battery #1 using my Mig welder - set at 130 amps.
    I recovered battery #2 using my Arc welder - set at 130 amps.
    After the welder-trick, batteries #1 and #2 were better than #3! So I gave #3 the same treatment (arc welder) as #2 and #3 picked up full performance too.

    This use of a welder to recover ailing or dying NiCd batteries is Beautiful!
    It seems that the momenatary burst of high amperage burns away the 'soft' short circuits inside the cells. It's these semi-short circuits that drain away the cell's power. The weak cell charges fast and the battery voltage looks good... until you put a load on it, then he battery voltage quickly drops and your power tool is useless. Left sitting, a fully charged NiCd drops in voltage over a few days and you go to use it - it doesn't last long! Once the cell has lost its charge, it acts like a resistor to the flow of current from all the other good cells. Your power tool slows down early because it's not getting full voltage or amperage - because the power is going into heating up the weak cell(s).

    This is a Great Trick - Rejunivinate your Ailing NiCd Batteries.
    Likely also work too for Nickel Metal-Hydride batteries.
    I don't know about Lithium Ion batteries - different fish entirely!

    Trick worked great for me... maybe save you a few bucks.
    Rick V

    1 Airco Heliwelder 3A/DDR
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  2. #2
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    Re: Welder saves nicad batteries!

    ...Is that safe? I'd hate to have a battery explode on somebody...

  3. #3
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    Re: Welder saves nicad batteries!

    Good Question!
    I figure it's safe enough. I wore safety glasses.
    The thing is one just touches the terminals briefly, sort of like, pop, pop, pop.... don't let current flow any more than for say 1/2 second each pop.
    Compared to disassembling the battery, cuttting out cells and resoldering new ones in.... I think there less chance of burning up something; also the cells are not exposed; they're always inside the battery case.
    Rick V

    1 Airco Heliwelder 3A/DDR
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  4. #4
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    Re: Welder saves nicad batteries!

    I would not reccomemnd using a welder but I do refresh batteries quite regularly. I usually use an old transformer of at least 1.5x the batteries voltage and not more than 1 amp. THis only works on NiCd and NiMh batteries - do it to a lithium and find somebody to open your Ketchup for the rest of your days.
    The reason this works is that over time batteries for dendrites, microscopic hair like thingamabobs, internally. Dendrites cause shorts inside the battery wasting juice and creating heat. When you over amp a battery you burn thos hairs out - just like fuses. Ive got a dozen or so 18v dewalt batteries that I have gotten on fix two keep one deals. Keep a multimeter handy to confirm polarity before you start and a tool to drain the battery with (idealy a flashlight). Spike charge and drain a few cycles and your almost good as new.
    When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, "This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know," the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives.

  5. #5
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    Re: Welder saves nicad batteries!

    I did this years ago to desulphate my old drills nicad batteries. It helps a bit for a little while, definitely doesn't fix them though.
    Welding/Fab Pics: www.UtahWeld.com

  6. #6
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    Re: Welder saves nicad batteries!

    Not too knit-pick MikeGyver but there is no sulphate in NiCd batteries; lead-acid batteries yes, NiCds no.
    As to helping a bit for a little while and not fixing them... well I'll see over the next few months.
    It's logical the way ot works - dendrites zapped as per SOR1911's post.
    All I know at the moment was that my battery number 1 was ailing for over a year, now BINGO, its my strongest battery!
    I look back now at several 2.5AH cells from a Millwakee drill that I chucked and sigh... would have been great to have been able to save those.

    Over the past 12 years, I have spent about $100 on close-out batteries to disassemble and use their cells as feedstock for my ailing batteries. This trick could have saved my money and a lot of tedious work.

    Look at it this way... if your battery is next to useless, why not try it... after all you do have a welder.
    Rick V

    1 Airco Heliwelder 3A/DDR
    3 CTC 70/90 amp Stick/Tig Inverters in Parallel
    1 Lincoln MIG PAK 15
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  7. #7
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    Re: Welder saves nicad batteries!

    Rick
    I have a couple of Milwaukee 28 Volt LI batteries that I would like to rebuild. Where do you get the LI cells, also I heard you should buy the cells with the tabs already soldered on as it is difficult to solder them yourself without damaging the cell.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Welder saves nicad batteries!

    Hey bigb... can't help you; all my power tools use nickel cadmium or nickel metal-hydride batteries. Now my lap top computer and Kindle do use the Lithium Ion type batteries, but I have no practical experience with those batteries.
    Best guess would be to goggle it; likely a dedicated battery store like Total Battery would have what you're after.

    Soldering... the factory tabs I've seen were shiny steel and spot welded on. I used to peel them off the old cells (twist em around needle nose pliers), straighten them out and solder em onto the new cells. To get the solder to adhere to the steel, I had to use an acid flux - best was a liquid flux available at stores that sell stained-glass supplies. Had to use a big solder gun, got in there fast and out fast; I used to pre-tin the tabs and a spot on the cell top/bottom then place the tab over the stop and quickly melt them together.

    I hope that helps...
    Rick V

    1 Airco Heliwelder 3A/DDR
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  9. #9
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    Re: Welder saves nicad batteries!

    Pretty cool trick! I had some nicads from and old railroad radio that were dead as a stump. I saw something like this somewhere on the internet, but didn't have a DC machine. Good to know this works!
    -Alex

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  10. #10
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    Re: Welder saves nicad batteries!

    This is pretty interesting. My old Porter-Cable 12v died a couple of years ago. I sent them away to have them rebuilt and they came back working, but didn't last out the year. I looked into buying the cells and rebuilding myself, but picked up a new lithium drill instead. It'd be great to bring back the batteries and have a backup cordless.

    Now I don't have a stick welder, but I do have one of those portable jump starters. Do you think this might work?

  11. #11
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    Re: Welder saves nicad batteries!

    This isn't that "$13 trick to rejuvinate ni-cd batteries" thing on craigslist, is it?

  12. #12
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    Re: Welder saves nicad batteries!

    Quote Originally Posted by villageboatshop View Post
    ...Now I don't have a stick welder, but I do have one of those portable jump starters. Do you think this might work?
    ??? No idea... maybe/maybe not. I suspect that the voltage on a jump-start pack is about 15 to 18 volts. In that case, I doubt it would work to zap 18 volt power tool batteries because there is not enough voltage difference to drive a high current pulse through the power-tool battery. I doubt it would work for 14.4 volt batteries either. 12 volt batteries - questionable. Maybe ok for a 9 volt battery.

    With a MIG or Arc welder, you have an arc voltage of about 25 to 30 volts, a lot more than the 12 - 18 volt power-tool battery, so it works. Now, it might not work on a 24 volt power-tool battery.

    Quote Originally Posted by 3 weelin geezer View Post
    This isn't that "$13 trick to rejuvinate ni-cd batteries" thing on craigslist, is it?
    I don't know what your referring to; I'm not selling anything. This is free!
    Rick V

    1 Airco Heliwelder 3A/DDR
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  13. #13
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    Re: Welder saves nicad batteries!

    i gotta try this out on a bunch of 12v and 9v makita batts i got. i like the drills but their batteries suck. thanks Rick.
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  14. #14
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    Re: Welder saves nicad batteries!

    SRO1911 is absolutely correct, we have done this for years using a different technique though. We always used a large capacitor about 2000uf or so charged from a 12 volt supply. Discharging it across each cell yields a very high current for a very small amount of time. Seen it work many times and for a suprisingly long time.

  15. #15
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    Re: Welder saves nicad batteries!

    As I mentioned, I use a fairly low amperage at 1.5 to 2x nominal battery voltage. Since it has obviously worked for someone I cant say NOT ot use a welder but - even all the way down it would seem thats a whole lot of amps on some very fine wires.
    The 12 volt jump starter will work - DON NOT clamp it on the battery. - use alligator clips or similar and just brush the hot leads together - use a multimeter and check battery voltage after every pass. (it helps if the battery is totally dead before you start ... less than 10 percent of rated volts)
    When rebuilding them from scratch using sub-C cells save yourself some headache and buy the ones with tabs. Also - there are very few actual manufactures of the cells themselves, they are all about the same. After production they are sorted, they all look identical and go through all the same steps but they dont all come out just the same. The sorting is to determine mAh class - the higher the better, and the more expensive. Quality tools will come with higher tier cells - i.e. hilti, dewalt, Milwaukee , will get first pick, usually cells over 2500mAh - thne you get rigid, ryobi, b&d, etc. taking the 2000-2400 classes, and so on until HF, PA and, northern pick up the dreggs which can often be less than 800mHa.
    Amp hours are basically a 'capacity' rating - how much juice a battery will put out. just under two dollars each for 2900mha cells vs less than 50 cents for a 1200mha on amazon. Multiply that times 15 (1.2v per cell) for an 18 volt battery pack. Even the cheap dewalt batts are 50+ dollars each new and 30 to rebuild.
    When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, "This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know," the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives.

  16. #16
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    Re: Welder saves nicad batteries!

    Thanks Rick. I've had 2 18v nicads sitting on the shelf for 2 years. I was going to send them out to be rebuilt when I read your post. I zapped them as you showed, charged them up and tested them. It looks like they are working like new.

    Thanks again, you saved me $100.00

    Bob C

  17. #17
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    Re: Welder saves nicad batteries!

    Hey Bob_C, that's what we're here for... to help each other.
    Glad it worked for you too - saving the $$ is sweet and it's 'Green' - saving junking and/or recycling.
    Rick V

    1 Airco Heliwelder 3A/DDR
    3 CTC 70/90 amp Stick/Tig Inverters in Parallel
    1 Lincoln MIG PAK 15
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  18. #18
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    Re: Welder saves nicad batteries!

    Rick, Just a word of warning you shouldn't use acid flux with electrical connections. Galvanic corrosion will destroy the solder joint over time. The acid reacts with the electrical current and erodes away the metal.

  19. #19
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    Re: Welder saves nicad batteries!

    Do not try this with lithium batteries as previously mentioned, they can and will go boom. You can re-cell them if you can determine what kind of cells are in them. They will have a generic marking with the battery type on them, new cells can be found through Google. Try to get cells that are of a larger capacity than what is in there and stick to ones with brand names you have heard of (eg.. Sanyo)

  20. #20
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    Re: Welder saves nicad batteries!

    Quote Originally Posted by ironmangq View Post
    Do not try this with lithium batteries as previously mentioned, they can and will go boom. You can re-cell them if you can determine what kind of cells are in them. They will have a generic marking with the battery type on them, new cells can be found through Google. Try to get cells that are of a larger capacity than what is in there and stick to ones with brand names you have heard of (eg.. Sanyo)
    I wonder though... has anyone actually tried it - oops... guess I should search on Goggle.
    I have lithium ions in my lap top computer... don't like em!
    10.2 volt 4.2 ampere-hour... yeah when new gave 2.5 hours, now 2 years later I'm lucky to get 1 hour! Thats like a 2 amp-hour battery... I could get that in the same size package from AA size nickel metal hydrides.,, a 'H' of a lot cheaper.
    Rick V

    1 Airco Heliwelder 3A/DDR
    3 CTC 70/90 amp Stick/Tig Inverters in Parallel
    1 Lincoln MIG PAK 15
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  21. #21
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    Re: Welder saves nicad batteries!

    form a article on batteries back in the 80's they suggested placing the batteries in the freezer overnight before attempting this. Supposedlly reduces chance of overheating the cell.

    john

  22. #22
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    Re: Welder saves nicad batteries!

    Rick
    Interesting read, have always heard of "someone" doing this, but never someone that had a name, got several packs would like to try, machine set on DC + or -, thanks for any help

  23. #23
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    Re: Welder saves nicad batteries!

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkWV View Post
    ...machine set on DC + or -, thanks for any help
    What you want is the welder DC+ output to the positive (+) terminal of the battery and the welder DC- to the negative (-) terminal of the battery. It's best to check the polarity output of the welder and the battery using a voltmeter.
    e.g. When I used my mig welder (solid wire/gas) I couldn't remember what the wire polarity was - having changed the polarity years before when I switched from flux core wire to solid/gas (MIG). I used a voltmeter... the wire was positive and the ground clamp negative.
    Good Luck... it's great when it works! Remember just a few a few high-current pops.
    Rick V

    1 Airco Heliwelder 3A/DDR
    3 CTC 70/90 amp Stick/Tig Inverters in Parallel
    1 Lincoln MIG PAK 15
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  24. #24
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    Re: Welder saves nicad batteries!

    Thanks Rick, will try it this weekend, have found 5 packs,know I have 6, think 1 is hiding under pink elephant in corner of garage

  25. #25
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    Re: Welder saves nicad batteries!

    Ha... Pink Elephants!
    Rick V

    1 Airco Heliwelder 3A/DDR
    3 CTC 70/90 amp Stick/Tig Inverters in Parallel
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