How to Reset a NiCad Battery

Resetting a NiCad battery helps to eek-out a better performance from a non-responsive, under-powered battery. The term ‘NiCad battery’ refers to a nickel-cadmium battery. The nickel end of the battery serves as the anode. The cadmium end serves as the cathode. The space between the cathode and the anode is filled with an electrolyte solution. This is commonly referred to as the battery fluid. Among most NiCad batteries, this fluid is a solution of potassium hydroxide. This fluid is largely responsible for sustaining the chemical reactions between the cathode and anode that in turn, produce the electric charge. NiCad batteries are preferred over the conventional, acid or lead/acid batteries since they have a longer life. NiCad batteries are easier-to-recharge and need lesser maintenance.

NiCad Battery Resetting Basics

If NiCad batteries are properly reset, they can be used repeatedly, without the need to get them professionally serviced. This is a major cost-saver. The resetting process can be easily done at home, using basic home supplies. It requires little technical expertise and poses no threat of electric shocks or harmful chemical reactions. Reset NiCad batteries are able to sustain the charge for a longer period. Though this necessarily may not improve the performance of the older batteries, it does ensure that they need recharging on a less, frequent basis.

Understanding NiCad Battery Resetting Issues

Among most NiCad batteries, the need for resetting is further created by a crystallization process. This is essentially a chemical process wherein small, crystal-like powder builds-up around the metallic surfaces of the battery. Among most batteries, this is an unavoidable problem. The crystal-like substance is produced as a by-product of chemical processes that power the battery.

Hence, the only way to rejuvenate old, nicad batteries is to reset them. This is also called ‘jumping’ the batteries. This combines manually removing the crystallized deposits and reversing the cathode-anode reaction for a short period.

Supplies Needed

  • Water
  • Dry cloth
  • Basic gear like plastic gloves
  • Standard battery charger (12V charger)
  • Battery tester
  • Metallic scraper

Step 1—Getting Started

Put on your plastic gloves. Disengage the battery. Ideally, you should switch-off the mains of the room in which the battery is located. Using the scraper, scratch-off the crystalline deposits. You can also use some lukewarm water if the deposits seem too hard. After cleaning the crystalline deposits, wipe the entire area with a dry cloth.

Step 2—Testing NiCad Battery

Using the battery tester, ensure whether the nicad battery is discharged. Most battery testers have red and black clamps. These can be easily secured over the similarly-colored markings on the battery.

Step 3—Identifying Anode-Cathode

Determine the negative node or the anode and the positive node or the cathode of the battery. The anode is usually located along the flatter end of the battery. The cathode is usually located at a slight elevation. This is done to aid the chemical reaction between the anode and cathode.

Step 4—Securing Battery Charger

Identify the black and red clamp on the battery charger. Wrap the black clamp of the battery charger on the anode of the NiCad battery. Similarly, secure the red clamp of the battery charger around the cathode. Ensure that you do this slowly. Speeding through this process can cause sparking.

Step 5—Reversing Battery Charge

As you hold down on both the clamps, simultaneously, the reaction between the anode and cathode is reversed. Do this repeatedly, after an interval of a few seconds between each resetting. Ensure that you don’t hold on to the clamps for more than 3 to 4 seconds, each time.

Step 6—Checking Resetting of NiCad Battery

Using the battery tester, test whether the NiCad battery has regained its charging capability. If not, repeat the charge-reversing step explained above.