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18 volt ryobi batteries wont hold charge

Someone said there is a quick fix for this I am interested in finding out how to do this.Thx Paul

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  • David Ford
    David Ford May 11, 2010

    If this is a NiCad I have heard that you can put the battery in the freezer for 24hrs. Let come to room temperature after removing and then try and recharging. I personally have not tried this but a few people tell me that they have had luck with it. How old are the batterys because they are designed to last x number of recharging cycles and your battery might just be consumed and need replaced. Dave

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NiCads stop taking a charge because microscopic crystals build between the individual battery cells (inside the pack) and the leads between them. here is what i have done for my craftsmen NiCad 18 volt batteries to get them to once again hold a charge:

you'll need ~2 to 3 times the voltage that you are using. for instance, if you've got a 14v drill battery that has stopped working, then you'll need 28-42 volts, 18v will need 36-54 volts. i have found 3 car (or motorcycle or lawn tractor) batteries work fine. so i have 2 motorcycle batteries and 1 tractor battery.

i hook these car/motorcycle/tractor batteries up in series. positive from one batt to the negative of the next and so on until i have one positive lead not connected and one negative lead not connected.

something like this: --(batt)+_--(batt)+_--(batt)+

then with safety glasses on i touch the positive lead from the motorcycle battery to the positive tab of the NiCad drill battery with one hand and the negative lead of the tractor battery to the negative tab of the NiCad drill battery (at the same time) and count to 3. i remove and wait a few seconds (5-7) and repeat 2 more times.

once the last ZAP is done, place the NiCad drill battery into the charger and see if the charge light illuminates. if it does, then you have just saved a battery from the land fill and some $$ from your pocket. if it doesn't, then try to repeat it once more, but no more after that.

some word of caution. do not let the the + & - leads of the car/motorcycle/tractor batteries touch each other. that's 36 volts you've got there and will spark/explode.

also, if during the zapping of the dead NiCad battery you hear a "pop", one NiCad cell inside the battery pack has given up the ghost and now the battery is trash for sure. take it to radio shack for recycling. do NOT attempt to zap it again.

use at least 14-16 guage wire (or larger which is a smaller number) to connect the batteries in series and also to zap the NiCad drill batteries.

one final note: do NOT use this method on Lithium Ion batteries. it will not work and may cause injury!!!

good luck.

Posted on Jan 31, 2009

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I want to try this zap thing. I went to do it last weekend and thought it might be a good idea to take the battery case apart and look inside. The battery just needed a couple of connections in the battery soldered. Works great. No zap thing required. I still want to try it, but for know I have to wait.

Posted on Feb 19, 2009

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I hope this makes some sence as my english is not that good and it was a bit hard explaining my thoughts:)

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