DIY battery reconditioner saves old rechargeable batteries from the landfill


Instructables user [msuzuki777] had amassed quite a collection of batteries over the years, but was finding that some of his rechargeable AA and AAA cells seemed to be at the end of their useful life. After reading some information at the Battery University regarding the restoration process for nickel-based batteries, he figured he might as well try building a battery reconditioner of his own.

He worked through several designs that either flat-out did not work, or had issues that limited the number of batteries he could simultaneously recondition. After reading about this rechargeable battery capacity tester we featured a few months back, he was ready to give the project one more try.

It seems that the third try was the charm, because his FET-based design worked quite well. He ended up wiring two FETs to each battery, which are connected via a relay. The batteries get discharged until the voltage drops down to 1V, at which point one FET is turned off, allowing the batteries reach their target voltage of 0.4V more slowly.

Despite the self-proclaimed messy layout of his circuit, [msuzuki777] is quite happy with the results. He has been able to recover several batteries, which is a fantastic alternative to letting them decay in a landfill.