Keep Rechargeable Batteries Longer With DIY Battery Reconditioner

rechargeable batteries in a charger

Migrated Image / William Booz/ Flickr

One of the most annoying things about rechargeable batteries is their short lifespan -- the more you recharge them, the less charge they seem to hold. But a cool DIY project could help you save money and keep those AAs longer. The project is by msuzuki777 on Instructables, a "lazy old geek" with a lot of rechargeable batteries that needed a fresh start. He found an article on how to restore nickel-based batteries and came up with a DIY project that takes batteries through the necessary steps, which are:

1. Fast discharge the battery from 1.2-1.4 volts, down to 1 volt.
2. Discharge it slower to about 0.4 volts. Then recharge and see if it works.
This may have to be repeated several times.

The battery reconditioner can work on four batteries at a time, for AA or AAA. You'll need an Arduino, a small handful of spare parts, and grasp on some basic electrical theory, or the willingness to look up a few details on the web. It will likely take the average person an afternoon, or longer if you aren't as familiar with the parts and processes needed. But once done, your rechargeables will get the kick needed to keep them from heading to the recycling bin so soon.