Extending life

Problem: Nicad batteries are used in a variety of portable power equipment, such as cordless drills and radio communication. Amp-hour use decreases with time and creates a characteristic known as memory, which builds in the battery.
By Staff September 1, 1998

Problem: Nicad batteries are used in a variety of portable power equipment, such as cordless drills and radio communication. Amp-hour use decreases with time and creates a characteristic known as memory, which builds in the battery. Setting the nicads on the charger does not exercise the batteries to eliminate this memory buildup. With this buildup comes decreased output capabilities from the battery source. How can you get around this problem?

Solution: Discharge the batteries completely by using a small light bulb equal to the voltage. The bulb limits the current sufficiently to drain the battery fully, and gives a visual reference as to the amount of current being discharged. Several charges revitalize the batteries and extend their life.

Contributor: David M. Welch, Electronic Repairman, Bethlehem Steel Corp., Burns Harbor, IN; 219-787-2533