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My DSLR, like most, uses a proprietary lithium-ion battery pack. I've got four batteries that have been used quite a lot. Only two of them can be reliably charged and used for any significant length of time.

Is there any way to revive a battery with diminished capacity? I realize that eventually, they do wear out forever. But is there a possibility that some sort of reconditioning would extend their useful life?

Failing that, is there any way to turn the old batteries over for recycling, and to get a recycling credit towards the purchase of a new one?

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a recycling credit? wow, where do you live that such a concept is in place??? Around here we have to pay a hazardous materials fee to dispose of rechargeable batteries. (it's not much, was like $1.50 for my last batch of 8 AAs.) –  cabbey Mar 30 '11 at 8:56
    
I don't know of any such thing, I was hoping someone else did. Mail in two dead batteries and get $10 off the purchase of a new one, something like that. Demand for lithium has surged, and batteries are the number-one use for it now; it wouldn't be surprising to hear there was some effort to recycle it. –  Lyman Enders Knowles Apr 1 '11 at 0:08
    
"There is currently little economic need to recycle lithium-ion batteries. Most batteries contain only small amounts of lithium carbonate as a percentage of weight and the material is relatively inexpensive compared to most other metals." — technologyreview.com/energy/23215/?a=f –  cabbey Apr 1 '11 at 6:15

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

If they're fading away (as opposed to just suddenly died) no, there isn't much that can be done for them. Every charge/discharge cycle builds up crystals inside the battery that detract from it's electrical carrying capacity.

Depending on the type of metal used in the chemistry, there are some things that can be done to pro-long the life of Lithium batteries before they get to that point though. The simplest is to store them at a lower charge level. So if you have 4 batteries, and 3 of them spend 75% of the time sitting on the shelf, or in your bag, then make sure they sit there in storage drained. Don't charge them up until you're about to head out on a trip where you need them, instead of charging them as soon as you get home from the previous one. You can also make sure you store them in a cool location, or better a cold location. Both of those will preserve their ability to hold a charge longer.

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The optimal storage charge for lithium batteries is around 40%. I have no idea how you figure out when your camera battery is at 40%, though. –  mattdm Mar 30 '11 at 11:23
    
yeah, unless your camera reports it, it's pretty hard. I just go with the "don't recharge it until you need it" route. –  cabbey Mar 30 '11 at 17:12
2  
I go the "don't worry about it and just buy new batteries when they seem worn out" route. :) –  mattdm Mar 30 '11 at 17:31

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