How to Recondition Deep Cycle Batteries at Home

Batteries experience wear and tear. But before they die, sometimes they go into sleep or recovery mode. Deep cycle batteries, also called lead-acid batteries, are likely to die before you expect them to, usually because they have been used continuously. Typically, it would be best if you recondition them once a year to ensure they run efficiently.

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Using distilled water, baking soda, and Epsom salts, it is possible to recondition a deep-cycle battery in the comfort of your home. First, you’ll need to drain the acid from the battery. After that, heat distilled water and add Epsom salt to the mixture. Place a small amount of this solution in each of the battery cells. Charge the dead battery for 24 hours after removing the caps from the dead battery, then check the readings.

How to recondition batteries: Can You Recondition A Deep Cycle Battery?

Deep-cycle battery reconditioning is doable and relatively easy to do. These batteries come in 6 and 12 volts and are typically found in recreational vehicles such as campers and boats because they are required to be powered only for a short time.

How to restore a deep cycle battery?

You will need a few tools and household products to recondition the deep-cycle battery. Ensure you have them all before you get started. Here’s the checklist:

  • Safety goggles
  • Safety gloves
  • Distilled water
  • Epsom salt
  • Baking soda
  • A flat screwdriver
  • A funnel
  • Battery charger
  • The dead battery itself

Step 1: Using a load tester, get a reading on the charge on your dead battery. This device is used to measure the amperes produced by the battery. The result will be poor, but it will give you a sense of the current state of your battery. A good battery must produce a high charge so that your vehicle’s engine (say an RV) can get started. It is known as CCA or cold cranking amps. If the dial of the load tester is in the green area marked as “OK,” you are good to go. If it is in the red zone, you need to recondition it.

Step 2: Clean the terminals and surface of the battery with a tissue or a dry cloth to remove any dirt or debris. If you’re dealing with an old battery, you will see corrosion in the form of a white powder on the surface. Before you start the process of reconditioning, make sure you wear safety gloves and goggles. For cleaning, you can also make a quick cleaning agent by mixing water and baking powder.

Step 3: Twist the caps of the battery to loosen them. Depending on the model, you might have to use a flat screwdriver to get the job done.

Step 4: You will see acid inside the battery, which must be removed. Make sure you don’t get any of it on your skin or clothes as it will burn because, you know, it is acidic.

Step 5: Dispose of the acid safely.

Step 6: Mix baking soda with distilled water. You must add 10 ounces of baking soda for every gallon of water. Ideally, it would be best if you did this in small portions while ensuring that the baking soda is dissolved. It is a potent cleaning agent known to help significantly in all kinds of cleaning processes. Using this mixture, you will clean the insides of the battery.

Step 7: Use a funnel to slowly pour the baking soda and water solution into all the battery cells. Once the cells are filled, put back the battery caps and shake them for approximately 30 seconds. Remove the lids of the battery and get rid of the solution.

Step 8: Now, add Epsom salt to distilled water. For this step, heat the distilled water, so the salt dissolves easily. You must add 15 ounces of Epsom salt for every gallon of water. Prepare this baking soda and water solution for the next step.

Step 9: Pour the solution into all the cells of the battery.

Step 10: Using a battery charger, charge your dead battery for the next 24 hours without putting the caps back on. It is because sometimes the liquid might overflow while it is charging because of the heat it produces.

Step 11: After the said 24 hours, take another reading of your battery. If the process works, you would see an increase in the battery’s power. If you want to take it up a notch, you can charge the battery for another 24 hours by placing the charger in trickle mode. You are likely to see the Epsom salt and water solution overflowing again. In that case, disconnect the battery from the charger, clean the cells, and refill them with the solution as needed. Don’t forget to put your safety gear back on. Take another stab at the reading, and you should see better values. You should also take the battery to the load tester and check the amperes.

Step 12: Now drain the battery until it reaches a 10-volt reading and charges it to the maximum if you want to increase the CCA. This process is called cycling the battery.

Step 13: Even when the battery is at 100 percent, it is not uncommon to see some of the solution overflows. With your safety gear on, wipe off the excess liquid on the surface and check the amperes and voltage.

Refurbished deep cycle batteries can restore their original performance and usefulness.

Frequently Asked Questions

How To Recondition Batteries At Home?

Reconditioning batteries is a great way to get them working like new again. It involves removing any dirt or other substances that may interfere with its operation, then running it through an electrical cycle to clean out any residual material that didn’t get removed during manufacture.

Repeat this process until the battery reaches its full capacity once again. It is helpful if you have old car batteries that aren’t used anymore. You’ll always want to wear safety goggles when performing this procedure for safety reasons.

How To Recondition Lead Acid Battery?

The lead-acid battery reconditioning process cleanses the lead sulfate deposits from the plates and returns the battery to its original condition. You can recondition lead acid batteries by fully charging them, then slowly discharging them for several hours. Ensure to discharge the battery to zero volts (or as close as possible), then recharge it. Repeat this process several times.

How To Recondition Dead Batteries?

Recondition a dead battery using a battery charger to bring it back to life. Once fully charged, remove the battery from the charger and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then, reattach the battery to the charger and let it charge for an additional hour. This should be enough to bring your dead battery back to life.

How To Recondition Old Batteries

There are a few ways to recondition old batteries. One is to use a battery desulfator. A battery desulfator uses a pulsed current to remove the sulfur from the battery plates, which restores the battery to its original condition. You can also try using a battery rejuvenator, a device that sends a high-frequency AC signal through the battery. This signal breaks down the crystalline structure of the lead sulfate deposits on the battery plates, which restores lost capacity and allows for more charging and discharging cycles. Finally, you can try using a Battery Rejuvenation Technique, which involves boiling Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) in water and then pouring it over the corroded areas of the battery. This technique dissolves the lead sulfate deposits, which restores battery function.

No matter what method you choose, it’s essential to be patient and let the battery fully charge and discharge a few times before using it again. The battery may also take a while to reach its total capacity. So, if you need a working battery immediately, it might be best to buy a new one. But if you’re willing to wait, reconditioning an old battery can save you some money in the long run. Just follow the instructions carefully and take your time, so you don’t damage the battery further.

How Do I Know If My Deep Cycle Battery Is Bad?

You’ll know if a battery dies when it has a damaged cell. You will know if the voltage is acceptable when the battery is fully charged, but drastically drops when it uses power. It is hard to repair so you will need new batteries. If the charge of a deep cycle battery is less than 10 volts, it is tough to recondition it. It happens when the battery has been left in storage for too long.

How to Charge a Dead Deep Cycle Battery?

Most modern lead acid batteries have a 12-volt charge. If the battery is not overly sulfated, there are a few ways to bring it back to life. One of these is through Sulfation. Sulfation is when the battery plates develop sulfated oxide on the surface because they have not been used for too long.

If this is the case, it will take three to 20 cycles to be revived. Even then, they will not reach their original 100 percent capacity. Otherwise, you can connect a battery of the same power to the dead battery and revive it.

Turn the low voltage switch off and connect the good battery’s negative terminal to the dead battery’s negative terminal using jumper cables. Connect the dead battery to a charger and switch it on.

Keep an eye on the dead battery’s voltage using a voltmeter till it reaches 11.5 volts. Remove the good battery and keep charging the dead battery to the maximum. Ensure the battery does not overheat and the voltmeter reading doesn’t go higher than 15 volts. Disconnect the charger and leave the battery for about four hours. Recheck the readings to see if it is 12.8 volts.

How Long Will a Reconditioned Deep Cycle Battery Last?

It depends on usage, but a new one lasts for two to eight years. A reconditioned deep cycle battery used in a car can go on for another year. You can do it two or three times under normal circumstances. But still, it depends on the battery you are reconditioning, how many times you have reconditioned it, and for what reason you are using it.

How To Bring A Deep Cycle Battery Back To Life?

If your deep cycle battery is dead, please follow the steps below.

1. Clean the terminals and posts to ensure that electricity flows freely into and out of the battery.

2. Charge the battery using a trickle charger or a solar charger. Ensure to follow the instructions that come with your charger carefully.

3. Once the battery is charged, test it by attaching it to an inverter and seeing if it powers on. If not, try charging it again; sometimes, batteries just need a little extra effort to get it going again. If you put in a little bit of work, you can usually revive a dead deep cycle battery. Just be sure to take care of it properly afterwards so it doesn’t die again!

Can deep cycle gel batteries be reconditioned?

Yes, you can recondition deep-cycle gel batteries. In fact, this is a great way to extend the life of your battery and get more bang for your buck. Here’s how you do it:

1. Disconnect the battery from all electronics and remove the caps on the top.

2. Pour distilled water into each cell until it’s about two-thirds full. (Make sure you don’t go over this, or you’ll risk spilling acid on yourself.)

3. Put the caps back on and shake the battery for a few minutes to mix the water with the acid.

4. Let it sit for 24 hours so the water can soak in.

5. After 24 hours, reconnect the battery to your electronics and see if it’s holding a charge.

Can deep cycle gel batteries be reconditioned?

It is essential to discharge a gel battery as much as possible. Charge it very slowly for the cells inside of your device. It will help remove the sulfation that has built up on the plates. Once the battery is discharged, use a reconditioning charger to bring the battery back to life. If you don’t have access to a reconditioning charger, you can try using a low-voltage power supply or a solar panel. Ensure not to exceed the voltage rating of the battery, or you could damage it permanently.

About the author, Phil Borges

Phil Borges is a battery aficionado. He's written extensively about batteries, and he loves nothing more than discussing the latest innovations in the industry. He has a deep understanding of how batteries work, and he's always on the lookout for new ways to improve their performance.