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What would be a good trick to make my batteries work one last time?

Right now, I was using my trusty USB wireless mouse and the batteries died, right in a bad time.

What is a good way to make them work for at least 15 minutes, one last time, before buying new ones?

I have these Duracell batteries that lasted for at least 6 months.

I've heard that putting in the cooler for a few moments will make them work, but I have always failed to do that.

I've heard about rubbing lemon juice in the + side, but never worked.

  • 5
    I doubt there's a good solution for this. When they run out of energy they run out of energy – Zach Saucier Dec 31 '14 at 17:39
  • @ZachSaucier I agree... Just don‘t use the mouse or have spares. – QuyNguyen2013 Dec 31 '14 at 17:45
  • @ZachSaucier I agree with you, but if they can work for 5 minutes every time I take them off, there must be a way to make them work for 15 minutes straight. – Ismael Miguel Dec 31 '14 at 19:31
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    Do not rely only on disposable (alkaline) batteries. Buy rechargeable (NiMH) batteries. They can save you money. If you spend $30 on rechargeable batteries and a charger now, you might save hundreds of dollars by not having to buy disposable batteries in the future. And, if a battery runs out of energy, you do not have to go to the store to replace it: you can simply recharge it at home. Where can you buy rechargeable batteries? Ask your local discount department store (e.g. Walmart), or your local electronics store, if they have any. Or go to www.amazon.com and order some online. – unforgettableid Apr 26 '15 at 4:13
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    @unforgettableid Those batteries were the original ones that came in the box. And I know they do save money, so, I got 4 rechargeable batteries. But at the time, the batteries I had weren't charged. And I only needed them to work for more 30 minutes. – Ismael Miguel Apr 26 '15 at 4:28

12 Answers 12

30

You will often find that batteries will give a last little bit of juice - especially when cold - by gently warming them to body temperature - so pop them inside your clothes for ten minutes or so or rub them briskly between your hands for a short time. Also turn them in place to ensure that the contacts are as clean as possible.

  • 6
    That's quite a good solution. Never tried it before. The place I was in with my mouse is an extremely cold place (taking in account where I live) and I usually have ice-cold hands. Warming them up on cold days sounds the way to go! – Ismael Miguel Dec 31 '14 at 19:33
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    After letting the batteries out of the mouse since last year, I came this year to work. I've warmed the batteries up and stuck them into the mouse. They are working for 35 minutes now and counting! – Ismael Miguel Jan 2 '15 at 9:35
  • another solution i learned from my grandfather is to whack the batteries with an heavy iron handle (say from a knife), a few times, round and round. It will give energy for another month or so. Works on any kind of AAA / AA batteries (alkaline or not). – StefanS May 26 '16 at 6:20
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    @StefanSzekeres Just not too hard and not ever on Lithium or other high energy batteries - some types of battery can explode if the casing damaged. – Steve Barnes May 26 '16 at 6:24
  • Thanks for the comment, forgot to mention. But the lithium encasing is mostly from plastic - the other batteries mentioned have (mostly) an aluminium / some kind of alloy casing. – StefanS May 26 '16 at 6:26
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I have always just dropped the batteries on the floor to get more juice out of them. I don't know why it works, but I suspect that it has something to do with the fact that the batteries rely on a physical phenomenon (chemical energy) and that a good shock mixes it up enough to get more juice out. Maybe the shock breaks crystals that have formed in the reactants?

Just don't try this with lithium batteries, please!

  • Lithium batteries can be recharged without problem. I just had those batteries since I bough the keyboard and the mouse and never changed. I just needed to squeeze that tiny little bit left to make them work to finish my job and go home. – Ismael Miguel Jan 1 '15 at 14:24
  • If they are alkaline batteries then the drop method should work Ismael. I do it often enough! – dotancohen Jan 1 '15 at 14:38
  • But at what height you recommend? – Ismael Miguel Jan 1 '15 at 15:06
  • Shoulder height, that's about a meter and a half. I suppose that you could hold them above your head and drop them to give an extra kick without damaging them. – dotancohen Jan 1 '15 at 15:32
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    It actually works. EEVBlog once did a test (for example, squeezing the battery and measuring an increasing in voltage), but I can't immediately locate the episode. – Peter Mortensen Jul 9 '16 at 12:47
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If your device requires at least two batteries oriented in different directions, switch the batteries' positions. This will alternate the direction of current and squeeze a little more juice out of them. Not much, but usually enough for 10-15 minutes, depending on your device.

For example, in this unit, move the batteries at positions 1 and 3 (numbering from left to right) to 2 and 4, and vice versa.

Image via Instructables

Image from Instructables

  • That is a good solution, but doesn't do the trick I wanted. The batteries still die after the 5 minutes (I tried it before). I used to do that trick when I was a kid, with Gameboy Color while playing Pokemon. I think that letting them rest for a while (5-10 minutes) with your trick will help a lot to boost to the said 15 minutes. Otherwise, it won't work for such a time. But nice one! – Ismael Miguel Jan 13 '15 at 9:20
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    There is no change in direction of current if you rearrange the batteries. Letting them sit will help a little, as described in other answers, but the current direction piece is false. – Rory Alsop Jan 16 '15 at 12:39
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    Why would this work? Have you heard of Kirchhoff's current law? Is it about contact resistance instead? – Peter Mortensen Jul 9 '16 at 12:53
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A quite similar answer has already been posted, but I can't comment yet so here is mine:

For AA or AAA alkaline batteries you can slightly deform them by hitting them gently with a hammer. It gives a little extra life.

Be cautious to not tear or break the battery, it contains toxic products !

  • 3
    Welcome to LifeHacks! I think your suggestion is a bit on the far side of "save". Many batteries have acids in them that could spill if you hammer them down. Please edit your answer to reflect the safety issue. – Angelo Fuchs Jan 8 '15 at 16:22
  • I would NEVER try this. If I hit it with an hammer, and it deforms slightly, the extra boost in it's life will be useless, since the battery won't fit. Also notice that this is also extremely dangerous and it is saying in the package to do not do it. – Ismael Miguel Jan 8 '15 at 20:22
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    Safer way is to softly clamp with pliers – Alexei Kaigorodov Jan 13 '15 at 19:31
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    I can vouch for this method(I was actually going to write it as an answer but you beat me to it). I learned to do it back in high school; when my CD player would run out of juice, I'd knock dents into the two AA batteries with the hinge of a steel door. This would give me some significant extra battery life, as much as about 10% or an hour of extra CD player time. I still sometimes do it to this day when I'm out of batteries and need something to power my Xbox 360 controller; knocking some dents into the batteries with a hammer can give me up to another hour of gameplay. – user10800 Oct 28 '15 at 16:56
  • To continue my thought, I've never had an instance where battery acid leaked our or anything like that. As always be super careful whenever you're doing, well, anything. But this method definitely works. – user10800 Oct 28 '15 at 16:57
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tbh the best way to awaken dead batteries is to rub both ends (+ and -) of the batteries vigorously on a cloth material, such as a sofa or an arm chair for about a minute. By rubbing the batteries, static electricity is built up as well as heated up as per @Steve Barnes and can make "dead" batteries last a very long time (up to two weeks of casual use in my experience). I know this sounds ridiculous but coupled with also changing the position of the batteries, it really can increase the life of a battery for a significant amount of time

  • I've never tried it myself, but it might be a good idea. It also depends a little on the internals of the battery. They might be too damaged for this to work. But it's a good solution to try! – Ismael Miguel Jan 14 '15 at 0:11
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    very true, i have only ever tried it with standard AA and AAA batteries but it always works like a charm :) – celeriko Jan 14 '15 at 1:10
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    Static electricity? I don't think so. It is probably about lowering the contact resistance (by removing oxidation on the battery terminals). – Peter Mortensen Jul 9 '16 at 12:58
  • Have you tried something like sandpaper on the ends? If, as Peter said, it removes oxidation, sandpaper might be faster and more effective at removing oxidation. – John Locke Feb 15 at 12:41
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You can partially recharge certain types of non-rechargeable battery by putting them in a battery charger. They don't advise this but I'm not sure whether that is because it will decrease sales of new batteries or because it might be dangerous. I suspect the answer depends on the type. I've certainly done it with the old-syle (zinc-carbon?) batteries. ISTR that repeated attempts have less and less success so its only a temporary fix...

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    I've tried it a few times, but it's kinda rare the occasion where this helps. They don't advise because it is dangerous both for the charger and for the battery. The charger is made to handle 1.2V batteries, not 1.5V. Also, if you forget the batteries there, they may explode or leak out which I REALLY want to avoid. If we like to see things exploring, why not? Probably the battery will make a huge bang! Jokes aside, it does worked for me in rare occasions, but worked and that is what matters. – Ismael Miguel Jan 15 '15 at 17:59
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    Don't do this! I tried this a few times until one battery exploded after the recharge. Luckily I had placed the battery in a storage container which contained the 'blast'. – Hobbes Apr 28 '15 at 14:36
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    My office has a supply of NiMH batteries, a charger, and plastic tubs labelled "charged", and "needs charged." Sometimes non-rechargeable alkaline batteries find their way into the system. The charger actually does recharge them, but when I find one, I put a post-it note on that says, "This is not supposed to be recharged.", and when I inevitably find one that is leaking its guts out, I stick on a post-it that says, "...and this is the reason why." – Solomon Slow Jan 8 '17 at 0:20
  • @Hobbes is right. You've provided unsafe advice. I would downvote you if I had enough reputation points. – unforgettableid Apr 2 '17 at 23:12
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I discovered the rubbing trick a while back.

Did this with the batteries for a TV remote and they lasted an extra 6 months! Did it again today with my wireless mouse, still working hours later.

I have done this with AA and AAA alkaline batteries.

Hold the battery firmly at one end, then using your thumb and index finger of the other hand firmly rub the battery so you can feel a friction burn, do this all over the battery, I don't notice any difference in terms of what direction you rub. Do this strongly for about 5 minutes, should prolong their life significantly.

Hope this helps in those last minute situations, or when you just can't be asked to go out to buy batteries.

  • I'm not sure if it works. Also, won't it hurt? – Ismael Miguel Oct 26 '15 at 22:33
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    It is probably about lowering the contact resistance (by removing oxidation on the battery terminals). – Peter Mortensen Jul 9 '16 at 13:00
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Something that I have done is just leave the batteries asside for a day, and they should be 3/4ths full the next, after which will acctually, and finally die. I just came to this site to find a better way. SUNBEAM AA 1.5V

  • I actually "tried" this. It does work, but, if you need to just squeeze 15 minutes out of them, waiting a day is not a solution. But, if you have time to spare, then waiting a day is indeed a solution. Not a fantastic one, but well... It works! – Ismael Miguel Jul 21 '16 at 9:16
  • Simply removing them for a few minutes may do the trick. In low-drain applications like remotes and computer mice, a couple of things can happen: Ions inside the battery accumulate around one of the electrodes, and act as a barrier to further reaction, making them seem prematurely dead. Removing the electrical load allows the ions to redistribute, re-exposing some of the remaining reactants. Also, the terminals can corrode, acting as an insulator. Removing/reinserting the batteries can wipe off the corrosion and restore proper electrical contact. – Anthony X Sep 23 '17 at 15:06
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Try rubbing the positive end briskly back & forth across your jeans. Good luck!

  • I can try it, but, won't it cause friction? And with friction, won't it cause heating, creating a fire hazard? I'm just asking. – Ismael Miguel Jun 9 '16 at 7:47
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I have three or four batteries lying beside my keyboard. They are used until they are fully out of energy. I just re-use one until it stops working, then go on to the next. Sometimes I get a whole day of use from them by alternating and overnight they sit idle until the morning when they start working again. Of course, this does not last forever, so I have new batteries at the ready. Still, I think it is a shame when people just throw them out the first time they stop.

0

Two solutions:

  1. Warm it to body temperature (or cool it down by setting it in a dark place if the battery is hot)

  2. Keep a stash of batteries or make an emergency power supply. You can make one by reading this but don't use too many batteries because the circuit will fry out. Say your mouse requires 2 AA batteries connected in series.so do that. Now make another set of 2 AA batteries in series. connect them in parallel (if you don't know, watch a video on series and parallel. And to find out if it is series or parallel, look at the wiring in the battery holder.) Now just connect the sides and you're done.

  • Warming the batteries has already been suggested. Also, making a power supply from new batteries doesn't help to revive old batteries. – Chenmunka Oct 18 '16 at 9:04
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My mom would do this but BE VERY FREAKING CAREFUL I CAN NOT STRESS THAT ENOUGH but she would turn on the stove and place the negative side and leave it there for a couple of minutes (My parents don't use lithium batteries so be careful) and take them off to cool but sometimes it doesn't work or it will work for a couple of minutes. My least time was probably 5 minutes and the longest was a week.

Also we only use Duracell A and Duracell AA batteries

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    I do NOT risk this. If they explode in the oven, it may kill me. I'm sorry, but, I won't do that. Or even try. I'm sorry, but, this is too unsafe. – Ismael Miguel Jul 7 '16 at 23:31
  • What temperature exactly? 50 °C? 100 °C? 200 °C? – Peter Mortensen Jul 9 '16 at 13:03
  • What does "take em offense to cool" mean? – Peter Mortensen Jul 9 '16 at 13:04
  • What is meant by "place the - side"? Half of the battery inside the stove? – Peter Mortensen Jul 9 '16 at 13:06
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    This sounds rather unsafe. I would downvote you if I had enough reputation points. – unforgettableid Apr 2 '17 at 23:14

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