How to Jolt a Nicad Battery Back to Life


You have purchased expensive reusable nickel-cadmium batteries in the hopes of saving money in the long run. Instead, you are met with frustration because the batteries no longer hold charge. Fortunately, there is a solution known as jolting, or zapping, using common items found in the garage. If not exercised regularly, nickel-based rechargeables develop an inner crystalline formation, which degrades the charge quality. Jolt your nicads using a 12-volt DC power source to break up crystallization, thus saving you money.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety goggles and gloves
  • Volt-meter
  • 12-volt car battery charger (or similar DC source)
  • Wear all proper safety equipment. Set your volt-meter to the proper range for your battery. Hold the red lead on the positive battery terminal, and the black lead to the negative terminal. Read the meter: If the tested voltage is under 90 percent of the voltage labeled on the battery, then it needs to be jolted.

  • Separate the alligator clips from the 12-volt battery charger so they are not touching anything conductive. Turn on the battery charger. Hold the red/positive clip to the positive terminal of the worn battery. Tap the black/negative clip against the negative battery terminal 10 times, taking care not to hold a connection. Repeat this process for each worn nicad battery you have.

  • Test each battery again: if the reading is still below 90 percent, repeat the jolting process until a desired reading is achieved. Shut off the battery charger. Recharge the refurbished batteries in their respective chargers for the factory recommended amount of time.

Tips & Warnings

  • Fully discharge and recharge your nicad batteries every few uses to avoid the need for future jolting.
  • Only jolt nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries, as other battery types may explode.
  • Do not HOLD the alligator clips on the battery, as they may overheat or leak.

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  • Photo Credit batterien image by Daniel Fuhr from
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