How to revive a dead rechargeable power tool battery easily

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NOTE: If this doesn’t work for your particular battery or it charges but will not hold a charge you can find out how to recondition the battery here –

You should not try this with the more modern Lithium batteries.

Rechargeable batteries for power tools sometimes will no longer charge but often these can be easily restored back to life with this simple method.

The problem: You have a drill or other power tool with rechargeable batteries but one of the batteries is completely dead and when you plug it into the recharger unit it won’t recharge at all. But this may not be because the battery is unusable, just that without use its charge has dropped below the required level for the “smart” charger to detect that a battery has been inserted. Putting a small charge in to the battery then enables to charger to “see” it and start charging.

The manufacturers would tell you that you need to buy a new battery. When you look into it you find that the cost a new battery is so high that you may as well just buy a new drill that comes with a couple of new batteries. Well all is not lost!

A friend in the UK told me about this method to revive a dead drill battery many years ago and I have used it successfully a number of times since. Basically, it seems that when a battery becomes completely discharged the Dewalt 18v battery charger unit effectively does not recognise that a battery has been inserted. This method puts enough charge into the battery so that it is not recognised by the charger and it gets recharged.

I take the dead Dewalt battery and a good fully-charged battery and place them side by side. I then use a couple of pairs of scissors to connect the terminals together (plus to plus and negative to negative). I keep them connected for a minute or so and by then the dead battery has sufficient charge to be fully recharged by the charger unit. Of course you can use two pieces of wire or something else to connect the batteries together but I have found scissors work well when doing it by yourself with only one pair of hands.

Although I have fixed a Dewalt battery here I have used this method to fix other makes when the battery will not charge.

So, in future, if you have a dead NiMH power tool battery try this power tool battery fix first before buying new.

NOTE: In the video you will probably notice that the charging light is on when I put the battery in. This is because when I first filmed this I realised I had not pressed record on the camera. By then it was too late to redo it as the battery had some charge in it.

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  1. this is a temporary fix only. It does not make your old battery "New" again. The charge will not hold as long and it will discharge sitting on the shelf a lot faster. In my case what used to last 4 hours with constant high-torque drilling now lasts about 10 minutes before being completely discharged. I don't know about you, but I can't stop my work every 10 minutes to recharge a battery for an hour or more.

  2. I had the same batteries and chargers as you have. One day when I was done using them, I put the battery in the charger on the work bench. Closed the garage and went inside. About a half hour later I went back out to the garage for something, only to discover a smoke layer in the upper half of the garage. I turned to see a plume of heavy smoke rising from the battery and charger. I unplugged it and tossed it outside. Where the battery ended and the charger began was indistinguishable as they had melted together to a blob. The batteries and charger had never abused or exposed to the elements/dust. That was when I tossed the Dewalt combo set away, much cheaper than loosing my home, cars and lives. No way was I going use the same replacement, they lost my trust. I’ve been using Milwaukee ever since and very impressed.

  3. Awesome shed! It's a little piece of England. P.S. Apologies if this is your kitchen. Nice tip – really useful.

  4. I’ve got 2 dead 14.4V batteries and no other cordless tools. What now? Is there any other way besides what’s here?

  5. Thank You Very Much for the Money Saving Major Tip!!! I have 3 Batteries that are not charging . But , will after this Awesome Inside tip. Thank You

  6. Trying this hoping to save my craftsman c3 batteries

  7. It's not simply the cost of a replacement battery; often, the replacement battery is no longer available. Thank you!

  8. Neat trick… I just revived a battery using knives (my scissors didn’t fit in the XR terminals)… thought I was gonna be another £60 out of pocket!

  9. Yea but eventually it will discharge not holding the charge for long ..
    You need to change the cells in it..

  10. Great demonstration and idea ! Is there other specific tools that can be used instead of scissors? Can you define modern lithium battery pack ?

  11. Will this work if the dead battery isn't the same as the live one? I have a DeWalt drill and it's (dead) 14.4v battery, and a 20v Li-ion battery from a "Master Mechanic" drill. Can I use the latter to help charge the dead DeWalt battery?

  12. Useful,clear and short; that is how we like them videos. Thanks for sharing,Sir.

  13. Hello, i don't have a second exact battery, but if I was to find another power tool battery I presume you need to match the voltage on the dead battery, would that be right? Many thanks.

  14. excellent sir! what happens if the two batteries are not holding a charge?

  15. Ingenious!
    Thank you!
    I have two dead batteries!
    And I have a train transformer that I can use to "jump start those batteries!"

    Now I would not put it past the MANUFACTURER to have deliberately made this "dead battery" situation the way it is!

  16. You helped me determine positive an negative poles, my battery so dear my meter can read it? I'm going to try this! How can I fix my 24V battery driving 2 or 3 screws then going dead, instead of lasting for much more uses?

  17. My battery is 12V Makita. I check the voltage was 11.2 V but I put in the charger the lights flashing which indicates faulty battery ! Any idea? Please response . Thanks .

  18. Well done to you mate that is a great idea and I'm going to use this Technic to revive my dead battery.

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