Batteries are essential to daily life, as it powers up most of our tech or devices, be it your smartphone, game controller, flashlight, or electronic shaver. But what happens when these power-packed cylinders die out and are no longer of use? While most suggest just throwing them away, here are some creative and fun ways to potentially resurrect the usefulness of old batteries.
1. Use the Sun to Juice Them Back Up
Just because your battery may be worn out or out of energy doesn’t mean it still can’t be recharged a bit. With a little bit of sunlight, the most natural form of energy, dead batteries can get a quick boost. Sun rays can give them extra power, which will put them to use once again, albeit briefly. Check out this quick video on how to do it.
So whenever you see the sun shining on bright, and need just a bit more juice, you know what to do.
2. Make a Portable Mini Fan
A mini fan will take very little juice. Even batteries well past their prime will still be able to power a simple motor.
I realize that making this might require a bit of technical skill. Still, it isn’t something that should prove challenging to most people. And it’s a great project to do with the kids to learn a bit about science and technology.
To make the mini fan, you are going to need some of the following:
- A DC Motor- These can be found in old DVD players, laptops, and other electronic appliances. Or, you can just pick one up on Amazon.
- A Fan- You are also going to need a plastic-shaped fan, or you can just cut out one for yourself with cardboard paper.
With all the necessary materials present, go ahead and take the two wires from the DC Motor and connect them to both ends of your old battery.
If there is enough power, the motor will start working immediately. Now all you have to do is add the final step, which is applying the fan itself onto the motor. Here is a video showing the basic process.
Congratulations, you made your own mini portable fan. Now, you can get more creative and try using the newly created fan to build things like a toy helicopter, fan-propelled paper car, etc. The possibilities are endless!
3. Recharge a Battery With a Battery
It turns out you can recharge alkaline batteries by using two other alkaline batteries.
This won’t be a fast recharge and is one of those things where you have to wait on for hours just do it while you sleep.
For this life hack, you are going to need:
- Three alkaline batteries– For this example, I will use two triple-A (AAA) and one C.
- Some tape to hold them together in one place. Electrical tape works best.
- Once you have acquired the essential materials, take the pointy end from one of the AAA batteries, and align it to the bottom of the other AAA. Done right, one of the AAA pointy ends should be free and not covered up.
- Take that open pointy end and align it to the pointy end of the C battery. Make sure they are all aligned properly and no loose ends.
- Tape all three pieces together and make sure it is sturdy and doesn’t shake.
Now the hard part is done. All you have to do is keep the battery in a safe place and leave it for hours. Overnight is probably sufficient. Your C battery will now have a power boost. The significance will depend on just how much juice was actually left in the AAA batteries.
4. Make a Portable Mini Flash Light
This works great with a 9-volt battery.
Just like the portable fan, the mini flashlight will follow the same concept that involves connecting the battery to an output, so it powers it up.
- For this project, you will need the battery and mini LED light bulb diodes with the two transmitter legs, like these found on Amazon.
- Take the two-transistor legs and connect them directly to the ends of the battery. If done right it should light up.
- Now, if you want to be able to turn it off and on, you will need to get a switch and connect the LED legs to it. The switch can act as a resistor when needed to be turned off.
Here is a simple video guide:
Just like that, you’ve just made a mini portable flashlight.
5. Turn 12v Batteries Into Eight 1.5v Button Cell Batteries
Another way to get the most out of your battery is by dissecting it.
In order to do this, you will need some safety gloves and a pair of scissors.
- Cut open the seal used to protect the battery
- Take your scissors and make a hole just big enough to start cutting.
- Cut the wrapper and strip it out. Once that is done, the inside will be exposed. You will find out that there are six-button cell batteries attached to a metal strip.
- Break off the strips. Make sure the pieces are still connected to the battery cell. That way, you can use them as conductors.
In case it’s not clear, this video will also show exactly how it’s done:
There you go. You just made yourself six usable miniature battery cells.
6. Turn C Batteries into D Batteries
Having the wrong type of battery for the job can be frustrating sometimes. Well, here is a quick method that will turn C batteries into D batteries.
For this, you will need some coins, most preferably quarters. All you are going to do is stick in three quarters to close the gap. Just place them in the space that will be left after the smaller C battery is installed. Boom, there you go.
Coins are great conductors, so the current should be flowing just fine. It’s even possible that the C battery will last even longer than the D would have since they are known to have a slower discharging rate.
7. “Find” More Juice By Rubbing the Battery
Here is another straightforward way to prolong the life of your batteries and juice them up for a little bit more use.
By rubbing and cleaning the ends of batteries, you are potentially removing little clogs or impeding junk that might slow down or interfere with the transfer of energy. While this may not be a long-term solution, it can often get you a couple of more presses on the TV remote or even a few more seconds on the flashlight.
8. Make a Magnet Holder
You may not realize this, but most batteries out there in the market right now are magnetic and have magnetic ends. Even though there are a couple of plastic body cover batteries out there, your old cells lying around are likely magnetic.
So, instead of letting them sit, you can use this as a tool for keeping your magnets organized. If you happen to own lots of small magnets and can not seem to keep them together in place, this may be perfect for you. Just take some of your old batteries and place several magnets at the ends of the battery. Voila, they should stay put.
Pro Tip: You can order different pairs or specific magnets on your battery and let your old batteries act as a magnet stand. That way, you can easily use the right pair you are looking for quickly and swiftly.
Important Tips For Handling Old Or Dead Batteries
We all know that handling and dissecting batteries, especially old ones, is not always the safest thing to do. There is an inherent risk of spilling the chemicals, no matter what type you are fooling around with.
So if you feel the need to reuse, recycle, or go full-on Macgyver with your old batteries, make sure protective gloves are equipped at all times. This will help prevent a chemical burn from occurring in the event of a spill.
If the battery does leak, dispose of it right away and wash your hands. Then, clean up any spot which got spilled on. Also, if you see a battery that looks like it is decayed and possibly hazardous to use, don’t mess with it. Just immediately dispose of the thing. Otherwise, have fun and get creative with your old used or dead batteries.
Thanks for reading!
Hey, I’m Jim, and I’m the author of this website. I have been teaching people a wide variety of survivalism topics for over five years and have a lifetime of experience fishing, camping, general survivalism, and anything in nature. In fact, while growing up, I spent more time on the water than on land! I am also a best-selling author and have a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. I hope you find value in the articles on this website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or input!