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Friday, March 23, 2012

Is Dry Cell Battery Rechargeable?

Some dry cell batteries are not designed for recharge (non-rechargeable), such as: Alkaline, Lithium, Mercury, Silver Oxide, Zinc Air.

Some other dry cell batteries can be recharged (rechargeable), such as: Lead Acid Gel, Lithium-ion, Nickel Cadmium, Nickel Metal Hydride.

Dry cell battery that can not be recharged, can also be recharged although it has lower capability then rechargeable battery.

Dry cell batteries which are described here are not vehicle batteries, but they are batteries for flashlight, toy, clock, remote, etc.. To recharge dry cell battery on vehicle, please read the article "Charging Your Vehicle Battery".

Here's how to recharge dry cell batteries which are commonly used for wall clock, flashlight, toy, remote, etc. that is the size of D, C, AA, AAA, PP3 (9 volts), and coin size batteries as well.

Equipment needed is an adapter with 12 volt output voltage and 300mA current, as the photo below. This kind of adapter is ussually very cheap, it cost around US$1-$2. Can also use other sources such as 12 volt vehicle battery (accu), but as the current is large it will be short and damage the dry cell battery. Procedure for recharging by vehicle accu, click here.

Multitester is also needed to measure battery voltage.

Measure voltage of battery to be recharged. Voltage should not be too low. For 1.5 volts battery, the voltage is not lower than 1.2 volts. For 3 volt battery, the voltage is not lower than about 2.4 volts. For 9 volt battery, the voltage is not lower than 7.2 volts. If the voltage is too low then it will be difficult to recharge.

Check if there is any leak in battery body. If the battery body has sign of leakage, such as damp, oily stains, rust, etc., then do not be recharged. Replace it with a new one. Liquid of a leaking battery can damage the device that uses that leaking battery.

Diagram below shows cables connection.

Hold the battery to be recharged by hand. Connect positive cable from the 12 volt adapter to positive pole of battery, and negative cable of 12 volt adapte to negative pole battery. Hold this position for 30 seconds or maximal about 1-2 minutes. Video of recharging with adapter, click here.

Battery being recharged will feel warm, and can be felt by your hand. That temperature rise is not due to the heat of your hand, but because the chemical reactions inside the battery as it is recharged by 12 volt. Remove the battery from adapter when it is warm, let cool by it self. Do not let the battery becomes too hot so it can not be hold by hand, or temperature above 40 Celsius. Too high temperature will damage the battery.

Check by multitester whether the battery voltage has reached normal voltage (1.5 volt, 3 volt, or 9 volt). If the battery voltage is already normal then the battery can be used.

If the voltage is not normal, then recharge again as described above. Usually AA size 1.5 volt battery, wich is commonly used for wall clock, the voltage will be normal if it is recharged for total time only about 5 minutes. The greater the battery the longer charging time. D-size battery, which is commonly used in flashlight, takes about 15 minutes if recharge by 12 volt adapter like the photo above.

Recharge a dry cell battery is not only economical, but also help reduce pollution caused by battery waste. Carelessly discarded old or used battery will pollute soil and water. Make sure battery waste is discarded to a place that can recycle the old battery.

Video of recharging AA dry cell with vehicle battery.

The following YouTube video is about recharging a 9 volts alkaline battery with a 12 volts adapter.


  1. The model of the Dry batteries is usually important to many buyers. This is the reason why you may buy a battery that can be larger and has a higher reserved capacity rating than the old one that you are replacing. Must consider Dry batteries before replacing.


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