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What is Battery Re-Cell?

Batteries play a pivotal role in our day-to-day lives, especially on set. But battery cells, no matter which chemistry, are fundamentally consumable goods. When they wear out, we have a choice: we can either choose to throw them out – or, we can choose to re-cell.

I love my customers, but after I re-cell their batteries I don't want to see them again for years – except maybe just to catch up :)

How Battery Re-Cell Works

Battery re-cell service is the process of removing the old cells from a battery pack and replacing them with brand-new battery cells. It's possible for almost all battery chemistries, including Lithium-Ion, Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH), and Nickel Cadmium (NiCD) batteries. The internal circuitry, logic board, and the enclosure can all be re-used, and the old cells are sent off for recycling.

Anton Bauer Dionic battery internals, mid-repair

Benefits of Battery Re-Cell

  • First, you can save you good money! Re-cell is often half the cost of purchasing a comparable new cinema gold-mount or v-mount battery.

  • Second, it helps reduce your environmental impact by preventing the disposal of toxic materials in landfills or incinerators. No more e-waste!

  • Third, by recycling your old cells, you are support the circular economy, helping to create a secondary market for battery materials and reducing dependence on foreign sources.

  • And lastly, it offers you excellent battery performance out in the field, often better than when the battery was new!

But Why Do Batteries Wear Out In The First Place?

Battery cell lifespan is affected by several factors, and these vary by battery chemistry. Since they've become industry-standard, I'll go over the factors for lithium-ion batteries here:

  • Chemical reactions: During charge and discharge cycles, chemical reactions occur at the electrode surfaces of lithium batteries, leading to the formation of what's known as a solid electrolyte interface (SEI) layer. This layer gradually thickens over time, impeding the flow of ions and reducing the battery's capacity. (For more science on this, check out this article.) Higher depth of discharge (DoD), where the battery is discharged to a lower percentage of its capacity, also accelerates this aging process.

  • Temperature: A high-temperature environment can significantly accelerate the aging process, both in use and in storage. Heat promotes side reactions (SEI formation), increases self-discharge rates, and causes electrolyte degradation, which leads to capacity loss and reduced overall performance.

  • Storage conditions: Lithium batteries age more rapidly when stored at high or low states of charge. Storing a battery at full charge or empty for extended periods can cause degradation and increase the risk of irreversible capacity loss. 50% state of charge is ideal for long-term storage.

  • Calendar aging: Even when not in use, lithium batteries age due to the passage of time. The chemical reactions and other aging processes continue gradually, leading to capacity fade over months and years.

I love my customers, but when I re-cell their batteries I don't want to see them again for years – except maybe just to catch up :). That's why I share as much info as I can about how to take excellent care of your batteries, so that they can last you as long as possible.

Is It Safe?

Safety is a core principal here at THT Battery. That's why we perform detailed performance tests on every single battery that goes through the shop, ensuring that the cutoffs in the battery circuitry are always fully functional. While I am an avid supporter of the DIY community and mindset, I do not recommend attempting battery service of any kind yourself. Lithium ion batteries pose a potential safety hazard, and we take extensive safety precautions and procedures here in order to do this work safely.

Battery re-cell service is a great option for extending the life of your battery packs and keeping them in optimal condition. I'm here to help with all of your battery and charger needs, with the ultimate goal of just helping the film & TV industry reduce our collective environmental footprint – one battery at a time.

Questions about how the process works? Ask me in the comments!

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