What To Do With Old Phone Batteries – Like most external battery chargers, the Better Re has a USB port for charging and one for self-charging
If you’re like many phone users and trade in your phone as soon as the latest thing comes out, you’ll know that the hardware on an old phone is often perfectly fine, even the battery. But new brighter screens and more powerful processors mean battery life usually remains an issue, making batteries a popular accessory. Enlighten’s Better Re lets you get more out of your old phone’s battery by connecting to an adjustable external battery charger for your new phone.
What To Do With Old Phone Batteries
Enlightened has already won awards for its “upcycle power pack” design, which it now plans to fund via Kickstarter. The idea is simple: make a box for an old cell phone battery and create a stylish external charger. Go crazy and stack multiple magnetically attached expansion packs to provide even more charging capacity. The case is suitable for batteries up to 58.5 x 97.8 x 6.5 mm, which according to Enlighten is the largest battery currently on the market.
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Enlighten claims that the average lifespan of a mobile phone is 1.3 years, while after two years of use the battery is still around 80 percent efficient. Many cell phone users who have a phone with a replaceable battery also buy extra batteries to ensure they don’t run out. Although February 2015 reports from Recon Analytics indicate that cell phone turnover rates are slowing, from 22.4 months in 2013 to a projected 28.4 months this year, there are still plenty of extra batteries available.
Of course, the amount of charge you can get from Better Re will depend on the capacity and condition of your old battery (for example, the Galaxy Note battery has a capacity of 2,500 mAh) as well as the charging speed of your current phone.
With 5V and 2A output, the company says the Better Re should charge an iPhone 6 with a 1,810mAh battery in less than 55 minutes, while an iPad Air 2 and its 7,340mAh battery will take more than 220 minutes. The Galaxy S6 (2,550 mAh) and Galaxy Note 4 (3,220 mAh) should last 76 and 96 minutes, respectively.
If you are not using phones with replaceable batteries, such as the iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, LG3 or Note models, Enlighten has a warranty kit that includes a recycled phone battery. It also plans to manufacture its own batteries.
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The Kickstarter campaign offers Better Re for a pledge of $39 and an additional $20 for the expansion case. If all goes according to plan, it is estimated to be launched in November 2015. Newer cell phones use batteries that are mainly based on Li-Ion (Lithium Ion) technology, while older or cheaper cell phones use older Ni-Cd (Nickel-Cadmium) and Ni-MH (Nickel-Metal Hydride) technology. Nickel batteries suffer from a memory effect that reduces their ability to charge if they are not completely discharged before being recharged. Ni-MH batteries have less of this effect than Ni-Cd and only need to be fully discharged every 20 charge cycles. Lithium batteries avoid the memory effect and hold more charge, but can be damaged by heavy overcharging, such as continuous charging for more than 24 hours, are sensitive to rapid heat, and can catch fire when in contact with water. However, Li-Ion is the most advanced battery technology on the consumer market.
Today’s smartphones with more powerful features and applications are used almost constantly. On the other hand, according to Australian mobile phone retailer UniqueMobiles, not much has been done for batteries to keep up with this growing trend. Their constant use throughout the day for calls, messages, Instagram, and power-hungry features like camera flash, video calls, GPS on the bus, and location services require even bigger backup batteries and spare batteries. Electronics stores have also increased their battery supply needs due to the widespread technique of solving cell phone problems by removing the only replaceable part, the battery.
Unlike typical 1.5 V batteries, rechargeable batteries are classified as household hazardous waste and cannot be disposed of with normal landfill waste. Environmentally hazardous metals such as cadmium can be released from Ni-Cd batteries when the battery packaging deteriorates and leaches into soil, groundwater and ultimately the food cycle. Additionally, the materials the batteries are made of can cause them to catch fire if exposed to heat or contact with water. When something catches fire in a landfill, the fire spreads inward and can burn unextinguished for years, releasing a mix of toxic smoke and pollution into the environment. The heavy metals inside rechargeable batteries that allow them to be charged also make them hazardous household waste that must be disposed of separately.
There are many disposable batteries that are thrown away to solve cell phone problems that still have a lot of life left. Third-party recycling businesses buy them in bulk because rebuilding and reselling them requires far less labor, electricity, and cost than making new batteries. Recycling or refurbishing manufactured goods that have already gone through the initial cycle of mining, refining, manufacturing, assembly and testing is better for the environment than starting from scratch.
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By recycling materials from mobile phone batteries, materials that can be sold for the production of other products are also obtained. Nickel batteries produce nickel, chromium and iron to make stainless steel and other high-end products, and cadmium can be purified to 99.95% purity and sold. Lithium-ion batteries can be recycled to obtain lithium, which is sold to make lubricating grease, and cobalt, which is also sold.
In addition to pocket-sized consumer electronics, Li-Ion battery technology is also used in electric and hybrid cars, which are expected to increase their market share compared to diesel cars. In the future, the supply of batteries for electric cars may limit the world’s supply of lithium, which is another good reason to start recycling Li-Ion batteries now.
If you have mobile phone rechargeable batteries to throw away, just put them in a place with a special container designed for them. You can find your nearest location via Call2recycle.org (USA), RecyclingNearYou.com.au (Australia), Fairphone (Europe), or you can find similar resources or initiatives for most countries around the world – just search online.
If there isn’t one near you, take them to the cell phone store where you originally got them, or to a cell phone and battery store. Many stores have a program called “drop and shop” that accepts complete units of cell phones and batteries for proper disposal while you purchase a new unit there.
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Like any other type of household hazardous waste, rechargeable cell phone batteries must be recycled responsibly to protect our health and prevent injury. Tomorrow’s economy may look different from today’s economy, with increased use of products for reuse and recycling to maximize their lifespan, reduce obsolescence and help protect the environment. Responsible recycling of mobile phone batteries is a step towards this future. Q: I’ve always loved taking things apart – I have trouble putting them back together! More about the lonely surfer »
Recycle old cell phone batteries. I’ve been using used phone batteries in a number of projects recently after finding a great little module on eBay. The module is supplied with a Li-ion charger and also a voltage regulator, which allows you to increase the voltage of the Li-ion battery from the usual 3.7v up to 30V!
Another great thing about using old cell phone batteries is that you can get them for free! There are many places that have mobile phone recycling bins where you can collect some batteries for free. I have one at work that I occasionally go to for batteries.
This can show you how to connect the module together with the micro USB adapter to use the battery as a phone charger. It’s a simple project and will show you how to wire up a module for use in any project of your choice.
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2. Micro USB adapter – eBay. The micro USB that comes in the charging module is a bit recessed, making it difficult to access the project. I prefer to use a micro USB adapter for this
3. USB adapter – eBay. I used it so I could connect my phone to the pod and charge it. If you are using it to power a project, then this is not necessary – just connect the project directly to the module
The following is not necessary, but I decided to add it at the last minute. The voltage meter allows me to easily check the battery voltage for this build
There are many facts on the web about cell phone batteries, do’s and don’ts, etc. Here are some facts that most agree on:
Better Re Battery Pack Gives New Life To Old Phone Batteries
1. Mobile phone batteries do not like to overheat. I’m sure most of you would have seen the message that pops up on your phone when you leave it out in the sun. If you want to use it in a project, make sure it is
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