Cordless tools can be an absolute gamechanger.
But when their batteries are on the fritz? There’s nothing more frustrating!
Ryobi batteries, like other lithium-ion bats, have been known to have their issues. Thankfully, many are fixable without paying an extra dollar.
The most common problem is the Ryobi battery gets stuck in sleep mode. This can be fixed by ‘mini-charges’ – slot the defective battery into the charger for a few seconds, then remove before the lights flash. Repeat (up to 30 min) until it has enough charge to ‘revive’ itself.
That’s not the only fix though. In this post we’ll walk through all the various fixes you can try.
I’ve ordered them from quickest & easiest to the longest & most complex. If you try each one in order this should get you back to full power the fastest.
Ready to fix this battery? Then let’s dive in!
Ryobi Charging Temperature
The easiest thing to check is your charging temperature.
We take batteries for granted, but they’re not invincible.
Lithium-ion batteries are made to be charged between 41oF and 113oF (5oC and 45oC).
If the battery has been stored in a cooler or hotter place than that, get it back to room temperature before trying again.
If it’s been exposed to extreme temperatures for a long time it may have suffered permanent damage.
Check the Terminals
Second easiest. How clean are the contacts on both the battery and the charger?
If it’s covered in gunk or rusted, you’re not going to be passing any charge through it!
Dirty contacts? Give them a good wipe down with a wire brush or an alcohol-soaked wipe. Make sure it’s dry before trying again.
Rusted contacts? Grab some old sandpaper and give it a good scrubbing. You shouldn’t need to do this too hard – just until you’re working with clear contacts again.
Remember to check this for both the battery and the charger.
Sleep Mode (& How to Wake It Up)
If we’re not careful, lithium-ion batteries can fall into hibernation.
And I’m not even kidding.
It’s because of a thing called ‘Sleep Mode’.
This happens when too much juice has been used up in the battery, and the power level is almost completely emptied.
Typically this happens when a battery is used up until it’s normally dead. Then it’s left on a shelf for a long time, where it slowly loses even more power.
At this point, the battery can’t tell if it’s healthy or not. So to prevent damage or abuse, it enters ‘Sleep Mode’ and can’t be charged.
This is one of the most common causes of so-called ‘defective’ Ryobi battery cases.
How to Wake A Ryobi Battery From Sleep Mode: Charger Method
While the battery, once awake, might refuse charging – we CAN give it tiny charge boosts.
When you connect it to a power source there’s 2-3 seconds of charging before it says “stop, I’m asleep!”. Those couple of seconds are how we bring it back to life.
By doing this enough times (it can take up to half an hour) we bring the battery back up above the low threshold. Making it realize that it’s safe to be charged.
All we do is slow the battery into the charger, count to 2, then take it out again.
You should be taking it out just before the green and red lights come on.
Repeat this for up to 30 minutes.
Eventually, the battery should give you the green lights as normal. Meaning it’s got enough charge back in it to realize it’s healthy.
Alternative Method: Power Sources
For the more confident electricians out there, we can do this in one move by connecting the battery to a power source.
This can either be another battery (ideally of the same model), or a DC power source.
Simply connect the contacts positive-positive and negative-negative.
Do not get this wrong! It must be P-P and N-N or you’ll damage your battery.
Once connected, leave it for 5-10 minutes.
As above, this should be enough time to get the battery above the small % of charge it needs to work properly again.
Got a Multimeter?
For any DIY-ers, being able to check the voltage can often confirm the problem for us.
First, test your charger. We should be looking at 18V or higher at a minimum.
All good? Then test the battery.
The voltage will increase as it gets fuller. In my experience, you need around 7 volts before it should charge fully again.
Try testing the battery voltage, then doing quick ‘mini-charges’. Then test the battery again.
The voltage should rise every time. And you should be good to go when it’s above 7 volts.
Taking it to a Store
If all else fails, the quickest answer can be found at your nearest Ryobi distributer.
I recommend you take your battery and charger, then test both.
Try charging the battery on another charger. It works? Your charger is faulty.
Try charging a different battery on your charger? It works? It’s your charger’s fine.
This may not solve your problem, but it’s always good to be certain where a problem lies.
The store staff may be able to take a look at the battery for you, and potentially help you fix it. However, there’s a good chance they’ll get dollar-sign eyes and try to sell you a whole new set.
So it’s important that you…
Before you go to any store, do a bit of research first.
First off, consider if your warranty is still good.
Ryobi batteries all come with a three-year warranty as standard.
Chances are that you may still be able to get a replacement from the manufacturer. Beyond that and don’t expect batteries beyond 3 and 4 years old to last too much longer either way.
Next up, check the price online.
Don’t let a silver-tongued salesman land you for a double-priced deal. A quick search on Amazon and other retailers will let you know what you should be paying if you choose to buy in store.
- This Certified Refurbished product is tested and certified to look and work like new. The refurbishing process includes functionality testing, basic cleaning, inspection, and repackaging. The product ships with all relevant accessories, a minimum 90-day warranty, and may arrive in a generic box. Only select sellers who maintain a high performance bar may offer Certified Refurbished products on Amazon.com
- FUEL GAUGE: You can tell how much of a charge your battery has left, as well as any potential defects, with the onboard LED system
- WORKS WITH RYOBI OUTDOOR PRODUCTS: Over 15 tools in the Ryobi 40V line are compatible with these batteries, from string trimmers to lawnmowers
- COLD WEATHER PERFORMANCE: These batteries can function at temperatures as cold as -4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 degrees Celsius)
- QUICK CHARGING: Get a full charge in as soon as 90 minutes when used with the Ryobi 40V Charger
Throwing Your Old Battery Away?
Please do it responsibly.
It’s easy to recycle batteries at any large store. Here’s a video from Ryobi covering how.
A defective battery can be super frustrating.
While there’s no way to revive a truly broken battery, I hope these tips have at least given you a few things to try.
If even one person gets their battery back to life, then it’s been worth writing!
(If it’s helped you out, I’d love to hear from you! Let me know via the comments or contact page!)
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Thanks for reading! Have a great day.