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Old 08-16-2013, 10:03 PM #1
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Exclamation Li-ion batteries- Safety, Charging, Reviews, and General Information

Hello LPF! I'm new to these forums. After lurking for a little over a month and then deciding to join up, I continue to see a common occurrence here. The use of potentially questionable Li-ion batteries..

- A short explanation into this concern of mine.

One of my most recent and heavily delved into hobbies would be flashlights. Higher current drivers are more common in the flashlight community than in the laser community, from what I've seen here in my short stay. A lot of the following information, more so, applies to pushing a given cell to it's limits (which seems to be more common place in the flashlight world) but also has to do with the consistency that various battery manufacturers use in their choosing of cells used in a given line of Li-ion batteries. Most of the "insert random name here" Fire brands have been known to ofter cells of different brands, capacities, and ages in a given line of batteries while providing little or no information of this to the end buyer. Most of the time this isn't a big deal, as long as the cell can handle a given current, but when used in series (a laser that requires two {2} 16340/18350 cells), cells of different capacities, age, and brand, can become a ticking time bomb unknown to the uninformed user. This has been proven to be very dangerous for the end user time and time again.

I do not claim to be the "end all, be all" source of battery knowledge, and probably never will be, but over the past few years I have gathered a lot of links to knowledgeable sites and simply hope to provide them here to help veterans and noobs alike in making an informed decision when purchasing and using Li-ion batteries.

And so we begin..

I'll start this off with, probably, THE site with the most information on battery safety and use. I, and many others, consider this site to be a MUST READ before purchasing or handling, not only, Li-ion chemistry cells but other battery chemisties as well.

Battery Information Table of Contents, Basic to Advanced

Here is a link to the different types of Li-ion chemistries along with information about each type. This includes the commonly used lithium colbalt oxide types as well as the lithium iron phosphate types (commonly referred to as LifePO4) as well as all other chemistries.

Types of Lithium-ion Batteries ? Battery University

Next up, charging of Li-ion batteries..

I noticed that a lot of the folks offering chargers for sale here with a laser or in general often offer a charger of questionable quality. I, as an end consumer, can see the reasoning behind this. The cheaper a "package deal" can be put together, the cheaper the overall cost will be to the end user. This can be very appealing the the end user that may be on a budget or may not have the knowledge, desire, or time to do their own research in choosing a safe, reliable charger. I'm not pointing any fingers or accusing anyone here. But, regardless, a charger with the proper CC/CV (constant current/constant voltage) charging method should ALWAYS be used when charging Li-ion batteries. This should be a MUST when choosing a Li-ion charger with few exceptions! They're too many budget chargers out there that can provide a safe charging experience for less than $20 USD. There really is no excuse not to have a reputable charger in this day and age. Consider the safety of yourself, your family/friends, and your property then ask yourself; Is all of this really worth saving $5-10 USD?

Below are two links with general information about charging Li-ion batteries.

Charging Lithium-Ion Batteries ? Battery University

http://pdfserv.maximintegrated.com/en/an/AN4169.pdf

Links to individual charger reviews

The links below are mostly to a single site put together and maintained by Candlepowerforums.com member HJK and also to threads on CPF.com started by HJK himself. He is a very well respected member and reviewer of batteries and chargers in the flashlight world. IMHO his word and reviews should be taken in without question but please feel free to do your own research past these opinions. This is of course the Internet and everything should be taken with a grain or two of salt. HJK's reviews have been known to be very reliable over the years and I have grown to trust in them.

NOTE: A 0.6C charging current (C=current), or 60% of a given cells total capacity, is widely considered to be the all around best charging current for a Li-ion cell (I.E. a 3100ma cell should be charged at "around" 0.6C {1860ma} or less which will provide the greatest life cycle for a given cell. Different Li-ion chemistries will allow for different charging currents of course. (Please see the very first link in this thread for loads information on this subject)

Here is a recent review (2012) of Li-ion batteries by HJK including discharge rates, capacity, cell dimensions, and maximum safe discharge rates for flat top and button cells with many helpful graphs.

2012 Battery test/review summary

The following is a link directly to HJK's personal website which provides an invaluable resource, IMHO, when choosing a battery or charger.

http://lygte-info.dk/

Below are links to individual chargers on HJK's site that I, personally, would consider "safe" based on knowing how to interpret the information given. (with or without personal experience on the given Li-ion charger).

Xtar VP1 (Perfect CV/CC charging)
http://lygte-info.dk/review/Review%2...0VP1%20UK.html

Efest Bio (Good CV/CC charging)
http://lygte-info.dk/review/Review%2...0BIO%20UK.html

Nitecore i2 (dual chemistry charger {Li-ion and NiMH cells} Good CV/CC charging for Li-ion. Constant voltage termination and not the recommended -dv/dt for NiMH {Eneloop} cells.
http://lygte-info.dk/review/Review%2...20i2%20UK.html

Nitecore i4 V2 (dual chemistry charger {Li-ion and NiMH cells with questionable termination} Good CV/CC charging for Li-ion) Constant voltage termination and not the recommended -dv/dt for NiMH {Eneloop} cells).
http://lygte-info.dk/review/Review%2...20V2%20UK.html

EnerPower EP-18650DC2 (1A charger safe for 18650's using CV/CC charging)
http://lygte-info.dk/review/Review%2...0DC2%20UK.html

Amp Max AM10 (Good CV/CC for 18650 batteries)
http://lygte-info.dk/review/Review%2...AM10%20UK.html

Xtar SP2 (True CV/CC charging with multiple charging currents and will charge nearly empty cells) Owned, used, and approved by myself.
http://lygte-info.dk/review/Review%2...0SP2%20UK.html

Xtar WP2 II (Near CV/CC charging, dual current) Owned, used, and approved by myself.
http://lygte-info.dk/review/Review%2...20II%20UK.html

4Sevens Single Bay V2 (Good CV/CC charging with Li-ion and LiFePO4 cells) Supports long 18650's (lithium colbalt oxides as well as lithium iron phosphates and other types)
http://lygte-info.dk/review/Review%2...20V2%20UK.html

Xtar MP1 (single cell with good CV/CC charging) Owned, used, and approved by myself.
http://lygte-info.dk/review/Review%2...0MP1%20UK.html

Xtar WP6 II (Six cells at once, good CV/CC charging)
http://lygte-info.dk/review/Review%2...20II%20UK.html

Cotton Pickers DCM+4 Settings (near true CV/CC charging) Owned, used, and approved by myself.
http://www.lygte-info.dk/review/Revi...ings%20UK.html

Many more here:
http://www.lygte-info.dk/info/indexB...gers%20UK.html


Here comes the links to small cells for a direct comparison between two cells (18350/ 16340/14500/10440/ect.)
http://lygte-info.dk/review/batterie...comparator.php

Here's the larger cells for the direct comparison between two cells (18700/18650/18500/17650/ect.)
http://lygte-info.dk/review/batterie...comparator.php

In conclusion..

A lot of this information may be known to a lot of you but hopefully everyone can learn something from this. If you feel as if I should add something, please let me know and I'll add it. I plan on keeping this thread updated as I see fit. Feel free to link reviews here and I'll add it to the OP. Also, feel free to share and discuss any experiences good or bad that you've had with Li-ion batteries. Stay safe everyone!


-Colby


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-Colby

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