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Old 08-29-2011, 08:52 AM #1
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Default Lithium-Ion Batteries and Info

Hi all. After reading a few dangerous and ridiculously lucky stories of people using various lithium cells, I decided to give some info as for some precaution and care for your batteries.

As most laser people know, batteries are primary or rechargeable. Most of us use rechargeable batteries. The most commonly used and discussed rechargeable batteries on LPF are Lithium-Ion for the great majority. I will be discussing a few facts, precautions and dangers of these lithium cells.

COMPOSITION

I should note what makes up a lithium cell, as adjusting any part of the chemical makeup of the cell drastically alters its charge and discharge performance.

The anode of the cell is made typically from graphite. This does not react with a whole load of stuff in the cell, so you should be fine here. The cathode differs in that it is made from either a layered oxide, a polyanion, or a spinel.

Lastly the most dangerous and critical part of the cell is the electrolyte.
The electrolyte is composed of organic carbonates, and vary from each cell, but they all do contain a lithium complex of some sort that IS the lithium in the cell.

DANGERS

As for lithium, it is a highly reactive metal, it tarnishes in air, and when burned, they release a MASSIVE amount of energy, reacting with the air and causing chemical reactions extremely quickly. If the lithium is exposed to high temperatures it will react FURIOUSLY, and burn most if not everything in its path. However, the lithium is placed in a molecular complex so it is less reactive however.

One big thing is that since most companies do not reveal their chemical composition, some lithium cells contain certain organic carbonates that have a LOW FLASH POINT. For those of you who play with fire, you should know what this is. Flash point is the temperature in which something gains the capability to explode. Combine that with the already unstable nature of lithium and you get something like this.

BEWARE of ARCTIC BATTERY EXPLOSION

Regardless, due to a probable error in chemical composition, this happened. Lithium cells are extremely sensitive to changes in its composition, surroundings, and temperature. Also note that they are very fragile in terms of electric circuits.

I'd like to make this CLEAR. When dealing with li-ion cells under unprotected high-current draw, ALWAYS keep the cell's temperature below 90 deg F. This is the flash point of certain compounds in the cell. Always USE PROTECTION on your cells whenever possible. DX sells protection circuits for various batteries too.

PRECAUTIONS
If you want to lower the risk of a possible explosion or damage to you, property or to your supercool laser that you spent 350$ on... then
Check your Internal Resistance
Use a protection circuit
If possible, lower the current draw
Keep the Temperature low and cool
Do not dissassemble
Use responsibly
and keep an eye on them. They can be wild sometimes.



USE PROTECTION IN
Your eyes
Your surroundings
Your diode
Your driver
And lastly your cells.

I would like to lastly note that I am a chemistry major, so I can understand most of these terms. I simplified this for you guys.

Tell me if I have made an error,

Iso



Last edited by Isoleucine; 08-29-2011 at 08:53 AM.
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:59 AM #2
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Default Re: Lithium-Ion Batteries and Info

By explode I think you mean begin spontaneously oxidation. :P
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:01 AM #3
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Default Re: Lithium-Ion Batteries and Info

Quote:
Originally Posted by Limecat View Post
By explode I think you mean begin spontaneously oxidation. :P
I guess you can say that. Some parts of the electrolyte are dangerous, they can fuel the lithium to go completely rage.
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:12 AM #4
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Default Re: Lithium-Ion Batteries and Info

Ah, yeah. I hope it never happens to me though :|
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:04 AM #5
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Lightbulb Re: Lithium-Ion Batteries and Info

Quote:
Originally Posted by Isoleucine View Post
Hi all. After reading a few dangerous and ridiculously lucky stories of people using various lithium cells, I decided to give some info as for some precaution and care for your batteries.

As most laser people know, batteries are primary or rechargeable. Most of us use rechargeable batteries. The most commonly used and discussed rechargeable batteries on LPF are Lithium-Ion for the great majority. I will be discussing a few facts, precautions and dangers of these lithium cells.

COMPOSITION

I should note what makes up a lithium cell, as adjusting any part of the chemical makeup of the cell drastically alters its charge and discharge performance.

The anode of the cell is made typically from graphite. This does not react with a whole load of stuff in the cell, so you should be fine here. The cathode differs in that it is made from either a layered oxide, a polyanion, or a spinel.

Lastly the most dangerous and critical part of the cell is the electrolyte.
The electrolyte is composed of organic carbonates, and vary from each cell, but they all do contain a lithium complex of some sort that IS the lithium in the cell.

DANGERS

As for lithium, it is a highly reactive metal, it tarnishes in air, and when burned, they release a MASSIVE amount of energy, reacting with the air and causing chemical reactions extremely quickly. If the lithium is exposed to high temperatures it will react FURIOUSLY, and burn most if not everything in its path. However, the lithium is placed in a molecular complex so it is less reactive however.

One big thing is that since most companies do not reveal their chemical composition, some lithium cells contain certain organic carbonates that have a LOW FLASH POINT. For those of you who play with fire, you should know what this is. Flash point is the temperature in which something gains the capability to explode. Combine that with the already unstable nature of lithium and you get something like this.

BEWARE of ARCTIC BATTERY EXPLOSION

Regardless, due to a probable error in chemical composition, this happened. Lithium cells are extremely sensitive to changes in its composition, surroundings, and temperature. Also note that they are very fragile in terms of electric circuits.

I'd like to make this CLEAR. When dealing with li-ion cells under unprotected high-current draw, ALWAYS keep the cell's temperature below 90 deg F. This is the flash point of certain compounds in the cell. Always USE PROTECTION on your cells whenever possible. DX sells protection circuits for various batteries too.

PRECAUTIONS
If you want to lower the risk of a possible explosion or damage to you, property or to your supercool laser that you spent 350$ on... then
Check your Internal Resistance
Use a protection circuit
If possible, lower the current draw
Keep the Temperature low and cool
Do not dissassemble
Use responsibly
and keep an eye on them. They can be wild sometimes.



USE PROTECTION IN
Your eyes
Your surroundings
Your diode
Your driver
And lastly your cells.

I would like to lastly note that I am a chemistry major, so I can understand most of these terms. I simplified this for you guys.

Tell me if I have made an error,

Iso
I am going to add that Lithium metal does NOT need to be burned to release a massive amount of energy. It could be as much as a "little" moisture to do this! We are dealing with a HIGHLY REACTIVE Alkali metal. H2O and Li = H2 and a massive amount of heat.
A faulty seal on the battery allowing dampness of the air to somehow get into the cell WILL cause an explosion. There have been a few cases (esp) in humid climates of batteries suddenly going CATO from bad manufacturing. I recall a famous case in HongKong and another one 2 years ago in South Korea. Both cases it was involving cell phone batteries.
I can second the protected vs non-protected cell thing. I have had a close call with an Ultrafire battery for a flashlight I bought a few years ago. I was a RCR-132A rated at 800mAh. When I got the battery all seemed normal, until one day while charging it literally vented explosively. Good thing I was in the room at the time. Apparently mine was an unprotected cell and was nearly DoA! Not being aware of this could have cost me a great deal.
Unprotected cells are able to discharge below the safe minimum voltage required and hence can heat up due to internal resistance. The resistance causes heating of the battery electrolyte causing a heating, worst case fire and or explosion. Tenergy and other mainstream battery manufacturers make a circuit that cuts off charging to the battery once the voltage drops below ~3.7v. This is what a protected cell does.

Also a quick word of warning, having a protected circuit DOES NOT guarantee you being free of an explosion from these batteries. It can still happen.
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Old 09-06-2011, 02:42 AM #6
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Default Re: Lithium-Ion Batteries and Info

Yeah I know. It just prevents the battery from over-running itself which could lead to terribly unsafe situations...

However, you are right on moisture. Manufacturing these batteries are particularly dangerous. I do know that protection circuits do add a slightly noticeable increase in internal resistance, usually at most around 70 mOhms, but I don't think its much of a problem. Irritating the lithium complexes by drawing high current can really make it 'unhappy'. Most high-quality cells are non-aqueous, or waterfree in a sense. So they are much safer.

And lastly, I include the burning part to show just how much energy it can release. However, in real life, adding pure lithium to an excess of water usually results in a short fizzle, occasionally a flame. When compacted inside a cell, it becomes much more reactive and thus it can explode or do much worse, as the chemicals inside those cells are typically not encountered in daily situations and are usually designed for that very purpose of coordinating lithium to 'generate' power in batteries.
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Quote:
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Actually I think WL probably saved a lot of pilots stress on takeoff/landing, balloons worldwide are safer, matches have reverted back to friction as the preferred ignition method...
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Old 09-07-2011, 07:10 PM #7
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Default Re: Lithium-Ion Batteries and Info

So this may seem like a dumb question, but I'm not very knowledgeable about batteries. I'd like to know what the deal is with "universal" type chargers.

I have a TrustFire multifunctional charger. Amazon.com: Trustfire Multifunctional Universal Lithium Ion Rechargeable Battery Charger for CR123A, 16340, 14500, 10400, or 18650: Camera & Photo
Although the one I received was actually a different color.

On the back it says, "Can charge more cylindrical lithium batteries: 10430, 10440, 14500, 16340, 17670, 18500, 18650", but am I able to charge, say an 18350 or a CR123?
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Old 09-07-2011, 07:44 PM #8
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Default Re: Lithium-Ion Batteries and Info

Yes. Electrically, the only difference between rechargeable lithium ion cells is the discharge/charge rating. Chargers generally charge at a relatively low rate, so even if you put a small cell in them, there is no danger.

I've used my charger to charge many kinds of lithium battery - even cell phone batteries and other odd shapes. I've never had any problems.
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:11 PM #9
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Default Re: Lithium-Ion Batteries and Info

Awesome, thanks for the info.
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Old 09-08-2011, 01:09 AM #10
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Default Re: Lithium-Ion Batteries and Info

Personally, I use a reeeealy low current charger. 200mA for 10 hours isn't that bad. All I'm gonna use it for is a mid-power 445... 500+mA charge rate may be noticeably more power, and heat may be generated... which may cause non-nice problems.

I do research for personal reasons, safety, for fun, and for practicality. Very useful stuff I learned.
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Quote:
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Actually I think WL probably saved a lot of pilots stress on takeoff/landing, balloons worldwide are safer, matches have reverted back to friction as the preferred ignition method...
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Old 09-08-2011, 01:19 AM #11
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Exclamation Re: Lithium-Ion Batteries and Info

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghostchrome View Post
So this may seem like a dumb question, but I'm not very knowledgeable about batteries. I'd like to know what the deal is with "universal" type chargers.

I have a TrustFire multifunctional charger. Amazon.com: Trustfire Multifunctional Universal Lithium Ion Rechargeable Battery Charger for CR123A, 16340, 14500, 10400, or 18650: Camera & Photo
Although the one I received was actually a different color.

On the back it says, "Can charge more cylindrical lithium batteries: 10430, 10440, 14500, 16340, 17670, 18500, 18650", but am I able to charge, say an 18350 or a CR123?
NEVER EVER charge an CR123A battery in a charger. The battery should always be marked RCR123A. R is rechargable ... Sorry if I am over reacting here or if you made a typo.
CR123A are quite often sold as Photo Lithium cells and are LiS cells. Single use.
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Old 09-08-2011, 01:24 AM #12
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Default Re: Lithium-Ion Batteries and Info

Should say that in my OP, its quite notable. They are marked as lithium commonly, so yeah.

... Although they are NOT li-ion!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AUTO XX View Post
Actually I think WL probably saved a lot of pilots stress on takeoff/landing, balloons worldwide are safer, matches have reverted back to friction as the preferred ignition method...
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Old 09-08-2011, 03:56 PM #13
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Default Re: Lithium-Ion Batteries and Info

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Originally Posted by Seoul_lasers View Post
NEVER EVER charge an CR123A battery in a charger. The battery should always be marked RCR123A. R is rechargable ... Sorry if I am over reacting here or if you made a typo.
CR123A are quite often sold as Photo Lithium cells and are LiS cells. Single use.
Ah right right, thanks!
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Old 09-08-2011, 04:07 PM #14
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Default Re: Lithium-Ion Batteries and Info

just a note... when ever you see the word "primary" on a battery or packaging the batter will NOT be rechargable.


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Old 09-08-2011, 07:29 PM #15
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Default Re: Lithium-Ion Batteries and Info

I also think it important to name the following,

If it is possible, charge the batteries (cell) only at 4.05V, instead of the full 4.20V,
this reduces voltage-related stress and prolongs battery life.

It is also important not to discharge the batteries below 3.0V.

Among other things.
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Old 09-08-2011, 09:59 PM #16
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Default Re: Lithium-Ion Batteries and Info

Quote:
Originally Posted by Isoleucine View Post
PRECAUTIONS
If you want to lower the risk of a possible explosion or damage to you, property or to your supercool laser that you spent 350$ on... then
Check your Internal Resistance
Use a protection circuit
If possible, lower the current draw
Keep the Temperature low and cool
Do not dissassemble
Use responsibly
and keep an eye on them. They can be wild sometimes.
Hello,

I read your informative survey, but I wonder:

1. "Check your Internal Resistance" - How can an average user, who doesn't know much electronics (like me) do that?

2. "Use a protection circuit" - How can I be sure that what is advertised as a protection circuit battery, is realy a protection circuit battery? Take into account that many members here buy batteries from China, and sometimes there can be "mistakes" and the battery will not match the description. Please don't tell me not to buy from China.

3. "If possible, lower the current draw" - And how am I exactly going to do that? I just insert the battery into my laser and fire it. How can I control my laser current draw?

4. "Keep the Temperature low and cool" - OK, so You are telling me not to use my laser on a hot day? Or maybe I should turn on the air conditioning?

5. "Do not dissassemble" - I always wonder how can these things be dissassembled. They are so solid that you need a hammer to break it. And who is insane enough to do it anyway?

6. "Use responsibly" - What does it mean in that regard? You can say "use responsibly" in almost every aspect of your life, starting with your car and ending with your wife...

7. "Keep an eye on them" - Like I do with my children... They also can be wild sometimes...

I am not being sarcastic. I realy wonder.

Last edited by snoutke; 09-08-2011 at 10:07 PM.
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