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Thread: What does a leaking li-ion battery smell like?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* Kryosphinx's Avatar
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    Default What does a leaking li-ion battery smell like?

    I suspect that one of my li-ion batts might be leaking. It has a very distinctive smell to it, but I don't know whether or not that smell indicates leaking.
    What does a leaking li-ion battery smell like, if it has a smell at all?
    Got busted lights? Send me a PM and depending on the situation, I'll take 'em off your hands. I always like a good modding challenge.

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    Flashaholic* snakebite's Avatar
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    Default Re: What does a leaking li-ion battery smell like?

    i blew up some worn out li-ion to see how hard it was to cause a catastropic failure.
    the ones that vented had an odor like juicyfruit gum.

    i am always looking for old radios and tv sets.tube stuff.ham gear.i repair all the above.
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    Flashaholic* Manzerick's Avatar
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    Default Re: What does a leaking li-ion battery smell like?

    You should never be close enough to smell it!! j/k

    any smell is bad and not even worth being near. If it's a sour chemical smell, it's your Li-ION but this is only with cell phone LI-ION's I have smelled(never a flashlight one) as I work in a building they repairs Motorola phones...



    Quote Originally Posted by Kryosphinx
    I suspect that one of my li-ion batts might be leaking. It has a very distinctive smell to it, but I don't know whether or not that smell indicates leaking.
    What does a leaking li-ion battery smell like, if it has a smell at all?

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* Manzerick's Avatar
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    Default Re: What does a leaking li-ion battery smell like?

    I would say Juicy Fruit lit on fire in it's wrapper

    Quote Originally Posted by snakebite
    i blew up some worn out li-ion to see how hard it was to cause a catastropic failure.
    the ones that vented had an odor like juicyfruit gum.

  5. #5
    Enlightened Desert_AIP's Avatar
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    Default Re: What does a leaking li-ion battery smell like?

    We use Lithium batteries a lot in the Navy.
    Standard warnings in our pubs reference SO2 as a sign of leaking or venting batteries.
    Sulphur Dioxide smells like rotten eggs.

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    Flashaholic thefish's Avatar
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    Default Re: What does a leaking li-ion battery smell like?

    I had a RCR123A leak on me in the charger, it had a smell, not really strong, and not really bad, but it was a smell for sure. Well that battery (and its mate in the charger) both ended up in the recycling can.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* Kryosphinx's Avatar
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    Default Re: What does a leaking li-ion battery smell like?

    Mine smells like rubbing alcohol mixed with burning stuff, but that may be from me rinsing the bulb with isopropyl alcohol. the batt works fine, so i'm assuming it's ok.
    Got busted lights? Send me a PM and depending on the situation, I'll take 'em off your hands. I always like a good modding challenge.

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    Thread Killer Illum's Avatar
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    Default Re: What does a leaking li-ion battery smell like?

    Sometimes people get confused about the smell and whether it was from the batteries or the surrounding enviroment, I know I did. [I was newbish when I bought my inova xo, long ago] the "white lithium grease" was pushed up into the top elecrical constact and flowd down into the tube...so my lithiums are freshly lubed while still maintaining good electrical contact...

    the first thing I saw when i unscrewed the tailcap was this white sticky gellike compound... and the smell was...sour...a little like WD-40...dont know how you would describe it...


    I guess im speaking out of line here...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kryosphinx
    Mine smells like rubbing alcohol mixed with burning stuff, but that may be from me rinsing the bulb with isopropyl alcohol. the batt works fine, so i'm assuming it's ok.
    Does Alcohol clean the contacts of the bulb and battery? or contrary to popular belief it just corrodes the terminals?

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    Default Re: What does a leaking li-ion battery smell like?

    Standard warnings in our pubs reference SO2 as a sign of leaking or venting batteries.
    Sulphur Dioxide smells like rotten eggs.
    This would be from Lithium/Thionyl chloride (SOCl2) primary cells. Thionyl chloride reacts with moisture to produce SO2 which has a sour smell.

    LiIon secondary cells contain solvents like ethyl acetate and ethyl carbonate which have a fruity etheral smell.

  10. #10

    Default Re: What does a leaking li-ion battery smell like?

    Hmmm, new to using CR123's I've noticed they have the rubbing alcohol smell fresh out of the packaging, and if my light is on too long and they begin to overheat, the rubbing alcohol smell is very strong. I hope to never find out what an exploded one smells like.

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    Flashaholic* Fallingwater's Avatar
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    Default Re: What does a leaking li-ion battery smell like?

    Quote Originally Posted by snakebite View Post
    i blew up some worn out li-ion to see how hard it was to cause a catastropic failure.
    How hard was it?
    Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die.

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    Default Re: What does a leaking li-ion battery smell like?

    Almost all lithium cells, good or bad, smell like ether which is used for starting balky engines. This is a somewhat fruity/alcohol/volatile hydrocarbon fragrance - nothing like rotten eggs. In my experience, it's normal to smell this anytime a package or light is opened up.
    I'm absolutely certain that I need another flashlight.

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    Default Re: What does a leaking li-ion battery smell like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fallingwater View Post
    How hard was it?
    Lol, the easy way is to throw them in a fire. I did that with a primary lithium, and it is somewhat violent. I sure wouldn't want it in my pocket! The cell was dead, so I don't know if that makes a difference. I'm going to try a few more this weekend, a couple dead, and a couple that are good to see if there is a difference.

    EDIT: This is very dangerous! Do not attempt! I am doing this at my own risk.

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    Thread Killer Illum's Avatar
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    Str Re: What does a leaking li-ion battery smell like?



    Last edited by Illum; 01-17-2008 at 07:28 PM.

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    Flashaholic* Fallingwater's Avatar
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    Default Re: What does a leaking li-ion battery smell like?

    Quote Originally Posted by jugg2 View Post
    Lol, the easy way is to throw them in a fire. I did that with a primary lithium, and it is somewhat violent. I sure wouldn't want it in my pocket! The cell was dead, so I don't know if that makes a difference. I'm going to try a few more this weekend, a couple dead, and a couple that are good to see if there is a difference.

    EDIT: This is very dangerous! Do not attempt! I am doing this at my own risk.
    Film it and post the movie.
    Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die.

  16. #16
    *Flashaholic* Sgt. LED's Avatar
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    Default Re: What does a leaking li-ion battery smell like?

    For sure!
    Post a film, I wanna see.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: What does a leaking li-ion battery smell like?

    I'll try, all I have is a digital camera, but I'll see what I can do. It's raining down here now so if the rain doesn't let up I may not be able to build a fire. But I hope I can

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    Flashaholic* dulridge's Avatar
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    Default Re: What does a leaking li-ion battery smell like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert_AIP View Post
    We use Lithium batteries a lot in the Navy.
    Standard warnings in our pubs reference SO2 as a sign of leaking or venting batteries.
    Sulphur Dioxide smells like rotten eggs.
    It doesn't. Hydrogen sulphide smells like rotten eggs (H2S). SO2 smells incredibly acrid - due to small formation of sulphuric acid in your mouth and nose. You will know about sulphur dioxide and once smelled, it is never forgotten.

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