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Thread: Why Did My Battery Explode??

  1. #1
    Enlightened DavyCrockett's Avatar
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    Default Why Did My Battery Explode??

    I searched everywhere here, and read the 'do not overcharge' your batteries thread. But this case seemed different.

    This was a few years ago, when I knew NOTHING about flashlights or batteries. I'd bought a CHEAP little flashlight with lithium battery. I don't know what kind of battery, other than it was lithium. I never charged it, didn't do anything to it, other than keep it in the little 4" flashlight.

    At about 1 a.m. I was awakened by a POP...there was fire on my bedcover and upon turning the light on, the window was broken. The battery had exploded and sent the battery to the window like a bullet, and something landed on the bedspread making the fire.

    Anyone want to make a guess why this happened?? (I'd say the room temp. was about 70 degrees and humidity was about 70 also, if that has anything to do with it)

    Thanks, Davy
    Davy k.o.t.w.f.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* TooManyGizmos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Did My Battery Explode??

    ~

    ( Did this just recently happen ? or a few years ago after you bought it ? )


    Maybe you either left it on and fell asleep while it over-discharged .... OR ...

    Maybe due to age and never being charged , it corroded internally and went into thermal runaway.

    Did you let water get into the light and seep into the battery ?

    Lights and batteries need to be properly maintained for reliable use .

    ~
    Last edited by TooManyGizmos; 07-13-2010 at 09:13 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Why Did My Battery Explode??

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    Homebuilts - "BREEZE" RCR2 sidexside, "Tornado" 4 x 18650 side x side, Streamlight SL20x LED module (Custom BST Feeler Thread)

  4. #4
    Enlightened DavyCrockett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Did My Battery Explode??

    This was about 6 years ago. I had it lying on the dresser and don't
    think it was on. It was maybe 1 year old at the time. Don't think it
    had gotten wet, other than it was pretty humid inside the place most of the time. And, no, it had never been charged.
    Davy k.o.t.w.f.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* RepProdigious's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Did My Battery Explode??

    Aleins broke into your house and accidentally stepped on it........

  6. #6
    Enlightened DavyCrockett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Did My Battery Explode??

    TooMany, so you're saying that if you leave a lithium light on for long enough, it may explode??

    (I know I didn't leave it on though, I'm o.c. about turning things off)

    Anyone else??
    Davy k.o.t.w.f.

  7. #7
    *Flashaholic* Mr Happy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Did My Battery Explode??

    The lithium battery was probably a CR123A? This is commonly used in small lights.

    A CR123A lithium cell contains a lot of power packed into a small container, and to get that much power it is built with very energetic ingredients. As a result, CR123A cells can explode. They might do it just on a whim and without provocation.

    Such an event is unusual, but possible, with cheap cells of Chinese manufacture, and extremely unlikely with quality cells made in the USA, Japan or Europe.

    If you ever get a cheap CR123A cell of unknown source, perhaps one prepackaged with a light, the best thing to do is to throw it away and replace it with a Duracell, Panasonic, Surefire or similar high quality cell. The cheap cells are just not worth the risk.
    Tiefer, tiefer, irgendwo in der Tiefe gibt es ein Licht

  8. #8
    Enlightened DavyCrockett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Did My Battery Explode??

    Ok. Probably was a cheap one. The 123 in my mini quark says 4Sevens on it. Is that one okay? (it also says made in China on it.)

    Thanks for the replies.
    Davy k.o.t.w.f.

  9. #9
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Did My Battery Explode??

    It's not a good idea to save money on objects that have the energy density of mild explosives; there are quite a few threads here about CPFers who have been injured and/or lost property due to an exploding 123, and in every case you'll find the battery was a cheaper off-brand cell.

    Stick to name-brand made-in-Japan/USA lithiums; reviews of the 4Sevens cells have so far been positive.

  10. #10
    Moderator Kestrel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Did My Battery Explode??

    This was a single CR123 light and not one that took two cells, right? From what I understand, the risks go up considerably with two lithium cells.

    And a big +1 on US-mfg lithium cells: SureFire, Streamlight, Panasonic, Duracell, Energizer, Rayovac, BatteryStation.
    In the past we have had a light which flickered, in the present we have a light which flames, and in the future there will be a light which shines over all the land and sea.
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  11. #11
    *Flashaholic* kramer5150's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Did My Battery Explode??

    I am guessing it was a cheap, poorly made CR123 cell. Minimal QC, poor quality of materials, and careless/loosely regulated foreign manufacturing procedures plague these kinds of cells. As opposed to quality cells made in USA.

    I am guessing you had an internal short inside the cell that caused it to vent. The venting gas built up pressure and the light popped. The flaming cell guts on the bed were the remains of the electrical short and resulting chemical fire.
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  12. #12
    Flashaholic* Vesper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Did My Battery Explode??

    Quote Originally Posted by DavyCrockett View Post
    The 123 in my mini quark says 4Sevens on it. Is that one okay? (it also says made in China on it.)
    Yes - based on 4sevens reputation and what they've said in the past about their cells. The case is... some really great and equally really bad cells come out of China. 4sevens reports theirs are from the producers of the former. I tend to believe them until further notice.

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