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Thread: Any idea what happened?

  1. #1

    Default Any idea what happened?

    Threw two Eagletac 18650s into my Pila smart charger yesterday. About an hour later, had a weird smell in the house that I couldn't place. Roughly 30 minutes later, I found the problem.

    One bank was flickering between red and green very fast. The other bank was slowly flashing red. I pulled the batteries and found them both to be "cloudy" on the negative side. The Pila charger on the right bank was cracked from top to bottom. I also found a slighly yellow but mainly clear "fluid" had dripped down out of the vents on the bottom of the charger and had dried like rubber cement on my counter top.

    Now, here is the hell of it. I've only used this charger maybe 10 or 12 times. Considering it cost nearly $50 I'm not happy. Furthermore, those 18650s had only been charged MAYBE 5 times. They are the black Eagletacs.

    My luck with flashlights and batteries this week has been crap. First the TK70 messing up, then it possibly being my Titanium charger or the Tenergy batteries... yeah, I'm just not happy.

    Any idea what might have happened?

    Guess I'm back to my uber cheap 18650 charger that takes FOREVER to charge my batts as well as not being "smart" at all.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* 45/70's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any idea what happened?

    Hi Bird. I'm not sure what happened. Sounds like some sort of "meltdown" though. Maybe someone more familiar with the use of the Pila will have an idea, as I've never owned one.

    Did you contact the dealer you bought the charger from? This may be the best place to start. Tell them exactly what happened and maybe they'll have an idea.

    One important note, you appear to have neglected one of the cardinal rules pertaining to the charging of Li-Ion cells. Never leave the charger unattended when charging Li-Ion cells. It makes no difference whether you are using a $400 Shultze to charge Panasonic cells, or a $6 "uber cheap" charger to charge "CrapiFire" cells, never leave the charging process unattended. There is always the possibility that something will go awry. That said, glad you're OK, and again, I'd contact the dealer you bought the charger from.

    Dave

  3. #3

    Default Re: Any idea what happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by 45/70 View Post
    One important note, you appear to have neglected one of the cardinal rules pertaining to the charging of Li-Ion cells. Never leave the charger unattended when charging Li-Ion cells. It makes no difference whether you are using a $400 Shultze to charge Panasonic cells, or a $6 "uber cheap" charger to charge "CrapiFire" cells, never leave the charging process unattended. There is always the possibility that something will go awry. That said, glad you're OK, and again, I'd contact the dealer you bought the charger from.

    Dave
    Well, technically not unattended. My living room dining room, and kitchen are all one big room. I was in the living room and the charger was in the kitchen. Never saw any smoke or any other sign that it was having issues.

    As for the vendor, I don't think I'll have any luck there. Off hand, I can't remember where I ordered it from. Second, its been over a year since I purchased this particular charger.

    Need another good one but now nervous about spending that kind of dough on another Pila.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic gearhead1972's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any idea what happened?

    Just playing Devil's advocate, but what makes you think it was the charger that went bad and not the batteries. I read every thread i could on the Pila before i got mine and never saw anything like this.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Any idea what happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by gearhead1972 View Post
    Just playing Devil's advocate, but what makes you think it was the charger that went bad and not the batteries. I read every thread i could on the Pila before i got mine and never saw anything like this.
    I honestly don't know other than the fact that I can see no physical damage to the batteries. I haven't been brave enough to try testing them in a light or anything to see if they work but by looking at them, I see nothing actually wrong with them.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic CamoNinja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any idea what happened?

    Have you checked the batteries on a volt meter?

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CamoNinja View Post
    Have you checked the batteries on a volt meter?
    No sir. I do not have one.

    Sent via HTC Thunderbolt using Tapatalk.
    Chris - Self proclaimed gadget lover.
    My EDC blog. Flashlights, knives, gadgets, and tool reviews and thoughts.
    http://edcraziness.blogspot.com/

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* 45/70's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any idea what happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by BirdofPrey View Post
    Well, technically not unattended. My living room dining room, and kitchen are all one big room. I was in the living room and the charger was in the kitchen. Never saw any smoke or any other sign that it was having issues.
    First, let me say I'm not really pointing my finger at you. I'm just reasserting the importance of monitoring especially, Li-Ion cells, while charging.

    When I charge my cells I'm within a few feet of them and check them every so often, for excessive heat, venting, etc. If you had been closer to your cells and monitoring them more closely, it's at least possible, that the situation would have had a different outcome.

    I have to ask, and I'm sure at this point you probably don't really know, but is it possible that you had one of the cells inserted in the charger backwards? The Pila I believe does have reverse polarity protection, but I'm not sure just how long a cell can be inserted backwards, without damaging the charger. Most often, chargers that have reverse polarity protection, will signal immediately that something is wrong, and the situation will quickly be corrected by the user. If however, a cell is left installed backwards for an hour, or longer, I'm not so sure damage can be avoided.

    I know I've inserted flat top cells anyway, into chargers (and lights) backwards more than once. It's pretty easy to do. I've always either been warned, or in the case of a light, it didn't work. In both cases, the situation was corrected in a very short time, and no damage was done. Just thinking that possibly, this is what happened.

    Dave

  9. #9

    Default Re: Any idea what happened?

    Time for a new charger and new batteries. I would not use them again. Dispose of them. Start fresh. I use my Pila to charge 18650 cells all the time. No problems.

  10. #10

    Default

    No they werent in backwards. Always double check before insertion and in this instance, I checked when I pulled them.

    Ugh.

    So, where is the best place to purchase the Pila (or equivalent) now?

    Sent via HTC Thunderbolt using Tapatalk.
    Chris - Self proclaimed gadget lover.
    My EDC blog. Flashlights, knives, gadgets, and tool reviews and thoughts.
    http://edcraziness.blogspot.com/

  11. #11

    Default Re: Any idea what happened?

    Just get yourself a cheap voltmeter and see what voltage they read, then charge them on another charger if need be, the batteries may well be fine.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Any idea what happened?

    Hi all today I've received 2 Xtar 18700 2600mah and the charger WP2II.
    I've never charged a Li ion yet, I'm really scared, I'm planning a kind of bunker (outside on the balcony) to do that.

    The phrase Never leave the charger unattended when charging Li-Ion cells , it is a quite ambiguous if the charg takes 2 hours, to charge the batteries, I do not have time to go every 5 minutes to touch the batteries.

    Or even worst If you go to check the charger every 15 minutes and you see some toxic fumes coming out fromt the cells, once you are close enogh to the charger, then you can get serioulsy intoxicated.
    The I'm not sure about that statment; if lef it alone completely unattended, considering the precautiosn (on an non flamable surface and inside a metal box, outdoors); is not better to let it alone, an avoid taking those toxic fumes, and go to see what happened, look trhoug a window and once the fire was self extinguished and the fumes were gone by itself; is it not safer; just in case I mean??.
    Txs

    Below My charging procedure: my girlfriend is going to kill me !!
    They started to charge both with 3.92, 30 min so far and they are ice cubes.


    Last edited by robertito; 10-28-2011 at 12:11 PM.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* bshanahan14rulz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any idea what happened?

    perhaps the power in your house is dirty or you got a bad surge. Fluid from the charger is probably the charging fluid. You've been replacing the charging fluid regularly, right?

    Just messin around a bit. Only fluid I can think of would be from the large electrolytic capacitor in the primary side of the circuit that steps the mains voltage down to a more tolerable useful voltage for the charging electronics. I agree with 45/70, see if you can't track down who you bought it from and see if they will trade it out for you.

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