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Thread: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

  1. #31
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    I have read the posts, and some of us are trying to verify (post 13,16,17). Like I said, what happened isn't something most of us are aware of. We mostly hear about these events with lithium-ion...hence the desire for clarification.
    Wish: 1) Super low beacon; easy find flashlight. 2) Low voltage indicator, so not stranded without light. 3) Simple, one handed control ring mode changer (magnetic control ring). 4) Flood beam for walking/tasks. 5) Pocket carry. 6) LiFePO4.


  2. #32
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    Quote Originally Posted by snakyjake View Post
    I have read the posts, and some of us are trying to verify (post 13,16,17). Like I said, what happened isn't something most of us are aware of. We mostly hear about these events with lithium-ion...hence the desire for clarification.
    In these post 13, 16 and 17 instead of reading carefully and trying to understand all the very good information I gave all these people read to fast and try to speculate...

    Many others understands very well what happens.

    Ultimate CampingMaster
    Will never be caught in the dark... always my FOURSEVENS Quark model QP2L-X w/Burst LED torch with me. (With CREE XM-L2 T6).

  3. #33
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    Was Claude (and others you may have gifted) familiar with the risks and safe handling methods of lithium batteries?
    Wish: 1) Super low beacon; easy find flashlight. 2) Low voltage indicator, so not stranded without light. 3) Simple, one handed control ring mode changer (magnetic control ring). 4) Flood beam for walking/tasks. 5) Pocket carry. 6) LiFePO4.


  4. #34
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    Quote Originally Posted by snakyjake View Post
    Was Claude (and others you may have gifted) familiar with the risks and safe handling methods of lithium batteries?
    Never I saw in my documentation from Fenix and 4Sevens advices on the use of Lithium Primary or Rechargeable for their flashlights. The instruction booklet is few pages with minimum info.

    I only heard of problems charging Rechargeable RCR123A on this forum.

    If there is a PDF somewhere on «the risks and safe handling methods of lithium batteries» give me the link. Anyway my friend did the same thing I would do : use his flashlight with approved batteries.

    When you buy a flashlight there is no instructions to check with a voltmeter if a batterie Primary or Rechargeable is lower than the other to avoid a dangerous explosion...

    All the flashlights I ordered in the last couple of years is because friends asked me to buy one for them because they were impressed of the power of the new LED technologie I had in my holster. Any of these flashlights that I bought was a gift but sold at the same price I paid them.

    Ultimate CampingMaster
    Will never be caught in the dark... always my FOURSEVENS Quark model QP2L-X w/Burst LED torch with me. (With CREE XM-L2 T6).

  5. #35
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    Quote Originally Posted by CampingMaster
    If there is a PDF somewhere on «the risks and safe handling methods of lithium batteries» give me the link.
    Since you slammed me for not reading (or wanting verification), I'll do the same by suggesting you learn how to use the search feature. Many threads have discussed the dangers and safe responsible handling. Plenty on primaries too.

    If there are others that have received your generous flashlight gifts (and if you haven't already done so), make sure they are informed and trained.

    Quote Originally Posted by CampingMaster
    When you buy a flashlight there is no instructions
    I agree there should be a legal warning on lithium, batteries, cell phones, laptops, etc. Then maybe, just maybe, we would be better informed of the risks and safety procedures.

    Even after reading tons of posts, and trying to piece them together between people saying something that "we have a better chance of breathing asbestos than having a battery explosion" or "safe lithium-ion battery chemistry"....it is somewhat difficult to really know what is really safe. I have to rely on what every else says and figure out who actually knows what they are talking about.

    Posts like these make me think of going NiMH.

  6. #36
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    Quote Originally Posted by snakyjake View Post
    Since you slammed me for not reading (or wanting verification), Hey hey hey !!!

    I'll do the same by suggesting you learn how to use the search feature. Many threads have discussed the dangers and safe responsible handling. Plenty on primaries too. Many threads is not one PDF, sorry I read them all.

    If there are others that have received your generous flashlight gifts (and if you haven't already done so), make sure they are informed and trained. Never myself was informed and trained by Fenix nor 4Sevens nor will be the customers/friends who ask me to buy the latest technologie for them. What happens to my friend might happens to any well trained or informed user because it happens in few seconds.
    And let me tell you something :You still don't read my friend... I said to you and I quote "Any of these flashlights that I bought was a gift but sold at the same price I paid them".
    Ultimate CampingMaster
    Will never be caught in the dark... always my FOURSEVENS Quark model QP2L-X w/Burst LED torch with me. (With CREE XM-L2 T6).

  7. #37
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    Read this sticky:
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?124776-123-Primary-Lithium-cell-info-testing-links

    It is a bit difficult to read your messages with the grammar, communication style, and punctuation errors. I don't walk all over you for your English efforts, I hope for the same courtesy when I'm trying to read it and ask for clarity.

  8. #38
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    Everyone, please no sniping & stay on topic. Thanks,
    Last edited by Kestrel; 01-05-2012 at 10:09 PM.
    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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  9. #39
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    ~

    For those interested in reading similar threads like this one .....

    You may click on this link to the "Archived pages" of the Battery Sub Forum :
    "Smoke and Fire, Hot Cells and Close Calls - The dangerous side of batteries"

    This "Archive" is a list of threads detailing certain "battery mis-haps" over the years on CPF . You can learn a lot from each thread .

    The mis-haps include Primary type and Lithium-Ion rechargable type cells .
    Both while being used in multi-cell lights and while being re-charged .

    By reading these various threads we ALL learn from their mistakes .



    Here is also a link to ALL the CPF Archives available : "Archive Index"

    ~
    Last edited by TooManyGizmos; 01-05-2012 at 10:27 PM. Reason: addition
    ~ "She" says ... ... I have ... TooManyGizmos ~

  10. #40
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    .
    ~

    The Heads of our lights need to be metal for heat-sinking purposes .....

    But maybe we could get by with plastic end caps for switches and battery loading.That way maybe excessive pressure build up in a battery tube would just strip the plastic threads on the cap and pop it off , since it would be the weakest point of the metal battery tube . Seems that would be safer than these threaded pipe bombs that we are currently using . We just never know ..... any of us might be next to have an un-expected incident .

    On twistie lights with no end caps , maybe the rear half of the body tube could be plastic , so it would rupture and split .... rather than explode and go flying .


    Before it happens to you , maybe we should be collectively seeking a better solution to this on going problem . Holes drilled in the tube and filled with wax or a semi-permanent filler as a pressure relief valve , has been previously suggested . I am not sure the hole could be large enough to expel rapidly expanding gasses fast enough to prevent a violent explosion like the one seen in this thread .


    Is it time to put Safety before aesthetically pleasing (metal) pipe bomb end-caps ?

    Could you members tolerate threaded plastic safety end caps on your lights ?



    ~
    Last edited by TooManyGizmos; 01-06-2012 at 06:45 AM. Reason: spelling correction
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  11. #41
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    Quote Originally Posted by TooManyGizmos View Post
    I am not sure the hole could be large enough to expel rapidly expanding gasses fast enough to prevent a violent explosion like the one seen in this thread .
    I am not sure about the "rapidly expanding" part, if you look at the cell the ventilations holes are very small. The pressure might build slowly up (a second or two) and when it is high enough the tailcap and heads are forced away.
    My website with flashlight, battery and charger information: lygte-info.
    More than 200 battery reviews and 80 charger reviews.
    Compare 18650 LiIon batteries or smaller (RCR123, 16340, 14500, 10450) LiIon batteries.

  12. #42
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary


    Looking at the picture, it appears the left battery was alot hotter than the right. I can't tell the brand of the left battery, the right battery didn't burn off it's label.

  13. #43
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    Quote Originally Posted by HKJ View Post
    I am not sure about the "rapidly expanding" part, if you look at the cell the ventilations holes are very small. The pressure might build slowly up (a second or two) and when it is high enough the tailcap and heads are forced away.
    ~ HKJ ,

    When this happens , do you think plastic end cap threads on the Light body would be stripped away by the pressure ? Would a plastic cap just pop off and allow the flames and gasses to escape less violently ? (and NOT explode) (I've never seen a Hand grenade with a plastic filler hole plug in the bottom)

    This would have scared the CRAP out of me - enough to cause a future flashlight phobia !

    Apparently ... the way this was described ... this event could have happened to any one of us ... that's what bothers me . And it seems there was no prior warning of it to alert the guy ! - He had it right beside his HEAD ! - I wonder if this user would now prefer a flashlight with a body that was not quite so strong and durable as to withstand being run over by a tank . The stronger it is ... the more strongly it will erupt from within . Plastic tailcaps ... anyone ?

    ~
    Last edited by TooManyGizmos; 01-06-2012 at 04:28 AM. Reason: addition
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    Quote Originally Posted by TooManyGizmos View Post
    ~ HKJ ,

    When this happens , do you think plastic end cap threads on the Light body would be stripped away by the pressure ? Would a plastic cap just pop off and allow the flames and gasses to escape less violently ? (and NOT explode) (I've never seen a Hand grenade with a plastic filler hole plug in the bottom)
    This will depend on how strongly it is attach to the body. A solid plastic endcap with a solid thread would probably be nearly as bad. The idea is to avoid high pressure, that can throw stuff far away at high velocity, this might also reduce the risk of flames.
    I believe that some plastic filled holes in the body would be better, they can be designed to block high pressure from outside, but open for releative low pressure from inside. For lights where the battery fits rather tight, it would be possible to place these holes at the head of the battery, i.e. where the battery lets out pressure.
    Only concern is how it would feel when having a hand over the plastic filled hole. As long as you just get shocked and drops the light it is fine, but if it can do serious damage to the hand, it is very bad.
    My website with flashlight, battery and charger information: lygte-info.
    More than 200 battery reviews and 80 charger reviews.
    Compare 18650 LiIon batteries or smaller (RCR123, 16340, 14500, 10450) LiIon batteries.

  15. #45
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    If we take care of all this things that's said in this and the other threads about venting batteries - only high quality cells, balance cells, never drain to much in multi cell lights etc.
    Isn't this a rare happening compared to the large amounts of CR123 cells used? Maybe I'm only trying to calm my self about the risks?
    We do use cars, bikes, powertools and all kind of things there we know there is a risk of accident.
    We do what we can do minimize the risk though.

    @TooManyGizmos, this is a good idea.
    In cars we have deformation zones. If we have an accident these zones will deform while where the driver and passengers are we try to keep intact.
    Sometimes people hold there flashlight in the mouth and then having the tail being the weakest part maybe not the best.
    Thinking about it, for me I think I would prefer if just the front end of the light blow out - lens, reflector etc.
    That is the end of the flashlight that I probably don't point to my face or hold my hand for.
    on the other hand I might point the light at something / somebody I don't want to shoot pieces of glass against!

  16. #46
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    ~

    It just seems to me that some attempt should be made to reduce the violent nature of what he experienced , what ever that might be .

    Anything to reduce what he experienced .... would be an improvement.

    I'm just trying to get folks to think about an alternative to what we have now .

    There seems to be some room for improvement so as to reduce violent pressure buildup .

    If this had happened to you ? ..... what improvements would you be looking for ?


    If these events continue .... O.S.H.A. may get involved.
    I hope my TV remote control don't blow up in my hand today.

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  17. #47
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    ~

    Here is my last statement ............ ( I'm going to bed )


    I think some part of the battery tube should be made of softer plastic ....
    that will rupture less violently than the metal ... during a catastrophic failure .

    Yes, we use tools and drive cars, but how many of those blow-up without warning ?

    ~
    ~ "She" says ... ... I have ... TooManyGizmos ~

  18. #48
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    CampingMaster, thank you for posting this and the excellent pics.
    Please question your friend and try to answer the following questions, it's important to have as much info as possible. Edit the answers into your first post, too.


    1. How much was the light used over all that time since it was bought, and what brightness levels were used?

    2. What brightness level was used when the incident happened?

    3. Was the flashlight noticeably dimmer compared to using new batteries (maybe you could give your friend a similar light to compare with his memory)?


    You can see, my questions are intended to gain info about the condition of the batteries and what power they were demanded to deliver at the time of the incident.




    Oh and since checking on batteries with a voltmeter or multimeter was mentioned several times, everybody please be aware that
    the resting voltage of a CR123 primary battery doesn't tell you much, if anything.

    It's only true for Li-Ion rechargeable batteries that their voltage correlates to charge condition.

  19. #49
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    Quote Originally Posted by Helmut.G View Post
    CampingMaster, thank you for posting this and the excellent pics.

    Please question your friend and try to answer the following questions, it's important to have as much info as possible. Edit the answers into your first post, too.

    1. How much was the light used over all that time since it was bought, and what brightness levels were used?

    2. What brightness level was used when the incident happened?

    3. Was the flashlight noticeably dimmer compared to using new batteries (maybe you could give your friend a similar light to compare with his memory)?

    You can see, my questions are intended to gain info about the condition of the batteries and what power they were demanded to deliver at the time of the incident.
    Thank you very much for these very good and pertinent questions.

    I talked with my friend few minutes ago and :

    1- The use of the flashlight was very sparingly, very little use over 13 months. Was it at maximum the few times he uses it ? I think so.

    2- Probably 95% sure the maximum (for those who are used to Fenix terms : maximum for 4Sevens = Turbo for Fenix ), but because he did not use it often maybe he did not know that his flashlight was'nt delivering the real maximum ( 230 lumens ).

    3- He is at on hour ride from my home, I am supposed to see him back when I will receive his new replacement flashlight, only in few weeks, at that moment we will discuss about your questions and give more info in this thread. If I get more info before that all the details will be posted, I am waiting also from him a report of the details of what happens for 4Sevens and CPF users.

    Thank you again for your questions, this will help to pinpoint something not to do with with our flashlights using 3 V. batteries.

    Ultimate CampingMaster
    Last edited by CampingMaster; 01-21-2012 at 07:55 PM. Reason: Very small orthographic correction
    Will never be caught in the dark... always my FOURSEVENS Quark model QP2L-X w/Burst LED torch with me. (With CREE XM-L2 T6).

  20. #50
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    Hello CampingMaster,

    Years ago several tests were done showing the dangers of primary lithium cells. The basic problem was that lower quality cells often are not matched in capacity, and this can also happen if partially used cells are used with new cells. In order to generate the "rapid venting with flame" a few things need to be in place. You need heat, a cell that is being reversed charged, and enough time to get the chemical reaction going.

    The basic safety aspects that came out of this testing were to use quality cells, to never mix partially used or different brands of cells with new cells in a multi cell light, to make sure the light is shut off and locked out, and to no worry about the last little bit of capacity in the cells. When the light starts to dim, replace the cells.

    Following these procedures, the incidents of "exploding" flashlights has been greatly reduced. It is still not quite zero, but greatly reduced.

    Tom
    Behind every Great man there's always a woman rolling her eyes...

    Most batteries don't die - they are tortured to near death, then murdered...

  21. #51

    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    SilverFox, I can't seem to locate the thread where the testing was done - do you have a link handy? (I tried to search, I really did!)

    One quick question about depleted cells. My only CR123A light is a single cell (Fenix E15). Is it dangerous or risky to run it until it totally stops working to deplete the cell as much as possible? After I do that, is the battery any more or less safe? I always figured I should deplete the cell as much as possible before throwing it away.

  22. #52
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    Hello Awyeah,

    Here it is.

    One of the key components to explosive behavior with the CR123 cell is heat. Once the cell is pretty much used up, it is hard to generate enough heat to keep a chemical reaction going. In general single cell lights with a discharged cell are not a problem. I use a single cell area light and feed it with my partially used CR123 cells. It completely drains them.

    Tom
    Behind every Great man there's always a woman rolling her eyes...

    Most batteries don't die - they are tortured to near death, then murdered...

  23. #53
    *Flashaholic* Mr Happy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    I'd just like to address the questions above regarding the relative risks between primary lithium cells and rechargeable lithium ion cells.

    Primary lithium cells contain metallic lithium. This is a very reactive metal that is itching to burst into flames like an incendiary device. It makes the risk and effects of energetic decomposition very much higher with primary lithium cells than with rechargeable cells. The only thing that keeps this reactive metal in check inside a battery is very careful attention to the chemical composition, construction and quality control of the battery. The stability of the battery is a fine balancing act between producing electricity and exploding.

    This inherent danger is the reason for recommending the use only of batteries made in the USA or Japan (or Europe) and not China. With the best of intentions it is hard to get the same consistent quality control in a factory in China that can be achieved in the USA.

    Some may recall the early history of rechargeable lithium batteries where the first designs actually used metallic lithium. These did not make it into mainstream use because they were too dangerous. Likewise some may have heard the danger of metallic lithium plating out in lithium ion batteries if they are improperly charged. Again, the metallic lithium makes the battery unstable and liable to fail violently.

    Never forget that primary lithium cells are full of metallic lithium. There is a lot of energy sitting there waiting to escape and if something goes wrong it can escape very violently. Frankly, I am always a bit nervous around them.

    Some suggestions for safe use are to buy only the quality USA made ones, and try to use them only in single cell lights. If using them in pairs, always use fresh stock, dispose of them and replace them before they are fully depleted, and based on this thread replace them after six months of use whether they still have life left in them or not.
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  24. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by SilverFox View Post
    Hello Awyeah,

    One of the key components to explosive behavior with the CR123 cell is heat. Once the cell is pretty much used up, it is hard to generate enough heat to keep a chemical reaction going. In general single cell lights with a discharged cell are not a problem. I use a single cell area light and feed it with my partially used CR123 cells. It completely drains them.

    Tom
    So today I was draining a 123 battery in my Fenix E15 - it had gotten to 40% on the ZTS tester, and since it's my only CR123 flashlight and my EDC, I like to keep fresh cells in it.

    As the battery got closer to death, the light (and battery) began to warm up a lot more than usual. I turned it off and took the cell out. It took a while but it finally cooled down. It is at the "flashing 20%" level on the ZTS now. Is this normal behavior or was that battery headed toward a poof?

    It wasn't too hot to touch, but warm enough that I was concerned.

    I am fairly inexperienced with these cells, and sometimes I get a little apprehensive about them.
    Current EDC: Eagletac D25C Clicky, Foursevens Mini-ML XP-G2. The rest of the collection: Fenix E15, Fenix LD20, Fenix TK41. Nitecore MT2A, Foursevens Quark Tactical QTA. EagleTac T20C2 Mark II, XM-L Neutral White. Oh - and a whole bunch of Eneloops and CR123As.

  25. #55
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    Hello Awyeah,

    That sounds normal. When they get too hot to hold in your hand, you are getting closer to a problem.

    Tom
    Behind every Great man there's always a woman rolling her eyes...

    Most batteries don't die - they are tortured to near death, then murdered...

  26. #56

    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    Quote Originally Posted by awyeah View Post
    So today I was draining a 123 battery in my Fenix E15 - it had gotten to 40% on the ZTS tester, and since it's my only CR123 flashlight and my EDC, I like to keep fresh cells in it.

    As the battery got closer to death, the light (and battery) began to warm up a lot more than usual. I turned it off and took the cell out. It took a while but it finally cooled down. It is at the "flashing 20%" level on the ZTS now. Is this normal behavior or was that battery headed toward a poof?

    It wasn't too hot to touch, but warm enough that I was concerned.

    I am fairly inexperienced with these cells, and sometimes I get a little apprehensive about them.
    you know what would be better? Just use the light until it runs out by normal operation rather than keeping it on to drain it, just carry a fresh cell with you so when the battery drains normally, swap it out with the fresh one and just charge the old one when you get home.

  27. #57

    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    Did Dave or somebody at 4Sevens make an official statement on this incident?

  28. #58
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    Are 4Seven batteries made in China , or are they actually panasonics ?

  29. #59
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    Quote Originally Posted by Viking View Post
    Are 4Seven batteries made in China , or are they actually panasonics ?
    They are made in China. They are definitely not Panasonics.

  30. #60
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    Default Re: Dangerous explosion with 2 CR123A primary

    A reminder -- lithium primary cells packed in shipping containers have caught fire. They don't need to be in use to catch fire.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=lithium+primary+battery

    (read carefully, most of the documents talk about two different chemistries -- lithium primary, and lithium-ion rechargeable)

    This among others was done after the shipping container caught fire -- it tests brand-name nonrechargeable primary lithium cells commonly used in consumer appliances and describes how they burn:
    Flammability Assessment of Bulk- Packed, Nonrechargeable Lithium ...
    www.fire.tc.faa.gov/pdf/04-26.pdf


    Aside -- I've been looking for some place to take dead batteries. Well, if I were in Hollywood I could go to Amoeba Music and drop them off: http://www.amoeba.com/content/think-green.html

    Recycling http://www.toxco.com/ costs about $1.50/lb -- I'm emailing to ask if they can tell me somewhere around my ZIP code that has a pickup box where I can take my dead battery collection.

    (The usual places like Ace Hardware and Radio Shack near me accept _only_ cellphone batteries)
    Last edited by hank; 01-15-2012 at 12:12 PM.

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