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Thread: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

  1. #31
    Flashaholic* ShineOnYouCrazyDiamond's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    I was a bit relieved reading through this thread. I thought it may turn into a doom and gloom thread on people charging their cells in cement bunkers wearing bomb gear.

    I only single charge cells when I am home and can check on them and pull them off within a reasonable time frame after completion. But I also make sure I only buy reliable brand cells and higher end chargers that have proper CC/CV charge curves and proper termination.

    But I think about all the power tools I have that use LiIon battery packs and when I charge those I think even less about it. I'll pop those on the chargers and sometimes leave them overnight - who knows the quality of some of the dedicated chargers that come with these tools.

  2. #32

    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    Quote Originally Posted by ven View Post
    Well if i ever receive some NiMH cells via mail from you...................i know i have upset you

    Lol I was thinking the same thing!


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  3. #33
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    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    I only charge mine while I'm at home, but that includes leaving them overnight while I sleep.

    The charger cuts of at 4.2 volts. It's the same battery chemistry in my phone. So far I trust the batteries I have as my 18650s are from reliable sources and are protected. My 2 16340s are from a fairly reliable seller - the protected one is KeepPower, the unprotected one is from the same seller but doesn't have a name. They seem to work fine.

    I have a Trustfire 10440 coming in soon. That one I think I'll only charge while I'm in the room and awake. I wouldn't trust crappy chargers at all. Buying a reliable charger saves a lot of worry.

  4. #34

    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    I don't have any "free" LiIon cells. The only lithium based batteries are those in my digital camera, my phone and my laptop, and those can only be charged in the device itself. And I trust those devices knowing how to properly charge their battery. In the case of the phone and digital camera, they are plugged into USB ports, so they have all the charging electronics in the device. In case of the laptop, I don't know if there's part of the charging electronics in the pack itself or if the laptop does all this. I think the battery pack has got some kind of memory where it stores some information like how much total capacity it still has, and maybe it also provides some part of the charging logic. Basically, I don't think it's necessary being around when those devices charge although I usually am since the USB ports are only active as long as I work on the given PC, and the laptop usually gets charged while I work. There are exceptions where I may leave one of the devices at my workplace and go for lunch, or go to sleep while they continue charging. I don't think much can happen this way.

    As for other batteries, I only use NiMh and lead-acid batteries. I don't think these pose a danger when they get charged overnight when I'm usually at home, but sleeping. But the NiMh charger terminates charge on full batteries (although it sometimes misses termination when 3 or 4 cells are charged at once), and I only charge the lead-acids overnight after making sure they've still got a long way to go until full (or after forgetting to put them off before going to bed).

    Still, there is a major event called "Recharging unused batteries" which I've placed in my calendar a few times a year. This event takes a bit over an hour in total, and over the course of it, I'll check all rechargeable cells and also the used primaries, charge any batteries that need charging and discard those which have reached 0 volts and can't be recharged anymore, or have leaked.

    Other than that, I do feel some kind of happiness each time I put a set of NiMh's on the charger because I know I'm able to use them again without having to buy new batteries. It's some kind of victory over today's throwaway society. But to be honest, if I had to do more safety precautions with the NiMh's, such as only charging them when at home or in the same room, it'd probably not be worth it, and I'd use alkalines instead, as cheap as they are now.

  5. #35
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    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    Quote Originally Posted by ShineOnYouCrazyDiamond View Post
    I only single charge cells when I am home and can check on them and pull them off within a reasonable time frame after completion.
    I use chargers I trust.
    I am happy to leave the batteries on there all night - I trust the chargers to shut off when finished.
    I'd happily go out while the batteries are charging - I trust the chargers' safety features.
    Having the thermal sensor sitting against the battery does help a lot to ease my mind and I really do like not having to worry about something bad happening.
    So many lights, so little money (cause I spent it on lights). I'm not afraid of the dark, the dark is afraid of ME!

  6. #36
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    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    LOL.

    Actually I'm trying to keep it from becoming a major event by observing safe lithium ion battery use and charging procedures.
    It is better to buy a beautiful, expensive, custom flashlight than to curse the darkness.

  7. #37

    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    I find it strange that people trust a cell phone or laptop charger 100% without thinking about it. But a $60 Xtar charger and Panasonic cell can suddenly become an issue? Not for me. I'm pretty sure they're more than just two shady guys building these in a garage somewhere. Lots of hearsay and anecdotal evidence causing people to stick with NiMH exclusively. Too bad, but that's how it goes.
    GOOD TINT!

  8. #38
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    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    Quote Originally Posted by markr6 View Post
    I find it strange that people trust a cell phone or laptop charger 100% without thinking about it. But a $60 Xtar charger and Panasonic cell can suddenly become an issue? Not for me. I'm pretty sure they're more than just two shady guys building these in a garage somewhere. Lots of hearsay and anecdotal evidence causing people to stick with NiMH exclusively. Too bad, but that's how it goes.

    phones and laptops have batt management systems. notice the batts have more than 2 terminals? for temp monitoring, and a bunch of other stuff.

    safer

  9. #39

    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    Quote Originally Posted by markr6 View Post
    I find it strange that people trust a cell phone or laptop charger 100% without thinking about it. But a $60 Xtar charger and Panasonic cell can suddenly become an issue? Not for me. I'm pretty sure they're more than just two shady guys building these in a garage somewhere. Lots of hearsay and anecdotal evidence causing people to stick with NiMH exclusively. Too bad, but that's how it goes.
    I agree. I think there is a degree of overthinking going on. However, given the amount of people in here who are modding things or seeking that super-cheap high capacity battery, have reason to be cautious. If you're buying high quality well-known names you should be fine.

    You would serve yourself better getting a smoke detector, fire extinguisher and CO2 detector! ;-). It still amazes me how many stories I read of homes without these things....


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  10. #40
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    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Overclocker View Post
    phones and laptops have batt management systems. notice the batts have more than 2 terminals? for temp monitoring, and a bunch of other stuff.
    Laptop battery packs has a BMS chip inside, phone batteries has a protection chip (Same chip as protected cells) and a temperature sensor (The extra terminal). The software in the laptop and phone will usual also do some battery management.

    You hand drill and other tools does not have any BMS, only protection and temperature sensor.
    My website with battery and charger information: lygte-info.
    More than 1000 reviews of batteries, charges and other stuff.
    Compare 18650 LiIon batteries or smaller (RCR123, 16340, 14500, 10450) LiIon batteries.

  11. #41

    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Overclocker View Post
    phones and laptops have batt management systems. notice the batts have more than 2 terminals? for temp monitoring, and a bunch of other stuff.

    safer
    So the Xtar has nothing? It's just dangerously pumping 1A into cells for the heck of it?
    GOOD TINT!

  12. #42
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    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    Quote Originally Posted by markr6 View Post
    So the Xtar has nothing? It's just dangerously pumping 1A into cells for the heck of it?
    I guess in that case BMS stands for Battery Mismanagement System. ;-(

    Yes, simple dumb chargers don't do much, which is why I don't use them anymore. But smart chargers like Xtar do more than the above as people here like HKJ who know lot more than I will tell you. A more advanced charger will have temperature sensors with integrated fan cooling, thermal cutoff, correct battery charging termination algorithms, and possibly more. I'm sure there's more but I will let the more savvy folks chime in here if they want on the rest.

    Battery chemistries also differ in the degree to which they can tolerate abuse. NiMH batteries rarely catch fire or explode no matter how much abused, but it does happen. But mostly it's the lithium ion batteries that we have to be concerned with. Even so, there are big differences in the main lithium ion types. You have to be careful with LiCoO2, but LiMnO2 and LiFePO4 are much more tolerant, to the extent that they are typically offered without protective circuits.

    By contrast, NiMH and NiCd batteries are less sensitive to overcharging with NiCd being the best which is why they're often used in solar lighting applications since as long as the sun is shining the battery is getting charged. Although NiMH probably aren't going to explode if overcharged, it will shorten lifespan.

    A few more comments on laptop and phone batteries. As previously noted, those batteries have extra terminals which are part of the BMS, which allows more sophisticated control and sensing during charging, including calculations for SOC (state of charge). Unfortunately there's no direct empirical way to sense a battery's state of charge so various assumptions have to be made. What happens is that over time, as the battery ages, the SOC algorithm gets out of sync with the actual battery.

    For example, the SOC algorithm is desgned for an average battery. But batteries differ in quality and age differently. If a battery is better than the average then over time the BMS will indicate less capacity than it actually has. If a battery is worse than average then over time it will indicate it has more capacity than it actually has.

    Those are the basics. That's all I know. I'm just a martial arts and tai chi instructor. :-) I'll let the more knowledgeable folks here correct anything I've said if necessary and chime in on the rest if they want.
    Last edited by magellan; 04-22-2015 at 02:20 PM.
    It is better to buy a beautiful, expensive, custom flashlight than to curse the darkness.

  13. #43

    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    Speaking of life events

    GOOD TINT!

  14. #44

    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    Quote Originally Posted by magellan View Post
    ...Even so, there are big differences in the main lithium ion types. You have to be careful with LiCoO2, but LiMnO2 and LiFePO4 are much more tolerant, to the extent that they are typically offered without protective circuits...
    I don't believe this part of your post is entirely correct. From my reading, the two "alternative chemistry" LiIon battery types are not inherently all that much safer than LiCo. They can both still fail catastrophically if abused. My understanding (and I could be wrong, PLEASE correct me if I am!) is that LiMnO2 chemistry is more tolerant of HIGH DISCHARGE RATE uses, and LiFePO4 is better able to withstand physical abuse than the other 2 types. I haven't read anywhere that either type is anywhere close to NiMH in terms of safety.

    Also, protection circuits are more for prevention of battery undercharge/overcharge cell damage than they are "safety" protection - though it does overlap a bit on the "overcharge" side of things. I have LiMnO2 protected batteries, and my reading has lead me to the conclusion that it is just as harmful to the battery to undercharge or overcharge them as it is for LiCo.

  15. #45
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    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    Hi Amelia,

    Actually they are so considered (and the experts here can feel free to correct me correcting you as I don't claim to be an expert), especially in the case of LiFePO4, which is considered quite tolerant of abuse. See response #2 by thedoc007 in the thread I started here recently:

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...hing-dangerous

    But you're absolutely right in that there is no super safe lithium ion chemistry (compared to NiMH anyway) and all types deserve respect and should be treated accordingly.

    In my case I really baby all my cells to an almost ridiculous extent. I don't over and under discharge, run them hard, expose them to extremes of temperature, store them with a full charge or too low a charge, and I make sure they get a rest after charging. If I drop one (which doesn't happen very often) I number it and make a record of it in my notes.

    As far as the rest period goes, I've only recently learned of this. A disproportionate number of the accidents in the vaping community have been traced to charging a battery, especially exposing it to a fast charge, and then putting it immediately into service in a high drain application such as a so-called custom, sub-ohm hotwire mech mod. But that's not something I do. So I feel I don't have to worry as much about the non LiCoO2 ones. They still get the same considerate treatment as the LiCoO2 ones because it's just easier to maintain my "battery discipline" if all types get the same treatment. If I treat one type different I'm worried I'll get sloppy with the others.
    Last edited by magellan; 04-24-2015 at 09:59 PM.
    It is better to buy a beautiful, expensive, custom flashlight than to curse the darkness.

  16. #46
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    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia View Post
    I don't believe this part of your post is entirely correct. From my reading, the two "alternative chemistry" LiIon battery types are not inherently all that much safer than LiCo. They can both still fail catastrophically if abused. My understanding (and I could be wrong, PLEASE correct me if I am!) is that LiMnO2 chemistry is more tolerant of HIGH DISCHARGE RATE uses, and LiFePO4 is better able to withstand physical abuse than the other 2 types. I haven't read anywhere that either type is anywhere close to NiMH in terms of safety.

    Also, protection circuits are more for prevention of battery undercharge/overcharge cell damage than they are "safety" protection - though it does overlap a bit on the "overcharge" side of things. I have LiMnO2 protected batteries, and my reading has lead me to the conclusion that it is just as harmful to the battery to undercharge or overcharge them as it is for LiCo.
    There's one more thing I forgot to say.

    There's also the fact that uninformed beginners are different from experienced or expert users. Your view is really exactly what a beginner should have. Until neophytes learn the differences, they should treat all lithium batteries the same. As I said, I still pretty much do. But more expert users understand the differences, make informed choices, know the risks and what not to do, and just don't worry as much that their flashlight is going to explode in their hand, as you can see from the posts here. As has been observed here many times, using a lithium ion battery is a lot safer than getting in a car. In fact there are probably a lot of things people do throughout the day that are riskier than using lithium ion batteries.
    Last edited by magellan; 04-24-2015 at 12:42 PM.
    It is better to buy a beautiful, expensive, custom flashlight than to curse the darkness.

  17. #47

    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    Quote Originally Posted by magellan View Post
    There's one more thing I forgot to say.

    There's also the fact that uninformed beginners are different from experienced or expert users. Your view is really exactly what a beginner should have. Until neophytes learn the differences, they should treat all lithium batteries the same. As I said, I still pretty much do. But more expert users understand the differences, make informed choices, know the risks and what not to do, and just don't worry as much that their flashlight is going to explode in their hand, as you can see from the posts here. As has been observed here many times, using a lithium ion battery is a lot safer than getting in a car. In fact there are probably a lot of things people do throughout the day that are riskier than using lithium ion batteries.
    Thank you. I think you covered everything quite well in those last 2 posts, probably better than my attempt.
    Essentially, "safe" and "Lithium Ion Battery" don't really go together - but neither do "safe" and many other things we do in our daily lives either. It's less about achieving true safety as it is about well informed risk management.

  18. #48
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    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia View Post
    Thank you. I think you covered everything quite well in those last 2 posts, probably better than my attempt.
    Essentially, "safe" and "Lithium Ion Battery" don't really go together - but neither do "safe" and many other things we do in our daily lives either. It's less about achieving true safety as it is about well informed risk management.
    Thanks, and I agree completely.

    A few more perhaps random thoughts, which are probably more in the spirit of your original post.

    The problem is, as you discussed, there are no super safe, foolproof cells. That's no problem for the informed "power user." The problem is, as has been mentioned on this forum many times, there are a lot of crappy and fake batteries out there being sold to naive consumers who have no idea what they're getting. They think they're getting a bargain, but what they're often getting is recycled and relabeled laptop batteries, batteries that failed quality control, imitations or fakes of respected battery brands, and so on. I learned on this DB that there are whole facilities in China that do nothing but rewrap batteries which they buy cheap by the ton because the rewards are enormous. Who knows what you're getting if you get one of these.

    The remedy of course is to stick with known quality brands and suppliers, but again that also implies a more savvy user.

    It reminds me of something a friend said one time. We were in an electrical storm, and I suggested we walk to a nearby friend's place. It was only a short distance, but he didn't want to go because of the lightning. I pointed out the odds were still a million to one against getting struck by lightning. He said, "Yeah, it might be a million to one, but if it happens you're still 100% dead." :-)

    So this is why we're careful with lithium ion batteries. The odds are nothing will happen, but if it does the results could be dramatic. So being safe is really just common sense.
    Last edited by magellan; 04-24-2015 at 09:55 PM.
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  19. #49

    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    "Charging my cells is like opening a can of soup..............yes that exciting for me"

    ...what kind of soup?

  20. #50
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    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    Something spicey and with a little kick to it I hope.
    It is better to buy a beautiful, expensive, custom flashlight than to curse the darkness.

  21. #51

    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    I've never been comfortable charging them while I'm not home or asleep. And I check on them a few times during charging. They've always been only slightly warm.

  22. #52
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    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Agamemnon Jones View Post
    "Charging my cells is like opening a can of soup..............yes that exciting for me"

    ...what kind of soup?

    A chicken soup without the chicken

  23. #53
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    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    Quote Originally Posted by magellan View Post
    Yes, simple dumb chargers don't do much, which is why I don't use them anymore. But smart chargers like Xtar do more than the above as people here like HKJ who know lot more than I will tell you. A more advanced charger will have temperature sensors with integrated fan cooling, thermal cutoff, correct battery charging termination algorithms, and possibly more. I'm sure there's more but I will let the more savvy folks chime in here if they want on the rest.
    The best way to work with simple dumb chargers that you don't trust is to replace them with good chargers that you can trust.
    Li-ion cells are just better than NiMH in many ways, especially the 18650 cells with their awesome energy density when you get good quality cells like Panasonic 3400mAh.
    The A123 cells are also really great for many applications with their ability to deliver high currents reasonably safely.
    Li-Ion batteries can start cars and power tools and even provide convenient sized flashlights with great output combined with a decent run time.

    Do you guys remember what jump start systems used to look like a few years ago? Look what you can get now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bf7u8rQTt94
    Yep, that is thanks to Li-ion batteries.

    My view is this:
    Li-ion batteries are really good, but get a decent charger that you can trust to not start a fire or whatever.
    So many lights, so little money (cause I spent it on lights). I'm not afraid of the dark, the dark is afraid of ME!

  24. #54
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    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    Quote Originally Posted by magellan View Post
    Unfortunately there's no direct empirical way to sense a battery's state of charge so various assumptions have to be made. What happens is that over time, as the battery ages, the SOC algorithm gets out of sync with the actual battery. For example, the SOC algorithm is desgned for an average battery. But batteries differ in quality and age differently. If a battery is better than the average then over time the BMS will indicate less capacity than it actually has. If a battery is worse than average then over time it will indicate it has more capacity than it actually has.
    That applies only to very old or very cheap BMS. Current top-tier BMS do an excellent job accurately tracking SOC over the entire lifespan of the pack, e.g. look up TI's impedance-tracking algorithm.

  25. #55
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    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    Hi Gauss163,

    Thanks, will do that. My info is probably several years out of date. Interestingly I've heard of research on a very accurate SOC method using amazingly enough quantum electronic phenomena. No idea if it'll ever pan out but it's an example of how far they're going to try to come up with something.

    Will check out TI's method shortly.

    Ah, just found this article from Texas Instruments:

    http://www.ti.com/lit/an/slua450/slua450.pdf

    Very impressive. I'm working thru the article although some of it is over my head. I may have some comments after I've finished digesting the article.
    Last edited by magellan; 04-25-2015 at 05:48 PM.
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  26. #56
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    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    KiwiMark said,

    <<Do you guys remember what jump start systems used to look like a few years ago? Look what you can get now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bf7u8rQTt94Yep, that is thanks to Li-ion batteries.>>

    Jesus H. Christ.
    Last edited by magellan; 04-25-2015 at 05:49 PM.
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  27. #57
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    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    Hi KiwiMark,

    Thanks for the comments. I did indeed replace my dumb chargers with smart chargers about two years ago. Now I have a growing collection of smart chargers of different sizes, configurations, battery chemistries, and makes and models at this point. It's almost become a side hobby to the flashlights and batteries one. :-)

    I see you're in Waikato, N.Z. I was there on a vacation from the U.S. just over a month ago. Small world.
    Last edited by magellan; 04-25-2015 at 05:46 PM.
    It is better to buy a beautiful, expensive, custom flashlight than to curse the darkness.

  28. #58

    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    Anyone taken apart that NOCO thing? it uses 18650s or LiPo's ?

  29. #59

    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    I have a good xtar charger but I absolutely hate recharging. I like things that are set it and forget it and go back later. I have learned here you just cannot do that when recharging li ions. I find it a royal pita. I hope the tech advances someday to the point it is safe to put batteries in a charger and go to bed.

  30. #60

    Default Re: Is charging the 18650 a major event in your life?

    Quote Originally Posted by KiwiMark View Post
    The best way to work with simple dumb chargers that you don't trust is to replace them with good chargers that you can trust.
    Li-ion cells are just better than NiMH in many ways, especially the 18650 cells with their awesome energy density when you get good quality cells like Panasonic 3400mAh.
    The A123 cells are also really great for many applications with their ability to deliver high currents reasonably safely.
    Li-Ion batteries can start cars and power tools and even provide convenient sized flashlights with great output combined with a decent run time.

    Do you guys remember what jump start systems used to look like a few years ago? Look what you can get now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bf7u8rQTt94
    Yep, that is thanks to Li-ion batteries.

    My view is this:
    Li-ion batteries are really good, but get a decent charger that you can trust to not start a fire or whatever.
    I don't know of any such charger. The battery could be the problem but the fire still might start.

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