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Thread: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

  1. #1

    Default Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    Hello I`m looking for some technical expertise for safety reasons...

    I bought some high quality Panasonic NRC 18650 and some LG HE2 18650 both Flat top.

    Problem is for my new Flashlight the flat tops don`t make a solid contact the flashlight works but does malfunction when changing levels of brightness and just walking it will go threw different settings randomly so button Tops are absolutely needed.

    I made a spacer from a tiny cube rare earth magnet and some high density foam and it works fine, only concerned if this would damage the batteries in anyway causing them to leak or become garbage...

    I cut out a tiny piece of camping mat foam poke a hole in the middle and put the cube magnet in to keep it from shorting out, I`m going to find some hard plastic to use for the insulator instead of the foam for safety reason not sure how long the foam will take the heat before melting down bit by bit.

    I tested the spacer and 2 Panasonic's with the flashlight on high for 1.5 hours the housing, head and batteries were past warm and getting hot so I stopped and checked the foam and it was still good...

    Here is the 18650 flashlight 2 cell or 3 as the body has a section you unscrew to shorten it, 5 modes https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B07...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/n36u0qrdn6...95816.jpg?dl=0

    If you can help out please reply.


  2. #2

    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    Literally just put a spot of solder on top and you will be good to go
    hunter, fisherman, flashlight enthusiast

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    Tiny magnets work fine. As you're already doing, just make sure they don't slide around and potentially cause a short. Or, solder blob works well too, though it can be tricky to do a nice one unless you have a hot gun.

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    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    Manufacturers strongly recommend against soldering. This can cause thermal damage (e.g. to the CID). Only spot-welding is allowed.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    I use a 100 Watt soldering iron and add a dab of solder. As I am concerned about heating the battery I make a ring of dampened cotton wool. Then apply the iron for no more than 2 seconds. But it is very important to make sure that the battery stays cool.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    I have a crappy 30 watt iron. It makes horrible blobs, and does heat up the cells, but it works. I'm not convinced that heating up the cells with an iron is any worse than heating them up with a high-power flashlight. In both cases they get hot, but not too hot to hold. Cells should be able to take at least 80C without damage or safety risk, and there's no way the iron is heating them up that much.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    Quote Originally Posted by WalkIntoTheLight View Post
    I have a crappy 30 watt iron. It makes horrible blobs, and does heat up the cells, but it works. I'm not convinced that heating up the cells with an iron is any worse than heating them up with a high-power flashlight. In both cases they get hot, but not too hot to hold. Cells should be able to take at least 80C without damage or safety risk, and there's no way the iron is heating them up that much.
    "It works" to create a possibly far more dangerous cell. Why subject yourself and those around you to such heightened risk?

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    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gauss163 View Post
    "It works" to create a possibly far more dangerous cell. Why subject yourself and those around you to such heightened risk?
    Blobs are stuck on well, I can't budge them, they just look ugly. The cells test fine, no change in performance. It's no more dangerous than it was before.

    Really, if the top of the cells you're using can't take being warmed up to 60C, you shouldn't be using those cells in the first place.

    OTOH, make sure to keep a bucket of water nearby when you're doing the blobs, just in case something does go wrong.

    Let's not take safety out of context. Yes, it's more dangerous than just buying button-top cells in the first place. However, it's more dangerous driving to the store to buy a soldering iron in the first place.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    Quote Originally Posted by WalkIntoTheLight;5256420
    Let's not take safety out of context. Yes, it's more dangerous than just buying button-top cells in the first place. However, it's more dangerous [I
    driving[/I] to the store to buy a soldering iron in the first place.
    You're putting yourself and those around you at much greater risk, and attempting to justify it with guesses. Do you think that is wise?

  10. #10

    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    My batteries get just as hot if not hotter in some of my lights than they do when I put a blob on. Never had a problem. No point in arguing though. Iíve done it several times and will continue to do so.
    hunter, fisherman, flashlight enthusiast

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    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigburly912 View Post
    My batteries get just as hot if not hotter in some of my lights than they do when I put a blob on. Never had a problem. No point in arguing though. Iíve done it several times and will continue to do so.


    Yes, if you look at the Samsung 30Q spec sheet, it lists the operating discharge temperature as -20C to +75C. And as part of the safety testing, they have to be baked in an oven at +130C for 1 hour.

    There's no way that putting a solder blob on your cells is going to be anywhere near that harsh.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    As part of a screwed up group buy I wound up with several 30Q cells that were supposed to be button top, but weren't. Given the current postal regulations it wasn't practical to return them, so I just made do. I found some nice very small round magnets that were the same diameter as a button top, and got some cell top insulators designed to be used when re-wrapping cells. They are adhesive, made from stiff paper (they look like a smaller, thicker version of the paper reinforcements from my youth), and work great at making sure the magnets stay centered. I have done several tests to try and make the magnets shift, and have not been able to.
    Remember, Two is One, and One is None!.

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    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    Quote Originally Posted by WalkIntoTheLight View Post
    [...] There's no way that putting a solder blob on your cells is going to be anywhere near that harsh.
    It's rather scary when end users think they know more about safety issues than the manufacturer.

    I sincerely hope that your luck doesn't run out, and your blobs hold up over time. Personally I would never allow any such dangerous kludges anywhere near my family.

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    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gauss163 View Post
    I sincerely hope that your luck doesn't run out, and your blobs hold up over time. Personally I would never allow any such dangerous kludges anywhere near my family.
    I sincerely hope you don't let them anywhere near a car, either.

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    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    For readers who take safety matters seriously, below are excerpts from datasheets from major manufacturers.

    LG
    Do not solder on battery directly

    Samsung:
    Don't heat partial area of the battery with heated objects such as soldering iron.
    6.1.1 The cell should not be soldered directly with other cells. Namely, the cell should be welded with leads on its terminal and then be soldered with wire or leads to solder.
    6.1.2 Otherwise, it may cause damage of component, such as separator and insulator, by heat generation

    Sanyo/Panasonic
    11) Soldering
    Do not directly solder the battery.
    The insulator could melt or the gas release vent might get damaged from the heat.
    Additionally, the battery may catch fire, smoke, heat generation or explode.

    Sony:
    Do not disassemble, remodel, or solder.
    Do not solder lead directly to the battery body.
    Do not apply solder directly to cells.
    Under no circumstances should wires be soldered to battery terminals to enable use with other equipment
    Do not puncture batteries with nails, strike them with hammers, step on them, or apply solder to them.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    IEC 62133 (pack standard) requires batteries to be heated and to maintain 130 įC for 10 minutes with acceptance criteria of 'no fire, no explosion' among other tests. This is the most temperature onerous temperature test. Soldering temperature is around 400-450 įC. Spot welding is around 1400 įC, albeit only for milliseconds.

    This matter of soldering to the cell or not is interesting. Next time I am liaising with one of the major battery manufacturers I will ask them about this and if I can, comment on this thread.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    ^^^ You're comparing apples vs. oranges. Those IEC "torture tests" (such as penetration by a nail) are meant to test if a cell fails gracefully, i.e. without fire or explosion etc. No further testing is done , so those tests imply nothing at all about whether the cell is safe to continue using.

    Presumably you plan to use the cells after soldering to them. As the above datasheets excerpts show ALL top-tier manufacturers explicitly say never to solder to cells. Period.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gauss163 View Post
    For readers who take safety matters seriously, below are excerpts from datasheets from major manufacturers.

    Samsung:
    Don't heat partial area of the battery with heated objects such as soldering iron.
    6.1.1 The cell should not be soldered directly with other cells. Namely, the cell should be welded with leads on its terminal and then be soldered with wire or leads to solder.
    6.1.2 Otherwise, it may cause damage of component, such as separator and insulator, by heat generation

    .
    .
    .
    Samsung also specifies,

    "DO NOT charge individual, cylindrical Lithium-Ion Batteries if you are a consumer or end-user."

    I take it that you will be throwing away all your lithium-ion batteries, because the manufacturer recommends against using them individually?

    My point, obviously, is that companies will always err on the side of extreme safety. In fact, they don't even want you buying the cells in first place! They are strictly for other manufacturers to put into battery packs. The consumer shouldn't even see an 18650 cell.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    Quote Originally Posted by WalkIntoTheLight View Post
    Samsung also specifies,

    "DO NOT charge individual, cylindrical Lithium-Ion Batteries if you are a consumer or end-user." [...]
    Of course - I probably emphasize that here more than anyone else. But it only strengthens my point. The datasheets are targeted not at consumers but at professionals (e.g. pack assemblers). So the statements I quoted above imply that manufacturers believe that even professionals (with pro equipment and training) cannot safely solder to cells. Yet you somehow have managed to convince yourself that you can do better.

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    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gauss163 View Post
    Of course - I probably emphasize that here more than anyone else. But it only strengthens my point. The datasheets are targeted not at consumers but at professionals (e.g. pack assemblers). So the statements I quoted above imply that manufacturers believe that even professionals (with pro equipment and training) cannot safely solder to cells. Yet you somehow have managed to convince yourself that you can do better.
    Everyone using 18650's should know they're using them outside of what the manufacturer makes them for. Anything we do with them, even just charge them up, is not "officially" recommended. But we all do it. We're taking a risk. Putting a solder blob on them is another risk. Like I already said, keep a bucket of water nearby in case you screw up, and test the cells afterwards to make sure they're performing the same as before.

    I certainly don't recommend it for newbies. In fact, I always recommend Eneloops to start out with. But if someone wants to try putting some solder blobs on their cells, they're taking a smaller risk than if they choose to drive a car. Life is full of risks. Without them, life would be really boring. Just use common sense, and you'll probably survive, whether it be driving or soldering.

    Needless to say, use caution, and always use good cells. Do it at your own risk. Lots of people have done it and survived. It's probably only killed a few hundred people, at most.

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    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    Quote Originally Posted by WalkIntoTheLight View Post
    Everyone using 18650's should know they're using them outside of what the manufacturer makes them for. Anything we do with them, even just charge them up, is not "officially" recommended. But we all do it. We're taking a risk. Putting a solder blob on them is another risk. Like I already said, keep a bucket of water nearby in case you screw up, and test the cells afterwards to make sure they're performing the same as before.
    But this is different. They don't even think that soldering can be done safely by professionals. And the risk is not only when you're soldering. It could cause damage that could rear its ugly head at some future date. As the excerpts from the datasheet warn, it could damage the separator or venting mechanisms. The former could eventually lead to a dangerous internal short, and the latter could cause it to explode like a pipe bomb rather than safely vent as designed. You can't possibly know if such internal damage occurred because there is no easy way to detect it without very expensive equipment, e.g. X-ray / SEM (scanning electron microscope) imaging.
    Last edited by Gauss163; 11-12-2018 at 03:32 PM.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    Quote Originally Posted by WalkIntoTheLight View Post
    Tiny magnets work fine. As you're already doing, just make sure they don't slide around and potentially cause a short.
    This (especially that last part). Also:

    Afaik flat tops are meant to make it impossible to put unprotected cells in series, because + of one doesn't touch - of a cell placed on top. Hence most unprotected cells are flat-top, and most button-top are protected cells.

    As you should know, using unprotected cells in series comes with some big safety issues. Flat tops are a safety feature to prevent fools from heaving those issues. The magnet-on-top method defeats this safety feature. And in general, DEFEATING SAFETY FEATURES IS DUMB.

    So don't use this method to put unprotected cells in series configuration! You (or a loved one) could get hurt as a result. Seriously hurt... For single-cell / parallel configuration, no such issues so go ahead & stick a magnet.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    Quote Originally Posted by RetroTechie View Post
    Afaik flat tops are meant to make it impossible to put unprotected cells in series, because + of one doesn't touch - of a cell placed on top. Hence most unprotected cells are flat-top, and most button-top are protected cells.
    The battery top and bottoms are made to make welding easy, not to prevent unauthorized usage.
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    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    Quote Originally Posted by RetroTechie View Post
    Afaik flat tops are meant to make it impossible to put unprotected cells in series, because + of one doesn't touch - of a cell placed on top [...]
    No major Li-ion cylindrical cell manufacturer offers button tops because individual cells are not designed to be assembled into devices by end users. Rather they are designed to be deployed by professional pack assemblers - who typically spot-weld them into battery packs that are professionally constructed and designed to meet international safety standards (e.g. a laptop or power tool battery pack).

  25. #25

    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    I guess I definitely shouldnít tell you that I spot welded my own 2x18650 pack then. Itís been problem free for 4 years
    hunter, fisherman, flashlight enthusiast

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    ^^^ Why? Spot-welding is a recommended technique. It is soldering that is prohibited.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    Because Iím not a professional pack assembler.
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  28. #28
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    Default Re: Battery Spacers for flat top to button top 18650 are they safe ?

    ^^^ I don't see any problem with spot-welding, assuming one has proper equipment, skills, and knowledge.
    Last edited by Gauss163; 11-13-2018 at 08:36 PM.

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