Avoid charging Li-ion batteries at extremely low temperature

XTAR Light

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Many users may not know the consumer-grade Li-ion batteries can't be charged below 0°C (32°F). When attempting to charge them in below freezing temperature, most of the lithium ions fail to intercalate into the graphite anode. Instead, they plate the anode with metallic lithium. So charging will electroplate the anode with lithium rather than recharging it. And it's a chemical reaction referred to as "Lithium Plating". When it occurs, the internal resistance of the Li-ion battery increases and reduces the rate of chemical metabolism. It will cause a permanent reduction of the battery's capacity, and continue to reduce its capacity each time this reaction occurs.

And it's also dangerous. This lithium plating of the anode isn't nice and smooth. It may form in dendrites, little sharp tendrils of lithium metal growing on the anode. These dendrites can put unexpected pressure on the separating membrane, which may cause a short circuit or dead battery.

Li-ion can be fast charged from 5°C to 45°C (41 to 113°F). Below 5°C, the charge current should be reduced. And no charging is permitted at freezing temperatures because of the reduced diffusion rates on the anode. Besides, though the permissible discharge temperature for common Li-ion batteries is -20°C - 60°C (-4°F to 140°F). If your batteries aren't up for the task, such as shooting in extremely cold winter, ice diving, etc. it's suggested to use batteries which can withstand low temperature in your cameras and dive lights.
 

KITROBASKIN

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Thanks for the information!
People who use lithium ferrous phosphate batteries (LFP) in unheated campers have to be careful about this, ruining thousands of dollars of batteries if not careful. Some batteries actually have heaters (controlled by battery management systems) incorporated inside the case. This helps those with remote solar systems where the user is not on site yet wants to be able to charge in cold winters. Charging at a lower current is important when batteries are cold, I understand.
 

ampdude

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That's why I use primary batteries in cold weather and if I have a cell phone on me, it's in an inside coat pocket if at all possible.
 

thermal guy

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What situation would you ever need to charge Li-ion batteries when it’s below zero?
 

KITROBASKIN

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What situation would you ever need to charge Li-ion batteries when it’s below zero?
Nomadic tech enabled folk go to cold places. Recreational people have lithium batteries in vehicles unoccupied but still want to charge their batteries. Many people live in very cold places and do not keep their batteries in bed with them at night.
 

bridgman

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What situation would you ever need to charge Li-ion batteries when it’s below zero?
I'm thinking about things like RV's (which increasingly use lithium ion batteries rather than lead acid) - unless you manually switch off solar charging or DC-DC from the alternator then it could easily happen. I guess the question is whether common battery management systems are smart enough to disable charging when the battery temp sensor is reading low temps.

Also wondering about temp delta between the inside of a 12v lithium ion battery and the outside where the temperature sensor is. Unless it's one of the newer batteries with integrated BMS and distributed temp sensors even an external temp sensor and BMS might not be enough.
 

KITROBASKIN

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Solar charge controllers will have a temp sensor to adjust the charging profile of lead acid batteries, but not sure there are any that handle Lithium like that. Having seen videos of LFP batteries being opened for examination, some have only one low temp sensor near the bms on top of the cells. Cheap LFP batteries often do not have low temp cutoff, but folks living in warm climates do not need it anyways, right?
 

orbital

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I charge my Lithium battery banks in the winter off my solar panels, Wisconsin winters. They have dozens of 18650 or 21700 in them.

Not that concerned; if the batteries were room temp to start the charging & factoring the heat they're making while charging, doubt they'll do some crystalline restructuring.
...maybe I'll put the 'banks' in a large clear plastic bags to make their own greenhouse & shield the wind.... I'm just not that worried about it.


Really couldn't be at all concerned about my individual flashlight cells,, nope other things in life actually have gravity to me.


add; my LFPs' will not go outside in the winter
 
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