How to deal with swollen Li-ion batteries?

XTAR Light

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China
Swollen Li-ion batteries, while not common, could be the potential risk. Sometimes, aging of the Li-ion batteries may cause short circuit which leads to produce heat and gas. And a swollen battery can also be caused by manufacturer defect, overcharging, damage to the battery, using mismatched charger, high temperature, or many other factors.

*To judge if a Li-ion battery swells or not
To look the battery itself, directly inspect and check the battery whether all surfaces are flat or not. As for the devices, to check if the shape of device changes. Also, if you sniff the strange smell from the device, electrolyte leaks. Please stop using it.

*To deal with a swollen Li-ion battery
Even if the device still works, the swollen Li-ion battery must be replaced immediately. If it's possible, carefully remove the battery, and place it in a container in a safe cool place. This prevents further damage. If it's not removable, please stop and take it to an authorized repairer or disposal facility, which will offer correct recycling processes to ensure safe recycling or disposal.

*To decrease the possibility of swelling for Li-ion battery
There are also many things we can to to minimize problems. For example, choosing the high-quality Li-ion batteries to avoid the manufacturer defect, charging the Li-ion battery with matched charger in right way, also avoiding over-charge or over-discharge, Storing the device in a cool, dry environment. Replace the battery timely if it's damaged or no longer performing as it should. All batteries eventually fail so if the signs are there, take action and replace the battery timely.
 

KITROBASKIN

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Good stuff and good advice no doubt.
Wondering if I should replace in a timely manner, an old 18650 that performs ok but when opening the tailcap of the flashlight to recharge, there is a disagreeable smell; hard to describe without sounding offensive, making some readers uncomfortable or offended.
 

turbodog

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Good way to prep batteries for disposal if you don't have a local place:

Take a milk jug or something similar/plastic
fill 2/3 with cold water and a LOT of salt
stir to dissolve
place outside on fireproof/concrete
put battery into solution
watch for bubbles to form (to make sure you got enough salt)
wait a day
solution should show NOTICEABLE change in cloudiness/color
pour out... household drain is ok, flush w/ plenty of cold water
battery is ok to toss in trash

edit:
The resulting mix is somewhat in the chlorine bleach family after this process. In case you have a septic tank you might want to NOT send it down the drain... will kill your bugs.

The local r/c track uses this method for swollen lipo packs, and those things are NASTY when they go up in flames. There's a 5 gallon bucket where people toss damaged packs. No fires/etc so far... and the batteries that come out are completely discharged... read 0.0 volts.
 
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knucklegary

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Feb 11, 2017
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NorCal
I had some old 18650 (brand x) smell funky. Running 2x inline, I noticed one cell after charge/recharge not holding full capacity anymore..

Be safe, follow Turbos directions.
 

KITROBASKIN

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Mar 28, 2013
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New Mexico, USA
Help me understand: why you would entertain a fire risk to save the price of a replacement battery?
Very good question. Each one of us entertains a 'fire risk' in one form or another every time we get out of bed in the morning. Some people chose to sanitize the outside of their cereal box during the heyday of COVID. Commingling with alcohol drinkers whether in a bar or on the interstate... the list goes on for all the dangers that exist.

I wrote my part, wondering if other members experienced something similar and if a better understanding of what was going on could be related to us flashlight folks. Each of us will make a decision regarding these issues. Hopefully we can help each other become more informed.
 
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