News Report of AA NiMH explosion during charging

lak

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Just read a news report from Hong Kong about AA NiMH batteries explosion during charging. The charger and the batteries involved were the Camelion brand. The owner heard some hissing sound in the middle of the night. He checked and noticed fluid leaking out and smoke, and it exploded just when he tried to unplug it. He received some injuries to his eyes and face. Here are some pictures.

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Mr Happy

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Looks bad, but such an event should be a very rare and unlikely occurrence.

For an NiMH cell to explode like that requires the charger to be feeding current through a fully charged cell without detecting the end of charge state, and it requires the safety features of the cell to be faulty so that they cannot vent the excess gases fast enough to relieve the internal pressure buildup.

So I'd say you need a combination of faulty (or poorly designed) charger AND faulty (or poorly designed) cells. A well designed cell should not explode even when severely overcharged. It will just vent and spew its contents, making a mess without going bang.
 

tabetha

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I hope he's ok as well, I don't think battery chemicals in the eyes would do much good for eyesight.
tabetha
 

SilverFox

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While unusual, this does happen from time to time.

This is why we should always make a effort to attend to the charge, and set the charging area up to minimize damage should things go wrong.

I will move this thread over to the dangerous side of charging.

Tom
 

jtr1962

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Just read a news report from Hong Kong about AA NiMH batteries explosion during charging. The charger and the batteries involved were the Camelion brand.
That's the problem right there. Never go with off brands you never heard of just to save a few bucks. Sometimes you'll get a bargain, more often than not you'll get burned. I've never had a NiCad or NiMH explode, and I've been using rechargeables since the early 1970s.
 

lolzertank

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That's the problem right there. Never go with off brands you never heard of just to save a few bucks. Sometimes you'll get a bargain, more often than not you'll get burned. I've never had a NiCad or NiMH explode, and I've been using rechargeables since the early 1970s.

That guy's in Hong Kong... genuine Eneloops or other reputable brands might not be as easy to find as they are here in the U.S. Look at all the trouble DX had with counterfeit Eneloops. And the other NiMH cells on DX are way overrated by the manufacturer. Decent cells just might not be available at a price suitable for the masses.
 

jtr1962

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That guy's in Hong Kong... genuine Eneloops or other reputable brands might not be as easy to find as they are here in the U.S. Look at all the trouble DX had with counterfeit Eneloops. And the other NiMH cells on DX are way overrated by the manufacturer. Decent cells just might not be available at a price suitable for the masses.
The funny thing is that I've looked at lots of these types of knockoffs in dollar stores and elsewhere. Truth is many wouldn't be all that bad except for one or two glaringly obvious faults. That charger at first glance doesn't look bad (it even has an LCD display). But maybe they skimped on something inside, perhaps used a marginal part somewhere which failed. I see things like that a lot. A device which is basically OK, except maybe they used a $0.25 MOSFET inside of a $0.10 one. That's all it is many times-a matter of pennies on something costing $8 or $10. Any consumer will gladly pay the extra dime or quarter to get something reliable. I just don't get it. It's almost as if these products are designed to fail. I have a bicycle air pump which is basically an OK design except the part clamping over the valve was made of plastic. Failed second time I used it. Perfect example of a product which is 95% good but with one glaring fault which never should have made it to the production line.

Knockoffs and off brands can be a viable choice if you know what you're buying, and have the ability to fix the faults. I've replaced substandard parts on some inexpensive electronic devices. Now they work as well as the more expensive stuff. But most people don't have the ability to do that.
 

lak

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That's the problem right there. Never go with off brands you never heard of just to save a few bucks. Sometimes you'll get a bargain, more often than not you'll get burned.

I am not sure if Camelion is considered an "off brand". It hardly has a presence in North America, that's for sure. It was originally a German battery manufacturer (since 1997); not as big or as well known as Varta. Its production has moved to China in recent years. And it has won some "awards" in some benchmark comparison testing (http://www.camelionbattery.com/showart.asp?art=272) , and it has a complete line of batteries and smart chargers.

I have no idea what the quality of their product is like, but I would have thought that it would be a safer bet than many nameless or unknown brand; but it is obviously not the case here.
 

LuxLuthor

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I am not sure if Camelion is considered an "off brand". It hardly has a presence in North America, that's for sure. It was originally a German battery manufacturer (since 1997); not as big or as well known as Varta. Its production has moved to China in recent years. And it has won some "awards" in some benchmark comparison testing (http://www.camelionbattery.com/showart.asp?art=272) , and it has a complete line of batteries and smart chargers.

I have no idea what the quality of their product is like, but I would have thought that it would be a safer bet than many nameless or unknown brand; but it is obviously not the case here.
That also assumes it was a genuine camelion brand that was used (vs. counterfeit).
 

snakebite

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i got some of these cells at a hamfest last year.2 leaked in the first charge cycle on a c9000.
pure junk.no surprise that one exploded.
btw the ones i got are identical to some "2900" mah cells i also got to test.those leaked and 1 bulged.
 

moldyoldy

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I am not sure if Camelion is considered an "off brand". It hardly has a presence in North America, that's for sure. It was originally a German battery manufacturer (since 1997); not as big or as well known as Varta. Its production has moved to China in recent years. And it has won some "awards" in some benchmark comparison testing (http://www.camelionbattery.com/showart.asp?art=272) , and it has a complete line of batteries and smart chargers.

I have no idea what the quality of their product is like, but I would have thought that it would be a safer bet than many nameless or unknown brand; but it is obviously not the case here.

The websites for Camelion Battery Co., Ltd. (Camelion) are interesting. The Englisch website does not show the same products as the German website. Actually, per the German website, in 1997 Camelion opened two "overseas affiliates", a German center and a HongKong center. The Hongkong location was intended to serve as the source for their product. The German location to serve the European market. Camelion now has affliliates in the US, India, Australia, etc. The HongKong location appears to be the manufacturing center. It is not clear where the company headquarters are legally positioned. However, more to the point of this difficulty:

The charger shown in the photo of the damage is most similar to a charger shown on their Englisch website, complete with LCD readout. Unfortunately the exact words on the damage photo charger do not match the advertising photo charger. The advertising photo shows a fast charger with a charger rate of 2.2A/cell. Those charger specs do indicate all features of what we would expect from a modern NiMH charger.

Because of varying possible sources of the charger, along with multiple charger variations, there is insufficient information to conclude anything about the root cause of the damage.
 

just_now

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Just had an explosion last night. Was watching tv and smelled some plastic burning and notice that the battery in the charger was venting. I unpluged it and ran it to the bathroom and 15 seconds later the battery exploded and left the bathroom covered in a black powder substance. (the wife was not happy)

Thank God that it did not explode in the family room with the wife and baby near by.

Was charging it on a quick charger, that was only charging one AA cell.

Now am afraid to charger batteries. From the post above, it seems that this is rare.

Tips for this to never happen again?
 

alfreddajero

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What cell was being charged and what charger were you using......i never charge my batts in the family room....i have a charging station in the back room so if something happens the kids can go through the front door.
 

SilverFox

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Hello Just now,

Welcome to CPF.

It sounds like you were working with some crap cells...

The best way to avoid problems is to make sure you keep your cells vibrant. You can search and find how to do this. I don't keep crap cells around because I want to avoid what you just went through.

Tom
 
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Just had an explosion last night. Was watching tv and smelled some plastic burning and notice that the battery in the charger was venting. I unpluged it and ran it to the bathroom and 15 seconds later the battery exploded and left the bathroom covered in a black powder substance. (the wife was not happy)

Thank God that it did not explode in the family room with the wife and baby near by.

Was charging it on a quick charger, that was only charging one AA cell.

Now am afraid to charger batteries. From the post above, it seems that this is rare.

Tips for this to never happen again?

What charger? What battery brand?
 

alfreddajero

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As i would like to know as well......i tend to use good quality brands......even energizers sometimes dont cut it.
 
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