Rechargable batteries for very cold enviroment?

sector_cleared

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Hey folks,

I am searching for rechargables that can be used in very cold enviroment (Temps down to -30°C / -22°F). The technologies I know so far are not capable of handling that low temperatures and I wasn't able to find something that can handle this..

Anybody an idea?
 

bob_ninja

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There was recently a similar question - search for it.
The general consensus was to use Lithium type.
 

Marduke

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I don't think there is a standard rechargeable battery that can go that cold and work fine. You are kinda stuck with keeping the pack warm (ie. remote pack on headlamp kept under jacket), or using lithium primaries.
 

sector_cleared

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@bob_ninja: I saw the thread but they where talking about lithium primaries. Unfortunately I need rechargables since the setup is charged by a solar panel. It's kind of a outdoor light.

:shakehead
 

Bonky

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bury the batteries in a thermal pocket of some sort? When charging, the batteries will create heat. If that heat could be trapped then returned to the batteries, could keep the warm?
 

baterija

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Nicad give you down to -20C. If I recall correctly, that's the best you'll do from the major rechargeable technologies. It at least gets you closer to your worst case, and requires less warming/insulation.
 
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bob_ninja

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@bob_ninja: I saw the thread but they where talking about lithium primaries. Unfortunately I need rechargables since the setup is charged by a solar panel. It's kind of a outdoor light.

:shakehead

What about rechargable Lithium?
Last winter I used B&D VPX saw below freezing and was impressed how well it worked. They use A123 cells. Perhaps the Lithium Posphate and other more robust Lithium rechargable chemsitry cells would work.
 

Marduke

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What about rechargable Lithium?
Last winter I used B&D VPX saw below freezing and was impressed how well it worked. They use A123 cells. Perhaps the Lithium Posphate and other more robust Lithium rechargable chemsitry cells would work.

Not sure on all the chemistries, but I know most of them still would have their electrolyte freeze.
 

Turak

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Regarding cells for COLD temperatures.....

ALL cells are affected by the colder temparatures and will have reduced capacities and run times as they get colder.

In general, the preferred chemistries would be;

Lead Acid (believe it or not, still one of the best performers in extremely cold environments, least amount of self discharge)
Lithium (technically good down to about -20'C)
NiCd (Many charts indicate good down to -40'C)
NiMh (Good down to about -20'C, but high self discharge is usually a problem)
Others

Unfortunately, since you are looking for small cells, you are kind of stuck with Lithium or NiCd's. Small lead acid cells are kind of hard to come by and are a real problem when they leak. Lithiums work well, just pay darn close attention to overcharging and discharging them too far.
 
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Mr Happy

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Depends on the specific environment, but maybe you can bury the battery pack under the ground and well insulated? Outside of permafrost regions, the temperature 50 cm to 1 m below ground is likely to remain much warmer than the overnight lows on the surface...
 

hopkins

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Remote sensors built for the Antarctic icecap probably have some tech you could use for your project. Research the university sites, NASA , etc. No need to recreate the wheel for your installation.

Or simply if your budget allows just increase
the size of the solar panel as well as increase the mAh's of the battery so there
will still be power available during reduced performance periods.
How much bigger may be answered by stuffing the thing in a freezer for testing.
pictures?:popcorn:
 

MattK

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Remote sensors built for the Antarctic icecap probably have some tech you could use for your project. Research the university sites, NASA , etc. No need to recreate the wheel for your installation.

These types of devices typically use primary lithium batteries - not rechargeables.
 

sector_cleared

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Regarding cells for COLD temperatures.....

ALL cells are affected by the colder temparatures and will have reduced capacities and run times as they get colder.

In general, the preferred chemistries would be;

Lead Acid (believe it or not, still one of the best performers in extremely cold environments, least amount of self discharge)
Lithium (technically good down to about -20'C)
NiCd (Many charts indicate good down to -40'C)
NiMh (Good down to about -20'C, but high self discharge is usually a problem)
Others

Unfortunately, since you are looking for small cells, you are kind of stuck with Lithium or NiCd's. Small lead acid cells are kind of hard to come by and are a real problem when they leak. Lithiums work well, just pay darn close attention to overcharging and discharging them too far.

This coincides with what i found out. Lead Acid would be a good solution but they have a big disadvantage: If you discharge them in cold enviroment the concentration of the sulfuric acid is decreasing which leads to a higher freezing point. Since in winter the state of charge will be the lowest you risk a frozen battery :poof:

The only way that I see so far is to pack a lot of lead acid batteries in the light so the state of charge will never go below a certain limit or I go with NiCd.

Does anybody have practical experience how the newer LiIon technologies perfom in a cold enviroment like bob_ninja pointed out? :thinking:
(A123 specifies a minimum operating temperature of -30°C but how big is the capacity then...)
 

hopkins

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Hei Sector - here's a link to a company's solar charged battery rig thats been used on Everest.
CTSolar.com

They may have some solutions you could buy off the shelf and save time.

hopkins.

http://www.ctsolar.com/
 
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