My 14500 battery explosion, with pictures

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Ubehebe
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>>>>>>So glad that you and the wife are fine and home damage was minimal!

Thank you very much. No, a hole was not blown through the wall, but those black gooey tiny flakes were the spawn of hell. Two people X 8 hours = clean-up time, for a 14500. Don’t even want to think about how much of that stuff would come out of a 18650. Just the WORST. And to this day, I’ll still find a flake every now and then. That stuff is evil. EVIL!!!!

RAW74
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I am slowly learing that cheap Li-ion cells and chargers just aren’t worth it.Most of my lights are 18650 powered and almost all of my batteries are Tenergy 2600 protected cells. I haven’t had any problems with them.I also am using tenergy RCR123’s with the specific charger with no problems.Things are starting to change with my use of 14500 cells though.I have two grey ultrafire 14500’s, and two AW 14500’s…..all four cells act diff. in both charge and discharge.I was using a tenergy charger to charge them but got bored at the .5amp rate, so started to use my 1 amp charger with a spacer.I think now that this may be a bad idea.I also just purchased some cheap ultrafire 3kmah BRC to play with…they act much like the 14500’s.So for me….I am going to stick with slow charging my 14500’s and give my ultarfire cells away.Everyone have a great night and be safe…Rick.

gadabout
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Old-Lumens wrote:

 

It's not really a phobia. I just am not willing to take all the precautions that Li-ion needs.

A heavy duty fire and explosion proof box

A good/safe charger for each size of cell, or a hobby charger

A fire extinguisher

A meter to check condition

What else?

The willingness to take all that time and make sure to do checks. I would never do that. I'm an Alkaline/NiMH guy. Either toss them out or toss them in the charger and walk away.

Then there's the cost of good protected cells on top of it all. It's not a poor man's game and when you buy cheap, look at what happens.

I will just stick to NiMHs (eneloops). I know you have a very low chance of something going wrong, but if you're not willing to take the care needed, then the risk can magnify fairly quickly. I'm not about to have to show respect to a battery.

 

I too think the OPs biggest problem was likely the word "fire" in the brand name but all the same, it must have been a brown-trousers experience.  I'm not sure I wouldn't be like Old-Lumens and revert back to NiMH if this explosion had happened to me.  I'm glad no-one was hurt.

However.......

The biggest problem I have with staying exclusively with my Eneloops and Imedions is the lack of choice for high-powered lights to use them in.  The reality is that the vast majority of manufacturers are now designing for Li primaries (ecologically unsound to me) or Li-Ion (with its rare but potentially lethal risks). 

It seems that either we (the buying market) or the manufacturers have decided that powerful must also be small in size and we are basically being told that no-one wants to use C or D sized lights any more.  Even for the "home-made" or "custom" options, has anyone tried to find a high-output boost driver (1.2A-3.5A) that would run on as low as 2.0V, which is effectively the output of two almost discharged NiMH cells?  I'd actually be happy to carry something the size of a 2D or even 3D mag (but with proper heatsinking) if I could get 700+ lumens from a couple of high quality D NiMH cells.  But I'm not so keen on running 6 or 8 AA eneloops in series just to get enough voltage to power a driver made for Li-Ion chemistry.   

 

I'm curious Old-Lumems - what are your main lights?

Old-Lumens
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gadabout wrote:

I'm curious Old-Lumems - what are your main lights?

I use 3AAA or 3AA lights or Maglites. Mostly just direct drive, On/Off (personal preference, I'm not impressed with modes at all, old school). I offer modded maglites because I like maglites, I can work with maglites and that SST-90 I just finished is totally awesome on 4D or 12AA. I know it's not for everyone, but the 1D lights I do, will take 3AA or 4AA or 1x18650/26650, so they are versatile.

What I would like to see are more lights (chinese lights) that are versatile and I'm starting to see some come out. Single 26650 that take 3AA and I think that is the way to go. A light taking one 26650/18650 or 3AA just about gives the best options. I only hope that trend becomes a reality. It's no harder for the mgf. The driver for 1 Li-ion will work fine with 3AA and the 3AA carrier is only pennies to add. So far all I see with those options are the 26650 zoomies, but I am hoping some more will be adopted. As far as Maglites, a 2D can use 3 sub-C NiMHs and it's just as bright as a 26650 and will last longer. High drain NiMHs will always last longer than Li-ions.

My PayPal address: oldlumens (insert the @ sign here) gmail.com

My YouTube Flashlight Video Channel

The BLF Modding Links Thread 

http://imageshack.com/a/img922/1374/jQ2wdL.jpg

 

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glad to see you ok.

I recommend you to charge batteries in another covered place. like steel cup board..

sb56637
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Very interesting and sobering post. Thanks a lot for sharing this with us. This pretty much convinces me to never use cheap Li-Ion batteries and chargers. I have a pair of XTAR 18700s and an XTAR charger. I think they’re pretty safe from everything I’ve read. But I, like Old Lumens, still prefer batteries that aren’t Li-Ion because I don’t enjoy worrying about complying with all of the safety instructions just to use a battery. Li-Ions sort of take the fun out of flashlights for me. Especially given my personal preference for running the battery all the way down to 0 volts. Can’t do that with a Li-Ion.

Another issue: Some of the comments here are about as explosive as the original story. Could the creators of the skirmish please delete their posts? Thanks in advance.

Budget Light Forum ...where Frugal meets with Flashlight!

BetweenRides
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A few weeks ago I purchased the A8 / TF5000 / TF TR-005 charger combo deal. This evening I used the charger for the first (and last) time to charge a King Kong ICR26650E cell. I had it plugged in a wall outlet in plain view from a chair in the family room. About an hour later, my wife (who can smell a mouse fart) commented that there was a funny electrical smell as she walked by the charger. Sure enough, I checked it and both the battery and the charger were hot and giving off an ozone/burning plastic smell. This one's going in the garbage bin.

old4570
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New chargers can smell – Being new and all !

And if poorly ventilated , yes they can warm up .. I keep my Trustfire TR003 on its side , so that heat can not build up , electronics need ventilation .. I also have it on the floor near me , where air moves all the time . Charging some 4 × 18650 can warm it up , but just a little common sense keeps it at safe levels [ warmth ] .. I charged some 12 batteries yesterday , and my TR003 has become my go to charger .. Yes – dont trust any charger , dont trust any battery … Always check for abnormalities .. . 1/ I always check Battery voltage before charging . 2/ Always watch the charger at the beginning for anything strange . Also get in the habit of checking your batteries for degradation or resistance to charging [ yes its easy to forget or get lazy ] Li-ion demands some respect , and cudo’s to those who prefer AA , there are some nice AA lights out there to chose from . . Now I have to start charging more batteries , only about 30 or 40 more to go

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

ezarc
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+1 for AAs

hank
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“Responders to fires involving lithium-ion battery packs have often described a series of re-ignition events. Typically, responders report they used a fire extinguisher on a battery pack fire, thought they had extinguished the fire, and then observed the fire re-ignite as an additional cell vented.”

http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/aviation-international-news/2012-...

torchythebatteryboy
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Funny how it’s always Ultrafire exploding.
I always measure the internal resistance to get an idea of whether a battery will deliver a decent current. It is also a fair guide of whether they are safe.
I don’t know if I was using the same Ultrafire battery as above (the label said protected, but they were bare cells, no pcb), but check the comparative internal resistance:

Internal Resistance mΩ
Ultrafire 14500 1200mAh protected? 905
GTL 14500 2000mAh 179
DLG 14500 750mAh 113
AW IMR 600mAh 64
FJD 800mAh 283
Marsfire 930mAh 150
AW 750mAh protected 168
EagleTac 750mAh protected 141
Yezl 900mAh protected 172
Trustfire 900mAh protected 151
Efest IMR 700mAh 43

NightCrawl
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torchythebatteryboy wrote:
AW IMR 600mAh 64

Efest IMR 700mAh 43

Nice. Smile

2100
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That’s quite a bad-ass explosion.

I am very wary about explosions, since an explosion of a plastic pressurised container (those pump sprayers for plants/gardening) did fracture the middle phalanx of my right hand ring finger 3 months ago, costed me 11k in total.


But i was lucky, coz it did explode near my hips ala dick area, but the sharpnel for one reason or another decides to fly forwards ie away from me. Fish…till today i still thank my lucky stars.
Cut my 3 fingers, lost quite a bit of blood, enough to make me faint for a few seconds prob due to low blood pressure.

I don’t know what happened in your case bro…. seems like it satisfied the 2 conditions….(1) Protected PCB failed to cut over-voltage (2) The TR-007 charger failed to cut over-voltage. Can Li-Co explode below 4.20V? Not sure…. I have that charger of yours, exactly the same except the colour. It does cut nicely for all my unprotected cells.

Usually cells explode at about 4.27/4.28V…some even say as much as low 4.3x volts.

NightCrawl
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@2100: Woah, never knew these things could explode. I thought that stuff was soft enough to just crack open a bit and release the pressure..

old4570
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2100 wrote:
That’s quite a bad-ass explosion.

I am very wary about explosions, since an explosion of a plastic pressurised container (those pump sprayers for plants/gardening) did fracture the middle phalanx of my right hand ring finger 3 months ago, costed me 11k in total.


But i was lucky, coz it did explode near my hips ala dick area, but the sharpnel for one reason or another decides to fly forwards ie away from me. Fish…till today i still thank my lucky stars.
Cut my 3 fingers, lost quite a bit of blood, enough to make me faint for a few seconds prob due to low blood pressure.

I don’t know what happened in your case bro…. seems like it satisfied the 2 conditions….(1) Protected PCB failed to cut over-voltage (2) The TR-007 charger failed to cut over-voltage. Can Li-Co explode below 4.20V? Not sure…. I have that charger of yours, exactly the same except the colour. It does cut nicely for all my unprotected cells.

Usually cells explode at about 4.27/4.28V…some even say as much as low 4.3x volts.

Depends on the cause ! . . If the fault is in the charger [ a short or something ] the the potential is there at any voltage … … If its the battery itself , two things to watch for , heat and over voltage … … So if the charger fails to terminate , or if the battery suddenly resists charging at a lower voltage [ still a decent charge current ] Under normal conditions , the charger should be trickle charging at such a low level that even if it does not terminate , the battery and charger should be in a state of stalemate , or a situation where it would take hours and hours to charge another 100mAh … So again , the chicken or the egg ? . . Cells exploding @ 4.27 4.28v … I hate to say this , but that is dangerously close to 4.2v and little in the way of safety margin ! [ and Im not sure its the case ] . . What is certain , is you need a MM to monitor your batteries , otherwise your going it blind . You need to know your batteries , there usual charge rate [ voltages on termination – voltage sag after say 60 minutes of rest ] There should be a sticky on every flashlight forum ! , in fact I will post one on my web now that I think of it !

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

sixfink
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Ubehebe wrote:
From my experience with this explosion, an ammo can might contain a 14500 explosion, but it might NOT contain the explosion from a much larger 18650 or an even larger still, 26650. Stick a stick of dynamite in an ammo can and let me know how well that “contains” the explosion. Wink

I store all my cells in a surplus ammo box for belted 20mmx139 Oerlikon autocannon cartridges. A lot beefier (9kilograms/ 19.8lbs, empty! ) compared to the average .223 NATO ammo box. Now, I am wondering if that stout 20mm box could handle the pressure of an exploding 18650… and still, how to vent/ release all the pressure once it has blown? It’d probably shoot everything out of the tiny hole you’d have to drill for the power cord, to power the charger, anyways. Weak spot IMHO.

What is the price for a stick of dynamite, these days? Eventually, cheap XXX-Fire Li-Ion cells might become a cost-effective alternative Silly

*Anyways, thanks a lot for the essay! *

Now I know I was right to charge my solarforce 16350s in the garden only, covered by an old 40lbs sand stone feeding through turned upside-down. But now, I am a wee wit worried about my protected Trustfire 18650s, though. They seemed to be decent…? One will never know. Might hold up to a hundred charges, might eventually disintegrate within milliseconds the next time I put it in my WP2. Am I worrying too much?

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Ubehebe wrote:
>>>>>>Ubehehe, did you happen to check whether the protection circuit actually has circuits on them? They look flat to me.

The ultrafire had a PCB in it. It was recovered with the various debris. Was the battery protected, i.e, would it shut down as designed and prevent a catastrophic event? As I said, I wouldn’t trust that or any battery pcb to do anything more than become shrapnel. As I said, I for one have no idea who makes those PCBs or even if they work reliably at all. As I said, I don’t trust them any more. I just buy the best unprotected batteries I can.

But I don’t wnt to get into an argument about the benefits of those PCBs. Not trusting them is my choice. I’m not trying to push that choice on others.

The PCB are designed to protect from common electrical faults like over-current or under-voltage, not everything under the sun. If these aren’t the culprit, seems likely this cell failed simply due to physical/chemical manufacturing defects.

It’s like claiming not to trust in seatbelts anymore because some guy burned to death in his car.

Reading this makes you smarter: http://lesswrong.com/

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@ubehebe. Any idea how long the batt had been charging before it exploded? What the starting v was? A couple weeks ago I was charging a crapfire & 30 min in I checked with my hand & it was to hot to touch. It could have been moments from exploding yikes.

Keith

2100
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old4570 wrote:
[ Depends on the cause !
.
. If the fault is in the charger [ a short or something ] the the potential is there at any voltage … … If its the battery itself , two things to watch for , heat and over voltage … … So if the charger fails to terminate , or if the battery suddenly resists charging at a lower voltage [ still a decent charge current ] Under normal conditions , the charger should be trickle charging at such a low level that even if it does not terminate , the battery and charger should be in a state of stalemate , or a situation where it would take hours and hours to charge another 100mAh … So again , the chicken or the egg ? . . Cells exploding @ 4.27 4.28v … I hate to say this , but that is dangerously close to 4.2v and little in the way of safety margin ! [ and Im not sure its the case ] . . What is certain , is you need a MM to monitor your batteries , otherwise your going it blind . You need to know your batteries , there usual charge rate [ voltages on termination – voltage sag after say 60 minutes of rest ] There should be a sticky on every flashlight forum ! , in fact I will post one on my web now that I think of it !

The OP did say his cell is protected, but did not mention any dead short testing.

For me i test each and every expensive and cheaper TF Flames with a dead short on the DMM. It should just jump a bit on the meter. In fact I still do that occasionally even though i am not getting new cells.

That is because my SR3800 driver (the Sky Ray 3800 original triple XM-L) did present to me a dead short.

For charging/overcharging, i do DMM each and every cell very regularly, it’s just a habit coz I have many multi-cell lights. Max I get is 4.230V-4.235V should I leave it there for too long. (sometimes it goes back into charging for 3 secs and terminates….but if you do this for too long then obviously it slowly inches up, till maxes out at 4.23V). Actually i charge at the yard area already, which is like semi-outdoors + nicely ventilated. Actually nearly 4.3V is extremely cautious/conservative but for our use we can’t be too cautious (it’s BLF here), there are some vids on youtube showing higher voltages.

stevetexas
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It seems to me that a temp sensor that will shut down the charger if the temp of the cells gets too high is a good idea.

That could be in the charger or installed in the power line between charger and wall plug.

Also, don’t some cells already have a protection circuit that does that built into the battery? I mean separate from the over/under charge and current flow limiter components?

2100
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agenthex wrote:

The PCB are designed to protect from common electrical faults like over-current or under-voltage, not everything under the sun. If these aren’t the culprit, seems likely this cell failed simply due to physical/chemical manufacturing defects.

It’s like claiming not to trust in seatbelts anymore because some guy burned to death in his car.

Just have to use decent cells and trust the systems in place.

Even TF Flames nowadays seem like a russian roulette.

For my TF Flames, well at least I did randomly pick some and test the capacity. I think that’s a good idea to do that.
Bite the bullet and spend 30 bucks for an entry level hobby charger, not that expensive anyway and it’s great fun.

Unfortunately most of the notebook power adapters are like over 18V, so need something to take that input voltage if you don’t want to shell out money for a power adapter. (assuming you have access to many unused/unwated notebook power adapters, have lots in my office :D)

2100
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stevetexas wrote:
It seems to me that a temp sensor that will shut down the charger if the temp of the cells gets too high is a good idea.

That could be in the charger or installed in the power line between charger and wall plug.

Also, don’t some cells already have a protection circuit that does that built into the battery? I mean separate from the over/under charge and current flow limiter components?

SLA and NiMH tells you by raising the temperature when they are charged too high a current or overcharged. Unfortunately Li Co does not do that.

Check out the youtube vids, they don’t overheat for nuts and then they vent.

2100
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NightCrawl wrote:

@2100: Woah, never knew these things could explode. I thought that stuff was soft enough to just crack open a bit and release the pressure..

PET/Polycarbonate. Mine was like those Nalgene bottles….transparent.

Definitely NOT FUN. Rip open and release pressure….wait long long. Big Smile

texas shooter
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I’ve got some explosive experience. If you’re wanting to build a charging box build it from wood. A 5/8” or 3/4” plywood floor and walls should be plenty. Make the box about 1’ cube with no cover this will contain the explosion and vent the blast upwards. Yes you’ll have a mess to vacuum up but no dangerous shrapnel from an attempted contained explosion. Box covers and the likes become projectiles. All explosions have to go somewhere with the open box it vents to the ceiling. Nice thing about wood is that fragments like to stick in the wood instead of bouncing off like metal or plastic containers. If you’re trying to cover an explosion use IV or water filled Ziplock freezer bags, but thats another story.

Ubehebe
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>>>>>>@ubehebe. Any idea how long the batt had been charging before it exploded? What the starting v was?

About 30 minutes. But it was cool as a cucumber when I felt it. There was another gray crapfire 14500 in the other charger slot.

No, I did not check starting voltage. That was in my salad days. I ALWAYS do now because I use all unprotected cells, so I’m always monitoring them to get a better idea of when to pull the battery before it drains too much.

When I first started with the li-ion batteries, I really didn’t pay much attention to charging. These bateries and chargers don’t come with any instruction manuals :-). I was vaguely aware that it could explode, but like everyone, thought it was rare and would happen to someone else. But surprise surprise! KABOOM!!!

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>>>>>a charging box build it from wood. A 5/8” or 3/4” plywood floor and walls should be plenty.
>>>>>>Make the box about 1’ cube with no cover

Now that sounds like a good idea! All this stuff about sealed boxes. Like I said, I myself won’t be putting a a stick of dynamite in a sealed ammo box inside my house to see how well that controls the explosion. I wouldn’t put explosives in a sealed anything to control it. Of course, the box lid may pop off from the explosion and vent some of the force. But it’s like a battery PCB, I wouldn’t trust it to actually do that.

I’ll just skip all the contraptions and charge ‘em outside, away from the house. If anything happens, no appreciable damage except to the charger and battery, PLUS minimal clean up.

I can’t stress enough, you DO NOT want to clean up that black gooey stuff. It is NASTY.

torchythebatteryboy
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2100][quote=agenthex wrote:

Even TF Flames nowadays seem like a russian roulette.

I always thought you were safe with TF, but check my post here: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/13481#node-13481

HKJ
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I like using the LiIon bags that are designed to handle a LiIon explosion:

They are frequently used by RC people, when charging their batteries.

But do not use them if you charger gets hot in open air.

 

I do not use these bags for regular LiIon charging, but in my battery testing, where I have been charging and discharging 24/7 for more than 1/2 year (I have never had any venting from the tested batteries or from any other LiIon battery).

 

 

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): https://lygte-info.dk/

Milan
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Quote:
Usually cells explode at about 4.27/4.28V…some even say as much as low 4.3x volts

now where did you found that?
HKJ
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Milan wrote:
Quote:
Usually cells explode at about 4.27/4.28V...some even say as much as low 4.3x volts
now where did you found that?

That is definitely wrong.

From a LiIon data sheet:

9.1 Overcharge Test
Test method: To charge the standard charged cell with 12V and 2.2A at 25℃
for 2.5 hours.
Criteria: No fire, and no explosion.

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): https://lygte-info.dk/

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