When cells get old, do they get more dangerous or less?

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wle
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When cells get old, do they get more dangerous or less?

When cells get old, do they get more dangerous or less?

State all necessary assumptions to support.

I’ve got several that are probably below 60% of their original capacity.

I just wonder if they pose any special risk , other than not working all that well.

wle

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kennybobby
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More or less. There is a difference between a worn out cell and a defective cell.

An old cell has reduced capacity due to the aging component of degradation. Over time the cell will degrade even if not used, and especially if left fully charged. This is not a dangerous condition.

Another capacity degradation can occur due to high usage, i.e. high number of cycles. i would call this normal wear and tear that uses up the cell—it is just worn out. Not dangerous, but less useful if the full capacity is required.

Another factor in capacity degradation is related to temperature of both storage and operating conditions.

A defective cell is another issue altogether with respect to risk and danger.

The main cause of cell failure is loss of electrolyte, and this can become a dangerous situation.

Damage and defects can be introduced by incorrect usage and charging protocols. This becomes dangerous.

Damage and defects can also be introduced by improper assembly and substandard materials. This is just poor quality and short cuts by cheap vendors, and is a dangerous situation.

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Ledhead
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I scalped a pack from an old Dell (that I owned from new..) and all of the cells were 000 according to my Craftsman multi. All 6 of those cells are sitting on my bench. I intend to recycle them but are they little bombs waiting to go off?…….

And then technology started a meteoric rise in progress. A light would be released and then be noticeably obsolete within a year! We are truly in the Golden Age of LED lights now. : Xevious

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Uh… REALLY “absolute zero” That sounds very odd as I have pulled batteries (still in use) one from a 2003 Sony laptop I also owned since new. But there was over 2v on those batteries pulled about 5 years ago.

If absolute 0… I’d toss them and not try to mess with DEAD. The only Li-ion batteries I’ve got zero readings off were some Chinese “knocky-offies” I dead shorted in a project (nothing smoked, but it all got HOT and I left it 24 hours or so to cool down in the back yard) Those were definitely DEAD the next day.

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i had serval cells that would not even register on DMM, oddly they came from laptop pack, half of cells were totally dead, like open circuit dead, other half had 4v, and were pretty healthy

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kennybobby
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Ledhead wrote:
I scalped a pack from an old Dell (that I owned from new..) and all of the cells were 000 according to my Craftsman multi. All 6 of those cells are sitting on my bench. I intend to recycle them but are they little bombs waiting to go off?…….

That looks like an open circuit reading of the meter, i.e. no real voltage was measured. My meter reads 0.000 with nothing connected.

Some cells have an internal protection device to open the circuit path in the event that the cell gets too hot, others will open the circuit device if the internal pressure gets too high.

Dell wouldn’t want any fires to spoil their rep, so they may have a self discharge mode to drain the pack in the event of any cell issues. The BMS chip in some Ryobi packs has this “feature”.

So they need to be recycled; they are likely okay to sit on your bench, but it is not worth the risk to try to reuse them. If you attempted to recharge them, then that is what could set them off.

Now i used to think that i was cool,
drivin' around on fossil fuel,
until i saw what i was doin',
was drivin' down the road to ruin. --JT

Quadrupel
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To charge old cells is dangerous. They heats up and…..

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Ledhead wrote:
I scalped a pack from an old Dell (that I owned from new..) and all of the cells were 000 according to my Craftsman multi. All 6 of those cells are sitting on my bench. I intend to recycle them but are they little bombs waiting to go off?…….

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We lived near the Willamette for 6 yrs.
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I tend to work on the principal that if they don`t get warm when charging then they`re safe, if they do, then it`s time to discharge them, thank them for their service and recycle them.

wle
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things i learned so far:

warm charge = bad

loss of electrolyte is a common cause of capacity loss = can be bad

( i was assuming no physical damage, or bad charge/discharge damage – just normal use )

thx
wle

"You never have the wind with you - it's either against you, or you're having a good day."
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It never gets easy, you just go faster.   
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WalkIntoTheLight
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Katherine Alicia wrote:
I tend to work on the principal that if they don`t get warm when charging then they`re safe, if they do, then it`s time to discharge them, thank them for their service and recycle them.

Yes, and also check to see if they’re warm when just sitting idle (after charging). I’ve had a couple of heaters do that (fairly new Samsung 30Q). Turned out they were suffering from very high self-discharge, dropping about 0.1v per day. They felt slightly warm to the touch. Must have been a small internal short. So, definitely in the unsafe category.

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Quadrupel wrote:
To charge old cells is dangerous. They heats up and…..

How old is old for Li-ion? My oldest are 3yo.

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wle
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also i would add “the charge that never ends” – though if i am not mistaken, cells that do that, are also getting hot

though heating may depend on the charge current…

wle

"You never have the wind with you - it's either against you, or you're having a good day."
    Daniel Behrman, "The Man Who Loved Bicycles".
It never gets easy, you just go faster.   
-Greg Lemond.
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Ledhead
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Green wrapped cells and all dead. I did put one in a xtar X4 and the meter read 0 so I pulled it immediately.
These are 10+ yrs old.

…Love the Willamette

And then technology started a meteoric rise in progress. A light would be released and then be noticeably obsolete within a year! We are truly in the Golden Age of LED lights now. : Xevious

wle
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Ledhead wrote:
Green wrapped cells and all dead. I did put one in a xtar X4 and the meter read 0 so I pulled it immediately.
These are 10+ yrs old.

…Love the Willamette

i would also suspect that “0 volt” cells are really cells whose protection circuits have disconnected
probably due to the real voltage being under some “do not charge these any more” threshold like .9v or 1.0v

wle

"You never have the wind with you - it's either against you, or you're having a good day."
    Daniel Behrman, "The Man Who Loved Bicycles".
It never gets easy, you just go faster.   
-Greg Lemond.
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Katherine Alicia
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wle wrote:
also i would add “the charge that never ends” – though if i am not mistaken, cells that do that, are also getting hot

though heating may depend on the charge current…

wle

I`v had that a few times with NiMH batts, I tend to get the opposite with Li-ion, they can be really low, put them in the charger and they`re at 4.1v in less than a minute! they`ll read full but hold almost nothing, sometimes i`v even wondered if someones swapped the insides with a 10180 cell LOL

zoulas
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As a general rule, I would refresh my cells (meaning buy new ones) every 5 years. I do the same with car batteries. Yes I know they will last longer then five years but following this basic rule ensures you always have new batteries. At $5 a pop, its not that much money even if you have 20-30 cells.

wle
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Katherine Alicia wrote:
wle wrote:
also i would add “the charge that never ends” – though if i am not mistaken, cells that do that, are also getting hot

though heating may depend on the charge current…

wle

I`v had that a few times with NiMH batts, I tend to get the opposite with Li-ion, they can be really low, put them in the charger and they`re at 4.1v in less than a minute! they`ll read full but hold almost nothing, sometimes i`v even wondered if someones swapped the insides with a 10180 cell LOL

yes that is another symptom of being worn out – the too-fast charge and low capacity

i think my phone battery is doing that

wle

"You never have the wind with you - it's either against you, or you're having a good day."
    Daniel Behrman, "The Man Who Loved Bicycles".
It never gets easy, you just go faster.   
-Greg Lemond.
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WalkIntoTheLight
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Katherine Alicia wrote:
I`v had that a few times with NiMH batts, I tend to get the opposite with Li-ion, they can be really low, put them in the charger and they`re at 4.1v in less than a minute! they`ll read full but hold almost nothing, sometimes i`v even wondered if someones swapped the insides with a 10180 cell LOL

Na, they’re just old and worn out, with high internal resistance. That’s what causes the voltage (at the charger) to spike right away. I find that once you start to notice lithium-ion cells getting bad, they rapidly deteriorate after that. Eventually, ending up as what you state.

Basically, you have a lot of cycles until they get down to about 70% capacity. After that, there’s only a few cycles left until they get useless.

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I “recycle” my old (high IR) 18650s into my outdoor solar LED lights I have along the side of my pathway to my garage (and a few other places around my barn). They don’t need a lot of power to run motion sensor lights, and tend to run a few years before I flip them out and replace them (again) with my stash of “old” 18650s I save up over time. I have rebuilt those solar lights several times the last 5 years and many laptop/power drill pulls are in them and doing fine.

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I put mine in my doorbell Smile

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one of my chargers does the same, even with new healthy cells, for some reason when I put empties in, it would “charge” them in seconds, i take them out and put right back in, and they charge properly,

zoulas
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At $5 pop, don’t fool around with old batteries.