How to maintain Li-ion batteries in winter?

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xtarflashlight
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How to maintain Li-ion batteries in winter?

You may find a cold weather drains your Li-ion batteries fast. Because Li-ion batteries rely on chemical reactions to work, the cold can slow and even stop those reactions from occurring. And the very low temperatures affect these batteries to release energy and store.

For example, a Li-ion battery that provides 100 percent capacity at 80°F may typically deliver only 50 percent at 0°F. Put simply, cold weather can negatively affect the Li-ion batteries and will decrease their lifespan. The Li-ion batteries have a certain number of charging cycles before they are no longer usable. Thus, how to maintain these batteries is important. To ensure your Li-ion batteries survive the cold winter, some suggestions listed below.

1.Clean batteries properly: corrosion and dirt can cause the batteries to lose charge faster, also decrease its lifespan. It’s important to keep the Li-ion batteries clean. You can use a mix of water and baking soda for a gentle cleaning.

2.Charge batteries regularly: Li-ion batteries shouldn’t be completed uncharged. Remember to charge your batteries in the winter months when they are most prone to quick loss of power, with shallow discharge and shallow charging.

3.Charge batteries indoors, avoid charging at low temperatures. Keep the Li-ion batteries in a place that doesn’t get colder than 32 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer than 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

4.For long time storage, charge the battery to around 40% before storing.

If you have other good tips, can also share them freely!

Edited by: sb56637 on 12/10/2021 - 07:22
Oli
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You are clearly copying and pasting this information from other sources. The bit about cleaning your battery with water and baking soda,,, come on man. This would apply to lithium-ion batteries used in powersports equipment and other 12 volt applications where battery terminals are exposed to the elements. That’s not what we’re dealing with here. And this is not the first time you’ve been copying and pasting stuff in posts you put on here. That needs to stop unless you list your source or credit them. There have been previous discussions here about cold weather storage and use. Yes everybody agrees that charging below the freezing point is problematic. I don’t think I’ve seen any manufacturer specs that show you can’t store 18650 lithium ion batteries below 32° f as you copied and pasted. I think all of this info came from a 12 volt power sports equipment battery site.

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tempo
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what’s up with the atrack?

xtar are one of our forum friends and they should be treated with respect

shame

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Has anyone tested the battery to prove only 50% capacity and that it reduces cycle life?
Does the capacity “come back” when the battery is warmed up?

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I was not going to bother commenting; in fact, I almost didn’t bother with reading this thread.

I had similar thoughts when it came to the part in the OP about cleaning batteries with baking soda. This is a flashlight forum. The recommendation to clean batteries with a baking soda and water solution may be fine for the lead-acid based battery in your motor vehicle. But here where we use mostly cylindrical lithium-ion cells, maybe a few NiMH or alkalines tossed in for good measure. The only ones of those I can ever remember seeing having a corrosion problem were cheap alkalines. So yeah, that baking soda recommendation just sounds plain wrong, and possibly copied from an automotive-themed internet page someplace.

If anyone is going to disseminate information under the guise of being an expert it behooves them to be certain the information is accurate and applicable to the situation.

Yes, lithium cells do not put out well when they are very cold. But, if turned on the cells will self-heat with discharging and work better after a minute or so. That is one reason why Tesla vehicles have a cooling (and heating) system built into its battery packs.

Here’s where I start the off-topic thread wandering…. I have a friend who sells Powersports equipment; motorcycles, ATV’s, UTV’s, etc. About ten years ago he asked if I wanted to test a new battery type. It was a LiFePO4 based ATV sized 12 volt battery. The manufacturer was giving him some for field testing. I said sure, why not? So my Yamaha ATV received an LFP starting battery. The first time the temperature dropped to “quite cold” that LFP battery failed to crank the engine fast enough to start. It was partly my fault as I had not switched to my winter oil grade. But the other ATV that was a twin except for the conventional AGM lead-acid battery did crank and start.

To shorten this long story, I’ll fast forward a bit. It was determined that in cold weather it was necessary to turn the key switch to run and turn on the headlight (halogen bulb at the time. key needed to be “on” to allow light to function) before even trying to start the engine. The light would get brighter and brighter. After 1 to 2 minutes of seemingly abusing the battery the light would be turned off and the start button pressed. Voila! The engine spun and fired right up. For the remainder of the day everything was fine. The battery was warm enough to function well including allowing the ATV battery charge system to recharge the battery. I ran that battery in that ATV for 4 years before the ATV was stolen. It always worked when treated in that manner in cold weather.

And never once did I have to clean any corrosion off the lithium battery terminals.

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Yes there is some relevant information related to 12 volt lithium ion batteries and cylindrical lithium ion batteries. But some of the information above is somewhat misleading and not really accurate. The xstar representative here would not be able to convince xstar the company to put this information on their website. And it really should be removed from this site.

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Oli
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MtnDon

p<>.

wrote:
the first time the temperature dropped to “quite cold” that LFP battery failed to crank the engine fast enough to start. It was partly my fault as I had not switched to my winter oil grade. But the other ATV that was a twin except for the conventional AGM lead-acid battery did crank and start.

To shorten this long story, I’ll fast forward a bit. It was determined that in cold weather it was necessary to turn the key switch to run and turn on the headlight (halogen bulb at the time. key needed to be “on” to allow light to function) before even trying to start the engine. The light would get brighter and brighter. After 1 to 2 minutes of seemingly abusing the battery the light would be turned off and the start button pressed. Voila! The engine spun and fired right up.

That same trick has been used in automotive and other batteries for many many decades. By taking a small amount of energy out you get some heat created in the battery. Now that most vehicles start with less than 1.5 seconds of key turning it’s not a big issue. The same thing applies to flashlight batteries. If you’re going to use them when the battery is below freezing it’s best to start at lower settings if you have that option and then ramp up to higher levels if needed.

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I just scrubbed my Molicel P26A and P42A with water and baking soda. I ruined them!Just kidding.

I’ve been at this Hobby for 11 years. Never heard that suggestion before. Definitely copied and pasted. Even so a flashlight and battery dealer ought to know better than that. Facepalm

I live in a four-season climate and have never had issues of rust building up on the terminals in my lithium ion batteries. The temperatures can range from minus 10F in the winter and high 90’s with humidity in the summer.

The thing about that is, they are never exposed to the humidity because of air conditioning. The cold yes they’re in my light for maybe 30 minutes sometimes before I use that light on the trail. I’ve noticed runtimes decrease a little bit but nothing major.

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richbuff
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xtarflashlight wrote:
... ... 1.Clean batteries properly: corrosion and dirt can cause the batteries to lose charge faster, also decrease its lifespan. It’s important to keep the Li-ion batteries clean. You can use a mix of water and baking soda for a gentle cleaning. ... ...

 

February 11, 2020: Here is an earlier source for the content that was posted on the original post.

Non-live link: panthervision.com/2020/02/11/how-does-cold-weather-affect-lithium-batteries/

 

 

Rev 22:15

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tempo wrote:
what’s up with the atrack?

xtar are one of our forum friends and they should be treated with respect

shame

True, they are, and they have been pretty good communicators in terms of asking about needs/wants with chargers and such. But in this case, I don’t think it’s wrong at all, or an attack, to point out deceitful plagiarism even if it’s just “internet borrowing”…..I mean if it’s useful and appropriate, ok, but this is pretty bad and way off target. lol. Smile This is common with many marketing reps and it does need to stop. Some gal on here awhile back just copy/pasted a bunch of stuff they took from a UK website and it wasn’t…well, same general junk that showed both a lack of respect and a lack of understanding of what this forum is/what flashlights are.

I’d like to know how dirty terminals contribute to loss of energy during storage and/or how that relates to anything with low temperatures….but whatever.

Oli
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richbuff wrote:

xtarflashlight wrote:
… … 1.Clean batteries properly: corrosion and dirt can cause the batteries to lose charge faster, also decrease its lifespan. It’s important to keep the Li-ion batteries clean. You can use a mix of water and baking soda for a gentle cleaning. … …

 


February 11, 2020: Here is an earlier source for the content that was posted on the original post.


Non-live link: panthervision.com/2020/02/11/how-does-cold-weather-affect-lithium-batteries/


 


 

Yeah I found that this morning but I immediately knew that the coin cell battery place got it from somewhere else. They probably acquired it from next-gen battery or some other place.

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Oli
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Correllux wrote:

I’d like to know how dirty terminals contribute to loss of energy during storage and/or how that relates to anything with low temperatures….but whatever.

It’s not just the terminals. On auto batteries or trucks you can have all manner of dust, dirt, crud and corrosion on the plastic housing between the positive and negative terminals or the positive terminal and the metal hold down bracket. Add in a little moisture from rain or even humidity and you have a little bit of a path for minor currents to flow. This was probably a greater problem when you had six individual caps to add water due to evaporation before many batteries were maintenance free. On motorcycle or lawn mower or other smaller batteries the terminals aren’t always a real long ways apart. And not everybody is going to fully remove a battery for storage.

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Correllux
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Oli wrote:
Correllux wrote:

I’d like to know how dirty terminals contribute to loss of energy during storage and/or how that relates to anything with low temperatures….but whatever.

It’s not just the terminals. On auto batteries or trucks you can have all manner of dust, dirt, crud and corrosion on the plastic housing between the positive and negative terminals or the positive terminal and the metal hold down bracket. Add in a little moisture from rain or even humidity and you have a little bit of a path for minor currents to flow. This was probably a greater problem when you had six individual caps to add water due to evaporation before many batteries were maintenance free. On motorcycle or lawn mower or other smaller batteries the terminals aren’t always a real long ways apart. And not everybody is going to fully remove a battery for storage.

Yeah…but I meant for lithium cells…as this post was supposedly about. Smile

I don’t miss the days of testing and filling battery acid cells. It only took me one time to experience bad corrosion on terminals and cables before I learned to keep it at bay. Felt washers and terminal coatings…not sure why those ever fell out of favor. I was legitimately surprised when I replaced a battery ground cable once and saw green corrosion had penetrated about eight inches under the insulation! And that was a well-taped terminal/cable. I use marine heat shrink on everything exposed these days.

But round lithium cells…sitting there somehow dirty….assuming they aren’t rusting…in freezing winter temperatures…hmm.

Oli
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Correllux wrote:

I don’t miss the days of testing and filling battery acid cells. It only took me one time to experience bad corrosion on terminals and cables before I learned to keep it at bay. Felt washers and terminal coatings…not sure why those ever fell out of favor. I was legitimately surprised when I replaced a battery ground cable once and saw green corrosion had penetrated about eight inches under the insulation! And that was a well-taped terminal/cable. I use marine heat shrink on everything exposed these days.

.

AGM batteries as much as possible these days. Almost no off gassing which causes corrosion. Copper anti-seize on all battery posts and so forth before assembly. Remove all grounds to frame and body that you can find and put the copper never sieze on them when you first get a vehicle. Trailer plug connectors, bulb sockets,etc. Any bolt I ever touch on a vehicle either gets copper never seize, nickel never seize or pipe thread sealant to prevent corrosion and rust.

You can't compare the big flashlight in the sky to the little flashlight in your hand.

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