Restore Old Batteries

Restore Old Batteries – About: I love scratching and taking apart electronics and gutting them to see the goodies inside. I think everyone has to figure something out without knowing how to put it together. More about NickB6 ยป

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for an excuse to save money, cut back, or ditch something interesting. I found a way to satisfy all of the above! I have an affinity for lithium-ion batteries. They come in all shapes and sizes, are energy dense (hold more energy), have higher voltages than NiCad or NiMH batteries, and can handle higher amp draws. In addition, they do not develop a ‘memory’ or have high self-liquidity, so they can be stored for a long time. Finally, they lend themselves to multi-cell configurations. Better yet, they are available everywhere and for free. In this tutorial I’m going to give you a crash course on how to find, extract, and store lithium ion batteries, so let’s get started! Below are links to some of the tools and supplies I used!

Restore Old Batteries

Like I said, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are everywhere! This is what makes these batteries cheap as people throw away old electronics that break down or go out of business but leave the battery inside. I usually get mine from thrift stores for pennies or from old toys that people give away or break up and donate to science. The following are required: handheld devices, cell phones, digital cameras or camcorders, portable DVD or video players, and my favorite, laptop batteries. There are different chemistries associated with rechargeable lithium-ion cells, such as Lithium Cobalt Oxide (ICR type), Lithium Iron Phosphate or LiFePO4, (not often found discarded), Lithium Manganese Oxide (IMR), Lithium Manganese Nickel. (INR) and lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NCA or hybrid). The most common type of ICR you’ll find is lithium cobalt oxide. It is the best for power density and power, but has average to low discharge current and temperature. For this the maximum flow current is equal to the capacity or at least double. Additionally, they are less stable (read: dangerous) than other types and must have some sort of protection circuit. Now don’t confuse lithium-ion batteries with lithium-ion polymer batteries or LiPo batteries. In LiPo batteries, the electrolyte, anode and cathode, positive and negative terminals are kept in polymer bags. The internal chemistry is similar to lithium-ion cells. Depending on the device, the battery varies in shape or size, but for mobile phones or compact devices they are usually rectangular and thin, or they are cylinders like 18650 (typical of laptop batteries) or 18500 in shift packs for cameras or camcorders.

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Lithium Ion Battery Revival

In case you are wondering, the name of the battery contains the dimensions. “18650” means that the battery is 18 mm in diameter and 65 mm in length. “0” just hangs together. Regardless of the type and size, it can have one cell or many cells. Multiple cells are in series or parallel or a mixture of both. Even small batteries have two small cells connected in series or series/parallel. This is due to the fact that some devices require more voltage than can be provided by a single cell or to increase the capacity. Series connections increase the voltage, and parallel connections increase the capacitance of the package. Unlike NiMH or NiCad batteries, lithium-ion batteries have protection devices such as battery management system ICs and MOSFETs or resistors that control current, voltage, short circuits, reverse polarity, and temperature. Some have the added function of balancing cells if there are multiple cells. Why do they need it? This is because lithium cell chemistry makes it susceptible to overcharging, overdischarging (watering until the voltage drops too low), short-circuiting, and even overheating. Any of these can damage the cell, or cause a worse fire. Multiple cell batteries in series require a balancing function that ensures each cell receives the same amount of current and voltage as the other cells. If one cell receives more charge than another, it can die out or be damaged faster. The packaging capacity is also reduced. These types of batteries require special charging procedures that do not require NiMH or NiCad. More later!

Now before we start digging into battery packs, I want to touch on some safety items for lithium-ion cells. If you love RC and have electric vehicles and experience with LiPo batteries, you can skip this, but if not, it’s important to understand that messing with lithium-ion batteries is dangerous. I learned this the hard way!

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Why? Because of their chemistry, an 18650 cell holds a lot of energy. Band 6 or higher, and you have a lot of stored energy. Coming to the safety issue, if shorted, overcharged, or undercharged or overdischarged, the most common lithium battery can heat up, swell and explode, or cause a fire to overheat, we don’t. i don’t want.

The way to avoid this is to hold and fill properly. Almost all lithium-ion batteries or single cells have some form of protection circuitry to protect the cell from overcharging, short-circuiting, or over-discharging. Multi-cell packs have an additional feature called a battery management system, a balancing function that monitors and distributes the charge and voltage across each cell so that each cell is charged at the same amount of current and voltage. That said, you need to use an appropriate charger for single cells or multiple cells in a pack, such as a balance charger. Using any other charger may overcharge the lithium ion cells and lead to fire.

The Drive To Recycle Lithium Ion Batteries

Flat blade guns. It’s fine to have different sizes, but generally 3mm (1/8) to 5mm (or 1/4) is all you need. Avoid chunky knives as they are too large to fit in small spaces.

Edge cutters or roll cutters. To cut tabs or wires or to open the battery case. Both will work, but I like package cutters because they fit into smaller spaces better.

Clipper does more than Spider, but more dangerous! Ask my fingers and hands how I know this 8)

No need for a multimeter for this fluke or anything fancy. Just measure the cell voltage to see if they are safe.

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Gloves (optional). I say optional because a pair of work gloves for this task probably won’t stand up to a sharp screwdriver or utility knife thrown out of joint at high speed.

You’ve got the battery, the tools, and now it’s time to dig in. In this tutorial, I will distinguish two battery packs. One is a generic 6-cell pack for the HP Pavilion Dv 5 to Dv 6 series laptop and pack with a vintage (2004 vintage) digital camera rated at 7.4 volts and 1500 mAh. I think it has two cells in it, but we will check.

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Depending on the type of battery, the basic design is the same, which includes a plastic outer case (plastic, foam, plastic, tape or paper), cell (s) protection. A device/board with its internal connections, either wires, tabs, or wires and tabs. By the way, I see the difference between generic (like a laptop battery) and genuine OEM (like a camera battery) in construction. Sometimes the flap is glued or glued, but other times it’s just held with tabs. You will quickly find out which method the manufacturer uses. OEM batteries are usually glued/welded and cheaper ones are glued or cut.

First I want to start with the tool knife in the corner of the cabinet. Locate the seam between the two cabinet halves. Place the knife on the edge. Move it back and forth to make it move through the cabinet. It should sink in, so be careful not to go too deep and cut the cells or short anything. Once you’ve gone and opened a small gap, it’s time to move on to the screwdriver. Use the small screwdriver to open the gap further by rotating it. Once you open it again, go to the larger screwdriver and repeat. You have to start big circles in the container. Move the twist through the seam of the bag, turning as you go. If you get nowhere, go back to the knife and repeat the first step. I don’t think I need to remind you to be careful here.

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If you get stuck, resist the urge to use a hammer or break your Dremel tool with a cut-off wheel. If you are like me and impatient, be very careful! Batteries don’t like to be cut open. For the record, I’ve never had to use mine.

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