Avoid These 5 Easy Mistakes When Charging Li-Ion Batteries

Principles of Charging LiFePO4 Batteries

The majority of the things in our life are powered by lithium-ion or lithium-ion batteries. Because of their known high energy density, they can run for a long time without needing to be recharged. It’s critical to comprehend the correct charging procedures for lithium-ion batteries.

Particularly with the increasingly powerful batteries we use in our RVs, houses, and sailboats, common charging errors can result in damage and reduce longevity. These five frequent charging errors should be avoided to get the maximum life out of your Li-ion battery.

The Top 5 Li-Ion Battery Charging Mistakes

1. Using an unsuitable charger

Li-Ion batteries may sustain permanent harm if charged with anything other than a suitable charger. The voltage needed to achieve an efficient charge differs.

Chargers for lead-acid batteries rely on fluctuating voltages, sometimes at high voltages. In addition, because of their special construction, lithium-ion batteries need consistent voltage and current. Never charge lithium-ion batteries with lead-acid equipment. Use of an incompatible charger can cause fire, explosion, personal injury, property damage, and irreversible harm.

If you have any concerns, refer to the safety recommendations offered by the battery manufacturer. You will receive a charger from them that works with their product. Additionally, the manufacturer’s instructions will be extremely clear: the lithium-ion battery can only be charged with the original charger.

Regrettably, there is a lot of inaccurate information about charges online. Just because something was done once and someone got away with it doesn’t imply it will work again. Make sure to speak with the manufacturer if you have any inquiries about charging. If you require a new charger, they will send it to you with great pleasure.

2. Overcharging

Battery overcharging is possible, despite popular perception. We might have “smart” enough technology in our laptops and cellphones to stop overcharging. With the lithium-ion batteries that run your RV, boat, or house, though, that isn’t always the case.

The anode forms tiny deposits of lithium metal when the lithium ions inside the battery are overcharged. The battery could quickly short circuit due to lithium metal’s high reactivity, making this risky.

As a result of overcharging, Li-ion batteries’ electrolyte can degrade and produce a lot of heat. A ‘thermal runaway reaction’ could result from this.

The majority of lithium-ion batteries, thankfully, have safety precautions in place to avoid overcharging. But it’s crucial to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer in case such safety nets fail.

3. Overdischarging

If left uncharged for a long time, lithium-ion batteries may suffer irreparable harm. This is because a battery’s interior metal plates may be damaged by an extremely deep discharge, rendering it unsafe and perhaps worthless.

Most Li-ion batteries include built-in protection to maintain a set voltage in order to prevent overcharging and deep draining. Their discharge voltage, for instance, will never be greater than 2.5 volts. When the battery level reaches 2.5, the device will no longer be powered. Even though you might believe the battery is “dead,” it still has some life in it.

But in this situation, the battery would keep consuming energy. Therefore, if you continue to run it at this low voltage, it will ultimately reach zero, at which point the battery will die.

To prevent overcharging and deep draining, modern lithium-ion battery systems are thankfully used in electric vehicles (EVs), large machines, and electric boats. These systems use battery management systems (BMS). These devices monitor the battery voltage and, if it drops too low, they will instantly cut off the load. The battery is also kept from overheating while it is being used or charged by an overheat prevention circuit.

4. Charging in a situation with high temperatures

Particularly heat-resistant batteries are lithium-ion ones. The battery will lose power if it is too cold, and it can be destroyed totally if it is too hot.

For instance, the aforementioned thermal runaway reaction may occur when charging a Li-ion battery in a hot environment. This occurs when the battery’s capacity to disperse heat is exceeded by the heat created inside the battery. An internal chemical reaction brought on by high heat might ignite or explode the battery.

Within milliseconds, the temperature within a Li-ion battery can rise. It is typically quite challenging to stop a thermal runaway event once it has started. For their safety and longevity, Li-ion batteries must be charged in the right conditions.

If moisture is introduced to a lithium-ion battery, a similar chemical reaction may take place. They can tolerate some light rain or unintentional spills because of the sealed battery and protective covering. However, immersing a Li-ion battery deeply enough for water to get through the seal of protection will seriously harm it.

5. Continue to use a bulged battery

Although it is rare, swelling can occasionally occur with lithium-ion batteries. This indicates that the battery’s life cycle has come to an end as a result of abuse, heat, or natural deterioration. Continued usage of these bloated batteries could be harmful to both you and the equipment they power.

A smartphone’s casing can be breached by a bloated battery in small devices, much to the chest blaster in Alien. Compound accumulation may have more detrimental effects in larger facilities. It emits poisonous vapors into the air when penetrated. If heated or exposed to fire, it might even blow up.

A bulging battery can’t be fixed, regrettably. Let it discharge totally first. The battery should then be properly taken out and disposed of in a recycling facility. Finding a bloated battery early is crucial to preventing damage. Evidently, changing the battery is more advantageous and cost-effective than changing the entire gadget.

Extend the life of your battery

Li-ion batteries will last longer if you steer clear of these typical blunders when charging them. By shielding you from hazards like fire and harmful gasses, it also safeguards your battery and your device. Never overcharge a battery, always replace one that has bloated, and stay away from chargers of unknown brands.

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