Farflung

Lithium Ion batteries

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Questions about Lion batteries. I have them in my Dewalt and Black + Decker Drills/reciprocating saws/ impact drivers and other stuff. 1) I understand that these should not be stored in low temperatures. Does that mean below freezing or what? I  store them in the house in a attempt to keep them healthy but they are often in my truck in low temps. 2) what about high temps? Is there a upper limit?  3) Are you supposed to not fully discharge them? I read in another  thread that some have internal controls that shut them off when they still have some juice in them in order to  preserve the batteries  life. 4) How long do they last or is it a matter of how many times they are recharged. 5) can the Lithium be recovered after they are dead?

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I just read up on this today as I was charging some tool batteries:

1) Longer Storage at room temperatures are best (68 degrees F)

2) if they get hot through use or ambient temps, it’s recommended to swap in a normal temp pack

3) I read the same thing about internal shut offs on most packs: I read definitely DO NOT tape or clamp the trigger to run the pack until dead

4)I read they last about 3 years

5) no idea, but recycling was recommended 

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Older ni-cad batteries formed a memory to where they could be charged. If you took a half charged battery, then put it on a charger, effectively you convinced the battery it was dead thus reducing its power capacity. It was recommended that ni-cad batteries be run dead before charged. Many tool manufacturers switched to nimh cause they were a little less prone. Li-ion does not have these problems. Li-ion does have a charge cycle though. Usually around 500 cycles. So if you have a 3/4 charged battery and you throw it on a charger, it counts as a cycle. Run them down before charging. You'll notice that li-ion runs hard up until about about a minute before the safety shutoff kicks in. That's the time to charge. If the safety shutoff kicks in, do not try to force more out of the battery. A totally dead li-ion battery is chemically unstable and bad things can happen. Not sure about other tool manufacturers but Dewalt has a temp sensor on their batteries that will not allow a charge to happen if the battery is too hot (used continuously then right onto the charger) or too cold. Once they are dead, they are dead. Any attempt to recover them can lead to bad things happening.

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Seems like about a 3 year run if all goes well, run them down as far as you can and charge them up. Keep them charged during down times and store at room temp as much as possible. 3 years does go quick and they aren't cheap. 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

6 hours ago, Farflung said:

 1) I understand that these should not be stored in low temperatures. Does that mean below freezing or what? I  store them in the house in a attempt to keep them healthy but they are often in my truck in low temps. 2) what about high temps? Is there a upper limit?

You can store Li-Ion batteries in both high and low temps. Think about the temps in Electric Vehicles in North Dakota in winter or Texas in summer. Having said that, Li-Ion batteries should not be stored above 60*C / 140*F.

 

You are limited on the temps in which you use them and charge them.

  • Batteries can be charged at:  0*C - 45*C (32*F - 113*F)
  • Batteries can be discharged at:  -20*C - 60*C (-4*F - 140*F)

 

 

Quote

3) Are you supposed to not fully discharge them? I read in another  thread that some have internal controls that shut them off when they still have some juice in them in order to  preserve the batteries  life.

 

Li-Ion batteries should not be discharged too low (~2.5V).  When discharged too low crystals can form which can cause the battery to catastrophically fail (think fire). But consumer electronics have under and over protection circuits - so you don't have to worry.

 

Quote

4) How long do they last or is it a matter of how many times they are recharged.

 

They should last longer than they do in tools. I have loose Li-Ion batteries that I have been using for 6+ years and are great. My tool batteries never last that long. Do manufactures use low quality to save money? or perhaps built in obsolescence to sell more tools?

 

For storage, Li-Ion batteries will last longer if stored at 40-50% capacity. (3.77-3.87V) But consumer products don't provide a way to recharge devices to only 50%. :(

 

 

Quote

5) can the Lithium be recovered after they are dead?

 

Yes, Please recycle. Most home depots have a battery recycle box by the customer service desk. Or try:

 

United States: https://www.call2recycle.org/

Canada: https://www.call2recycle.ca/

 

(Mods, these are non-commercial web sites, but remove if the links are an issue.)

Edited by BlueHwy

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My Bosch 18V drill is 13 years old and it came with two 2.0 AH batteries. I'm still going strong with the original batteries. One of them is slightly degraded than the other, but I still get pretty decent run time from it. I now have DeWalt tools, so I keep the Bosch in the house for random stuff and the DeWalt tools stay out in the shop. 

I don't do anything special to care for the batteries. I don't run them until completely dead. When they start noticeably losing power, I swap the batteries out for a fresh one.  

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Posted (edited) · Report post

5 hours ago, BlueHwy said:

 

 

 

They should last longer than they do in tools. I have loose Li-Ion batteries that I have been using for 6+ years and are great. My tool batteries never last that long. Do manufactures use low quality to save money? or perhaps built in obsolescence to sell more tools?

 

 

The difference is a single cell vs 6 cells in series. If one of the cells starts to go bad it affects the others until the pack dies. Higher end packs (dewalt, milwaukee) use samsung or lg cells. I believe most are 18650 size. Theoretically you could replace one bad cell but it must be the same size, and same AH rating. It really should be same manufacturer also. The problem with replacing one cell is it puts stress on the other cells and bad things can happen. The higher end cells like lg or samsung run about $8 each cell. There are much cheaper chinesium cells but they are just that. The charge cycle is usually much lower and the AH rating is whatever they feel like printing on the label. I used to rebuild nimh packs and the cheap cells would last about 6 months. 

Edited by i07nyc

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I have 4 EGO tools (snow blower, mower etc) that run on 56Volt  Li ion batteries, the batteries are crazy expensive and if they don't last a lot longer than 3 years, i'll re-consider my choosing the whole battery powered option  and go nuclear or diesel.

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