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How to Safely Dispose a Lipo Battery?


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gensaceandy
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Joined: 11 Apr 2012
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 9:52 am
PostPost subject: How to Safely Dispose a Lipo Battery?
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The inevitable question for RC hobbyists is how to get rid of old or damaged lipo (Lithium polymer battery)There are tons of cases showing how dangerous lipo battery can be if not handled correctly, causing explosions and fire flames.

How do we dispose damaged or old lipo batteries safely? This is quite a simple answer. The batteries are safe when they are fully discharged to 0V. They are dangerous when there’s a charge inside. Once discharged fully, you could drive a nail through it, cut in half with a saw and nothing will happen except the lipo will be physically damaged. There is no risk of fire from the lipo.

There are many ways to discharge the battery, I will take my 3s 11.1v lipo battery as an example and show a few easy ways to help make your lipo fully discharged.


Salt Water Method
This could be the slowest way to dispose the battery if most of the charge are not discharged. It would be very time consuming, but it is relatively easy and safe to do so. Salty water is electricity conductive?and it?discharges the battery slowly and completely.The salt will react with the substances in the lipo, and neutralizes the Lithium.

1.First, I would get a plastic container with mixed salt cold water. Make sure the salt dissolved completely.
2.Then, put my 3s lipo battery in the salt water for two weeks or even longer if needed. Make sure it is placed at a fire proof place.
3.Finally, wrap and throw my battery away with paper.

Discharger method
Try to use a discharger to discharge my battery, but some dischargers have a minimum voltage limit,which restricts the battery from being discharged completely.Then I would put my battery in the salt water to finish the job.

Remember that never discharge a battery when it is damaged.

Physical Destroy Method
Similarly some people like to physically destroy lipos in order to "discharge" them. They use a hammer and nail to puncture the battery cells or brick to break them. This can be an unpredictable and dangerous way to end the life of a lipo, so it is not recommended. But it is quick.

Light Bulb Method
My 3s lipo battery’s voltage is 11.1V, so I’ll find a 12V light bulb to discharge it. This is a relatively quick, cheap and effective way to do. But remember to leave it somewhere fireproof.

It is my hope that all RC hobbyists are responsible lipo users. This includes both using and maintaining lipos, as well as disposing of them properly when the time comes. All it takes is fully discharging a lipo to render it inert and safe, and then can be simply tossed in the trash. Being responsible for your lipos is not hard, it just takes some basic knowledge and a little bit of effort. So keep that in mind next time you have a lipo that needs retired.
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tombo242
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Joined: 04 Nov 2008
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Location: Santo Estêvão, East Algarve, Portugal. Now 82, but still feels 22.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:09 pm
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Welcome gensaceandy,

Nice post, reminding us all of things already said on the forum here. Li-Pos do need care and attention, however the major danger is in charging not discharging if a few simple rules are followed. In all cases the C rating has to be taken into consideration with the battery capacity whether charging or discharging. (Search C rating on the forum.)

In general a dead short will trip the battery circuit board or kill one cell of the battery's cells. It does not swell or ignite but I do not recommend it as you may well have other cells fully charged. Less than a dead short can cause problems. For instance your 12V car bulb can draw above the C rating and cause the battery to heat up and explode. An instrument bulb is probably safe for most batteries, while a headlamp bulb may damage a small battery. Just keep an eye on the max discharge rating.

Salt water is a safe discharge for all batteries, in the unlikely event that the battery discharges above its C rating the water will serve to keep it cool but given enough heat it can boil the water and melt a plastic pail - a metal pail is safer. even a biscuit tin will do. However if the battery has that much power you would be unlikely to be disposing it.

Thanks again for the reminder,

Tom.
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