Sight Search

Lithium-Ion Battery Safety

By Jean Rydberg
Photo: Stephen Frink

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries have become prevalent in consumer electronics and are found in everything from portable gaming systems and power tools to fancy sports cars. The Pew Research Center estimates that more than 5 billion people in the world carry a mobile device with these batteries. Your dive kit probably includes several items powered by one: dive computers with transmitters, perhaps a flashlight or video light and possibly a camera.

SAFETY FEATURES
In most circumstances the use of Li-ion batteries is extremely safe, but some risks are involved. It’s important to exercise proper care and use procedures that minimise risk and maximise performance of the battery pack.

To reduce the chances of catastrophic failure, manufacturers of products containing Li-ion batteries build in redundant safety features such as vents to release built-up gases, a circuit board to regulate energy flow, and often a backup thermostat or fuse. Either the device or charger should have built-in protection that strictly governs whether a charge is applied to the battery pack when plugged in.

Disaster strikes when the battery shorts out and one or more of these safety features fails. The battery pack can heat up very quickly in a reaction called thermal runaway, which can lead to fire or explosion.

SHORTING
Did you ever put the end of a 9-volt battery pack against your tongue and feel a mild tingling sensation? You are creating a short across the negative and positive terminals of the battery. Shorting a battery pack causes it to expend its energy and generate heat.

To prevent shorting, keep the battery pack away from metal objects in your bag. Install covers on the terminals to protect them when the battery is not in use, or use separate bags or pouches for each spare battery. A product called a LiPo bag can minimise the risk of shorting and reduce the severity of fire in the event of a short.

Water can create a short in the pack, so never use a battery that has been wet. Due to the increased risk of shorting, it is also recommended to not ship or travel with a battery pack that has been wet.

IMPACT AND ENVIRONMENT
It’s important to protect Li-ion batteries (and devices containing them) from impact. Li-ion batteries have a positive cathode and negative anode inside with only a thin separator in between. A heavy blow to the product may damage the inner separator and short out the battery pack. Even if you are extremely careful with your equipment, others may not be as careful when they drop their cameras on top of yours in the rinse tank. I’ve seen systems flying around (and off) the camera table on boats in rough waters, and none of us can control what might happen to our gear during a security inspection in transit.

Heat and humidity are enemies of Li-ion cells. Stress and permanent damage may result from exposing the batteries to heat for prolonged periods. Based on studies of customer usage trends, people who live in tropical or desert conditions (especially those without air conditioning) and those who travel regularly on liveaboard boats statistically experience a significant reduction in the overall lifetime of Li-ion battery packs.

Follow your battery manufacturer’s recommendations for everything related to the product, including safe operating temperatures during use and long-term storage. Store Li-ion batteries in cool, dry environments at around 50 percent capacity.

CHARGING
We might not often think about charging, yet it is perhaps the most important stage of a battery’s life cycle. Li-ion batteries should not be overcharged. Unlike some other battery types, they do not get a trickle or maintenance charge — they are either charging or not. The charger or device must be carefully calibrated to cut off charging after the battery pack reaches an established peak voltage.

The circuitry that controls this process works well but can be sensitive to fluctuations in power supply such as asudden power surge, an overloaded power circuit or a boat’s generator switching over. Check that you have a universal input charger that accepts variable input voltage, and connect the charger to a surge protector. Don’t charge too many devices at the same time on the same circuit. Watch for signs that the circuit is overloaded, including flickering or dimming lights, a buzzing sound or warm wall plates.

TRAVEL
Every Li-ion battery pack should clearly reference its chemistry and watt-hour rating on the
outside of the battery casing. This information is generally required in any airline inspection of your equipment. Security personnel may confiscate the products if that information is not available or if your batteries do not fall within the approved limits. It’s also advisable to travel with a Product Safety Data Sheet (PSDS), which you can request from the manufacturer.
The PSDS contains important information such as what to do in the event of a fire.

END OF LIFE
Most Li-ion battery packs will last a maximum of three to five years. They lose a certain percentage of their capacity each year whether or not they are used. Some estimates
suggest this loss can be as high as 20 percent. For safety reasons, Li-ion batteries are not allowed to fall below a certain voltage, which may be higher than the minimum voltage required to operate your device. At some point your Li-ion battery pack will suddenly go from working fine to not working at all. Never expose a battery pack — even a dead one — to a fire. It’s not environmentally responsible to throw away your dead batteries with the household garbage. When your batteries die, dispose of them at a battery-recycling facility.

CONCLUSION
Li-ion batteries are very safe, and accidents are rare. The best approach is twofold: Try to
prevent problems from happening, and know how to respond to problems if they occur. Follow
the product manufacturer’s recommendations for safe handling to avoid issues, enhance
performance and extend the lifetime of your battery pack.

SAFETY TIPS FOR RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES
The following tips apply to all types of rechargeable batteries, including lithium-ion
(Li-ion) and nickel metal hydride (NiMH) cells.
  1.  Secure your equipment on a boat, and keep it out of the hot sun. Never leave equipment in the camera rinse tank.
  2.  Always use the charger srecommended by the manufacturer.
  3.  Never charge or use a battery pack that has been wet.
  4. Charge your battery in a room with working fire alarms and fire-extinguishing materials on hand. Know what type of fire-extinguishing method is required for your batteries.
  5.  Charge your battery on a solid, nonflammable surface such as steel shelving.
  6. Connect your charger to a surge protector.
  7. Don’t sleep with your cellphone on or under your pillow. Never charge any battery on your bed.
  8. Always be present when charging your device, and disconnect your charger when it’s done. Avoid charging overnight; set an alarm to disconnect your chargers if necessary
  9.  Occasionally feel your battery pack and charger while charging. Discontinue charging if the battery or charger gets abnormally warm.

Jean Rydberg is president and CEO of Ikelite.

Categories

 2021
immersion and bubble formation 232bar AGE Accident management Accidents Acid reflux Acute ailments Aerobic exercise After anaesthesia Aged divers Air Quality Air exchange centre Air hose failure Air supply Airway control Air Alert Diver Magazine Alternate Airsources use Alternater Air Source Alternative gas mix Altitude changes Altitude diving Altitude sickness Aluminium Oxide Ama divers Amino acids Amos Nachoum Anaerobic Metabolism Animal life Annual renewal Anxiety Apnea Apnoea Aquatic creatures Aquatic life Aquatics and Scuba Diving Archaeology Argonaut octopus Argonauts Argon Arterial Gas Embolisms Arterial gas embolism Arthroscopic surgery Aspirin Audible signals Aurel hygiene Australian Flat backed BCD BHP BLS BWARF Back adjustment Back pain Back treatment Backextensors Badages Bag valve mask Bahamas Balancing Bandaids Barbell back squat Barometric pressure Barotrauma Basic Life Support Batteries Beach entry Becky Kagan Schott Bench press Benign prostate hyperplasia Benzophenones Beth Neale Beyond Standards Bilikiki Tours Biophysics Black Blood flow Blood pressure Blood thinners Blue Desert Blue Wilderness Blue economy Blurred vision Boat safety Boesmans gat Boesmansgat Bone fractures Bouyancy compensators Bouyancy controls Boyle's Law Boyle\'s Law Bradycardia Brain Brandon Cole Breast Cancer Breath Hold Diving Breath hold diver Breath holding Breath hold Breath-hold Breathing Gas Breathing gas contamination Breathing Breathold diving Bright Bank Broken bones Bruising Bubbleformation Buddy Exercise Buddy checks Buoyancy Burnshield CGASA CMAS CO2 COVID-19 Updates COVID-19 COVID CPR Cabin pressure Caissons diseas California Camera equipment Camera settings Cameras Cancer Remission Cancer treatments Cancer Cannabis and diving Cannabis Cape Town Dive Festival Cape Town Dive Sites Cape Town CapeTown Carbon Monoxide Carbon dioxide Cardiac research Cardio health Cardiological Cardiomyopathy Caribbean Carmel Bay Catalina Island Cave diving Cave exploration Cave Challenging Environments Chamber Safety Chamber science Chamber treatment Charging batteries Charles' Law Charles\' Law Charles\\\' Law Charles\\\\\\\' Law Charles\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\' Law Charlie Warland Chemotherapy Chest compressions Children diving Chiropractic Chlorophll Chokka Run Christina Mittermeier Citizen Conservation Citizen sciences Citizen science Cleaning products Closed Circuit Rebreathers Cmmunity partnership Coastal diving Coastalexcursion Cold Water Cold care ColdWater Cold Commercial Fishing Commercial diving Commercial schools Composition Compressed Air Compressed gas Compressor operators Compressors Concussion Congestive heart Faiture Consercation Conservation Photographer Conservation photography Conservation Contact lenses Contaminants Contaminated air Coral Conservation Coral Reefs Coral Restoration Coral bleaching CoralGroupers Corals Core strength Corona virus Coro Costamed Chamber Courtactions Cozumel Cradiac valvular Cristina Mittermeier Crohns disease Crowns Crystal build up Crystallizing hoses Cutaneous decompression Cylinder Ruptures Cylinder capacity Cylinder handwheel Cylinder valves Cylinder weight DAN Courses DAN Profile DAN Researchers DAN medics DAN members DAN report DANTraining DCI DCS Decompressions sickness DCS theories DCS DEMP DM training DNA DReams Dalton's Law Dalton\'s Law Dalton\\\'s Law Dalton\\\\\\\'s Law Dalton\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Law Danel Wenzel Dangerous Marinelife Dauin island David Doubilet Dean's Blue Hole Dean\'s Blue Hole Deco dives Decompression Illness Decompression Sickness Decompression Stress Decompression chamber Decompression illsnes Decompression limits Decompression treatment Decompression Decorator crabs Deep diving Deep water exploration Deepest SCUBA Dive Delayed Offgassing Dental Dever Health Diagnosis Diaphragms Diopter Diseases Disinfection Dive Buddy Dive Chamber Dive Computer Dive Destinations Dive H Dive Industry Dive Instruction Dive Instructor Dive Medical Form Dive Medical Dive Practices Dive Pros Dive Rescue Dive Research Dive Safari Dive Safety Tips Dive South Africa Dive Training Dive Travel Wakatobi Dive Travel Dive accidents Dive buddies Dive computers Dive courses Dive cylinder Aluminium Dive excursions Dive exercise Dive exeriences Dive experience Dive fitness Dive gear Dive heallth Dive health Dive in Africa Dive medicals Dive medicines Dive medicine Dive operators Dive opportunities Dive planning Dive procedures Dive safety 101 Dive safety Dive safe Dive skills Dive staff Dive travels DiveLIVE Diveleader training Diveleaders Diver Health Diver Profile Diver Travel Diver infliencers Diver on surface Diver recall Diverover 50 Divers Alert Diversafety Divesites Diving Divas Diving Kids Diving Programs Diving Trauma Diving career Diving emergencies Diving emergency management Diving fit Diving guidelines Diving injuries Diving suspended Diving Dizziness Dolphins Domestic Donation Doug Perrine Dowels Dr Rob Schneider Drift diving Drysuit diving Drysuit valves Drysuits Dynamic environment Dyperbaric medicines EAPs EAP Ear pressure Ear wax Ears injuries Eco friendly Education Electronic Emergency action planning Emergency decompression Emergency plans Emergency underwater Oxygen Recompression Emergency Endurance Envenomations Enviromental Protection Environmental factors Environmental impact Environmental managment Equalisation Equipment care Equipment failure Equipment inspection Equipment significance Evacuations Evacuation Evaluations Even Breath Exercise Exercising Exhaustion Exposure Protection Extended divetime Extinguisher Extreme treatments Eye injuries FAQ Factor V Leiden Failures FalseBay Diving Fatigue Faulty equipment Female divers Fetus development Filling stations Fillings Fire Coral Fire Safety Firefighting First Aid Equipment First Aid Kit First Aid Trainig First Aid Training First Aid kits First Aid Fish Identification Fish Life Fish Fit to dive Fitness Levels Fitness Training Fitness evaluation Fitness to dive Fitnesstrainng Fitness Flying Focus lights Foundations Fractures Francesca Diaco Francois Burman Fred Buyle Fredive Free Student cover Free diving Free flow Freedive INstructor Freedive Training Freediver Freediving Instructors Freediving performance Freediving Gar Waterman Gas Density Gas consumption Gas laws Gas mixes GasPerformance Gases Gass bubbles Gastoeusophagus Gastric bypass Gastroenterologist Gear Servicing Germs Geyer Bank Giant Kelp Forest Giant Kelp Girls that Scba Gobies Gordon Hiles Great White Sharks Green sea turtle Greenlings Guinness World Record Gutt irritations HBOT HCV HELP HIRA HMLI HMS Britanica Haemorhoid treatment Hand signals Hawaii Hawksbill Hazard Description Hazardous Marine life Hazardous marinelife Head injuries Headaches Health practitioner Heart Attack Heart Health Heart Rate monitor Heart fitness Heart rates Heart rate Heart Heat stress Heliox Helium Hemodynamic Hepatitis C Hepatitus B Hiatal Hernia High Pressure vessels High pressure hoses High temperatures Hip strength Hip surgery Hippocampus History Hole in the heart Hot Humans Hydrate Hydration Hydrogen Hydroids Hydrostatic pressure Hygiene Hyperbaric Chamber Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments Hyperbaric Oxygen Hyperbaric research Hyperbaric treatment Hyperbarics Hypertension Hypothermia Hypoxia I-52 found INclusivity IdentiFin Imaging Immersion Immine systems In Water Recompression Indemnity form Indian Ocean Indigo SCuba Indonesia Inert gas Infections Infra red Imaging Injections Inner ear Instinct Instruction Instructors Insurance Integrated Physiology International travel International Internship programs Internship Interval training Irritation Irukandji Syndrome Isotta housing Itchy Rash Jellyfish Jill Heinerth Joint pain Junior Open Water Diver KZN South Coast KZN Karen van den Oever Kate Jonker KateJonker Kenya Kidneys Kids scubadiver Komati Springs KwaZulu Natal Labour laws Lake Huron Laryngospasm Lauren Arthur Learning to dive Leatherback Legal Network Legal advice Legislation Lembeh Straights Lenses Leukemis Liability Risks Liability releases Liability Life expectancy Lifestyle Lightroom editing Lionfish Live aboard diving Liveaboard Liver Toxicity Liver diseas Liz Louw Loss of consciousness Lost at sea Low Visability Low blood pressure Low pressure deterioration Low volume masks Lumpsuckers Lung Irritation Lung function Lung injuries Lung squeeze Lung surgery Lung MOD MOzambique diving Macro photography Mafia Island Maintenance Malaria Mammalian Dive Response Mammalian effect Mandarin Fish Marfan syndrome Marine Biology Marine Mega fauna Marine Science Marine Scientists Marine conservation Marine parks Marine plants Marinelife Marinescience Marlin Mask clearing Masks Master scuba diver Maximum operating depth Medical Q Medical emergencies Medical questionaire Medical statement Medicalresearch Medicalstudents Medication Mehgan Heaney-Grier Membership benefits Menopause Menstruation Mermaid Danii Mesophotic Mexico Michael Aw Middle ear pressure Mike Bartick Military front press Misool Resort Raja Ampat Mixed Gas Mono Fins Mooring lines More pressure Motion sickness Motionsickness Mount Kilimanjaro Mozambique Muscle pain Mycobacterium marinum Narcosis National Geographic Nausea Nautilus Ndibranchs Neck pain Neoprene layers Neuro assessments Neurocognitive research Neurological assessments Neuromotor exercises Nichola Bird Nitrogen Narcosis Nitrogen build up Nitrox No Decompression Limits No-decompression limits No-decompression Non-nano zinc oxide Non-rebreather Mask Nondiving related illness Nonrebreather masks Normal Air North Sulawesi Nosebleeds Nudibranchs Nuno Gomes O2 providers O2 servicing O2treatments OOxygen maintenance Ocean Projects Ocean Research Ocean animals Ocean conservation Ocean migrations Ocean pollution Oceangate Octopus Oil contamination Olive Ridley Open Ocean Open water divers Optical focus Oral contraseptives Orbital implants Oronasal mask Osteonecrosis Out and about Out of air Outer ears Outreach Overhead Envirenments Oxygen Administration Oxygen Cylinder Oxygen Units Oxygen deficit Oxygen deicit Oxygen dificiency Oxygen ears Oxygen equipment Oxygen masks Oxygen providers Oxygen supplies Oxygen supply Oxygen systems Oxygen therapy Oxygen P J Prinsloo PADI Freedivers PFI PFO PJP Tech Paper Nautilus Paralysis Parentalsupervision Part 3 Partner Training Patent foramen ovale Pemba Island Peri-peri Divers Perspective Peter Lindholm Philippine Islands Philippines Phillipines Photographers Photography tips Photography Physical Fitness Physioball Physiology Physiotherapy Pills Pilot Whale Pistons Planning Plastic Plimsoll Interface Pneumonia Pneumothorax Poison Pollution Pool Diving Pool chemicals Pool maintenance Pool workout Pools Post-dive Potuguese man-of-war Pre-dive Predive check Pregnancy Pregnant divers Preparation Prepared diver Press Release Preventions ProDive Port Elizabeth Professional rights Provider course Psycological Pulmanologist Pulmonary Barotrauma Pulmonary Bleb Pulmonary Edema Pulmonary Hypertension Pulse Punture wounds Pure Apnea Purge RAID South Africa RCAP REEF Radio communications Range of motion Rashes Rebreather diving Rebreatherdive Rechargeable batteries. Recompression chamber Recompression treatment Recompression Recycle Reef Chcek Reef Conservation Reef Environmental Education Foundation Reef safe Reef surveyors Refractive correction Regal Sea Goddesses Regulator failure Regulators Regulator Remote areas Remote islands Renewable Report incidents Rescue Divers Rescue Procedure Rescue breathing Rescue breaths Rescue skills Rescue skill Rescue training Rescue Research Resume diving Return To Diving Return to diving Risk Assessments Risk assesments Risk assessment Risk elements Risk management Risks of Seizures Roatan Marine Park Roatan SABS 019 SMB SafariLive Safety Concerns Safety Gear Safety Stop Safety in Air Safety SaherSafe Barrier Salish Seas Salty Wanderer Sanitising Sara Andreotti Sardine Run Sargassum sea Saturation Diving Save our seas Schrimps Science Scoliosis Scombroid Poisoning Scorpion Fish Scuba Air Quality Scuba Guru Scuba Injury Scuba Instructor Scuba children Scuba divers Scuba dive Scuba education Scuba health Scubalearners Scubalife Sea Horses Sea Turtles Sea slugs Seagrass Sealife Seasickness Seaweeds Seaweed Sea Self Rescue Shallow dives Shark Protection Shark Research Shark conservation Shark diving Sharks Shipwrecks Shore entries Shoulder strength Sideplank Signs and Symptoms Silty bottoms Sit-ups Sixgill Sharks Skin Bends Skin outbreak Skin rash Smart phone photography Snells Window Snorkeling Snorkels Social Distancing Sodwana Bay Solomon Islands Sonnier bank South Africa SpareAir Sperm Whales Spinal Bend Spinal bends Spinal cord DCS Spinal dura Spinal pain Spinner dolphins Splits Sports medicine Squeezes Squid Run Stability exercise Standars Statin Mediction Stay Fit Steel Stents Step ups Stephen Frink Stepping up Stockton Rush Stonetown Strobe Lighting Stroke Submerge tech Submerged Sudafed Sulawesi Sun protection Sunscreen Supplemental oxygen Surface Marker Buoys Surface supplied Air Surfaced Surgeries Surgery Suspension training Swim Fitness Swimmers health SwimmingIn wateractivities Swimming Symbiosis Symbiosys TRavel safety Tabata protocol Talya Davidoff Tanzania Tattoes Tec Clark Technical Diving Technical divng The Bends The Titanic Wreck The Wild Coast The greatest Shoal The truth Thermal Notions Thermoregulation Thomas Peschak Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary Tides Tips and trick Tonga Tooth squeeze Transplants Travel destinations Travel smarter Travel tips Travel Tropical Coastal Management Tunnelling Turks and Caicos Turtles Tweezers Ultrsound Umkomaas Unconsciousness Underground work Underseaa world Underwaater Photos Underwater Photography Underwater Photograper Underwater Photograpgraphy Underwater Photographer Manirelife Underwater Research Underwater critters Underwater floral Gardens Underwater hockey Underwater imaging Underwater photographer Underwater photography Underwater pho Underwater sound Underwatercommunications Underwater University of Stellenbosch Urinary retention. Vacations Vaccines Vagus nerve Valsalva manoeuvers Valve stem seals Vape Vaping Vasopressors Vasvagal Syncope Venting Verna van Schak Virus infections Volatile fuels WWII wrecks War stories Washout treatments Wastewater Watchman device Water Resistance Water Weakness Weigang Xu Weights West Papua Western Cape Diving Wet Lenses Wet diving bell Wetsuit fitting Wetsuites Wetsuits White balance Whitetpped Sharks Wide Angle Photos Wide angles Wildlife park Wildlife Winter Wits Underwater Club Wolf Eels Woman and diving Woman in diving Womans health Woman Women In Diving SA Women and Diving Women in diving Womens Month Womens health Work of Breathing Workout World Deeepst Dive Record World Records Wound dressings Wreck History Wreck divers Wreck dive Wreck diving Wreck exploration Wreckdiving Wrecks Yoga Youth diver Zandile Ndholvu Zanzibar Zoology Zooplankton abrasion absolute pressure acoustic neuroma excision adverse seas air-cushioned alert diver altitude alveolar walls anemia antibiotics anticoagulants antiseptics bandages barodontalgia bent-over barbell rows bioassays biodiversity bloodcells body art breathing air calories burn carbon dioxide toxicity cardiovascular career developments cerebrospinal fluid cervical spine checklist chemo port children child chronic obstructive pulmonary disease clearances closed circuit scuba corrective lenses currents cuts cylinder filling dead lift decompression algorithms decongestants decongestion dehydration dive injuries dive medicing dive ready child dive reflex dive tribe divecomputers diver in distress diver rescue diver training dive diving attraction doctors domestic travel dri-suits drowning dry mucous membranes dry suits dry e-cigarettes ear spaces elearning electrolyte imbalance electroytes emergency action plans emergency assessment emergency training environmentally friendly equalising equalizing exposure injuries eyes fEMAL DIVERS fire rescue fitness Balance fitnes flexible tubing frediving freedivers gas bubble gas poisoning gastric acid gene expression health heartburn histidine hospital humidity immersion and bubble formation immersion pulmonary edema (IPE informal education isopropyl alcohol jaundice join DAN knee laparoscopic surgery longevity lower stress malaise marielife marine pathogens medical issues medical procedures medical risk assesment medications mental challenge mental preparedness micro-organisims micro minor illness mucous membranes multilineage dysplasia myelodysplasia nasal steroids nasal near drowning nematocysts neurological newdivers nitrogen bubbles off-gassed operating theatre operations orthopeadic otitis media outgas pain perforation phillippines phrenic nerve physical challenges pinched nerves plasters pneumoperitoneum polyester-TPU polyether-TPU post dive posture prescription mask preserve prevention proper equalization psychoactive pulmonary barotrauma. pulmonary injury. pulmunary barotrauma radiation rebreather mask rebreathers retinal detachment risk areas safety stops saturation scissors scuba equipment scuba sea goddesses single use sinus infections situationalawarenes smoking snorkeling. spearfishing sterilising stings strength sub-aquatic sunscreen lotion swimmers ears tattoo care tecnical diver thermal protection tissue damage toxicity training trimix unified standards upwelling vision impaired vomiting warmers water quality zinc oxide