Re-purposing Rebuilds

A great way to re purpose these cells for re-builds that are only limited by your imagination.

Good/Bad Batteries, What’s the difference?

Not all Batteries are equal and the following should be taken into account when deciding on which batteries to use, they are a big investment and if they fail you will be left with no power.

1/. Batteries produce different power at different rates of discharge, in general, an off-grid battery will need to discharge over a relatively short period perhaps Twelve hours and then recharge the next day, so the most accurate way to determine the batteries capacity is to work on a 10 hour or C10 rating, therefore a C10 1000AH battery assuming only 30% Depth of Discharge (DOD), that is talking 30% out of the battery and leaving 70% in.

1000Ah @ 30% is 300AH divided by 10 hours is 30 Amps an hour.

2/. Most importantly rating to consider is the cyclic life. All batteries have a cyclic life at the end of which the battery is spent and can’t hold current anymore. The battery life is directly proportional to the DOD and most battery manufacturers will give a graph or values of cyclic life, cheaper batteries have very poor or low cyclic life. For example, a battery that has 1500 cycles @ 30% discharge  will only cycle, discharge and charge again, for 1500 times divided by days of the year 365 for 4 years at which time they will need to be replaced.  A good and true deep cycle cyclic battery might have 3500-4000 cycles @ 30% DOD and will last twice as long.

3/. The health of a battery is based on three fundamental attributes:

Capacity, the ability to store energy. Capacity is the leading health indicator of a battery.

Internal resistance, the ability to deliver current.

Self-discharge, indicator of the mechanical integrity.

When making these measurements you must consider type and accuracy of equipment used, as well as ambient and battery temperature.

4/. Most importantly the weight of the individual cells has a great bearing on longevity and the batteries ability to cycle or discharge and recharge. A battery is basically a chemical storage device and uses chemistry to store electrons or electricity, the most common batteries until resonantly have been lead-based. Lead and acid and the chemical reaction between to store or release electricity, the more lead and acid inside the battery, the greater the amounts of storage and aids the battery in recovering from overcharge and or discharge events. Check the weight of the battery Lithium, Ni Cads, lead/acid, if it weighs 30% less than its counterpart it stands to reason that it has 30% less chemistry/lead, and it won’t last as long.    

 

These cells are fully capacity tested by charging to a max 4.15v, then stored for 6 – 8 weeks, voltage rechecked for self-discharge and then discharging to 3.25v which allows the cell to return its internal voltage to around 3.65v for shipping via Australia Post. Any cells showing a resistance in excess of 100 m? are disposed of. 

We provide the resulting available mAh as a guide for the balancing of your multi cell battery builds, run time can be increased or decreased by changing your charging regime. 

The health of a battery is based on three fundamental attributes:

  1. Capacity, the ability to store energy. Capacity is the leading health indicator of a battery
  2. Internal resistance, the ability to deliver current
  3. Self-discharge, indicator of the mechanical integrity

When making these measurements you must consider type and accuracy of equipment used, as well as ambient and battery temperature. 

There are many chemical combos that change the way Lithium Batteries produce energy. Not choosing CAREFULLY can be disastrous. 

This table shows the most common 18650 battery chemistry and their abbreviations:

Long NameChemical ElementsUS PrefixPeriodic PrefixShort Chem Prefix
Lithium manganese oxideLiMn2O4IMRLMOLi-manganese
Lithium manganese nickelLiNiMnCoO2INRNMC-
Lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxideLiNiCoAlO2-NCALi-aluminum
Lithium nickel cobalt oxideLiNiCoO2-NCO-
Lithium cobalt oxideLiCoO2ICRLCO
Li-cobalt
Lithium iron phosphateLiFePO4IFRLFPLi-phosphate

Each chemistry has its own advantages and disadvantages. Lets go through each chemistry and their common 18650 models and understand what exactly these names mean…

An 18650 li-ion battery consists of three parts: the cathode, the anode, and the electrolyte.

The anode of all 18650 li-ion batteries is basically the same: carbon/silicon and graphite. The cathode, however, is where batteries differ, and it’s what gives each model its unique characteristics. The chemical formulas in the table refer to the battery’s cathode.

One of the trade-offs with cathode chemistry is between energy, capacity, cycle life, and safety. For instance, ICR (cobalt-based) chemistries are both high energy and high capacity, but not very safe. IMR is safer, but has lower capacity than ICR. Adding nickel to manganese (IMR) gives it a higher specific energy.

Now that we know what each chemistry means, let’s look at each specific chemistry.

IMR - LMO - Li-manganese

Most high-drain batteries used in vaping and flashlights have IMR chemistry. The reason is that manganese is fantastic. It allows your battery to discharge at a high current while maintaining low temperatures. This means that it’s safer than many of the older ICR batteries. Most IMR batteries don’t require extensive built-in protective circuitry that the ICR need. 

Most modern high-drain batteries add nickel to the mix like the INR – NMC – Lithium manganese nickel the reigning champ of the 18650 vaping world. This chemistry adds nickel to the IMR chemistry above, making it a “hybrid” chemistry. It combines the safety and low resistance of manganese and the high energy of nickel.

The resulting battery chemistry gives you a reasonably high capacity and a high discharge current. Importantly for vapers, the chemistry is very stable, meaning that you don’t need expensive built-in protective circuits. 

There is extensive innovation within this chemistry as well. Sony, Samsung, and LG are all developing next-gen INR batteries with different ratios of manganese, nickel, and cobalt.

Popular INR 18650 models:

  • Samsung 25R
  • Sony VTC4
  • Sony VTC5
  • LG HE2

NCA - Li-aluminum

  • This chemistry is similar to INR, but without the benefit of manganese. These batteries tend to support lower discharge currents, but make up for it with great capacities and cycle life. They also tend to be more resistant to physical shock, making them good options for e-bikes. Tesla uses them for its awesome electric cars.  

Popular NCA models:

  • Panasonic 18650PF

  • Panasonic 18650B

  • LG MH1

NCO

This is a very rare chemistry. Only ever seen a Samsung 29E, which has 2900 mAh and a max continuous discharge current of 8.2A.

ICR - LCO - Li-cobalt

This chemistry delivers the highest specific energy of any 18650 battery chemistry – but at a cost. They are the most dangerous li-ion 18650 batteries out there.This is also a problem for high-current discharging, as you can’t safely discharge them at a higher current than their mAh rating.

If you use them in personal vaporizers or flashlights (NOT RECOMENDED), you’ll want a model with built-in protective circuitry. Yes, this is a WARNING!!!

IFR - LFP - Li-phosphate

These batteries are excellent in many ways, but their low (3.2V) voltage prevents them from joining the high-drain club. They also self-discharge at higher rates than other chemistry. They have high current ratings, even getting up to 30C, while still maintaining high capacities. 

The cells that we offer for sale are far better than any of the new Chinese made cells that I have tested, in my experience I have not found any that are anyway even close to what their capacity labels claim in mAh and I have tested all I can find.

My opinion LG, Sony, Samsung and Panasonic. They are the best money can buy and are the only cells I use in my power walls and battery packs.

Tips

If you are going to store your cells for a while it is best Not to fully charge them, but charge to around 3.9v. In order to extend the cycling life to the absolute maximum for your cells, I recommend charging to 3.92v discharging to around 3.15v and accepting a shorter run time. However, having said that, I have cells that I charge daily to 4.05v – 4.15v discharging to 3.00v and have cycled over 1500 times over the past five years and show no signs of deterioration. 

Lithium battery fire sparks Mayday

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has released its report into a lithium battery fire that ignited in the cargo hold of a Boeing 737 moments before passengers boarded a flight from Melbourne to Fiji.

As the captain of the flight was conducting an external inspection of the aircraft, a ground engineer alerted him to white smoke coming from the cargo hold. The captain instructed the first officer, who was in the cockpit doing pre-flight checks, to activate the fire suppression system, evacuate the aircraft and declare Mayday.

As Flight Safety Australia reported in June, the fire was confined to one case, which contained more than eight lithium batteries. The fire is believed to have ignited when one of the batteries short-circuited as the case was being loaded onto the aircraft.

Revealingly, the ATSB report said the ‘passenger stated during check-in that there were no batteries in the checked bags, but declared eight lithium batteries being carried as hand luggage’.

battery fire on flight
Hummm!

After the fire, the passenger, who was a certified remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) operator in Australia, was located and asked whether there were any batteries in his checked luggage. The passenger replied that there were none. Further inspection of the passenger’s checked luggage by the Australian Federal Police revealed ‘19 batteries intact and additional 6-8 batteries that had been destroyed by fire’.

As a result of the incident, Fiji Airways now asks every passenger whether their baggage contains lithium batteries and is checking that batteries are carried in accordance with regulations. The airline also says that any passenger carrying undeclared lithium batteries that are discovered before departure will be offloaded and refused carriage.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is producing an educational video to help the public travel safely with lithium batteries and has also developed the Can I pack that? – Dangerous Goods App to help travellers understand the important safety restrictions around various dangerous goods, including lithium batteries.

For more information you can download the app via the link above, or visit CASA’s lithium battery web page for instructions on the different battery classifications and how to pack them safely.

PackSafe for Passengers

PackSafe

TSA Exemption for Hand Sanitizer: The TSA will allow one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags until further notice. Since these containers exceed the standard allowance typically permitted through a checkpoint, they must be screened separately. This will add some time to your checkpoint screening experience. All other liquids, gels and aerosols brought to a checkpoint continue to be limited to 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters in a one quart-size bag. TSA’s special procedures for traveling with medication. For checked bags, the limits for toiletry and medicinal articles still apply: 17 fl. ounces per bottle and 68 fl. ounces total.

Some of the common toiletry and electronics items you may have packed in your baggage may be considered dangerous goods, also known as hazardous material. Most dangerous goods are forbidden in carry-on and checked baggage. There are a few exceptions for some personal items such as toiletries, medicines, battery powered electronics and assistive devices. Dangerous goods discovered that are improperly packaged, not permitted in baggage, leaking, or hidden/artfully concealed are subject to civil and criminal penalties as appropriate.

For a Safe Start, Check the Chart!

Check the chart to see which common dangerous goods are allowed in checked and/or carry-on baggage and which are not. The checked baggage rules also apply to carry-on bags that are checked at the gate or at planeside.

When using the chart, it’s very important to read the “Details” section for important information such as packaging requirements and quantity limits. You can use the “Search” box to look up a particular item by name within the active tab.

Remember, this is just a listing of common dangerous goods; if you don’t see your item here it doesn’t mean it’s allowed in baggage. When in doubt, leave it out!

Security Screening Questions: The Transportation Security Administration also has rules on “prohibited items” that pose a security threat. Though they sometimes overlap, the TSA security rules are separate from the FAA dangerous goods safety rules discussed here. For the TSA rules on weapons, sharp objects, the “3-1-1” rule on liquids, gels, hand sanitizers, and aerosols, etc.; go to the TSA Prohibited Items web page.

Damaged or Recalled Batteries and Battery-Powered Devices

Damaged or recalled batteries and battery-powered devices, which are likely to create sparks or generate a dangerous evolution of heat, must not be carried aboard an aircraft (e.g. carry-on or checked baggage) unless the damaged or recalled battery has been removed or otherwise made safe. The airline may offer further public guidance on transporting individual recalled products.

For additional information on recalls, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission, manufacturer, or vendor website.

For HAZMAT-related questions, contact hazmatinfo@faa.gov.

Hazardous MaterialChecked BagCarry OnDetails
Portable electronic devices, containing batteries

Cell phones, cell phone battery charging cases, laptop, camera, smart phones, PDAs containing lithium batteries

See Details
✔️Details for portable electronic devices, containing batteries
Portable recreational vehicles powered by lithium ion batteries

Hover boards, self-balancing scooters, unicycle scooters, etc.

See Details

See Details
Details for portable recreational vehicles powered by lithium ion batteries
Security-type equipment incorporating dangerous goods as part of it’s equipment

Attaché cases, cash boxes, cash bags
✔️Details for security-type equipment incorporating dangerous good as part of its equipment
Wheelchairs and mobility devices with lithium ion batteries, collapsible design, battery removed

Electric wheelchair, mobility scooter
✔️Details for wheelschairs and mobility devices with lithium ion batteries, collapsible design, battery removed
Wheelchairs and mobility devices with lithium ion batteries, normal design, battery installed

Electric wheelchair, mobility scooter
✔️Details for wheelchairs and mobility devices with lithium ion batteries, normal design, battery installed
Wheelchairs and mobility devices with non-spillable or dry batteries

Electric wheelchair, mobility scooter
✔️Details for wheelchairs and mobility devices with non-spillable or dry batteries
Wheelchairs and mobility devices with spillable batteries

Electric wheelchair, mobility scooter
✔️Details for wheelchairs and mobility devices with spillable batteries
Hazardous MaterialChecked BagCarry OnDetails
Baggage equipped with lithium batteries

Batteries and Electronics

See Details
✔️Details for Baggage equipped
with lithium batteries
Batteries, dry cell

Alkaline, nickel metal hydride, nickel cadmium
✔️✔️Details for batteries, dry cell
Batteries, lithium

Power Banks, Cell phone battery charging cases, rechargeable and non-rechargeable lithium batteries, cell phone batteries, laptop batteries
✔️Details for batteries, lithium
Batteries, wet, nonspillable

Small gel cell and absorbed electrolyte batteries for portable electronics
✔️✔️Details for batteries, wet, nonspillable
Electronic cigarettes, vaping devices

Battery-powered E-cigarettes (e-cigs), vaporizers, vape pens, atomizers, electronic nicotine delivery systems
✔️Details for electronic cigarettes, vaping
Fuel cells containing flammable gases or water-reactive material✔️Details for fuel cells containing flammable gases or water reactive material
Fuel cells containing flammable liquid or corrosive material✔️✔️Details for fuel cells containing flammable liquid
Heat producing articles, Battery or Electrically Powered

Diving lamps, soldering equipment

See Details

See Details
Details for heat producing articles, battery or electrically powered
Lithium Battery Powered Lighters

Tesla coil lighters, flux lighters, arc lighters and double arc lighters
✔️Details for lithium battery
Medical devices containing radioactive material, implanted, ingested, injected, or fitted externally as a result of a medical treatment

Heart pacemakers that contain radioactive materials or lithium batteries and radiopharmaceuticals that have been ingested, injected, or implanted.
✔️Details for medical devices containing radioactive

Travelling safely with batteries and portable power packs

Did you know?

We use batteries to charge most of our portable electronic devices (PEDs), but they can have serious safety consequences if they’re not carried correctly when you’re flying.

This happened in 2014 in Melbourne when undeclared lithium batteries were packed into a passenger’s checked bag and short-circuited, igniting a fire in the aircraft’s cargo hold before passengers boarded the flight to Fiji.

We’ve produced various safety materials to help you make sure your luggage is safe, including the Can I pack that? dangerous goods app and the safety video below.

How to carry batteries safely

Watch the CASA safety video – travelling safely with lithium batteries, to learn how to carry everyday batteries safely.

Batteries under 100Wh rating

  • The batteries that power your phone, laptop and camera are usually under the 100 watt-hour (Wh) rating.
  • If you’re carrying a spare battery that’s not in one of these devices, it must be in your carry-on baggage only.
  • Spare batteries, regardless of their size are not to be carried in checked luggage.

Lithium Ion batteries 100-160Wh rating

  • These are more powerful batteries, and can be found in industrial equipment such as power tools and mobility aids between 100 and 160Wh.
  • You must have approval from your airline before flying.
  • If the battery is installed in a device, it can be carried in either checked or carry-on baggage.
  • If the battery is a spare – that is, the battery is by itself and not contained in equipment – it must be in your carry-on baggage only.
  • Spare batteries, regardless of their size are not to be carried in checked luggage.
  • There is a limit of two spare batteries per person. These batteries must only be packed in carry-on luggage and should have their terminals individually protected to minimise the risk of contact other metal objects in your luggage.

How to protect your battery from short circuits

  • Short-circuiting batteries have been responsible for numerous on-board fires, so it’s important that all spare batteries have their terminals protected properly.

    You can do this by:

    • Keeping batteries in original retail packaging or
    • Insulating the battery terminals by taping over exposed terminals or
    • Placing each battery in a separate plastic bag or protective pouch.

    We also demonstrate these techniques in our safety video above.

Lithium Ion batteries 160Wh rating and above

    • You can’t carry lithium batteries above 160Wh unless they are for wheelchairs and other mobility aids.
    • These batteries must be transported as declared dangerous goods cargo.

    Please contact your airline for guidance.

What’s your watt-hour rating (Wh)?

  • Most modern batteries have the watt-hour rating (Wh) displayed on their casing so you can see how powerful they are.
  • Some older models might not have their watt-hour rating clearly displayed but you should be able to see the voltage and amp hour which will make calculating the watt-hour simple.
  • To calculate your battery’s watt-hour rating, you multiply the voltage (V) by the amp hour (Ah).
  • For example, a 12 volt battery with a 5 amp hour rating will be 60 watt-hours. V x Ah = Wh.
  • If the battery is rated in milli-amp hours (mAh), divide your final answer by 1000 to arrive at the watt-hours. V x mAh / 1000 = Wh. For example, a 6 volt; 2500 mah battery will be 6 x 2500/1000 = 15 Wh.

Buying batteries online? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

A lot of counterfeit goods are sold online and with batteries powering most of our personal devices, there’s a high demand for spare, replacement and second-hand batteries. Unfortunately, electronic counterfeit goods do not meet stringent safety standards and pose serious dangers to the end user.

The best way to make sure the battery you’re buying is genuine is to buy it from a reputable, well-known buyer. If you’re going to purchase a battery from a lesser-known distributor via the Internet, always keep the following in mind:

  • Price – if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Make sure the shrink-wrap on the exterior is tight and professional. Auction sites offering products with no box or manual, no warranty or documentation, are usually counterfeit.
  • Any cheap, faded, damaged packaging, labelling, strange markings or misspelled words are also signs of counterfeit products.
  • Ask the seller if you’re buying a genuine product.
  • If you’re still in doubt – don’t buy it.

Example 1 - spot the difference

Can you spot the fake? Counterfeits are becoming so convincing that the only indicator may be the price. In this case, the battery on the left is genuine article, with the one on the right produced by a counterfeiter.

Looking after your batteries

Damaged batteries can be dangerous. Whether they’re dropped, smashed, overheated or mistreated in other ways, lithium batteries can become unstable and have been known to ignite fires due to mistreatment.

Batteries show clear signs of being unhealthy. Such signs include:

  • Bulging
  • Discolouration
  • Squashed/deformed
  • Spilt case
  • Leaking fluid.

If your battery shows any of these signs, it should be replaced. It’s also a good idea not to travel with your batteries fully charged. Keeping charge levels at 40-70% will keep the particles that store energy in their most stable state during travel, minimising the risk of thermal runaway.

Batteries don’t last forever and it’s important to monitor them. Continual dischargers, over-charges and quick-charges will eventually reduce the battery’s overall capacity and health.

Example 2 - Discolouration

Example 3 - bulging caused by overcharging

Example 4 - split casing

Example 5 - the difference between new and old batteries