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Li-Ion Batteries - THE TRUTH

Discussion in 'Battery Issues' started by Magnus, Mar 16, 2009.

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  1. Magnus

    Magnus Full Member

    Feb 27, 2009
    France
    Hi everyone,

    Sorry for the long post but this is the kind of stuff you need to know!

    I have just stumbled across the definitive guide to Lithium Ion batteries, which details exactly how to look after your e-cig batteries in the best way to preserve good charge and long life.

    It also dispels a few of the myths surrounding battery care and charging.

    The first link I am quoting from is written by a gentleman who has been working with and researching rechargeable batteries for 20 years!! This guy definitely know his stuff! All credit to Mr [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Isidor Buchmann, the founder and CEO of Cadex Electronics Inc., in Vancouver BC.[/FONT]

    Amongst the most interesting a relevant points he makes are these -

    1. Li-Ion cells do not benefit from a longer initial charge:

    " [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Lithium-ion is a very clean system and does not need priming as nickel-based batteries do. The 1st charge is no different to the 5th or the 50th charge. Stickers instructing to charge the battery for 8 hours or more for the first time may be a leftover from the nickel battery days."

    "
    [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Unlike nickel and lead-based batteries, a new lithium-ion pack does not need cycling through charging and discharging. Priming will make little difference because the maximum capacity of lithium-ion is available right from the beginning. Neither does a full discharge improve the capacity of a faded pack."

    2.
    [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Leaving the cells in the charger for any longer than necessary for a complete charge (usually around 3 hours) will not improve the battery's performance or capacity:

    "
    [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Most cells are charged to 4.20 volts with a tolerance of +/?0.05V/cell. [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The charge time of most chargers is about 3 hours. Smaller batteries used for cell phones can be charged at 1C; the larger 18650 cell used for laptops should be charged at 0.8C or less. The charge efficiency is 99.9% and the battery remains cool during charge. Full charge is attained after the voltage threshold has been reached and the current has dropped to 3% of the rated current or has leveled off."[/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]
    Once fully charged:

    "
    [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]No trickle charge is applied because lithium-ion is unable to absorb overcharge. A continuous trickle charge above 4.05V/cell would causes plating of metallic lithium that could lead to instabilities and compromise safety. Instead, a brief topping charge is provided to compensate for the small self-discharge the battery and its protective circuit consume. Depending on the battery, a topping charge may be repeated once every 20 days. Typically, the charge kicks in when the open terminal voltage drops to 4.05V/cell and turns off at a high 4.20V/cell. "[/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]
    [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]3. Leaving the cells in the charger for any longer than necessary for a complete charge (usually around 3 hours) will probably reduce their life-span:

    "
    [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Hints to long battery life-[/FONT]

    • [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]
      [*] Limit the time at which the battery stays at 4.20/cell. Prolonged high voltage promotes corrosion, especially at elevated temperatures. (Spinel is less sensitive to high voltage than cobalt-based systems).
      [/FONT]

    • [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]
      [*]3.92V/cell is the best upper voltage threshold for cobalt-based lithium-ion. Charging batteries to this voltage level has been shown to double cycle life. Lithium-ion systems for defense applications make use of the lower voltage threshold. The negative is reduced capacity"
      [/FONT]
      [/FONT]
    "[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Much attention is focused to avoid over-charging and over-discharging. Commercial lithium ion packs contain a protection circuits that limit the charge voltage to 4.30V/cell, 0.10 volts higher than the voltage threshold of the charger."

    4. Over-discharge of the cell is far more damaging but protected against by the equipment, in our case the e-cig when it cuts out:

    "
    [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Extreme low voltage must also be prevented. The safety circuit is designed to cut off the current path if the battery is inadvertently discharged below 2.50V/cell. At this voltage, most circuits render the battery unserviceable and a recharge on a regular charger is not possible.
    There are several safeguards to prevent excessive discharge. The equipment protects the battery by cutting off when the cell reaches 2.7 to 3.0V/cell. Battery manufacturers ship the batteries with a 40% charge to allow some self-discharge during storage."
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]
    5. He also confirms that there is NO MEMORY EFFECT, so top up charges are no problem, but that eventually the cells will die nonetheless:

    "
    [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Best of all, there is no memory but aging issues are the drawback.
    "
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]
    Please take a look at the page, and at least we can all be sure that we are getting the most out of the batteries and not doing anything wrong. It eliminates one variable when we are trying to work out what is going wrong too...

    I can't post links yet, since I have not made the obligatory 15 posts, but rather than post a load of fake posts to lift the limit - go to the site `batteryuniversity` with the usual ww's and com's
    [/FONT] and it's all in Part1 Section BU12.

    Many thanks to Mr Buchmann.

    The second link, taken from wisegeek.com confirms all the above info but in a less scientifically stated manner, eg:

    "Unlike its predecessor, the nickel-cadmium, lithium-ion batteries do not suffer from the "memory effect." That is, the battery does not have to be fully discharged before being recharged. On the other hand, earlier nickel-cadmium batteries would "remember" where they were recharged, leading them to charge only to that point again. Later developed nickel-metal-hydride batteries also solved this problem.
    Though the batteries do not suffer from the memory effect, it is just the opposite that users should be wary of. Lithium ion batteries shouldn't be run all the way down before charging; they respond much better with constant recharges."


    "Eventually all rechargeable lithium ion batteries will meet their end. After about two to three years, li-ion batteries expire, whether or not they are being used. To prolong the battery when not in use, store it in a cool dry place at approximately 40 percent capacity. Also, avoid exposing a lithium ion battery to extreme temperatures for prolonged periods of time, and recharge constantly when in use."

    Once again I can't post the link, but go to the site and run a quick search and you'll find it.

    Anyway, I for one am relieved to finally know what should and should not be done with a Lithium Ion battery cell, used in all e-cig devices as far as I am aware, especially considering the amount of nonsense you hear about the benefits and necessity of long charges and complete discharges.


    I can't post this in the Tech or Tips areas since I am a new member to the Forum, but any full members who could do so please feel free since this would be useful to novice and experienced vapers alike, who might not read the New Members posts very often. You would also be able to post the direct links and share this information more easily.


    Hope this has been useful.;)






    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]

    [/FONT]
     
  2. asidrave

    asidrave Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 21, 2009
    New Jersey
    thanks for posting this Magnus...ive said in many posts its not necessary to charge the batteries for 6, 10 or 12 hours...even for the first time..

    once the charger light turns green...its done...no more charging needed...period. of course there may be some exceptions...such as a battery that may be at the end of its life

    ive have never had a problem with the battery being undercharged...my 6 batteries last consistently for 3 to 4 hours...depending on how much i vape.

    i dont think it matters which battery from which manufacturer...i have both a DSE 801 and DSE 901..i charge them the same...once the light is green..its done

    that goes for any Li-Ion and Li-Po battery
     
  3. Programmer

    Programmer Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 4, 2009
    Des Moines, Iowa
    I did snip the majority of your post, but the idea is preserved: You're saying it doesn't charge at _all_ once the light turns green.

    Can I ask what information you base that conclusion on?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. asidrave

    asidrave Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 21, 2009
    New Jersey
    i used to race R/C cars in 1/8 and 1/10 scale onroad indoors and outdoors about 3 years ago for close to 6 years on an amateur level.

    I used 1.2v 3000 to 3600 Li-Ion mah batteries in 4 and 6 packs. batteries were charged to peak before use and then quick charged just before practice or a race. good batteries were always consistent.

    the cars gearing was tuned for maximum performance for a 5 minute race. i tuned and fine tuned gearing so that the batteries would last 5 minutes and 20 seconds... give or take 10 seconds. granted each battery cell was matched...thats a different story.

    if you want to know more...ask away :)
     
  5. asidrave

    asidrave Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 21, 2009
    New Jersey
    in specifics to the DSE 901 charger i have...here are the charging specs i took off the back of the charger.

    Output: 4.2v 0.1A = 100ma

    the 901 battery is approximatly 180 to 200MaH

    so in charging...it should take 2 hours...give or take some minutes and if also the charger specs are correct and the battery charger correctly detects the peak charge of the battery.

    im not saying that i am 100% correct...if anyone knows something i dont know...please post :)
     
  6. Programmer

    Programmer Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 4, 2009
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Ok, got it. Since you charge a lot of batteries you _know_ that the current flow into the battery is stopped once the light turns green on this Chinese charger. Even though this is a completely different charger and completely different battery than you're used to. Not that you put a meter on the battery and charger you ARE used to, in the first place.

    Nope, that's good enough for me.

    'Bout as good as voodoo, thanks,
     
  7. wv2win

    wv2win ECF Guru ECF Veteran

    Feb 10, 2009
    GA by way of WV
     
  8. asidrave

    asidrave Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 21, 2009
    New Jersey
     
  9. BadAxe

    BadAxe Full Member

    Jan 26, 2009
    Bristol PA
    Wow, what a contribution to the site. So helpful.

    Bout as helpful as a PC helpdesk. Thanks.
     
  10. Magnus

    Magnus Full Member

    Feb 27, 2009
    France
    What you're saying sounds quite right Asidrave. Besides, anybody who wants to know more or is does not want to take my word for it, which I fully understand, should go the the batteryuniversity website.

    There is far more information there than I have included in my first post anyway, and the guy writing is the definitive authority on all kind of batteries.

    Go take a look for yourselves!

    This thread was supposed to settle disagreements about batteries, not start arguments!

    LOL!
     
  11. chokmah

    chokmah Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 23, 2009
    Austin Texas
    Thanks to all who contribute helpful information on standard life and operations on components. I for one would wonder how things work but may not have known where to go exactly for the information I was seeking.

    Thanks again...:)
     
  12. asidrave

    asidrave Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 21, 2009
    New Jersey
    magnus...your post is straight to the point as as informative....for me anyways.

    i vote we make it a sticky :)

    weird thing is there is not much argument about atomizer cleaning and maintenance...yet when it comes to battery charging and maintenance...well
     
  13. CandyGirl

    CandyGirl Super Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 3, 2009

    no doubt your heart was in the right place Magnus.

    it's just the nature of the beast and all the different user experiences here.
    the battery university website has been posted several times in the past. i like the info, but it falls short in answering charger/battery specific questions.
    does every battery/charger combo quit charging after the light goes green? is it really fully charged? i don't know.

    i've heard:

    ignore the green light, charge as per manufacturer's recommendations.
    ignore the manufacturer's recommendation, it's from older technology.
    don't let them on the charger for prolonged periods of time.
    it's okay to let them sit in the charger indefinitely.
    it shuts off completely, no trickle charge.
    take them off because the trickle charge will destroy them.
    it's okay to let them sit in a charger that's on a timer and/or powerstrip.
    don't let them sit in a charger without power as the charger will drain the battery.

    it's all very confusing.
    did the battery die because of the way i charged it or was it just a bad battery to begin with?

    i think it's silly that there are so many different recommended ways to charge them if they're all basically the same thing and i really wish i knew one tried and true method, but i don't.
    until i do, i just follow the manufacturer's recommended method.
    (safe than sorry)
     
  14. chokmah

    chokmah Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 23, 2009
    Austin Texas

    Second the vote for making this a sticky..:)
     
  15. Magnus

    Magnus Full Member

    Feb 27, 2009
    France
    Thanks for the positive feedback and the sticky votes guys, I'm glad you found the information useful.

    I know what you mean CandyGirl, but this information negates the whole battery specific / charger specific problem. ALL original e-cig batteries are 3.6-3.7 V Lithium Ion cells which ALL perform in the same way.

    The only differences between various batteries are the milli-amp hour (mAh) ratings, which refer to the capacity of the battery, or how long it will last before needing a recharge. The bigger batteries last longer, in essence.

    If there are differences with the performance of various chargers then this is not related to the battery cell itself but probably to do with the variety in manufacturing standards of all the different chargers. So we can finally ignore the seemingly random time it takes for our various chargers to turn red to green and just be happy knowing that ALL 3.6-3.7V Li-Ion battery cells require a charge of around 3 hours to fully recharge the cell.

    Also, leaving them in the charger will not damage a normal battery. However, since it is of no benefit whatesoever, since NO Li-Ion cells or chargers trickle charge, there is really no need and it is probably better to take them out immediately after the standard 3 to 4 hour charge, to avoid any risk of over-heating or fire.

    Likewise, we can also be sure that there is NO memory effect, and in fact the best way to keep the batteries healthy is to charge them often. It is better for the battery to be charged when only partially used then to allow a full discharge cycle. This wears the life of the battery down more quickly.

    The only overall problem is that all Li-Ion batteries will eventually suffer with age. Most will happily charge and discharge over 300 times before they start to deteriorate, and this equates to about 10 months of life with a charge every single day! So charge em up and recharge them as soon as they are getting weak - long before your e-cig flashes at you if you want. This will keep the battery healthier and youe e-cig vaping stronger!

    I quote again from the good doctor! -

    "Avoid frequent full discharges because this puts additional strain on the battery. Several partial discharges with frequent recharges are better for lithium-ion than one deep one. Recharging a partially charged lithium-ion does not cause harm because there is no memory. (In this respect, lithium-ion differs from nickel-based batteries.) Short battery life is mainly cause by heat rather than charge / discharge patterns."

    All this information is there in the site, and much more, and it really is an authoritative and reliable source. These folks are not commercially driven, they do not even manufacture the baterries themselves and they do not sell or supply batteries either. They are pure researchers in the battery field, with over 20 years of experience in all kinds of rechargeable batteries, and manufacturers of chargers. I honestly trust this as the scientific truth about Li-Ion cells, far more than the often badly worded and confusing manufacturers guidelines which clearly refer to old style nickel based batteries.

    Hope this clears the air... ;)
     
  16. strayling

    strayling Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 25, 2009
    Seattle, USA
    Interesting stuff. One thing I've noticed is the occasional recommendation to buy off the shelf unprotected rechargeables for use in modded PVs. If we're making the thread sticky a mention that not all batteries are protected might be an idea.

    On the subject of red/green charging lights, does anyone have a power meter sensitive enough to see if the charger really does automatically shut off when the light turns green? One of those Kill-a-Watt units, perhaps?
     
  17. Programmer

    Programmer Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 4, 2009
    Des Moines, Iowa
    I've tried that. The Kill-A-Watt is not sensitive enough to even register the thing when it's definitely charging, so obviously it's not of much help when the green light comes on.

    My clamp on meter would be better suited for the job, and since this just requires cutting apart the power zip code I guess I could start there. However at 120VAC there isn't going to be much current at _all_ and these inductance meters are finicky anyway just based on how you're holding it.

    The only way I see to get a _decent_ reading is to dismantle the charger and put an ammeter inline on the DC side. I'm not yet willing to sacrifice my charger just for the sake of settling this. Although I do have a spare charger coming from TW, so I may go ahead and do it once it arrives.

    You see _this_ is why I posted what I did earlier. I was asking in a roundabout way if anyone has actually DONE this stuff before. I'm sure someone has?? It's not like it takes specialized equipment. But to say things like "It doesn't charge after the green light comes on. I've never done any tests though, I just know" isn't helpful.
     
  18. Lorddrek

    Lorddrek Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 6, 2009
    This thread had me curious and I believe there was no mention of it so I put a nice digital voltmeter to the plugged in charger and it was putting out 114ma with the green light on. So unless the processor chip in the battery is running the charger (I doubt this) or cutting off charge at the chip then the battery is seeing power.

    I have a lithium thermal charger for small radio controlled planes that I could do some testing on. I'll have to look into getting some test subjects since I am new and what little gear I have is heavily relied on.

    Has anyone seen other theads about testing these batteries yet. Of course this is about when I remember to use the search function...

    Lorddrek
     
  19. Programmer

    Programmer Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 4, 2009
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Lorddrek: Thanks for taking a few minutes to do some tests. Exactly where were you seeing the 114ma though?

    I'm running a small test of my own right now too. Thought I would take a slightly different approach here.... anyway will let you all know the results in a couple hours.

    Just want to ephasize here that I'm not disputing the fact that some Li ion chargers in general completely cut off the voltage. That's not the point though. What we are trying to find out if these Chinese ecig chargers do so.
     
  20. Lorddrek

    Lorddrek Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 6, 2009
    I noticed with a 600ma in my R/C plane was it had extra voltage at first then leveled off fairly quickly providing even power until power dropped off real quick. I do remember fully discharging a lithium battery can kill it. I wouldn't go too long without charging for fear of a sensitive switch draining the battery further.

    The back of my charger has a 100ma output on the label and my test showed 114ma then I believe a 200ma battery would only need 2 hours or less? I will have to time my next charge to see how long the light is on. These batteries could last a long time once the proper charge time is determined.
     
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