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Pictures of serious battery failure - IMR 18650

Discussion in 'New Members Information' started by oldsoldier, May 22, 2011.

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  1. Chornbro

    Chornbro Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 30, 2011
    VA/DC/MD Area
    Good thread, good read...

    What about LiFePO4 batteries?? Aren't those supposed to be the safest??
  2. rolygate

    rolygate Forum Manager Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Sep 24, 2009
    ECF Towers
    Like Li-Mn they are a safe chemistry battery that is unlikely to blow up in your face. However there are two issues with Li-FePo4 cells:

    1. Many of them are low quality and have a low C rating, meaning they cannot be safely used for atomizers as the current draw is over their limit. There are two groups of Li-FePo4 cells: those with a C rating of 1 (or less), and those with a rating of 4 and up. The C=1 cells will be over-driven by an atty: a Li-FePo4 14500 battery with a capacity of 600mAh and a C rating of 1 can supply 0.6 amps to an atty. This is too low and it will be over-driven. A cell of 600mAh with a C rating of 4 can supply 4 x 0.6 A = 2.4 amps, which is fine.

    2. Almost all of them are 3 volt cells, not 3.7 volt cells, which means they cannot be charged in a normal lithium cell battery charger. This would charge them to a final voltage of 4.2 volts, way too high for these cells, and will damage them. Damaged cells are a good candidate for self-destructing.

    Now imagine a scenario where a pair of low quality Li-FePo4 cells are overcharged in the wrong charger, then paired in a 6 volt mod, then asked to supply 2 amps+. This is a situation where unprotected Li-ion cells (or possibly, protected Li-ion cells where one of the protection circuits has failed) have blown up violently in the face of users when asked to deliver the first draws on an e-cig after coming off charge. It is my understanding that a Li-FePo4 cell will not explode in this situation but it will still fail and de-gas, just not as strongly as a Li-ion. The difference is just in the speed and volume of the gas produced. Maybe if the mod has no vents then things could be tricky.

    No battery is safe when abused, but in theory Li-FePo4 and Li-Mn cells will not de-gas so violently that they are in effect exploding - but they will still burn up if mistreated badly enough.

    Because of the two Li-FePo4 issues, it is safer to use Li-Mn cells in a mod. But even those cannot escape the consequences of mistreatment. They are very unlikely indeed to burn up without being mistreated in some way - so you need to check the off-charge voltage, use them in a mod with a master off switch and gas vents, and don't jam the mod in a pocket and leave it. The use of PCC cases for generic rechargeables currently has no history or safety record so may not be considered entirely safe at this time.
  3. buGG

    buGG Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Oct 10, 2009
    Can someone with first hand knowledge of this please identify the various parts in the photos?

    I'm not sure whether I'm looking at two batteries or just one, and if there is a dislocated nipple top from the 18650 in the images, whether there is a charred 510 atomizer and anodized aluminum drip tip in the picture or whether that's still in the car, and whether the metallic looking papers, also charred, are supposed to be the shrink wrap of the "IMR" cell(s) or something else entirely.

    This incident would be a first, at least first reported for a LiMn chemistry battery from this manufacturer to have exploded and burned in what appears to have been a combustible scenario arising from a chemistry compound that contains very little oxygen and is widely reported to not vent with flames. So that alone makes it a unique opportunity to learn about what's really going on here, what we're all looking at, and what understanding we can actually come away with in terms of cell behavior and our actions.

    I do think that the stated manufacturer and even the chemistry makeup of the cell should be removed from the title and/or from admin posts within the thread until or unless it is determined without a doubt that all is as it's being reported. At bare minimum, in a new member's thread, it could cause a very negative association that may later turn out to be unwarranted, unnecessarily fearful, or simply missing critical information that could better serve a new member in their decision-making process. Coming from forum users is one thing, but mods is simply another thing altogether.

    At any rate, here's a couple threads from CPF that have dealt with similar issues, and some afford pics of what the cells look like after direct shorts. It might also be beneficial to supply the manufacturer with additional info, if not the forum at large, so that they can also respond and/or at least have an opportunity to identify the culprit, if any.

    Link 1: RCR123A [LiCo]
    Link 2: 18500 [LiMn]
    Link 3: 26500 [LiMn]
  4. slumdog

    slumdog Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    the only batt I will use.....Thanks for a great post OS! we have to stop thinking of these batts in terms of energizer or duracell....which can also explode but are less likely to do so unless used as we do......heat and battery's DO NOT careful people the danger IS real... BUT definitely manageable with the right knowledge
  5. tybin

    tybin ECF Guru Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Sep 17, 2010
    and don't forget if you buy that sparkplug mod that it comes with UNPROTECTED batteries. (unless they change this recently?):?:
  6. dnB

    dnB Full Member

    May 10, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Now I'm worried about the one I bought for the GF :/
  7. Ronda

    Ronda Full Member

    May 21, 2011
    I think relative risk is the thing to keep in mind. Most of us have been smoking analogs several times a day, sometimes in bed, always with a 700C (1292F) fire during draw. Treat your battery like a lit ciggy, and you'll be safer. Would you stick a lit cig in your pocket? Would you leave a lit ciggy burning when you went to bed? Would you set it on an unprotected surface? Relatively speaking, these are many times less likely to cause fire or damage to your person or property. Just my opinion.
  8. auraslip

    auraslip Full Member

    Feb 28, 2011
    You guys are plain wrong if you think lithium batteries are safe. Lifepo4 and li-mn are safer than li-co and li-po, but still ABSOLUTELY need cell level protection. • View topic - Liar Liar Pants On Fire > Thermal Runaway LifePO4 Ducktape

    Here is a lifepo4 ebike battery that wasn't properly protected and caught fire.

    People that use two separate batteries are playing with fire. Even with protection it still possible for fires and explosion if the batteries are used @ two separate states of charge.

    People that store batteries loosely in a bag where they may turn on while something shorts them are putting themselves at risk.

    Here is 177 incidences of lithium battery fires in the r/c community caused by defective cells and misuse. • View topic - Anyone thinking Lipo is safe needs to think again

    This is dangerous stuff. Treat it with respect for the love of god!
  9. auraslip

    auraslip Full Member

    Feb 28, 2011
    Also, my friend works for a major EV motorcycle company and recently toured the factories of the companies that sell the deal extreme "fire" brand batteries.

    They buy b grade batteries that didn't pass muster for use in laptops and repackage them. They're cheap stuff. I wouldn't feel safe using them.
  10. JWebb

    JWebb Super Member ECF Veteran

    Jan 27, 2011
    St. Louis USA
    Good info everyone thanks
  11. APD99

    APD99 Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 11, 2011
    Bristol, PA
    I absolutely agree I've had ballooning issues and one catastrophic failure of a Li-Po even with no abuse, but it has given me good battery safety habits and ALL my batteries get charged in a Li-Po bag even my mod batts.
  12. regvaps

    regvaps Full Member Verified Member

    Sep 10, 2010
    wow this is wow, glad that no one was injured
  13. DM

    DM Sir Vapes A Lot Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Apr 17, 2011
    Where I usually am
    Im using the same batt. AW IMR 18650 in my Provari. I've been using it for over a month now and no problems.
    I guess..... don't vape petro???
  14. masterace04
    This message by masterace04 has been removed from public view. Deleted by a moderator, May 27, 2011, Reason: spamming for post count not permitted.
    May 27, 2011
  15. DaDoc

    DaDoc Senior Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    new york
    wow lucky she didnt get burt a little..... point noted for the batt's
  16. prop_215

    prop_215 Full Member

    Jan 4, 2010
    21 jump st
    That is really intense. Im glad nobody was hurt though.
  17. Caoka

    Caoka Full Member

    May 26, 2011
    Thanks for the pictures! I was wondering about the caution when getting into mods.
  18. blues

    blues Full Member

    Apr 27, 2011
    S korea
    quite a scary scene
  19. Erida

    Erida Full Member

    May 28, 2011
    Jurong West, Singapore
    Yikes that is nasty.
  20. Kingbtheone

    Kingbtheone Senior Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Dec 2, 2010
    looking at the provari now same battery? wow i use a ICR18350 in my screwdriver ALWAYS paying attention to polarity and overcharging. ... actually happened to this mod?
  21. Andyhrn

    Andyhrn Super Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 1, 2011
    Looks nice:blink: The note for modders: use only metal case but not a cheap plastic ones and it's saves lives.

    "Edit: It was pointed out that my post might be inflammatory and that this flies directly in the face of "conventional wisdom." - Sounds like a "liberal".
    The whole e-cig business is "inflamatory":laugh::laugh::laugh:
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