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Lithium-ion batteries?

Old 11-17-23, 07:26 PM
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Lithium-ion batteries?

I'm new to e-bikes and their technology. There's been another lithium-ion battery fire...

https://abc7ny.com/brooklyn-fire-lit...ghts/14053185/

What are people doing wrong charging, using or storing these batteries? Is there a basic safety issue regarding these batteries? How do you recommend properly handling these batteries safely? Does your experience with these batteries differ from general knowledge or instruction? Do you personally charge or store these batteries within your home? Outside?

I'm going to be constructing a homemade e-bike around one of these batteries. My only experience with lithium-ion batteries is with small devices. The dangers associated with one of these larger batteries is becoming a concern.
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Old 11-17-23, 08:40 PM
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Safety Tips for Charging Li-ion Batteries (storemasta.com.au)
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Old 11-18-23, 01:11 AM
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I hope the NYC law requiring UL listed batteries on new ebikes/scooters helps. I believe that a lot of the NYC battery fires come from people who are using batteries that have been rebuilt with ill-advised practices.

There are too many youtube videos that are flat unsafe, showing people how to revive dead batteries that were shut off by the battery management system (BMS). Also crazy youtubers showing how they revive dead cells or how to reset cells that overheated and popped off their internal breakers.

I like to think that a battery with a BMS circuit (they all have them). and quality name brand cells will be safe.
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Old 11-18-23, 06:39 AM
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Not saying this is the prime reason, but most likely using cheap components like chargers or battery bms causes overheating and eventually fire. I don't charge my battery outside, but I do have it on timer so I don't overcharge it.
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Old 11-18-23, 08:07 AM
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If charging off-bike, I would highly recommend one of these:
Amazon.com: FLASLD: Lipo Battery Bag
I used them when charging Li-Po batteries used in electric RC aircraft. Cheap insurance vs. burning down the house.
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Old 11-18-23, 08:09 AM
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I suspect these fires started with aging (100+ year old) electrical infrastructures, dense housing;
population and large amount (tens of thousands of delivery workers) & types different of batteries (not Li-ion alone)
all that contribute to the frequency & casualties related to battery fires.

I have nearly a dozen of ebike batteries (NiMH, Lead-Acid & different types of Li-ion) in my house, all stored in room temperature,
no containers, just on a shelf; it's been that way for years.
Anecdotal, but living & working in NYC metro, I understand the danger and risks; but some don't.
I'm more worried about getting hit by cars on my bike than my batteries spontaneously combusting.
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Old 11-18-23, 08:12 AM
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Many of the makers of conversion kits use sub standard parts, no fuse or circuit breaker, etc. meaning if there is an overload of current there is nothing to 'open' the circuit and a fire, etc. could occur.
Same is true with some of the internet only, inexpensive ebikes.
Some also leave then on the charger for far too long which may cause an overload because of the first sentence.
Considering how many ebikes and conversions, etc. there are there are very few fires and many are user error. Some also will use an incorrect charger that may also contribute to the problem.
We have disassembled some ebike batteries, the shop where I work, and some of them are quite scary with the inferior wiring, connectors, etc. they use in the circuitry and it is no wonder they stopped working, etc.
Most also have little to no water proofing which is also a big concern as water and electricity don't mix well...
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Old 11-18-23, 02:35 PM
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My advice for DIY is procure the best battery you can find (I use bicyclemotorworks, but em3ev and ebikesca are even better IMO), then only charge your battery where you wouldn't mind having a fire (the middle of my patio suffices). On the other hand, I trust large OEM's (Specialized etc) systems.
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Old 11-19-23, 06:46 AM
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For those, like myself, who are not too familiar with lithium-ion batteries here's another website talking about how to handle them. It's from the 'battery' site 2old suggested.

https://bicyclemotorworks.com/2022/0...e-battery-101/
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Old 11-19-23, 01:31 PM
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Am more familiar with camera batteries. There are OEM cells made to comply with all safety regs, 3rd party clones that are much more affordable and made to varying degrees of quality and safety, and counterfeit cells for fleecing the unwary. (The incentive is cost--my newest camera's battery retails for $100, clones are a fraction of that.)

Canon, being the industry big dog, has some documentation and information about the counterfeit market, which extends to chargers and power adapters.
https://www.usa.canon.com/support/ca...pecification_0

Extrapolating to bike batteries, which are much larger and higher voltage, issues of overcharging, swelling, flammability seem magnified. My bike is off the shelf, not a self-build, so I don't make any special precautions beyond what the manual says. If I were home-brewing one, I'd be very picky about whose components to choose. Anybody can stamp UL and CE but how does one determine if they're legit?
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Old 11-19-23, 02:44 PM
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Iíve got 10kWh of Li-Ion batteries in the garage connected to our solar system and 120kWh in 3 cars outside. They donít catch fire because the legally sold products have high safety regulations. The comments from the FD chief about illegal products says it all. And when one of these batteries goes up, you ainít stopping it because the electrolyte releases its own O2, sustaining the fire.
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Old 11-20-23, 06:31 AM
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Lithium-ion batteries for ebikes should have a USB port so charge can be drawn down if not able to be used for riding for a while. Does having the battery inside the down tube make it any safer?
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Old 11-20-23, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by polyrhythmia
Lithium-ion batteries for ebikes should have a USB port so charge can be drawn down if not able to be used for riding for a while. Does having the battery inside the down tube make it any safer?
I think it just makes the bike more at risk. Carbon fiber or Aluminum, which comprise the materials in the frames of most ebikes, won't be much of a barrier IMO.
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Old 11-20-23, 08:26 AM
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Lots of bikes are being ordered direct from China where there's little/no control over the quality of the parts being shipped, same with plenty of the build kits. Amazon has no reason to make sure that the bikes meet any form of quality control and neither does Aliexpress or alibaba. You're getting what you get. Couple that with low income/underpaid workers trying to get the cheapest bargain they can to optimize the little pay they have and make best use of their time and you're not getting things with real quality controls and lithium cells are susceptible to overheating and bursting when unchecked. Tossing in the low income, aging housing they live in and its a recipe for some of the disasters they've had.
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Old 11-25-23, 03:11 AM
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Not very good reporting there. I guess it was too soon, but there was no root cause analysis, just a blanket blame on "these dangerous electric scooters".

I bet they were charged with the wrong charger and maybe they didn't have a BMS.

Yes, I think safety Listings will become the standard now.
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Old 11-26-23, 08:41 AM
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Is there a viable battery alternative to the lithium-ion battery?
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Old 11-26-23, 07:09 PM
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LiFePO4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate) batteries are heavier and safer than other Lithium chemistry systems.
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Old 11-27-23, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by dayco
Is there a viable battery alternative to the lithium-ion battery?
The different chemistries all have their own compromises. They're all viable in their own way.
For energy density and weight, Li-Ion is toward the top, at the expense of being volatile if not treated right.
Lithium Ion Polymer, has even higher energy density and lower weight, but is even easier to damage and more volatile.
Other chemistries have less energy density and higher weight, but can be abused more without being fire hazards: NiCd<NiMH<LiFePO (in order of energy density)
Lead acid has the lowest energy density and highest weight, but is the only one I know of that will work well below freezing. (though it needs to be warmer to charge well)

Since Li-Ion is the industry standard, by such a huge margin, I would say that fact alone makes the others not viable.

Last edited by Smaug1; 11-28-23 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 11-28-23, 06:32 AM
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Without lithium-ion batteries, would there be smart phones, ear buds, even dumb phones? Definitely would not be e-bikes. What I would like to see would be a small fuel cell that you can quickly refuel and would have super long range. Fuel cell technology of tomorrow, always has been, always will be.
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Old 11-28-23, 03:33 PM
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Most of those devices use li-poly.
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Old 11-28-23, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul
If charging off-bike, I would highly recommend one of these:
Amazon.com: FLASLD: Lipo Battery Bag
I used them when charging Li-Po batteries used in electric RC aircraft. Cheap insurance vs. burning down the house.
wont do anything to stop a bike battery fire. may actually make it worse as the heat build up will make it worse. even a metal box wont do much. the only way to stop such a fire is to cool the battery down not building it up. they dont need air to burn.
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Old 11-28-23, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by fooferdoggie
wont do anything to stop a bike battery fire. may actually make it worse as the heat build up will make it worse. even a metal box wont do much. the only way to stop such a fire is to cool the battery down not building it up. they dont need air to burn.
Almost everything you said is wrong.

congrats!
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Old 11-28-23, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse
Almost everything you said is wrong.

congrats!
really? maybe you should watch bike battery fire. the bike is actually melted. the only way to stop a lithium battery fire is to cool it down. you cant smother it as it has its own oxygen source. there is a video f a Tesla burning under water.
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Old 11-28-23, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by fooferdoggie
wont do anything to stop a bike battery fire. may actually make it worse as the heat build up will make it worse. even a metal box wont do much. the only way to stop such a fire is to cool the battery down not building it up. they dont need air to burn.
The whole purpose of the bag is to contain the fire, not put it out.
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Old 11-28-23, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul
The whole purpose of the bag is to contain the fire, not put it out.
right but did you see the video? a bag is not going to contain it it will blow the bag apart. same with a metal can. Plus it's mainly while charging so then a cord will be coming out of the bag. The best solution is to buy a good bike with a UL listing on the battery and charger. as the video says the only real solution isn to to change in the house butters not always possible. the fire will put out a huge amount of heat and toxic smoke.
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