KanoMaster22
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How to dispose of broken lipo

Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:13 am

So I accidentally cut a lipo at the side and it sparked and is now warm. How can I quickly and safely dispose of it?

Thanks,
LouisP

PiGraham
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Re: How to dispose of broken lipo

Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:28 am

There is a risk of fire with LiPo so I would pick it up with tongs or slide it onto a ceramic plate of something like that so I could get it outside without touching it or getting too close to it.
Then I would leave it on a non-flammable surface (e.g. concrete path or paving slab) in the open and away from water or flammable materials and stay clear of it for at least an hour while I thought what to do next.

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Re: How to dispose of broken lipo

Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:32 am

It depends on where you are.

Batteries generally contain nasty elements that shouldn't go to landfill, but how you deal with them is difficult.
I'm lucky; my local Tesco's has a used battery recycling point. Your mileage will definitely vary.

KanoMaster22
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Re: How to dispose of broken lipo

Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:33 am

Okay thanks for the speedy reply. I will do that now Graham.

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joan
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Re: How to dispose of broken lipo

Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:51 am

I connected mine to a small motor and let it discharge until the motor stopped spinning. I then connected it to a bulb and let it discharge until the bulb stopped glowing. I think I then just dumped it in a bucket of salted water for an hour or so.

For better advice see https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthr ... o-disposal

KanoMaster22
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Re: How to dispose of broken lipo

Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:15 am

Joan would this still work with a broken lipo though?

PiGraham
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Re: How to dispose of broken lipo

Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:19 am

From Joans's link:
For safety reasons, it’s best that LiPo cells be fully discharged before disposal (however, if physically damaged it is NOT recommended to discharge LiPo cells before disposal - see below for details). The batteries must also be cool before proceeding with disposal instructions.

1. If any LiPo cell in the pack has been physically damaged, resulting
in a swollen cell or a split or tear in a cell’s foil covering, do NOT discharge the battery.
Jump to step 5.
Last edited by PiGraham on Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

PiGraham
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Re: How to dispose of broken lipo

Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:28 am

The salt water thing is curious. I suppose it's intended to gently discharge the cells without relying on the inter-cell connections.
But lithum metal combusts in water so be careful with damaged cells. I'd prefer to discharge the battery dry but I have no expertise in this.

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Re: How to dispose of broken lipo

Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:42 am

PiGraham wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:28 am
The salt water thing is curious. I suppose it's intended to gently discharge the cells without relying on the inter-cell connections.
I believe you are right. I recall the salt is needed to make the water more conductive than it otherwise would be. It is effectively creating 'a higher resistance wrench' to throw across its terminals.

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Re: How to dispose of broken lipo

Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:30 pm

So the best thing is to ensure it has no energy left to do any damage before disposing of it.

Stab it with a fork ,drive nails through it.

WARNING This is dangerous. Be sure to do this somewhere that won't burn and protect yourself. Be sure not to breath the fumes. It wouldn't be any fun at all to get a bit burning lithium stuck in your flesh or burning its way into your eyeball. This sort of flame doesn't need oxygen so you can't put it out in any of the familiar ways. It will burn until the metal is all used up.

When it has burned down think about where to dispose of the remains.

Just yesterday Microsoft sent a courier to pick up my Surface Pro 4 that was splitting at the seems due to a swollen battery. They had sent me a fire retardant box to pack it into first.
Last edited by Heater on Wed Sep 05, 2018 3:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: How to dispose of broken lipo

Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:31 pm

hippy wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:42 am
PiGraham wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:28 am
The salt water thing is curious. I suppose it's intended to gently discharge the cells without relying on the inter-cell connections.
I believe you are right. I recall the salt is needed to make the water more conductive than it otherwise would be. It is effectively creating 'a higher resistance wrench' to throw across its terminals.
Isn't there a risk of setting fire to the lithium in a broken cell by immersing it in water?

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Re: How to dispose of broken lipo

Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:39 pm

PiGraham wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:31 pm
Isn't there a risk of setting fire to the lithium in a broken cell by immersing it in water?
Yes, I believe that's true. Which is why most disposal guides say don't do that if damaged; don't immerse in water, don't attempt to discharge.

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Re: How to dispose of broken lipo

Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:44 pm

Heater wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:30 pm
So the best thing is to ensure it has no energy left to do any damage before disposing of it.

Stab it with a fork ,drive nails through it. Be sure to do this somewhere that won't burn and protect yourself. When it has burned down think about where to dispose of the remains.

Just yesterday Microsoft sent a courier to pick up my Surface Pro 4 that was splitting at the seems due to a swollen battery. They had sent me a fire retardant box to pack it into first.
I think it's best to avoid combustion or explosion by only using slow discharge methods.

Once fully discharged you can twist the leads together and bin it. Unfortunately it seems LiPo recycling is not ecconomic at the moment, not even on a large dcale for vehicle vatteries.

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Re: How to dispose of broken lipo

Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:47 pm

hippy wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:39 pm
PiGraham wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:31 pm
Isn't there a risk of setting fire to the lithium in a broken cell by immersing it in water?
Yes, I believe that's true. Which is why most disposal guides say don't do that if damaged; don't immerse in water, don't attempt to discharge.
The guide quoted above doesn't say that though, which surprised me. For damaged batteries it advises to not do the discharge but to go direct to step 5. immersion!
1. If any LiPo cell in the pack has been physically damaged, resulting
in a swollen cell or a split or tear in a cell’s foil covering, do NOT discharge the battery.
Jump to step 5.



5. Submerse the battery into bucket or tub of salt water. This container should have a lid, but it should not need to be air-tight. Prepare a plastic container (do not use metal) of cold water. And mix in 1/2 cup of salt per gallon of water. Drop the battery into the salt water. Allow the battery to remain in the tub of salt water for at least 2 weeks.

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthr ... o-disposal

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Re: How to dispose of broken lipo

Wed Sep 05, 2018 1:13 pm

PiGraham,
I think it's best to avoid combustion or explosion by only using slow discharge methods.
That is very sensible advice.

But where is the fun in it?
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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Re: How to dispose of broken lipo

Wed Sep 05, 2018 1:37 pm

PiGraham wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:47 pm
The guide quoted above doesn't say that though, which surprised me. For damaged batteries it advises to not do the discharge but to go direct to step 5. immersion!
Sorry. I see what you mean. It does also surprise me. I guess they are trying to create a 'slow discharge' mechanism to put least strain on anything to limit the risk of fire or explosion.

I don't know much about battery chemistry so can't really say that's good or bad, or even very bad advice.

I have never been in the position of having to deal with a damaged LiPo. I'd put it in a fireproof pouch, put it outside as safely as possible with some warning not to touch or get close, and frantically hit the internet.

I'd probably phone the fire brigade and ask them what to do, see if they want to come round and have at it, dispose of it. If they aren't on call-out, have time on their hands, they often welcome the experience of something out of the ordinary, something which can help with circumstances they may encounter in less relaxed situations.

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Re: How to dispose of broken lipo

Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:07 pm

Heater wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 1:13 pm
PiGraham,
I think it's best to avoid combustion or explosion by only using slow discharge methods.
That is very sensible advice.

But where is the fun in it?
If someone wanted to that sort of 'fun' then should know what they are getting into and take appropriate precautions. It wouldn't be any fun at all to get a bit burning lithium stuck in your flesh or burning its way into your eyeball. This sort of flame doesn't need oxygen so you can't put it out in any of the familiar ways. It will burn until the metal is all used up.

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Re: How to dispose of broken lipo

Wed Sep 05, 2018 3:02 pm

I agree. Hence my directions to "Be sure to do this somewhere that won't burn and protect yourself. "

Perhaps I should have made that uppercase and red for the hard of understanding. In fact I will do that.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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Re: How to dispose of broken lipo

Wed Sep 05, 2018 3:06 pm

How To ask Questions :- http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
WARNING - some parts of this post may be erroneous YMMV

1QC43qbL5FySu2Pi51vGqKqxy3UiJgukSX
Covfefe

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Re: How to dispose of broken lipo

Wed Sep 05, 2018 3:55 pm

Which, though slightly off-topic, also brings up the case of how to dispose of non-damaged power-packs, also the power pack part for e-cigarettes, any product with an embedded LiPo. They usually have a cut-off which won't allow full discharging of the battery cells.

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Re: How to dispose of broken lipo

Wed Sep 05, 2018 5:10 pm

hippy wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 3:55 pm
Which, though slightly off-topic, also brings up the case of how to dispose of non-damaged power-packs, also the power pack part for e-cigarettes, any product with an embedded LiPo. They usually have a cut-off which won't allow full discharging of the battery cells.
That's a good point which may account for the salt water, which would go some way to bypass the over-discharge protection. A cell that is run down to cutoff probably still has a voltage around 2V and could get a bit hot if it was shorted out (e.g. a nail hammered through it)

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Re: How to dispose of broken lipo

Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:00 pm

Heater wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 3:02 pm
I agree. Hence my directions to "Be sure to do this somewhere that won't burn and protect yourself. "

Perhaps I should have made that uppercase and red for the hard of understanding. In fact I will do that.
You forgot to mention to not breathe as the gases it gives off are toxic.

Do the sensible thing, take it to your local dump or recycling center, in most countries these places have free spent/damaged LiPo collections.
55:55:44:44:4C
52:4C:52:42:41

Heater
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Re: How to dispose of broken lipo

Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:41 pm

Imperf3kt,
You forgot to mention to not breathe as the gases it gives off are toxic.
No, do read my post again. I mentioned the fumes in the warning I added many hours ago.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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Imperf3kt
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Re: How to dispose of broken lipo

Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:54 pm

Heater wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:41 pm
Imperf3kt,
You forgot to mention to not breathe as the gases it gives off are toxic.
No, do read my post again. I mentioned the fumes in the warning I added many hours ago.
Indeed it appears you did. Not sure how I missed that.

I would still highly stress that you do not stab the battery, think of the environment and animals around you!
55:55:44:44:4C
52:4C:52:42:41

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Re: How to dispose of broken lipo

Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:27 pm

Burngate wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:32 am
It depends on where you are.

Batteries generally contain nasty elements that shouldn't go to landfill, but how you deal with them is difficult.
I'm lucky; my local Tesco's has a used battery recycling point. Your mileage will definitely vary.
I'm fairly certain that Tesco (and ASDA, Sainsburys, Morrisons, Lidl & Aldi) do not want anything other than regular alkaline batteries in their recycling bins. Dropping a damaged lithium based cell in their bin could cause a fire (which isn't going to be a good thing in any supermarket).

https://www.recycle-more.co.uk/files/01 ... s_web4.pdf
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