View Full Version : LiPo Disposal Question

08-23-2005, 07:12 PM
I have a Kokam 1500mA 11.1v battery with a very swollen cell. I have read that the proper disposal method is to put the battery in a plastic container of salt water for several days. I'm on day three now and just read the thread about the flaming Suburban, so now I'm at heightened alert.

Do I need to puncture the envelopes to make them completely inert? How long should these soak before tossing them in the trash? I have visions of our local gargage truck going down the street with flames roaring from the back!

08-23-2005, 08:35 PM
Think I found the answer. I recently purchased an Apogee brand battery and had some technical follow up, I check with the venodor at http://www.pfmdistribution.com/guidelines.htm

08-23-2005, 08:52 PM
Thanks s3tbolt, looks like I need to add some more salt to the water!

08-23-2005, 09:35 PM
You can't beat the combination of brushless, LiPo, and controller but handling, disposal, and usage of the LiPo is not for the person willing to take careful steps. I learned a most costly lesson with a LiPo, lucky no property damage resulted, but it could have happened.

Question I have is all our cell phones, PDA's, laptop computers and digital camers use Li Ion, they appear to not have the problem with LiPo.

08-23-2005, 09:52 PM
The PDA,Cell phone and other devices do not put the load on the cells that we ask for. They charge at a very low rate, we ask for more. When we bump the wall, we pay for it.

Here is a recommended way to dispose of the Lipo's:

PFM Distribution Inc.'s Usage Guide
for Apogee High Performance
Lithium Polymer Batteries

Failure to follow the following guidelines could result in: Loss of property, injury, or death due to fire or explosion.

Battery discharging, charging, electric motors, spinning propellers, and flying models all have the potential for serious injury to persons and damage to property. In purchasing these products, the user agrees to accept responsibility for all such risks, and not to hold the manufacturer, distributors, or retailers - (including all owners and employees) - responsible for any accident, injury to persons, or damage to property.


DO use a charger capable of charging Lithium-Polymer batteries. Some accepted chargers are:
Anything manufactured by Schulze or Orbit with a Lithium-Polymer charge cycle.
Apache 1-2 or 1-4 cell charger
BEL 2-3 cell Lithium-Ion/Polymer charger
AstroFlight Model 109
Kokam 1-4 cell charger
Great Planes Triton
Plantraco LPD-400
Qualcom 830 Lithium-Ion 2-Cell charger

DO charge in a fire safe box in an area that has non-combustible materials.

DO inspect the cells/pack if a boat/car/aircraft crash or collision has occurred. If damage has occurred see below for proper disposal of Lithium-Polymer cells. Do not attempt to repair damaged cells.

DO keep a chemical fire extinguisher in the vicinity that Lithium-Polymer cells are being used.
DO check pack polarity and voltage prior to first use. 2-Cell Voltage should be between 7.4 - 7.6, 3-Cell Voltage should be between 11.2 - 11.4. If it's not, please contact us.
DO ensure the battery pack has adequate airflow for cooling.


DO NOT charge on carpet, cloth, wood, or anything else flammable.
DO NOT charge Lithium-Polymer cells unattended. All cells can "vent", no matter the chemistry (Ni-Cad, Ni-Mh, Li-Ion, Li-Poly), however Nickel Cadmium and Metal-Hydride cells come in a metal can, with a venting device. If the cell needs to vent, it can safely do so via a mechanism in the end of the cell. Lithium-Ion/Polymer cells have no vents, and in the event they need to vent the cell is ruptured and a fire can start.
DO NOT charge at over 1C current. C = mAh / 1000. Example: 850 mAh / 1000 = .85A charge rate
DO NOT discharge at over the manufacturers specified rate. Each cell has it's own nominal and maximum discharge ratings clearly marked on the pack, and on the individual product pages.
DO NOT discharge lower than 3.0 volts per cell.
DO NOT charge to more than 4.2 volts per cell.
DO NOT crush, pinch, poke, or in any way deform the cell. Lithium-Polymer cells do not have a hard case. Malformation can cause the cell to internally short out, and burst into flame. If a cell is deformed, dispose the pack as per disposal methods below.
DO NOT continue to use any cell that has increased (commonly known as "ballooning") in size. Cells that have a "bloated" appearance have been damaged, and pose a fire hazard. Dispose of the pack as per disposal methods below.
DO NOT allow the cells to exceed 160F degrees. Doing so will reduce the life of the cell, and increase the risk of fire. We have proven that with just one discharge cycle where 200F Degrees was obtained cell capacity was reduced by 20%.
DO NOT assemble cells of unknown capacity. Doing so will cause cell imbalance, and eventually a cell failure (and possibly a fire) could result.
DO NOT store your packs where small children or animals can get to them. Lithium has a sweet smell, which by animals/children could be thought of as candy. Lithium is toxic (death could occur) if ingested.
DO NOT allow the pack temperature to exceed 140F.

Battery Break-in Procedure:

Contrary to popular beliefs that lithium polymer battery packs need no "break-in" period, before you run new Apogee packs continuously at their maximum discharge rate, we recommend you cycle the battery packs at no more than 7C for a minimum of 15 cycles down to 3.0V per cell or until the PROPERLY SET Low Voltage Cut-Off (LVC) on your ESC kicks in. All Apogee packs are to be charged at a maximum 1C.

By following this break-in procedure, your batteries will run much cooler when you run them continuously at the maximum discharge rates.

How do I calculate 7C?

If your battery pack capacity is say 1050 mAh with a charge rate of 1.05 A, 7C is simply 7 x Charge Rate or:

7 x 1.05 A = 7.35 A

In this case with the 1050 mAh pack, you should discharge no more than 7.35 A.

How do you cycle an Apogee pack?

If you have a lithium polymer charger (e.g. Triton/Orbit/Schulze) that has a lithium battery discharge cycle, discharge your battery at the 7C rating or lower until the 3.0V per cell reached.

If you don't have a charger with a lithium discharge cycle, you can discharge through your speed controller. Make sure the speed controller LVC is configured properly for the number of cells.

If you have a WattMeter or inductive pickup amp meter, choose the prop/gearing that gets you closes to 7C, and fly normally for 15+ flights to the properly set LVC.

Charge and repeat for 14 or more cycles.

Disposal Procedure:

Discharge the cell/pack to 2.5 volts per cell. That would be 5.0 volts for a 2-cell pack and 7.5 volts for a 3-cell pack.
Find a container that is large enough, once filled with water, to immerse the cell pack under water. Fill the container with water and saturate the water with salt; that is, add enough salt so the salt can no longer dissolve.
After the pack has been discharged to 2.5V per cell, place the cell or pack into the salt water solution. This will deplete the rest of the energy in the cell/pack. Allow cell/pack to soak for 24 hours.
Take the cells out of the solution. Check the voltage is 0 volts.
Discard cell/pack in the trash.

Copied from the Apogee page.

By George

08-23-2005, 09:53 PM
Question I have is all our cell phones, PDA's, laptop computers and digital camers use Li Ion, they appear to not have the problem with LiPo.

Well those cells have built in charging limiters/balancers.

There are a number of reports even with those where cell phone users have been hurt or scared when cells caught fire.

It is good to be careful, but LiPolys are safe.