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Batteries & Chargers Discuss Li-P, Li-Ion, NiMh, Nicad battery technology and the chargers that juice 'em up!

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Old 07-19-2014, 08:22 PM   #1
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Default Disposing of Lipos.

How do most people get rid of their used Lipo's? I've read various post from encasing them in cement to soaking them overnight in salt water? What's a good method. Yes I realize the can of worms I'm opening.
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Old 07-19-2014, 08:43 PM   #2
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I drive a nail through the pack and toss it in the middle of a paved area... let it burn then dispose of the remains.

A really bad pack may not light up. If it hasn't burned after 1 hr with the nail in... pull the nail. If it doesn't burn in 24 hrs its safe.

You have to ensure the pack won't burn in the garbage truck when they run their compactor. If it has already burned it can't burn again.
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Old 07-19-2014, 09:45 PM   #3
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I believe you can drop them off at Radio Shack for recycling.

You can also discharge them completely and then just throw them away. WARNING: discharging a LiPo all the way can make them dangerously hot, so do it outside on the driveway.

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Old 07-19-2014, 10:32 PM   #4
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As I understand it - Lipo's like other batterys technically should not be 'tossed into the garbage truck' even if discharged.

They are supposed to be disposed of according to environmental standards .. trouble is - most places have no facility !!

It's like Emergency Flares on boats ... when they expire - they are to be disposed of via recognised services because of the magnesium etc. in them.... pyrotechnics. But try and find a place to take them !! (I'm talking UK now ....).

Before jumping on me - I'm only commenting ...

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Old 07-19-2014, 11:15 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by solentlife View Post
As I understand it - Lipo's like other batterys technically should not be 'tossed into the garbage truck' even if discharged.

They are supposed to be disposed of according to environmental standards .. trouble is - most places have no facility !!

It's like Emergency Flares on boats ... when they expire - they are to be disposed of via recognised services because of the magnesium etc. in them.... pyrotechnics. But try and find a place to take them !! (I'm talking UK now ....).

Before jumping on me - I'm only commenting ...

Nigel
I had a bundle of expired flares with o place to go. Can't light `em off, USCG will bust your butt. I donated my old runabout to a college and as the guy is fixing to tow her away I go "Wait, these go with it>" *THUMP* box of flares inna boat - happy motoring.

So in a few years I'll probably have a box of dead lipos . . . my friend who is a retired cop shoots his dead lipos, keeps his targeting skills tuned.
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Old 07-20-2014, 07:24 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by carpetbagger View Post
I had a bundle of expired flares with o place to go. Can't light `em off, USCG will bust your butt. I donated my old runabout to a college and as the guy is fixing to tow her away I go "Wait, these go with it>" *THUMP* box of flares inna boat - happy motoring.

So in a few years I'll probably have a box of dead lipos . . . my friend who is a retired cop shoots his dead lipos, keeps his targeting skills tuned.
Years ago when I used to sail on the ships .. we often kept back old flares for Drill practice out deep sea when no other ships around.

So I am well aware that the Expiry Date is pure fiction. As long as the body of the flare is in good condition - they should still work for many years after.
So I carry old and new flares on my yacht. Even if one or two don't work when needed - you still have more than the statutory req't .. and may mean life saved.
I do have to hide the old though when ever an inspection - as some authorities ban the carriage of old.

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Old 07-20-2014, 09:53 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by hkeelljr View Post
How do most people get rid of their used Lipo's? I've read various post from encasing them in cement to soaking them overnight in salt water? What's a good method. Yes I realize the can of worms I'm opening.
What ever you do - dont soak them in salt water.

That does not discharge the battery. All that does is dissolve the aluminum tabs long before the battery has a chance to discharge fully.

Because the circuit is broken when the tab dissolves, the pack may read zero on a meter BUT it will still contain a charge and could still catch fire if crushed or punctured.

I discharge my old lipos down to about 2 volts per cell, then cut the wires and short them together. Then I toss them.

Note that someone above mentioned that they get hot when deeply discharged. They can also puff up if you do it too quickly. I discharge mine at a very slow rate, but you need a charger that can do that.

I also like fhubbers method but my wife doesnt like it so much I would still discharge them as much as possible first. Its just a bit safer if they have less energy.


A variation - if you live somewhere you cant burn them outside - would be to get a large bucket and fill it with salt water. Put the pack in the salt water and THEN puncture it. You need to be sure to punch through all the cells. If you dont puncture the cells this technique wont work - see my first comment above. Be aware that thisd will stil produce fumes, so do it outside or when the wife is gone

Red Scholfield used to recommend cutting a small slit in each plastic pouch and then putting the pack in salt water. That will work just as well but its a bit risky doing surgery on a lipo like that. One slip of the knife and you could have a fire in your face!

I think I need a signature.
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Old 07-20-2014, 10:35 AM   #8
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Hi Larry ...

Surely - putting a LiPo into salt water and then punching a hole would be same as driving a steel nail through a dry pack ?

Only difference being that the water would cushion any 'explosive' reaction.

When testing Fire Extinguishers / pressure vessels - it's usual to use water as a filler before pressurising - so that any rupture is less catastrophic.

Personally a simple and safe way in my opinion - with little need for buckets etc. ... is to connect a suitable voltage lamp(s) and leave till discharged ... cut of leads ... short and tape up lead ends and then ditch it.

Nigel

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Old 07-20-2014, 02:25 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by fhhuber View Post
I drive a nail through the pack and toss it in the middle of a paved area... let it burn then dispose of the remains.

A really bad pack may not light up. If it hasn't burned after 1 hr with the nail in... pull the nail. If it doesn't burn in 24 hrs its safe.

You have to ensure the pack won't burn in the garbage truck when they run their compactor. If it has already burned it can't burn again.
Sorry but the is the worst advice I have seen in a good long time. This is dangerous and completely unnecessary.

Discharge and dispose. When they are discharged they are inert, safe. They don't contain dangerous chemicals but it is likely best to recycle even though the can just be chucked (at least here in the US).

An auto light bulb or old brushed motor will drop the voltage to near nil by the way.

Mike
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Old 07-20-2014, 03:21 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by solentlife View Post
...connect a suitable voltage lamp(s) and leave till discharged ... cut of leads ... short and tape up lead ends and then ditch it.

Nigel
This is what I do as well. I use an automotive turn signal bulb that I wired a connector to. Good for up to a 4S pack. I have recycled the packs a number of ways.. Radio Shack, Lowes and a local drive for the safely disposing of fluorescence lights,electronics and poisons... that the local government sponsors.

Steve

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Old 07-20-2014, 03:34 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the replies everybody. Of all methods noted so far the suggestion from rcers seems the most viable and the safest in fact I used to discharge my battery packs on my old radier the same way. Again thanks to everyones thoughts on this matter. Ya'll be safe out there!
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Old 07-20-2014, 07:19 PM   #12
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Discharging is indeed the safest way - as long as you go slowly enough. If you discharge too quickly they will get extremely hot and puff. They could even flame up.

If the lipo puffs, that gas is explosive and could still pose a risk. Thats why Red used to recommend slitting the pouches, but that had its own risks.

There have been threads discussing just how fast to discharge lipos to be safe and as far as I know there is no fixed answer.

My policy is to go slow at around .1 C or less. In other words, you want to take several hours to discharge the pack - NOT just a few minutes.

And yes Nigel - the salt water used with puncturing does two things. It neutralizes the electrolyte, thus discharging the battery, and it contains any flames.

I think I need a signature.
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Old 07-20-2014, 07:33 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by rcers View Post
Sorry but the is the worst advice I have seen in a good long time. This is dangerous and completely unnecessary.

Discharge and dispose. When they are discharged they are inert, safe. They don't contain dangerous chemicals but it is likely best to recycle even though the can just be chucked (at least here in the US).

An auto light bulb or old brushed motor will drop the voltage to near nil by the way.

Mike
Actually, its not all that bad if you are moderately careful

A punctured lipo burns with a lot less enthusiasm than one that blows on its own. Most of the time they dont even flame up at all as there is no gas to ignite. They just sputter and spit.

They do still get very hot and they can set nearby things on fire, but its not really all that bad if you do it in a fire safe area.

I have done several as tests and not one has been a violent explosion and only one showed any flame at all and that was minor.

I used a nail driven through a long stick to do the punching. You dont want to do this on your work bench holding the nail in your hand

There is more risk and fire if the pack is already puffed and has a full charge. Thats the highest risk. Thats why I said it was better to discharge them first earlier.

To me its almost riskier to discharge them too quickly. Most guys will be doing that in their shop and may not be paying attention. The heating normally occurs late in the cycle and someone may not notice that until its too late.

At least if you're expecting fire and explosions, maybe you will be more careful

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Old 07-20-2014, 08:16 PM   #14
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I have found the best way is to poke a hole thru the pack with a garden rake and plop it in a small container of water it boils the water and there almost no smoke. I don't want smoke poisoning my neighbors . I leave it in the water and eventually get around to tossing the pack.

this method is best used at the club field around others when a crash compromises a pack and you don't want to take it in the car ride home. discharge is quick and clean and I toss the container and pack in the garbage.

I've done this twice when after a crash the pack got crunched and started to get warm....then hot,thats a sure fire waiting to happen.

narrow is the place to land...wide is the space to crash....choose the narrow way!
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Old 07-20-2014, 11:33 PM   #15
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I guess I have clearly outgrown the pyro stage of my life.



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Old 07-21-2014, 02:24 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by rcers View Post
I guess I have clearly outgrown the pyro stage of my life.



Mike
If you're lucky it may come back when you get old enough

I think I need a signature.
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Old 07-21-2014, 01:06 PM   #17
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Hanging single cells on the swingset to discharge before tossing them into trash.
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Old 07-21-2014, 05:57 PM   #18
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No one has mentioned what kind of resistor to use for discharging if your charger doesnt have that function.

For a 3S pack, if you went to Radio Shack and bought a 120 ohm 5 watt resistor that would discharge at around .1 amps or 100 milliamps. That would take about 24 hours do run down a 2200 pack and about 36 hours for a 3300 pack etc.

Wire the resistor up to a spare battery connector and you're good to go. Plug it in, put the pack in a fire safe container and come back in a day or so to dispose of it.

More resistance would take longer but probably be a tad safer.

For a 2S pack you want around 80 to 90 ohms. For a 4S pack you want around 170 to 180 ohms and 5S will need around 230-240 ohms. For a 5S pack that resistor will get quite warm but a 5 watt should still be fine.

I think I need a signature.
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:30 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by rcers View Post
I guess I have clearly outgrown the pyro stage of my life.



Mike

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