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Trying to revive 14500 battery

Discussion in 'Flashlights & Other Illumination Devices' started by MillsHere, Jun 26, 2016.

  1. MillsHere

    MillsHere Loaded Pockets

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    So about a month ago I was using my flashlight at work with a Fenix 14500 battery. I knew I had been running it for a while but needed the light. It eventually went out and I assume went into "protected mode" in the battery to prevent overdischarging.

    When I got home I placed it in my Nitecore UM10 charger which supposedly has the ability to revive protected batteries. After a while in the charger it didn't start charging nor say the battery was defective.

    So I sent the battery off to Fenix and without any words sent me a brand new one. Unfortunately the same has happened to the new one.

    I'm curious if anyone knows if this is a problem with the battery or possibly my charger and if there is a way I can test/revive it myself.
     
  2. IHateBottleOpeners

    IHateBottleOpeners EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Bump for interest :). I've never had this kind of problem, and also read about Nitecore chargers kick-of 0V batteries.
    Also a tip if you accept: If you KNOW that you('ll) need a light for a good amount of time, just take spare batteries ;).
     
  3. gazz98

    gazz98 Loaded Pockets

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    Sorry. No help here. This is why I stick to AA or AAA. I tried CR123s a few years ago too but dropped them. I wish more brick and mortar stocked 123s.

    You can try searching candlepowerforums too.
     
  4. reppans

    reppans Loaded Pockets

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    If your charger doesn't reset the protection circuit, you can try jumping it in parallel with another Li-ion (just like a car battery + to + and - to -) for a couple of seconds only.

    From HKJ, CPF battery guru.

    http://m.imgur.com/bbV4L

    If you don't have another Li-ion, then 3 NiMh in series (+ to -) will be in the proper voltage range (3.6-4.2v) and maybe even 2x L91 lithium primary AAs in series (~3.4v), or 1x CR123 (3.2v) might work.

    If that works read the Li-ion sticky above, and be careful with charging the cell for several cycles to make sure the chemistry is still stable.
     
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  5. Westerdutch

    Westerdutch Loaded Pockets

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    Oh you can try some things with these cells but it depends alot on the design of the safety circuit if it will even be possible to revive the cell, also it highly depends on what tripped the circuit in the first place (over voltage, under voltage, overcurrent/short)

    Step one; Safety. These cells are - even in their discharged state - still quite dangerous! Never do anything out of the ordinary with these cells in places where you cannot contain a tiny little sizzling burning rocket motor!
    First one is simple; place the cell in a warm (not hot!!) spot. Raising the temperature might bump up the voltage high enough for the protection circuit to lower its guard. Once the cell is nice and luke-warm place it in the charger at a slow charge (to avoid heating up the battery even more).
    Second is more tricky and could even be considered dangerous; Parallel it up with a working cell that is almost dead (lower voltage is better here). So place the batteries plus to plus and put a wire from minus to minus. You are now forcing the cells to charge/discharge into eachother (this is in itself very dangerous!!), if the protection circuit allows this it wil charge up the tripped battery a tiny little bit to the point where the charger can see the voltage and resume normal charging operation. Keep an eye on the temperature of both batteries when you are doing this tho as it can run out of hand fast! However, if a smart charger is not able to revive a battery then this method might not work either (forcing a voltage on the circuit like this with a spare battery is very similar to what a charger does only more dangerous).
    The final solution is; Tear the cell apart and rip the protection circuit off! You now have full access to the cell and you can simply measure if the cell is just under the protection threshold, completely dead or totally fine (last one happens more often than you think, those protection circuits are cheap for a reason).

    Please keep in mind that all these methods are dangerous and can cause the cell to fail catastrophically! But hey, a hoverboard can also explode on you and unlike when you are purposefully trying to do things with batteries you are not supposed to with those things you'll never see it coming!
     
  6. MillsHere

    MillsHere Loaded Pockets

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    If my charger can't revive it I rather not mess around with it and risk a fire.

    I eventually plan on getting a better charger so I'll keep it around until then and see if that'll work.

    Since this is possibly my second failed Fenix battery I would like to try out something else. Any suggestions for a good 14500 battery?
     
  7. reppans

    reppans Loaded Pockets

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    Not sure I'd call it a battery failure if you just tripped the protection circuit. Battery did what it was supposed to do if you ran it down too far. These batts just need more education to use safely. But yeah, sounds like you need to feel comfortable with the battery jump thing to reset that protection (most are probably not, incl me a few years ago).

    You'll probably run into the same issue with any other recommendation. Fenix should be a decent brand.
     
  8. MillsHere

    MillsHere Loaded Pockets

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    Definitely a possibility that it's just my charger. I won't have money to get a new charger for a while so I'll hold onto it for now and just use alkalines.
     
  9. mjpgolf1

    mjpgolf1 Loaded Pockets

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    I agree with this. OP maybe using these types of batteries just isn't for you. Especially a single aa/14500 light it's not really designed to be used on its highest mode for long periods of time when using a 14500. They are more for short bursts of higher brightness levels. You would be much better off either just running a good rechargeable NiMH AA Eneloop. Or even just a regular disposable AA. I don't mean to be rude and please don't take it personal, but the issue isn't with the battery but it's with the user in this case. You need to educate yourself before you use lithium ion rechargables so you don't end up with a disaster. As I said before a single AA/14500 light just isn't made to be run on high until the battery dies all the time. I have several, probably 20 AA/14500 lights, and in at least 6 of them at this time I'm running a Fenix 14500 and I've not had any issues.

    As for messing around with trying to restart your current battery I would advise against it. These Fenix 14500 batteries can be bought for $6 so don't burn your house down or hurt yourself over a cheap replaceable battery.

    Good luck, but please do some research before you begin using rechargeable lithium so again. Also if you need lots of light for a longer period of time you may look into getting a bigger light that uses a bigger cell to help avoid this issue in the future.
     
  10. MillsHere

    MillsHere Loaded Pockets

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    I've done my research on the handling of lithium ion cells and understand them and was aware I shouldn't have ran them down that far.

    In both situations I was in dire need of light so I continued on knowing that they were protected cells and that my charger is "supposed" to wake them in that situation.

    Since this has happened I've already been looking into a different light for work that is easier to charge therefore making it easier to keep them topped off every night. I would go with a higher capacity cell such as an 18650 however I want something small enough for the pocket.

    I know I've been kind of abusing my battery but I'm just trying to figure out how to get it going again knowing my charger should be able to wake it.
     
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  11. Westerdutch

    Westerdutch Loaded Pockets

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    Well not really, when the voltage goes under the threshold the protection should indeed kick in. But if you then give the battery a minute to catch its breath the voltage should recover enough for the protection to step down. If that doesn't happen there's either something wrong with the cell or with the circuit (or you possibly ran it down on moonlight under very warm conditions). 14500 cells are unfortunately quite a bit less reliable than 18650 cells so the cell being the culprit is very much a possibility.
     
  12. reppans

    reppans Loaded Pockets

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    I only tripped a protection circuit once, don't recall what mode I was in, but it was not moonlight (as I was walking my dog). Battery didn't recover, but 10 mins later I popped it in the charger and it started charging. Pulled it off in seconds and it read 3v (or a bit more). Still using that cell, AW 14500 ICR.

    I also had one protection circuit outright fail on an AW 17670. Dropped my light from waist height and it went black. Funny thing was that I was pulling my hair out trying to figure out what failed on the light, only to realize that it was actually the battery. Charger and jump start wouldn't reset it.

    My favorite lights are boost/buck, AA/14500 (0.9-4.2v), mechanical clicky lights... I use the heads with various battery tube configs, and in a pinch can always rig them to run on ANY battery.
     
  13. Westerdutch

    Westerdutch Loaded Pockets

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    3v on a li-ion is darn near broken (3,4-3,5v open voltage can be considered 0% charge left) but i've seen protection circuits allowing voltages as low as 2.75 volt because of voltage sag under load. But yeah, if it happens once or twice and you are quick to recover the cell damage can be kept to a minimal.