I want to make a custom lithium-ion 18650 standard cell charger as I will be charging 100s of them (recycling old laptop batteries). Base on my research, lithium-ion cells use constant-current, constant-voltage charging. I'm thinking of using 5v and PWM using an Audrino with a feed back loop to maintain the constant current and voltage. Will the PWM ripple cause any damage to the Lithium ion cells? Is there any major short coming to my thinking?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @IgnacioVazquez-Abrams thanks! Sorry I'm new to this. If I infer correctly from the document, I use would be able to use PWM through a buck converter to charge the Lithium ion cells. Would it be possible to use all 6 pwm pin outs at once? Or would it make the feed back loop too slow? \$\endgroup\$
    – Melvin Foo
    Commented Jun 12, 2015 at 15:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ In my opinion, this is an impractical project. If you just want to learn about charging, then go for it. But if you just want to get the job done, buy a charger (check the flashlight forums for recommendations) or build one using dedicated charger IC's. CC/CV is just the beginning, you also need pre-charge to recover deeply discharged cells, charge termination due to low acceptance (you cannot float Lion at CV), and then charge tiemout as a safety backup. And you need to measure cell temp, and suspend charging at high temperatures. \$\endgroup\$
    – user57037
    Commented Jun 12, 2015 at 18:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ xtardirect.com/products/xp4-panzer-charger \$\endgroup\$
    – user57037
    Commented Jun 12, 2015 at 18:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Lithium cells are pretty touchy about the final charge voltage, go just a few tenths of a volt over and some of them become incindiary devices (18650s are more robust than the polymer pack cells found in many new slim laptops but anyway). You probably can do it with an arduino controlled buck (just be sure to carefully calibrate it), but it's probably easier, cheaper and faster to get an off-the-shelf charger. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sam
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 5:42

1 Answer 1


The cheapest way it to get a CC/CV Power Module from ebay.

For less than $2 you could get a good one which looks like this: enter image description here

For less than $6 you could get a fancier one which looks like this and which allows to monitor the charge better: enter image description here

If I needed to charge many cells I'd get 10-20 of the cheaper modules and create a rig with those. They have decent LED indicators for how charge is going.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure I'd trust the quality of the voltage regulation on those things, it doesn't take much extra voltage to make Li-ions go boom (ask me how I know) \$\endgroup\$
    – Sam
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 5:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ The voltage regulator is precise but of course you shouls also have a protection circuit or charge protected cells. If it doesn't have to be cheap of course the better solution is to use off the shelf chargers. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bogdan
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 13:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, well, if it's got protection, then it's alright, I thought you meant use just the regulator on it's own, protection circuitry makes everything better \$\endgroup\$
    – Sam
    Commented May 29, 2016 at 0:38

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