I have a very cheap, ebay 18650 li-ion battery. I was removing it from a battery holder, and as I was doing so, I noticed a bit of smoke. I quickly got it out and took it outside. It's winter. I set it down on some clear pavement, and brought it back inside now that it's cold. I think it's safe now as far as thermal runaway is concerned. What steps should I take from here? The amount of smoke I saw was equivalent to putting a tiny bit of solder on a soldering iron. How should I dispose of this? YES: I am aware that cheap batteries have inherent risks. OBVIOUSLY these aren't 9800mAh like they claim.

EDIT: I have to leave the house soon for an event, what can I do with it while I'm away?!

  • \$\begingroup\$ "OBVIOUSLY these aren't 9800mAh like they claim" - why did you mention the capacity? Are you assuming that 9800mAh capacity means you can pull 9.8A from one? \$\endgroup\$ – Polynomial Jan 22 '17 at 0:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Polynomial, that's not how mAh work. mAh is - theoretically- how many mA can be pulled for an hour before the battery is empty. It corresponds to the capacity. C rating might be more like what you're talking about. A 9800mAh 18650 is currently impossible with current technology. \$\endgroup\$ – Bobdabiulder Jan 22 '17 at 3:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DaveTweed Sorry, but I don't think this is a question about the use of electronic devices, as it is intended in the help center. It is about safety procedures regarding a potentially dangerous electronic part. IMO, that caveat in the help is there to avoid questions about, for instance, turning on/off a PC, setting the knobs on an equalizer or connecting cables to an amplifier. This question, IMO, is on topic, as it would be on topic to ask what to do with a, say, 1kW electric motor having a damaged winding. \$\endgroup\$ – Lorenzo Donati -- Codidact.com Jan 22 '17 at 9:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DaveTweed Safety procedures and practices regarding EE should be always on topic, IMO, especially because this site is not specifically targeted at professionals, but at hobbyists and students, too. Voting to reopen. \$\endgroup\$ – Lorenzo Donati -- Codidact.com Jan 22 '17 at 9:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Bobdabiulder That was what I was trying to get across. It sounded like you'd assumed that 9800mAh meant "I can pull 9.8A continuously", which would explain the battery fire! \$\endgroup\$ – Polynomial Jan 22 '17 at 10:51

First of all: DONT'USE IT!

There is no completely safe way to reuse it. You should definitely dispose of it. The way you can dispose of it depends on your local regulations.

In some countries there are specific services which can be used to dispose of dangerous waste. You should contact your local recycling center/office and ask for specific advice.

In the meantime, keep it away from anything that can catch fire. To avoid the consequences of an explosion, you should lock it in a robust container made of non-flammable material. Don't keep it inside your house. Don't keep it where it can be exposed to extreme temperatures.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I have it on an icepack with some thin plastic to prevent the condensation from getting to it. I also have a general purpose fire extinguisher(A/B/C) on standby. \$\endgroup\$ – Bobdabiulder Jan 21 '17 at 19:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Bobdabiulder I'm not sure what's an icepack. Keeping the extinguisher at hand is good. \$\endgroup\$ – Lorenzo Donati -- Codidact.com Jan 21 '17 at 19:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Bobdabiulder Note that a small fire extinguisher may not put out the fire from a lithium cell because the cell contains both the fuel and the oxidiser. Dropping it into a large bucket of cold water is likely to be effective. Of course, you can use the fire extinguisher to put out any other fires it created. Or you could have a bucket of sand to hand, as you are not in the territory of Sand Won’t Save You This Time. However, you should not put yourself in that situation in the first place. \$\endgroup\$ – Andrew Morton Jan 21 '17 at 21:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ I should point out that LiPo batteries aren't inherently dangerous. They just require careful use and fail in a particularly violent way if you mistreat them. Proper balance charging, appropriate physical storage, and overcurrent protection are fairly important. \$\endgroup\$ – Polynomial Jan 22 '17 at 0:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ They were balanced, the issue was getting them out of the holder. I may have caused internal structural damage in the process. \$\endgroup\$ – Bobdabiulder Jan 22 '17 at 3:48

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