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I was attempting to charge a LiPo battery using a bench power supply as described by Dave Jones.

The battery is a PowerTech 18650 2600 mAh 3.7V model SB2308. The datasheet appears to be here.


The relevant part of the datasheet is:

SB2308 specs


I didn't quite understand the charging rate of 0.2C5 A - would that be 0.25 C (650 mA)? I thought that, if you used the units symbol in the middle of the number it would be at the decimal position (ie. "0C25 A").

To be safe I charged at 0.2C (520 mA) with the supply configured to switch to constant voltage at 4.18V.


I charged for almost 5 hours, monitoring the voltage, like this:

Charging voltage


However at the end of that time I noticed that the cathode was about 75°C, and the anode was about 95°C. This seems somewhat hot to me. The datasheet says the charge temperature should be 25°C, but I took that to be the ambient temperature, not the battery terminal temperature.

My questions are:

  • Is a terminal temperature during charging of 95°C too high?
  • If so, what should it be?
  • If so, why would this have happened to a new battery? In other words, what is wrong with my technique?
  • Is it possible that charging at a lower than recommended rate be the reason?

The battery had been discharged at 520 mA rate to 3V before charging commenced.


How did you measure the terminal temperatures, and what temperature did the main body of the cell get up to?

I had been periodically touching the cell body with my finger, and it seemed to stay at room temperature. I accidentally brushed my finger against the terminal and got a mild burn. At that stage I tested the temperature with the temperature probe from my multimeter.


But maybe the heat is coming from the charger or a poor connection at one of the terminals is heating up, etc.

I didn't think of that, but perhaps a slightly poor connection between the battery holder and the battery terminal, carrying half an amp for hours, would heat it up.


Some comments and answers have suggested that there was a poor connection between the battery holder and the battery. Below are images of the terminals in question:

Cathode terminal

Anode terminal

The cathode in particular seems to have a blob of plastic or something on top of it. Measurement with a multimeter seems to indicate that there might be a resistance of 10 ohms depending on where the contact is made.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps 5 is meant to be a subscript, is there a parameter labelled C5? \$\endgroup\$ – immibis Oct 12 '17 at 22:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ How did you measure the terminal temperatures, and what temperature did the main body of the cell get up to? \$\endgroup\$ – Bruce Abbott Oct 13 '17 at 0:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ That is a very conservative charge rate. There is absolutely no way that the terminals of a 2.6Ah Li cell should heat up to 70C during a 520mA charge. Something is very wrong. If the heat is coming from the cell itself, you need to get rid of the cell. But maybe the heat is coming from the charger or a poor connection at one of the terminals is heating up, etc. \$\endgroup\$ – mkeith Oct 13 '17 at 3:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ See amended question, with answers to questions in comments. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Gammon Oct 13 '17 at 4:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ I know I'm not supposed to say this, but you have been very helpful. The comments and the answer I have received have clarified the situation perfectly. Stack Exchange at its best! \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Gammon Oct 15 '17 at 8:40
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In normal batteries, the charge energy goes into chemical change, and therefore is not dissipated as Joule heat. As result, normal battery should hold its temperature slightly above the ambient since there is still one source of parasitic heat dissipation - the internal series resistance of the battery.

If the battery is new and allows 8 A discharge current per specs, I would estimate its ESR as 0.5 V/ 8 A ~ 60 - 70 mOhms. At the 0.5 A charge rate this would lead to losses (dissipation) less than 20 mW, which should lead to a tiny warmth of the cell's body, and will be barely noticeable given the mechanical size of 18650 cell.

This cell, in accord with specifications, has about 10 W-hr capacity. According to submitted chart, you already have dumped about 9 W-hours of electricity into it. A normal 4.2-V cell should have reached the End-of-Charge Voltage (4.2V) by that time. But it didn't. It means that your charging arrangement must have some other losses, likely a poor (oxidized) connectors of your battery holder, as mkeith suggested.

The cell standard charge is 0.2C (or 520 mA) per specs, it is the absolutely safe charging level.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I have amended the question to add images of the terminals. One in particular seems to have some sort of dirt/plastic on top of it. How would you recommend fixing this? Cleaning with alcohol swab? Filing the terminals to be cleaner? \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Gammon Oct 13 '17 at 9:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Spring-like contacts, once exposed to battery chemical spills or just general corrosion, are impossible to restore in kitchen conditions. Cheap contacts have skinny finish, and the exposed bare metal continues to deteriorate with time. To restore the contact for short term, I use a Dremel tool with brass rotary brush. The contacts would work for a couple of days. At least it might solve the mystery of your hot terminals. \$\endgroup\$ – Ale..chenski Oct 13 '17 at 16:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ It looks like you must be right. I thought a massive increase in heat by the cell itself was unwarranted. I'm not sure how to resolve the battery holder issue, except perhaps to rotate the battery once installed to try to get a good contact, and also monitor the terminal temperature. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Gammon Oct 13 '17 at 20:13

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