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18650 Battery Cell-Recharge, Care, and Safety
18650 cells are a type of lithium-ion rechargeable battery. The cell has 3.7 volts and 1800 to 3500 mile-amp-hours. It is used in electronics, electric vehicles, vaping, and flashlights. In addition to that, it is categorized into two namely protected and unprotected. 18650 protected cells contain an electronic circuit.
This circuit is inside the cell and protects it from overcharge and over-discharge on short circuit or current. On the other hand, the unprotected cell has no electronic circuit. For this reason, the protected cell is recommended when it comes to safety. In this article, we shall discuss 18650 recharge, care, and safety.
Are 18650 battery cells rechargeable?
18650 cells are the best rechargeable battery that can be recharged several times. It can take 300 to 2000times. Recharge cycles vary in batteries. Let us take an example of filling a bucket, it gets filled up and leaves no room. As the cell continues to be recharged, it degrades because of electrochemical degradation and oxidation. This situation happens in all rechargeable batteries including AA, AAA, 26650, 21700, car battery, and 14500.
The number of recharges affects the battery's life cycle. It is recommended to measure when you want to deplete from 3.7volts before recharging. Also, you can decide to use the device until it shows the need for replacement. As an example, a flashlight will go dim or run out. Moreover, you should invest in a good charger.
It can tell the voltage of a cell. As a result of this, you will be able to know the battery's life in many devices. 18650 models have different cycles hence it is hard to match device and battery life cycle. Furthermore, 18650 batteries can lock the device when it is below 18650.
Use specific chargers with integrated protection circuit when charging the battery. Rechargeable charger for 18650 saves us from tension, money, and tears in case power is unavailable. The batteries have high voltage, good performance, long life, and high capacity hence needs good chargers. The protection circuit needs to have a protection circuit which has over-discharge, overcharge as well as overcurrent.
How do you charge a 18650 battery cell properly?
Charging lithium-based batteries is easier compared to nickel-based cells. It has a straight forward circuit. On top of that, current and voltage problems can be accommodated easily. It is difficult to analyze complex voltage seeing that they change as the battery becomes old. The process of charging is intermittent and lithium-based cells do not require saturation like lead-acid cells. As a result, it gives the storage of renewable energy like wind turbines and solar panels.
You need a safe charger to charger lithium-based batteries. Battery chemistries can be dangerous hence explode if charged with extreme volts. Common 18650 batteries can withstand a specific charger with 4.35v. It drops to 3.6 to 3.8volts after charging current is introduced. Be sure you buy a good quality charger from legit suppliers and you are good to go. There are many bad chargers in the market. You can review websites that test batteries and chargers.
Use lithium-ion charger when you do not have a specific charger for 18650 battery cells. Lithium-ion has different voltage with other types of batteries that can cause accidents. Select acceptable current and charging voltage. Most 18650 cells have a charging voltage of 4.2V and 2A charge current.
These two features will help you to choose a proper charger for the charging process. Therefore, you require an output that provides limited voltage and current. Henceforth, charge one cell at a time to avoid a series of balancing problems. Above and over that, be cautious not to place cells into parallel before equalizing voltage.
How do you choose a safe 18650 battery cell?
18650 cells have the best performance when it comes to rechargeable batteries. However, they are not built equally with the same application in mind. There are several important features to consider in 18650 batteries. A wrong battery will damage the cell thus lower lifespan. Here are things to consider.
Unprotected vs. Protected
You will need to select protected or unprotected when purchasing 18650 batteries. Protected cells have an electronic circuit that protects the cell from extreme temperature, short circuit, excess discharge, and charge. Also, they are made with a valve that stops permanently in case the pressure is too high. This helps to prevent dangers. On the contrary, unprotected cells have no circuit. For this reason, they are cheap and prone to dangers. You should be extra careful when you choose unprotected cells.
You should pay attention to amperage capacity or continuous discharge rate. Make sure excess power is not drawn from the cell or overheats. Match continuous discharge rating of the cell with power drawn from the device. This will help to find a safe battery. Cover contacts with a plastic case to prevent danger.
Manufacturer or Brand
Consider the brand when choosing a safe 18650 battery. Manufacturers have a goal of selling batteries and some companies can exaggerate ratings. The four major brands you can trust are; Sony, Samsung, LG, Sanyo, or Panasonic. Other improved brands are Imren, Vapcell, Efest, and MXJO. The highest rated 18650 battery has 3600mAh. Therefore, anything above that can be false.
Battery should not reach a high temperature and become hot. A cell that rises above 45C ages fast. Additionally, they are dangerous hence burst. Select a cell with a high CDR rating. The battery should range from 3.0V to 4.0v. These wills double the life cycle.
18650 batteries are used in several applications including Tesla vehicles. Most people prefer to use 18650 batteries because of their safety. Even though unprotected 18650 is cheap, it is not recommended for use. The cell stores power for 10 to 13 hours then recharged. Additionally, recharging a battery will impact its life cycle. It is advised to measure the volts before recharging. You can get a good battery charger to show voltage. Follow, manufacturers' instruction on safety and charging rules to increase the life cycle. Above and over, any corroded, damaged, or leaking cell should be taken to a battery recycling center. This will help to prevent accidents and fire risk.