Making your lithium-ion batteries can be easy if you have the necessary tools and a source for individual Li-ion cells. For those who like getting practical instead of buying the battery packs itself, creating your own helps you understand li-ion batteries in detail. It gives you a clear image of the underlying system instilled in such a battery pack. It helps you understand, in detail, the actual functioning and design of lithium-ion battery packs.
When making a lithium-ion battery pack, you would need a few tools/materials that can be acquired at your home while others can be purchased. Here are some of the tools you would need:
· Multimeter (used to measure the cell voltage and charging amps)
· Transformers (a high amp and low amp transformer)
· Laptop batteries
· Thick wires (10A or more)
· Wire strippers
· Small wires
· Solder and soldering iron
· Electrical tape
· Crocodile clips (To connect to the transformers for charging)
· Flathead screwdriver (for opening the laptop batteries)
· Scissors (separate battery connections)
· Fuse (preferably 10A)
How do you make a DIY professional Li-ion battery pack?
Lithium batteries can turn out to be extremely dangerous if mishandled or mistreated. It is recommended that you take extra precaution when making a Li-ion battery pack as any fault in the procedures can lead to disastrous results. One should carefully follow the guideline and procedures given to maintain a safe environment for them and the battery pack itself.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are safely protected from any unintended or unexpected occurrences before commencing. Here are the steps you need to make when building your Li-ion battery pack:
Step 1: Opening the laptop battery pack and removing the li-ion cells in it
First and foremost, you would need to open the battery case. It may seem difficult using your bare hands as the casing is designed to be tamper-proof. The most preferred method is using a flat head screwdriver by fixing it into the joint of the casing. Rotate the screwdriver to open the casing all along the joint until the whole cover is removable.
Precaution should thus be taken when extracting the cells to avoid damaging them. Carefully and slowly bend the case to open the battery joints and to use the scissors, place it between the cells and cut the metal connecting them. Pull the batteries out carefully as you cut the metal to separate each cell from the other.
Step 2: Check the voltage and charge the cells
You should check the voltage present in each cell, using a battery tester if necessary. Typically, a cell that registers a voltage of over 3V can be charged normally. If the voltage seems to be below 3V, charging needs to be done slowly. For proper charging, connect the batteries in series to the high amp transformer using crocodile clips. One should connect the transformer for a few seconds and register the current change depending on your cells’ capacities. This would help you derive the right current to use for charging.
While charging, it is advisable to measure the voltage of the cells regularly of about every 10 minutes until you find out how long it would take with your transformer. Each cell should reach a maximum of 4V, and you should note that overcharging them could lead to damage or even explosions.
Using an automatic lithium-ion charger could help ease the work of constantly having to monitor the cells as they charge. Always check for the right current before you begin to charge the cells.
Step 3: Connecting the cells to create a battery pack
One needs to take extra precaution on this step as you can accidentally connect the batteries and end up shorting them out. This could lead to a significant rise in temperatures, which could ultimately result in a fire. You should never connect the positive (+) and negative (-) terminals of the same battery without a load.
You should firstly decide on the number of cells you want in a parallel and series formation. Cut the metal tabs to make them shorter. Put the first set of the cells together and tape them using the electrical tape available. Solder the short pieces of wire to the end terminals of the cells and connect the + terminal of the first cell to the – terminal of the second cell. Connect the + terminal of the second cell to the – terminal of the third cell. Continue this trend until all terminals are represented.
Step 4: Connecting the different packs
It is advisable to connect the packs in a way that makes them easily disconnected for recharging.
Step 5: Charging the battery pack
With the right charger, one can charge the whole battery pack at once. During charging, it is essential to ensure that the cells are balanced, checked, and the low voltage cells charged extra. One should expect the same charge for the same type of cells, with only small differences that cause uneven charging.
Step 6: Testing the battery
Just like a vehicle after the repair, it is also essential that you test your battery pack. It is only when you discharge the battery pack will you be sure to find out if any of the cells may be damaged.
Comparing making to buying Li-ion battery pack
While making a battery pack sounds like fun and educational, it exposes you to many safety risks that can occur due to unexpected failures. Making li-ion batteries is a very standard procedure as compared to buying new packs. This is because all you need for your crafts are household items found in and around your home. The functionality of the pack depends on the number of cells used, and the procedure followed in creating one.
While buying a li-ion pack may be costly, it is deemed as the safest solution. This is because packs have been manufactured regarding the necessary guidelines following the required standards. You can be assured of safety with new battery packs rather than base your creativity on building videos and messing up big time.
If you’re interested in building your own lithium-ion battery pack, it might be a good chance for you to explore the opportunities and educational value that such a trait has to offer. However, one must ensure they follow the right procedures to prevent endangering themselves and the batteries too.