The World’s Most Dangerous Battery
Lithium Polymer batteries are slim, light weight and have a high power density that gives you a longer battery life. Also known as Li-Poly or Li-Po, this is considered an upgraded version of the lithium-ion battery. Because of its light weight design, you will find these in Apple iPhones®, iPods®, MacBooks®, Sony PSP, PDAs and many more devices. Manufacturers have been declaring upwards of 500 charge-discharge cycles before the capacity drops to 80%. The thin film rechargeable lithium battery has been shown to provide more than 10,000 discharge cycles!
Unlike the Lithium-Ion battery which is usually made up of cylindrical type cells inside of the battery casing; the Li-Po battery cells are small laminated sheets that come in a foil type pouch (similar to a food package). Although the charging and discharging characteristics resemble the Lithium-Ion type batteries, a Li-Po battery should be closely monitored during the charging process. During a charge the foil package may swell due to gas build up – if overcharging occurs this will damage the battery and possibly the device.
Of course there are always dangers with any type of battery. Use common sense when handling batteries. Here are some safeguards to prevent injury or damage to your personal property when using or charging a Li-Po Battery:
- Only use a charger designed for the specific type of Lithium Polymer Battery or device.
- Never Charge Lithium Polymer Batteries unattended.
- Do not overcharge lithium polymer batteries. (Please refer to your manual for overcharge limits).
- Never charge a lithium polymer battery at a faster rate than recommended.
- If the battery becomes hot to touch, switch off immediately.
- Always store lithium polymer batteries in a safe place, like a metal box.
- Only charge the batteries on a non-flammable non-conducting surface, such as bare cement floor.
- Do not charge the battery inside a model plane, car, furniture, wood/floor/carpet, or anywhere near flammable material.
Mishandling of any battery can lead to explosions, fire, smoke, and risk of poisoning. There may be a slight chance the battery pack could combust due to unmatched cells in capacity or voltage, damaged cells, charger failure, charger settings errors or many other factors. Here is an example of a swollen Lithium Polymer battery:
Bottom line is always exercise precaution when handling batteries. Never leave a device that is charging alone and follow the simple steps above. For more information on how to handle a battery, please visit our Battery Handling Safety page.