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Tough love for the industry's lithium addiction

Discussion in 'General Scuba Equipment Discussions' started by 2airishuman, Sep 4, 2019.

  1. Storker

    Storker Divemaster

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: close to a Hell which occasionally freezes over
    Clearly you're "nobody" then.
  2. soldsoul4foos

    soldsoul4foos ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Portland, ME
    So here's a thought maybe someone can shed some light on. If these lithium batteries are SO dangerous, why isn't it common place for houses to be igniting routinely because of them. They must be being used on more than just dive boats no? If it were that much of a risk, I would expect to see house fires galore being started by this.
  3. fmerkel

    fmerkel Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Salish Sea (Seattle)
    One possibility might be the difference between a regular Li-on user (so routine charging also), vs someone that seldom or never uses Li-on lights and batteries until they go on a destination dive.

    Their knowledge of these devices is often pretty minimal, to non-existent. People mostly focus on the LIGHT. You have to be a bit more sophisticated to recognize how important the battery and charger are. Even then most people don't buy analyzing chargers, and often don't even have a digital voltmeter to validate battery state (low and high charge) and charger voltage termination.

    Since they seldom use them, the tendency is to go cheap. It's just a light not "life support". Requests like that are common on SB. It's kind of assumed that if it's bright and doesn't flood it's fine. That unfortunately just isn't so.

    (Note - a separate group is the contingent that is sorely disappointed when a battery does not reach exactly 4.200000v when charged, pissed if much less, or horrified if it goes to 4.25v. You know who you are......:poke:)
  4. JohnnyC

    JohnnyC PADI Pro

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: United States
    So GENERALLY speaking, most Li-based battery chemistries that are in household items tend to be in products that are engineered with battery protection and charging circuitry in-situ. This significantly reduces the risk compared to unprotected bare cells and cheap chargers without intelligent monitoring capability, which are far more likely to be utilized in scuba gear.

    That isn't always the case, as evidenced by some very public issues with some consumer goods. However, cheaply produced outsourced goods are more likely to have issues with poor battery QC, poor or nonexistent protection circuitry, and all of the other compromises of cheap design and manufacture.
    cerich and fmerkel like this.
  5. Wookie

    Wookie Secret Field Agent ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    Something I've noticed with lithium battery chargers is that, if the charger is plugged in, and there is a battery in the charger, and the power blips, the charger goes back into charge mode. Is this weird that only happens with the fancy DeWalt batteries, or does it happen with every charger? is it a problem?
  6. fmerkel

    fmerkel Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Salish Sea (Seattle)
    It's charger dependent, some do, some don't. One problem that arises with this is if the default charging is different from what is in the charger or programmed to be charged at the time. It could potentially re-start in a mode that would overcharge if the batteries in there are not appropriate. Otherwise it 'should' simply re-start and if it found it had fully charged batteries it should shut down again.

    Note-There are some chargers that are simply NOT SAFE, due to this or other issues. I've already shared this link on charger reviews, and would encourage everyone to review chargers that you have, or use this list to help purchase good and safe chargers. If it's not on the list, don't buy it unless you know what you are doing.You don't have to have a really expensive, fancy charger, but you should have one that suits your needs, is safe, and is reliable. The one bay no-name chargers that come with a lot of lights are pretty much an unknown.

    Here's a very interesting link on some crap batteries that are minimally lame and potentially dangerous.

    A list of some of the Good batteries and some with Ridiculous Ratings
    shoredivr likes this.
  7. Brian G

    Brian G Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Pittsburgh
    This can happen with any type of charger depending on how smart it is. Charging is a process, and the charged state of a battery can't be determined until you either draw current from it or try to charge it. For lithium ion, the charger should stop charging at 4.2 volts. As soon as the charger stops charging, the battery voltage sags to a slightly lower value. When the supply power blips, the charger resets and typically assumes that a battery has been put in to charge. It then starts charging while measuring the battery voltage. Often it measures voltage every 1 second, so it will take a second to determine that the battery is at 4.2 volts and the charging should stop.
  8. martincohn

    martincohn Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: USA
    The thing everyone is forgetting. Sure there will end up being some new regs based on what happened on the west coast. But they will prob be US only. Who knows maybe UK, EU, might play as well.

    Now where are most of those dive boats we sleep on working?
  9. BFRedrocks

    BFRedrocks ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Phoenix, AZ
    Sorry if this was covered earlier, but what about Li-ion batteries used for heated undergarments? The bigger ones are 200 watt-hours +, so it's not just the scooters that would tend to use these higher power Li-ion batteries. Surely these would be needed to charge overnight as some of the bigger capacity ones can take over 12 hours to fully charge.
  10. rmssetc

    rmssetc Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Philadelphia
    I dunno.

    If infrequent use of Li-on batteries, especially unattended charging by under-educated divers on destination vacations was strongly correlated with battery fires, then I'd expect that every room in Casa Mexican and most of the other hotels in Cozumel, Key Largo, Utilla, Bonaire, etc, would be smoldering pits by now from all the fires resulting from overnight charging before the next day's dive.

    I'm not in any way disputing that Li-on battery fires are highly energetic and dangerous. However, a fire does seem to be a very rare event. A Li-on battery fire is quite dramatic, and almost by definition it is happening to a piece of equipment owned by someone who's got technical/gadget/electronic toys...which overlaps with the set of people who've got cameras nearby, post to social media, etc. In other words, these fires may be over-reported, proportional to their rate at which they occur.

    Of course, all of that stuff was just written by someone who began reading this thread and then promptly unplugged the battery that had been charging in the basement for a couple of weeks. :)
    KenGordon likes this.

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