Lithium battery power tool

DaveJaksha

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Hey guys. Just had an adventure.

I am a big proponent of cordless power tools. I have many Ryobi 18V tools and have been very pleased with their performance. I purchased a new 6 Ah
pack from Amazon.
I had received this battery pack about 2 days after I ordered it. The battery test button indicated 2 lights, about 1/2 charge, so I put in into my Ryobi battery charger located in my garage where I work on my gyro.
About hour later my wife heard a noise in our attached garage off of the kitchen and opened the door and started screaming. I came running and the battery pack was in the process of exploding. There was a ball of fire at least 3 ft in diameter, and every few seconds it would shot out flames like a Roman candle.. I had two cans for Cold Fire fire extinguishers nearby and emptied both onto the battery and charger and managed to kill the flames. I was able to grab the power cord, yank it out of the wall and toss The whole thing out onto the driveway. Black soot everywhere in the garage. Surprisingly we found a light coating of the soot though out the house. Talk about excitement! I immediately called Amazon, and they refunded the cost of the battery, but would not consider replacing the battery charger or the two cans of fire extinguishers I used to put out the fire. My damage was over almost $100 dollars for chargers and extinguishers. I have used these tools for years without any issues. I am sure we have all seen examples on YouTube of these batteries exploding, but I was impressed by the size and ferocity of this 6 Ah battery. Also, I am really glad I had purchase two of those “Cold Fire” fire extinguishers. The first extinguisher knocked down the fire right away. After I emptied the first extinguisher the battery was still smoldering so I used the second just to make sure it did not ignite again. Sure makes me reconsider my habit of leaving batteries in the charger, and where I place the charger.

Cheers

Dave
 

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Brian Jackson

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Wow! I am glad it was not more destructive and you caught it in time. What would make me nervous is if a similar type battery were used on a plane without a way of ejecting it in case of a failure like this. I am ignorant of battery technology, but I can appreciate why airlines are so cautious about these things in the luggage holds. There is a lot of energy density in a package made with questionable / unverifiable quality control. I would imagine as these things proliferate we can expect more incidents like this. You were very lucky.
 

DaveJaksha

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Brian, yes very lucky. If my wife had not been near the door to the garage, we would never have known what was happening. I just ordered two fire alarms that can be linked wirelessly. One in the garage and one in the house. So, one goes off, the other does also. In addition, the fire alarm announces which location is sensing the fire.

Supermotive. Sorry but I don’t understand your question....probe of the battery?
 

DaveJaksha

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I figured it was some sort of spell check thing....Ryobi.
I have had both Ryobi and Milwaukee tools for years. Never had anything like this happen. I have had battery packs fail to charge before. Autopsy has shown that the fault has always been a shorted cell.

Dave
 

thomasant

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Dave,
Thank you for posting this. I am in the habit of leaving my LI ion batteries untended while charging. Wow! these things are deadly if they explode. They are coming out with more powerful ones these days. I'll be very careful in future.

Also great info about the fire alarms that can be linked wirelessly. I had a lightning strike four years ago that set fire to a portion of the roof in the attic. Had no idea that it was on fire till a guy driving along the road came and banged on the door saying that smoke was coming up from our roof!
 

Supermotive

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I recommend sticking to P107 and P108 for Ryobi batteries. The newer architectures are more finicky. Each 18650 LiMO cell (a P108 has 10 cells) has the energy of a hand grenade. They must be respected. NEVER buy a non branded tool battery or charger!!!
 

DaveJaksha

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Dave,
Thank you for posting this. I am in the habit of leaving my LI ion batteries untended while charging. Wow! these things are deadly if they explode. They are coming out with more powerful ones these days. I'll be very careful in future.

Also great info about the fire alarms that can be linked wirelessly. I had a lightning strike four years ago that set fire to a portion of the roof in the attic. Had no idea that it was on fire till a guy driving along the road came and banged on the door saying that smoke was coming up from our roof!
Tomasant, here is a link to the Amazon fire alarms I purchased.

Dave
 

XXavier

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The high energy density of these modern batteries comes sometimes at a price... I remember now that my ELA gyro came from factory with a Li-ion starter battery...
 

Supermotive

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What if, and this is a hypothetical, the charger or the battery had a flaw, that caused a cell to overcharge, causing lithiation to the cathode, bridging ions all the way to the separator (which is pretty darn close in a high power density jelly roll), and hence causing an electrochemical anode-cathode short circuit, through the separator, and then resulting in a thermal runaway senario, which may or may not cause the steel to let go (PV=nRT where V is constant in an 18650 cell), and a lot of lithium meeting up with oxygen? just a hypothetical of course. What if the company was a Chinese company, that is buying out and/or destroying all the American suppliers (ie Sears Craftsman), and what if said company knew your battery and/or charger was defective, what if CISP is also aware of the issue, and... I could keep going. I am not advising you, but someone else might say "call them and let them know what happened and, tell them you want fair and reasonable compensation or CNN...". All hypotheticals of course. Cheers.
 
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All_In

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Wow!! Thanks for the heads up.
 

PW_Plack

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There are lots of no-name or counterfeit lithium batteries for sale online. As seldon as they're needed, I'd rather buy direct from the manufacturer. Even if the battery has no manufacturing defects, it may not handle the charging current for which the OEM battery and charger are designed.

Tell them your Ryobi battery exploded on your Ryobi charger, and you want to talk to Product Safety. If you don't get a lot of new goodies, let me know.
If it was truly a Ryobi battery, this might be a good idea. But it will be hard now to evaluate the battery for authenticity, and damaged lithium batteries cannot be shipped legally for forensic inspection by the factory.
 

Supermotive

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If it was truly a Ryobi battery, this might be a good idea. But it will be hard now to evaluate the battery for authenticity, and damaged lithium batteries cannot be shipped legally for forensic inspection by the factory.
Trust me. It will not be a problem...
 

gyroplanes

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Users of the DJ drone I purchased said you should build a fireproof box (fire bricks, steel case , etc.) to use when charging. If your battery swells up, it is a sign of trouble. There are plenty of these exploding LI ON batteries on You tube. Be safe.
 

Supermotive

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That is right. People with DJI products should always use DJI batteries and chargers. My stepfather bought a non branded battery for his DJI Phantom 3. Guess what? It soared to 160 feet AGL, flipped over, then dive bombed to the ground. DJIs are normally very stable and don’t dive bomb. Perhaps the programmers of the drone electronics aren’t too keen on using non DJI batteries.
 

Brian Jackson

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I had been fond of the idea of using one as a starter battery for my 503 but may go the way of the airlines and play it safe. I don't know the consequences of an explosion in flight, or how to encapsulate it sufficiently to prevent a catastrophe in the event of an explosion. They are attractive as a small, lightweight alternative to the more common variety, but anything above a 0% chance of failure would make me nervous to fly with.
 
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