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will an old, unused Li battery be a risk?

Discussion in 'Laptops' started by scrunchy2k, Jul 15, 2005.

  1. scrunchy2k

    scrunchy2k Guest


    A friend who is shutting down his computer store
    discovered that he literally has has a 5 year old
    laptop "new" in a sealed box, and he is willing
    to sell it to me.

    It's a rare opportunity for me to buy a computer
    that would be usable, more or less, and it's a
    model that I've owned and enjoyed in the past.

    However it does have the two unused batteries in it
    that have sat never-used for these 5 years.

    One is a coin-shaped lithium battery, replacement
    cost $15.

    The other is a typical Lithium-Ion laptop battery
    that would cost $150 to replace, if I could even
    get one.

    My question is, is there any risk either that

    (A) either battery has begun leaking acid, keeping
    in mind that they are lithium-based not Alkaline

    (B) that either battery may be ready to explode.

    Thanks for any help!
    scrunchy2k, Jul 15, 2005
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  2. scrunchy2k

    Paul Rubin Guest

    I don't think either battery is likely to explode, but lithium ion
    rechargeable batteries tend to wear out over time, even if unused. So
    that battery will probably not hold as large a charge as it would when
    it was new.

    Any 5 year old laptop isn't worth much regardless. So don't pay too much.
    Paul Rubin, Jul 15, 2005
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  3. The battery may or may not be good, but if it's properly designed, it
    should not be hazardous. Actually, lithium batteries can last more than
    a decade, and I would not be surprised if it's still good.
    Barry Watzman, Jul 16, 2005
  4. Lithium batteries are more stable and last longer than any other battery
    chemical system. There are plenty of 10-year old lithium batteries that
    are still alive and kicking.
    Barry Watzman, Jul 16, 2005
  5. scrunchy2k

    Paul Rubin Guest

    We're talking about lithium ion rechargeable batteries, not lithium
    primaries. The rechargeables do lose capacity over time, especially
    at high temperatures.
    Paul Rubin, Jul 16, 2005
  6. scrunchy2k

    J. Clarke Guest

    In this case the battery has been sitting on a shelf, uncharged, for 5 years
    apparently. It's very likely that it has self-discharged below the
    threshold at which its self-protective circuitry prevents recharge.

    A lithium primary cell would still be good, but this is not a primary cell.
    J. Clarke, Jul 16, 2005
  7. scrunchy2k

    budgie Guest

    and to clarify what Barry said, "There are plenty of 10-year old lithium-ion
    batteries that are still alive and kicking." I have one in an Acer laptop that
    is 9-odd years old and still delivers over half its intial rated endurance.
    budgie, Jul 16, 2005
  8. scrunchy2k

    bobb Guest

    Battery issue aside, u wanna go into eBay and checkout how much people
    are unloading the said machine

    If your business is looking for quick free consulting,
    please ignore my replies. I only wish to reply to other
    engineers/administrators and home users who are stuck
    and not interested to give your business free consulting.

    Thank you.
    bobb, Jul 16, 2005
  9. scrunchy2k

    J. Clarke Guest

    Have you ever let it sit on a shelf for five years without charging it? IN
    USE they'll last a long time. If they aren't kept charged they
    self-discharge below the threshold at which they can be recharged.
    J. Clarke, Jul 16, 2005
  10. My pedometer, that I just started using after having it for more than
    one year, has this type of battery, and it doesn't have a switch to
    turn it off. I think that says something...

    Tom MacIntyre, Jul 16, 2005
  11. scrunchy2k

    JHEM Guest

    Different type of "lithium" battery and doesn't have anything to do with the
    JHEM, Jul 16, 2005
  12. scrunchy2k

    J. Clarke Guest

    That's not a lithium-ion rechargeable.
    J. Clarke, Jul 16, 2005
  13. No arugment that it's not going to be as good as a new battery, and it
    may be no good at all, but this is a battery that has been stored,
    unused, at presumably room temperature for 5 years. The chances that it
    is still "good" [if not in "new" condition] are quite high. Many of
    these batteries last more than a decade, and this one has zero "cycles"
    Barry Watzman, Jul 16, 2005
  14. I have over a dozen 1996 to 1998 Toshiba PA2487 batteries that still
    deliver more then 75% of their new capacity (that will still run a
    490CDT Pentium II laptop for more than 2 hours with all power management
    turned off and everything -- including screen backlight and hard drive
    -- running continuously for the whole time).
    Barry Watzman, Jul 16, 2005
  15. That's a fair enough concern, it would be interesting to hear back from
    the original poster as to what the status of this particular battery
    actually was (and I'd also like to know the make/model of the computer).

    I do accept your premise as a possibility, I don't accept it as a
    certainty. I do a lot of work with old laptops, many from the 1996-1998
    era. Quite a few of these have batteries in them, and have been sitting
    on a shelf or in a drawer for a long time (years) with batteries in them
    (which is even worse, because there is some current draw). Many, many
    of these batteries are then fully chargeable and functional, while
    others are indeed totally and irrecoverably dead (but may have been so
    when the laptop was last in service).
    Barry Watzman, Jul 16, 2005
  16. scrunchy2k

    J. Clarke Guest

    FWIW, I encountered this with my old Thinkpad 770, which a friend's daughter
    was going to take to college with her. It had been sitting for a couple of
    years, had been working fine when I last turned it on, but was dead and
    wouldn't charge after sitting. Got a new battery for it and it was fine.
    She had a tantrum when she found out that the disk wasn't big enough to
    hold her MP3 collection but that's another story . . .

    Seems to depend on the charging circuit too--I have an external charger for
    Sony Infolithium batteries--if I let them sit too long it won't charge them
    but they charge fine in the camera.

    So I wouldn't be so bold as to say that it was certain to happen, but I
    would be so bold as to say that before I paid money for a machine that had
    been sitting that long I'd want to know for sure.
    J. Clarke, Jul 16, 2005
  17. scrunchy2k

    Paul Rubin Guest

    I don't think there's any obstacle to putting a larger disc in a 770.
    I still have a 770 and intend to do that sooner or later. A 770 would
    make a nice mp3 player and I might set mine up that way. It's just
    sitting in a box doing nothing right now.
    Paul Rubin, Jul 16, 2005
  18. scrunchy2k

    budgie Guest

    As a commercial Li_ion charger designer, I have done a fair amount of both cycle
    testing and storage testing. After 2 years at room temperatures, a pack of
    three 18650 cells had lost about 10% charge, and that was from full charge. The
    best charge state for long-term storage - and the state in which new packs are
    far more likely to be delivered - will certainly lose no more than this.

    Also, when cell/pack voltage drops below the recharge threshold this does NOT
    preclude recharging. Rather, the pack exhibits a high impedance to the charger
    and absorbs only a "qualifying" charge (similar to under-temperature behaviour)
    until that threshold is reached, at which time normal charging resumes.

    That threshold is not a "death sentence" as you infer. It is applied for two
    purposes. Firstly, to protect the cells against further discharge and possible
    descent into unstable conditions. Secondly, to ensure that "normal" charge
    levels aren't able to be imposed on cells at that SOC.
    budgie, Jul 17, 2005
  19. scrunchy2k

    Chris Jones Guest

    The battery pack will have a few chips inside it to protect you from most
    kinds of fire risk. I have heard that it is unwise to recharge a lithium
    batter that has flattened below a certain voltage ( I think it was
    1.5V/cell but can't remember for sure). In any case the chips inside the
    pack would protect you by refusing to recharge if it is dangerous. To be
    on the safe side, for the first couple of charge-discharge cycles, you
    could keep it in a non-flamable area e.g. on a concrete or metal surface
    and supervise it.

    Chris Jones, Jul 17, 2005
  20. scrunchy2k

    J. Clarke Guest

    Was that sitting on a shelf by themselves or installed in a laptop?
    So if I had let my Thinkpad charge for _another_ two weeks it would have
    charged up? I don't think so.

    Don't assume that everybody designs things the same way you would design
    J. Clarke, Jul 17, 2005
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