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Flashlights => Flashlight Components => Topic started by: gearhounds on September 29, 2011, 02:53:05 PM

Title: 18650 Battery Recycling
Post by: gearhounds on September 29, 2011, 02:53:05 PM
I've been doing this for a couple of years now, and have had so much success with it, I thought I'd share the info for those that aren't already doing it.

It started when an old Dell lap top battery pack went "bad", and I was curious what I would find inside it. When I opened the pack, I was surprised to find 18650 Li-ion batteries. Since that time, I have taken apart about 15 or so packs and kept some, given some away. Here is typically what happens.

I start with a "bad" battery pack. I say "bad" because the packs register on the computer as so. This time around I am working with an HP pack.
(http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww4/greahounds/18650/18650001.jpg)

The only tools I've needed for disassembly are :
(http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww4/greahounds/18650/18650015.jpg)

I start by finding a seam between halves of the pack housing.
(http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww4/greahounds/18650/18650002.jpg)

After gently prying the haves slightly apart with a heavy knife blade, I carefully insert a screwdriver blade and twist to seperate. Some packs pop right open, some (like this one) take a little more effort. Take care not to probe inside the pack; often some of the batteries have a good charge and can shock or ground out, and exposed circuit boards are still hot.
(http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww4/greahounds/18650/18650003.jpg)

Here is typically what you will see upon opening.
(http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww4/greahounds/18650/18650004.jpg)

The battery/electronics assembly generally pops right out.
(http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww4/greahounds/18650/18650005.jpg)

I have found batteries manufactured by LG, Samsung, Sanyo, Panasonic, and Sony. The power range has been anywhere from 2200mAh to 2600mAh. A little research shows this pack to contain LG 2200mAh batteries.
(http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww4/greahounds/18650/18650006.jpg)

I usually pull the battery packs apart in groups (the batteries are wired in parallel, and the parallel packs in series for the desired combination of voltage vs. mAh.
(http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww4/greahounds/18650/18650008.jpg)

Be very careful when separating the individual batteries. The tac-welded tabs are extremely sharp, especially when they are cut or torn. Use needle nose pliers for any tab removal.
(http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww4/greahounds/18650/18650007.jpg)

It has been my experience that when a pack goes bad, it is almost always the electronics. Most of the time, all the batteries are salvagable. Occasionally, 2 or so batteries are bad as a result of this. In this pack, 4 of the batteries read @3.6A and 2 read @2.73A; 2 of the batteries read 0.00A.
(http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww4/greahounds/18650/18650011.jpg)

After the tabs are pulled off, I gently dremel the weld points until the surface is flat to avoid damaging circuit boards or binding springs.
(http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww4/greahounds/18650/18650012.jpg)
(http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww4/greahounds/18650/18650014.jpg)

Occasionally, battery covers get scuffed; a little piece of scotch tape will eliminate contact in a light body tube.
(http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww4/greahounds/18650/18650009.jpg)

Into the charger they go for the final test.
(http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww4/greahounds/18650/18650016.jpg)

If you are good with soldering, flat tops become button top easily. Some surfaces just won't hold solder, and DO NOT ATTEMPT if not proficient. They won't be as pretty as real button tops, but will work fine.
(http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww4/greahounds/18650/18650017.jpg)

For storing your "new" batteries, the original pack halves often snap back together just fine. Also, if you have any friends with kids, these Gerber plastic containers are great for pairs.
(http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww4/greahounds/18650/18650010.jpg)
(http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww4/greahounds/18650/18650013.jpg)

I hope this was helpful to someone. I have recovered dozens of good batteries, and use them often. I have yet to kill a battery from overdrawing, but if I do, no great loss. Then I'll recycle it at Best Buy, or similar place that takes them.
Title: Re: 18650 Battery Recycling
Post by: zhanghaipin01 on January 17, 2012, 05:44:12 AM
The batter's quality very good
Title: Re: 18650 Battery Recycling
Post by: JamesLewis on February 07, 2012, 01:21:07 PM
How many members here have started doing this?
Title: Re: 18650 Battery Recycling
Post by: whitesue88 on June 14, 2012, 04:00:03 AM
Thanks very much for your sharing. :)
Title: Re: 18650 Battery Recycling
Post by: JacobGreen on June 25, 2012, 09:40:02 AM
Thanks for sharing with us. If this works, i will have a try. 
Title: Re: 18650 Battery Recycling
Post by: Joanne on March 11, 2013, 07:13:13 AM
I like this color of the battery! :-[