Are Lithium-ion Batteries Dangerous?

Are Lithium-ion Batteries Dangerous?

Uncovering some of the common misconceptions about lithium-ion batteries and their use in electronics.

12v 100Ah lithium battery

Lithium-ion is the most popular rechargeable battery style in the world because of its high storage capacity, low weight, low maintenance, and ability to fit into a wide range of electronic devices. Unfortunately, you may have heard some stories in the last few years about lithium-ion batteries exploding, catching fire, or just generally being in the news for the wrong reasons. It is true that lithium batteries contain a flammable electrolyte, but they’re usually unfairly made out to be the villain whenever a technology mishap occurs. In pretty much every case of a manufacturer making a widespread “battery recall”, it can be explained by one of the following factors:

Production Flaws

Production/ design flaws such as improper thermal management are one of the most common reasons that batteries fail. These days manufacturers seem to be in a race to create the smallest, lightest, and thinnest devices possible, but this doesn’t always leave adequate space for a lithium battery to displace heat properly. Once a battery heats up too much, a chemical reaction occurs that can result in a fire or explosion. This chemical reaction is referred to as “thermal runaway” and was common in many of the Samsung smart phone recalls.

Cheap Components

Companies often times try to cut costs on materials and manufacturing in an effort to drive profits, but this always results in bigger issues once the product hits the market. Poor quality control and improper battery insulation were the main causes behind the hoverboard fires of 2017. Reduce your risk of fire by avoiding buying goods from companies that use cheap internals or sell “knock-offs” of well-known products. It’s not worth sacrificing your personal safety just to save a few bucks.

No Battery Management System (BMS)

Having a battery management system is crucial to maximizing the capacity, longevity, and safety of a rechargeable lithium-ion battery (cell or battery pack). A BMS works to monitor and balance a battery’s voltage, state of charge, depth of discharge, state of health, state of power, temperature, current, and more. Lithium Battery Power uses a custom BMS in every battery that we sell to ensure a flawless operating experience for the life of your energy unit. If there are any issues with a battery operating effectively, then the BMS will tell it to shut down (similar to how a surge protector works).

Improper Charging Systems

Just like how it’s dangerous when companies try to save money by going with cheap batteries, skimping on putting quality components inside of chargers can also create safety concerns. Cheap chargers don’t have power-management features or good insulation in order to hit that low-ball price. This bad wiring can result in short-circuits, fires, or even electrocution in some extreme cases.

Improper Packaging or Assembly of Cells

Another thing to watch out for is companies that don’t take the time to assemble or package their batteries properly. Due to the fact that lithium-ion batteries pack an insane about of energy into a small package, it’s extremely important that every battery is built, handled, and shipped with care. Keeping those volatile chemicals in check falls squarely on the shoulders of the manufacturer. Thankfully LBP has checks and balances in place to ensure that every battery is shipped to our customers in the safest way possible. This may result in a slightly higher than normal shipping cost, so please refer to our website’s shipping calculator for a pricing estimate.

In Summary 

The short answer is no, lithium-ion batteries are not dangerous as long as they’re handled appropriately. Their high energy density and low maintenance make them appealing for installations in many modern day electronics, boats, RVs, and solar panel systems. This technology is still being developed but it’s already clear that lithium power is way of the future. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions on selecting the right battery for your application of choice.