Lithium-ion Battery Life and Death

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Lithium-ion battery packs are expensive, so if you want to make yours to last longer, here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Lithium ion chemistry prefers partial discharge to deep discharge, so it"s best to avoid taking the battery all the way down to zero. Since lithium-ion chemistry does not have a "memory", you do not harm the battery pack with a partial discharge. If the voltage of a lithium-ion cell drops below a certain level, it"s ruined.


2. Lithium-ion batteries age. They only last two to three years, even if they are sitting on a shelf unused. So do not "avoid using" the battery with the thought that the battery pack will last five years. It won"t. Also, if you are buying a new battery pack, you want to make sure it really is new. If it has been sitting on a shelf in the store for a year, it won"t last very long. Manufacturing dates are important.


3. Avoid heat, which degrades the batteries.In a separator failure, that same kind of short happens inside the lithium-ion battery. Since lithium-ion batteries are so energetic, they get very hot. The heat causes the battery to vent the organic solvent used as an electrolyte, and the heat (or a nearby spark) can light it. Once that happens inside one of the cells, the heat of the fire cascades to the other cells and the whole pack goes up in flames.

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