Begginers Guide to Processing 18650 Cells | Cell Database


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Harvesting and Testing Batteries
#1
Video 
Hopefully I can keep track here, all the 18650s I'm able to save from the recyclers.
I've got lots of ideas for using these. My first attempt will be a starter battery for my lawn mower. I also want to make a couple batteries for an e-bike I will be building later.

So I got a few batteries from around town. Two out of 3 computer shops were happy to get rid of their old batteries. The third flat out refused. I also had some luck with the local e-waste company. There's actually two in town, but only one was helpful. So I at least have 3 sources of batteries so long as they actually have any on hand when I show up.

I got my first batch cleaned up and sorted by voltage:
[Image: 68931f000a8c2a5dfe32f255f9ea3593.jpg]

My iMax charger came in the mail a couple days earlier and I started playing around with settings and battery chemistries. Seems the iMax is rather picky about the voltage of the cell you want it to charge. Most of my cells are too low for the charger to recognise. So I set about trying to figure out how to charge them without the charger. 

Here's a video showing how I started. Keep in mind though that I'm an electronics newb, and am probably doing everything wrong. LOL


-Mike G
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#2
If you start charging them on the NIMH setting, the imax should bump them to a voltage you can use on the li ion setting, I  think it's  LIPO setting Smile
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#3
The 3.3V rail of a computer power supply can also give them the boost they need to be able to be charged in the imax as well.
Proceed with caution. Knowledge is Power! Literally! Cool 
Knowledge is Power; Absolute Knowledge is Absolutely Shocking!
Dollar Shave Club. Best Razor I've ever used
Certified 18650 Cell Reclamation Technician
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#4
(06-03-2017, 12:08 PM)Korishan Wrote: The 3.3V rail of a computer power supply can also give them the boost they need to be able to be charged in the imax as well.

Yep,  thats the method I use.  I have a charging rack I made that holds 18 cells in parallel powered by the 3.3V output of the computer power supply.   Its the bullpen for the opus.  

Caution...If the cell is shorted internally, it will heat up.   my power supply can push 20 amps at 3.3 Volts.  So don't walk away before knowing if the cell starts heating.   I have not experienced any smoke or burning, but I am worried about it.  I need to put some fusing into the setup and get some cheap easily changeable fuses.  But for now, Its my fingers testing for heat.

I wish I had a much smarter automated tester, charger, discharger that would would charge from 0 volts.  Maybe the TP4056 modules will charge from 0 volts. I will soon test those out.   That would be a lot safer for "walk away check later" charging.
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#5
if it is safetyyou are going for, get yourself some of these 1 or 4 pack cellholders and put them in parrallel, load 2/3 of them with tested, charged ones, not really important to use high capacity ones and then add the "dead" ones to the mix in the separated compartments
now the worst that could happen is killing the good ones by pulling them to 0v
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#6
If you live near a vehicle salvage yard, you can go in and pull loads of fuses from the cars. You can usually walk out with 20 or so without them saying much. You could get both blade and tube (glass) style fuses
Also a good source for 18awg wire.
Our local one here has free admission day. One day a week, they don't charge for going into the yard.

And, there are several eBay sellers that sell cheap blade fuses. I wouldn't necessarily use them in full production, but they could be used in this type of application. Those blades go down to 3A I think. For recovery purposes, I think having a fuse at a low blow point would be good, even if the fuse blows under normal conditions after repeated chargings (due to gentle heating during charging)
JustMeTMC likes this post
Proceed with caution. Knowledge is Power! Literally! Cool 
Knowledge is Power; Absolute Knowledge is Absolutely Shocking!
Dollar Shave Club. Best Razor I've ever used
Certified 18650 Cell Reclamation Technician
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#7
Thanks all! Good ideas.
I've changed some things and I'm getting some better results. Still playing around, but here's a video of my latest attempt:





Also, thanks Admins for helping me embed my videos properly. Smile
-Mike G
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#8
I guess I forgot to publish my last post. It wasn't much anyway, just a short update making improvements on my DIY cell charger:




Finally making some progress testing the cells I've harvested:



Man, I rambled on for about 45 minutes in the original recording. Lucky for you guys, I managed to edit it down to just 10 minutes or so.
-Mike G
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#9
You guys are making this more complicated that it needs to be Tongue

Just get a cell holder that takes more than one cell in parallel. I use 8 in parallel. You can stick in 7 low cells and 1 regular cell. The regular cell will be enough to trick the dumb voltage checker into starting and will charge them just fine. There's no reason to use multiple chargers, bump charge. 3.3v rails, etc. It would be nice if there was a way to disable that voltage checker on the iMax since it's kindof useless.
JustMeTMC and Korishan like this post
Solar Setup: 9x 320w panels, PCM60X charge controller
Battery Setup: 14x 120 cell 18650 packs, 48v configuration

Recommended Items:
Opus BT-C3100, Cell Heat Shrink, 4-Cell Holders
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#10
Today I received two more OPUS and started the new testing, no more of this discharge/refresh crap. I have a question though, has anyone found good RED's? I just got 5 of them at 2700ma +! I thought they were all burners?
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