Begginers Guide to Processing 18650 Cells | Cell Database


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Whats the secret to opening laptop packs?
#1
I am working on my 6th laptop pack, and I keep asking my self there has to be a beter way, I have 85 HP packs, left and love the work, it just seams like there is something I am missing.
Cell Tracking Website: Under Construction - trackmycells.com
Battery Status: Collecting Cells
Bms: Batrium 14s
Battery Charger Controller: SMA Charge Controler SIC-40
Inverter: Pending (SMA Sunny Island 6048-US-10)
Solar Panels: Soon™
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#2
twist, twist harder, and twist some more. They will crack open. I also have a large pair of wire snips and a pair of pliers to help out as well. Try not to use a screwdriver or anything metal to stick in and pry with. You can short stuff out without realizing it.

I actually tried to use a dremel tool with the tile grout attachment and cut the outer case. It didn't work very well. the dremel wondered all over the case. I'd like to get a table saw attachment and see if I can use that. Just have the blade above the table about 1/16 (.5mm) of an inch above the table to get a nice score to weaken the case.
Proceed with caution. Knowledge is Power! Literally! Cool 
Knowledge is Power; Absolute Knowledge is Absolutely Shocking!
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Certified 18650 Cell Reclamation Technician
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#3
Muscle.
Pliers.
Sidecutters.
Gloves.
Swearing/Cursing.

I have found even identical batteries can vary on their difficulty.
HP for example, some only need a twist and then they pop open, then another of the same model number might be glued all the way around and then I need to go feral with pliers and sidecutters.
Interestingly, those packs that seem identical, also often have different brand cells in them.

My theory on the variation (if you choose to accept it, based on experience within my own unrelated industry) is that Manufacturers(HP, Dell etc) will put out a tender for battery packs and various companies bid for the job of assembly. An assembly company wins the bid and then put out their own tender for, say, a million 2400 cells, they then go with the lowest reliable bidder. This month LG might offer the best price on cells. Next month it might be Sanyo.
Then a few months later Dell needs more, repeat the process but this time another assembly company may win the bid, and they use a whole lot of glue, or it's the same assembly company but they have tweaked their assembly line since the last order 6 months ago... and different cells again, Panasonic had the best offer this time, but the same injection molded casing (dies are expensive) and the same label (Dell had 20 million of them printed)... and so on.
Just a theory.
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#4
(09-04-2017, 02:54 AM)SimonW Wrote: Muscle.
Pliers.
Sidecutters.
Gloves.
Swearing/Cursing...

Yes definitely swearing and cursing. Personally if I can't open a pack with the twist method, I use a hammer. So far I have only dented one cell. Not all batteries lend themselves to this treatment. If you can misshape the top cover it gives you a vantage point to open it up. However, I would recommend doing this outside. Well I actually wouldn't recommend it to anyone. However spending a lot of time as a kid cracking macadamia nuts with a hammer, I'm rather skilled at opening tough things with delicate insides.
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#5
(09-04-2017, 02:54 AM)SimonW Wrote: Muscle.
Pliers.
Sidecutters.
Gloves.
Swearing/Cursing.

You forgot sticking plasters to stop the red stuff dripping everywhere... Big Grin
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#6
That's what the gloves are for!
I prefer to prevent, rather than repair Big Grin
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#7
(09-04-2017, 02:09 AM)Chris Davis Wrote: I am working on my 6th laptop pack, and I keep asking my self there has to be a beter way, I have 85 HP packs, left and love the work, it just seams like there is something I am missing.

A 6 pack of Bud light, the latest tesla show podcast....

Seriously, it is like doing laundry after a while.  Its a lot of work. Soon the newness of it all wears off.  
When you capacity test the cells, you understand quickly that unless the packs are high capacity packs, the payoff is not there.
I seriously have to consider whether to open lower capacity packs or sell them.  

You think about how much extra space, soldering, holders, testing time etc needs to be done and you become really selective about which packs to open.  In the future, I will not buy laptop packs unless they originally had 10 watt hours per cell.   (60 watt hours per 6 cell pack, or 90 watt hours per 9 cell pack)

New old stock or hoverboard packs etc.  can be worth it because almost all of those cells will be good.  

My recent results capacity testing of the original packs I harvested 6 months ago are about 30% above 2000 mAH.  40% between 1000-1999 and the other 30% are less than 1000 mah or dead.  Of the 30% above 2000 mah, only a few are above 2500 mah.

I hope that ratio improves as I test more recently procured cells.



If the packs are free, you still need to be selective about what you are harvesting because none of us have unlimited time.

For now you are learning and lower capacity free packs are fine for that. (at least thats what I keep telling myself)
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#8
It scales with experience. Six packs isn't really much, when you get more experience you will figure out ways which work better for you. If all of your packs are the same then it helps of course, but experiences with a certain kind of pack also translate to a different kind so every pack helps. Try different approaches and you will see considerable improvements in your efficiency after 20 or 30 packs or so.

I remember when I opened my first pack, it took me what felt like ages. But then I started to think about how they are constructed and once you figured that out it is much easier to find an efficient way to de-construct them Smile

The majority of my packs were from Dell and Lenovo. My Dells were glued together and opened easily by giving them a strong twist, the Lenovos were closed mechanically with small noses and latches and could be pried open with the blade of a sturdy knife as a lever by unlocking the latches and then forcing it open.
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#9
This is my favorite tool for extracting cells. Can grab onto a corner of the pack and twist. Can then snip wires and nickle strips with it, plus the same tool is great for levering the strips off the ends.

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#10
Use your hair blower and heat the four sides and you can easily open the glued parts.
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