Punt That Puffed Pack

RC Car Action - - TECH CENTER -

I’ve got a Lipo back that swelled up due to overdis­charg­ing, and I want to dis­pose of it safely. What am I sup­posed to do?

Once fully dis­charged, a Lipo can be safely dis­carded in reg­u­lar trash, but re­cy­cling is the pre­ferred op­tion. Ask your lo­cal hobby store if it ac­cepts Li­pos for re­cy­cling. If it doesn’t, visit the web­site cal­l2re­cy­cle.org to find out where you can drop off your Lipo pack. Many home-im­prove­ment stores and electronics stores will take your Lipo and re­cy­cle it prop­erly.

Be­fore dis­card­ing or re­cy­cling your pack, how­ever, you MUST make sure it is fully dis­charged. Many charg­ers in­clude a dis­charge func­tion but can­not dis­charge all the way down to zero volts. In­stead, a #1157 au­to­mo­tive bulb can be used to dis­charge the pack. A sin­gle bulb will pull about 2 amps to gen­tly drain the bat­tery. Solder a plug or a pair of al­li­ga­tor clips to the bulb so that it can be con­nected to the pack. Place the pack in a Lipo-safe bag, a bucket of sand, or an­other fire­proof con­tainer and at­tach the dis­charge bulb. Af­ter the bulb goes out, leave it con­nected for 24 hours to be cer­tain the pack is fully dis­charged. You can then snip off the pack’s con­nec­tor if you want to re­use it. Leave enough wire on the pack to twist the leads to­gether, cre­at­ing a short cir­cuit. This will pre­vent the bat­tery’s volt­age from re­cov­er­ing. The bat­tery is now elec­tron­i­cally in­ert, so you can safely re­cy­cle or dis­pose of it.

This pack has “puffed” and should be dis­charged for safe dis­card­ing or re­cy­cling.

Left: Place the bat­tery in a fire­proof con­tainer (not shown) and at­tach the bulb to dis­charge the pack. Right: Af­ter the pack is fully dis­charged, snip off the con­nec­tor for re­use, then strip and twist the bat­tery leads to­gether. The pack is ready for re­cy­cling or dis­posal.

A sin­gle #1157 au­to­mo­tive tail­light bulb draws about 2 amps and can be used as a dis­charge load.

To make a bulb dis­charger, solder a wire across the con­tacts on the bot­tom and an­other wire to the bulb’s base. At­tach al­li­ga­tor clips or a plug to match your pack.

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