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Exploded NiCd Batteries

Discussion in 'Misc Electronics' started by [email protected], Jan 21, 2007.

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  1. Guest

    While attempting a home-charge of a set of NiCd batteries, they were
    left unattended and consequently exploded (relatively high current was
    flowing through them). The basement area in which the explosion took
    place is currently being ventilated overnight.

    Does anyone have any recommendations for further safety precautions or
    clean-up procedures?

  2. Don't charge them with a high current, especially if you don't know what
    you are doing.

    Don't try charging any more until you've read up on the subject, and
    understand what you are doing.

    Read the safety instructions before you start, so you'll know how
    to deal with hazardous material if a problem arises.

  3. John

    John Guest

    Sounds like you need a haz-mat suit, a pressure washer, a wet-dry
    vacuum and some 55 gallon drums in which to dispose of the stuff you
    wash off the walls, ceiling, and floor...

    Unless you have proper voltage and current limiting, plus temperature
    sensing, NEVER charge nicads (or other rechargeable cells) at a rate
    greater than C/10 (1/10 of the cell's AH rating). If charging
    unattended, even the C/10 rate may cause loss of capacity after more
    than 14 hours (less if the cell is only partially discharged).

    I have a HeathKit adjustable supply ( 50V 1.5A ) with both voltage and
    current limiting. I use it to charge all types of rechargeables
    (yes, even lithium cells) but only when the battery specs are
    available for setting the proper charging conditions.

    I've been using rechargeables (nicad, NiMH, SLA, lithium) for more
    than 20 years with NO catastrophic failures.

  4. Don Bruder

    Don Bruder Guest

    Sounds to me like you just created yourself a fairly serious
    toxic-hazard site... Smooth move!

    Better hope the EPA doesn't get wind of it, or you may find that you're
    the proud owner of a hole in the ground and a big cleanup bill.

    (And no, I'm *NOT* kidding - Nickel is no big deal, but cadmium is one
    of those items on the lists of things that can get the EPA and similar
    outfits *REALLY* nervous - nervous to the point of "knock down the
    building and scrape the debris and the top 6 feet of dirt into sealed
    barrels, then truck it to a hazardous materials storage facility - it's
    the only way to be sure.")
  5. Guest

    Don Bruder wrote:


    Thanks for the suggestions guys.

    FWIW, this happened because I was doing a fast charge.
    I'm usually very careful to stop the process as soon as there
    is any heat.

    But this time I got called to dinner when I should have been
    watching the stew. Actually more like pop-corn!

    On a more serious note, I am reminded about how familiarity breeds
    contempt and can often lead to compromising safety.

    Anyway, cleaned up the mess. No real harm seems to have been
    done except I prolly blew up about $60.00 worth of nicad cells.

    Have robots. Will travel.
  6. qwerty

    qwerty Guest

    Having been in a retail company that sells a major amount of batteries in
    Canada, and with the technical e-learning that we had to do weekly I have a
    bit of information about NiCd's.

    First what kind of NiCd's are they. It sounds like you have purchased a
    "speed" charger but are using standard rechargeable batteries. There are
    different kinds of chargers, and you must use the proper type of
    rechargeable for that charger; ie if it is a 15 mins charger then you must
    buy the 15 mins batteries, 30 mins charger with 30 mins batteries, and
    standard charger with standard rechargeable batteries. Using the wrong type
    will reduce the amount of recharge cycles to as low as 10% of what they
    should get, which with NiCd's is 800-1000 average cycles.

    Yes, not all NiCd's are made the same. Oh, and that has nothing to do with
    what the mA's of the batteries are; which only has to do with the length of
    useage that they have when charged, think of it as the same as what size of
    gas tank your car has. Bigger tank then longer trips, more mA's then longer
    useage per charge.

    Anyways, a standard NiCd's should only be used with a trickle charger never
    a speed charger. Just because your charger can do it does not mean that the
    makeup of the batteries can take it.

    Also if the charger is a multi-type charger; can do NiCd's or NiMH's. Your
    should make sure that it is set to NiCd's for NiCd's and NiMH for NiMH. it
    does make a BIG different in the method use to charge either type. NiCd's
    are normally trickle charge [slow charge rate], while NiMH's are charged
    with a speed method.

    As for the chemicals, you should have still bagged the batteries up in a
    ziplock bag and took them to your local battery recycle center and they will
    take the proper procedures to depose of the batteries. Without you getting
    a possible fine for improper disposal. It is mostly the cadium in the
    battery that is bad part, even where it can cause cancer if not handled

    that should be enough for a start.
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