A lithium battery charger comes in handy for devices such as cell phones, laptops and cameras. Although it is easy to use, charging safely is more of the challenge. Caution must be exercised when using battery chargers. Some serious accidents could result if proper handling is disregarded. Explosions, fires or toxic inhalation are some of the dangers associated with improper use of lithium chargers. The batteries can also get damaged if charged incorrectly. It pays to know the safety issues associated with lithium chargers.
Where to Charge
It is important to use an appropriate surface when charging. Do not charge on a plastic, wooden, carpeted or water-logged surfaces. Such surfaces are unsuitable because they could trigger an electric shock or precipitate a fire. Best surfaces to use are fireproof settings such as brick, stone, ceramic or steel. Battery chargers can trigger a fire if used close to certain items. Clear all flammable products or liquids from the charging site. Also do not use the charger where temperatures are high such as a functioning fireplace or furnace room. Do not leave the charger unattended at any time. It is vital that you remain present throughout the duration of charging.
Charger settings are vital for safe and proper charging. Always double check the settings of your charger to ensure they are correct for the particular battery pack being charged. Cell count is also crucial. The maximum voltage per cell is usually 4.2 volts while the charge rate for lithium ion or lithium polymer cells is 1C. Using rates that exceed the recommended rates will shorten the life span of the batteries. All charging leads must be connected correctly. Always check to see that the positive and negative battery leads do not touch. Cell ballooning can result in accidents. Reverse charging can damage the cells or trigger an explosion or fire.
Use a timer to ensure proper charging. A timer will help prevent overcharging or undercharging. It helps maintain the capacity and life cycle of batteries whenever charged. A charger timer also promotes safety during charging.
Using Wrong Batteries
It is important that you use your lithium charger only with the specified range of batteries. If used with the wrong batteries, dangers will arise such as battery ignition. Acid may leak from incompatible batteries or they could be destabilized resulting in an electric shock. Be alert for any unusual changes to the battery pack during charging. If you notice any swelling of the batteries, terminate the process immediately. Remove the batteries and put in a safe place for about 15 minutes.
In the event of a fire, having a fire extinguisher can help control damage significantly. Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby when using a lithium charger. A bucket of dry sand also works well in extinguishing a fire. It is a cheap yet effective alternative to a fire extinguisher. Never attempt to extinguish a fire using water as it could trigger an electric shock.
A lithium charger should never be used in a vehicle, more so when driving. The car dynamics and magnetic transmissions can trigger a serious accident.