Print 13 comment(s) - last by lemonadesoda.. on Sep 28 at 5:46 PM

Darn those pesky exploding batteries

This week the IEEE consortium announced that it has started work on a new standard that would regulate how lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries are designed and manufactured. The standard, called IEEE P1825, will set forth a number of criteria for battery design, construction and packaging in order to avoid some of the recent incidents involving lithium batteries.

For the longest time now, lithium-based batteries have been known to give reliable service as well as being safe. Unfortunately, being produced in greater quantities today, lithium batteries have fallen by the way side in terms of quality control. Sony, one of the world's largest manufacturers of lithium batteries is currently under heavy investigation because its batteries have been involved in a number of recent fires and explosions.

Over the last several weeks, a number of manufacturers have recalled batteries that were manufactured by Sony. Just last week, Toshiba recalled 340,000 batteries which were manufactured by Sony but used in its products. A day before that, Virgin Atlantic banned any products that used either Dell or Apple batteries -- all manufactured by Sony. Interestingly, in late August Sony announced that there would be no more battery recalls for units it produced. Despite the optimism, many batteries continue to be returned to their respective manufacturers.

The IEEE is hoping to have completed standards that cover both notebook batteries as well as batteries used in mobile phones by the end of 2006.

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By lemonadesoda on 9/27/2006 7:45:19 PM , Rating: 2
I really hope the IEEE with come up with a standard battery size, just like the AA and AAA. I'd like to be able to go into any electrical store and buy a L, LL, or LLL battery and know it will fit my device.

Standard packaging, standard voltages, standard current draw, etc. (I'm sure 3 models would be sufficient to cover most consumer items, i.e. PDA, phones, cameras, etc.)

By RogueSpear on 9/27/2006 9:34:05 PM , Rating: 2
The pessimist in me is thinking that this "standard" is going to basically mean a set of minimum performance requirements rather than battery dimensions or shape. Things like temperature tolerances, ability to handle overages, etc.

What I would like to see is some sort of standard for the stupid transformer bricks and all the little proprietary power tip connectors.

By qdemn7 on 9/27/2006 10:12:39 PM , Rating: 2
What I would like to see is some sort of standard for the stupid transformer bricks and all the little proprietary power tip connectors.
True, but what I would REALLY like to have is a box that is a single "large" PSU that would plug into the wall and have multiple, 10 or so, jacks to plug into cords that would run to the small appliances. No more wall warts to deal with.

By lemonadesoda on 9/28/2006 5:35:34 AM , Rating: 2
I think what you are asking for is wired wall sockets with 5, 9 or 12v. Just like existing 230v (Europe) or 120v (US) wall sockets, the new system would have standard socket / standard plug to access the power lines (rated with high wattage to allow PSU free PC's) and would be installed in all new homes and offices.

By mindless1 on 9/28/2006 3:21:18 PM , Rating: 2
That is exactly what they have chosen not to do and should not do!

LIthium Ion requires a special charger and should not be made to fit in legacy chargers for NiCad or NiMH. This is very important and the only other alternative would be to integrated a separate cell protection circuit inside every cell, one quite comprehensive, which will make all batteries larger but particularly on the smaller AAA or AA, drastically reduce capacity to allow the room for the circuit (and raise cost due to this redundant circuitry, as not all of it needs be redundant for protection). Temp cutout would be useful, but overcurrent on devices always using series cell packs need not be per-cell in multi-cell packs.

Plus, there's that issue of them being a different voltage. Ultimately I hope they instead find an alternate chemistry that is reasonably affordable, offers higher energy density than NiMH, but is safer than Li-Ion. Until then, I think we need to differentiate Li-Ion but not having standardized formats meant to mimmick Alkalines.

By lemonadesoda on 9/28/2006 5:46:10 PM , Rating: 2
Doh! The post was that there should be some standard sizes in the future, not to copy the dimensions of AAA or AA. Nobody was suggesting that.

To help you understand the concept of standardisation, the market has created a number of standardised memory formats. The new flash formats like CF or SD etc. Thankfully, we can all go to an electronics store (or online) and buy a CF or SD memory to fit into our consumer electronics devices. (Except SONY! LOL). The post was to point out that it would be equally helpful to have a battery standard. Can you imagine if EVERY ELECTRONICS DEVICE and EVERY MANUFACTURER had a different memory format?! Just transfer this concept to battery and you will understand the thesis of the HOPE post.

"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
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