Safe Use of Lithium Ion Laptop Batteries

Safe Use of Lithium Ion Laptop Batteries

by David A. Harding from

…you can take intelligent steps to protect yourself. Since the previous battery fires and explosions had two different causes, there are two different obvious symptoms to watch out for:

1. Impact damage.
2. Hot batteries.

For impact damage, remember that your battery will probably not explode or catch fire immediately. A short circuit will take several seconds or minutes to get hot enough to breach the case of the lithium-ion battery. In some cases, the impact damage will create a short circuit which only activates under certain circumstances (such as slight overcharging); in these cases, each time the short circuit briefly occurs, it may melt a tiny bit more of your lithium-ion case until it creates as full-blown short circuit which results in fire or explosion—but this can be days, weeks, or months after you drop your battery.

For hot batteries, it’s important to pay attention to any computer which seems to be hot. If your laptop is uncomfortably hot on your lap, your first step should be to search the web for information about your model of laptop—for example, do other people with your laptop report it being uncomfortably hot? In my case, reviews of my ThinkPad R500 say it’s surprisingly cool even under heavy load, so if I sensed it getting hot, I’d immediately worry that something was wrong.

Immediate Response To Heat, Smoke, And Flames — Article Continued Here

This excerpt appears with permission from

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1 thought on “Safe Use of Lithium Ion Laptop Batteries”

  1. Bob Schildkraut

    Get one, consistent answer to whether water can or cannot be used to extinguish these fires. No sooner do we hear from the FAA/TSA that water is OK, that D2 says only Lass D is appropriate. Class D is preferable, anything sufficient to lower the temperature below the ignition point is OK

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