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Hints, Tips and Solutions (Do NOT post requests for help here) If you have any useful general hints and tips for vintage technology repair and restoration, please share them here. PLEASE DO NOT POST REQUESTS FOR HELP HERE!

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Old 27th Sep 2021, 7:56 pm   #1
AC/HL
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Default Lipo batteries

I'm not a smoker, but have noticed the increasing number of discarded disposable electronic cigarettes on the streets.
These contain a rechargeable 3.7v 500mAh Lipo battery. They don't have the control circuitry, but these are very cheap, five for 2-3 on eBay for instance. Just need to find a use as they are an intermediate voltage.
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Old 27th Sep 2021, 8:06 pm   #2
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Default Re: Lipo batteries

Li-po batteries are basically all the same when in comes to voltage. They will read 4.2V when fully charged by a charge controller chip, and need to be recharged before the voltage drops to about 3.2V.

Poundland mobile phone 'battery packs' intended for use at things like festivals are a good source of low capacity lithium batteries.

A couple of cells will power a 9V transistor radio pretty well. Don't forget to include a fuse somewhere though.
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Old 27th Sep 2021, 10:42 pm   #3
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Default Re: Lipo batteries

Found an E-cig in the road, had been extensively run over but yielded several very odd screw threads, and a metal-case power resistor of about 2Ω
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Old 27th Sep 2021, 11:03 pm   #4
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Default Re: Lipo batteries

The ones I found had the battery and a combined pressure switch and LED indicator. The presumed heater remained in the front of the casing, but I chose not to investigate that part further!
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Old 28th Sep 2021, 12:01 am   #5
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Default Re: Lipo batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by AC/HL View Post
The presumed heater remained in the front of the casing, but I chose not to investigate that part further!
Very wise - I had forgotten my desperate efforts to clean the ghastly stuff off my hands, spanners, worktop...
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Old 28th Sep 2021, 2:29 am   #6
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Default Re: Lipo batteries

I actually use one.
The stuff in them is water based even though it looks like oil.
The cheap batteries have a poor number charge cycles and many come with a charge regulator that is variable in quality built in.
The charging can be made safe with a small number of external components and better quality batteries can be fitted in the 18650 ones.
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Old 28th Sep 2021, 12:40 pm   #7
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Default Re: Lipo batteries

New 18650s are easily obtained (along with a range of USB-powered chargers) from:

https://www.fogstar.co.uk/ *

FWIW, I've dismantled several 'duff' notebook/laptop batteries over the last couple of years and have found that these often yield perfectly good 18650s. Care is needed in refurbishing them (a judicious application of 120-grit abrasive paper smooths down the sharp edges once the spot-welded interconnecting strips have been pulled off ... and I choose to apply replacement heatshrink sleeving as the original often tears where the cell is glued to the plastic housing). These are a good companion to the single-cell LED torches that are also available from the above supplier - a practical and inexpensive gift with the added feel-good factor of having recycled/repurposed something that might otherwise have gone into the local transfer depot ...

Guy

* No commercial connection, just a satisfied Customer.
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Old 28th Sep 2021, 1:37 pm   #8
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Default Re: Lipo batteries

I also scavenge 18650s from discarded battery packs - drills, cordless vacuums etc. I replace the heatshrink with ordinary vinyl adhesive tape if it's damaged. You can buy 18650 holders cheaply on eBay.
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Old 5th Oct 2021, 5:05 pm   #9
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Default Re: Lipo batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
You can buy 18650 holders cheaply on eBay.
Just looking at those holders (wasn't previously aware), I wonder what the max current is that you could draw from them? I suspect it may be quite limited?

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Old 5th Oct 2021, 5:24 pm   #10
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Default Re: Lipo batteries

It certainly wouldn't be wise to draw several amps through them. You really need a specialist battery pack with built in battery management for that sort of job. The cheap holders are fine for things like radios or LED torches.
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Old 5th Oct 2021, 6:07 pm   #11
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Default Re: Lipo batteries

I have an ancient, but good as new, 12V Bosch drill which I converted from NiCd to 18650's about a year ago and that has worked out really well. I put a fuse in the drill circuit and that has burned out (10A) just once under a very heavy load.

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