Under the alert recently issued by the Consumer Goods Safety Commission, consumers should not buy or use individual 18650 lithium/ion battery cells because of potential fire danger (CPSC). The Commission says that it is working to delete listings of the 1860 loose cells, often used on vapes, e-cigarettes, flashlights, and toys on e-commerce sites such as eBay.
‘These batteries can have positive and negative metal terminals exposed that can short-circuit when in contact with metal items such as a key or loose pocket changes,’ wrote the agency Friday. “Lose cells, when shortened, can overheat, and thermally runoff, ignite the interior material and expel burning materials forcibly, leading to fires, explosions, serious injuries, and even death.”
Injuries associated with the explosion of 18 650 cells have been registered for several years now, but their availability on locations such as Amazon and wholesale retailers seems to have increased.
One of the manufacturers of 18 650 cells, LG Chem, had in a letter in late 2018 called for the stop-selling of e-cigarette equipment by distributors, ‘warning that individual consumption and handling could push to extreme disfigurement and burning,’ according to the Atlantic report. In addition, Samsung and Sony caution against cell use by customers.
We have some concerns as to why CPSC warns against all loose 18650 batteries arbitrarily and why CPSC sets 18650 alone apart. “It is frequently misused as a stand-alone consumer battery but there are no safe circuits,” the agency wrote, “but you can buy 18650 protected battery batteries” – see the above image.
Not only is the 18650 Li-ion battery potentially misuse, but you can also purchase standalone 14500 batteries, around the same size as the regular AA, but twice the voltage (don’t put them on the remote). The 16340, which is similar to the single-use CR123A, may be ordered, can also be mounted in a smoker. We contacted the CPSC to correct our responses.
18650 cells have higher densities and are commonly used in higher commercial applications, including Tesla‘s models X and S, though the CPSC agrees that this is okay since it is intended for their use. The cells are even more efficient. That being said, a small but rising DIY group has been developing customized battery packages for e-bikes and even electric cars with 18,650 cells purchased on the Internet.
The CPSC has not been intervening in battery technology for the first time. The company requested that producers recall their dangerous goods and threatened to seize products that were not compliant on the border when hoverboards burst into flames. It was also the agency responsible for investigating when Note 7 fired, but Samsung collaborated with the agency, in that case, to get the product recalled before the organization pressured it to do so.