Don’t Charge Very Cold Lithium Batteries!

To be honest, not many of us have to charge extremely cold batteries, but on my Northern Lights trips my batteries often get very cold and often I will charge them while they are still very cold. I’ve always known that this isn’t health for the battery, but what i didn’t know was that actually it can be quite dangerous.

It turns out that if you charge a lithium battery that is very cold (below 0c/32f) it will appear to charge more or less as expected. But, when the cells are very cold metallic lithium gets deposited on the anode of the cell. If you repeatedly charge the battery at low temperatures the lithium will continue to build up on the anode causing a safety risk. This metallic lithium can cause the cell to become less stable and more prone to bursting into flames if the battery is over charged, gets hot or is shocked such as through being dropped or crushed. 

So – all you Aurora chasers and others that shoot in very cold conditions – let your batteries warm up before you charge them. It won’t be obvious that charging them is causing harm and the last thing you want is a battery suddenly bursting into flames on a job some time down the road because you’ve dropped or bumped it.

One thought on “Don’t Charge Very Cold Lithium Batteries!”

  1. This is an interesting comment & a valuable warning. I discussed this with my colleagues at PAG. Part of the software in PAG batteries, prevents the batteries from being charged when below 0 degrees for the very reason that Alister identifies in his article.

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