The lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries used in most of today’s tablets, smartphones, and portable PCs require very different care and feeding than with the nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) and nickel-metal-hydride (Ni-MH) batteries used in earlier devices.
In fact, proper care of a Li-ion battery can result in as much as 15 times longer service life than with an improperly cared-for battery. Here’s how to make sure that your expensive Li-ion batteries last as long as possible in all your portable devices.
I recently had to replace a damaged smartphone — and it was all my fault.
The symptom was ominous: my phone’s case became distorted — the body of the phone actually started to bend.
On inspection, it turned out, the phone’s Li-ion battery had actually swollen.
At first, I hadn’t noticed the change; the battery looked more or less normal when viewed face on (see Figure 1). But when I removed the battery and placed it onto a flat surface, it became obvious that the battery’s front and back were no longer flat and parallel; one side of the battery had developed a substantial bulge, as shown in Figure 2. This bulge is what had caused the body of the phone to bend.
The bulge indicated something severe: a high-pressure buildup of toxic gases inside the battery.