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Swollen battery? How to remove it

Removing and disposing of a swollen battery can be dangerous but leaving it in the device can also have serious consequences. 

Read all warnings carefully and proceed at your own risk. All batteries are hazardous waste and must be disposed of properly.

Fire safety

If your device is extremely hot or smelling, do not attempt to remove the battery. If smoke starts from your device, empty the area around it. You can dust the fire with sand or an approved fire extinguisher or cover it with a fireproof container. Never extinguish with water, as it may react with lithium and cause a fire. If you can move the machine safely, place it in a fireproof or well-ventilated area, and wait for it to cool completely.

WARNING

A swollen Li-ion battery may ignite or explode. When removing the swollen battery from the device, proceed with the utmost care and at your own risk. If in doubt, insulate the device and consult a qualified service technician.

To avoid potential damage to the device or personal injury, you should not use the device with a swollen battery. The following instructions illustrate recommended procedures for removing a damaged battery but do not guarantee safe repair. Therefore, if you have any doubts, turn off the device, place it in a fireproof container and take it to a professional service. Do not try to delay the removal of a swollen battery.

What happens when a battery gets swollen?

Lithium-ion batteries use a chemical reaction to generate power. As the battery ages, this chemical reaction no longer completes perfectly, which can result in the creation of gas (called outgassing), leading to a swollen battery. Additionally, if the battery’s internal layers do not maintain proper separation (due to damage or defect), outgassing, swelling, and even fire can occur. Swelling is the result of particulates getting caught in between the layers of the battery and eventually puncturing the membrane that separates the layers. If the membrane has been compromised, moisture in the air can react with the cell, causing the cell to swell.

How to identify a swollen battery

  • As batteries swell, they expand and push other components out of the way. Oftentimes a display, button, or trackpad will be pushed out of normal alignment. You may have a swollen battery if your phone case doesn’t fit as well as it used to, or there’s a new gap between components or buttons have become stiff or hard to push
  • Identify the odour - you may smell a sweet metallic chemical odour that could be gas escaping from a swollen battery. However, never place close to the face, keep a safe distance
  • Inspect the battery-If your device is easy to open without disturbing the battery (check the battery replacement guide to see!), you can open the device and visually inspect the battery for puffiness

How to safely remove a swollen battery

If you suspect your battery is swollen, do not charge your device. Run the battery down as low as you can- this reduces the risk of fire.

Protect yourself. Work in a well-ventilated area to help diffuse fumes. Wear eye protection ideally full goggles, wear gloves to help safely move a damaged battery.

Work on a non-flammable surface. Prepare a fireproof container - a closable metal container or a metal container with sand. Under no circumstances should water be used, as lithium may react with it and cause a fire.

Remove the battery

Once the above precautions have been taken, you can start removing the battery. For the most part, you can follow your device’s battery replacement guide, but extra care should be taken to avoid damaging the battery during removal. If the battery is glued in place, we recommend starting with a solvent like high-concentration isopropyl alcohol, or acetone. Keep in mind that acetone may cause damage to plastic parts. Only use plastic tools and avoid anything sharp enough to puncture the battery wrapping—puncturing the battery can lead to dangerous fires. If at any point the smell increases, the device begins to heat up, or any smoke appears, put the device outside, or in a fireproof container, and wait for the symptoms to dissipate before trying again.

How to dispose of a swollen battery

Once the battery has been removed, it needs to be safely disposed of. Do not throw batteries into trash or recycling bins. Do not put/store the battery in water. If the battery is warm, smelly, or smoking, put it outside away from flammable materials, or in a fireproof container, and wait for the symptoms to dissipate. When safe, take the battery to a local e-waste collection site. Do not mail the battery to an e-waste processing facility—as the battery could cause damage in transit.

All batteries are classified as hazardous waste

Disposal of batteries requires special care. All batteries present a fire hazard and should be disposed of properly. They should not be disposed of with municipal waste but should be disposed of in electrical waste or hazardous waste collection facilities. You can search on the Internet for a list of such places.
 

 

 

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