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The Dangers of Building Your Own DIY Lithium Battery Pack

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With so much information on the web, more people are trying to build their own DIY lithium batteries. After all, lithium batteries can be expensive, and it can be cheaper to build your own. But regardless of why people do it, it can be extremely dangerous to build your own batteries. 

In this article, we explore what a lithium battery is, whether it’s possible to make your own, and why it’s not worth the risk. 

What Is a Lithium Battery?

A lithium-ion battery is an advanced type of electrochemistry that uses lithium-ions to deliver power to our handheld devices, vehicles, RVs, and everything in between. They’re comprised of an anode, a cathode, and a battery electrolyte solution that carries the ions from the anode to the cathode (when discharging) and from the cathode to the anode (when charging). 

Lithium batteries have transformed our world because they have a high energy density, and therefore, they allow us to pack a lot of power into small compartments. Furthermore, they can emit more power overall because they aren’t as affected by the Peukert effect as lead-acid batteries. 

building and soldering battery electronics

Can You Make Your Own Lithium-Ion Battery?

For most of us, lithium batteries work well at powering our devices, gadgets, and vehicles, and we don’t think much about them. But there are some circumstances that might warrant the question: Can I build my own lithium battery pack? 

For instance, building DIY lithium batteries can be popular among those who want to power a device, such as a bike, skateboard, or other motors. This is because lithium batteries are generally more expensive than their lead-acid replacements, and it can potentially be cheaper to build your own. 

So, yes; it’s possible to build your own lithium battery pack. But should you? Probably not.

Let’s take a look at why building your own lithium battery isn’t such a good idea. 

Why Is Building a DIY Lithium Battery a Bad Idea?

Let’s explore the reasons you should think twice before building your own lithium battery. As you read through, remember all of the safety features and testing that battery manufacturers conduct when they’re building batteries. Ask yourself: Could I produce the same results as a factory? The answer is probably no. 

putting lithium cells into battery
Battery manufacturers have honed their testing and assembly processes – a difficult thing to replicate in a DIY lithium battery build.

No Warranties or Guarentees for DIY Jobs

So what happens if your battery malfunctions and destroys your electronics beyond repair? The problem with building a DIY lithium battery is the lack of a warranty.

Most devices come with some protection against these occurrences, but not for self-built batteries. Therefore, your battery will be at an increased risk of failure, and whatever you’re powering may sustain critical damage. 

No Testing/Quality Control

As mentioned before, high-quality battery manufacturers like Battle Born Batteries conduct rigorous testing to validate battery performance and ensure the safety of their products. However, if you make your own battery, you probably can’t replicate the tried and true battery-testing methods that the manufacturers use.

In addition, batteries like Battle Born hold outside certifications that require rigorous testing for safety. The lithium cells in Battle Born’s batteries are UL 1642 certified and the battery packs themselves are UL 2054 and IEC 62133 certified. Additionally, each battery has a Department of Transportation listing of 38.3, which is required even to allow them to be shipped.

Without testing, you might not know there’s something wrong with the battery until it’s too late. And you probably don’t have the equipment, knowledge, or manpower to conduct these tests yourself. 

Green light lit up next to red light not lit up

Unmatched Cells, Volts, & Amp Packs

Another issue that can arise lies in the battery construction. Problems can easily occur if the battery cells don’t uniformly emit power, the motor doesn’t withdraw the correct amperage, or the bus bars can’t handle the amps running through them. These are all risks when constructing your own lithium battery pack. 

Conversely, every single Battle Born Battery cell is tested under load before assembly. Then each finished battery undergoes a quality control test to ensure they meet our strict voltage and amp-hour standards.

lithium batter cell testing
Lithium cell testing and matching is a crucial step in building a reliable and safe lithium battery.

BMS Reliability

If you’ve looked into how to build your own DIY lithium battery, you’ve probably heard of a Battery Monitor System (BMS). BMS’s are an essential part of a lithium-ion battery. They ensure that the battery works properly by monitoring the battery. Depending on the manufacturer, items like temperature, load, voltage, SOC, resistance, and current are measured. If something is not right the BMS disconnects the battery to keep it safe.

Therefore, if you don’t have a reliable BMS, you won’t know your battery is working as it should. Plus, you’re without safety features if it malfunctions.

Battle Born Batteries utilizes a proprietary BMS that is designed specifically for our packs, highly tested, and designed to last for the life of the battery.

Lithium Battery Fires Are Hard to Put Out

This last point is a worst-case scenario, but unfortunately, it’s a reality for lithium-ion batteries.

First and foremost, lithium batteries pose a fire risk if not properly built because of their high energy density. If one of the cells fails, which can happen if it’s not made properly, the resulting heat can trigger a chain reaction called thermal runaway.

Depending on how many cells are in the battery and how well they’re vented, this could cause a massive fire that might be difficult to get under control. 

It’s not an uncommon story for homemade battery packs to operate fine for a while but spontaneously burst into flame in the future due to a construction flaw.

Thus, you may inadvertently create an explosive in your attempt to make a cheap DIY lithium battery. 

→ After reading these, you might be asking yourself Are Lithium Batteries Dangerous?” Most of the time, no. Read this article to more fully understand the factors at play, and why purchasing from a trusted source is so important.

Battle Born Batteries in series

Should You Risk Building Your Own Lithium Battery?

You know the saying: “I know just enough to be dangerous”?

Consider that this might apply to you building your own lithium battery. If you know the basics of constructing a battery and think that you can with the right research and materials–please reconsider. DIY lithium batteries can be extremely dangerous if made incorrectly, and many things can go wrong.

So if you ask us, just don’t do it. It’s not worth the risk. While you may say we’re biased, you’d be surprised how many stories our customer service and tech support teams hear about DIY attempts. Often, those same DIY builders end up swapping their home-builds out for reasons of unreliability, peace of mind, and sometimes the worst case where they experienced a fire.

Invest in a Quality Lithium-Ion Battery Instead

Lithium batteries are amazing! Their high energy density make it possible for us to store power in small, portable ways, and they’ve completely transformed our world because of it.

Nevertheless, they can be extremely dangerous if not built correctly. Various things can go wrong, including thermal runaway, and ultimately, a fire that’s difficult to put out. This is why we strongly advise against trying to make your own DIY lithium battery. Not only can it destroy your personal property, but it may also put your safety and others at risk, as well. 

Battle Born Battery on a dock at a marina

Do you know a story of someone who’s tried to build their own DIY lithium batteries? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Want To Learn More About Electrical Systems and Lithium Batteries?

We know that building or upgrading an electrical system can be overwhelming, so we’re here to help. Our Reno, Nevada-based sales and customer service team is standing by at (855) 292-2831 to take your questions!

Also, join us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to learn more about how lithium battery systems can power your lifestyle, see how others have built their systems, and gain the confidence to get out there and stay out there.

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