What a ‘swollen battery’ means?

What a ‘swollen battery’ means?

   The term ‘swollen battery’ can be associated with any lithium battery used in a device, like mobile phones, laptops or digital cameras. There are many things which can cause the battery to expand and these may vary between different types of devices. Quite a common reason is using the wrong charger, one of the primary examples could be fake iPhone or MacBook chargers, which can lead to damaging parts like the Tristar chip (the part responsible for regulating the amount of power received by the device). 

   Batteries are built from many cells that have a strict limit on how much power can be put through them. Overcharging those cells in lithium causes it to build up too fast. The whole reaction that takes place creates heat (this could be a sign that your battery has an issue and may eventually become a hazard). You may see visible damage on the device, like the image above where the touch pad has stopped working because it is being forced out of position.  So, when you find yourself in the position where your device has a swollen battery, what do you do?

What actions to take after noticing your swollen battery?

   First of all, never attempt to puncture or dismantle a battery, even those that look perfectly healthy. It can be very dangerous as inside there are substances and gasses that can be harmful to your health. Any device you suspect has a swollen battery, should be taken care of with extra caution. User-removable

batteries should be carefully removed and placed somewhere safe and cool, as heat can continue the expansion of battery or make it more vulnerable to punctures. Batteries should never (swollen or not) be disposed into the general waste or recycling. They won’t be handled appropriately and usually end up somewhere very harmful to the environment. There are many facilities that are authorized to dispose of batteries. These pictures show our clients laptop that was brought in for touchpad repair as it seemed to have stopped working. On further inspection, we noticed that the whole casing was misaligned. Further inspection showed us more damage and led us to suspicion the battery was faulty. Fortunately, we noticed all of that before it caused any damage to other parts of the laptop or its user!  

   Most devices these days have batteries that are not user-removable, in which case, the best option is to take the whole device to a specialist to take care of it. Swollen batteries should never be plugged into power or used. Doing so can put yourself and others at risk, as faulty batteries can explode or catch fire if not handled properly. Now that we know what a swollen battery is and how to handle one, how can you avoid it from happening?

How to avoid a swollen battery?

   There’s no way of preventing failure in batteries (there might be a manufacturer fault or it’s just old), but there are ways to prevent the expansion of the battery from happening and maximize its life. As mentioned earlier a very common reason for battery failure is the use of incorrect or non-OEM/fake chargers. Always buy certified and original chargers. Saving a few pounds on a fake charger can become a lot more costly or even dangerous in the long term. Cheap chargers don’t have the same specifications and are made from cheaper materials. Another quite important factor is not to charge it all the time. Batteries are made to exercise their capacity and regularly go through the cycles of discharging and recharging. Leaving your devices in a hot environment for extended periods of time can also have bad effect on your battery life.

   ACS only supply genuine OEM batteries or chargers or specified compatible units with full warranty from UK sources.