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Bicycle Light Li-Ion Battery Care and Maintenance

Do I need to charge my Li-Ion battery if I am using it for the first time?

Yes. It is necessary to give your Li-Ion battery a full charge before using it.

What is the life-span of my Li-Ion battery and how often can I recharge it?

You can expect the service life of your Li-Ion battery to be approx. 300 charge-discharge cycles. For most riders this equates to about 3 years use. The service life means up to the point when the battery has 80% of its original capacity and is then ready for replacement.

How long does it take to charge my Li-Ion battery?

This obviously depends upon the amount the battery has been discharged. Generally recharge of Li-Ion batteries takes 2-6 hours.

I use my Lumicycle light system for an hour every day. Is it better to charge it every day or wait 3-4 days and give it a full charge?

This is not such an important issue for Li-ion batteries. However, we recommend an occasional discharge/charge cycle as a good maintenance principle.

Discharging (running the light system)

Can I completely drain my Li-Ion battery before recharging it?

This is not necessary on a regular basis but is beneficial occasionally.

How big is the loss of capacity at low temperatures?

Li-Ion batteries operate between -20 and + 60 degrees centigrade. However, performance significantly decreases below freezing.

Storage

How do I store my battery during the off-season when it is not being used and what is the rate of self-discharge?

Li-Ion batteries should be stored in a cool place when not in use for extended periods. Their self-discharge rate is 10% per month. This is far lower than for NiMH batteries. Although it is not essential, we recommend occasionally charging you Li-Ion battery during the off season to counter the self-discharge effect.

Guidelines for prolonging Li-ion battery life

  • Unlike NiCad batteries or NiMH batteries, lithium-ion batteries should be charged early and often. However, if they are not used for a longer time, they should be brought to a charge level of around 40%. Never use thebattery care functions some cellular phones provide for nickel based batteries. (This will deep cycle the batteries.)
  • Li-ion batteries should be kept cool. Ideally they are stored in a refrigerator. Aging will take its toll much faster at high temperatures. Keeping them in very hot cars can kill lithium-ion batteries.
  • Avoid running the battery through "deep discharge" cycles — that is using it until it's fully depleted to 0 %.
  • Many authors suggest that freezing Li-ion batteries may be detrimental. However, most Li-ion battery electrolytes freeze at approximately -40 °C. Household freezers rarely reach below -20°C. Published experiments demonstrate that freezing (even below -40°C) is unharmfulif the battery is fully warmed to room temperature before use. More details are given in the book "Characteristics and Behavior of 1M LiPF6 1EC:1DMC Electrolyte at Low Temperatures" by L.M. Cristo, T. B. Atwater, U.S. Army Research, Fort Monmouth, NJ.
  • Buy Li-ion batteries only when needed, because the aging process begins as soon as the battery is manufactured.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Li-ion".