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Old 07-02-2012, 04:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Mike D's A123 battery testing featured on Hack-A-Day

I didn't see this mentioned anywhere yet, but our good friend Mike Dabrowski was featured on the web site Hack-A-Day last week

Testing Lithium cells for use with a hybrid car - Hack a Day

They featured his awesome A123 battery testing setup.

Congrats in the feature, Mike!

Enjoy!
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Old 07-04-2012, 09:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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This sounds a little too familar:

"The company said a welding machine in Livonia was miscalibrated during battery production. Later in the assembly process, that miscalibration caused a component in the battery to pierce a foil electrical insulating pouch. During battery use, that resulted in a short circuit and the failure of the battery."


Could that be the dent that has been found on some of the cells? Didn't someone also mention that these might have come from that Fiskar project?

A123 Recalling $55M In EV Batteries Made In Livonia CBS Detroit
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Old 07-04-2012, 11:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Mike, love the thermal image of the pierogies on your website. So we use the hot pierogies to heat the pack in the winter I assume summer cooling would be by sandwiching frozen pierogies in between the cells? Who says you have to drive far to get a good ethnic meal!
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hopefully the pack won't get hot enough to cook the pierogies.

uhtrinity,
Yes I hear you on this one. The thing that is interesting is that Eric has spoken with the chinese vendor and the impression that he got was that they were prepared to supply large quantities of these cells and were talking of quantities / month, as though there was no limit?
I visually checked all of the 152 cells I have, and sure there are some wrinkles and small blemishes, but overall, they look pretty good.
I hope to take a ride to the level gauging company that I built the production line for, and try some HYPot testing of the pouch to tabs. I will take an assortment of cells with different blemishes, and use the aluminum plates as the outer connection. If I can get to over 1KV, I would think we are ok.
From the inspection so far, and the HV tesla coil testing the foil pouch seems to be electrically isolated from the inner parts. It sounds like a weld in the inner cell had sharp edges and was able to puncture that inner insulation, which would make the foil of that pouch be at the potential of the cell in the stack relative to the other cells. The foil pouch also has a heavy plastic layer over it, so only the edge and bottom of the pouch where the foil is exposed would be electrically hot, so I will also do a hypot test from the foil to the terminals.
All speculation, but knowing how these recalls go, I expect that as soon as they found the problem, they pulled all the stock and since it is a mechanical issue, and the punctures are inside, they probably just trashed them all instead of taking the chance, and that's where the Chinese vendor seems to have started selling the cells.
I have not had much luck getting information from A123 in the past, but getting a reading on the serial numbers it is probably something worth pursuing.
Eric, you have the range of serial numbers you purchaced, may be worth a phone call to A123 to see how far you get.
May also be worth asking about the availability and price of new cells directly from them as a comparison?

Last edited by Mike Dabrowski 2000; 07-06-2012 at 09:20 AM.
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