Reclaiming Lithium Cells, DIY Batteries, LED Lighting and Basic Electrical Safety with Blake from Green Dragon

Build your own USB Powerbank from reclaimed 18650 cells that you can recharge with a USB phone charger. I can accommodate complete beginners as well as those with experience of Lithium batteries and LEDs. Charge mobile phones and power LED lighting in the field!

This course is part of the Green Dragon Maker Space.

Lithium Battery processing station

Laptop batteries, medical devices, modern power tools, cordless home appliances and more recently vaping devices contain 4.2V Lithium Cells. These are often of a particular size: approximately 18mm wide by 65mm long, thus the name 18650.

There are lots of 18650s out there as well as many other form factors of reclaimable and useful rechargeable Lithium cells. Lithium cells are much longer lasting than traditional Lead-Acid cells and often outlive the cheap disposable devices they are inside. Lithium battery packs sometimes get thrown away if one cell in a pack dies, as the whole pack may become useless even though the rest of the cells are fine.

If you bring any of these lithium battery packs or cells, we can test to see if any of the cells can be reclaimed. If you don’t have these, I will provide you with 4 x 18650 cells reclaimed from portable medical devices.

Adressable LED strips and battery packs

Friday 7th July 14.00 DIY Lithium Battery Course Timetable

Sign up for this course in person on either Thursday or Friday at Radical Bakers Summer Gathering by talking to me. There are 6 places with first-come, first-served.

    14.00: The opening session will be an overview for beginners, aimed at people with no experience of low voltage electrical wiring and safety. With a few basic principles, it is possible to DIY low voltage batteries and wiring safely. If you have experience, please chip in.
    14.30: How to safely handle and store 18650 lithium cells and batteries in general. I will talk about how Lithium Battery protection circuits work and why they are necessary. We will discuss the dangers of Lithium Batteries (of which I have first hand experience).
    14.45: We then move on to testing some 18650 Lithium cells and cracking open a few of the old battery packs you bring. Learn to use testers and multimeters. We will discuss what the numbers actually mean.
    15.00: Using a Kweld Mini Spot Welder and Nickel strip, we will weld 18650 cells together into a battery using a 3D printed holder. We will then solder wires from the battery to activate a 5V USB Powerbank module that includes protection circuitry. The completed battery pack is then tested and wrapped in heat shrink plastic to protect it. Or it can be installed into the enclosure of your choice…
    15.45: 15 minute comfort break
    16.00: After testing our new 5V Powerbanks (fingers crossed), We will end with a section on LED Diodes, how they work and how to power them. Using a multimeter and an Oscilloscope we will try and understand more about how LEDs can be driven by Pulse Width Modulation. This will include a breakdown of the different LED lighting products available on the market.
    16.30: We will take what we have learned about low voltage electrics and apply it to safely installing some LED strip lights to run off a battery in groups of 2.

Included in the course are:
4 x reclaimed 18650 Lithium cells and a 3D printed holder
1 x 2A QC PD 5V Powerbank Module PCB
Consumables: solder, Nickel strip, Copper cable, Heatshrink.
I will be asking for a donation of £10 to cover the materials if you can afford it.

kweld mini spot welder

I will also have lots of low voltage components and 12V Gadgets for sale in the Camp Market including: LED strips, bulbs, fittings and dimmers, Battery management systems, 12V timers, Sensors, Switches, fuses and fuse holders, solar connectors and cable, solar panels, lithium cells and more. Interesting things for people doing their own DC wiring and off-grid electrics.

Lithium Battery Pack

Blake from Green Dragon runs his stage at events from solar panels and battery power. He has been wiring up small scale DC systems for the last 15 years. Solar panels are cheaper now and easily in reach of anyone who wants power off-grid. Green Dragon is powering the whole site including kitchen blenders and site lighting.