Samsung Swollen Battery Replacement
Technology is advancing at an alarming rate. The first electric vehicles were invented as far back as 1832, becoming practical for use later in that century. Then fossil fuel become the preferred energy source. Now we are back where we started – electric vehicles. Pretty much everything is powered by a battery of some source. Flywheel energy storage, iron-air batteries, solid state batteries and others represent current advancements of the power supply. However, the leader at the moment is Lithium-ion batteries, which were developed in the 1970s.
Unfortunately, there are a few downsides to this technology. Although Lithium-ion batteries are almost 95% recyclable, very few recycling plants are in use. Here in Australia the recycle rate for these batteries is less than 3%! Worldwide that figure stands at around 9%. The rest gets sent to landfill.
Why such a dismal effort? Despite these precious metals being a finite resource, most Lithium-ion batteries are never recycled. The main reasons include that the recycling process is not economically viable, the technical nature of the process, logistic issues and regulation loopholes.
In the meantime, our earth suffers.
Lithium-ion batteries are extremely sensitive to high temperatures and are inherently flammable. They tend to degrade much faster than they normally would, due to heat.
During a ‘thermal runaway’ event, cells can rupture, causing fire or an explosion, toxic chemical exposure and pollution due to the battery rupturing.
In the case of the Samsung tablet in this repair, the battery had become swollen. What could cause a battery to swell? As the battery ages, the chemical reaction creating voltage no longer completes perfectly and can result in the creation of gas (called outgassing), leading to a swollen battery. Also, if the internal layers have become damaged and no longer remain properly separated, outgassing, swelling, and even fire can occur. This can also be created by overcharging, and excessive temperatures – all of which can lead to unwanted chemical reactions inside the cell.
This Samsung SM-T280 tablet is used by a local automotive spare parts outlet for staff to ‘clock on and clock off’ when starting or finishing a shift.
However, this device is left on charge permanently. Whether this has contributed to the battery being in an overcharged state or not is not clear. The charging circuit appears to be working correctly and does limit the current accordingly when charged. Perhaps it was the age of the battery, cell break down within, or some other unidentified reason that caused the battery to swell. Although it seems that a correct charger and cable were used, the company has now decided to just charge the battery at night and have had no further issues.
Replacement of the battery is not difficult. Firstly, make sure the tablet is turned off and the SD card holder must be removed. The hardest part is to remove the back cover without breaking any retaining clips. When using a removal tool, it’s important to keep clear of any switches or ribbon cables that might be hiding inside.
Carefully continuing with a plastic pry tool made the job easier with less chance of damaging internal components.
Once the back cover was removed, it was clear how swollen the battery was and how potentially dangerous this situation could be. Not only was the back cover difficult to remove due to the fact that it was stretched so tight against the frame, but also the video screen was pivoting off the frame.
Dangerous! Yes, I had a fire extinguisher nearby.
Normally, the batteries are held into place by double-sided tape and some have a ‘pull tab’ to remove the battery. However, in this case, the battery was just floating around in the breeze!
The battery connector needed to be removed next. A green piece of plastic tape covers the connector and helps it remain in position. A plastic spudger was used to remove the connector so that no accidental short was created with a metal tool.
It became obvious just how swollen the battery was when placed next to the replacement battery.
The swollen battery was placed in a sealed container, awaiting correct disposal.
Looking back, it would have been safer to keep the battery in a steel bucket containing sand.
After waiting for the correct replacement battery to arrive, installation was simple. A few strips of double-sided tape were used to hold the battery in place.
Matching lines drawn on the connector as well as the circuit board indicate when the connector is fully located and the retaining latch can be put back into place.
The green connector cover tape is refitted.
It is a good idea to test the tablet with all its features before refitting the back cover.
Connect to an appropriate charger to make sure the battery is receiving charge and the charge circuit is operating correctly.
I could now confidently refit the back cover and ensure all the clips clicked into place. Months have passed and the automotive parts retailer is very happy with the results and report that they have had no further issues with the tablet.
If you are interested in this repair, you can see a video on my channel following the link below:
This article was prepared for you by Mark Rabone from Australia.
Please give a support by clicking on the social buttons below. Your feedback on the post is welcome. Please leave it in the comments.
P.S- Do you know of any your friends who would benefit from this content that you are reading now? If so, forward this website to your friends or you can invite your friends to subscribe to my newsletter for free in this Link.
Note: You can check out his previous repair article on Projecta Jumpstarter Power Supply Repair