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Burning Battery

30 Apr 2021 | rants

Burned Battery

My old phone was on its last leg. The battery ran out of juice too fast and there are more hiccups when using it. Part of the reason why is because I stopped getting Android updates for a long time already. I considered unlocking the bootloader to install a custom ROM like Lineage OS. Unfortunately, Huawei refused to provide the bootloader unlock code. Even though I bought a new phone recently, I didn’t want to throw my old phone away. The biggest problem was just the battery so I went on eBay to purchase a new battery and tried to install it myself.

The Video Was Simple

As you can already guessed from the picture, things went horribly wrong. This was my first time opening up a smartphone to change the battery. Watching the instructions on YouTube made it seem so simple. Just separating the case and the screen alone took me almost 30 minutes. I had to dig into the small edges in between and push the screen out bit by bit.

And that was actually the easy part. What I was unprepared for was removing the battery from the phone. I remembered how old flip phones would have detachable batteries. One good yank was all it took to take the battery out. Definitely not the case with smartphones today. My battery was being held in place by some kind of super glue on the back. I used the pry tool to nudge the battery out but it woudln’t budge.

The Smoking Phone

That’s when I made the mistake of using too much force.

The thing about instruction videos is that there are no details on what could go wrong. There might be a warning that says they’re not responsible for any damage. I understand and accept the risk. What I didn’t know that even a small puncture in the battery was all it took.

When I pushed a bit too hard against the battery, the pry tool punctured the battery protective cover. The first effect was immediate. The oxygen made contact with the chemicals in the battery and it fizzled a bit, releasing some smoke. Then it stopped and the fire went away. A few seconds after that, the fire came back. This time the battery is releasing a lot of smoke and a horrible smell.

I immediately grabbed the smoking phone and ran barefoot outside. I threw the battery into the grass a few feet away. The most fortunate thing was that the battery was burning instead of exploding. I got a bit of a burn on my fingers but nothing too serious. I never knew that such a small battery can release that much smoke in just a few seconds. It was late at night so hopefully my neighbors didn’t witness the smoke.

The battery became a swollen mess after it smoked out. I learned that next time, I need to wear all protective equipments and have a fire extinguisher nearby when I do it outside. Playing with battery is risky business.

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