Cold temperatures and Lithium Ion batteries.

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Schoppy, Jul 9, 2014.

  1. Schoppy

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 7, 2014
    - Not for anything other than curiosity but it's my understanding that when the temperature dips then the chemical reactions that generate current slow down, so therefore there is less current flowing. As the battery dies it reaches a point where enough current isn't being supplied to function but once you warm the battery again it operates normally.

    - My question is does cold weather cause the battery to die faster? I went to ICE with my girlfriend this year because in Florida we never see any cold and while inside she was taking pictures and her phone's battery showed that it lost a high percentage in a little amount of time but I never looked at it once it warmed up to see if the reading was just incorrect or if it really lost that amount of battery.

    - My thoughts are conflicting. a) On one hand I feel like the reading was correct because the phone had to work harder to produce enough heat to bring the chemical reactions up to their regular temperature to ensure that the phone continues to work. b) On the other hand I feel like the phone temperature dropped therefore causing the reactions to slow down therefore giving a misreading because it's not receiving as much current.

    - My gut is telling me that a) is the right choice because energy is lost to heat constantly but I need someone smarter than me to explain it in a way that I can understand.
  2. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
  3. NorthGuy

    Active Member

    Jun 28, 2014
    At cold temperatures, chemical reactions slow down, so battery is "reluctant" to release the charge, but the charge doesn't go anywhere - battery should be back to normal when it warms up.

    I have a weather station with lead-acid batteries. When it is -45, the voltage drops down dramatically even though the load is very small. Feels like the battery is discharged, but it's not.

    I have read that cold might be bad for li-ion, so I went with lead-acid.
  4. jpanhalt

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
  5. Comet

    New Member

    Jul 9, 2014
    Doesn't lowering the temperature raise the internal resistance of the battery?
  6. nsaspook

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 27, 2009
    Yes, per Jpanhalts link the Arrhenius_equation models the electron/ion mobility of the chemical reactions which means the internal resistance is effectively increased as the temperature is reduced.

  7. wayneh


    Sep 9, 2010
    There's a long standing "myth" that, on a very cold day, you can better start a cold car engine by first warming your battery by turning on your headlights for a while. It seems counter-intuitive but on the other hand makes some sense. I think it's been tested (busted?) but I'm not aware of the verdict.