Swollen Tracer 4Ah LiPo battery

My 5 year old Tracer battery is swelling & forcing the case apart. I suspect that this not a good thing! I first noticed it early this year but it has got worse since I came to recharge it yesterday.
Given the cost of replacing it, I am loathe to dispose of it, but I suspect this will be it’s fate. Has any one else had this problem & & has it been terminal (pun intended!) for the battery?
The factory is closed at present until the NewYear to ask advice.

Hi John,
If that is indeed a LiPO (not LifePO4) battery, about 5 years is what I get out of mine and yes the puffed-out case is a terminal sign.
I’m sure you know this but I will say it anyway (to be safe) DO NOT, WHATEVER YOU DO, PUNCTURE THE CASE !!!

The good news is that in the last 5 years the price of LifePO4 batteries that are both closer to our wanted voltage and suffer less from these problems (although they can still) - have come down a lot.
So I guess it’s time to look for a supply of a 4 aH LifePo4 battery. Here in Germany I would recommend Eremit as both the best price and best quality but he doesn’t ship outside of Germany and with the current transport regulations there is no way to ship lithium batteries between the EU and the UK. Even within the EU some couriers refuse to carry them.

73 Ed.

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Thanks for your thoughts, Ed.
You’ve confirmed what I thought. Whilst it still works, I suspect that it is a hazard that should be disposed of safely asap.
It’s a nice bit of kit, but at £125 or more plus VAT, I’m not rushing out to buy another if it lasts only a few years! (Yes it’s LiPo per the bumf that came with it.)
I will dig out my old 5Ah SLAB to power my 818 until I get something lighter. I could even try the internal battery for the 818 which I haven’t tried yet.
I mostly activate on 2m with my FT65, so I’m not really inconvenienced by all this.
73 & a Happy New SOTA Year, John.


Swelling LiPo and LiFePo batteries are nasty. Whilst you find a safe disposal solution, like the council recycling centre, put the battery in a closed metal box and put it in a place that could tolerate smoke & fumes should it decide to internally short out and go on fire.

Five years is quite good. There is a fragility to them, a simple knock can trigger trouble!

I use a LiPo for my 817, connected to the power socket using one of those Anderson connectors. It’s a 5c , 3Ah, 11.1v unit bought from a model shop. Not outrageously expensive and about half the size of a fag packet. The charger and tiny voltage tester seemed more expensive! I find it lasts & lasts on a 2m FM SOTA sortie.

Hi John,
I would need to check if it is still around but there used to be a flat 3S 2.5Ah Lipo battery from Hobby King that will fit in the FT817/818 battery bay. I know there was a US company making conversion kits (replacement battery cover with switch, battery and new cable) so that you could leave the battery in and safely charge it from outside - when I had my FT817ND I would remove the battery to charge it but it lasted quite a long time between charges even when running 5 watts of compressed SSB output. I had to add a cable to the battery to go to the existing connector in the FT817 I used one from the AA battery case as that has the green wire that needs about 3-5v on it to tell the radio not to allow battery charging through the external 12v socket (not a good thing to try on the main output of LiPO batteries), In my cable bundle I had a couple of 100k resistors to make a voltage divider and used that set-up for over 5 years, until … the £27 battery started to bulge.

£125 for a 4/5Ah Lipo is way too expensive. my 5Ah 3S Lipos used to cost £25-30

Currently here a 4 aH 12v Lifepo4 battery with built-in BMS (battery management system) costs €37 plus shipping.

73 Ed.
UPDATE - the company in the US is called Windcamp - and the kit is available through eBAY UK:
225914776916 for sale | eBay
And How-to video:

It’s much cheaper to get the parts and do it yourself, but you have the choice.


4S LiFePo4 batteries for 13.2 volts are unobtainable as far as I know in the UK. However you can get 2S LiFePo4 batteries which are 6.6 volts and wiring two in parallel* works well, this is what I do to powr my IC-705 after my 4S expired earlier this year - with the same symptoms of a swollen case.

  • EDIT: The batteries should be wired in series not parallel. :slight_smile:

I think that should say in series? not in parallel.
73 Ed.

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This has happened to all the blue soft cased ones I’ve bought over the last 10 years or so. I put them in the recycling container at the local refuse site for safety. I wouldn’t buy them anymore now we have the 18650 cells available.

73 Phil G4OBK

Thanks - my mistake! Series of course. :slight_smile:

Thanks for all your comments, chaps.
Battery now resting peacefully at my local recycling centre, though I did keep the case & connectors for possible future use with 18650 cells or whatever.
Now to start looking for a suitable replacement.

All the best for 2024 & your SOTA activities,
73 John.


Hi John,

I’ve been testing a couple of these over the last week or so, whilst in Majorca:


I have two joined together, giving me approx 12A at about 13V, powering the FT-891. So far, I am very impressed. The individual units are about 700g in weight, so about 100g more than my HobbyKing 4.2A LiFePO4 batteries. This seems a reasonable weight for 6A, compared to others that are actually available in the UK. These were delivered within a couple of days by Amazon and come with chargers.

In testing so far, I’ve run the 891 at about 75w for an hour’s long POTA activation + half an hour on a SOTA, both on the same day, without charging in-between. They worked really well, even in the heat of the setting sun here (approx 20degC). I’m also running FT8 at about 80w as well, and these are good for at least an hour of CQs/actual contacts…

I’m glad I have the 891 and these batteries, as I seem to be struggling to make contacts on HF from here this time round. Fortunately the batteries are light, so easy enough to carry up some of the summits here.

73 & Happy New Year,
Simon (EA6/G7WKX until 2nd Jan :slight_smile: )


Thanks again, Ed, I’ll do some digging into it.

Thanks for your interesting post, Simon, I’ll look into it.
Happy New Year to you both also
73 John

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Someone told my Bro in law to poke the swollen foil cell with a pin its probably only carbon dioxide in side causing the swelling and then continue using it with the good cells and a bit less capacity.
Luckily for him he took it outside to poke said hole and ended up with an instant fiery fizzing mess on his concert floor in the car port. It burnt completely and he just had to jump out of the way and watch. Don’t try that method of dealing with a swollen cell.
Ian vk5cz …


Oops! Yes, I knew not to pierce it in any way.
Now safely disposed of.
73 John.