Battery Issues + Damaged board

Hello all. Yesterday I constructed my DIY Reform to great success, booted up as it should and everything seemed peachy. However, this morning I went under the hood to re-seat my WiFi card and something happened. After making sure the machine was powered down & not plugged in, I unscrewed the bottom plate. Before touching any internals, I started to remove the batteries, beginning from the right. I removed all the batteries on the right side with no issue, but when I started to remove the batteries from the left side, one stuck for a second and then I saw smoke appear. I quickly removed the battery before anything else happened but it seems part of my board is now charred.

Thankfully the machine still works, but now my battery status complains at me (pic below because new account won’t allow 2 images in 1 post).

So, what are my options here? Did I do something wrong when removing the batteries?

Battery status:

EDIT: Welp, as I’ve discovered it turns out the battery packs are sold in the store (MNT Reform Battery Board - MNT Research Shop). So I’m just gonna get a new one, guess it just stuck in such a specific way to short out the battery cell and burn a trace in that mf. Guess I’ll be more careful next time! Electricity is scary :-). Thread can be closed

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Tipp: next time unplug the battery board from the mainboard before removing the batteries. This should prevent short circuiting

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I didn’t think that would be an issue here unless maybe they used a metal screwdriver to lift them out and shorted it to the screw under the board? I don’t see how removing them like that could cause a short unless metal tools were used. Since even if the holder contacts the one next to it that won’t cause a short across a battery.

When working I do personally remove the two connectors from the motherboard then remove the cells after that from the inside out on each side. Not quite sure how that damage was caused.

It’s likely repairable without buying a new board, you would need to trace out each of the connections and the wire to find what’s broken, and the cover the exposed traces with something to protect them.

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I am a little bit confused as to how it happened myself, it all happened pretty quickly. I definitely did not use any kind of metal tool to pry them out and was just doing it with my bare hands.

But yeah, from now on I’m definitely going to remove the connectors before taking out any batteries. I’ve already purchased the replacement battery pack as I am a bit of a noob when it comes to repairing a board in such a way, but I appreciate your suggestion and will look into it.

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So I just ran into this exact thing in a different way-

  1. System was working except 2 of the shipped cells were bad, unchargable even in the nitecore set to LiFePO4. System reported one as a super low voltage (~0.02 or something) and the other at 0.00 with ??? also displayed

  2. I decided to buy a couple of replacement cells (exact matches down to the brand) and charged everything up externally.

  3. Upon inserting the batteries everything seemed to work fine but the system still displayed super low voltages for 2 of the cells - I double checked externally that this was not accurate, charging everything to 100%

  4. During one of the debugging sessions I removed the cells bare handed making sure not to short anything and also had the cell packs disconnected from the motherboard since I had read this thread above in advance.

  5. Upon removing the second last cell, magic smoke across the trace joining cell 1 to cell 2.

Now I’m afraid to put the cells back in at all! Any thoughts?

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It sounds like this is at least somewhat isolated- I’ve lost the ability to use reform as a portable and I am tempted to replace my burned board and try again but a bit worried since nothing has actually changed with my setup.

I’m very sorry for your bad experience. Would you agree to mail the burned battery board to us for inspection? We’ll replace it for free. You can mail it to: MNT Research GmbH, Fehlerstr. 8, 12161 Berlin, Germany.


Amazing - i’ll be glad to, and FWIW it has been a great experience- i view this project as more of joining a community to figure stuff out together.


How to best secure battery-connecting cables?

I’m trying to avoid deeply discharging batteries when laptop is not in use, and I guess in such a case disconnecting power from mainboard should help. But I’m a bit worried about bare cables hanging inside the case; for original delivery, cables are protected using plastic. Would it make sense to also secure them (perhaps with some kind of isolating tape?), especially for transporting Reform?

Yes, isolate with (3M?) tape and secure with cable ties, for example.

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I believe what happened here is that two of the adjacent battery clips accidentally touched while the batteries were being removed, and it was the “wrong” clips (ie. the ones that aren’t already connected by the PCB). I wrote a post about how I isolated my battery clips to avoid this problem.