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eHam Forums => Misc => Topic started by: WA2ASB on May 02, 2013, 04:53:22 AM



Title: WARNING: Lithium Polymer Batteries fire
Post by: WA2ASB on May 02, 2013, 04:53:22 AM
Whoa, that woke me up.  I was checking Facebook (FB) this morning and saw an ad on the right hand side for something Ham Radio related.  (FB knows I'm a sucker). Following their link I noticed that they did either sell or advocated the use of Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries for Ham Radio Equipment.

I've used LiPo's for awhile without any problems.  I have several RC helicopters, boats, and cars that are powered by them.  I always use extreme caution when charging them because I've seen videos of what happens when things go wrong.

I use a special fire resistant bag whenever I charge.  I'm not advocating the particular bag shown in this video, and I'm not suggesting anyone buy it, but I am saying: if you use LiPo batteries, charge them some where safely outside of your equipment.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3o_2mwRPdw (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3o_2mwRPdw)


Title: RE: WARNING: Lithium Polymer Batteries fire
Post by: W8JX on May 02, 2013, 07:11:09 AM
Many laptops have been using Li batteries for some time now. Some smart phones too with no problems.

I think Face Book is such a waste of time and cloud space too.


Title: RE: WARNING: Lithium Polymer Batteries fire
Post by: NO2A on May 02, 2013, 08:45:49 AM
My camera uses Lithiun Ion batteries and they work great. One thing to remember is if you ever put a replacement pack in your pocket,make sure nothing can short the terminals out. Loose change,a pen,etc. They make covers for them but nobody uses them.


Title: RE: WARNING: Lithium Polymer Batteries fire
Post by: WA2ASB on May 02, 2013, 10:38:09 AM
Hey guys, Lithium Ion batteries like those in laptops are not a problem.  The problem is with the Lithium Ion Polymer batteries.  It is the "Polymer" addition that is the problem.  My "Fitbit" also has a LiPo battery in it, and I'm very careful when I charge it too.


Title: RE: WARNING: Lithium Polymer Batteries fire
Post by: W8JX on May 02, 2013, 10:50:35 AM
Hey guys, Lithium Ion batteries like those in laptops are not a problem.  The problem is with the Lithium Ion Polymer batteries.  It is the "Polymer" addition that is the problem.  My "Fitbit" also has a LiPo battery in it, and I'm very careful when I charge it too.

Well it is a intelligent battery and charger so there is Little cause for concern. LiPo are making a lot of inroads in devices with non removable batteries and they can be easily molded to odd shapes.


Title: RE: WARNING: Lithium Polymer Batteries fire
Post by: WA2ASB on May 02, 2013, 11:42:36 AM

Well it is a intelligent battery and charger so there is Little cause for concern. LiPo are making a lot of inroads in devices with non removable batteries and they can be easily molded to odd shapes.

"Little cause for concern"?  Well viewing the link that I posted shows how violently these things burn.  I wouldn't want to be anywhere near one.  Do I buy them?  Sure because you can't fly a small helicopter in your living room with a lead-acid battery.  However, I take percautions when charging them.

Lithium ion batteries can catch fire too, but not with the propensity of what the LiPo's do.  Remember that the Boeing 787's got grounded because of Lithium Ion battery fires. 

Here is a link to the FAA's findings: http://www.fire.tc.faa.gov/pdf/09-55.pdf (http://www.fire.tc.faa.gov/pdf/09-55.pdf)  (Interesting that the government can still get Halon fire extenquishers and civilians can't.  I guess government usage doesn't harm the ozone layer. ::) )


Title: RE: WARNING: Lithium Polymer Batteries fire
Post by: W8JX on May 02, 2013, 12:10:14 PM

Lithium ion batteries can catch fire too, but not with the propensity of what the LiPo's do.  Remember that the Boeing 787's got grounded because of Lithium Ion battery fires. 


That's because they did not do their home work and Boeing's design placed a LOT of demand on batteries at times resulting in heavy cycling or charge/discharge. Not that same as consumer use in small devices. Are they a hazard, sure but no more (and likely less)than the gas tank and fuel lines in your car that you drive every day


Title: RE: WARNING: Lithium Polymer Batteries fire
Post by: WB6DGN on May 05, 2013, 08:25:05 PM
Quote
That's because they did not do their home work and Boeing's design placed a LOT of demand on batteries at times resulting in heavy cycling or charge/discharge. Not that same as consumer use in small devices. Are they a hazard, sure but no more (and likely less)than the gas tank and fuel lines in your car that you drive every day.

Well said.  While its presently a fairly small sample, every Tesla electric automobile running is using a very large lithium battery array and, to date, I have never heard of an incident of any kind since developmental testing.  Its hard to imagine a more demanding application than being the SOLE power source for an electric vehicle.  Its all about the control system, both charge and discharge.  The batteries are safe when the associated control  electronics are competently designed.
Tom


Title: RE: WARNING: Lithium Polymer Batteries fire
Post by: K7RNO on May 06, 2013, 01:36:05 PM
I found that reading about battery types on this site (http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/) was just the education I needed to know enough about LiIon batteries to not fall into the trap of mixing them all up. It might be an educational read for some of you too <cough>  ;)


Title: RE: WARNING: Lithium Polymer Batteries fire
Post by: NO2A on May 07, 2013, 07:47:22 AM
Here`s another reason to "read the manual." Canon,and other camera makers have warned the public about buying off brand replacement batteries. Many are cheap,counterfeit batteries that can and will leak or explode when charged. Whenever buying a replacement battery pack,make sure it is the brand name and it comes with a warrenty. The brand name batteries aren`t expensive anyway.


Title: RE: WARNING: Lithium Polymer Batteries fire
Post by: W8JX on May 07, 2013, 07:54:39 AM
Here`s another reason to "read the manual." Canon,and other camera makers have warned the public about buying off brand replacement batteries. Many are cheap,counterfeit batteries that can and will leak or explode when charged. Whenever buying a replacement battery pack,make sure it is the brand name and it comes with a warrenty. The brand name batteries aren`t expensive anyway.

These claims of explosive aftermarket batteries are about as rare as deadly flying mag mount antennas. I always use after market batteries and usually with good results though occasionally I have a few with reduced capacity or shorter life and have never had one explode or even leak.


Title: RE: WARNING: Lithium Polymer Batteries fire
Post by: KK4JJF on May 08, 2013, 05:57:10 AM
I have 2 LiPo packs that had been sitting unused for a year. I found both of them balloned out, and twisted.  They were stored in my bedroom closet!  :o


Title: RE: WARNING: Lithium Polymer Batteries fire
Post by: KE7TMA on May 13, 2013, 05:01:16 PM
I had an RC chopper literally explode in midair because of a bad LiPo battery.

Good old Made in China gear!


Title: RE: WARNING: Lithium Polymer Batteries fire
Post by: KE3WD on May 14, 2013, 02:30:28 PM
I had an RC chopper literally explode in midair because of a bad LiPo battery.

Good old Made in China gear!

I know some RC'ers who would have paid dearly for the feature...



Title: RE: WARNING: Lithium Polymer Batteries fire
Post by: W8JX on May 16, 2013, 03:50:42 PM
I had an RC chopper literally explode in midair because of a bad LiPo battery.

Good old Made in China gear!

Be curious to know how many charge/discharge cycles you had on it that day.


Title: RE: WARNING: Lithium Polymer Batteries fire
Post by: KE7TMA on May 16, 2013, 04:34:06 PM
Only about 10 cycles on that battery.  It was really funny to watch, though!  I literally stopped traffic, spraying the poor thing down with a fire extinguisher in the middle of the street.


Title: RE: WARNING: Lithium Polymer Batteries fire
Post by: KC8Y on May 18, 2013, 03:41:07 PM
RE:  WA2ASB statement about Halon Fire Ext.

I've  already did application-desinged on those systems for government buildngs AND COMERCIAL BUILDINGS in the 1980s.


Title: RE: WARNING: Lithium Polymer Batteries fire
Post by: W8JX on May 18, 2013, 06:16:29 PM
Only about 10 cycles on that battery.  It was really funny to watch, though!  I literally stopped traffic, spraying the poor thing down with a fire extinguisher in the middle of the street.

How many cycles that day?


Title: RE: WARNING: Lithium Polymer Batteries fire
Post by: KE7TMA on May 20, 2013, 04:14:34 PM
Only about 10 cycles on that battery.  It was really funny to watch, though!  I literally stopped traffic, spraying the poor thing down with a fire extinguisher in the middle of the street.

How many cycles that day?

First cycle of the day.  It was one of the $100 units you can buy now, not a fancy or nice unit at all.


Title: RE: WARNING: Lithium Polymer Batteries fire
Post by: KA4DPO on June 02, 2013, 08:00:12 AM
As an avid RC modeler I have been using Lipo batteries for almost ten years now and have not had any problems.  Most Lipo fires are caused by improper charging or crash damage.  Many of the new high discharge Lipos can be charged in excess of one C but I never charge them at over one C and don't recommend it.  As for ham radio, I use them on several systems right now.


Title: RE: WARNING: Lithium Polymer Batteries fire
Post by: K0BEL on June 03, 2013, 01:36:27 PM
I agree with KA4DPO. I am retired and work at an RC hobby store and we sell thousands of lipo's. I have only heard of one lipo fire in those thousands of batteries. He tried charging it with a much higher current than the C value. The results were obvious. Most lipos have digital and analog fire prevention mechanisms built in. That is what you see when the battery bulges. Lipos need to be charged by a lipo charger. When it is full the charger shuts off. Nicad and NMH chargers continue to charge after the battery is 'full'. That fries a Lipo. The reasons why there are videos of lipo fires is because people purposely push them beyond their limit so they can video a fire.


Title: RE: WARNING: Lithium Polymer Batteries fire
Post by: KU7PDX on June 05, 2013, 11:43:04 AM
I couldn't agree more! We all use many, many lithium batteries throughout our regular lives without any incident and there are multiple things that have to go wrong before a dangerous situation occurs.

If you're interested in learning how to charge lithium batteries, there is a great article on PowerStream's website here: http://www.powerstream.com/li.htm (http://www.powerstream.com/li.htm) and a lot more info on battery charging in general under the Technical Resources section.


Title: RE: WARNING: Lithium Polymer Batteries fire
Post by: KE3WD on June 05, 2013, 02:08:39 PM
Whenever you have to use a new or different technology, it behoove you, the user, to study up on the safe methodology involved with that technology.  Assumptions can prove to be expensive if not deadly. 

Consider that the older, well known and well used lead acid battery technology can indeed generate hydrogen gas if not handled properly.  Or cause electrical fires if not fused properly.  Then there's the guy who lost a finger because he got his wedding band between two poles from a lead acid battery, at the starter.  The ring instantly welded to the two battery points, turned red hot in less than a second and when he instinctively jerked his hand away, the red hot ring amputated and cauterized all in one step. 

It isn't the technology, it is the user of the technology, no matter what that technology is, who is responsible for knowing how to safely and wisely exploit the technology. 


73