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Lipo Fire in Garage

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Old 06-25-2012, 10:48 AM
  #76
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Default RE: Lipo Fire in Garage

Correction....longer than I thought! Looks like it was 2005! http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_28...tm.htm#2842561
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:12 AM
  #77
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Default RE: Lipo Fire in Garage

Don't try to fight Lipo fire, it'd be too late, as its combustion is so fierce and quick, won't last more than 20 seconds. What concerns is the secondary fire caused by that initial ignition. So the best techniques is to prevent it from ever happening, by only balance charging in a smoke detected bunker, because the charger will have to recognize the voltage of each individual cell rather than the combined voltage.
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:12 AM
  #78
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Default RE: Lipo Fire in Garage


Quote:
ORIGINAL: cbh82v

If you read the wikipedia page you'll see that water is a bad idea. Water can make some metal fires larger. A five gallon bucket full of dirt near your charging station is a cheap alternative to a class D fire extinguisher.

cbh

For LiPo fires, I'll go with actual experience over Wikipedia - water works. The next time I burn some magnesium though, I'll avoid the water... I'd probably use sand though over dirt - easier cleanup...

Bob
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:21 AM
  #79
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Default RE: Lipo Fire in Garage

NiMh?? OMG, I charge them inside the planes all the time, they are actually strapped in by zippies[]
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:32 AM
  #80
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Default RE: Lipo Fire in Garage

I cant believe this still goes on, how many burned out models, vehicles, garages and workshops will it take for people to adhere to the clear recommendations of not charging lipo's unattended .. unbelievable ...

But to go to bed with them still charging ... Geeze!

Personally, I wont install a lipo if I cant get it out to charge and store it, if im not totally convinced on the health of my pack and its not out side it will get charged in a lipo bag ... all my lipos are stored in lipo bags when not in a model ...


Scott.
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:47 AM
  #81
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Default RE: Lipo Fire in Garage


Quote:
ORIGINAL: flyallday


Quote:
ORIGINAL: grimbeaver


Also to the guy who said he stores his lipos outside in his grill. You just let me know how many cycles you get from those... I'll store mine in a temperature controlled environment thanks.

Grill is in the shade. You must have missed my post where I was concerned the ambient temp was increasing and moved the lipos into my sandblast cabinet in the garage. By the way, have had many of these packs for several years with hundreds of cycles. You may want to add yourself to that temperature control. Kind of arrogant statement.

To each his own. This is only a hobby.

Harry
Not being arrogant just rehashing the advice I see repeated over and over again from others which is don't store your lipos in the garage because of temperature fluctuations. A grill outdoors is going to have more fluctuations in temperature then your garage is.
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Old 06-25-2012, 12:00 PM
  #82
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Default RE: Lipo Fire in Garage

Wanted to express my appreciation to the OP for his willingness to bring this incident to the board and face all of the Monday Morning Quarterbacks who were sure to jump in. It's easy in hindsight to see what should have been done, and it's important that we do look at the pictures, disect what mistakes were made, and learn from this accident. I think we should also applaud the OP who was willing to share this with us so we could learn from it. We can all be that much safer if we learn not just from our own mistakes, but from other people's as well...

Thanks!
KennyMac
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Old 06-25-2012, 12:01 PM
  #83
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Default RE: Lipo Fire in Garage

The temp where I live has been 60ish at night to 85 during the day for the last couple of months. June gloom is lifting here in LA and that is why I decided to store in the garage (which is not temp controlled but insulated and power vented) Figure if they have lasted a couple of years, I must be doing something right.

Harry
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Old 06-25-2012, 12:57 PM
  #84
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Default RE: Lipo Fire in Garage


Quote:
ORIGINAL: GR7Racer

Wanted to express my appreciation to the OP for his willingness to bring this incident to the board and face all of the Monday Morning Quarterbacks who were sure to jump in. It's easy in hindsight to see what should have been done, and it's important that we do look at the pictures, disect what mistakes were made, and learn from this accident. I think we should also applaud the OP who was willing to share this with us so we could learn from it. We can all be that much safer if we learn not just from our own mistakes, but from other people's as well...

Thanks!
KennyMac

Great post.

... And thanks to Andy for having 'Brass Ones' by starting this thread..... while knowing he will be under ridicule by some.

Andy, you used up all your luck this week, be careful from now on!
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:02 PM
  #85
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Default RE: Lipo Fire in Garage

So far we've talked about lipo fires while charging. I'd like to add my experience. I had a lipo fire in a battery sitting fully charged on a shelf in the basement. Charging was completed three or four days before. I happened to be at home and heard the smoke detector in the basement go off. When I went down to investigate I could smell a slight electrical burning odor but initially didn't see anything. On my second pass by the shelf that held a number of 5 & 6 cell lipos I saw smoke coming out of one of them. I pulled it off the shelf by the charge leads and upon hitting the floor it burst into flames. I ran upstairs to the kitchen where I knew I had an extinguisher (running past one I had in the basement which says something about the condition of your mind under stress) and was able to put out the fire instantly, but not before a lot of smoke filled the basement. The fire department came and ventilated the house. I now store my batteries in ammo cans (vented) in the trailer or in an unused (also vented) wood stove in the basement. In addition I don't always balance for every charge, but I do monitor the individual cell voltages before and during every charge.

You can see from the photo where the batteries sat on the shelf and the charred pile on the floor where the ignited one landed. I think the lessons here are always assume a battery can light off at any time, so protect it from igniting anything else, and consider how to handle the smoke that will be generated. You will be surprised at how much will be given off by a small battery.

David
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:04 PM
  #86
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Default RE: Lipo Fire in Garage

This thread is in danger of entering looney land. Before long the only safe way to store/charge a lipo will be in a bomb shelter in a full NBC suit.

I am thinking about all those 10'S of thousands of parkzone models in the bind and fly category all with a nice little lipo stored in a polystyrene and cardboardbox stacked high in warehouses and shops all around the world.

Do you perhaps think we need to keep some perspective here
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:06 PM
  #87
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Default RE: Lipo Fire in Garage


Quote:
ORIGINAL: cbh82v

If you read the wikipedia page you'll see that water is a bad idea. Water can make some metal fires larger. A five gallon bucket full of dirt near your charging station is a cheap alternative to a class D fire extinguisher.

cbh


Quote:
ORIGINAL: rhklenke


Quote:
ORIGINAL: cbh82v



Dry powder fire extinguishers are best for Lipo fires. lithium is a combustable metal. Use a Class D extinguisher.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_classes

Who the heck has a Class D fire extinguisher around?!? As I said, water works - just turn off the power to the charger first...

Bob

Agree that a bucket of dirt is cheap. The wiki ref; post is a teeny bit misleading, in that the OP mentioned dry powder vis-a-vis Class D. Class. True a Class D would contain a powder, typically a copper compound, and they are WAAAAY expensive. But a Dry Chemical unit that meets Class B / C should work okay in this case as well.

"REGULAR DRY CHEMICAL extinguishers contain a siliconized sodium bicarbonate based dry chemical with free flowing and non- caking additives. Economical Class B & C protection with lower initial cost and recharging. This chemical smothers fires in flammable liquids and pressurized gases and will not conduct electricity back to the operator."

Class B
Flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, paint, paint thinners and propane.

Class C
Energized electrical equipment, such as appliances, switches, panel boxes and power tools.

These are pretty reasonably priced, and since I'm usually multi-charging large 5-6S packs, might not hurt to have one around. Been working with lipos for years, no problems, but sure seems to be an uptick on the fires breaking out...


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Old 06-25-2012, 01:14 PM
  #88
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Default RE: Lipo Fire in Garage


Quote:
ORIGINAL: TimWatson

This thread is in danger of entering looney land. Before long the only safe way to store/charge a lipo will be in a bomb shelter in a full NBC suit.

I am thinking about all those 10'S of thousands of parkzone models in the bind and fly category all with a nice little lipo stored in a polystyrene and cardboard box stacked high in warehouses and shops all around the world.

Do you perhaps think we need to keep some perspective here

Tim, I used to think like you until it happened to me. The problem is that a new, partially charged pack has been controlled since its creation. One we get them, fly them, and charge them a dozen times, all bets are off. I will continue to fly lipos until a safer battery with the same energy density comes along. I'm not afraid of them, but I do have a new respect for what they can do to my trailer, planes and house.

David
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:19 PM
  #89
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Default RE: Lipo Fire in Garage


Quote:
ORIGINAL: TimWatson

This thread is in danger of entering looney land. Before long the only safe way to store/charge a lipo will be in a bomb shelter in a full NBC suit.

I am thinking about all those 10'S of thousands of parkzone models in the bind and fly category all with a nice little lipo stored in a polystyrene and cardboard box stacked high in warehouses and shops all around the world.

Do you perhaps think we need to keep some perspective here
I'd be willing to bet that those LiPo batteries are *uncharged* (or only very lightly charged). In my experience, an uncharged LiPo is *much* more benign than a charged one.

The dangers of Lithium batteries are well known:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UPS_Airlines_Flight_6
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asiana_Airlines_Flight_991
http://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/news..._205322-1.html
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:36 PM
  #90
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Default RE: Lipo Fire in Garage

I think you have the record for # of replies in one day. I did the same as you, but was watching and trying to salvage a dead pack. It was on the cement floor in the shed outside, and caught on fire and shot out of the end like a sparkler after about a minute or two. I had to get it out of the shop and onto the lawn because the smoke was pretty thick and the sparks were getting a bit close to things they shouldn't.Burnt my finger a bit too.I didn't get any LIPOs for a long time after that, but have caved in since. I have seen a nicad explode violently too, sounded like a gun and shot out pretty far. The guy just forgot about it for a while getting ready for a race. I guess I should get a smoke detector and a teapot in the shop near the exit. I would say you're lucky, but you didn't win the lottery for sure. Isn't control line great and safe? Well maybe hand launch gliders with a helmet.
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Old 06-25-2012, 03:06 PM
  #91
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Default RE: Lipo Fire in Garage

I went ahead and got temp probes/sensors for my charger. I have no idea it they will work but I have the temp set pretty low and it should cutoff the charge if things get fairly warm.. but what I dont know is if this prevents the Lipo from going catastrophic(i.e chain reaction that once it starts to go that direction it will blow no matter what). Anybody know? I never tested it.
OP. Thanks for the post. Its a reminder.
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Old 06-25-2012, 03:59 PM
  #92
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Default RE: Lipo Fire in Garage


Quote:
ORIGINAL: TimWatson

This thread is in danger of entering looney land. Before long the only safe way to store/charge a lipo will be in a bomb shelter in a full NBC suit.

I am thinking about all those 10'S of thousands of parkzone models in the bind and fly category all with a nice little lipo stored in a polystyrene and cardboard box stacked high in warehouses and shops all around the world.

Do you perhaps think we need to keep some perspective here
Keep thinking that.... till the day you get "burned"
Charge safe, Store safe... !
From looney-ville USA
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Old 06-25-2012, 06:46 PM
  #93
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Default RE: Lipo Fire in Garage


Quote:
ORIGINAL: VF84sluggo

Since we're talking lipo's here:

Even though a lipo can be charged at 1C, when time is not a factor I've routinely charged at 1/2C (i.e., 1100 mah on a 2200 mah pack) figuring I was taking it a little easier on that pack this way, and perhaos lessening the chance of an explosion/fire.

The other day at the field a buddy said I should not do this, that the charger is looking for a peak voltage to know when the pack is charged, and using less than 1C is not proper. I'd never heard this before, and didn't want to argue.

This makes no sense to me. What say y'all? BTW, regardless, I always plug in the balance lead of my batteries during charging, double-check the cell count, and never ''top off'' a lipo. ALWAYS.

Sluggo

Your mate needs to read up on Li-po battery charging.

He's talking about Ni-Mh's and Ni-Cd's whereby when they get "full" they start to heat up, the internal resistance drops and the charging voltage drops a bit which is what the charger is looking for. If you aren't pushing in enough current they won't get hot enough to drop the internal resistance.

Li-po's charge up to 4.2V/cell no matter how slow you want to push in the current. 1/2C isn't going to hurt your cells although some may argue there may be very slight gains by charging at higher rates.
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Old 06-26-2012, 04:57 AM
  #94
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Default RE: Lipo Fire in Garage



Those that treat lipo batteries lightly are endangering not only their models, but the lives of themselves and their families. I live in a small town of about 100,000. I can count over 10 incidents of fires due to charging of lipos just in this town. Several garages or shops burned down, one house burned down, and several cars torched. So far no one has been seriously hurt althought several have been admitted to the hospital.

Perspective: That lipo in your garage may pose more of a threat to the well being of your family than you realize.

Is it worth the risk?
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Old 06-26-2012, 05:26 AM
  #95
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Default RE: Lipo Fire in Garage


Quote:
ORIGINAL: slrdave

So far we've talked about lipo fires while charging. I'd like to add my experience. I had a lipo fire in a battery sitting fully charged on a shelf in the basement. Charging was completed three or four days before.
David
This is expressly why almost every Li-Po charger has a storage setting. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER fully charge a Li-Po and store it! Li-Pos are supposed to be stored at roughly 50% capacity.

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Old 06-26-2012, 06:16 AM
  #96
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Default RE: Lipo Fire in Garage

Thanks for bring to my attention once again the potential dangers of using LiPo batteries. I have been using, storing, and charging them for years in my garage without any incident. But I don't like to take unnecessary risks with 2 young ones in our household. I have been thinking for awhile I'd like to move my storage and charging offsite. This thread got me rethinking again. I have a small shed for storing my mowers in that sits a nice distance from the house should something happen. Problem is the shed gets quite hot during the summer months. So I jumped on craigslist yesterday and bought a cheap $30 mini fridge and brought it home and installed it in my shed. I have the temp regulated now at 50 degrees F for the batteries and worse case scenario it burns my shed down. Much better scenario than the house. Also I can charge the batteries outdoors from there as well. Thanks you for getting me motivated to actually do something I had been wanting to do for a long while.
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Old 06-26-2012, 06:30 AM
  #97
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Default RE: Lipo Fire in Garage

I saw it asked twice in this thread but not answered.

Was there a working smoke detector?
In all of the cases of someone finding the fire after the fact not once is a smoke detector alarm mentioned.

Is there something about a Lipo fire that is not detected by smoke detectors.

ANY battery chemistry that is in common use for RC can explode and/or burn.

This whole lipo safety debate sounds exactly like the motorcycle helmet debate, "I Have never suffered a brain injury there for I don't need a helmet"

No we do not need to have bunkers built for charging and wear hazmat suits to monitor, but we do need to use at least a little bit of sense.
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Old 06-26-2012, 06:35 AM
  #98
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Default RE: Lipo Fire in Garage


Quote:
ORIGINAL: flyinfool1

I saw it asked twice in this thread but not answered.

Was there a working smoke detector?
In all of the cases of someone finding the fire after the fact not once is a smoke detector alarm mentioned.

Is there something about a Lipo fire that is not detected by smoke detectors.

ANY battery chemistry that is in common use for RC can explode and/or burn.

This whole lipo safety debate sounds exactly like the motorcycle helmet debate, ''I Have never suffered a brain injury there for I don't need a helmet''

No we do not need to have bunkers built for charging and wear hazmat suits to monitor, but we do need to use at least a little bit of sense.
With a smoke detector, yes you'll be notified of the smoke, but the corrosive nature of it can potentially ruin everything in the garage even if you do get the fire extinguished.
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Old 06-26-2012, 06:44 AM
  #99
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Default RE: Lipo Fire in Garage

Andy, sorry to hear about what happened, but glad you shared it. I know I have been getting lax about this and it is truly a wake up call. I know will charge on the cement and watch over it all! Thanks my friend.

Lowell
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Old 06-26-2012, 07:46 AM
  #100
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Default RE: Lipo Fire in Garage

I charged mine on the cement floor away from things, as I said in post # 90.  It still looked pretty dangerous to me, enough to want it out of the building.. And the smoke was nasty.  It was in a machinery shed and the lingering smell wouldn't have bothered me, but it definitely needed to be out of there.  Maybe a china or clay pot that is sealed so the smoke doesn't get out is better?  A metal container is asking for a short but may seal better, I never used a battery bag yet.
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