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Battery Fire

Old 07-30-2017, 08:36 PM
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junksta
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Default Battery Fire

Reading all the cautions for lipo batteries, being new to their use, I was wondering if anyone has had a battery fire or witnessed one. I'm treating them like nitro glycerin.
Old 07-31-2017, 12:02 AM
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mushia
 
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No need too worries. Have not met bettery fire.
Old 07-31-2017, 12:43 AM
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flyinwalenda
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Originally Posted by junksta View Post
Reading all the cautions for lipo batteries, being new to their use, I was wondering if anyone has had a battery fire or witnessed one. I'm treating them like nitro glycerin.
I've never witnessed one "self-combusting".
I have seen a few go up in flames after a violent crash when the cells are crushed and shorted.


Otherwise the only ways to light one on fire are:
A) Using the wrong style charger or using the right charger but having it set up wrong.
B) Trying to properly charge a pack that has been physically damaged or one that has internal damage.
C) Leaving a charging pack unattended.
Old 07-31-2017, 04:27 AM
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BarracudaHockey
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I've seen a bad charger set one off in the pits that nearly spread to our pavilion.

I've seen a few others but it was post crash.
Old 07-31-2017, 06:06 AM
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DMichael
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One of our club members had a Lipo fire in his garage that burnt the garage - the house was saved. I have seen pictures of others having similar incidents. Small percentage of users but enough to make you have some concern.

You can't be too careful with Lipos - we all make mistakes sometimes despite our best efforts. Establishing and following a routine with safety in mind is important- even the way and order that you hook up your batteries, select cell counts (modern chargers will detect for you but still), select battery type and charge current, where you charge them, how you store them, etc.. Develop a routine with as much precaution in mind as you can and stick to it- it will decrease your risk.

I have a metal cart from Harbor Freight with a metal storage box on top. If you store them in a metal box/ammo box make sure it is vented- Lipo Fires are chemical and will continue to burn even if sealed in an airtight box. I push the cart out into my driveway when I charge and store them in the box. If I had an out building I would use it- but the Lipos don't like heat- storing them in heat reduces their lifespan.

Last edited by DMichael; 07-31-2017 at 06:12 AM.
Old 07-31-2017, 06:28 AM
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^^^ This ^^^. Plus use a charging bag made specifically for LIPOs. You can never be too careful with them.

And don't use them after they get soft and mushy.
Old 07-31-2017, 08:21 AM
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Happened to me about 3 years ago, not a fire, but some kind of short that made it smoke for a long time. I think I discharged it too much that day, but I never really figured out the root cause or how to prevent that from happening again.

As a result, I eliminated ALL Lipo's from my house. I don't do electric anymore, only glow and gas for that reason.
Old 07-31-2017, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by junksta View Post
Reading all the cautions for lipo batteries, being new to their use, I was wondering if anyone has had a battery fire or witnessed one. I'm treating them like nitro glycerin.
I know 13 guys that have lost a house, 2 garages, camper, motor home, van, 2 trucks, 1 car, couple jets and 2 fingers due to LIPO fires or spontaneously combusting LIPO'S. The guy that lost some finger tips had 1 ignite in his hand and it was like he was holding 200 kid sparklers that were all going at the same time. Lipo's should not be left alone, especially while charging. I have personally had 1 go nuclear when all I did was unplug it from my jet and was removing it to install in another jet. Unless you are flying EDF and need the brute strength of a battery, there are many other alternatives than using a LIPO. Do your research and due diligence so you do not become a statistic. There is a whole thread in the Jet section about all the lipo fire losses guys have had. I have a saying about LIPO's, " it is not a matter of IF it will go nuclear, it is a matter of WHEN it will go. I also know some guys are going to chime in and say they are safe because they never had a problem but that is what all 13 guys I know said the same thing, until they took a big fire loss. ALSO, these so called fire boxes for charging??? A LIPO will burn right through most of them. Check YouTube for LIPO fire video, they are pretty spectacular when they ignite.
Old 07-31-2017, 12:22 PM
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Default Lipo-free

I am happy and relieved that I am 100% lipo-free. Of course, there is a whole industry selling these batteries and they will tell you that the safety issues can be managed. But I don't trust myself.
Old 07-31-2017, 01:54 PM
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Buy from a reputable manufacturer. Use a good charger. Don't charge unattended. Store at a storage charge. Store at the proper temperature. Don't reuse a crashed battery. You will get years of use from Lipos. If you abuse them, they will abuse you.....
Old 07-31-2017, 02:25 PM
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rt3232
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Well guys I have a question, I only have one electric bird and it uses 3S size lipo's and with them charged, then used for 5 minute flight's, all 6 of them have swelled a bit but they take a recharge just fine, So is there a need to be concerned ?

Cheers Bob T
Old 07-31-2017, 02:55 PM
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Default Lipo-free

Originally Posted by rt3232 View Post
Well guys I have a question, I only have one electric bird and it uses 3S size lipo's and with them charged, then used for 5 minute flight's, all 6 of them have swelled a bit but they take a recharge just fine, So is there a need to be concerned ?

Cheers Bob T
buy more home insurance.

my Lipo failed even though I stored them and charged them properly and it was not swollen .
Old 07-31-2017, 02:59 PM
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JohnBuckner
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That's the problem Bob most Lipos will swell (a bit) however You must decide how much is too much, There really is no guide lines.

Lipos can even be extremely dangerous to those who may not even own any at all. Few years back I was refueling my gasoline powered airplane at its starting stand, from a one gallon gas can that was held in my lap in my wheelchair.

As I was doing this a gentleman placed this electric airplane in a neighboring start stand eight feet away and proceeded to plug in the battery, which caused a hugh report and flames instantly reaching four feet high. I pushed backwards as fast as I could still with the gasoline in my lap. Fortunately when I fly gas or kerosene I always carry an extinguisher and a quick thinking young man grabbed it an doused the open flame.

The owner suffered minor burns on the hands and the lose of some facial hair.

John
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Old 07-31-2017, 03:11 PM
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I have a large collection of Lipos and treat them with a healthy dose of respect, but not to the point where I am afraid to handle them at all. Lipo fires do happen, but I know of no verified instance of a pack spontaneously self-combusting without some sort of encouragement (usually it turns out that the pack had been used after being physically damaged, or overcharged, or run too low, or shorted, or overheated, or somehow mishandled ...). Truth is that there are a lot of ways you can screw up with a Lipo, but if treated with care and respect they can be safe.

I am curious about where people store their Lipos though. Even though the risk is relatively low (again if properly handled), the consequences are very high.

Al
Old 07-31-2017, 04:13 PM
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flyinwalenda
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Originally Posted by rt3232 View Post
Well guys I have a question, I only have one electric bird and it uses 3S size lipo's and with them charged, then used for 5 minute flight's, all 6 of them have swelled a bit but they take a recharge just fine, So is there a need to be concerned ?

Cheers Bob T
Without knowing the type of plane it could be a few things:
The packs you are using are probably undersized for the planes power set-up. Either the milliamp rating is too low or the "C" rating is too low. The packs can't deliver the amperage the motor/prop set-up is demanding. The packs get hot and then swell.

You can still use them but I would check the internal resistance first and go from there. I have some older Thunderpower packs that swelled just a bit from normal use but checked out fine. I used them for a few years before retiring them. If the internal resistance is high and/or they are swelled a lot then you should disable them and dispose of them.
Old 08-02-2017, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by aymodeler View Post
I have a large collection of Lipos and treat them with a healthy dose of respect, but not to the point where I am afraid to handle them at all. Lipo fires do happen, but I know of no verified instance of a pack spontaneously self-combusting without some sort of encouragement (usually it turns out that the pack had been used after being physically damaged, or overcharged, or run too low, or shorted, or overheated, or somehow mishandled ...). Truth is that there are a lot of ways you can screw up with a Lipo, but if treated with care and respect they can be safe.

I am curious about where people store their Lipos though. Even though the risk is relatively low (again if properly handled), the consequences are very high.

Al
Hi Al,

Even though we never met in person, you unofficially know someone that had a LIPO self combust in his hand for no reason, it wasn't just charged, charging, sitting in the sun baking, plugged in with a load on it. I had a 2S Lipo in my F-16 that has been sitting for 2-3 months in the plane and unplugged. I was going to go fly a different jet and needed an ECU battery, so I went to the F-16, opened the canopy, removed the Velcro strap, and as I was lifting the battery out of the plane, it went nuclear!! The battery was not plugged in or puffed in any way. I threw the battery out on the driveway when it went off. I grabbed a shovel and buried it in the flower bed and went flying. I came back 5-6 hrs later and the ground was still smoking where I buried the LIPO. I can also tell you, I have talked to guys that stored their LIPO's in AMMO cans and fire proof safes and had the battery burn through the can and safe like it was paper. I disposed of all my LIPO's after that fiasco and just don't need to fly a plane that requires a LIPO. Like I mentioned earlier in this post, I know to many guys that lost a lot from LIPO fires.

Regards,

Dirk
Old 08-02-2017, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by kdunlap View Post
Buy from a reputable manufacturer. Use a good charger. Don't charge unattended. Store at a storage charge. Store at the proper temperature. Don't reuse a crashed battery. You will get years of use from Lipos. If you abuse them, they will abuse you.....
Probably the best advice I have seen. ^^^

I have never had a lipo burn unintentionally but I did have a couple nimh receiver batteries bust into flames from plugging them into the receiver in reverse. Talk about scary - when they go, they are way worse than any lipo I have seen! I don't use NiMh batteries anymore!
Old 08-02-2017, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by kdunlap View Post
Buy from a reputable manufacturer. Use a good charger. Don't charge unattended. Store at a storage charge. Store at the proper temperature. Don't reuse a crashed battery. You will get years of use from Lipos. If you abuse them, they will abuse you.....
I've seen more of the name brands go up than any from Hobby King.
Old 08-02-2017, 06:33 PM
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Hope you're not suggesting that I am bashing Hobby King. Up until June I flew my $$$ 2M pattern planes with Hobby King 5S 5000 Zippy Compact batteries. Still going strong, but I will retire them this year after 4 years of service. The big problem is that it is nearly impossible to get these 5S batteries anymore. So, I changed brands. If you look through the NSRCA NATS equipment lists, you'll see a great many pilots over the years have used these same batteries. They are a great value battery. On this subject of instantaneous battery immolation, I am frankly a bit skeptical. The batteries we fly are not Lithium Metal. Those batteries developed the dendrites that caused short circuiting and fires. Our batteries use graphite anodes which do not grow the dendrites like the metal anodes do. These are stable batteries when treated properly. Again, over discharging, over charging, crushing, etc will cause these to fail.
Old 08-03-2017, 12:47 PM
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Well guys I just had a chance to check for a reply on my question about lipo's being a bit puffy, They are just a bit, So I think I am good to go. I am using an " electrifly Triton 2Eq programed for the batteries and after a flight I have never found one to be warm to the touch, ( the esc yes ) now another Question I have a brand new 3s 2200 mah 30 C max discharge rate went to charge it from storage point, and all I get is a eeR message picked it up at the Toledo Show this last spring and just now getting ready to use it. So what the course now ?

Cheers
Old 08-03-2017, 03:45 PM
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I would say your new battery has a problem cell where the voltage in that cell has dropped significantly below the other two cells. A healthy pack won't have a cell that drops way below the others just from sitting at storage level.
Borrow or buy a Cell Checker and test the pack. A cell checker has a digital display on it and plugs into the balance plug of the pack and it reads and displays the voltage in each cell,

If the pack has a low cell all chargers will error out when trying to charge . More modern chargers will give an error such as "low voltage"
Call the manufacturer and send it back or get it replaced.
Old 08-04-2017, 11:55 AM
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rt3232
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[QUOTE=flyinwalenda;12357314]I would say your new battery has a problem cell where the voltage in that cell has dropped significantly below the other two cells. A healthy pack won't have a cell that drops way below the others just from sitting at storage level.
Borrow or buy a Cell Checker and test the pack. A cell checker has a digital display on it and plugs into the balance plug of the pack and it reads and displays the voltage in each cell,

If the pack has a low cell all chargers will error out when trying to charge . More modern chargers will give an error such as "low voltage"
Call the manufacturer and send it back or get it replaced.[/QUOT

All good info and that is what I had in mind, BUT my record keeping on small things is not the best so my way out is to carefully discharge it with a lite bulb and drop it off at our recycling center

Cheers

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