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LIPOs more thoughts about storing and traveling (in depth)

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by SMD, Dec 27, 2015.

  1. SMD

    SMD

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    I have a P3 and have 10 flights at this point. I have a lot of friends and colleagues that fly so I've been around them for a while. I've been reading non stop and watching tutorials on line for weeks to try to learn as much as possible. The more I read about the batteries the more I'm concerned. Maybe it's an overreaction but I live in an apartment building so I have to be particularly careful. Add to that there's NO consensus about the best safety practices with the batteries. There really isn't.

    I have a trip coming up in less than two weeks where I'll be on several planes traveling across the country. It occurred to me last night that my P3 was shipped with the new batteries in their own boxes. Obviously they were only charged between 30-50% as required (I assume). Therefore, why wouldn't using those same boxes be a good idea on my upcoming trips? I haven't seen that idea mentioned anywhere.

    For traveling there's some great videos online talking about using tape on each battery connection to minimize the possibility of a short or condensation, then placing each battery into either a plastic bag or LIPO bag. Some airlines are now requiring some version of this type of packing. There are videos online showing LIPO bags catching fire while others seems to contain it. People say to stay away from cheap Chinese LIPO bags but it seems hard to determine where any of them are made. Which bags are best (who knows). Some even contend that LIPO bags are a complete waste of time.

    I've noticed people and even manufacturers have videos showing multiple LIPOs in one bag. Doesn't this defeat the purpose? One catches fire then surely the next one will. Interestingly, using LIPO bags can (at times) be less safe than in a custom-made case. It's well knows that a puncture to a LIPO is bad news but yet we're instructed to use some type of bag versus a case (especially for airline travel). It doesn't make a lot of sense that it's complicated to travel (or store) LIPOs since they don't fit into custom, and many times expensive, cases once in LIPO bags. I purchased two cases (Go Professional and a DJI) to organize and keep my equipment safe and am wondering if it's ever really safe to store the batteries in either. I recognize heat can cause a problem with LIPOs but how do you handle being on location in a hot location or when it's summer time. Do you keep each battery in its own LIPO bag in a separate shaded / cooler area. Can or should you travel with LIPOs in any custom made case? Makes me second guess why did I spent so much money on cases.

    I could go on and on about Lipo Bunkers, Ammo Cases, Class D fire extinguishers (very expensive) sand, etc.
    There are a lot of smart people out there with tons of experience in this area but it seems like an industry that doesn't really have it all figured out. I posted this to vent a little frustration but to also (hopefully) start another LIPO discussion. I'm certainly open to opinions and experience.
     
  2. SouthernPhantom

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    My P3P has been through domestic TSA checkpoints at large airports several times with no issues at all. In fact, one of the officers was fascinated, and since it wasn't busy, we chatted about it for a while. The four batteries were in a backpack, with each one in its own small section, but not in special envelopes or pouches.

    As far as your other questions about using them in heat and other operating conditions, I'll defer the more experienced engineers and users. But I will say that, will all the UAV's out there, it seems there have not been any reports of battery incidents. Have there?
     
  3. SMD

    SMD

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    I called the airlines today and one told me they want each battery with a piece of tape over the connectors and then inside a bag. I asked what type of bag and do they want each in a separate one and the agent didn't know. That's seems be the problem, not knowing. Good point about battery incidents. There have been one or two major situations I found online. There are A LOT of other situations where LIPOS caught on fire whether in a home, car or office. Honestly, I want to make sure my family and I are safe but also the others that live in my building and will be on the plane with me.

    I'm curious which backpack you were using and did you discharge the batteries before flying?
     
  4. tcope

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    4 Lipos sitting up there right now. In a DJI clone case. I'd not worry about it too much. [​IMG]
     
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  5. SMD

    SMD

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    Are they discharged?
     
  6. rskardon

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    Mine flew to the uk from the USA with me this week and will fly back tomorrow all in my Pelican case, no issues on the way out and having read the regulations about allowable sizes (sub 100W) I have no concerns...
     
  7. MADrone

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    I have flown Delta twice with DJI hard shell backpack, and had no issues. Batteries were ~30%, and are protected from shorting by the cutouts in the case.
     
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  8. SouthernPhantom

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    Agreed. Phantom 3 batteries can't short anyway unless they come in contact with metal, which is extremely unlikely in any kind of luggage, because of their rigidly-placed design. It's the LiPo's with loose contacts at the ends of wires that have to be taped and carefully isolated. My non-rigid backpack is also designed for the P3, but has separate battery pockets rather than custom cutouts. As I said above, TSA is fine with them. The airlines are quoting generic boilerplate relating to all LiPo's. If you pack prudently, you'll be fine.
     
  9. SMD

    SMD

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    The agent seemed like she didn't really know what she was talking about so I agree with what you're saying. I guess I'll just pack my batteries in the DJI Backpack I just purchased and should be good to go.