Welcome to PhantomPilots.com

Sign up for a weekly email of the latest drone news & information

Traveling with LiPo's

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Buk, Jun 15, 2013.

  1. Buk

    Buk

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2013
    Messages:
    654
    Likes Received:
    29
    Location:
    Iowa, United States
    Although I have a nice carrying case for the Phantom, accessories and six holes in the foam for batteries, I want to take this loaded case on an automobile trip of several days in length. I understand the LiPo's should be in "storage" level of charge, but should they be removed from the travel case and put in a LiPo charging bag for transportation? My concern is safety while on the road, in a car, for days.

    Thanks,
     
  2. Roadkilt

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2013
    Messages:
    454
    Likes Received:
    4
    I've seen signs at airports now requiring hand carrying of lipos, nothing allowed in checked. Honor system I guess, without xraying the luggage how would they know? Since we all keep charged lipos in our houses, think cameras, computers, phones, rechargable extra sets, entertainment and audio, power tools, it seems over concerned. I must have about 50 batteries in my house, all near peak storage. Now you have me paranoid!
     
  3. Ots

    Ots

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2013
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    So Cal
    There is no problem traveling in your car with lipos in any state of charge unless they are out of balance. Balancing a lipo means making the voltage in each cell the same. A guy I know put a lipo to charge in his truck that apparently was not in balance. Caught fire and totaled his truck. It's an old story.

    I have carried lipos in my car for years. But I let them sit after use for an hour or more. I put a balancer on them and when they are balanced or nearly so, I charge them with the balancer on. I then let them completely balance after charging and sometimes it takes them hours to balance. Not a fun thing to do but it's important.
     
  4. auck

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2013
    Messages:
    275
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    there is nothing wrong with leaving the batteries in the case in this situation, but if you really want to, i would suggest using the charging bag for transport simply because it would make handling the batteries easier than dealing with them one at a time. the only real concern is not to leave them in your car on a hot day, potentially over heating the battery. other than that, the usual precautions should be taken.
     
  5. Banjer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2013
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    That fire has nothing to do with traveling, but only with the charging. The same could have happend when he charged them at home.
    You can travel with unbalanced LiPo's, simply being unbalanced won't cause them to catch fire.
     
  6. Racklefratz

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2013
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    0
    There are lot's of information sources on the internet on handling of lipos. I was on one just now (http://www.wannarace.co.uk/page_2207335.html, and one of their admonishments is "Never expose LiPo batteries to extreme heat (heater, fire, flame, exhaust, sun); never leave them inside a car for a long time." They go on later to say not to expose a lipo to temperatures over 140 deg F, and it can get that hot inside an unventilated car this time of year.

    I don't mind admitting these things scare me. Images like this one help keep me focused on how serious it can be:

    [​IMG]

    Since one of the big dangers of keeping lipos around is that they depend on some fairly volatile and sometimes unpredictable chemistry, and one doesn't always know what's going on inside one, even in a storage condition. Yes, people have them around all the time, and mostly, nothing serious happens. But the internet is full of YouTube and other accounts of lipo explosions, fires, and other mayhem. All I need is to wake up in the middle of the night to find one of mine has started my house on fire.

    In light of all that, I just placed an order for one of these explosion-proof boxes, for both charging my lipos and storing them between uses:

    [​IMG]

    All I can say is, anyone who wants to take lipos with a grain of salt, good luck to you.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Banjer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2013
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't want to downplay the safety issues of LiPo's but keep in mind that Li Ion batteries share the same risks, and chances are you put one of those near your head daily.
    There are four things that can cause a LiPo (or Li Ion) pack to catch fire, overheating, overcharging, shorting or puncturing. As long as you keep an eye out for those risks you don't need to worry.
     
  8. Ots

    Ots

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2013
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    So Cal
    Yes, it was the charging, but more specifically charging unbalanced batteries.
     
  9. Racklefratz

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2013
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    0
    Quoting from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:RC_Lipo_battery:

    "Unbalanced batteries are one of many reasons in an accidental explosion, check the voltage of each Lithium Polymer battery among the same pack before charging. A "Align Multi-Function tester"[1] is one of the many kits available in the market that is able to check the voltages."

    Yes, but you're doing just that.

    OK, and if one shorts internally, from whatever cause, if the wrapper doesn't show damage, what's your advice in that eventuality?
     
  10. GoodnNuff

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2013
    Messages:
    1,909
    Likes Received:
    831
    Location:
    Washington State
    An excellent article on liPo batteries, charging, dishcharging, safety, storage etc.

    http://www.rchelicopterfun.com/rc-lipo-batteries.html


    I use charging and storage bags for the same reason I wear a seat belt - hopefully I won't ever need the safety, but I don't want to experience the regret of not having that extra safety net in use.
     
  11. auck

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2013
    Messages:
    275
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    please take the argument elsewhere, and back to original posted question and answer.

    consensus is that lipos can catch fire, explode, etc. if mishandled. basic answer to the questions is: use all precautionary measure just like normal.

    it is a good idea to use a charging bag / box in transport of the lipos even if they are put in storage stage. don't forget that even in storage mode, they still hold an electrical charge. don't forget them in your car, since cars will heat up rapidly this time of year in the northern hemisphere (summer time) and cause the batteries to over heat with disastrous consequences.

    personally speaking, i like to transport my batteries in the charging bag since it makes handling the batteries much much easier. i can just throw the charging bag into my backpack and lug it around with me. this makes sure that the batteries are not out of sight and out of mind since i usually put my wallet, keys and such into my back pack and will always have my back pack with me.

    regardless of how you transport your batteries, all normal precautionary measures you take should still be in effect.
     
  12. Banjer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2013
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Again, charging is a risk with unbalanced packs, not transporting them.

    As for the downplaying, i'm just trying to debunk some myths about LiPo's. Yes, you need to handle them with care, but they don't spontaneously explode for no reason.
     
  13. Buk

    Buk

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2013
    Messages:
    654
    Likes Received:
    29
    Location:
    Iowa, United States
    I've only received one UPS shipment of LiPo's, I don't remember any special precautions in or on the package. Is it quantity that requires special UPS packaging and labeling?

    It would seem UPS trucks or even the metal shipping boxes from China would get hot in the summer.

    Could I (safely) ship, the batteries via UPS to the location I'm headed?
     
  14. auck

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2013
    Messages:
    275
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    if you want to ship your batteries, proper packaging of the batteries are required so that they will not be damaged if dropped. usual guidelines for packaging of consumer grade lithium batteries are to have each individual wrapped in bubble wrap so that each battery is isolated from its neighbor. also make sure that the leads are isolated so that they do not short (easily done by putting a piece of tape over them). for additional protection, i would suggest then wrapping the entire content with bubble wrap and using those air pocket cushion bags instead of packaging peanuts for packaging.

    please double check with the carrier (ups, fedex, dhl, etc) for specific rules, regulations, and requirements for shipping. here's what is listed on UPS' website about shipping lithium batteries

    http://www.ups.com/content/us/en/resour ... eries.html