The Lipo Battery Safety Discussion

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Alright, I see lots of discussions on safely keeping black poweder, APCP, Ematches and the sort but tried to do a serch on Lipo Storage and safety and couldnt come up with much of anything. My younger brother is a FD Captain and I also work on alot of local first responder FD vehicles for the FD. Most of them know me, my hobby, the fact ive had my LEUP for 20 years. That ive done rocketry and store APCP, BP, Ematches and ignitors as well as chems for making my own motors. But youd be amazed at their response when I decided to switch to LIPO batteries to use for my electronics. Lipo batteries have lots of uses in lots of things we keep arouind us daily. be it phones, laptops or others but with the hobby grade products such as loose batteries that are charged with open settings and the abillity for issues to be created by over charging, drawing a battery below it minimum charge, potential damage physoically and othjer concerns. They really stressed safety. especially if its being stored anywhere near your APCP, BP and other stuff. Ive spent several days and lots of research looking into the best ways to care for these batteries, getting a good quality charger that balance charges, has easy to use settings. making sure to NEVER charge a battery unnatended, Buy better quality known batteries. but storing them correctly is important, the proper temps, proper charge, using themn and not just charguing and storing them or letting them get to low. One huge factor is storage contaniers. Seen everyhting from metal boxes, ammo boxes, comercial storage boxes, storage bags and more. Cant say enough DO YOUR HOMEWORK on these products. 99% of the soft bags that claim to be fire prooof and explosion proof fail and will allow a fire to happen. I have found only a couple designs that do not have this issue. NONE of the storage items will protect the inside of your structure from smoke. When these batteries relsease their energy by means of blowing up or catchiing on fire smoke output is huge and toxic. Let alone some of these items may contain the fire but the tempurature of the outside of the case such as ammo box can still get hot enough to either melt, damage or catch on fire things lkike carpet its sitting on, walss its close to, curtains that might be near by. Its important to know that if your using an ammo box you do not want it to be sealed as it now turns into a bomb and the pressure when a battery goes bad and ignites will over pressure it. it has to have a vent, usually removing the seal around the lid. This makes it breathe. You want the fire to be smothered but not over pressurize the container its in. it will have to release the smoke, but you dont want it to let out soarks and flame as well as the item should not burn through, or be allowed to be in contact with things that its external temps can cause to burn. Also DO NOT exceede the recommended amount of batteries per storage container.

I recommend multi levels of storage. If your going to use an ammo box make sure to remove the seal. maybe drill a couple holes iin the top that are small like 1/4 inch. line the inside with flame resistant drywall or cement board. Use a Quality storage bag inside this unit still yet. Make sure you oput the container somehwere that the temps wont affect it and if it does have an issue it cant damage carpet, curtains or more that could cause property or health endangerment. Be sure to store them away from your BP and propellants or chems.


It was very enlightening to watch a bunch of test videos on containers and simulating a fire by either purposfully starting one with a battery or another form that simmulates a battery fire.

A couple of the commercial units that were more successfull were the Bat-safe as a hard box unit that is a little more expensive and soft type case/bag would be the Hobbymate HBLIPOBAG2 . Im sure there are others but... after watching lots of test videos these two actuakky showed alot of protection. The bag would work great inside of an ammo box without the seal installed as added protection I feel.


what are you doing to keep your lipos safe? what is your process and storage? Would hate to see someone loose everything over something as simple as a battery.



 

NateB

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I think Lipos are safer now than when they first came on the market, but I agree with the safety suggestions. I store mine in a storage bag from Horizon and always keep them at a storage charge until I plan on charging them for use. Over the years, I have had a couple start to get puffy and then need to be discarded.
 
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I think Lipos are safer now than when they first came on the market, but I agree with the safety suggestions. I store mine in a storage bag from Horizon and always keep them at a storage charge until I plan on charging them for use. Over the years, I have had a couple start to get puffy and then need to be discarded.

I brought this up due to the statistical information given to me by my family and friends that are FD and how many fires they deal with that are caused by these little batteries.

Nate. I think that is another great point. Inspect your batteries regularly.
 

roc_boy

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I do RC helis & multirotors as well as rocketry. The LiPos we're using for rocketry electronics are a fraction the size of most RC LiPos, more along the size of cellphone batteries, but having been around since Lipos first showed up, I regard all of them with respect.
I store all LiPos in metal ammo cans, modified for flameproof venting by adding a lawn mower muffler/arrestor. And yeah, I never leave a LiPo connected to a charger unsupervised - not even a little 2S 300mAh. I haven't read of any garages or houses burning down lately, so maybe things have gotten better, but... 20201208_152422.jpg
 

Tobor

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I do RC helis & multirotors as well as rocketry. The LiPos we're using for rocketry electronics are a fraction the size of most RC LiPos, more along the size of cellphone batteries, but having been around since Lipos first showed up, I regard all of them with respect.
I store all LiPos in metal ammo cans, modified for flameproof venting by adding a lawn mower muffler/arrestor. And yeah, I never leave a LiPo connected to a charger unsupervised - not even a little 2S 300mAh. I haven't read of any garages or houses burning down lately, so maybe things have gotten better, but... View attachment 441649

Great idea for storing Lipo's. I'll have check out the 3 or 4 Army Surplus stores in my area for one.
 
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I do RC helis & multirotors as well as rocketry. The LiPos we're using for rocketry electronics are a fraction the size of most RC LiPos, more along the size of cellphone batteries, but having been around since Lipos first showed up, I regard all of them with respect.
I store all LiPos in metal ammo cans, modified for flameproof venting by adding a lawn mower muffler/arrestor. And yeah, I never leave a LiPo connected to a charger unsupervised - not even a little 2S 300mAh. I haven't read of any garages or houses burning down lately, so maybe things have gotten better, but... View attachment 441649


Nice storage. did you modify the insides as well with anything for insulation?

Maybe some of the lack of fires is the growing awareness on how to use, charge and store the batteries. Along with improved battery quality.
 

KC3KNM

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I think Lipos are safer now than when they first came on the market, but I agree with the safety suggestions. I store mine in a storage bag from Horizon and always keep them at a storage charge until I plan on charging them for use. Over the years, I have had a couple start to get puffy and then need to be discarded.
Have lipos LiPos changed much at all? Chargers have undoubtedly gotten better and more people understand how to handle them properly, but I'm not sure the packs themselves have changed much. Though, I guess the average LiPo having a higer C rating than in the past might play a part as the batteries will see less stress. Not totally sure how much the pack chemistry has changed, but less battery fires is always a good thing. I do think the consumer side has improved with safety for the most part.

There were quite a few fires I was present for when we started moving from NiMH packs to LiPos in RC racing. It wasn't that the LiPos were less safe than NiMH, but when you have people performing their tricks for the nickel packs (deadshorting, silly high charge current) thinking it'll drop the IR of the packs... well you have a lot of fires.
 

Dipstick

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Timely thread...I just had two 2s lipos go low current on me, even though I had run them on the storage cycle of my B6. How do you dispose of these things?
 

Banzai88

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Timely thread...I just had two 2s lipos go low current on me, even though I had run them on the storage cycle of my B6. How do you dispose of these things?

In the battery drop at Home Depot or Batteries Plus or wherever like that you have local so that they (potentially) are kept out of local landfill since they're chock full of nasty stuff that you wouldn't want in your drinking water.

Whatever you do, DO NOT puncture them.
 
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roc_boy

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Nice storage. did you modify the insides as well with anything for insulation?

No mods other than adding the muffler/arrestor. From my notes, I use a Briggs & Stratton p/n 394569 muffler, secure it with a 7/8-14 nut, and I use a 3/4" bi-metal hole saw to cut the installation hole in the ammo can. I've heard it referred to as a failed burning LiPo is comparable to a road flare burning for 30 seconds. In the event of LiPo failure, I expect an ammo can with flame arrested vent will likely not explode, and hopefully will emit no or at least reduced flame, but the case will likely get very hot, hopefully not burn through. There's lots you could do to "increase your insurance". I know guys have used concrete blocks to make a simple relatively fireproof "bunker". I just make sure my LiPo packs are healthy, and place my ammo cans so that the vents are not directed toward anything flammable.

Re disposal, here's a good article. And BTW, this tjinguytech site is smack full of great info if you're into this kind of stuff

 

Dave A

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I've been in rocketry a while been have not used any LiPos.
Featherweight GPS units say they can use up to 9 volts. 9v batteries usually start slightly above 9v. Is that an issue?
Will they drain down much sooner than a LiPo?
 
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I've been in rocketry a while been have not used any LiPos.
Featherweight GPS units say they can use up to 9 volts. 9v batteries usually start slightly above 9v. Is that an issue?
Will they drain down much sooner than a LiPo?

I wouldnt run the Featherweight GPS on a 9v. If you buy the complete ground and tracker set up they come with lipo batteries and for just a little more you can get the charger that works with the tracker battery. The tracker battery is a 1s 400MAH battery. I also ordered a larger 800MAH 1s battery for my tracker as it will increase the time it can run or more flights on a single charge. The handheld unit comes with a 2000mah battery and should be sufficent for quite a long use. the ground unit also charges the battery in the ground unit case if you plug it in as it has built in charging via usb cable. Id avoid 9v batteries for GPS personally
 

Dave A

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I wouldnt run the Featherweight GPS on a 9v. If you buy the complete ground and tracker set up they come with lipo batteries and for just a little more you can get the charger that works with the tracker battery. The tracker battery is a 1s 400MAH battery. I also ordered a larger 800MAH 1s battery for my tracker as it will increase the time it can run or more flights on a single charge. The handheld unit comes with a 2000mah battery and should be sufficent for quite a long use. the ground unit also charges the battery in the ground unit case if you plug it in as it has built in charging via usb cable. Id avoid 9v batteries for GPS personally

Thanks for the info, that clarifies what I need to know and buy.
 

Banzai88

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Thanks for the info, that clarifies what I need to know and buy.
Once you take the step into lipos, and get a few charge cycles under your belt, you'll be fine. The learning curve is pretty short, and there are lots of good videos on do's and don'ts. They're a LOT more reliable, stable, and cheaper than they were just 5 years ago, never mind comparing them to products from 10 years ago!
 
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Where did you get the 800mah battery and how do you charger it?
Featherweight does not show one nor does the charger they sell have a setting for it.


The battery is able to be found at either Sparkfun or Hobby King. Spark fun has chargers that will work with them all as well. In fact I believe that the charger sold by Featherweight is from Sparkfun. The charger from Featherweight will charge easily 2000mah batteries. its max setting is 500mah -.5c. this would mean at the setting of 500mah it would still fully charge but at a slower rate than if it was charged at 1000mah.
 

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Where did you get the 800mah battery and how do you charger it?
Featherweight does not show one nor does the charger they sell have a setting for it.
The ground station has a built-in 2000 mAhr battery that is charged through the USB connector on the front. We sell the 400 mAhr battery for the tracker, and I recently verified that it can keep the tracker running for 16 hours. Dave is right about where to buy larger batteries. If you use another battery, do verify that the polarity is correct, because RC batteries for this connector that you can get on EBay often have reversed polarity. The user's manual manual shows what the polarity needs to be.

The charger we sell is is the Sparkfun one, and it has adjustable current between 100 mAh to over 1 Amp (you can get 1 Amp by turning on 500 + 400 + 100, for example). You'll want to set the current to be at or below the capacity of the battery. So for a 400 mAhr battery, use no more than 400 mA, which will fully charge it in a little over an hour (the charger will taper the current down as it approaches full). Lower charge rates may prolong the life of the battery somewhat.
 

cerving

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For maximum LiPo life, they should be charged at the 1C rate, charging them at a higher rate will diminish the life of the battery depending on the rate. Most currently-shipping LiPo's will last nearly as long at a 2S rate... it's the car guys that charge them at 5C+ that run into issues.
 

Banzai88

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If you use another battery, do verify that the polarity is correct, because RC batteries for this connector that you can get on EBay often have reversed polarity. The user's manual manual shows what the polarity needs to be.

Also note that it's usually quite easy and quick to change out the location of the pins in the battery connector if necessary.
 
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