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Old Aug 09, 2004, 09:50 PM
FreeFlier is offline
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...still seeking PyrE
Long Island's North Shore
Joined Aug 2003
176 Posts
Scarey Lipo Loss and Fireworks

Just finished dealing with my first Lipo loss by first puffing during charge, and fire/sparks, and smoke, after sitting in salt water.
Was charging normally with Astro 109 - Etec 1200, 3s/1p pack - 2 years old, about 70 cycles, and gentle use. Was 10 feet away and noticed odd odor and slight puffing. Charger was in 3rd stage and pack was very slightly warm when touched a few minutes before; this was obviously a warning and should have triggered some recognition of problem, but didn't. Puffing and odor increased rapidly as charger was disconnected - with full face mask and heavy welding gloves. There were some fluid spots in the pyrex pan as the battery, still in the pan was carried outside. The battery was dumped into a plastic container filled with about 40 ounces of heavily salted water, and within 10-15 seconds spouted flame and heavy gray smoke, looking somewhat like a strong roman candle. Sparks reached about 12-15 inches up and arrayed evenly for about 5-6 seconds. The water, the visible top part of the container, and the ground around were black, and the container was moderately hot. I was both amazed and horrified to realize that the flames/sparks, and the smoke had been coming up from the bottom of the container; heck of a way to boil water! Yes it did later occur to me that perhaps the pack should not have been placed in the water at that time, but the puffing., the odor, and liquid spots were quite unnerving, and rational thinking was at least a few minutes away, and what would the alternative have been?
For me after using only Lipos for about 2-years, and collecting about 40 packs (2s and 3s- 830 to 1200, early ones assembled from cells, later ones made by others, as was the one that burned), how careful one must be at all times with this technology.
This reiterates, and brings into sharp focus all of the experiences and warnings posted here and elsewhere regarding the use and care of Lithium Ion batteries, in whatever form they happen to be.
Please think about what you're doing and be careful.
Stew
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