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Old Aug 03, 2003, 11:12 PM
AMA 148796
Where it Rains
Joined Jul 2002
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Danger - LiPos

I just lost my car (a '99 Lexus LX 470, two planes, and lots of personal stuff) to a LiPo problem.

I flew my S&B 152 with Lipos for the first time today. The LiPo vendor shall be unnamed for now. The plane augered in, I picked up the pieces and placed them on the back seat of my car, AFTER disconnecting the batteries.

I go to fly my 3D (with NiMH). 3 minutes into the flight I hear "your car is on fire". I turn around and my car is in flames, a total loss within 5 minutes by the time the fire truck came.

The only thought I have is when the plane augered in, the LiPos shorted internally. Note I carried it a hundred yards or so with no signs of a short, no heat, no problems. Once they shorted, they ignited and the car was toast.

Luckily the dog in the back jumped out when the fire started.

Gone are my car, my S&B 152, my charger (a new Schulze 636+), and my Firecat along with 4 8x1100 NiMH packs, two 3S2P LiPo packs, two 8xFAUP packs. And lots of personal stuff like a pilot's license, medical, credit cards, ... . This sucks big time.

No one was hurt. Thank the powers that be.

LiPo technology is DANGEROUS. Use at your own risk.

Ken
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Old Aug 03, 2003, 11:18 PM
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WJ Birmingham's Avatar
St. Louis Metro
Joined Apr 2003
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So, the fire department was able to determine it was the Lipos that started the fire in the car?

*edit* Sorry for your loss. *edit*
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Old Aug 03, 2003, 11:49 PM
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San Jose, CA
Joined Sep 2001
3,863 Posts
sorry to hear about this. come on, though, noone has ever seen a nicad or nimh pack catch fire? anything that stores potential electrical energy is dangerous. last year 1/3 of our field was burned when a nicad pack shorted out somehow midair, catching the weeds on fire. any battery technology is dangerous, and shrinkwrapped packs and manually settable charge rates make ALL rc batteries 'use at your own risk'.

also, any battery that has been in a crash needs to be carefully inspected. I've dented cells to the point of shorting out an 800ar pack in a hard crash, rip the shrink off as quickly as possible and check it out...
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Old Aug 03, 2003, 11:58 PM
Been There! Done That!
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Eugene, Oregon, United States
Joined Sep 2001
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Seems to me I've read about a lot more problems on E-Zone with fires from Lipos than I've ever read on NiCads and NiMH's put together and they have been out a lot longer!
boomer
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Old Aug 03, 2003, 11:58 PM
AMA 148796
Where it Rains
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Nope, never seen a Nicad. Nice support, guys.
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Old Aug 04, 2003, 12:30 AM
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San Mateo, California, United States
Joined Jun 2002
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Sorry to hear about that. At least everybody is OK. Property can be replaced.

Brian
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Old Aug 04, 2003, 02:03 AM
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Haldor's Avatar
Stavanger, Norway
Joined Feb 2000
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Bummer Ken.

Charlie Wang mentioned that if one accidentally shorted a LiPo cell/pack you should immideately put the conserning cells in water for 10minutes. I guess a short could put the cell into a unbalanced state and that could lead to failure.
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Old Aug 04, 2003, 02:30 AM
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I recall reading one of Charlie's posts that said something to the effect that if you shorted a pack out momentarily, you have to closely watch it for up to 10 minutes. I assume this to ensure it doesn't catch fire and if it does, take appropriate action! I was under the impression that this was NOT in reference to an internal short in the pack (i.e. continuous shorted condition) nor to a crash damaged pack. I hope Charlie will correct me if I misunderstood.

Ken,
I'm really in shock to hear of your loss. I'm glad your dog got out of the car and no one was hurt. Thanks for posting this info. I will continue to use lipos because they are a wonderful product but will remember this so hopefully it won't happen to me one day.

Forgot to add that I heard of a close call at the field recently. Must be very careful when telling your charger how many cells you're charging! I think it went something like "hey, your trunk is smoking!"
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Old Aug 04, 2003, 02:54 AM
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Porto, Portugal
Joined Apr 2003
172 Posts
I suppose it's a good idea to create a thread, only about security measures about those packs.
How to keeping things in security, the best place to store them, and things we should concern about them.
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Old Aug 04, 2003, 08:07 AM
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hoppy's Avatar
Space Coast
Joined Oct 2000
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The commercial products that use LiPo technology have many safety devices built into them to protect against fire, etc. These batteries are being used by us with all these devices removed and can constitute a safety problem.

Thank you for posting your incident.. knowing what might happen may spur others to use more precautions when using this technology.

I know in my case, it will reinforce my efforts to transport, charge, and store my LiPo batteries in a fireproof container. Recently, I've gotten lax and sometimes just leave them on the plane.

hoppy
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Old Aug 04, 2003, 08:17 AM
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Gilbert, AZ
Joined May 2003
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Really sorry to hear of your loss. Like someone above said, it can all be replaced, though. Thank you for the warning, I will be much more careful when charging. I think a new guideline for LiPos should be- If the battery has been dropped, crashed, or suffered impact in any way, then carefully observe the battery in a safe place for at least 10 minutes."

Good luck,
Dan
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Old Aug 04, 2003, 09:41 AM
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Boomer, I think we see more fires from banged-up LiPos because their cases are more fragile than the hard-cased cells are.

That, combined with their relatively greater power density, means they are more hazzardous than other cell chemistrys.

Ken, We are all sorry for you - glad nobody got hurt and your dog's OK. THANK YOU for implicitly warning us, again, that extra care is required with LiPos.

- RD
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Old Aug 04, 2003, 09:44 AM
Mr Mootsie
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Pepperell, MA, USA
Joined Jan 2001
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wow! That stinks. LiPo's or not, that is just a miserable thing to have happen. Sorry for your loss.
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Old Aug 04, 2003, 09:48 AM
Been There! Done That!
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Eugene, Oregon, United States
Joined Sep 2001
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Quote:
Originally posted by RD Blakeslee
Boomer, I think we see more fires from banged-up LiPos because their cases are more fragile than the hard-cased cells are.

That, combined with their relatively greater power density, means they are more hazzardous than other cell chemistrys.

Ken, We are all sorry for you - glad nobody got hurt and your dog's OK. THANK YOU for implicitly warning us, again, that extra care is required with LiPos.

- RD
That's exactly the reason I don't think a crash prone newbe should ever consider going to Lipos for his first planes as has been suggested by some posters! Too much advice about oh get the latest for those long flights and charge less convinence!
boomer
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Old Aug 04, 2003, 09:49 AM
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Georgetown,ON,Canada
Joined Jan 2002
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Ken,
Very sorry to hear about your loss. I hope it will lead to a greater awarness of the very real dangers of this technology. I think many of us take this stuff rather casually. A valuable lesson for all of us, unfortunatly at your expense. Thanks for posting and good luck with your replacement hassles.
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