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Old May 22, 2015, 06:02 PM
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My first lipo/parallel board fire

Hey all, I just had my first ever lipo fire in my garage while parallel charging 2 4s 4200mah lumenier lipos. If anyone can trouble shoot what may have been the cause, please comment. Here is how it happened in order:

1. I checked both batteries individual cells with my hyperion eos sentry. All cells in both packs were around 3.79 volts.

2. I hooked up my progressive rc xt60 parallel board to my icharger 306b, then plugged it in.

3. I attached both the batteries main leads, then balance taps to the board.

4. I set my charger to storage charge for a 4s lipo at 4.2 amps, which is only a 1/2c charging rate, then started charging.

5 minutes into the charge cycle I looked up and saw sparks coming from the board where the main charging leads come into the board. I immediately unplugged the charger, unplugged the board from the charger, and took the now on fire board and batteries to the street, where I panicked and doused it with water. The fire went out, and I'm still watching the batteries from a distance. The batteries didn't even get hot or puff up at all. Thank god I was right next to my charger when this all happened, otherwise it could of been a lot worse. I think the traces in the board fried, but I don't see why as its only 2 months old, charging at a low amperage, and from a reputable company. Any theories on what happened would be welcome, thanks.
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Old May 22, 2015, 06:38 PM
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Not a lipo fire but rather a parallel board fire. From the photos, you most assuredly had some sort of short in your parallel board and the attached batteries merely supplied the energy necessary to destroy your board. Had the batteries been immediately unplugged upon first sign of issue, the event would have been terminated.

There's a chance that your batteries may have survived the ordeal if voltage of each cell is still within a usable range and the batteries did not overheat during the discharge event.

Mark
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Old May 22, 2015, 06:43 PM
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Id agree Thi s is not a lipo fire

This is a board short circuit. who knows what caused it .. a fused board might have not done this but again . who knows..

so your not a lipo fire starter LOL..
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Old May 22, 2015, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrforsyth View Post
Not a lipo fire but rather a parallel board fire. From the photos, you most assuredly had some sort of short in your parallel board and the attached batteries merely supplied the energy necessary to destroy your board. Had the batteries been immediately unplugged upon first sign of issue, the event would have been terminated.

There's a chance that your batteries may have survived the ordeal if voltage of each cell is still within a usable range and the batteries did not overheat during the discharge event.

Mark
That's what I was thinking, a parallel board short circuit. I hope progressive rc will make this situation right, because this could of been a lot worse.
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Old May 22, 2015, 07:39 PM
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Yep, parallel board fire.

I don't use the parallel boards anymore. Found that the boards can still overcharge one battery and undercharge another to equal 4.20 volts/cell. It all depends on the resistance of each individual cell.

I now spend the money on multiple chargers instead.
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Old May 22, 2015, 08:08 PM
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Yikes, Fuses?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelRainSpo View Post
Hey all, I just had my first ever lipo fire in my garage while parallel charging 2 4s 4200mah lumenier lipos. If anyone can trouble shoot what may have been the cause, please comment. Here is how it happened in order:

1. I checked both batteries individual cells with my hyperion eos sentry. All cells in both packs were around 3.79 volts.

2. I hooked up my progressive rc xt60 parallel board to my icharger 306b, then plugged it in.

3. I attached both the batteries main leads, then balance taps to the board.

4. I set my charger to storage charge for a 4s lipo at 4.2 amps, which is only a 1/2c charging rate, then started charging.

5 minutes into the charge cycle I looked up and saw sparks coming from the board where the main charging leads come into the board. I immediately unplugged the charger, unplugged the board from the charger, and took the now on fire board and batteries to the street, where I panicked and doused it with water. The fire went out, and I'm still watching the batteries from a distance. The batteries didn't even get hot or puff up at all. Thank god I was right next to my charger when this all happened, otherwise it could of been a lot worse. I think the traces in the board fried, but I don't see why as its only 2 months old, charging at a low amperage, and from a reputable company. Any theories on what happened would be welcome, thanks.
Out of curiosity, is your charger still working? Methinks if it failed and dead shorted on its output terminals, it would have blown your parallel board. Just a wild ***** guess.

I use those A123 cells, where parallel charging works just fine. But in your case, it doesn't look like your charging board was protected with any sort of fuses. What with the chance of something going wrong, personally I'd not use any parallel charging board that isn't protected by fuses on every leadwire.

The Cellpro parallel charging board (And a few other Mfg's) use automatic resetting fuses on all balance wires, along with fuses on the mail power circuits. Could be if you'd had the Cellpro charger, it would have paid for itself!

Take a look:
http://www.revolectrix.com/MPA_XH.htm

A bit of info on the Polyfuses used by Revolectrix. Polyfuses are somewhat comparable to a Positive Temperature Coefficient thermistor. This is an electronic component that, when it gets hot, it open circuits. Most quality digital multimeters have them to protect their electronics against accidental application of 120 VAC or similar on the meters resistance ranges.

http://www.mouser.com/ds/2/240/Littelfuse_30R-19977.pdf
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Old May 22, 2015, 08:59 PM
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There were two batteries connected but it looks like 3 XT60s melted. Could something metal have fallen into the third one?
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Old May 23, 2015, 12:14 AM
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Reference top battery in picture. Hard to tell with all the heat damage, but it looks like the faceted side of the connector has the red wire going into it when it should be the black wire. Has this battery been used before?

Race Riata is correct, the wires are correct in the plugs.
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Old May 23, 2015, 12:39 AM
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The 2nd picture looks like the red wires go correctly into the flat side of the XT60.

Agree with Dave H that with only 2 batteries while the 3rd XT60 is missing, perhaps some metal piece dropped into that missing XT60. If feasible I try to lay my paraboard sideways. I learned that from workplace safety training regarding power bar under the desk.
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Old May 23, 2015, 05:42 AM
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I had that same parallel board and a similar, less dramatic, situation happened to me recently. I connected my first 4S 3000mAh LiPo via the XT60 and the balance plug and all was good; I connected the second 4S 3000mAh LiPo via the XT60 and all was still good, but when I connected the second balance plug smoke resulted and I quickly removed the balance plug. A few copper tracks on the parallel charge board had now evaporated and I sat down to nut out what went wrong; the only explanation I can come up with is that I had plugged the second balance plug in backwards, perhaps into a 5S or 6S port. I'm struggling to believe I would do something so stupid but I cannot come up with any other explanation for the board failure; I guess I will never know what went wrong.
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Old May 23, 2015, 09:08 AM
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Send the board in to Progressive with a detailed explanation of how you hooked up, etc. Maybe they can figure out what happened based on other user's reports and their tests. At least they may send you a new board. Make sure that your charger is working now and that it's balance connectors and all battery pack balance connectors are OK.
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Old May 23, 2015, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vollrathd View Post
Out of curiosity, is your charger still working? Methinks if it failed and dead shorted on its output terminals, it would have blown your parallel board. Just a wild ***** guess.

I use those A123 cells, where parallel charging works just fine. But in your case, it doesn't look like your charging board was protected with any sort of fuses. What with the chance of something going wrong, personally I'd not use any parallel charging board that isn't protected by fuses on every leadwire.

The Cellpro parallel charging board (And a few other Mfg's) use automatic resetting fuses on all balance wires, along with fuses on the mail power circuits. Could be if you'd had the Cellpro charger, it would have paid for itself!

Take a look:
http://www.revolectrix.com/MPA_XH.htm

A bit of info on the Polyfuses used by Revolectrix. Polyfuses are somewhat comparable to a Positive Temperature Coefficient thermistor. This is an electronic component that, when it gets hot, it open circuits. Most quality digital multimeters have them to protect their electronics against accidental application of 120 VAC or similar on the meters resistance ranges.

http://www.mouser.com/ds/2/240/Littelfuse_30R-19977.pdf
The problem isn't with my charger, and it still works just fine. The icharger that I was using actually shut down all charging functions, and sounded a alarm tone seconds before I unplugged the entire setup.

No the board didn't have any sort of fuse protection, but I'm rethinking that option for future boards. I have a slightly higher quality board with 40amp blade fuses for my higher voltage 6s lipos with ec5 connections, and I'm now considering that option for all of my future boards. The initial investment will be more, but it may save me any further headaches down the road.
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Old May 23, 2015, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Race Miata View Post
The 2nd picture looks like the red wires go correctly into the flat side of the XT60.

Agree with Dave H that with only 2 batteries while the 3rd XT60 is missing, perhaps some metal piece dropped into that missing XT60. If feasible I try to lay my paraboard sideways. I learned that from workplace safety training regarding power bar under the desk.
The board was sitting sideways while charging, and the whole incident began when I looked up and saw sparks coming from the first plugged in battery's main charge xt60 leads nearest the board. The rest of the damage was secondary due to the ensuing fire that happened while trying to turn on my hose In retrospect I probably should of tried to unplug all of the charge and balance leads from the board, but I saw sparks and then a small fire, and all I could think of was getting the whole setup out of my garage before the batteries could explode.
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Old May 23, 2015, 09:59 AM
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Update

I had my 2 batteries in a huge cooking pot left outside for the night for safety's sake. I just went to check on them, and no puffing what so ever. All the cells in both batteries are sitting around 3.79 volts. Do you guys think that they are safe to use? That is of course after some discharge and balance lead changes
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Old May 23, 2015, 10:03 AM
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Had the board been used before?
Were the XT60's in 1&2 or 2&3 board sockets.

Long ago we had a project to destroy circuit boards on command in case the missle with classified PCB circuitry fell in enemy territory so the traces could no longer be seen.
It required one heck of a lot of energy and even using pyrotechnics, we were never successful.
I'd guess those packs were feeding a lot of juice into that board to get it in that condition.
What were the cell voltages after that incident if you measured them?


(BTW, 3.79V/cell is an ideal storage voltage.)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Whoops, beat me to the post. Still at 3.79V, OK.

Still safe?
Who knows. My guess is the packs had a pretty good short for a short period of time and in my experience that resulted in a fast (weeks) decrease in C-rate and capacity.

I would: -
Check the IR.
Measure the capacity.
Load test them .

Repeat in a few weeks to see if anything has changed.
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