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Old Jul 26, 2007, 09:26 PM
damn you tree!
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Foster City, CA
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Careful!
Lipo Fires Are Real!!!!

I recently got to see first hand what can happen if you are not careful about charging your lipos.

A friend got back from doing his laundry to find the fire department had been to his home. He was lucky - no one was hurt, his cat was outside, and he was able to save his new mega motors!

Please be careful and take precautions with your battery charging. Use a battery bunker.

There are numerous battery "bunkers" available....

some folks use metal Army ammo boxes, www.aeromicro.com has a ceramic pot with a lid and holes for the gases to escape, there is something called liposack @ www.liposack.com , www.unitedhobbies.com has a knockoff one as well.

invest in a good charger that knows what it is charging - take all the guesswork out of it. It can be a simple mistake to forget to change your settings from a 2100 pack to charge a 1300 pack.

I use the cellpro charger from www.fmadirect.com I am sure there are others that do similar functions.

Charge your batteries away from flammable items, and keep them separate from your other batteries!

Make sure your smoke alarms are working properly.

I think this is a case where we cannot be too cautious. I don't ever want to see another photo like this one.

good luck and happy flying.

Robert
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Old Jul 26, 2007, 09:58 PM
Trexazoid
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Did your friend actually leave the house with the LIPOs on the charger or did they just start on fire on their own?
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Old Jul 26, 2007, 10:03 PM
Space Coast USA
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Thank goodness no one was injured.

Any details? Type of charger? Health of packs?
Possible causes?
Puffed packs? Damaged packs? Incorrect charger settings?
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Old Jul 26, 2007, 11:47 PM
damn you tree!
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Foster City, CA
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he was using thunder power packs which were undamaged, but yes, he did leave the premises...
I do not know charger or settings... so, please be careful.
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Old Jul 26, 2007, 11:54 PM
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I know the guy whose house that is. Without going into too much detail for personal reasons, I can just say, always be near your packs when they are charging. Use a "high quality" lipo charger that sets the voltage for you like the FMA Cellpro 4s. I personally have left my MRC microbrain 989 set for charging 2200 3s packs and then plugged in a TP3120. Luckily I noticed it when I went back to check on it a few minutes after I started and the pack was fine, but its stuff like this that can ruin your day.

As far as puffy packs go, I have had some old Apex 12c packs for 2 years. They got puffy from heat expansion after about 100 flights. Although they only charge to 12.4v max now, they are up to about 300 flights on each. Without being an expert, I have had packs puff from over discharging (left them plugged into my plane overnight) and from damage. I would never attempt to charge one of these. But I have also had packs temporarily puff from running them near the max amperage. They lose their effectiveness after a while, but so far I haven't even had one get warm when charging.

So monitor your packs when charging. Use battery bunkers, lipo sacks, cinder blocks with bags of sand over them, whatever your safety method of choice is. Because burning your house down is not fun.
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Old Jul 27, 2007, 08:54 AM
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United States, GA, Roswell
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Damn, that's some carnage!

I use an ammo can sitting on a brick, and have a fire extinguisher and pot-holders in the room, should I need to move the can outside or suppress a fire.
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Old Jul 27, 2007, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roballoba
he was using thunder power packs which were undamaged, but yes, he did leave the premises...
I do not know charger or settings... so, please be careful.
HUH . I thought it is "common knowledge" that you NEVER leave a lipo unattended whilst charging, LET ALONE "leave the house whilst charging"

Don't want to sound nasty BUT

"stupidity and lipos DON't mix"

Do something dumb with lipos and things WILL happen
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Old Jul 27, 2007, 11:33 AM
PGR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masterpiece
Don't want to sound nasty BUT

"stupidity and lipos DON't mix"
I'm not so sure that it's fair to deem this stupidity. It sounds to me like familiarity may have been the culprit.

Familiarity can lead to complacency and complacency can lead to a false sense of security. Witness how we treat gasoline, for example. Handling gasoline is a lot more dangerous than handling LiPo packs and improper handling of gasoline causes a lot more fires. But gasoline has become a familiar part of our everyday lives so we tend to forget just how dangerous it can be.

I personally feel the risk curve for having an undesireable LiPo event resembles an inverse arc: The newcomer stands a pretty good chance of causing an event due to inexperience and a lack of knowkedge. As he gains experience and knowledge, his risk of having an event decreases, but that risk level eventually goes back up as his familiarity with the risks may lead to not following established procedure, often without giving the possible consequences much thought.

Pete
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Old Jul 27, 2007, 12:09 PM
Idle up!
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Well put Pete! I like the ULE acronym btw..

I would also say that the complacency factor goes up if you are using high end brands like Thunder Power, Triton etc..

I think most of us expect allot out of those names, and we probably should rethink that perspective.
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Old Jul 27, 2007, 03:26 PM
Space Coast USA
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LIPO fires are for real:
Yes they are -
150 more - http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...58&postcount=5
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Old Jul 27, 2007, 06:57 PM
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Pete, you really nailed it with the inverse arc. That's precisely the pattern we've seen over the years as LiPos have gone mainstream. Nice one.

One of the problems is that scary warnings are required on all products with even the remotest chance of minor failure. After years and decades of never having any failure of any kind of product plastered with scary warning labels, we are all desensitized to the fact that a few products really do deserve those warnings.
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Old Jul 27, 2007, 08:04 PM
PGR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Hederich
One of the problems is that scary warnings are required on all products with even the remotest chance of minor failure. After years and decades of never having any failure of any kind of product plastered with scary warning labels, we are all desensitized to the fact that a few products really do deserve those warnings.
Actual excerpt from a label on a new Toyota forklift (6+ years ago):

DO NOT OPERATE THIS EQUIPMENT IF IT'S ON FIRE

Well DUH!

Pete
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Old Jul 28, 2007, 11:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masterpiece
HUH . I thought it is "common knowledge" that you NEVER leave a lipo unattended whilst charging, LET ALONE "leave the house whilst charging"

Don't want to sound nasty BUT

"stupidity and lipos DON't mix"

Do something dumb with lipos and things WILL happen
But they said I could!

Quote:
With the Cellpro 4s balancing charger, you simply Plug-and-Play and Walk Away!
http://www.fmadirect.com/products.htm?cat=45&nid=4



Just don't walk too far - at least stay in the same room.
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Old Jul 29, 2007, 03:16 AM
damn you tree!
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Foster City, CA
Joined Dec 2005
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True about familiarity Pete. he had been flying with lipos for years. and he flew a lot. while we buy cheap imports from Hong Kong, he would only buy TP packs for the quality and the perceived safety of a high end battery. This just goes to show safety is important with any battery of any manufacturer.

Thanks to the moderator for making this a sticky, and thanks Hoppy for your log of all the disasters.

Robert
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Old Jul 29, 2007, 10:44 AM
PGR
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From the FMA Direct website (http://www.fmadirect.com/products.htm?cat=45&nid=4):

Quote:
With the Cellpro 4s balancing charger, you simply Plug-and-Play and Walk Away!
This has to be one of the most blatant examples of irresponsible advertizing that I've seen. Although I haven't had reason to deal with them much in the past, I always thought FMA was a fairly upstanding and responsible company.

I definitely don't feel that way now.

Pete
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