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Old Jan 17, 2016, 05:05 PM
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Careful!
LIPO battery fires CAN happen to you. Yes YOU!

Lipo Battery Fire!!! (0 min 36 sec)
Fellow RC enthusiasts,

Well I was in my "hanger" in the basement of my home cutting out a RC model "foamy" airplane and at the same time, was charging a 4-cell, 4500 Floueron Lipo battery on my bench charger. I noticed that it was almost done (14 plus volts) when BAM a loud popping noise came from behind me. I looked and saw that my lipo battery was split apart but still intact. I quickly shut off the charger, grabbed my standby heavy metal box (home safe type) and put the battery inside and closed the lid and locked it with a key.
I sat it on the concrete floor and thought well crap, there goes a good battery. I think I was a little rattled as I just stood there looking at the box and cursing. Then some sense came back to me and decided to get the battery/box out of the basement and take it outside. When I got almost to the back door the case shook in my hand. Crap! I opened the door and in the middle of tossing it out it blew! BOOM! I had black soot all over my hand and flames were finding their way out of the box. A lot of flames! Didn't smell so good either. The box contained the blast and quickly the fire was extinguished. My wife and I just stood there and watched it burn and thinking about what could have happened. Two more seconds and it would have went boom in my living room! I'm glad I went to church today....

Lesson learned either move a little faster OR stop charging my lipo batteries in the house.

Still shaking.......
Denny
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Last edited by dalaman; Jan 18, 2016 at 06:44 PM. Reason: add photo
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Old Jan 19, 2016, 03:36 PM
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What battery charger were you using?
This should not have happened while charging with a good quality balancing charger. By good, i mean one that can only charge a battery such as that in balance mode.
Pete
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Old Jan 19, 2016, 03:41 PM
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We need more info.

Really What charger, what settings were you using.

But glad you posted this anyway, there is a reason the rule is: "Never charge a battery unattended"
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Old Jan 19, 2016, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pilotpete2 View Post
What battery charger were you using?
This should not have happened while charging with a good quality balancing charger. By good, i mean one that can only charge a battery such as that in balance mode.
Pete
It really was my error as this battery has been giving me problems, like one cell dropping completely. I checked the battery with a volt meter and it only registered 3 cells. I then charged the bad cell and it charged to 11.2 volts so I disconnected from the charger (I-charger 206b) and then reconnected and started the charge process again but not a balance charge. The charger recognized it as a 4-cell battery so I let her run. I occasionally checked the progress and at last check it was at 14 plus volts so I figured it was about finished. Then, SWISH, I turned around and saw the battery was split into 4 separate cells! Well you know the rest of the story...oh I was in the room during the entire charging process.
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Old Jan 19, 2016, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dalaman View Post
....and then reconnected and started the charge process again but not a balance charge.
^^^ This was the fatal error, as I'm sure you're now aware. ^^^

Thanks for sharing and good to know that your event was reasonably contained.

I always balance charge on each and every charge and always advocate such. Even if one decides to not perform a balance charger for whatever reason, it's prudent to at least connect the balance taps so the charger can monitor each cell and terminate before encountering an overcharge event.
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Old Jan 19, 2016, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Even if one decides to not perform a balance charger for whatever reason, it's prudent to at least connect the balance taps so the charger can monitor each cell and terminate before encountering an overcharge event.
When this is done, the charging will stop when any one cell is fully charged. This stops that cell from being over charged but may leave some cells under charged. Best bet is to balance charge each time.
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Old Jan 19, 2016, 07:41 PM
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I find most of my packs stay fairly well balanced and rarely need a balance charge. I do it on occasion for good measure but certainly not every time. The charger still monitors the balance taps.
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Old Jan 20, 2016, 12:31 AM
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I find most of my packs stay fairly well balanced and rarely need a balance charge. I do it on occasion for good measure but certainly not every time. The charger still monitors the balance taps.
+1

Charge-only mode is not a problem. Charging without plugging in balance leads is. I parallel/balance-charge just every 2-4 times I parallel/charge-only (with balance leads plugged in always) my Nanotech 25C long-term test packs. They have now 300 cycles each pack and are still running strong.
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Old Jan 20, 2016, 12:39 AM
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With better quality chargers (iCharger, Reaktor, FMA PowerLab), I have found that balance charging is actually faster than non-balance charging. The reason for this is that these chargers will compensate for voltage drop in the charge lead, but only when in balance charge mode. This loss can be rather significant when charging at high current (multiple packs in parallel) and cause the charger to enter CV mode prematurely and increase charge times when in normal charge (non-balance) mode. Since good quality packs need little intervention by the balance circuitry, the net result is shorter charge times when balance charging.

Yes, balance charging is actually a win-win. It's safer and faster.

Mark
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Old Jan 20, 2016, 01:39 AM
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Agree about today's charger regarding change lead compensation in balance-charge mode only.

I have to emphasize that when I balance-charge at home I set to 4.19v. When I recharge at the field, I run fast-charge mode to 4.20v which turns out entering CV phase no sooner than balance-charge mode to 4.19v and have same resting voltage after finishing session but I get the benefit of as quick or quicker charging sessions.
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Old Jan 20, 2016, 02:27 AM
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Another problem could be overheating the battery power wires too much causing the solder joint to be weak because it moved from a pack. After a while it will show up but not immediately then fear mongering of unexpected battery fires. It's kind of like how people who remain essential nutritionally deficient for so long that they wonder how they got cancer or other out of the blue diseases that seemed to be unexpected.
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Old Jan 20, 2016, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Race Miata View Post
Agree about today's charger regarding change lead compensation in balance-charge mode only.

I have to emphasize that when I balance-charge at home I set to 4.19v. When I recharge at the field, I run fast-charge mode to 4.20v which turns out entering CV phase no sooner than balance-charge mode to 4.19v and have same resting voltage after finishing session but I get the benefit of as quick or quicker charging sessions.
Wait until you start charging at more than a few amps. When charging at 30 amps, I get ~.3V drop in my charge leads (iCharger 306B displays ~12.90V at CV transition when charging 3S packs). Charging in fast mode would thus cause a rather large increase in CV mode and overall charge time.

On my iCharger that is dedicated for field charging, I set CV voltage at 4.22V/cell, balance speed 'Fast', engage balance circuitry at CV phase only, and charge at 3C. This will always produce faster charges than non-balance 'fast-charge' mode unless the pack has a bad cell, in which case it's unwise to perform a non-balance charge. Post charge resting cell voltage is in the same ballpark as my chargers at home that are set at 4.16V/cell and 'Normal' balance speed when packs are charged at 1-2C.
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Old Jan 20, 2016, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrforsyth View Post
Wait until you start charging at more than a few amps. When charging at 30 amps, I get ~.3V drop in my charge leads (iCharger 306B displays ~12.90V at CV transition when charging 3S packs). Charging in fast mode would thus cause a rather large increase in CV mode and overall charge time.

On my iCharger that is dedicated for field charging, I set CV voltage at 4.22V/cell, balance speed 'Fast', engage balance circuitry at CV phase only, and charge at 3C. This will always produce faster charges than non-balance 'fast-charge' mode unless the pack has a bad cell, in which case it's unwise to perform a non-balance charge. Post charge resting cell voltage is in the same ballpark as my chargers at home that are set at 4.16V/cell and 'Normal' balance speed when packs are charged at 1-2C.
My pair of nanotech 6s 3000 always sees parallel charge at 2C at 12A, balance-charge at home to 4.19V in 23 mins (cells are well matched, balance in CV phase only, fast balance) and fast-charge at the field to 4.20V in ~20mins (note: I don't fly 80%, more like 70% or less).

How much charge lead voltage drop depends on your charge leads. My paraboard runs 12AWG with banana plugs. My nanotech packs come with 12AWG.
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Old Jan 20, 2016, 02:23 PM
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That was a close one! Thankfully no one got harmed and your home wasn't damaged. The lesson to be learned here is: Always go to church before charging any lipo battery.
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Old Jan 20, 2016, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Race Miata View Post
My pair of nanotech 6s 3000 always sees parallel charge at 2C at 12A, balance-charge at home to 4.19V in 23 mins (cells are well matched, balance in CV phase only, fast balance) and fast-charge at the field to 4.20V in ~20mins (note: I don't fly 80%, more like 70% or less).

How much charge lead voltage drop depends on your charge leads. My paraboard runs 12AWG with banana plugs. My nanotech packs come with 12AWG.
Did a Fast-Charge mode to 4.20v today with my pair of nanotech 6s 3000s and Roaring Top 2700 and 3300 adding up to 12000mAh at 2C (24A) just to get a log to compare to one of my old logs of the same 4 packs balance-charge to 4.19v at 2C. Started off voltages are different but you can compare starting points when the current settled at 24A. Fast-charge session was faster than balance-charge session, both the CV phase and the entire session. Interesting though pack voltage rose to 25.4 in fast-charge mode. Seems like it supports charge-lead compensation. Maybe it's disabled only when balance leads not plugged in? Of course compensation won't work without reading balance leads.
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