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Old Jun 19, 2005, 11:06 PM
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Dan Baldwin's Avatar
United States, CA, Norwalk
Joined Apr 2004
2,715 Posts
2 lipo fires within 16 hours

No, not me. One of the guys at the local field had a lipo fires last night. He got in a hurry, and put a 2 cell pack on his B P P SC2 charger that was set for three cells. He remembered that it was set for two cells, and in the dim light of his workshop, he thought that the jumper was set for two cells, so he went back in the house to finish getting dressed because they were going out. He didn't think much more about it 'till his son told him that the workshop was on fire. H brought out a couple of chargers that suffered collateral damage, and the charred remains of the pack.

Toward the end of the flying day, I got my digital camera so I could share some pictures with you guys. After I took a picture, I was sitting there, holding my camera, shooting the breeze, when I hear his Astro 109 go "BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP" I looked over, and it looked like the pack he had on the charger was puffed up. He went over and said "OH @#$%, it's gonna blow. He unhooked it and threw it in the grass. I did the responsible thing, and took pictures. It was a damaged pack that had been severely unbalanced a while back, he left the current set where it had been set before, which happened to be 1.85 amps on a 870 mahr 2 cell pack, and he didn't check back in when the 109 when it went from stage 1 to stage 2. He said that the charger said 3S3 when he disconnected the pack. It may be a little tough for me to blame the 109 for this one.

This guy is one of the most knowledgable at the field about lipos, but he got complacent. I think I heard him say something about taking up free flight. He could have posted this aftermath report, but I think he was too embarassed. He asked me to do it.

Dan
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Old Jun 19, 2005, 11:16 PM
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billsmithjr's Avatar
Amishtown, Maryland
Joined Sep 2003
795 Posts
Lipos don't cause fires , stupid people with lipos cause fires. I've come so close so many times. Complacentce rears it's ugly head again!
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Old Jun 20, 2005, 01:21 AM
myk
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Lake Sawyer, Washington
Joined Jul 2003
1,100 Posts
Smart people with lipos cause fires too, its called being human, no ones perfect and we all make mistakes. No need to pick on stupid people.

btw, its spelled complacency

Mike
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Old Jun 20, 2005, 01:44 AM
Have a go, it might work!
Melbourne, Australia
Joined Feb 2004
696 Posts
Sounds like another case of the basic lipo safety rules being broken. First case was the wrong cell count, second was wrong charge current. Neither the cells or charger were at fault here. The user caused both fires.

red
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Old Jun 20, 2005, 06:04 AM
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Peter D Rieden's Avatar
Surrey, UK
Joined Mar 2003
388 Posts
I guess it's a matter of procedure. I use a couple of the cheap Perkins chargers with manual slider-switches to set cell count and charge current. I've always been conscious that this could lead to an expensive whoopsie - like sticking a 2-cell 340 on straight affter a 3-cell 2000 without changing the switches, so from the word go I have always set the two switches to minimum setting every time I take a pack off charge as a sort of "switch off" procedure. As a result whenever I go to use one the switches will be in the "1-cell" and "250mA" positions which won't damage anything I have if I forget to reset them when I put a pack on charge.

PDR
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Old Jun 20, 2005, 06:16 AM
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Australia
Joined Mar 2004
2,358 Posts
that is so dangerouse! I only use the swallow advance or the orbit to charge. Most of the other chargers out there are too dangerouse! Especially the Astro. I think to be safe, chargers like the swallow that have a good amount of warning alarms is the only way. Could you imagine buringing you house down??? kinda scary in a way, but it happens so quick!
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Old Jun 20, 2005, 06:22 AM
Vtol Builder
Lewist's Avatar
High Wycombe, Great Britain (UK)
Joined Jul 2004
997 Posts
I have got into lipos recently.

I use a 2s 900 pack and 3s 1100 pack.

to avoid confusion (and because i lready had a 2 cell charger) instead of going and getting a charger to charge both the 2 and 3 s packs i bought a completely different brand of 3s only charger.

so now the 2s pack, plane, handset and 2s charger live together and the 3s, heli and 3s charger live together. the chargers are different makes so there is NO confusion.

so far all has been good.

(o and i have different connectors on the 2s and 3s packs so its just NOT possible for me to connect the wrong pack to the wrong charger!)
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Old Jun 20, 2005, 06:36 AM
I like them a bit tail heavy
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Carolina's
Joined May 2004
1,439 Posts
When it rains....It pours. Just a bad day. This could happen to anyone. Nothing to be embarrassed about. If/when it happens to me (again!), I trust my bunkers will hold and damage will be minimal.

Saying that you will never have a lipo fire is like saying you will never crash a plane. You can never be sure, IMO.

-Tom
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Old Jun 20, 2005, 10:56 AM
luc
I plant balsa sticks too
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France
Joined Feb 2000
3,585 Posts
I like the SC2 charger, but it is true there there is absolutely no protection against human mistake (such as on newer chargers). I guess that's what stopped BPP building more,...too much risk.
on the other end, I dislike chargers that automatically tell you the xS (such as astro 109). What I prefer is the manual setting and the control from the charger, like on the apache or the triton, both of which I have too.
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Old Jun 20, 2005, 11:19 AM
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Ben Lanterman's Avatar
St. Charles, MO USA
Joined Jan 2001
668 Posts
It's by sharing these experiences we learn

At least I don't have to repeat the same one he did!!

I wonder about the Astro 109 comment. I have found over the last year or so (whenever I bought it - I have had their chargers for years) that the charger chosen settings are correct every time.

I do take the time to verify the setting and double check the charging current before I give it up to do it's thing. The next time I check a few minutes later I double check the charging current and cell count to be sure I haven't misread the display.

We just can't be as careless as with the Nicads. They were bullet proof compared to the lipoly power sources.

I wouldn't go back to them for anything though. I absolutely am amazed at the flights the lipoly/brushless give. It is worth taking the time to set up a procedure for charging and handling/storage and sticking to it as the writer above does when he sets the switch back.

I always turn the knob to 0 to start - every time.

One other thing I do because I can afford a couple of more packs more readily than replacing the car or house is I never charge at the field. I fly all morning when it is calm and finally when the batterys are all discharged I go home. All charging is done in the comfort and airconditioned calm of the house next to the computer where I catch up on events and this forum and can watch the batteries.

It is all a learning process I guess.
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Old Jun 20, 2005, 11:31 AM
Southern Pride
everydayflyer's Avatar
Haralson County GA. USA
Joined Oct 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Lanterman
At least I don't have to repeat the same one he did!!

I wonder about the Astro 109 comment. I have found over the last year or so (whenever I bought it - I have had their chargers for years) that the charger chosen settings are correct every time.

I do take the time to verify the setting and double check the charging current before I give it up to do it's thing. The next time I check a few minutes later I double check the charging current and cell count to be sure I haven't misread the display.

We just can't be as careless as with the Nicads. They were bullet proof compared to the lipoly power sources.

I wouldn't go back to them for anything though. I absolutely am amazed at the flights the lipoly/brushless give. It is worth taking the time to set up a procedure for charging and handling/storage and sticking to it as the writer above does when he sets the switch back.

I always turn the knob to 0 to start - every time.

One other thing I do because I can afford a couple of more packs more readily than replacing the car or house is I never charge at the field. I fly all morning when it is calm and finally when the batterys are all discharged I go home. All charging is done in the comfort and airconditioned calm of the house next to the computer where I catch up on events and this forum and can watch the batteries.

It is all a learning process I guess.
The AF 109 has been bashed to death here and there is nothing wrong with it, except perhaps it needs a better pot. Astrobob himself asked for my input for improvements months ago. It is simple ,set to zero observe the pack voltage ,if it is fully charged do not turn the charge rate up. Observe the cell count indicate and confirm it is the same at stage two. Mine gets used daily and has never been wrong.


Charles
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Old Jun 20, 2005, 11:35 AM
Outcast outlaw
As far away from RCGroups and the AMA as possible!
Joined Aug 2004
6,601 Posts
This kind of stuff scares me to death... Just to make my Lipo charging "idiot proof", I set my Triton charger to the lowest common denominator of all my battery packs. I only purchase 3s Lipos, so I don't ever have to worry about the charger being on the wrong setting...

Thought Process:
1) Thunder Power 3s 1320 mAh (1.3 amp maximum charge rate)
2) Tanic 3s 2220 mAh (2.2 amp maximum charge rate)
3) Triton charger set for 3s 1.0 amp maximum charge rate.
This has worked for me... So far.
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Old Jun 20, 2005, 12:07 PM
Space Coast USA
hoppy's Avatar
Space Coast
Joined Oct 2000
20,916 Posts
The only problem I have with the Triton is that the settings can be charged if the knob is not pushed straight down. A little twist with that downward push can change the setup.

I have not found the Triton to have any "Decision Making" problems from the computer side of the charger. It has caught all my mistakes.
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Old Jun 20, 2005, 12:35 PM
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RPatrick's Avatar
Hurst, Texas USA
Joined Jan 2002
704 Posts
My Apache 2500 simply will not start the charge if the selected cell count does not match the detected cell count.

Apparently this is a valuable feature that is found on this "Budget Charger".

I am amazed that these more expensive chargers don't offer the same protection.
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Old Jun 20, 2005, 12:53 PM
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Peter D Rieden's Avatar
Surrey, UK
Joined Mar 2003
388 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPatrick
My Apache 2500 simply will not start the charge if the selected cell count does not match the detected cell count.

Apparently this is a valuable feature that is found on this "Budget Charger".

I am amazed that these more expensive chargers don't offer the same protection.
They do, but it is only an easy thing to do for up to about three cells. For example that a part-charged 5-cell pack could be mistaken for a fully depleted 6-cell pack because the voltage ranges overlap. This is the origin of the myth that you shouldn't "top up" a part-discharged lipo; the risk that an auto-detecting charger will mistake the number of cells.

FWIW my cheap (17 - say $30) Perkins uP chargers have all the cell-count-mismatch and polarity-check features (and then some) as well, but only do up to three cells. As they are so cheap I have several of them so that I can charge lots of packs at once!


PDR
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