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Old Nov 21, 2005, 06:43 AM
Time for me to Fly...
Mr. Wiz's Avatar
United States, MI, Fenton
Joined Jan 2000
8,606 Posts
Another LiPo fire

I just picked this up off the District VII website. It's looks pretty bad. It also looks like it could have been worse.

http://www.laureanno.com/RC/fire-pics.htm

Wiz
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Old Nov 21, 2005, 08:34 AM
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Jim Connell's Avatar
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Joined Apr 2001
264 Posts
Thanks for the information link

Thanks for posting this. Iíve been sitting on the fence for months trying to decide whether to take the plunge into lipo land. But every time I do I run into yet another story like this one. Putting me right back on the fence, convinced once again that these batteries are not yet ready for prime time. Their risk to too great.

It is not every story that frightens me, but the ones written by experienced, knowledgeable, people using the proper equipment and procedures and still end up having fiery consequences that really get my attention. (Stories like this one )

I guess the NiMH batteries will have to last another year.

Jim Connell
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Old Nov 21, 2005, 09:05 AM
Forgot how to fly
Mike Parsons's Avatar
Atlanta, Georgia
Joined Oct 2002
10,177 Posts
Thanks for the link Wiz.

Not enough info to discern what caused the failure (pack damaged, left in the garage and subject to harsh climate changes etc), but the one failure that does stand out and is recognized by the owner is complacency. It will get you every time.

-Mike
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Old Nov 21, 2005, 09:36 AM
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The Other Dave's Avatar
Colorado Front Range, USA, EARTH, Sol system, Milkyway Galaxy
Joined Nov 2001
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I hate to say it but how come I read so many of these
stories that have to do with the Astro 109 charger?
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Old Nov 21, 2005, 09:42 AM
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KillerAir's Avatar
Stratford Sikorsky, Connecticut, United States
Joined Dec 2001
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Did not look like a safe enviroment to charge and store to begin with. Sorry to see the lose and carnage.

Killer
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Old Nov 21, 2005, 10:19 AM
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Dan Baldwin's Avatar
United States, CA, Norwalk
Joined Apr 2004
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It's sad when a loss like this occurs, but in this case, it's not all that surprising since he broke so many of the cardinal rules of lipo charging.

1)Charge in a fire safe location. He mistakenly thought that he was protected by using a ceramic dish.

2)Never leave the area while lipos are being charged.

3) periodically check the lipos being charged for high temperatures, or swelling.

4) if you use an Astro 109, check the cell count immediately after the charger goes into stage 2, since it can change cell count ANY TIME during stage 1, and it gives no indication other than on the LCD screen. If you cannot, or will not follow this instruction, DO NOT BUY A 109.

Dan
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Old Nov 21, 2005, 10:20 AM
Registered User
Warren, MI
Joined Apr 2004
240 Posts
Any kind of fire is no good! I'm not an RC'r but I've read about containers to charge Li-Poly packs. They have a lockable vented lid I believe but even then, you'd have flames coming out of the vent to catch anything nearby on fire. Gosh! Is there really a safe way to charge these packs incase of a fire?

I had a kitchen fire over thirty-four years ago and I remember it as if it happened yesterday and there was no real damage except the mess left from me putting out the fire.

Bill
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Old Nov 21, 2005, 10:28 AM
Fly it like you stole it..
Tram's Avatar
Florence, Al
Joined Oct 2000
29,301 Posts
So has anyone come up with what is "good" to charge lipo's in yet?
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Old Nov 21, 2005, 10:28 AM
ElectriGlo Pilot
Trogdor's Avatar
Ashburn, Virginia, United States
Joined Dec 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Other Dave
I hate to say it but how come I read so many of these stories that have to do with the Astro 109 charger?
ditto
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Old Nov 21, 2005, 10:37 AM
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USA, FL, Apopka
Joined Dec 2000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Baldwin

4) if you use an Astro 109, check the cell count immediately after the charger goes into stage 2, since it can change cell count ANY TIME during stage 1, and it gives no indication other than on the LCD screen. If you cannot, or will not follow this instruction, DO NOT BUY A 109.

Dan
Always good advice, but in this case the user did check the settings at the end of stage 1...... As the Astro CANNOT change the settings after stage 1 we have to look elseware.... Reading the story the fire started within the first 20 minutes of the charge (as he heard the garage door open at 20 minutes the fire probably started well before that). So even if the Astro bumped the cell count in stage 1, and even if the user did not check the settings, that is too soon for a overvoltage fire unless the pack was in a charged condition before charging.

The most likely cause is a severe unballance in the Kokam 3S 1500 mah pack.....

Anybody still think that taps and balancers are not needed?

Brad
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Old Nov 21, 2005, 11:03 AM
Time for me to Fly...
Mr. Wiz's Avatar
United States, MI, Fenton
Joined Jan 2000
8,606 Posts
I would think a medium size grill, gutted with a latch on the top would work pretty well.

Wiz
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Old Nov 21, 2005, 11:36 AM
Registered User
Walled Lake, MI, USA
Joined Feb 2000
11,182 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Other Dave
I hate to say it but how come I read so many of these stories that have to do with the Astro 109 charger?
As in previous discussions, the Astro 109 is one of the most popular Li chargers on the market, so there are more of them out there than many other Li chargers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Baldwin
4) if you use an Astro 109, check the cell count immediately after the charger goes into stage 2, since it can change cell count ANY TIME during stage 1, and it gives no indication other than on the LCD screen. If you cannot, or will not follow this instruction, DO NOT BUY A 109.
Sounds as if the user did check the LCD screen after it went into stage 2, as he specifically mentions seeing the charge rate:

"I watched as the charger recognized the 3 cell pack. I then proceeded to line up the other LiPo packs on the bench while also observing the charger as it initially analyzed the LiPo pack (it usually takes 3 minutes, according to the manual). After this 3 minute period, I heard the charger then go into its normal charging mode (it beeps once). I also noticed that the charger was charging at a 1300mA rate and I was about to set it to 1500mA (1C) but did not (a little lower can't hurt I thought)."
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Old Nov 21, 2005, 11:50 AM
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Walled Lake, MI, USA
Joined Feb 2000
11,182 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjpaul
Anybody still think that taps and balancers are not needed?
Taps and balancers are certainly good insurance for anyone who does not follow all of the safety rules when using Li cells. But the fact remains that a burning Li pack cannot set a larger fire if the pack is isolated from all combustible materials. The common element in all of these larger fires is that the packs were all in violation of common Li safety rules by virtue of being in close proximity to combustible materials that were ignited by the burning packs. If anyone thinks they are 100% safe from fire when using taps and balancers, they are likely to let their guard down and not adhere to all of the known safety measures.
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Old Nov 21, 2005, 11:53 AM
Forgot how to fly
Mike Parsons's Avatar
Atlanta, Georgia
Joined Oct 2002
10,177 Posts
One thing I have been wondering about is if he set the charge rate to zero prior to hooking up the battery. The text does not provide that information and I am not 100% sure it is relevant. Just a practice that is detailed per the instructions on the 109.

-Mike
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Old Nov 21, 2005, 12:00 PM
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NJ
Joined Aug 2003
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Tridon
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