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Jun 16, 2004, 01:17 AM
Spritual Pilot
Thread OP

Warning. Lipo pack can get a fire while NOT in charge or discharge

Well, I lost my car today (I mean my REAL car, not rc car). I left my lipo packs on the passenger seat while I was working in my office. This afternoon, I got a call from security guy saying that my car caught a fire. The fireman came and totaled my car.

I couldn't find any other reason except the battery pack. The fire started exactly the same location as I placed the battery packs.

There were two packs, Kokam 1500MA 3cells and Thunder Power 2100MA 3cells. I could trace the Kokam pack. However, I could not find any residual of Thunder Power. So, I think it caused by Thunder Power. (I don't mean the pack has a problem. This may be because of my carelessness). The packs were not connected to anything. They were just sitting there.

Today, I had an experience that Lipo pack can get a fire under high heat (or high temp weather). I hadn't a chance to take a picture on the scene. However, a colleague of mine tooks several pictures. I hope he post the picture in battery forum soon.

Just precaution. Only unusual thing I could remember was the pack was somewhat hot yesterday whem I flew my micro heli. It is really mystery to me why it got a fire almost after 15 hours later.

Today was really hot. I think the inside of car might be easily over 100F.

When I heard someone had a fire on their lipo pack, I couldn't believe it. I just thought the lipo pack is safe. However, today I realized it is not safe. If we just forget a small thing (like leaving them in the car in very hot weather), it can cause a serious problem.

Hope you guys be careful to use lipo packs. This lesson costed me a couple thousand dollars today....

Last edited by jnyoun; Oct 27, 2008 at 02:08 PM.
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Jun 16, 2004, 01:30 AM
what wing man??
hummingbird111's Avatar

car on fire

Hey sorry to hear about your loss ,, man!! that's gotta suck,,,hey i've got two kokam batts.. one 1500 2 cell & one 1500 3 cell,,,but that makes me even more cautious now,,,thanks for the heads up though,,i normally keep my lipos in a crock pot at home,, but i really don't have a place when i'm in my ride,,,just my pockets ,,,well i hope it all works out for ya,,,& bee safe
Jun 16, 2004, 01:33 AM
Registered User
Inside temp of your vehicle could have been a (the) factor. Just found my digital thermometer under the seat of my car. High memory reading was 157*F.
Jun 16, 2004, 02:49 AM
Always right
Hovertime's Avatar
What if i leave my Cell Phone under similar circumstances?
Jun 16, 2004, 02:56 AM
Spritual Pilot
Thread OP
I wouldn't dare try it by myself...
Jun 16, 2004, 05:32 AM
Registered User

I'm truly sorry for your loss. I can just imagine how I would feel if it happened to me.

Thank you for reporting it here, as have several others who have reported losses caused by LiPo fires. It helps us devise ways to avoid the losses.

So far as I know, yours is the first reported occurence of a LiPo pack entering thermal runaway while inert.

So, the best proceedure, it seems to me, is to keep LiPos firesafe at all times except when they are on the flightline.

I recently bought a second Briggs box for storage of inert LiPos. I'm schooling myself to use both boxes in a sort of formal, checklist way. Part of the checlist now will be: "Is the box on a refractory surface (Not on an upholstered surface, for example)?

As Fred Marks has said :"Safety is a matter of discipline".

- RD
Jun 16, 2004, 05:37 AM
Registered User
And, After jyoun's and Dr. T's observation: "Avoid storage in vehicles in sunny weather". That one will be easier for me, because we've raised kids and always had housedogs around, so that precaution has been ingrained.

- RD
Last edited by RD Blakeslee; Jun 16, 2004 at 05:40 AM.
Jun 16, 2004, 07:16 AM
Registered User
Thank you so much for sharing this painful story, Jeongnam. This appears to be yet a new and previously unreported failure mode for Li-poly. As RD said, it is reports like these that help everyone else learn to avoid similar disasters.

We should be careful about making quick assumptions here. We do not know if this was likely caused by the heat inside the parked car, if the heat contributed to a pre-existing problem or if the heat had nothing to do with a pre-existing problem.

Since it may have been a Thunder Power pack that failed, I hope that Charlie Wang will comment on whether it's possible for a Li-poly pack to catastrophically fail simply from sitting inside a parked hot car.
Jun 16, 2004, 07:25 AM
Registered User
vintage1's Avatar
Originally Posted by jnyoun
Just precaution. Only unusual thing I could remember was the pack was somewhat hot yesterday whem I flew my micro heli. It is really mystery to me why it got a fire almost after 15 hours later.

First of all, sympathies.

Second, in the interest of better understanding,

(i) how long between the time you last used the pack and the estimated onset of fire?

(ii) How hot was it when you put it in the car?

(iii) were ther any signs of damage to the pack at that time, or any potential ways in which it could have got shorted?

I spent a little time in Africa. Black painted objects in the sun can reach over 100C - 212F, possibly more, inside the car.

What I suspect is the pack got REALLY hot in the sun puffed, and then shorted internally somehow.

Another possibility is something I had always regarded as an urban myth. Untuil it happened to nme. I had some 'bullion glass' in a window, and, in winter, the sun is in the right place and low enough to focus on the back of drawn curtains. One day I smelt smoke. Now those curtains, quite by cahnce, had been made with fireoproof linings. There was a two inch black charred mark where the focussed image of the sun had tracked across them.

A pair of reading glasses on the dashboard could set fire to anythig flammable in the car.

I don't know what maximum 'storage temperature' of a LIPO is, but I would have thought 100C is doable.

If it isn't, then people in hot countries will need to take sensible precautions.

"Do not store in direct sunlight" maybe...?

Anyway, ANY more info you have is more than interesting: It could help save lives and property damage.

Also any info on the insurance implications if you have any hassle.

I hope it wasn't a 'treasured car'
Last edited by vintage1; Jun 16, 2004 at 07:27 AM.
Jun 16, 2004, 08:14 AM
jrb's Avatar
The following is copied from the Safety Instruction and Warnings document available from the Thunder Power website( ); too hot in a car clearly looks to be the issue and warned of here in.
Jun 16, 2004, 08:30 AM
Does anyone hear a cat?
headless's Avatar

I am unimaginably glad that you chose to share your experience here and am very sorry to hear of your loss. I am glad nobody was injured in the fire.

This report probably saved my car's life; i have been leaving my lipo packs in my vehicle during the day while i am working and then going to fly in the evening. I've only been flying lipo's since last september, so i haven't had them through a floridian summer yet; in fact, it has JUST started getting hot in the past few weeks. I have no doubt things in my car get over 150f; the screen on my stereo has melted from the heat. Thank you for relating this story; you have certainly done some good.

Originally Posted by jrb
The following is copied from the Safety Instruction and Warnings document available from the Thunder Power website( ); too hot in a car clearly looks to be the issue and warned of here in.
Jun 16, 2004, 09:34 AM
what wing man??
hummingbird111's Avatar
ditto here ,,,,
Jun 16, 2004, 09:42 AM
Registered User
vintage1's Avatar
Indeed. And thanks for reposting the thinderpower stuff too - I honestly hadn't read that consciously, but it did stick in my mind something about 'do not expose to direct sunlight'

For those of us in the rest of the world, 170F is 76.6C.

EASILY attainable in a closed car in full sunlight.
Jun 16, 2004, 09:48 AM
Registered User
darrell_f's Avatar
I've been leaving Li-poly in car during work hours in Florida for the last year. A car in Florida in July can turn into an oven. I've always worried about it, but the alternative is a 1 hour drive home and back after work to get them. I wonder if distributors of Li-poly have actually done testing and how much safety factor is in their storage limit. I just got a new TP 10C and the enclosed instruction sheet has 150 degrees as the limit for storage.
Jun 16, 2004, 10:00 AM
And You're Not
Maybe placing your lipos in a small cooler to insulate them from the extreme heat while you are at work..

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