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Old Oct 23, 2004, 10:28 AM
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Lithium battery fire at FedEx


Anyone have any more info on the fire at the FedEx hub in Memphis? From what I have been told a Lithium battery pack was damaged when the box it was in got damaged in the sorting equipment. It started to smoke just before loading on a jet. While it did not get onto the plane it came very close.

This close call should give pause to everyone using and shipping Lithium batteries! DOT, NTSB, and the Navy are all involved in the investigation. I bet that there are going to be some serious restrictions on shipping as a result.

Steve
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Old Oct 23, 2004, 12:01 PM
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That's one battery out of millions that I'm sure have shipped over the years. Nothing made by man is perfect, but to invoke serious restictions on shipping because of one unfortunate case is going a bit extreme.

Also, is there proof this even took place? I'm sure similar events have happened with shippment of flammable material such as glow fuel, but there are no serious restictions on shipping such liquid. There are restrictions, but I wouldn't call them serious. Proper labeling and packaging are hardly serious restictions. Sticking a lipo in a paper envelope is hardly proper packaging, but using cardboard boxes with bubble wrap may just be the ticket.

I think everyone shipping lipos should just use common sense, and be aware of the dangers involved in a damaged pack. I'm sure that some people packaging lipos in large warehouses like Tower Hobbies may not know about the dangers involved, but with proper education could prevent these "serious restrictions" that you bet will occur.

Lets not get carried away with this. Lipos are very stable if you just use common sense.
Old Oct 23, 2004, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoLogic
That's one battery out of millions that I'm sure have shipped over the years. Nothing made by man is perfect, but to invoke serious restictions on shipping because of one unfortunate case is going a bit extreme.

Also, is there proof this even took place?
It would only take a single jumbo jet cargo plane going down from a inflight fire to but a major damper on shipping batteries without very costly restrictions. I fear that this may have lit that fuse.

It did happen on August 9th 2004. This Panasonic document refers to it: http://www.panasonic.com/industrial/...qu-Lithium.pdf
Steve
Last edited by sneu; Oct 23, 2004 at 12:30 PM.
Old Oct 23, 2004, 12:38 PM
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I found this document: http://www.panasonic.com/industrial/...qu-Lithium.pdf
it covers regulations for shipping Lithium batteries and mentions a fire at Fedex on Aug 9,2004. It sounds like work has already being done to regulate shipping of Lithium batteries.
Pat MacKenzie
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Old Oct 23, 2004, 12:54 PM
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Steve, I think you may be right. It could end up having these types of batteries ground ship only. Adds time and cost to the shipping fees. Might have to have specialty packaging too. Time will tell if the industry will choose to make this new set of rules.
Leigh
Old Oct 23, 2004, 01:37 PM
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It's a hazmat material what did you expect? To be able to ship it like a letter to your grandma? And this is for large quantities of batteries, not the single cell that your lhs might sent to a customer. I mean every company has to follow the same guidlines when shipping mass tonage of batts. http://www.ulbi.com/whitepapers/Ultr...egulations.pdf

When you say serious restriction, I start thinking, "Unable to ship product without special permit/license" Is that what your trying to say? Or are you talking about proper labeling and packaging? That's been implemented for years. And I think there are exemptions for smaller shippments (which is the level we deal on), they don't require any special shipping methods. It says so in that document.

Anyway, I don't think this is anything to get worked up on. I really don't see people needing permits to ship a couple lipos to a friend.
Old Oct 23, 2004, 01:49 PM
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Look, I spent 10 years managing our company's shipping department & I was very meticulous on how I shipped stuff. I almost always shipped things in Boxes with PROPER packaging, either Bubble-Pack or foam peanuts or both. The UPS guy told me that if you don't package correctly your item WILL get damaged. I once received a Lipo battery in a padded envelope, what kind of idiot ships Lipo's in an envelope? I don't deal with that retailer anymore.

-Mike-
Old Oct 23, 2004, 02:43 PM
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Steve, I followed your link to the Panasonic document and if I understand it, then the concept of "lithium equivalency" (LE) is very important for our ability to ship Lipo battery packs.

Correct my errors but I think it says that the limit to ship is 1.5 gram Lithiun Equivaleny (LE) per cell, and 8.0 grams per battery pack.

Lithium Equivalency (LE) = .3 times the cells rated capacity (rated how?) in amp hours.

Take a 2000 mah cell, the (LE) per cell is 2.0 x .3 = .6 grams

With a battery pack limit of 8.0 grams that means the pack could have no more than 13 cells 8.0 / .6 = 13.33

So a 4s3p pack made up of 2000 mah calls is OK, but a 4s4p pack is not.

Also, the section on "End User" transportation is interesting as it seems to say that you cannot have Lipo packs in your checked luggage and can only have 2 packs with you in carry on, but even then there are packaging requirements.

I hate to think of how the regulators will look at our practice of shipping damaged Lipo packs back to the supplier at their request!!!

Brad
Old Oct 23, 2004, 03:06 PM
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Extreme positions rarely represent the best course of action. Over-legislation of safety regulations can bring commerce to a virtual standstill, while under-legislation can result in unneccessary injuries and fatalities. Life is all about reasonable risk management.
Old Oct 23, 2004, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Hederich
Extreme positions rarely represent the best course of action. Over-legislation of safety regulations can bring commerce to a virtual standstill, while under-legislation can result in unneccessary injuries and fatalities. Life is all about reasonable risk management.

exactly
Old Oct 23, 2004, 09:21 PM
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I can see in the near future.
A group of R/C junkies in a high speed police chace over the state line with illegal quantities of Lipos

News at 11....................
Old Oct 23, 2004, 10:19 PM
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Mike, I also received some lipos in a padded envolope along side some fragile slow fly props. It amazed me that the package made it half way across the world without turning into a bag or rubbish. Actually there was no damage at all.

David B.
Old Oct 23, 2004, 11:53 PM
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keep in mind that us modelists are a very small minority of lipo users... take a guess how many laptops leave dell EACH DAY with lipo batts, or how many cellphones make their way across the US per day.
Old Oct 24, 2004, 01:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rkramer
keep in mind that us modelists are a very small minority of lipo users... take a guess how many laptops leave dell EACH DAY with lipo batts, or how many cellphones make their way across the US per day.
Consumer electronics are powered mainly by Lithium Ion cells which has votlage/curremt/heat protective circuits built in. These are also hardcased.

You cannot say the same about the Lithium Polymer cells we use in our R/C planes.
Old Oct 24, 2004, 01:41 AM
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Why in the hell wont they put lipos in a hardcase like on cell phones,i have a cell phone with a liion battery and i have done everything to it, short of setting it on fire without any problems,granted li ion batts maybe alil bit safer but a lipo with a plastic case will be much safer then a foil wrap,besides the case will only add a few grams on a battery that is 4 times lighter then any other type of batt out there??


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