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Lipo fire

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fly boy313/01/2014 21:54:41
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3786 forum posts
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Was told that a crash damaged Lipo burst into flames days after the crash. Luckily it had been removed from the model prior to the fire, and no other damage occured. Can this be right ? Cheers

scott finnie13/01/2014 22:00:35
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756 forum posts
95 photos

After seeing some violent lipo incidents i'd say yes, i havent seen any burst into flames just by sitting but i have seen several that appeared fin after a crash then blister up a few days later. I now keep my lipos in a lipo bag and that is then placed in a fire retardent safe just for extra security and safety whilst out

fly boy314/01/2014 11:59:33
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3786 forum posts
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Thanks Scott. Do you recommend that all lipos are removed from models, and kept in the same conditions as you mentioned in your post ? Thanks

Bandit14/01/2014 12:06:37
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287 forum posts

Don't leave Lipo's in models.

It is good practice to take them out and store them as Scott suggests.

Taking the Lipo out also makes sure it is disconnected as I have heard of someone forgetting the lipo was in the plane.

Simon Chaddock14/01/2014 13:17:33
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5813 forum posts
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FB3

A LiPo contains a lot of electrical energy. Its polymer electrolyte is flammable. Its casing is plastic.

Consider it like a similar sized plastic bottle of petrol. Safe enough even in the presence of a naked flame but don't mistreat it.

On the other hand a crash damaged LiPo is rather like striking matches close by a leaking plastic bottle of petrol. wink 2

Crash damage does not have to actually pierce the casing. If its structure is damaged it can internally short circuit which releases enough heat to melt the casing and ignite the electrolyte. The cell then starts a 'runaway' process completely destroying itself in no more than a second.

fly boy314/01/2014 16:58:05
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3786 forum posts
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Hi lads, as you have probably guessed, I am new to Lipos, only have 2 electric models and 3 Lipos between then both. After reading these posts they are in a safer place, but will have to buy a lipo bag asap. Thanks

fly boy314/01/2014 17:13:16
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3786 forum posts
22 photos

Wonder if this is suitable for charging and storage of a few lipos. Thanks http://www.giantshark.co.uk/product/170661/lipo-charge-safety-bag-23x30cm

scott finnie14/01/2014 18:54:36
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756 forum posts
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Posted by fly boy3 on 14/01/2014 17:13:16:

Wonder if this is suitable for charging and storage of a few lipos. Thanks http://www.giantshark.co.uk/product/170661/lipo-charge-safety-bag-23x30cm

Thats the ones i have and they are worth it for there price . Yes as Bandit said never leave them in a model, to be honest store them as far as you can from them and dont have them anywhere near where nitro fuel has been either. I'd much rather a smoldered safe than my garage and pride of joy's burning up. I had a lipo fire onboard a parkzone Albatross last year and even after ditching it into a pond it continued to burn under the water! As has been said they really do have alot of energy within waiting for that moment to escape. I just got rid of 6 old 4s lipo's , i cut there leads, placed them in water for a few days then took them to my local recycling centre. I have a seperate lipo bag for each battery, the last thing i'd want is one going on fire and destroying £200 worth of batteries. This is the safe i use too which is cheap and does the job nicely **LINK**

fly boy314/01/2014 18:58:35
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3786 forum posts
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Thanks Scott, taken all what you have said on board, and will act on it. Cheers also thanks to Simon, for putting this  into perspective.

Edited By fly boy3 on 14/01/2014 19:00:46

Delta Foxtrot14/01/2014 19:08:12
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566 forum posts
91 photos

Hi fly boy 3,

I can also recommend ammo boxes which can be bought for about 12 pounds. I have a few of these for storage of lipos, recently bought a couple designed for 37 mm batton rounds which came with really useful foam inserts with holes that will fit 2200 mah 3s packs in very nicely.

http://www.denbigharmysurplus.co.uk/army-stores/Ammo-Box-37mm-Baton-Rounds.html

I drill a couple of 1.5 mm holes in the sides to relieve pressure should a battery catch fire.

cheers

dave

Max5015/01/2014 08:39:50
178 forum posts
8 photos

At the moment i keep my lipos in lipo bags ,all together, and stored in a metal toolbox , and in the house. The only other place is an old garage which is cold and damp and separate from the house. Should i still keep them in the house, or buy a cabinet and store them in the garage with the car? .I have about 10 in the box at the moment but maybe getting more.

Where do you all keep your lipos ? . Like ; model shops, i assume keep theirs together in their store rooms in the shop, in maybe the centre of towns.

Thanks Dave for the Denbigh Army Surplus link. Very usefull.

John F15/01/2014 09:00:35
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1316 forum posts
51 photos

This is not a winge but a serious question. Is all of this simply not just acting on hearsay, rumour and dangerous experiments on youtube?

The way some store their batteries you'd think they were UXB's. Should this only be a precaution if the battery is damaged? Surely if something was so inherently dangerous as to need a flame proof bag and fireproof box it would not be on the market?

Researching away from the hype of RC websites the advice seems to be store in a cool place 50% charged (ish). There is no mention of any dangers thereafter, unless a pack is severely damaged.

Olly P15/01/2014 09:20:43
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3215 forum posts
181 photos

John - I can't agree more - the key with undamaged LiPos is to prevent over or under charging them - 70% is a good storage level of charge, as this means temperature effect is unliely to cause an over volt situation.

it is also quite quick to top them up for flight.


I keep mine in an aluminium flight case, all together and arranged for easy use. just be sensible. if they are damaged then obviously dispose of in a sensible manner, fully discharge and use local recycling facilities to ensure proper disposal.

will -015/01/2014 09:51:59
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587 forum posts
19 photos

John, it's a classic case of risk and hazard:

 

The risk (chance) of a fire is relatively low statistically. There must be millions of the things out there and given that we hear relatively few reports of fires.

The hazard (danger) is however very high: it could burn your house down and you might lose everything/put lives at risk.

Given a low (but not negligible) risk of a catastrophic event, a cheap precaution such as a lipo bag is very good insurance!

Edited By will -0 on 15/01/2014 09:53:34

Bob Burton15/01/2014 10:24:07
186 forum posts

Has anyone here got any experience of a Lipo bag being used in 'anger', ie, the Lipo(s) inside it caught fire for whatever reason ?

I keep my Lipos, admittedly only 2 and 3S low capacity ones, in the detached garage. They are in a shallow terracotta flowerpot but that is the only precaution I take when charging or storing them. I store them at about 3.8V per cell and charge at a maximum of 2C, usually less so they are fairly well treated.

I have been considering getting and using a Lipo bag or two but do they actually provide any protection and, if so, how ?

Dave Miller15/01/2014 11:28:12
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341 forum posts
27 photos

On the grounds that you have to keep the things somewhere, as well as transport them and also considering that they are expensive, so worth looking after, then storage/transporting in an ammo box or similar is as good as anything. These batteries are as safe (maybe safer) than stored liquid fuel, the danger may come when charging them incorrectly or following physical damage.

It should be remembered that trying to put out a Lithium fire with water does not work it needs to be smothered.

Now I know that I’m always pointing to THIS SITE but that’s simply because it contains a wealth of sound information in the form of pdf's that are worth downloading and reading – as well as providing good service.

Delta Foxtrot15/01/2014 12:44:01
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566 forum posts
91 photos

Spot on Will-O and Dave.

Risk = Low (if handled properly), Consequence = Potentially very high, Cost of mittigation = peanuts.

I do not have a garage or shed suitable for charging up my Lipos so I do this inside the house, but never leave the batteries unnattended. I bought a larger ammo case in which I place my chargers and LiPos during charging and this itself is placed on a fireproof surface (fireplace, fire not in use). My reasoning is I can put the lid on in case of a problem, uplug the chargers and take this outside away from the house. Apart from fire considerations , I would not want to have the highly toxic smoke inside the house in the event of a failure.

Once charged the LiPos live in ammo cases in our small garden shed. I split them between 4 cases just to limit my losses if the very unlikley occurs.

I can recommend Andrew Gibbs guides on LiPo's and other aspects of electric power.

Dave

Simon Chaddock15/01/2014 12:44:05
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5813 forum posts
3080 photos

LiPo batteries are NOT solid blocks of lithium or anything like it so the concept 'a lithium fire' can be misleading.

The lithium equivalent content of a cell in grammes (as used by UPS in the US to determine if it is considered a hazardous load) is the cells capacity in Amp hours x 0.3.

So a 3000mAh cell contains the equivalent of just 1g of solid lithium.

Rob4315/01/2014 13:01:14
144 forum posts
3 photos
Bob, I have not seen a lipo burn inside a lipo bag, but I have seen my burst lipo discharge heat/flame/smoke and lipo bags are normally manufactured from nomex (this is the product that race car drivers suits, underwear and helmet linings are made from) which will not support combustion. It would contain the combustion and as they are flexible wont allow an explosion like a closed solid container but they will vent a large quantity of toxic gases so still a good case for outside charging. I do charge lipos in my car in a lipo bag but only whilst no one is in it. Even a small lipo would fill a car with its discharged gas.
Dave Miller15/01/2014 13:07:17
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341 forum posts
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Posted by Simon Chaddock on 15/01/2014 12:44:05:

LiPo batteries are NOT solid blocks of lithium or anything like it so the concept 'a lithium fire' can be misleading.

The lithium equivalent content of a cell in grammes (as used by UPS in the US to determine if it is considered a hazardous load) is the cells capacity in Amp hours x 0.3.

So a 3000mAh cell contains the equivalent of just 1g of solid lithium.

The concept is not misleading Simon, to say that it is, is misleading. I have no idea how much or how little flammable material Lipo's contain but I do now that they can burn extremely fiercely so that aspect should not be understated without overstating the risk.

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