PDA

View Full Version : NiCad Fire???


qban_flyer
12-10-2005, 03:51 PM
Just got the attached photos from a friend of mine via e-mail.

He attended the event where this particular high performance model was being flown with NiCads on board when it went up in flames.

As it can be appreciated, the ESC, fuselage and part of the battery pack were "carbonized". The rest of the pack adhered itself to the fuselage during the meltdown. The consensus by the "experts" at the site was that the ESC might not have been up to the task of handling the juice required by the motor/propeller combination. NiCad's fault? No way, since the ESC was installed by the model's owner. I wonder what the first reaction by the "experts" would have been if Li-Pos had been inside the model?

Just posting these photos here so that everyone will realize that when not handled and planned carefully, all types of battery pack/ESC/motor/propeller combinations will come back and bite us when we least expect it to. The same applies to all battery packs and their dedicated chargers.

What happened here? I have no clue since I was not there when it happened. I can see the end result, and know there were no Li-Pos involved, though. :eek:

Don Sims
12-10-2005, 04:47 PM
I lost one of my favorite gliders over a Nicad fire and nearly burnt up my neighbors wheat field. I had installed a new gearbox on an dependable plane and motor and over-amped the thing. The plane started smoking when climbing to altitude, I cut the power and started to turn it back to me, it went up in flames before the turn was completed. The mess fell into a wheat field and started the field burning.

It must have been quite the sight seeing an old fat man jumping a barbed wire fence, and doing a 100 yard dash to start stomping out the fire. Burned a 20-30 foot diameter crop circle in the field. The plane was a total loss and the electronics fused together like your photo.

qban_flyer
12-10-2005, 06:39 PM
This one happened in a similar fashion, though the ensuing conflagration was minimal as fire extinguishers were on hand to put the fire out quickly.

The model, motor and electronics were totalled. Thankfully nothing else was damaged.

We have to be careful and heed the instructions that come with the devices we are going to be using. Failure to do will result in a catastrophic event, one that may affect our hobby in a very detrimental way.

Thanks for sharing your NiCad incident here also.

flyranger
12-10-2005, 06:50 PM
My only RC fire was NIMH batts. I had an 1100ma pack of 8 sub 2/3 cells for 9.6v short out in the red JST connector. I connected the batt pack, bent down to pick up my transmitter and saw smoke and flames from the model. It was a Great Planes Basic Light Trainer, a stick with a wing on top. No damage to the model, the rubberbands burned through and allowed the batt pack (what was left of it) to drop to the ground. I did have to pry the melted remains of the connector from the 1/16" wire landing gear leg, though. See, LiPos are not the only bad things out there!

qban_flyer
12-10-2005, 07:08 PM
My only RC fire was NIMH batts. I had an 1100ma pack of 8 sub 2/3 cells for 9.6v short out in the red JST connector. I connected the batt pack, bent down to pick up my transmitter and saw smoke and flames from the model. It was a Great Planes Basic Light Trainer, a stick with a wing on top. No damage to the model, the rubberbands burned through and allowed the batt pack (what was left of it) to drop to the ground. I did have to pry the melted remains of the connector from the 1/16" wire landing gear leg, though. See, LiPos are not the only bad things out there!


My point exactly! ;)

timocharis
12-10-2005, 07:57 PM
flyranger:

Good point. My only airplane fire so far was a 7-cell nimh pack (very slow; just started smoking so I grabbed it and shook the battery out -- possible in that plane -- and let it do its thing).

It seemed about the same as lightweight LiPo flareups I've seen. I never was sure what caused it, but I think just a simple short of some sort in the battery wires.


Dave

Rugar
12-10-2005, 08:02 PM
I guess we now have a thread to refer the Lipo naysayer bashers to :D.

TeslaWinger
12-10-2005, 09:38 PM
Dangerous world, isn't it? I flew the guts out of my old Zagi and had 4 well used nicad packs charged and ready when I went to the field. I kept them in the flight box ususally but often had them in my pockets. After one landing I pulled one from my pocket and it immediately shorted out to a bright yellow and burned my palm badly in the half second it took to let go of it! I no longer carry batteries in my pockets! That ammo box idea sounds better all the time- but Nomex gloves??!!

qban_flyer
12-10-2005, 10:20 PM
I guess we now have a thread to refer the Lipo naysayer bashers to :D.

Precisely, and with photos to prove that all batteries can be dangerous if not handled properly.

Li-Pos have been getting a bum rap while the other ones have gotten away scot free.

Handled with the care and respect they deserve, all battery types will be as safe as the person handling them. Carelessness will only lead to potetial disastrous events as these photos clearly show. :)

Has anyone noticed the Li-Po bashers absence from this thread? :confused:

hoppy
12-10-2005, 10:54 PM
Hey, it was obvious that that wasn't a LIPO fire.....too much of the plane left. :)

qban_flyer
12-11-2005, 12:01 AM
Hey, it was obvious that that wasn't a LIPO fire.....too much of the plane left. :)



GEEEZZZ!

I'd forgotten that Li-Po fires have bigger teeth and are much hungrier!!! :D

qban_flyer
12-11-2005, 12:07 AM
Dangerous world, isn't it? I flew the guts out of my old Zagi and had 4 well used nicad packs charged and ready when I went to the field. I kept them in the flight box ususally but often had them in my pockets. After one landing I pulled one from my pocket and it immediately shorted out to a bright yellow and burned my palm badly in the half second it took to let go of it! I no longer carry batteries in my pockets! That ammo box idea sounds better all the time- but Nomex gloves??!!

My gosh!

I remember the days when we used to carry the batteries for the TX strapped to our waist lines during endurance flights! :eek: :eek: :eek:

Had to do the same with the battery of my camera's Honeywell professional strobe flash unit. :p :p :p

hoppy
12-11-2005, 01:28 AM
My gosh!

I remember the days when we used to carry the batteries for the TX strapped to our waist lines during endurance flights! :eek: :eek: :eek:

Had to do the same with the battery of my camera's Honeywell professional strobe flash unit. :p :p :p

Same man with LiPo packs -

savydad
12-11-2005, 03:58 AM
Never had one catch fire, but I've learned the hard way a couple times that ALL batteries or energy storage devices should be handled and respected with care. This goes for the big capacitors used in car audio as well. Those things are capable of 3-400a bursts @14v...big jolt! In my younger days (bout 13-14) I learned how NOT to clip a battery off a melted tamiya. Quick lesson in shorting. I also had several that I overcharged with my 15-minute "quick" charger, trying to do an hour charge with it. They popped, sizzled and almost exploded, had I went any further. The funny thing was how much they swelled, just like a lipo. They also got hot enough to melt the shrink completely off, and the endcaps (+end) were nearly off. I was lucky because I have seen some catch fire, and it's nothing to be seen in your own workshop, quite a sight. I haven't seen a lipo fire, just the aftermath...either one doesn't look like something I want to be a part of.

Todd

meatball
12-11-2005, 04:11 AM
Q-ban I've been reading your posts from afar for a while about Li-Po batteries and consistently see you battling people who mention Li-Po fires. Well, I think that Li-Po's are dangerous in potential. More-so then other battery packs but not enough to get all this attention. The only difference between these and others is the violent things that happen when they explode. Li-Po fires recieve the same media coverage as shark attacks. They dont happen that often because they are relatively safe but when they do its horrendous and are always reported and broadcasted, because it's interesting to hear about something blow up and melt things. Its an exotic, like a shark attack. I think people care too much about what happens with them. Accidents happen. But to puplish every one as people do creates a biased statistic.

qban_flyer
12-11-2005, 05:43 AM
Q-ban I've been reading your posts from afar for a while about Li-Po batteries and consistently see you battling people who mention Li-Po fires. Well, I think that Li-Po's are dangerous in potential. More-so then other battery packs but not enough to get all this attention. The only difference between these and others is the violent things that happen when they explode. Li-Po fires recieve the same media coverage as shark attacks. They dont happen that often because they are relatively safe but when they do its horrendous and are always reported and broadcasted, because it's interesting to hear about something blow up and melt things. Its an exotic, like a shark attack. I think people care too much about what happens with them. Accidents happen. But to puplish every one as people do creates a biased statistic.

Glad to see you have been following my posts on this forum. :D

I have been dealing with electronic and electrical equipment since I was 13 years old, I am 61 now. I used to re-wind motors for my grandfather who always instilled in me the lost habit/practice of triple checking every setting before committing to throwing an electric switch. What he taught me applies to every single switch, including those of our battery chargers.

It is the very reason I published these NiCad fire photos here. This was a NiCad fire, not a Li-Po one. I believe this to be the first time a non Li-Po fire is reported anywhere.

As can be noted by some of the posts on this thread, there are some others who have also experienced similar events with NIMH packs. It is not Li-Po technology what makes Li-Pos dangerous, it is careless human beings in handling them who make them so.

The same can be said of a car, a bicycle, a gun, a knife and something as innocuous as a pencil. Handled with care, they all are and can be useful devices. Put them in the hands of an absent minded person and anything can and will invariably happen.

I don't think that reporting a non Li-Po fire is to give the issue undue attention, it is to bring to the forefront the fact that Li-Pos have been getting an unwarranted bum rap for too long.

I know many who have had their NiCad packs go up in flames. It was never reported because we didn't have the internet (much less the likes of Watt Flyer) around back in those days. This is the first time I have had proof that can be reported on an open forum such as this one for everyone to see that all batteries can be harmful, not just Li-Pos.

Li-Po batteries are as safe as the person handling them, it is that simple. I will keep stating what I know to be a fact of everyday life, Li-Po battery technology when handled with care and respect, is just as safe as the rest available to us all. :)

cyclops2
12-11-2005, 05:53 AM
If this country is short of LIPO haters. Go read some British electric forums on the LIPO PR bull as they see it. Everything from fires to only about 50 charges before the packs have less than a full recharge.
I do not think there is any intent of LIPO battery Mfgr. to design one that can fast discharge. Yet, to stay in business, someone says they can.

slipstick
12-11-2005, 10:33 AM
It is the very reason I published these NiCad fire photos here. This was a NiCad fire, not a Li-Po one. I believe this to be the first time a non Li-Po fire is reported anywhere.

As can be noted by some of the posts on this thread, there are some others who have also experienced similar events with NIMH packs. It is not Li-Po technology what makes Li-Pos dangerous, it is careless human beings in handling them who make them so.

This is far from the first time a fire involving a non-lipo battery has been reported. It's just the first time one has been reported RECENTLY. The main reason for that is very simple, the chargers and handling methods for Ni-based batteries are long established and well known. Lipos are newer and the techniques for using them safely are less well known, hence there is a far greater incidence of problems at the moment.

Oh and as a matter of simple fact NiCd/NiMH batteries do not themselves catch fire. They can and sometimes do get very hot and set fire to anything inflammable in close proximity which is what your photos show. Lipos are themselves flammable so will actually produce their own flames, very violently at times.

But your basic point is very true. Any device which holds a lot of energy is potentially dangerous. Correctly handling is needed to keep them safe. I'm old enough to remember people charging 6 and 7-cell NiCds by connecting them directly to a 12V car battery and terminating the charge when they got hot. That was pretty dangerous too but we all know enough about NiCd charging not to do it any more.

Lipos will soon get to that point but at the moment handling them correctly relies on being willing and able to read the instructions and/or listen to what sensible people are telling you. There are a lot of people in the world who are not good at doing either of those and they will continue to be in danger ;).

Steve

sobamaflyer
12-11-2005, 01:22 PM
Funny this post shows up, I was charging my NiMh pack last night and it started sizzling. I immediately unplugged it and took it outside to settle down on the concrete, haven't fully examined it yet to find out why but I guess I'll check the connector first.

qban_flyer
12-11-2005, 03:34 PM
This is far from the first time a fire involving a non-lipo battery has been reported. It's just the first time one has been reported RECENTLY. The main reason for that is very simple, the chargers and handling methods for Ni-based batteries are long established and well known. Lipos are newer and the techniques for using them safely are less well known, hence there is a far greater incidence of problems at the moment.

Oh and as a matter of simple fact NiCd/NiMH batteries do not themselves catch fire. They can and sometimes do get very hot and set fire to anything inflammable in close proximity which is what your photos show. Lipos are themselves flammable so will actually produce their own flames, very violently at times.

But your basic point is very true. Any device which holds a lot of energy is potentially dangerous. Correctly handling is needed to keep them safe. I'm old enough to remember people charging 6 and 7-cell NiCds by connecting them directly to a 12V car battery and terminating the charge when they got hot. That was pretty dangerous too but we all know enough about NiCd charging not to do it any more.

Lipos will soon get to that point but at the moment handling them correctly relies on being willing and able to read the instructions and/or listen to what sensible people are telling you. There are a lot of people in the world who are not good at doing either of those and they will continue to be in danger ;).

Steve

Steve,

These photos were taken at the dissection table, not where the field fire occurred after the plane impacted the grassy area.

I thought I should point that fact out. :)

cyclops2
12-11-2005, 07:00 PM
I think the battery Mfg. are getting enough failures with LIPO that they will not be bringing out higher densities of batteries till things quiet down.
Or the tv lawyers will be asking to take our problems as cases.

TeslaWinger
12-12-2005, 10:53 PM
My gosh!

I remember the days when we used to carry the batteries for the TX strapped to our waist lines during endurance flights! :eek: :eek: :eek:

Had to do the same with the battery of my camera's Honeywell professional strobe flash unit. :p :p :p

Q, Wouldn't want a "flashfire", now wouldya? :D

I often use a battery belt when I take our pro Betacam SP cam out in the field! Imagine what a conflagration THAT would be- on the order of 6 x 4 Ah batteries- it would be a personal Dresden!! Granted, they are lightly loaded and gently used- not subject to hard landings and max loads like our stressed out flight packs. Wear and tear is certainly a factor in many of these failures- but the nature of mass manufacturing adds a bit of random violence to the equation....

qban_flyer
12-13-2005, 02:10 AM
Q, Wouldn't want a "flashfire", now wouldya? :D

I often use a battery belt when I take our pro Betacam SP cam out in the field! Imagine what a conflagration THAT would be- on the order of 6 x 4 Ah batteries- it would be a personal Dresden!! Granted, they are lightly loaded and gently used- not subject to hard landings and max loads like our stressed out flight packs. Wear and tear is certainly a factor in many of these failures- but the nature of mass manufacturing adds a bit of random violence to the equation....

As they say in the vernacular: S--T happens!!! :eek:

kuzikood
12-15-2005, 10:27 PM
its funny that 12v car battery thing reminded me of the first battery charger i ever got ....it was back in the early 80s it was made from speaker wire the black 14awg stuff that usaully comes with car 6x9 speakers...with a male tamiya on one end and a pair of aligator clips on the other...lol its a miricle we still have a hobby huh...i wish i could remember what it came with but man it was a loooooooonggggggg time ago ..........

-kuzi-

qban_flyer
12-15-2005, 11:10 PM
its funny that 12v car battery thing reminded me of the first battery charger i ever got ....it was back in the early 80s it was made from speaker wire the black 14awg stuff that usaully comes with car 6x9 speakers...with a male tamiya on one end and a pair of aligator clips on the other...lol its a miricle we still have a hobby huh...i wish i could remember what it came with but man it was a loooooooonggggggg time ago ..........

-kuzi-

YUP!

I was present back in the '70s when a garage grease monkey was trying to jump start a car with the battery cables reversed. What spectacular sonics and visual effects it produced. What a mess it created.

Was it the battery's fault or the grease monkey's that the lead acid device exploded? You decide! :D

kuzikood
12-16-2005, 12:01 AM
you know i think it might have came with an rc car.....oh yea it did i think it came with my brothers mrc "superchamp" if im not mistaken

-kuzi-