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another lipo fire

Old 12-04-2005, 03:41 PM
  #1  
frugalflyer
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Default another lipo fire

I offer the message as I recieved it. The names have been removed to protect the inocent.

message to D from M
We had a good time flying a couple of more times . Then it got really
intersting when J's lipo pack he had in the red and white cub exploded in
to flames in the engine bay of his truck, I was flying, M was standing
with me, J was flying the Slow stick and D heard a pop i didn't ,
then he yelled FIRE i looked back and the whole front of J's truck was
blazeing. the flames were as high as the hood with the hood open-WOW J
threw down his transmitter and ran to the truck he slapped the buring plane and charger off the truck on to the ground .i landed ( after finding my plane again) and we had to get the fire ext. out of the box in the shed box to put out the fire on the ground . there was only slight damage to the truck But if D had not have been there i am concvince the truck would
have burned as me and J were both flying and no one would have looked
--the only thing left of the plane was about 11/2" of each wing tip the rest was a burnt pile--frankly i could have done with out the excitement--lipo=
danger tic tic tic ==i think i'll stay with the nicad or nimh--M
PS we found the slow stick down in the field minus the landing gear----

- Did M tell you what happened yesterday after you and K
left? While you yall were leaving, M began flying and I was his
spotter. You and K could not have been out of sight but for a couple of
minutes when I heard a pop at J's truck. I turned around to look and
saw a fire towering over the hood of his truck. He had the hood open with airplanes under his hood charging LI-Po's. One of them exploded. I shouted at J and he ditched his Slow Stick and knocked the plane out from under his hood. No one got hurt and it appeared as though there was no damage to his truck. This a great reason to get away from those Li-Po's when charging. J said he usually put his planes in his back seat and charged them on the way home. If the battery had exploded while he was driving, from the size of the fire ball I saw, I do not think his chances would have been very good. This is the reason they say not to charge them in your house as well. You many want to pass this along to other members in the club for their safety
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Old 12-05-2005, 10:57 AM
  #2  
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I wish I could find the picture of the TV stand that another fellow uses.

He has the stand on the ground in front of the vehical and all charging is done on it. It was one of the nice looking wood ones that Walmart and Ekards sells. Seems one of the older metal ones would be better. Anything to get the setup out of the vehical would serve us all well and adding length to the charger wires can't be a problem.

Food for thought. We need to protect ourselves from us.

By George
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Old 12-05-2005, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by frugalflyer View Post
I offer the message as I recieved it. The names have been removed to protect the inocent.

message to D from M
We had a good time flying a couple of more times . Then it got really
intersting when J's lipo pack he had in the red and white cub exploded in
to flames in the engine bay of his truck, I was flying, M was standing
with me, J was flying the Slow stick and D heard a pop i didn't ,
then he yelled FIRE i looked back and the whole front of J's truck was
blazeing. the flames were as high as the hood with the hood open-WOW J
threw down his transmitter and ran to the truck he slapped the buring plane and charger off the truck on to the ground .i landed ( after finding my plane again) and we had to get the fire ext. out of the box in the shed box to put out the fire on the ground . there was only slight damage to the truck But if D had not have been there i am concvince the truck would
have burned as me and J were both flying and no one would have looked
--the only thing left of the plane was about 11/2" of each wing tip the rest was a burnt pile--frankly i could have done with out the excitement--lipo=
danger tic tic tic ==i think i'll stay with the nicad or nimh--M
To begin with I see three common safety rules were ignored here.
First one: You don't charge any battery pack until it has had a time to cool and settle down, much less a Li-Po.
Second one: You don't charge them inside a model as it will prevent heat dissipation. It is written in the instructions we get with them in the package.
Third one: You don't charge them near flammable fluids, much less under the hood of a car.
PS we found the slow stick down in the field minus the landing gear----

- Did M tell you what happened yesterday after you and K
left? While you yall were leaving, M began flying and I was his
spotter. You and K could not have been out of sight but for a couple of
minutes when I heard a pop at J's truck. I turned around to look and
saw a fire towering over the hood of his truck. He had the hood open with airplanes under his hood charging LI-Po's. One of them exploded.
Airplanes being charged under the hood? How many were being charged? I wonder if the "exploding pack" had the incorrect settings for it on the charger?
Why is it so difficult for people to heed the warnings posted by manufacturers and included in their product's packages? Especially Li-Po packs?
We are told not to point a loaded gun at any living thing. If we do so and it accidentally discharges, is it the gun's fault or the one who failed to heed the warning?
I shouted at J and he ditched his Slow Stick and knocked the plane out from under his hood. No one got hurt and it appeared as though there was no damage to his truck. This a great reason to get away from those Li-Po's when charging. J said he usually put his planes in his back seat and charged them on the way home
Really? The very first words of advice we read on the instruction sheets that come with Li-Po packs is "DO NOT LEAVE A LI-PO PACK UNATTENDED WHILE IT IS BEING CHARGED". Charging them while driving a vehicle? This is smart, really smart.
If the battery had exploded while he was driving, from the size of the fire ball I saw, I do not think his chances would have been very good. This is the reason they say not to charge them in your house as well. You many want to pass this along to other members in the club for their safety
#1 He would have probably crashed onto oncoming traffic and the Li-Pos would have surely been blamed for the whole ensuing conflagration!
#2 That's right! Heed the manufacturer's advice and incidents like this one "may" never happen.
#3 Every one should heed the warnings. While it may not prevent a mishap from happening it will surely minimize the chances of it ever coming to pass.

Thanks for posting about this incident here. Perhaps it will rattle the minds of some of the ones I see doing the same thing at several electric flight fields where I fly at! Li-Pos are not the ones causing the problems, their careless users are. Nothing in life is 100% safe to begin with. Add the human factor in, and you can rest assured that most things in life will never be safe.

Too bad this particular user had to find out the hard way. Losing a model, radio and charger is always a painful experience, though it could have been worse. I hope everyone reading this thread will treat Li-Po packs with the care and respect they deserve. While so doing will not eliminate a possible accident, it will make their usage more enjoyable and safer.

Last edited by qban_flyer; 12-05-2005 at 02:21 PM. Reason: Correction
 
Old 12-05-2005, 04:58 PM
  #4  
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Unfortunately, the longer the list of do not's in the warnings , the less it gets read.



(Did you read the warnings for the AeroAce? I didn't)
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Old 12-05-2005, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by hoppy View Post
Unfortunately, the longer the list of do not's in the warnings , the less it gets read.
That appears to have been in this instance, doesn't it? Blaming the Li-Pos is easier.
(Did you read the warnings for the AeroAce? I didn't)
From beginning to end last night! I wanted to make sure I was going by the book before taking it to the park this morning, too bad it was only one page and I had to use a magnifying glass to read it.

I remained with it while its Li-Po pack was being charged for the first time.
 
Old 12-14-2005, 03:12 AM
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who was blaming anything?
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Old 12-14-2005, 03:36 AM
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Why would one charge on the way home??
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Old 12-14-2005, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Brodjack View Post
Why would one charge on the way home??
Beats me!
 
Old 12-14-2005, 07:09 PM
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...and don't smoke in bed!

A good read...all of it...

--C
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Old 12-14-2005, 07:58 PM
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Don't drink and drive, don't drink and fly! :p :p :p
 
Old 12-14-2005, 08:08 PM
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Qban...I like the way you think!

I had one go up on the charger for no reason at all...pretty new pack, too...charging at .25 C...smelled the 'radiator fluid smell' and by the time I made it out to the porch the meter was reading 13.8V on a 3s and no sooner did I unplug the deans....smoke and then fire.

These things seems to friendly till one goes up...and then you are never the same again. I bought a 'bunker' and never a bad incident since.


--C
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Old 12-14-2005, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Chuckd View Post
Qban...I like the way you think!

I had one go up on the charger for no reason at all...pretty new pack, too...charging at .25 C...smelled the 'radiator fluid smell' and by the time I made it out to the porch the meter was reading 13.8V on a 3s and no sooner did I unplug the deans....smoke and then fire.

These things seems to friendly till one goes up...and then you are never the same again. I bought a 'bunker' and never a bad incident since.


--C
I bet that was a scary incident, especially that "leaky radiator" antifreeze smell! Bad news! :o

Good thing you were around to prevent a conflagration from erupting. I never leave mine alone while they are charging.
 
Old 12-15-2005, 09:24 PM
  #13  
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Chuck- How did the voltage get so high? Charger misset or malfunction? Any glitches with that charger since- or just a bum pack? I've read of your highspeed flight projects- had that pack been pushed hard?

My AstroFlight Lipo charger stops a 3s at 12.6v I believe, altho I realize it is pushed to that level by a higher voltage. I would like to learn something from all these scary stories - besides the fact that they CAN be overcharged and overdischarged with dangerous results- and that fire is BAD.

The truck charging fire story is graphic but no real details- # of cells, rate, capacity, settings. No forensics at all- other than IT HAPPENED and was awful.

All my 1500ma packs and larger have Deans Ultras on them and my Nicad/NIMH charger could easily be connected- except I have the presence of mind NOT to do that! I seldom fly anything other than lipos now except for a few larger e sailplanes that exceed Lipo current range- and where these giant HiC Lipos just won't FIT in them!

My first lipo charger was manually jumper set for # of cells and A rate. Get one- or both wrong and goodbye pack. Fortunately the 2 failures I had merely plumped up and opened internally and that was that. I only use that charger for my single cell micro stuff now- no more switching it between 2 and 3 cell planes and hoping I remember what is in which plane.

An upgrade to an AstroFlight Lipo charger has resulted in zero failures since then- and the wariness that I got real lucky when I was new to all this and got silver sausages instead of a ruined house! A Wattmeter has helped kept them alive too since I now test every setup before flying which helps max out the prop and keep the batteries within their safe discharge range.

Looking forward to more safety devices for chrg/disc and better chemistry/design. Learning from others will always be the cheapest education you can get- but only if their tale has some USEABLE INFORMATION other than IT HAPPENED!

Worst of all are the incidents where it was NOT charging and just went POOF! That made me stop leaving the batteries in the planes, as you won't find better kindling than a balsa airplane. I have a scar on my palm from a shorted nicad if you need proof that ANYTHING with so much energy is not completely safe. Sure beats winding rubberbands!

Last edited by TeslaWinger; 12-15-2005 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 12-15-2005, 09:46 PM
  #14  
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Tesla,

I was a little too busy throwing the lipo into the yard to look for a sudden short or to check the voltage on each cell. It was a 'thunder-puff' Gen 2 cell 2100mAh 3s...have not used any of them since...sold them all off.

The charger was a reputable Vision PEAK Ultra from Horizon which normally charged to 12.3....it all happened quickly. The cutoff on that charger is a slow one, as I found from research....had it sent and checked...came back with a BIG A-O-K-! Horizon has great support.

The lipo was too charred to ascertain....but I am guessing from the looks of it, the explosion was caused by a lot of heat and fire.

GET A BUNKER OF SOME KIND... and charge in there...I will charge on a table top once in a while if I am in the room or at the field and the bunker is in use on another one of my 109's....but rarely now do I leave them to the open air in a charge.

A buddy of mine uses TUPPERWARE as his bunker....I tried to explain that 700+ degrees will melt plastic...but he just would not listen...I gave him the card to my insuance agent.

--C
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Old 12-15-2005, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Chuckd View Post

GET A BUNKER OF SOME KIND... and charge in there...I will charge on a table top once in a while if I am in the room or at the field and the bunker is in use on another one of my 109's....but rarely now do I leave them to the open air in a charge.

A buddy of mine uses TUPPERWARE as his bunker....I tried to explain that 700+ degrees will melt plastic...but he just would not listen...I gave him the card to my insuance agent.

--C
For those not having access to a charging bunker, an old Crock Pot (can be had for a couple of bucks at yard sales) would do a nice job of containing a fire, though not able to do much in case of an explosion.
 
Old 12-15-2005, 11:14 PM
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If it stores cells and can withstand heat and pressure...I call it a bunker...the guy who makes those 'battery bunkers' just was smart enough to use the catchy name...another 'coulda woulda shoulda' for me.

Mine is a 1 1/2 inch thick vase from Pier 1 that had 1/16th metal strapping on the outside of the crockery...scratched and on discount for 11.99!

Again...don't use Tupperware like my boy here in VA...though he also solders with a hot coat hanger!

--C
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Old 12-15-2005, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Chuckd View Post
If it stores cells and can withstand heat and pressure...I call it a bunker...the guy who makes those 'battery bunkers' just was smart enough to use the catchy name...another 'coulda woulda shoulda' for me.

Mine is a 1 1/2 inch thick vase from Pier 1 that had 1/16th metal strapping on the outside of the crockery...scratched and on discount for 11.99!

Again...don't use Tupperware like my boy here in VA...though he also solders with a hot coat hanger!

--C
Mine are from Suzy Goose Ceramics in Rockville, MD. Roy Smith makes them to order, are reasonably priced and will customize them for you at no extra charge. Under $20

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Old 12-15-2005, 11:34 PM
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If it is sealed it may burst it must be vented.

A COAT HANGER???
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Old 12-15-2005, 11:34 PM
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I read about a guy who charges on top of a sand bag with another plastic sand bag above it. I dont know if it was laying on the actual battery itself or suspended above some how. His theory (and I liked it) was that if the battery does go ballistic it will melt the plastic sand bags and "should" get extinguished when the bag above melts and dumps on top of it.

Me, I still have my NiMh's for my planes.... If my wife ever had the remote idea about what a LiPo could do they wouldnt be within 100yds of my house! Only LiPo I have is in the Aero Ace!
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Old 12-16-2005, 12:02 PM
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The Tupperware 'bunker' sounds like a hot idea- why not just use a BALSA BOX with a nice shellac finish?!

Perhaps 'ballistic lipos' could be a new propulsion source... "Flaps. Check. Elevator trim. Check. Connect the Lipos to the Nicad charger... V1, V2, Rotate." :O

Chuck, I understand not standing in the smoke and fire to do an investigation while it rages- It's OUTTA HERE- is job #1 NOWWW!

My own TP experience was 2 dead packs for no apparent reason and one that did fine with no more load than a very few flights on a Speed 300 and a Speed 400. Practicaly new and properly charged and limited, never pushed or abused. Compared to the many Kokams I used so successfully for yrs I was not amused. I was attracted to the small size- but no more.

I'd bet the farm the underhood incident was due to the wrong type charger accidentally connected to it with several planes of mixed breed being charged and the distractions at the field.

Would a 'Lipo only" style connector be useful for the coathangar crowd to keep them off the conventional chargers?

HAL was right- we are too fallible- No wonder he won't open the pod bay doors!

PS: Last time I checked, a smoke detector was $5! Directly above the pack would be a good place for it, as part of your first line of defense- but that Rube Goldberg sandbag gizmo is intriguing! Pack burns string, mouse runs for his life, trips a wire that rolls the egg down the...
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Old 12-16-2005, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by TeslaWinger View Post

I'd bet the farm the underhood incident was due to the wrong type charger accidentally connected to it with several planes of mixed breed being charged and the distractions at the field.
My thoughts exactly. :p

Why would anyone in his/her sane mind charge several Li-Po equipped planes at the same time, and then do so under the hood of a car where gasoline is in such close proximity?

It's hard enough to keep track of one battery under charge, why complicate matters by adding a couple more, especially when dealing with Li-Po packs and when the batteries are still inside the model?
 
Old 12-16-2005, 02:46 PM
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I don't know what it is... but I am becoming entertained by this thread:

The balsa box with shellac had me about spitting my coffee out...the wife yelled "What?" I replied "Nothing...you wouldn't get it, its about airplane batteries"....

Then I hit the mouse on a string line and it was over....I am still laughing as I write.

We need to start a fun-thread with the 'Full-Proof-Lipo-Charging-Biosphere"....Complete with two Mongolian Axe-Weilding gaurds at the entrance...

--C
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Old 12-16-2005, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Chuckd View Post
I don't know what it is... but I am becoming entertained by this thread:

The balsa box with shellac had me about spitting my coffee out...the wife yelled "What?" I replied "Nothing...you wouldn't get it, its about airplane batteries"....

Then I hit the mouse on a string line and it was over....I am still laughing as I write.

We need to start a fun-thread with the 'Full-Proof-Lipo-Charging-Biosphere"....Complete with two Mongolian Axe-Weilding gaurds at the entrance...

--C
Wouldn't "mongoloid axe wielding morons" :p be more appropriate in the case of those who refuse to read and or heed the manufacturer's warnings regarding the care and handling of Li-Pos?
 
Old 12-16-2005, 04:03 PM
  #24  
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the bottom line here would be, what lead to the fire?? was this the batteries fault or another case of human error??
 
Old 12-16-2005, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by qban_flyer View Post
To begin with I see three common safety rules were ignored here.
First one: You don't charge any battery pack until it has had a time to cool and settle down, much less a Li-Po.
Second one: You don't charge them inside a model as it will prevent heat dissipation. It is written in the instructions we get with them in the package.
Third one: You don't charge them near flammable fluids, much less under the hood of a car.
Airplanes being charged under the hood? How many were being charged? I wonder if the "exploding pack" had the incorrect settings for it on the charger?
Why is it so difficult for people to heed the warnings posted by manufacturers and included in their product's packages? Especially Li-Po packs?
We are told not to point a loaded gun at any living thing. If we do so and it accidentally discharges, is it the gun's fault or the one who failed to heed the warning? Really? The very first words of advice we read on the instruction sheets that come with Li-Po packs is "DO NOT LEAVE A LI-PO PACK UNATTENDED WHILE IT IS BEING CHARGED". Charging them while driving a vehicle? This is smart, really smart. #1 He would have probably crashed onto oncoming traffic and the Li-Pos would have surely been blamed for the whole ensuing conflagration!
#2 That's right! Heed the manufacturer's advice and incidents like this one "may" never happen.
#3 Every one should heed the warnings. While it may not prevent a mishap from happening it will surely minimize the chances of it ever coming to pass.

Thanks for posting about this incident here. Perhaps it will rattle the minds of some of the ones I see doing the same thing at several electric flight fields where I fly at! Li-Pos are not the ones causing the problems, their careless users are. Nothing in life is 100% safe to begin with. Add the human factor in, and you can rest assured that most things in life will never be safe.

Too bad this particular user had to find out the hard way. Losing a model, radio and charger is always a painful experience, though it could have been worse. I hope everyone reading this thread will treat Li-Po packs with the care and respect they deserve. While so doing will not eliminate a possible accident, it will make their usage
more enjoyable and safer.
Qban Flyer!! You're my hero, you hit the nail on the head!!!
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