Li Poly batteries - how scared should I be? - WattFlyer RC Electric Flight Forums - Discuss radio control eflight

Beginners - Helis A forum where beginners can get help on the fundamentals for experts who know their stuff!

Li Poly batteries - how scared should I be?

Old 02-14-2006, 01:05 PM
  #1  
Fly Away Ohm
Sometimes in control!
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Bridgend, South Wales, UK
Posts: 190
Default Li Poly batteries - how scared should I be?

Hi All,

I am a new flier with a HoneyBee CP2. I have read the instruction manual for the charger and the Li poly battery and it gives the impression that I would be safer with an open jar of nitro glycerine in the house! The various threads on the subject in this forum don't boost my confidence either! Have I got into a hobby that is threatening the lives of my loved ones? Should I put in a planning application for a concrete blast bunker in my back garden?

I have 2 stock Esky batteries and an Esky charger and the manual says that you should stop charging when the battery gets hot. How hot is hot? Mine take about an hour and a half 'til the green light on the charger goes off but the battery doesn't get above room temp. Is this correct? Can I leave them charging overnight, or if I do, should it be in the middle of a field?

Your comments would be appreciated, before I give up electric flying and take up something safer, like DIY Pyrotechnics!
Fly Away Ohm is offline  
Old 02-14-2006, 03:07 PM
  #2  
chris_s
New Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 14
Default

the battery shouldn't get hot if all is well. when the green light turns on, it's done charging.
I'd recommend using a multimeter to test regularly the first few times. Do NOT let you voltage go below 10.0v, just to be safe. over discharging is usually where problems arise.
I wouldn't charge overnight or unattended, though. Just to be on the safe side!
chris_s is offline  
Old 02-14-2006, 03:27 PM
  #3  
qban_flyer
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Lightbulb

Morning Fly Away Ohm,

When handled with care all Li-Pos are safe. There have some cases where they have gone up in flames and caused some structural damage. I have a tendency to believe that most of those conflagrations have been the result of improper computerized charger set up. The user should be near by (in the same room) while they are charging. I am sure this is one of the warnings included with the ones you have and also their charger.

Stick to the brand you are currently using for awhile to check their longevity and quality as there are some other brands on the market that are having longevity issues with some of their packs. The ones I am referring to happen to be rather expensive as well.

Treat your Li-Pos with care, heed the instruction and you'll be fine.
 
Old 02-16-2006, 12:57 PM
  #4  
Steve
Vermont Electric
 
Steve's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 304
Default

Batteries should not get hot when you charge them. If they do, you are running the risk of a meltdown.

If you plan to be in this hobby for some time to come, invest in a good charger with sufficient safety features..Like the Triton made by Great Planes.

Almost all...99.9% of lipo "events" are due to two things. Overcharging by setting the charger at the wrong settings (like charging a 2 cell at the 3 cell setting) or by crash damage. There have also been isolated cases of pets chewing lipos.

I keep mine in a Sentry fireproof document box in my basement..UNlocked. Batteries waiting for a charge are in a surplus ammo box in the basement with the lid a bit loose.

No reason to be afraid. You just need to pay attention and treat them with some respect and you'll be fine.

Think of the millions of lipos sent through the mail.....

Steve
Steve is offline  
Old 02-16-2006, 01:52 PM
  #5  
giflyrc
Gravity is Attractive
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: ALLIANCE, OHIO
Posts: 183
Default

fear Not, Careful Be

yoda
giflyrc is offline  
Old 02-16-2006, 02:00 PM
  #6  
fabricator
Mayday! Mayday!
 
fabricator's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: West Michigan
Posts: 370
Default

I've been using lipos since I started this wild ride last spring, I have mistreated them shamefully, and cant imagine going back to stone age batteries I have never had a single problem.
fabricator is offline  
Old 02-16-2006, 07:25 PM
  #7  
Butuz
Nismo Powered
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Cardiff, UK
Posts: 20
Default

Hello Fly Away Ohm nice to see another boyo, i live in Pontypridd not far from you!

As for Li-po's - as long as you use a good charger, and treat them right (i.e do not discharge them more than 3v per cell and do not over charge them more than 4.2v per cell) and as long as you never leave the room when charging, and never charge a lipo that has balooned up. You should be ok!

Butuz
Butuz is offline  
Old 02-16-2006, 11:27 PM
  #8  
hoppy
Watts up Doc?
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 491
Default

These things we know.
1. Good chance they will burn if over voltage charged.
2. Much less, but still possible, chance they will burn if damaged and charged normally.
3. If they burn, they are capable of setting other flammable items on fire.
4. If they burn they produce a lot of toxic smoke.

From this you can plan on how and where to charge them and how and where to store them. Assume that sooner or later one will catch on fire. Your planning should make that a moot point as you will have planned for that possibility so that if it did happen it would not matter except for the loss of a battery.

You can learn from the experiences others- http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1584
Here's what a small burning lipo looks like.
http://www.utahflyers.org/movies/Lipofires.wmv

I charge mine in a small BBQ and store in a metal box. I double check the charging voltage. Does that work? I don't know as it hasn't been tested yet and hope it never will be but I am assuming that the BBQ grill will contain the flames and prevent the spread of the fire. Unfortunately, the smoke will be there under any circumstances. Follow the "rules" and they seem to be very safe.....violate them and they might bite ya.
hoppy is offline  
Old 02-17-2006, 07:34 AM
  #9  
jakjr
Member
 
jakjr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 156
Default

I have been using lipo's for a long time, going on two years. Granted I only have a few of them, I've never had any problems out of any of them. They've been beat around pretty good too.

As long as you follow the directions and handle/use them properly you shouldn't have any problems. I bet 99% of the problems people have with them are due to user error or just plain carelessness.
jakjr is offline  
Old 04-17-2006, 09:05 PM
  #10  
rcjames1
New Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: san diego,ca
Posts: 5
Default

I believe none of us should be "scared" to use LI-Poly batteries; however , we should be careful and follow established safety procedures. Check the charger's settings before connecting battery.And dont push the charging current beyond one "C".
rcjames1 is offline  
Old 04-17-2006, 10:56 PM
  #11  
redgiki
Member
 
redgiki's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 768
Default

Originally Posted by Steve View Post
Almost all...99.9% of lipo "events" are due to two things. Overcharging by setting the charger at the wrong settings (like charging a 2 cell at the 3 cell setting) or by crash damage. There have also been isolated cases of pets chewing lipos.
I disagree, a little bit

It depends on your definition of "event". If "event" means "venting with flames", then you're pretty much on-target, except for the more rare events:
  • Punctured cell. This can happen, for instance, if someone is attempting to dispose of a ballooned cell by puncturing the whole thing to immerse in salt water, rather than just the polymer casing. I've seen the explosion photos It can also be the result of a crash or shipping damage. Punctured cells give off a VERY strong, sweet odor if they have any charge left at all. I have disposed of (too many!) ballooned cells from cheap-o LiPo packs, and am pretty familiar with the odor now.
  • Charging a very hot battery right out of the airplane. If you're pretty close to thermal runaway already, a 1C charge can push you over the edge.
  • Very out-of-balance battery packs. These don't normally vent with flames, though, the high cells just get ruined when you charge, and the low cells get ruined when you discharge, resulting in a "ballooned pack" that you must dispose of and not charge.
  • Cell shorts. These can be the result of crash damage, improper modification of the pack (adding balance tabs without knowing what you're doing, for instance), or severe pack overheating.
Bear in mind, most of these events take at least an hour to transpire, generally longer (except in cases like Lee's excellent Utah Flyers videos where he charges tiny packs at 10 amps!). If you follow the MFR instructions, charge in a safe box of some sort, and keep them under occasional observation, you're fine. The main "observer" you need is not just your eyes, it's your NOSE. You'll smell the venting VERY clearly if it happens.

I use two old crock-pots capped with large, heavy cinderblocks on a table in my garage to charge my LiPos. I'd have some smoke damage if one ignited in my garage, but I have a very low chance of any fire damage.
redgiki is offline  
Old 04-18-2006, 01:15 AM
  #12  
darkside212
Super Contributor
 
darkside212's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Milwaukee,WI
Posts: 1,286
Default

Originally Posted by jakjr View Post
I have been using lipo's for a long time, going on two years. Granted I only have a few of them, I've never had any problems out of any of them. They've been beat around pretty good too.

As long as you follow the directions and handle/use them properly you shouldn't have any problems. I bet 99% of the problems people have with them are due to user error or just plain carelessness.


I totally agree....most people need a scape goat and its easier to place blame somewhere else (something I'm working on myself....it's hard )
darkside212 is offline  
Old 06-26-2006, 03:36 PM
  #13  
ektpuah
New Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 7
Default

I've got bad bad experience with LiPo. I got the Walkera LiPo upgrade comes with charger. Guess what, the LiPo burst into flame (overcharge) destroying my Dragonfly 36!!##@@%&&
ektpuah is offline  
Old 06-26-2006, 06:46 PM
  #14  
Rugar
FAA# OUTLAW!
 
Rugar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: San Bernardino, Ca. USA
Posts: 2,621
Default

Originally Posted by ektpuah View Post
I've got bad bad experience with LiPo. I got the Walkera LiPo upgrade comes with charger. Guess what, the LiPo burst into flame (overcharge) destroying my Dragonfly 36!!##@@%&&
That sounds like a charger issue, not a Lipo issue. And thats the reason you should never charge your battery in your aircraft.
Rugar is offline  
Old 07-10-2007, 09:07 AM
  #15  
superchuckles
New Member
 
superchuckles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 4
Default

esky honeybee cp 2 -- & the lithium-poly battery (1000 mah 11.1volt) that came with it, correct wall charger (which has no user settings) according to the book that came with mine. it had no real warning (only a "note" ) of this battery problem..... i got my helicopter & like many i'm sure, i put batteries in the transmitter, plugged in the battery on the heli & played around with it for a few minutes. knocking out the initial blade adjustments & whatnot, got everything where it seemed pretty well balanced, & would get sufficient lift for takeoff & everything - when the battery started to die.... no problem, plugged in the charger & started charging away.... after about 5 minutes (yeah, i was impatient) i played with it for a couple more minutes & everything seemed ok, so i plugged it back in to charge. did a few other things for about another 5 minutes, came back to check on it before leaving & everything was fine. took off & about 45 minutes/1 hour later, came home to discover the thing had caught my house on fire. this was back on june 30, but you know, with no electricity & no internet connection, kinda hard to post such problems.... now with working computer & temp power & repairs on my internet connection, i'm here to say --- don't trust this thing for a second. it isn't as reliable or trustworthy as a $20 helicopter when it comes to the charger/battery in as much as the safety issue goes. i have been an electronic repair tech for over 20 years now, & i've never EVER had any kind of battery recharger do this. i should specify it is my belief there is nothing really wrong with the charger itself, except that it gets the battery too hot (to the point of catching fire). even if it is/was the battery having a defect, there should be simple safeguards built into the charger to prevent such an a thing from happening, which clearly haven't been done with this unit. & just so everyone knows, yes, it has been determined by several investigators that the helicopter itself was indeed the cause of the fire. upon seeing the scene (such as it was) the cause was quite obvious. i only post this to warn people, not to discourage them from getting one of these - as i do plan to get another one, once repairs are completed upon the house. i wont get into the fact that it endangered the lives of other people who were at home, & killed my 12 year old chinchilla - needless to say that if it hadn't been for a rubber hose melting & bursting, blowing water on the fire, the entire house would have been destroyed - as it was, it only destroyed everything in the room & killed my pet (yeah, that's all). the thing is, it seems to me that it shouldn't be that difficult to place a thermal switch in the battery pack, or just design the charger to charge at a lower milliamp rate so that it doesn't get so hot. nearly all battery packs for cordless drills (on newer models anyhow) come with a thermal sensor of some type to keep the battery from charging when it's too hot.... likewise, most brands of laptop batteries also come with a thermal sensor of one type or another for the same reasons. i realize this would be a cost addition to the product (of maybe when all is said and done, cost to them perhaps fifty cents & that would be giving them probably about forty cents more than it would really cost), but when all is said & done, they would be bulletproof like any/every other charger on the planet. i realize there are ways to make sure (i mean, come on........ it's 2007, you shouldn't have to charge the thing in a fireproof box, that is absurd) it wont catch the house on fire, but my point is that it should never even come into question -- if this company had been based in the us, there's no doubt in my mind that if they were doing this, they would be shut down if they didn't re-engineer the things where they could be totally "hands off" free the way anything else is (and should be after all, come on..... if it were an "experimental" setup, i MIGHT be able to see it, but really, this is like putting a spark plug wire thru a gas tank & saying it shouldn't be left unattended).

Last edited by superchuckles; 07-10-2007 at 09:25 AM.
superchuckles is offline  
Old 07-10-2007, 12:33 PM
  #16  
Steve
Vermont Electric
 
Steve's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 304
Default

I agree....a charger problem for sure.

Of course a lot of your collective comments assume some knowledge of RC flight and some familiarity with lipos...at least an awareness anyway. But that's not the case with a lot of people buying these small helis or toy RC planes. They don't have a clue. I'm afraid that with the incredible influx of RC "toys" coming from China, we're going to see a lot more of these incidents.

You might consider an article in your local paper. Knowledge is power...eh?

Sorry to hear about your house and pet.
Steve is offline  
Old 07-10-2007, 08:51 PM
  #17  
superchuckles
New Member
 
superchuckles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 4
Default

thanks. yeah - that's a very good idea - i will do that (or at least give it a shot anyhow). you're right about the assumptions, i do have a background in electronics, which is why when i did look over everything, i figured "smart charger - turns off when finished..... will naturally have built in protection for overcharging, etc" -- i mean, why not? this day & age it's actually more cost effective to build a product that is safe, than to build one that isn't & hope your product doesn't get a bad rap & end up making you go bankrupt. as soon as people realize they either have to put the thing in a fireplace or just can't do anything but watch it while it's charging, they're going to say "to hell with this" & find another solution (or a company that sells a battery & charger that is safe rather than from them, & the same result will happen. either way, people shouldn't assume because their battery is "new" or because they didn't crash theirs (as some of the posters previously said here) that they are "safe", because clearly, they are far from it until the manufacturers start adding safeguards to them the way nearly all name brand manufacturers do for their cordless tools, phones, etc.
superchuckles is offline  
Old 07-12-2007, 04:20 PM
  #18  
Time
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 45
Default

I know this thread is old, but since it has been revived, just want to say never had any trouble with these batteries. Much 'adoo' about nothing. Chuckles is the only one who seems to have had a problem, and what, there are millions of these batteries out there? One situation where one might have a problem is with a defective charger/battery, and a defective product can happen in any circumstance and any product. The other situation is to attempt to charge an obviously damaged (swollen) battery, which is just dumb.

Chuck, sorry for your problem, but your situation simply falls into one of the two mentioned situations.

I had a lead-acid battery (automobile battery) smoke and crack several years ago. Boogyman, whooooo, , all auto batteries are dangerous, don't park your car in the garage, it will explode.
Time is offline  
Old 07-13-2007, 04:19 AM
  #19  
superchuckles
New Member
 
superchuckles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 4
Default

time -- i'm going to do like it says & refrain from calling you by the name you are by just saying that, once you do a search, you'll see that indeed, these batteries are much more dangerous than others. but before i do, nobody but YOU has said, "ooh boogyman" or anything like that (i really think i should be able to call him that name, since it applies here obviously). i don't recall any lead acid batteries needing a "fireproof vault" for recharging - i don't recall any ni-cd or ni-mehyd batteries having a market for a product like the "lipo sack". these things wouldn't be made (nor there be a market for them) if there was only myself having had this problem. a quick search of the internet for li-po & fire will find you several places citing other people who have indeed had the same thing happen to them. i believe there are a great number more of these incidents than what you see on the net, but many people don't want to say anything because they believe it's somehow their fault, when in fact, it is people & attitudes like yours that lul them into a false sense of security believing that they are in fact safe, no need to worry about these (which is what happened to me). the point i'm making is two fold - first, manufacturers should be pushed into making these safer (it's been this way since the beginning of time, a new product comes out.... then when enough incidents have happened, manufacturers will finally come around to making them safer..... look at cars for example mr don't park in your garage) - second, until such safeguards are added to them, DON'T believe anyone like TIME who will have you believe you could in fact charge them on top of your newborn baby. these things have the potential, even without being damaged, or hooked up to a bad charger, etc - to catch fire EVERY time they're charged, & if you don't want to believe that, then live in denial & hope you can be lucky & beat out the odds. people drink & drive & don't get caught every day.... they'll do it & not get in an accident for years.... is it safe? hardly. this is an emerging product (electric heli's are growing in popularity in a large part because of lipo's), hopefully they'll add more safeguards, but if they don't, you will see more of this. btw, the charger that came with the honeybee cp2 is not the balanced type, & it uses an 11.1v li-poly battery, so - without using a defective charger, & using the one that came from the manufacturer on a new undamaged battery, the potential still exists (very much so) for the battery to catch fire every time it's charged, since being an 11.1v it is a 3 cell. (for you time, that means it can't be balanced seeing as the charger only has the pos & gnd wires.... can't be balanced when cells are wired in series unless you have a charger with 4 wires for a 3 cell). next time, do a google search before you think you know it all, maybe you'll learn something..... or is that, oooh, too spooky for you?
superchuckles is offline  
Old 07-13-2007, 05:03 AM
  #20  
Biplane Murphy
2 Wings, Twice The Fun
 
Biplane Murphy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Southern California High Desert
Posts: 4,534
Default

I'll chime in..A local guy i know has had 2 catch fire.
one while he was watching it. He saw it get puffy and unplugged it. walked outside. As he wwent through the door it got really hot and erupted into FIRE!!! No damage to his house..he was lucky.
#2 happened in his Isuzu Trooper. Charging a li-po in back while dog was in vehicle. Batt caught on fire and almost killed dog and almost burned car down!! He was flying a plane at the time. Luckily a friend saw and saved the dog. (and car)

I charge outside while nearby. always ina safe place (like driveway) where no other flammable stuff is nearby to burn!!!!

Murph...........

Superchuckles, sorry to hear about your loss..........
Biplane Murphy is offline  
Old 07-13-2007, 01:37 PM
  #21  
Time
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 45
Default

Originally Posted by superchuckles View Post
time -- .

1. i don't recall any lead acid batteries needing a "fireproof vault" for recharging -

2. a quick search of the internet for li-po & fire will find you several places citing other people who have indeed had the same thing happen to them. i believe there are a great number more of these incidents than what you see on the net,


3. , manufacturers should be pushed into making these safer (it's been this way since the beginning of time, a new product comes out....


4. next time, do a google search before you think you know it all, maybe you'll learn something..... or is that, oooh, too spooky for you?

S
1. Where does it say lipos need to be charged in a "fireproof vault".

2. Sure, you BELIEVE, but where is the proof that there is a great number of people?

3. Have the government legislate another law to protect people like you from themselves? Yes, right, don't we have enough of 'bifg brother' already? Read the manufactures instructions and be responsible for yourself.

4. Search what? . You already stated that there is not much info out there because people don't want to report it.

Perhaps rather than writing long, drawn out nonsense, that most people's eyes will glaze over from boredom before they get to the end of the rant, you should take up another hobby. I understand basket weaving does not require the use of LiPo batteries.

If YOU can't read manufacture instructions, and are too scared to use these batteries, simply don't use them. Flaying your arms around and crying "The sky is falling" serves no purpose except to unnecessarily scare the masses, and that is a more dangerous concept than Lipos will ever be.
Time is offline  
Old 07-13-2007, 05:56 PM
  #22  
dotyj
Member
 
dotyj's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 393
Default

I'm guessing that I'll stick to a good balance charger.

My Blade CX2 came with a cheap balance charger and I felt pretty safe charging the battery on a small marble platform, but I may have to re-think that now.

I'm considering finding an ammo can, modifying the ammo can so I can get a charge cord through it, and putting it on a small concrete block to protect the surface of my work bench, and doing the charging outside or in my shed.

If by some small chance I do have a battery swell, and I don't see it happening, I would much rather smoke up my shed instead of my house.

Actually, I just had a great thought.

It appears that most Lipos swell when they're in trouble. It would be extremely trivial to build a Lipo strap switch that could go inline with the charging cable.

Come to think of it. Isn't there a heat sensor on the market for use with charging batteries, which can be used to shut off power from the charger?
dotyj is offline  
Old 07-13-2007, 05:58 PM
  #23  
dotyj
Member
 
dotyj's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 393
Default

Originally Posted by Time View Post
I

I had a lead-acid battery (automobile battery) smoke and crack several years ago. Boogyman, whooooo, , all auto batteries are dangerous, don't park your car in the garage, it will explode.
Actually, that happened to my neighbor a few years ago and his garage, car, everything in his garage, and part of his house were totally destroyed.
dotyj is offline  
Old 07-13-2007, 06:24 PM
  #24  
Time
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 45
Default

Originally Posted by dotyj View Post
Actually, that happened to my neighbor a few years ago and his garage, car, everything in his garage, and part of his house were totally destroyed.
Awwww, I wish you had not posted that. Now superchuckles has something else to pontificate about.
Time is offline  
Old 07-13-2007, 07:06 PM
  #25  
dotyj
Member
 
dotyj's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 393
Default

Originally Posted by Time View Post
Awwww, I wish you had not posted that. Now superchuckles has something else to pontificate about.
Sorry I wasn't thinking clearly.

I hate to admit it, but reading your post I just started laughing uncontrollably! I've got tears in my eyes and my co-worker is staring at me.
dotyj is offline  

Quick Reply: Li Poly batteries - how scared should I be?


Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.

Page generated in 0.09258 seconds with 9 queries