Lipo goes kaboom.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Lipo goes kaboom.

    A friend had his big Batteryspace LiPo catch fire in his basement recently.
    He was charging it sitting on carpet, but luckily the smoke detector woke him up.

    I think it was similar to this one, but at least 5 years old.
    Polymer Li-Ion Battery: 14.8V 2500mAh (37Wh) with PCM

    He was using a charger from Batteryspace too.
    He didn't think it was physically damaged.

    Any thoughts? Can this happen to our Li-ion packs?

    I sent him and all the others using that battery a primer on safe charging.
    "LiPo safe bag, charge on concrete or tile floor or metal sink, never charge unattended...".
    Last edited by Ofroad'bent; 11-24-2014 at 05:01 AM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ofroad'bent View Post
    A friend had his big Batteryspace LiPo catch fire in his basement recently.
    He was charging it sitting on carpet, but luckily the smoke detector woke him up.

    I think it was similar to this one, but at least 5 years old.
    He was using a charger from Batteryspace too.
    He didn't think it was physically damaged.

    Any thoughts? Can this happen to our Li-ion packs?

    I sent him and all the others using that battery a primer on safe charging.
    "LiPo safe bag, charge on concrete or tile floor or metal sink, never charge unattended...".
    That is a scary reminder of the potential dangers of these batteries!

    Wonder if the charger failed to cut-off and the battery over charged?

    I think it can happen to any LiPo packs, especially if they've seen heavy use and perhaps not been kept balanced during charging. Also it is a good idea to examine batteries for signs of puffing up (bulging) as this is a warning the battery chemistry is starting to break down and creating gasses.

    I only charge my LiPos with a balance charger, and *usually* I'm in the same room keeping an eye on things... but this is a good reminder not to leave things unattended.

  3. #3
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    These LiPos had a hard case I think, so tough to check for bulges.
    Maybe the charger was pooched. Any idea how to check for this?

    I heard of a cheapo chinese pack blow a Li-ion cell recently too. Yikes!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ofroad'bent View Post
    These LiPos had a hard case I think, so tough to check for bulges.
    Maybe the charger was pooched. Any idea how to check for this?

    I heard of a cheapo chinese pack blow a Li-ion cell recently too. Yikes!

    Do you have links to the battery and charger used?

  5. #5
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  6. #6
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    Sounds like maybe the protection circuit board failed and allowed overcharging of one or more cells. Possibly a failure of the built-in balancing function?
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  7. #7
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    I would agree with Vancbiker's suggestion that something may have failed with the battery management circuit added to the battery.

    The battery appears to be a regular (soft shell) LiPo pack with a PCM board added and then wrapped with a heat shrink cover... this would make it very difficult to detect any bulging of the pack, unfortunately.

    Probably nothing that could have been done, except following proper battery charging precautions as you've noted.

  8. #8
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    Any idea what could have caused the failure in protection or balancing? My friend is a bit worried about charging his remaining batteries.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ofroad'bent View Post
    Any idea what could have caused the failure in protection or balancing? My friend is a bit worried about charging his remaining batteries.
    Understand this is mostly speculation without someone doing forensic analysis of the remains of the battery that caught fire.

    I would think it more likely the battery was faulty only because even if the charger failed to do its job properly, the charge management board attached to the battery should have protected the battery by cutting off the power from the charger. Realistically we just don't know enough about the 5 year old battery that failed... perhaps it got physically damaged by impact, exposed to water, etc. Even with a charge management board, they don't protect against all forms of failure.

    About that charger: Unless your friend is good with electronics and has the equipment to monitor voltage and current while test charging another battery, I'd strongly suggest just getting a replacement in the interest of safety.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ofroad'bent View Post
    Any idea what could have caused the failure in protection or balancing? My friend is a bit worried about charging his remaining batteries.
    My thought about the problem being related to the balancing portion of the circuit is that the charger is outputting 16.8V. To balance the individual cells means the protection board has to drop that to 4.2V for the balance portion of the board. A problem there might apply some voltage higher than 4.2 to a cell or cells.
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  11. #11
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    Once I charged LI-IONs charger's FETs blew up and pushed max current (35A !!!) to a single cell that was charging Wires turned orange, springs and contacts turned orange, cell survived b/c charger (Fusion Emperor L702) notified me of short-circuit. Li- cells shouldn't be charged unattended ... Murphy has his hands in.

  12. #12
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    Head over to hobbyking.com i'm using there lipo battery and charger. I'm running 2s with Thunder AC6(~$40) charger, the charger monitor the voltage of each cell. I balance charge my battery every time, the battery at hobbyking is also cheaper. if you're running Lipo, you MUST have LIPO Low Voltage cutoff alarm and set it to cut off at 3.5V (safest) .therefor you will not damage your lipo battery.

  13. #13
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    5yr old lipo...pushing its safe useable life to max. Rare to see a pack survive that long. Chances are pack was bad.

    As for charger, I learned yrs ago (was deep into rc) dont buy the cheapest charger u can. Dangerous. Reputable brand, full safeties with display, balancing etc. And when charging lipos if not going to sit there with it, USE LIPO BAG AND PUT ON CONCRETE FLOOR AWAY FROM ANYTHING THAT CAN BURN.

    Just google lipo explosions lol. Ur friend is lucky it was only smoke and fried carpet. Ppl have lost much more to failed lipos.
    Sent from my Nokia Stupid Phone using Tapatalk

  14. #14
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    I hate to burn my house down charging these. That is why I charge them at work at a spare desk with no one around.
    "By Your Command"

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by pucked up View Post
    I hate to burn my house down charging these. That is why I charge them at work at a spare desk with no one around.
    Yes, much better to burn down your place of work instead... ;-)

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigris99 View Post
    5yr old lipo...pushing its safe useable life to max. Rare to see a pack survive that long. Chances are pack was bad.

    As for charger, I learned yrs ago (was deep into rc) dont buy the cheapest charger u can. Dangerous. Reputable brand, full safeties with display, balancing etc. And when charging lipos if not going to sit there with it, USE LIPO BAG AND PUT ON CONCRETE FLOOR AWAY FROM ANYTHING THAT CAN BURN.

    Just google lipo explosions lol. Ur friend is lucky it was only smoke and fried carpet. Ppl have lost much more to failed lipos.
    Sent from my Nokia Stupid Phone using Tapatalk
    Definitely agree on using a quality balance charger. Personally I'm using a SkyRC 6X80+ which while not the most expensive, still seems to be reasonable quality. The other thing I advise is not charging the battery at too high a current... I usually set my charger at 2000mAh when charging my 5000mAh 4S1P LiPo packs. I know they can be charged at higher currents but I feel this is safer and less likely to lead to the cells heating and potentially getting into a thermal runaway condition.

  17. #17
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    Even reputable charger can go kaboom. My Fusion Emperor did that Maybe one of a million. From that moment on I don't charge batteries unattended.

  18. #18
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    HI I have batteryspace lipo battery 4 of these... Water Bottle LiFePO4 Battery: 12.8V 6.6Ah (84wh) for HID / Halogen Bike light (Trial-Tech female plug)

    They run my magicshine clone bike lights, and by gut thumping bike stereo. The original is at year 5. One time it charged really hot and then stopped working. Love 'em for the price. Going to buy two more, but right now one of the newer ones is sitting in the living room (tile floor) trickle charging. Shiver. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater

  19. #19
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    All these batteries should be charged in some type of fire proof bag or box, better safe than sorry...since it bike related ever heard Mark Weirs story?


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