LiPo disaster

Since everybody seems to be sharing LiPo stories. I have one from March 17th when a 2200 Mah 3s burned my entire garage. Check this out!3689543415?profile=original

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  • Subsequent to my last post, I had and "incident" where I put my Skywalker into "circle", without GPS lock.

    Crumpled two 3S4000mAh packs.

    Some cells were ok, although bent.

    I charged them up, then shot them with a air rifle.

    As expected, a violent reaction, lots of hissing, smoke, no flames though.

    They did get very hot. I had a garden hose running next to them, and the moment I poured cold water onto the hot cells, the reaction stopped/slowed down.

    There isn't enough lithium in them, or of the correct format, to do the science class trick of "burning lithium on water"

    Still, DO charge them on a fire proof surface...........

  • please accept my understaning of your loss.  Last march I lost allmy worldly possession s, including my first hex and all that go's with it.  My fire was started by a cigarette but on the back porch. It took 3 hours in the middle of the night to start a fire that nearly killed me and my wife.  Not a lipo fire.  My point is that house fires start on sunny regular days and we all can never fully live without this threat.   Every day and everything we do should alwase have a moment of fire threat analysis.  When I did need to charge lipo batteries I was normally sitting at the bench working.  But I cant say I had no bathroom breaks.  The owner of this garage needs no teaching from any of us.  Its just a little tragedy.  Homeowners insurance paid for my hex, once I explained what it was.  

  • Well, if I had nothing but water, I would chuck it onto an electrical fire.

    Most modern homes have some form of earth leakage protection anyway, so the water should trip the supply :-)

  • What about one of these for the field?  It's not much, but it might save a model.


  • Hi David, I'd like to point out the last paragraph in my post above is hypothetical, I don't have a good answer to that since I've been focusing on prevention, which admittedly may be dangerous for a worst case scenario.

    For travelling in any other form than a car (e.g. bus, train, plane) carrying a fire extinguisher would be a significant amount of weight and packing space that I'd like to avoid if possible, apart from the point that I guess you can't take that on a plane with you.

    The thing with water is really just an idea / question at this point, but I have contacts with a (Lithium) Battery Lab at work and I remember a discussion where someone said that pouring A LOT of water on a LOW VOLTAGE (below 60V) battery would bring down the temperature and is likely to stop the fire. Goes without saying that you'll need to separate your battery from the mains / charger before. I may have picked this up wrongly though and this is surely NOT a best practice.

  • Moderator

    FD, why not get a portable marine/car fire extinguisher that covers the class of fire in your country?

    I always take one when I have the Melbourne meets here.

    A question though, a couple of people said that they would just use water on a battery fire. o.O

    How is this safe given you're still likely to have an active electrical power source (unless you can safely switch the point off or cut the mains power)?

  • Hi all great thread. Thanks Robert for sharing, definitely makes me check my safety precautions. 

    One thing I'd like to bring up here: how to safely charge while traveling or staying with friends? Since I don't want to carry cinderblocks, steel buckets or sand with me, my current strategy is: proper and tested equipment (battery, charger), LiPo charging bag, looking for a place without combustible material (bathtub comes to mind) and staying close by while charging.

    Still, once a LiPo has thermal runaway - meaning ripping out the power cord won't help any more - I am not sure if the LiPo bag can contain the fire until it dies off. Currently I don't have anything for extinguishing at hand, best bet is using lots of water from a nearby kitchen / bathroom.

    What do you all think? Any "transportable" solutions to this scenario?

  • Moderator

    Hi Gustav,

    Robert answered your question above.

    "To answer the unanswered questions:

    The charger was an iMax B6 digital. The safety timer was a maximum time and it should have also shutoff at the max cell voltage. I also definitely won't buy a battery without a brand name regardless of where it is made."

  • It essential to use a balancing charger, set at the correct C rating (I never go over 1C, rather buy another charger if you have a lot of batteries), and after flying, the batteries get "storage charged:, whether I used them, or not.

    And then I store them in the salad drawer in my fridge.

    Then again, the only greens in my fridge, are the beer cans, and the bread.......

    Had a house fire, put a pot of oil on the stove to make fries, left it on low to heat up while I took a bath.

    Yeah, actually was on "High"

    Still haven't painted the kitchen over :-(

    If we may ask, what charger where you using Robert?

  • Moderator
    Charge on a cinder block with a plastic shopping bag of sand suspended over your battery.
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