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What happens if a lipo 'goes off' inside an ammo box?

Old 10-07-2013, 07:06 PM
  #51  
solentlife
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OK ... I applaud all measures to make any activity safer ...

But I have a reservation on this one ... please don't shoot the typist !!

I am concerned that heavy boxes ... ammo ... safes ... etc. are going to be used in houses and then IF an accident does occur - how do you get that out the window or door ? It's heavy ... it's gonna get hot because you will not know of any problem till its obvious on exterior ... do you have protective gear to be able to handle it ?

I have a fav TV series ... Spooks or in USA was called I think MI5. One of the key players in an early episode gets his girlfriend and daughter to move in with him. He's a 'spook' so beefs up the security ... proof doors / windows etc. Ends up the girl and her daughter die in the house as they cannot get out and rescuers cannot get in.

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Me - before I describe - shall say this ... I had to do Fire Fighting training as part of my Ships Officer courses ... we have no 999 / 911 to call out there on the ocean ... trained for Oil, Chemicals, etc.

My way and I say it's MY WAY ... is to charge where I have direct sight of while working at my desk. I am arms length from a second floor window that opens onto open grass land. If a LiPo should 'go off' ... it would be grab charger pulling lipo along with it and out the window ... never touching the lipo itself ... but yes I'd probably get burnt somewhat ...
I have a wood house and so Fire Extinguishers are around the house - that would put pay to the leftover other materials that may have been caught.

I do not say it's everyones solution ... but I just would like to make people think about how they will dispose of the items when burning ... cause you cannot extinguish the LiPo fire ... you have to remove whole and let it destroy itself in a safer area...

Not everyone charges outside on concrete slabs !! I don't especially when it's -20C outside and snowing !!

Food for thought ...

Nigel
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:12 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by solentlife View Post
I am concerned that heavy boxes ... ammo ... safes ... etc. are going to be used in houses and then IF an accident does occur - how do you get that out the window or door ? It's heavy ... it's gonna get hot because you will not know of any problem till its obvious on exterior ... do you have protective gear to be able to handle it ?
My metal toolbox that's vented to the outside through the window is for storage, not for charging. So it will spend most of its time unattended. There won't be anyone there to toss it out the window if there's a battery fire. Actually its my hope there'd be no need to mess with it at all during an incident. Hopefully it'd contain the fire & vent the gasses outside all on its own.

Protective gear such as a pair of heavy gloves or oven-mits perhaps, might be something to keep nearby though, I agree.

As far as charging goes, I now do that at the field, outside of my vehicle. It doesn't really bother me if its cold or whatever as I'm there outside flying anyway.

Originally Posted by solentlife View Post
My way and I say it's MY WAY ... is to charge where I have direct sight of while working at my desk. I am arms length from a second floor window that opens onto open grass land. If a LiPo should 'go off' ... it would be grab charger pulling lipo along with it and out the window ... never touching the lipo itself ... but yes I'd probably get burnt somewhat ...
From what I've seen of most lipo fires online, they're over in a matter of seconds (or at least the first cell to go is). I'd worry the damage would be done & a fire already started by the time you'd get your window open, grab the charger, hope the pack is still attached to it & attempt to toss it out. I've seen some pretty violent pack explosions that sent the battery shooting across the room. Personally I feel containment is important. And if chucking it out the window is the thing to do, I'd think it might be easier if its in a box Vs hanging from a wire spewing fire & smoke all over the place. Grabbing a hot ammo can will burn you but it won't set you on fire.
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Old 10-08-2013, 05:00 AM
  #53  
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Hi Nodd ...

Trouble is with the enclosed LiPo fire - is the heat levels ... we are not talking garden bonfire temps ... we are talking temps far higher ...

What prompted my post was the Plastic safe ... nice but I don't think it would withstand a LiPo fire ... It may contain a lower temp fire for appreciable time ...

As I understand it ... a Lithium fire will burn at similar to a Magnesium fire .. and that burns through quite a few materials ...

I appreciate your comment about spewing flames etc. and agree that it's a problem ... but after reviewing many videos and articles that get linked to etc. - I'm reasonably au fait with my set-up ... and the likelihood of the LiPo flying of across the room is extremely remote ... in fact I haven't seen or heard of any case where a LiPo has become "ballistic" ... even when a jet of flame has burst out one end.

Back to the heat .......... anyone seen what happens to a ceramic flower pot when high heat item is burnt in it ? It cracks and often falls apart ! Just a thought for the day ....

Nigel
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Old 10-08-2013, 05:47 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by solentlife View Post
Hi Nodd ...

Trouble is with the enclosed LiPo fire - is the heat levels ... we are not talking garden bonfire temps ... we are talking temps far higher ...

What prompted my post was the Plastic safe ... nice but I don't think it would withstand a LiPo fire ... It may contain a lower temp fire for appreciable time ...

As I understand it ... a Lithium fire will burn at similar to a Magnesium fire .. and that burns through quite a few materials ...

I appreciate your comment about spewing flames etc. and agree that it's a problem ... but after reviewing many videos and articles that get linked to etc. - I'm reasonably au fait with my set-up ... and the likelihood of the LiPo flying of across the room is extremely remote ... in fact I haven't seen or heard of any case where a LiPo has become "ballistic" ... even when a jet of flame has burst out one end.

Back to the heat .......... anyone seen what happens to a ceramic flower pot when high heat item is burnt in it ? It cracks and often falls apart ! Just a thought for the day ....

Nigel
Off topic, but geeze, I am beginning to appreciate my A123 batteries more and more. Even if LiPo fires are very rare nowdays, when they are charged with good quality balancing chargers.
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Old 10-08-2013, 07:37 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by solentlife
Hi Nodd ...

Trouble is with the enclosed LiPo fire - is the heat levels ... we are not talking garden bonfire temps ... we are talking temps far higher ...

What prompted my post was the Plastic safe ... nice but I don't think it would withstand a LiPo fire ... It may contain a lower temp fire for appreciable time ...

As I understand it ... a Lithium fire will burn at similar to a Magnesium fire .. and that burns through quite a few materials ...

I appreciate your comment about spewing flames etc. and agree that it's a problem ... but after reviewing many videos and articles that get linked to etc. - I'm reasonably au fait with my set-up ... and the likelihood of the LiPo flying of across the room is extremely remote ... in fact I haven't seen or heard of any case where a LiPo has become "ballistic" ... even when a jet of flame has burst out one end.

Back to the heat .......... anyone seen what happens to a ceramic flower pot when high heat item is burnt in it ? It cracks and often falls apart ! Just a thought for the day ....

Nigel
Denny quote : Off topic, but geeze, I am beginning to appreciate my A123 batteries more and more. Even if LiPo fires are very rare nowdays, when they are charged with good quality balancing chargers.
It's always same - when the accident and safety aspects come out on anything ... the incidents and injuries / results are horrific ... and we wonder why we could be so stupid to use such ... but then think on ...

One of the worst weapons we have created is the motor car ... it's fuelled by toxic, highly flammable - even explosive fuel, carries a Lead Acid battery that the acid in will eat through your hands .. even car body ... I've seen Lead Acid batt's explode ... but we use it everyday ... we rarely actually look after it ...

Chainsaws ... strimmers ... lawnmowers ................ the list goes on. The LiPo is just one more item in the long list of man-made risk items.

Denny - what is the max amp output on a A123 ... is it enough to cause a fire ... remember a 9v dry-cell and wire-wool is a good camp-fire lighter ...

Where do we draw the line ?

I work in Oil Terminals, on Tankers ... etc. my work takes me into areas that are far far more hazardous than any battery charging ... and it comes down to sensible appraisal of risk and providing a solution that suits that location.

Nigel
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Old 10-08-2013, 01:09 PM
  #56  
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large ceramic dish is my charge platform.

then I store my batteries in the garage on a cement floor with nothing next to it, or sometimes left in my models.

after having my first lipo fire, I no longer leave batteries in the house. I had a freshly charged 2200 3 cell in my slow stick and was hanging off the prop (pulling less then 20 amps) and suddenly dropped out of the sky. straight into the ground, no response from the transmitter. I was probably 5 mistakes high.

it was quite an old battery. my guess is it let go in the air and caused low voltage cutoff, but just a theory. I find a radio problem/physical damage quite likely. just going by my gut.

when I walked over to the model it was smoking. I pulled the battery out (which appeared undamaged thanks to our battery boxes) and watched the smoke slowly turn into fire. each cell went one by one until all that was left was the battery leads and a small pile of foil. there is still a brown spot on the ground at the park where it burned up several months ago.
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Old 10-08-2013, 01:30 PM
  #57  
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Guy at our group who flies literally only Cessna's ... he's on his 9th ! He had a 3s 1800 short in his FMS Cessna ... made a mess of the cabling ... pack was charred ... but only real casualty was the ESC which fried and fell to bits in his hands literally ...

The LiPo was cleaned up ... safely tested ... and flew again few days later ... but after a month was retired as it quickly reduced in output and run-time.

What amazed me - was despite a serious short that disintegrated the ESC ... the LiPo survived.... albeit charge capacity damaged.

I had a 3s LiPo get shoved fwd in a 'sudden ground arrival' and a screw punctured the protective wrap and into one cell ... the LiPo continued to perform as before ... I sealed the hole with epoxy ... kept it safe outside away from any danger ... nothing ever happened .. it sat there .. in the end I flew it ... fine ...

It is on my 'extreme care' list though ... and is now retired to safe storage as a back-up pack only.

Nigel
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Old 10-08-2013, 03:52 PM
  #58  
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Wait, back up a minute. It's been a while since I've been here, but if my senior mind still serves me at all I thought it was established that it's not the lithium in a LiPo that burns (it's safely 'contained' in/as a lithium compound) but the electrolyte that creates the fire.

Or has something changed during my absence?
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Old 10-08-2013, 04:27 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by FlyWheel View Post
Wait, back up a minute. It's been a while since I've been here, but if my senior mind still serves me at all I thought it was established that it's not the lithium in a LiPo that burns (it's safely 'contained' in/as a lithium compound) but the electrolyte that creates the fire.

Or has something changed during my absence?
Could well be ....

There are many items in use that contain similar from the periodic table range but in compound form ... rendering them more safe. But we must also consider the possibility that fire - which is a physical attribute of chemical reaction may split the compound ... will need to check out.

Nigel
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Old 10-08-2013, 06:09 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by solentlife View Post
Denny - what is the max amp output on a A123 ... is it enough to cause a fire ... remember a 9v dry-cell and wire-wool is a good camp-fire lighter ...


Nigel
Hi Nigel
Yup, shorting out an A123 battery can cause a secondary fire external to the battery.

These A123 cells can not ignite, there is nothing inside that will burn. And, yeah, several years ago I tried it, by putting a two cell A123 pack on a current limited variable voltage power supply. Set to 14 VDC. All it did was make a mess that took 20 minutes to clean up with a vacuum cleaner. And, before that while disassembling a Dewalt 36 volt Battery pack for its A123 cells, one got shorted out, and burned a hole right through the battery case. No fire, it just sounded like an arc welder. Tried to patch the hole, but could never completely seal that hole. That cell died about a half year later.

Those lead acid batteries also can explode. That happened to a co-worker decades ago. Never did find out why the battery blew up, he wasn't doing anything with it at the time. Lucky he was holding a garden hose and was wearing safety glasses. Quick work on his face with that hose, and a trip to the emergency room, and all was OK.

A few years back, a club member was charging a three cell LiPo on his living room floor. Something went wrong with the charging process, and that battery ignited. He was lucky, only had to replace the wall to wall carpet that had just been installed the year before.
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Old 10-08-2013, 06:30 PM
  #61  
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I've heard of guys using these as a storage container, but I thought the fire resistant surface was on the OUTSIDE, the inside is just plastic?? (I think) What are everyone's thoughts on using one of these for transport and storage?

[media]http://i.walmartimages.com/i/p/00/04/90/74/11/0004907411001_500X500.jpg[/media]
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Old 10-08-2013, 07:06 PM
  #62  
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They are plastic inside and out. The fire resistant material is between the inner and outer plastic shells.
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Old 10-08-2013, 08:50 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by kyleservicetech View Post
Hi Nigel
Yup, shorting out an A123 battery can cause a secondary fire external to the battery.
My point ... ALL battery's carry a risk of fire whether internal or external.

These A123 cells can not ignite, there is nothing inside that will burn. And, yeah, several years ago I tried it, by putting a two cell A123 pack on a current limited variable voltage power supply. Set to 14 VDC. All it did was make a mess that took 20 minutes to clean up with a vacuum cleaner. And, before that while disassembling a Dewalt 36 volt Battery pack for its A123 cells, one got shorted out, and burned a hole right through the battery case. No fire, it just sounded like an arc welder. Tried to patch the hole, but could never completely seal that hole. That cell died about a half year later.
As the Chief Fire Officer Instructor said at CH Fire Station to us ... EVERYTHING burns - just have to find the right temperature ... even concrete.

Those lead acid batteries also can explode. That happened to a co-worker decades ago. Never did find out why the battery blew up, he wasn't doing anything with it at the time. Lucky he was holding a garden hose and was wearing safety glasses. Quick work on his face with that hose, and a trip to the emergency room, and all was OK.
Guy I knew had burns to his left hand from a car battery ... he was working under the bonnet, (you US persons call it the hood ?) .. there was a flash and bang ! The Wedding ring was arced through and his fingers / hand burnt ... basically a spanner slipped he was using ... ring shorted from spanner to battery contacts ... We were all lucky that the battery didn't ignite or explode ... if it had been charging with plugs out

A few years back, a club member was charging a three cell LiPo on his living room floor. Something went wrong with the charging process, and that battery ignited. He was lucky, only had to replace the wall to wall carpet that had just been installed the year before.
There's always an error or something to cause ... there's no such thing as an accident .. they all have cause and effect.

I have a mark on my left thigh from many years ago ... from a NiCD AA that was in my pocket ... stupidly in pocket with metal objects ... shorted ... boy did that hurt !! It burnt hole through my jeans ... burnt my leg ...

Nigel
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Old 10-09-2013, 12:53 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by solentlife View Post
As the Chief Fire Officer Instructor said at CH Fire Station to us ... EVERYTHING burns - just have to find the right temperature ... even concrete.
Guy I knew had burns to his left hand from a car battery ... he was working under the bonnet, (you US persons call it the hood ?) ..
[/I]
Nigel
Should have indicated these A123's will not spontaneously catch fire like a LiPo when it is abused. Somewhere in the internet is a video of a guy driving a nail directly through an A123 pack. Lots of smoke. But zero fire. Tried same with a LiPo, instant fire.

Many years ago, I guy I was working with accidentally shorted out a car battery with the metal wrist band of his watch. The resulting melted metal band did permanent damage to the tendons in his wrist. His hand was never right after that.

As you indicate, even though the low voltage of these batteries usually won't hurt you, their capability of very high short circuit currents as secondary type failures can very definitely cause severe injury. Like the propeller on the motor, you really have to be careful. Case in point, a fellow club member that has been flying for over 50 years tried to stop a 90 size glow engine with his hand last week. He'll be wearing a cast on that hand for a long while.

DennyV
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Old 10-09-2013, 06:30 AM
  #65  
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This is some scary reading. I almost wonder if I should have stuck with the nitro models.......nah. Living in the northeast I wonder if it would be better to store these batteries in an outbuilding. Not heated or cooled, so hot in summer and cold in winter. How would this effect the lipos? I like the idea of the wally world cheap safes to store them, don't think you'll fit many in the $20 model. I used to get nervous storing ammo in the house got over that. Don't ever want to be around if the home catches fire. Maybe I should ...take up stamp collecting.
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Old 10-09-2013, 07:40 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by bluzjamer View Post
This is some scary reading. I almost wonder if I should have stuck with the nitro models.......nah. Living in the northeast I wonder if it would be better to store these batteries in an outbuilding. Not heated or cooled, so hot in summer and cold in winter. How would this effect the lipos? I like the idea of the wally world cheap safes to store them, don't think you'll fit many in the $20 model. I used to get nervous storing ammo in the house got over that. Don't ever want to be around if the home catches fire. Maybe I should ...take up stamp collecting.
C'mon .... think about literally any other item you have around the house / shed / garage ... and what they are potentially capable of.

Sensible use, sensible care ... and all's fine. Usually incidents - I do hate the word 'accident' as that is rarely the real case - are due to stupidity or misuse ...

Do you have any gasoline in a can in your shed / garage ? You mention ammunition ...

The OP asked about what happens if a LiPo goes 'off' in an ammo box ... this led onto the typical all hells broken loose about LiPo's and risks.

Personally ... I regard the 3 chainsaws I have as greater risk items than any of the LiPo's I have ...

Nigel
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Old 10-09-2013, 10:20 AM
  #67  
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Nigel, you're right. This did open quite a storm, much more than I expected. I just wanted a basic answer, but I've found all this discussion rather educational.
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Old 10-09-2013, 03:06 PM
  #68  
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Old 10-09-2013, 04:51 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by bluzjamer View Post
This is some scary reading. I almost wonder if I should have stuck with the nitro models.......nah. Living in the northeast I wonder if it would be better to store these batteries in an outbuilding. Not heated or cooled, so hot in summer and cold in winter. How would this effect the lipos? I like the idea of the wally world cheap safes to store them, don't think you'll fit many in the $20 model. I used to get nervous storing ammo in the house got over that. Don't ever want to be around if the home catches fire. Maybe I should ...take up stamp collecting.
From what I've been able to observe, the majority of those LiPo fires on Youtube and similar were caused by the use of the wrong battery charger, or a very cheap battery charger that didn't use balance cables.

Charging a LiPo battery with a battery charger set up for charging Nickel Hydride batteries is a very good way to start your home on fire.

If you've got a quality charger such as the Cellpro or Hitec lines, and use their balance cables during the charging process, the chances of a LiPo fire are very much reduced. As for my Cellpro chargers, they can be configured to your exact specifications, including the name and type of the battery to be charged.

The Cellpro chargers also use the balance cable connector to count the number and type of cells to be charged, making it ALMOST danged fool proof.

As for glow power, a fellow club member just stuck his hand into a carbon fiber prop turning over at full RPM with a glow 90 engine. His hand will be in a cast for a LONG LONG time.
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Old 10-09-2013, 08:33 PM
  #70  
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C'mon guys ... it's only cheap RTF chargers that have single lead charging and in fact is usually a balance lead .. the main lead not used.

Most of the LiPo fires I've seen online and off ..have been result of human error in use or deliberate act to get the LiPo to flare up as a demo.

How many videos of nails driven into them ... the video of throwing one on a BBQ .... the list goes on.

The number of DELIBERATE act LiPo vids far outweigh the real accidental flare ups.

Denny I appreciate Cellpro etc. are reputable ... but they are only a brand amongst many others that work just as well ... even my B6 has programmable memory slots for type / style / user settings etc.

I have to say that I find it hard to see how some of the claims of bad settings on charger etc. actually end up causing LiPo to fry ... even my RTF cheapo chargers crap out if wrongly plugged in ... my B6 will not activate charge if voltage is outside expected range with or without balance lead .... etc. So how do they do it ? Baffles me.

Nigel
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Old 10-09-2013, 10:29 PM
  #71  
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Well the lipo fire I saw was a guy charging without balancing. The way he described it, it sounds like it's optional on whatever charger he was using. Maybe an older charger? And yes, it was human error, as he was charging a 4s at 5s setting. Any balance charger I know of would have given an error.
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Old 10-09-2013, 10:40 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by solentlife View Post

Denny I appreciate Cellpro etc. are reputable ... but they are only a brand amongst many others that work just as well ... even my B6 has programmable memory slots for type / style / user settings etc.

Nigel
Yup, agreed.

I can only go by what I've actually seen operate, and 90% of the chargers at our club are either Cellpro or Hitec units. (And, my original statement was "High quality chargers such as the Cellpro and Hitec Lines"
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Old 10-09-2013, 10:44 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by xmech2k View Post
Well the lipo fire I saw was a guy charging without balancing. The way he described it, it sounds like it's optional on whatever charger he was using. Maybe an older charger? And yes, it was human error, as he was charging a 4s at 5s setting. Any balance charger I know of would have given an error.

Yup
And even the Cellpro chargers have the option of charging a LiPo or A123 battery without using the balance cable. Don't for the life of me understand why you'd do that, those balance cables provide a very good preventative option for reducing or eliminating LiPo fires during the charging process. They also help identify what type of cell just in case of severe operator error.
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Old 10-09-2013, 11:02 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by xmech2k View Post
Well the lipo fire I saw was a guy charging without balancing...
Not balancing is not necessarily a problem but charging without the balance cable connected certainly is.

I use the fast charge mode all the time with my packs that are well balanced. The difference in peak voltage compared to balance mode is only a few hundredths of a volt. It saves a lot of time and as long as the balance cable is connected all the safety features of balance mode still function.

I would never charge without the balance cable connected and I always actively monitor cell voltages throughout the charge.
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Old 10-10-2013, 08:06 AM
  #75  
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The 6 range of chargers default to Charge without balancing when first switched on.

I can find no reference in manuals that state the balance lead is monitored in a CHARGE only setting ..... but they do say that Cell count by Voltage is.

I do charge without balance at times ... if I want a quicker charge. balancing often slows down charging as it varies charge / balance actions. There should be no serious risk if charger is operating correctly but can lead to inbalance in cells. I know people will argue about this ... and I do accept that balance charging is safest way and should be used ...

Nigel
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