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Old 29-03-2014, 11:44   #1
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Handheld Lithium battery blows up

Automotive GPS left on Dashboard in the Sun -- and caught fire/exploded


Looks like this would apply to boats in the tropics too, with mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras and other devices that use lithium batteries - like our new handheld VHF/GPS.

The GPS was placed in its bracket in the windshield and left in the sun. The battery overheated and either started a serious fire or exploded. Dash ruined, window cracked, overhead melted.

What am I missing? Do we need to keep lifo powered units out of the sun, and off the charger when we're not standing over them?? Could this be why the US Postal Service will not ship electronic devices that contain lithium batteries any longer?

If the link works, a pic result is shown below...the vehicle is ruined, and this would be a life threatening event to any boat at sea.

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Old 29-03-2014, 11:56   #2
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Re: Handheld Lithium battery blows up

The Lithium technologies used in consumer electronic devices are quite different (and more volatile) than the LiFePO4 batteries used on boats. There's an interesting youtube video out there of a German fire department intentionally overcharging a Winston battery which shows how difficult it is to set afire. The large cells used in cars and boats have a BMS which, unless it is circumvented, prevents overloading and shorting the cells.
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Old 29-03-2014, 12:18   #3
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Re: Handheld Lithium battery blows up

Thx Zanshin - Sounds like you're talking about house/starter size batteries, which is great, one issue off the table - but what about our hand held devices that can pretty naturally find themselves on a countertop in the direct sun?
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Old 29-03-2014, 12:32   #4
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Re: Handheld Lithium battery blows up

Confession I dried my cell phone in a oven tray very low temp. It worked. 3rd time doing this I cooked it. Thing looked like a pop over. I seem to get the iPhone wet once a year. Though I am better now having learned. Friday evening with work still calling me I drop the dink in phone rings okay tuck phone in pocket it slips out etc...anyway it didn't blow up. Don't try this it's only something I did to prove you could soak a phone in saltwater cook it in a oven sprinkle it with rice and make the apple store people laugh so hard they only charge you 200 nick instead of 400 to replace the thing. Pretty sure if they wanted to they could make this waterproof.course my icom control unit is being replaced because water dripped on the top of the sealed marine unit and it is water damaged?


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Old 29-03-2014, 13:12   #5
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Re: Handheld Lithium battery blows up

My wife just ordered us both new Iphone 5 cs phones. The first thing I did was look for a waterproof case. I ordered a Lifesaver nuud through Amazon. Waterproof to 6ft for an hour, it floats, shock resistant for a 6 ft drop and dustproof. It supposedly does not interfere with any phone functions including flash. I also ordered their belt clip. Phone cannot fall out clip without two handed operation. Frankly, I was happy with my old dumb phone but when the Admiral speaks the only safe response is 'yes m'amm'.

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Old 29-03-2014, 13:57   #6
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Re: Handheld Lithium battery blows up

Quote:
Originally Posted by nofacey View Post
Automotive GPS left on Dashboard in the Sun -- and caught fire/exploded
...
The GPS was placed in its bracket in the windshield and left in the sun. The battery overheated and either started a serious fire or exploded. Dash ruined, window cracked, overhead melted.
...
I've been researching the BMS chips used in many/most of small electronic devices for a couple of months with the intent of making my own programming in addition to the ICs to build a Lithium bank on my boat. There are a few players out there, from Texas Instruments and Maxim to several other smaller niche players. These small ICs are used to monitor battery capacity for charging and discharging and are surprisingly "smart". All of these chips have pins for monitoring battery temperature and pins which will supply current when a major "alarm" is detected - among these alarms would be short circuit level amperage, voltage above and below cutoff points and temperature. Some of the better ICs have on-chip temperature sensors. The problem is that the disconnect (timed or fused) costs a couple of cents and takes up space; and that can too expensive for some battery manufacturers. This is one reason to avoid cheap no-name or aftermarket replacement batteries as odds are that they haven't put much effort into making their BMS safe.
While the case mentioned here might have nothing to do with aftermarket batteries, it would seem that the battery pack designers or builders skimped on their programming and components otherwise the battery would have disconnected before reaching a critical temperature and perhaps going into thermal runaway.
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Old 29-03-2014, 14:34   #7
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Re: Handheld Lithium battery blows up

Apologies,

I was responding to sabray which may or may not be appropriate to this thread. Also, there is no such phone as the cs model, I was trying to pluralize 2 model 5c's.

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Old 29-03-2014, 15:47   #8
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Re: Handheld Lithium battery blows up

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Originally Posted by cabo_sailor View Post
Apologies,

I was responding to sabray which may or may not be appropriate to this thread. Also, there is no such phone as the cs model, I was trying to pluralize 2 model 5c's.

Rich

Nice cover but pricey. Thanks.


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Old 30-03-2014, 09:58   #9
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Re: Handheld Lithium battery blows up

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Originally Posted by sabray View Post
Nice cover but pricey. Thanks.


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Yes it's pricey but not as pricey as a new phone. I have dropped too many goodies over the side not to expect it happen again, There are cheaper cases but none that I could find with these features. Ah well, to each his own.

Luck,
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Old 30-03-2014, 10:03   #10
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Re: Handheld Lithium battery blows up

Only one of the reasons I feel Li 'not ready for prime time'. Wait a few years to see how the car batteries fare. One Tesla burned so far. If you short those things they may go boom or poof. I understand also that each cell needs its own charge controller too so that is added to the cost/complexity.
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Old 30-03-2014, 10:21   #11
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Re: Handheld Lithium battery blows up

Does anyone have experience with using lead crystal batteries for house loads instead of lithium phosphate?
Paul
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Old 30-03-2014, 10:25   #12
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Re: Handheld Lithium battery blows up

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Does anyone have experience with using lead crystal batteries for house loads instead of lithium phosphate?
Paul

Ultimately lead crystal are merely LA. Rather like AGM. They can't be really compared to Li tech

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Old 30-03-2014, 11:33   #13
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Re: Handheld Lithium battery blows up

Dave:
I had heard that lead crystal batteries have a couple of advantages over lead acid and agm in that they can be discharged to zero and recover plus have much higher charge rates with little to no H2 venting and of course no acid.
Don't see them being used much outside of "off-the-grid" solar installations.
There is an interesting utube test by a South African guy.
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