[NSRCA-discussion] Lipo fire

Atwood, Mark atwoodm at paragon-inc.com
Tue Jun 14 07:58:14 AKDT 2016

Just to touch on the Hobby People comment, as I was a STRONG advocate for these batteries for many years.    The original HP 5000 packs were some of the best packs made.   I am currently still using several packs (actually my son is) that are from 2009, with over 200 cycles on them, and he flew Masters all weekend with them.  We routinely pull 3800-4000mah out and their IR ratings are still in the low 3’s.


Unfortunately, a few years ago (2014) HP changed suppliers for these packs.  And LOTS of problems ensued.  Stiff, solid core balance wires routinely broke.  The packs puffed easily without misuse with as few as 15 cycles on them, and on and on.    So the “worst ever” comment is valid for that era, and quickly undid years of positive experience.

They have since moved to yet another new cell supplier.  I can not speak to the quality of the current HP packs.  I have 2 sets that have ~30 cycles on them and appear to be behaving fine.

o.  (440) 229-2502
c.  (216) 316-2489
e.  atwoodm at paragon-inc.com<mailto:atwoodm at paragon-inc.com>

Paragon Consulting, Inc.
5900 Landerbrook Drive, Suite 205, Cleveland Ohio, 44124

Powering The Digital Experience

On Jun 14, 2016, at 11:42 AM, James Hiller via NSRCA-discussion <nsrca-discussion at lists.nsrca.org<mailto:nsrca-discussion at lists.nsrca.org>> wrote:

I've used them for 3 years without a problem.

From: NSRCA-discussion [mailto:nsrca-discussion-bounces at lists.nsrca.org] On Behalf Of Wayne Galligan via NSRCA-discussion
Sent: Monday, June 13, 2016 6:14 PM
To: Chris Moon; General pattern discussion
Subject: Re: [NSRCA-discussion] Lipo fire

Hobby People batteries are the worst for the balance leads breaking loose at the solder point.  Wires to short and stiff.

From: Chris Moon via NSRCA-discussion<mailto:nsrca-discussion at lists.nsrca.org>
Sent: Monday, June 13, 2016 7:43 PM
To: Robert Green<mailto:robcase1 at cox.net> ; 'General pattern discussion'<mailto:nsrca-discussion at lists.nsrca.org>
Subject: Re: [NSRCA-discussion] Lipo fire


That's a good question as there probably isn't a realistic method of knowing.  All one can do is get high quality batteries (not implying yours were not) as they tend to have the more flexible multi stranded balance wire vs the cheaper stiffer wire that is usually put onto cheaper packs. The more flexible wire will help with fatigue issues. I have to tell you that I had sample packs from some factories that I put outside on my concrete patio as soon as I cut the shrink wrapper off of them and saw the quality of the workmanship inside, just unsafe to even have sitting inside.

I guess the seemingly over concerned user who keeps his packs in a fire proof canister or sack may be onto something as you really can't tell when a lead might break off internally and short. Alternatively, you can cut off the shrink wrap and inspect new packs and then reshrink wrap them with a clear shrink wrap so you can see as much inside as possible.  The chances of a balance lead breaking internally and shorting itself and starting a fire is admittedly minuscule but the price of being wrong can be very high and I'm just glad everyone there is ok.


On 6/13/2016 5:58 PM, Robert Green wrote:

i would agree that this is where something happened.  I wish i knew from looking at hte pack after pulling it off the charger that something was wrong.  i wonder what a good warning system would look like.

From: Chris Moon [mailto:cjm767driver at hotmail.com]
Sent: Monday, June 13, 2016 2:56 PM
To: Robert Green; General pattern discussion
Subject: Re: [NSRCA-discussion] Lipo fire

Glad everyone is ok there Robert.

I have handled and dissected hundreds of different packs during my time in business, evaluating samples etc and I can say with certainty the weakest link in our batteries are the balance leads and their connections to the individual cells. These are very thin wires that typically are spot soldered to tiny tabs on the cells and crimped into tiny pin connectors. Insulation of the balance wires inside a pack is usually a thin piece of cellophane looking tape.There is little to no strain relief for the wires and we handle and flex them every time they are charged. I have seen many break off and touch others creating sparks and possibly could have lead to fires if they were pressed together long enough.  I would bet this is what happened to Robert's pack.  The batteries themselves must pass through pretty rigorous testing including being crushed with a metal blade without catching on fire before they will be transported from China.  These testing documents accompany every large battery shipment so it is highly unlikely one would spontaneously combust. With an older pack, it most definitely sounds like an internal short of balance leads.


On 6/13/2016 11:15 AM, Robert Green via NSRCA-discussion wrote:

Hey guys wanted to let you know about an incident I had over the weekend that caused some high concern.  I flew four flights yesterday, then returned home.  I thought I would go back out later and fly three more, so I charged three more batteries.  The three batteries on was planning on using, were flown the previous day, and were not overly discharged.  I took my kids to the movies as my wife did not want to go, and that turned out to be the best thing for the family.  One of my 2014 packs decided that it no longer wanted to live and decided to catch fire all by itself.  I have always thought that the best time for these to catch fire, would be during the charge cycle.  This incident happened almost an hour after charging the pack.  Keep in mind that after I charged the pack, there were immediately put into my flight box for storage until I got back from the movies.  After I took them off the charger, the batteries did not see warm in any way, cool to the touch.  I have had these batteries for two and as far as I can remember - they where not damaged in any way.  Due to my wifes' heroic action, the house did not catch on fire like my toolbox did.  She brought them out to the drive way water on them to kill the flames.  I have been pretty cavalier with packs, leaving them out once they are charged and not putting them in something safe for storage....those days are done.  If this can happen to a battery sitting with a stored charge, I will not longer leave my house or family unprotected.

I bought a safe yesterday, but apparently that may not be the best thing for them either as the battery give off a gas and they need to breathe.  In other words if you left them in a safe you may be creating a bomb scenario.  What I did was - several years ago, I bought a metal ammo case.  I removed 3/4 of the rubber around the case allowing for the exchange of air to occur.

If any one has any other creative ideas on how they store there lipos, please contribute to this thread as I think it is important as a community that we spread the message that this technology which has been proven to be safe for the most part also can be dangerous.




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