The FliteTest guys put out a video last week Friday about building a battery bunker and some tips on putting out a lipo fire. This got me thinking about how and where I charge my batteries. My workshop is in my basement and this is where I charge my batteries. When I am charging batteries I am in my workshop maybe half of the time. The other half I am in my office, watching tv, outside doing yard work or taking a nap! I have never had a problem with a battery while it was charging. I have become complacent and figure that I am safe and that it will never happen to me. But what if it did, even if I was in the same room what could I do to put out a battery fire? Currently I would have to somehow move the battery 3′ to a sink and hopefully not burn myself. That doesn’t sound like fun. Even though we all probable think that it will never happen to us we should consider taking a few precautions at home AND in our shelter at the field.
At home: We should all at a minimum have a bucket of sand by our charging area. At about 7:10 Josh talks about a small single cinder block bunker. You put your battery in the slot of the cinder block and place a bag of sand over it. If the battery starts on fire it will melt the plastic bag and the sand will flood the cinder block slot and put out of fire. This would be a good method of charging our batteries in our homes!
At the field: Again, we should at a minimum have a bucket of sand and a fire extinguisher in the shelter. I am not sure how I feel about the need for a battery bunker. On one side it would be a very good safety thing but do we need to be that safe…it is not our house, its a shelter. I can’t imagine a battery getting out of control and somebody not seeing it and being able to take action with a sand bucket on the batter and a fire extinguisher on the table or shelter if it progressed that far.
I would love here your thoughts on battery safety at the field and at home. What measures have you taken at home? Please post a comment with your ideas and thought.
John “plane addicted” Russcher
One thought on “Battery Bunkers and Charging Safety”
I’ve thought about this and went round and round. As of this week I changed how I store my batteries. I used to leave them in a plastic tackle box, but thought it was a bad idea.
So I changed. Now I use the Lipo Safe fire resistant bags, one for each size of packs, then put them inside a metal ammo can. Seems safe enough.
I also charge them inside the Lipo Safe bags. These are available in many places and the large size makes it easy to stick the pack and all wires from the charger into it. These have also been the accepted safe method at the AMA Convention indoor flying and is required for charging. Many other indoor places require them as well.
In the event of a fire in the sacks, they will scorch but not ignite, and you can pick up the sack and move it without burning yourself.
I have also seen guys use a paint can. You can buy new ones with a lid and charge in it. Fire will be contained and the lid can be put on to suffocate the flames if needed.
Last, I bought a smoke detector just for my workshop and hung it where I charge, solder, and do work that could be a fire hazard.
In the event I have a battery that is suspect to possible problems after a crash I evaluate it. If it is minor I will put the battery into storage voltage with my charger while watching it, then put it inside my grill outside for a few days as a safety timeout. If it ignites, no damage there where fire is normal. It’s also protected from the elements in there. After a few days I will charge it while watching it and re-evaluate.
If the damage is severe, I discharge it and discard it without bringing it into the house.
One other safe storage method. If you have a fireplace you don’t use you can put the packs on a shelf in there. Plenty safe in the event of a fire in there.
Your point of reminding people to be safe is a great one. There are many methods to be safe, pick one, or two, do something to be safe and protect yourself and home.