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Thread: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

  1. #1

    Default Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    I just received an order for 2 Protected 18650 Batteries.

    This is how the package arrived.







    The package came in this bag.



    There was only 1 battery.

    Has this happened to anybody?

  2. #2
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    Maybe they threw out the other one? Really weird, maybe the protection circuit shorted?

  3. #3
    *Flashaholic* Mr Happy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    Holy crap!

    That suggests it is not a good idea to ship such batteries loose in a padded envelope. Who knows what kind of mechanical stresses and shocks can be applied to the outside of the package in transit that might crush the batteries?

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    Flashaholic chewy78's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    that dont look good

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    Retired Administrator Norm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    Worse than that it is lucky that a whole batch of mail didn't catch fire during a flight which may have bought the whole aircraft down,
    This had the possibility of becoming a much larger incident with buildings or aircraft and lives in danger.
    Norm

  6. #6
    *Flashaholic* Mr Happy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    Quote Originally Posted by Norm View Post
    Worse than that it is lucky that a whole batch of mail didn't catch fire during a flight which may have bought the whole aircraft down,
    This had the possibility of becoming a much larger incident with buildings or aircraft and lives in danger.
    Norm
    Well, quite. It is against postal regulations to send incendiary devices through the mail. It would not be beyond possibility for someone to get sued or prosecuted over such an incident.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    Was the fire from inside the package or from the outside?

    If a package burst into flames during shipping I don't think they would just slap a sorry sticker on it and deliver it. I could see some men in suits showing up on your doorstep before the package would be released.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    Quote Originally Posted by Norm View Post
    Worse than that it is lucky that a whole batch of mail didn't catch fire during a flight which may have bought the whole aircraft down,
    This had the possibility of becoming a much larger incident with buildings or aircraft and lives in danger.
    Norm
    +1. But it must have happened during ground transport. If it caught fire in the air I'm sure FBI would have been the ones delivering the package, not USPS.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* Fallingwater's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Happy View Post
    Well, quite. It is against postal regulations to send incendiary devices through the mail. It would not be beyond possibility for someone to get sued or prosecuted over such an incident.
    A LiIon cell is not an incendiary device. Do you have any idea how slow things would get if lithium cells and batteries had to be shipped exclusively by sea or by road?

    Man, that cell did a real number on that package. Perhaps it was thrown around real hard? Some postal services are known for the lack of care with which they treat their packages.

    Hmm. Seems to have burned the package only where it itself was... had it blown up / vented with flame the whole thing would have been reduced to a cinder, possibly including the vehicle the cell was in when the accident happened.
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  10. #10
    *Flashaholic* Mr Happy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    Quote Originally Posted by Fallingwater View Post
    A LiIon cell is not an incendiary device. Do you have any idea how slow things would get if lithium cells and batteries had to be shipped exclusively by sea or by road?
    Maybe you missed the sardonic tone in my comment, but nevertheless that does look very much like a device that incended. There is plenty of evidence of charred paper and burning there.

    If you were taking such batteries on a plane you would be required to pack them in a secure and properly designed container so that they cannot accidentally short out or be damaged. Slinging a couple of them into a padded envelope does not count.

    I'm curious: what is the usual way these batteries are shipped from a reputable vendor? Do they arrive in a rigid plastic battery holder, or is it common to ship them loose and unprotected?

  11. #11
    Flashaholic skillet's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    I've received batteries shipped from USA and NonUSA vendors with no problems.. This is surely a very isolated incident... And with out any facts, speculation, well.... is just that..
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    *Flashaholic* kramer5150's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    merely speculating...

    It could have gotten dropped/smashed in shipping and caused the protection circuit +V to short to -V. Theres nothing more than thin heat shrink separating +V from -V.

    Thank goodness you are OK.
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  13. #13
    *Flashaholic* Mr Happy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    "Isolated incident" is never an excuse or justification for something going wrong. The first time a space shuttle blew up it was an isolated incident. It is necessary to examine the potential ways in which something could go wrong and then put designs in place to safeguard against those failures.

    A protected lithium ion cell has a potential short circuit built right into it as a metal strip running between the positive and negative ends, as noted above. And a short of one of these cells is definitely not a good thing.

    I can foresee a day that the sale and use of individual lithium ion cells outside of pre-manufactured packs will be prohibited unless more respect and care is given to these potentially dangerous devices.

    This event is not something to be shrugged off lightly. It is something severely dangerous and worrying.
    Last edited by Mr Happy; 01-24-2009 at 07:32 PM.

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    Flashaholic* Fallingwater's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Happy View Post
    Maybe you missed the sardonic tone in my comment, but nevertheless that does look very much like a device that incended. There is plenty of evidence of charred paper and burning there.
    I can see that myself, I just meant that LiIon cells, while capable of causing a fire, aren't incendiary devices - i.e. not meant to be used for that purpose. Sorry if my comment came out as hostile, I didn't mean it to.

    I'm curious: what is the usual way these batteries are shipped from a reputable vendor? Do they arrive in a rigid plastic battery holder, or is it common to ship them loose and unprotected?
    I'm curious about this myself. Since a burning cell can conceivably bring down a plane, not to mention set fire to post offices and such, I'm thinking some form of flameproof shipping package should be necessary.
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    Thread Killer Illum's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    tsk tsk tsk...

    gee, more reason for the FAA to ban lithium rechargeable batteries now...
    this is the first [unconfirmed] case AFAIK of cells that apparently went in open circuit I've seen on CPF.

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  16. #16
    Flashaholic* Fallingwater's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    I agree that it's probably the protection circuit. It got whacked hard, and either it shorted or the positive strip got out of alignment with the insulator and that shorted.
    Ironic that the protection circuit, which is supposed to prevent fires and accidents, probably caused this...
    Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    At risk of igniting a flamewar, out of interest, what brand were these batteries?

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    damn, i hope the compass still works

  19. #19
    Retired Administrator Norm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    Quote Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post
    merely speculating...

    It could have gotten dropped/smashed in shipping and caused the protection circuit +V to short to -V. Theres nothing more than thin heat shrink separating +V from -V.

    Thank goodness you are OK.
    Agreed I was just thinking the same thing, I'd say the protection strip down the battery shorted and got hot enough to blow like a fuse and being buried in a pile of other mail there would have been insufficient air for the fire to get going, probably smouldered until it smothered, otherwise if it had have vented with flame it would have really started something.
    Norm

    PS This probably wouldn't have happened with an unprotected cell

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* Alan B's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    Aircraft automatic fire retardant systems have been found to be effective on Li-Ion cells. It is the primaries that don't go out.

    The vendor who shipped those did not package them safely.

    -- Alan

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    Flashaholic* csshih's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    oh woww... usps even gave you a "sorry" letter.

  22. #22
    *Flashaholic* kramer5150's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    Quote Originally Posted by shadowjk View Post
    At risk of igniting a flamewar, out of interest, what brand were these batteries?

    black, shiny silver label with red trim... looks like an AW
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  23. #23
    Flashaholic* Black Rose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    Quote Originally Posted by csshih View Post
    oh woww... usps even gave you a "sorry" letter.
    I think that the generic letter is hilarious, considering the damage.

    It looks like part of it says "We hope this incident didn't inconvenience you."

    Burned up battery with one missing....nope that's not an inconvenience

    Quote Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post
    black, shiny silver label with red trim... looks like an AW
    Yep. Now I'm really curious to know how this happened.

  24. #24
    Banned Metatron's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    Quote Originally Posted by Black Rose View Post
    I think that the generic letter is hilarious, considering the damage.

    It looks like part of it says "We hope this incident didn't inconvenience you."

    Burned up battery with one missing....nope that's not an inconvenience


    Yep. Now I'm really curious to know how this happened.
    i am thinking that the postal service has nothing to do with this, they only think they do, the batts vented. i think that if the postal service found out that that parcel was the cause and not the result, well, things may just be different.

  25. #25
    Flashaholic* csshih's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    well, at least we know it's not a DX package.

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    Flashaholic* Youfoundnemo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    Soooo wheres AW on this topic?
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  27. #27
    *Flashaholic* mdocod's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    HMMMMM....

  28. #28

    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    I posted this thread to see if this incident has happened to anyone else.

    I have a feeling that this is a hopefully "once in a lifetime fluke". This is the first time that this has happened to me. I've ordered many rechargeable lithiums from many different dealers from here in the USA to abroad.

    I was just wondering what could have possibly happened.

  29. #29
    Flashaholic* Fallingwater's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    Quote Originally Posted by Metatron View Post
    i am thinking that the postal service has nothing to do with this, they only think they do, the batts vented. i think that if the postal service found out that that parcel was the cause and not the result, well, things may just be different.
    First point: it's unlikely that the cell just up and vented on its own accord. When lithium secondaries go, it's usually during charging or during improper use (or just during use if defective, see the infamous laptop fires). I'd be really surprised if that cell vented just sitting there.

    Second point: I don't think the cell(s) vented.. Have you seen videos of lithium secondaries burning? They don't just peacefully emit flame like a matchstick - they send out a foot-long jet of flame that has more in common with a blowtorch. Had they vented, that package would have been burned to oblivion, along with whatever other mail was on/nearby - it wouldn't just have a localized burn where the cell is. The event would have most likely destroyed large amounts of mail, vehicles or both, and started an investigation.

    What I'm guessing happened there is that the protection circuit or the strip shorted, and the amount of current flowing heated stuff enough to set fire to the plastic/paper of the package; then the PTC blew, and the cell stopped sending current into the short. At that point someone probably noticed the smoke and smothered the non-lithium fire.
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  30. #30

    Default Re: Burnt Protected 18650 Batteries

    Looks dangerous to me, I've got 2 pieces of 18650 at home now, keeping Li-Ion batteries at home is like keeping mini dynamites.
    Last edited by bigdaddy; 01-25-2009 at 06:42 AM.

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