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Thread: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

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    Default Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    I hope that this confirms to the guidelines that Silverfox has listed, but as a storage solution for myself, I store my CR123s and 3.7v+ batteries in a Surplus Ammunition Box (Dimensions are about 12-inches x 6-inches x 7-inches).

    I first got the idea from a CPF supporter/retailer who sells batteries with a Pelican case. I thought it would be a ideal storage container, because it is essentially made of metal, and it would have to be a pretty tough fire to punch a hole in it. I figure that if a cell was to explode in the container, there would be enough airspace in the sealed container to prevent a catastrophic release and it is contained in the container.

    But, I have been getting second thoughts because this might be a flawed theory. Would it be safe to store such batteries in such a sealed container?
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    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    Hello Merlin,

    Your idea is only partly flawed...

    Some testing was done with several Li-Poly battery packs that were stored inside an ammo can, and then a Li-Poly pack was deliberately overcharged until it "rapidly vented with flame."

    As I remember, the ammo can was completely blown apart and the fire ball was over 6 feet high. The other packs in the ammo can were also destroyed and contributed to the fire ball.

    Now, you aren't overcharging Li-Poly packs, so I don't think a fire would have anywhere near the force with CR123 cells. Understand that you most likely can't keep the fumes from venting, but the ammo box should contain any fire unless everything goes at once.

    If you can insure that your cells don't short out against the metal box, using an ammo box should give you some protection, but it is not absolute.

    Tom
    Behind every Great man there's always a woman rolling her eyes...

    Most batteries don't die - they are tortured to near death, then murdered...

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    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    As Silverfox stated lithium cells can react fast enough to blow the can lid right off. You wouldn't think it but venting the gas is the best idea. A fire arrester is the important factor, as is containing the pieces. There is a product called a liposack it's designed to keep everything inside it while allowing the gas to vent easily.
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    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    It is a good question, and to date as far as I have read....if Lithium primary & secondary cells are stored separately, without contacting metal, nor left inside a light they have been safe.

    There are some cases where especially the softer Lithium Polymer batteries have sustained damage (i.e. a crashed RC plane or car), and would spontaneously short and explode into a high pressure, hot metal fire above 2000° F, with toxic fumes.

    The Lipo Sack is expensive, and not large enough to store a significant number of cells. It is more designed as an enclosure for specific purpose of charging Lipos.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    The ammo can is designed to be waterproof. That nice tight seal also allows pressure to build in the event something happens. If something happens to a whole stash full of batteries that pressure buildup and failure can be bad. Preventing that pressure buildup can be as simple as not latching the lid down and storing nothing on top of it. It should give before the rest of the can bursts.

    Just make sure to latch the lid before grabbing the handle on top to move it.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    Oi! To prevent the battery to metal box contact, I am using some old Surefire battery boxes (small, cardboard type) and a combination of bubble wrap. But, I might invest in some Lipo sacks. Great information!

    So should I scrap the ammo box, or go Otterbox?

    Or, buy a bombsquad detonation container?
    about:Me : 2x Surefire E2E HA with KL1-RP4 (1st gen, with SSCP4) and KL1 (stock, new gen); Surefire E2D BLK, Maglite 6 Cell LED Mod (120 Lumens), Maglite Terralux 3 D Cell. Techie by heart, survivalist in soul.

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    Flashaholic USM0083's Avatar
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    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    Drill a small hole(s) in the lid and put a rubber plug(s) in it. Tight enough to maintain the air seal, but loose enough to blow out if the internal pressure builds. You could even cover the hole with some water tight tape.

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    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    Hello Merlin,

    The bomb squad detonation container would be very safe...

    I don't see any issues with using the ammo box, as long as you are aware of its limitations.

    Tom
    Behind every Great man there's always a woman rolling her eyes...

    Most batteries don't die - they are tortured to near death, then murdered...

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    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    Hello USM,

    The particular test that I referred to earlier was to see if a vented incident could safely be vented through the wall of a garage. The ammo box that completely blew up had a 6" drier vent hooked up to it. The idea was that the explosion would be vented through the 6" hole.

    Some flames did exit via the hole, but there was still a whole lot of pressure left to blow up the ammo box.

    I don't think a couple of small holes would be adequate...

    In the open, these batteries rapidly vent. However, if you try to contain the "rapid vent," they explode.

    Tom
    Behind every Great man there's always a woman rolling her eyes...

    Most batteries don't die - they are tortured to near death, then murdered...

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    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    Quote Originally Posted by SilverFox View Post

    In the open, these batteries rapidly vent. However, if you try to contain the "rapid vent," they explode.

    I wonder if storing them in an ammo box with the lid completely removed might be best.

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    *Flashaholic* LuxLuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    Personally, I store mine in a plastic fishing tackle type of box with individually removable trays with adjustable dividers for cell size. Then that whole box gets stored in a concrete floor away from living area and anything combustable and in the event of fire, remote electric garage door would be my vent strategy.

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    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    Honestly and keep in mind this is an opinion. The danger of lithium batteries is not spontaneous destruction. In fact lithium cells are quite safe unless you are adding or removing energy from the cells. (Charge or discharge) As long as you keep the cells in a container that keeps them from shorting out they are rather harmless.

    So as a little chart, for storage this is what you need.

    1) Keep moisture and dirt out
    2) Keep the cells safe from physical shock
    3) Keep the cells within their designated operating temperatures
    4) Keep the cells from shorting out

    In my opinion the best storage solution is a plastic box with dividers to keep the cells standing up straight like you find in a fresh box of SF cells. Foam on the bottom and lid will keep them nice and safe.

    As for charging or discharging outside of a light the lipo sack is a good idea. There is little danger in storage cycling is where the danger comes from.


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    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    i like the metal garbage can, with the lid off (not the new cheap ones)
    you can start a fire in them, and it just burns ( i saw it on tv)
    you can build up quantities of explosive gas in them, and it just burns, or whooshes
    most good garbage cans have a LIP around the bottom that keeps them off the floor, so you dont melt things under em
    It doesnt get noticed by homeland security
    even a kitchen one is usually tall enough to keep battery rockets from leaving the top
    the kids usually avoid anything already in the garbage :-)
    the batteries can stretch thier legs and move around a bit, without bothering the other ones in it .
    you can charge in the bottom of one, as most chargers will fit in it
    its already in the garbage, if you have a problem with it :-)
    but the #1 reason, it's cheaper than some of the stuff they sell that doesnt seem to be as usefull.
    Last edited by VidPro; 02-23-2009 at 01:24 AM.

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    Flashaholic USM0083's Avatar
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    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    Quote Originally Posted by SilverFox View Post
    Hello USM,

    The particular test that I referred to earlier was to see if a vented incident could safely be vented through the wall of a garage. The ammo box that completely blew up had a 6" drier vent hooked up to it. The idea was that the explosion would be vented through the 6" hole.

    Some flames did exit via the hole, but there was still a whole lot of pressure left to blow up the ammo box.

    I don't think a couple of small holes would be adequate...

    In the open, these batteries rapidly vent. However, if you try to contain the "rapid vent," they explode.

    Tom
    Ouch! Maybe a couple of big holes would be in order.

    I store my batteries in a metal cash box, the type with a single plastic tray, metal hinge and a single metal latch.

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    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    Hello VidPro,

    I love it...

    Tom
    Behind every Great man there's always a woman rolling her eyes...

    Most batteries don't die - they are tortured to near death, then murdered...

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    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    Punch a hole in the ammo box and it should be ok. I've seen several videos of LiPo cells blown inside an ammo box; the blast of smoke would vent from the wire hole, and the boxes stayed in one piece. It's the pressure that blows them apart; remove it and you don't have a problem - well, relatively speaking, you still need to get rid of the toxic fumes.

    Edit: hmm, it seems I'm late. Oh well.
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  17. #17

    Buttrock Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    i know its a little bit of an overkill but i would suggest storing your lithium batteries in your fireproof safe or theft-proof safe. its the best alternative just make sure you don't store your important documents together with it in case of a venting or fire that might occur.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    Are you saying this is a bad idea?


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    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    Man, if one of those suckers light up... Well... lets just say 4th of July might come early.... heh

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    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    If you're using a metal container to store batteries, the only issue is keeping the batteries from contacting the metal of the box itself and forming a possible short. Just use some sort of liner or put everything in a plastic bag, problem solved.

    Quote Originally Posted by etc View Post
    Are you saying this is a bad idea?
    Your batteries are all separate and shielded from contact with the box, so it's fine.

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    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    I think the concern was that the ammo can will pressurize the blast, and the can will burst open, spewing forth firey flames of fire and possibly burning/red hot debris, instead of venting. Kind of like how gunpowder will burn if drawn out in a line, but explodes when compacted. In an earlier post, even an ammo can with a 6" hole cut in the side blew apart when the cells went off.

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    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    Quote Originally Posted by buickid View Post
    Kind of like how gunpowder will burn if drawn out in a line, but explodes when compacted.
    That is a good analogy. A venting cell behaves very like a firework, shooting flame out of the end. Any attempt to contain it will result in an explosion. In that sense it behaves in a similar way to black powder, except the fumes produced by a venting cell are much nastier.
    Resistance is futile...

  23. #23

    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    I use an open ammo box to store my dead and live cells. I leave it open and unlatched. I store primaries separately from rechargeables. I have found that shotgun shell cases make excellent 18650 holders.
    I also keep a fire extinguisher next to my workbench and another one room over.

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    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    All this talk about venting batteries in homes.

    Any reported incident where batteries on store shelves or in storage in a warehouse vented?

    If batteries don't vent on store shelves or warehouses, then we need to store batteries the same way.
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    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    Quote Originally Posted by ltiu View Post
    Any reported incident where batteries on store shelves or in storage in a warehouse vented?

    .
    there were 2 li-ION incidents in wherehouses i read about , in the TSA (airline safety) stuff (they were reviewing all kinds of incident reports), someone ran into them with a forklift and the other was similar.

    As many cells are in areas of landfills, the methane in the landfill combo , you would think that if it was going to be a problem, we would know, visit the dump to see the northern lights :-).
    its usually when your charging it, or do damage when it is charged.

    But lets not forget the few incidents of lithium batteries (primary usually) that self exploded in peoples homes, that were just existing in a tub or drawer, it has happened to people here.
    Last edited by VidPro; 04-29-2009 at 08:07 AM.

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    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    I am going to be purchasing a few 18650 chargers, and I will be gifting one to a friend to get him on the 18650 path to freedom. Due to the fact I want him to be *extra* safe when charging, I am going to get him an ammo box to charge the cells in. I was thinking something from this page with a large array of holes drilled in the cover would be perfect to allow gases to vent in the event of fire and contain that fire without a dangerous build-up of pressure:

    http://www.armysurpluswarehouse.com/....cfm?killnav=1

    or here:

    http://www.colemans.com/ammocan.htm

    Would this be a "safe storage solution" as well as a "safe charging solution," if ample holes were drilled in the lid to allow gases to escape?

    I would also probably put a hole in the side for the AC cord.

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    Flashaholic* Larbo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    Mistreated dangerous battery locked in a metal box.. KABOOM!!

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    Quote Originally Posted by Larbo View Post
    Mistreated dangerous battery locked in a metal box.. KABOOM!!
    Quote Originally Posted by LEDAdd1ct View Post
    I was thinking something from this page with a large array of holes drilled in the cover would be perfect to allow gases to vent in the event of fire and contain that fire without a dangerous build-up of pressure...
    No kaboom!
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  29. #29
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    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    This is what we use in the R/C world for lipos.


    http://www.maxamps.com/Lipo-Sack.htm

    They work awsome too.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Surplus Ammo Boxes as a safe storage solutions for batteries?

    I would be afraid that drilling too many holes in an ammo can would just create shrapnel in a venting situation...the fire safe or metal trash can are probably the best ideas
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