Don't put lithium batteries in your checked baggage

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Don't put lithium batteries in your checked baggage

Postby Squirrel Girl » Jan 1, 2008 9:20 am

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/ ... eries.shtm

will no longer allow loose lithium batteries in checked baggage. These batteries may continue to be packed in carry-on baggage.

Under the new DOT rule, lithium batteries are allowed in checked baggage under one of the following conditions:

The batteries must be in their original containers.
The battery terminals must not exposed (for example placing tape over the ends of the batteries).
The batteries are installed in a device.
The batteries are enclosed by themselves in a plastic bag.
Loose lithium batteries found in checked baggage may be removed.
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Re: Don't put lithium batteries in your checked baggage

Postby NZcaver » Jan 1, 2008 9:45 am

Ah, so they're not really saying "don't put lithium batteries in your checked luggage" - it's LOOSE lithiums they don't like. Still, good to know. I wonder if that's just lithiums, or lithium-ion cells as well?

I guess they're had a few battery fires/explosions caused by shorts then. Taping them up is always a good solution.
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Lithium batteries & flying: New regs

Postby karst97 » Jan 1, 2008 3:13 pm

Starting Jan. 1, airline passengers will no longer be allowed to pack loose lithium batteries in checked luggage, the U.S. Transportation Department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration warned late last week.

Instead, passengers will be required to take loose batteries with them in carry-on baggage, packed in plastic bags.

========================

They go on to mention that those installed in devices are okay to check in. They also mention rechargeable Li-Ion packs, so it's not clear which they are really targeting here, although it appears it's both types.

Interesting that the two cases they mention of problems on flights both involve rechargeable Li-Ion batteries, installed in devices...

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Re: Lithium batteries & flying: New regs

Postby wendy » Jan 1, 2008 3:28 pm

weird.

I had my helmet and apek light in my carry on coming back from Boston last year, and the TSA guy was weary of my light, so I told him I could take the batteries out if it made him feel better. They were lithium AA batteries. He remarked how light they felt, and I had to explain lithium batteries to him. This was the only time I had any trouble carrying my helmet/headlamp on a flight. I just don't think he was in the know.

So what problems were the airlines having with the batteries?
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Re: Lithium batteries & flying: New regs

Postby Squirrel Girl » Jan 1, 2008 5:02 pm

wendy wrote:So what problems were the airlines having with the batteries?

It's a fire hazard thing. If something causes the terminals to short, they can overheat and cause a fire. The fire extinguishers on planes aren't suited to that type of fire. And if the fire occurs in the baggage compartment, the fire can spread before anyone notices it.
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Re: Don't put lithium batteries in your checked baggage

Postby Squirrel Girl » Jan 1, 2008 5:21 pm

NZcaver wrote:I wonder if that's just lithiums, or lithium-ion cells as well?

There was some discussion that they had fire extinguishers to put out one, but not the other. Don't remember which is which. As per Wendy's message, I wouldn't take chances. I'd pack mine in individual baggies and take 'em carry on.
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Re: Don't put lithium batteries in your checked baggage

Postby NZcaver » Jan 2, 2008 9:22 am

Squirrel Girl wrote:
NZcaver wrote:I wonder if that's just lithiums, or lithium-ion cells as well?

There was some discussion that they had fire extinguishers to put out one, but not the other. Don't remember which is which. As per Wendy's message, I wouldn't take chances. I'd pack mine in individual baggies and take 'em carry on.

Good point. I'm thinking quantities of flaming lithium would probably require a Class D extinguisher, which is designed to suppress flammable metal fires. These are relatively rare compared with the standard BC's and ABC's for wood/paper, liquid and electrical fires. Military aircraft sometimes carry Class D handhelds, but as far as I know most commerical aircraft do not. I'm not sure of the difference in flammability between lithium and lithium-ion though.

I sometimes mail my rechargeables and other goodies in flat rate priority airmail boxes when flying domestically (saves luggage weight), so I guess I should probably tape those up batteries as well.
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Re: Don't put lithium batteries in your checked baggage

Postby Aaron Addison » Jan 2, 2008 3:40 pm

The way I read the government site (http://safetravel.dot.gov/whats_new_batteries.html) there is also a restriction on the number and total lithium weight equivalent for lith-ion batteries.....

I have to take 10 of the Sten light batteries to SE Asia early next month....DOH!!!

Does anyone know if this is going to be a problem?

Thanks-

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Re: Don't put lithium batteries in your checked baggage

Postby Squirrel Girl » Jan 2, 2008 6:12 pm

Hah, ha! The solution to this problem. All you EE types out there. One of you design, build and sell, a "useless" device that uses camera/Stenlight batteries. Make sure it's super small and lightweight. Just barely bigger than the battery itself. Then, when you have, say, 8 spare batteries, you simply buy 8 speleogadgets. Put the batteries in, and take them with you. I don't know, hook up a single, non-superbright LED to it and tell TSA/DOT that it's your emergency cave light.
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Re: Don't put lithium batteries in your checked baggage

Postby Teresa » Jan 2, 2008 7:03 pm

Just FYI--

Most cellphone batteries are Li-Ions, and they aren't cheap. If you carry a spare cell battery, you just got your heads-up. Lucky me, I fly about once a decade, and been carrying the spare in its plastic case it came in anyway.
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Re: Don't put lithium batteries in your checked baggage

Postby Squirrel Girl » Feb 4, 2008 2:28 pm

So, I came back from my project in the Guads. I had a lot to do to and didn't get my stuff packed up as neatly as going back. The pelican case with the special camera had two giant batteries in it. I'd lost the ziplock. I sent it through the carry-on Xray. They flagged it. They opened the case. They asked me what those squarish thingies were. I said, "They're batteries. Would you like me to put them in a baggie?" They responded, "No, we just weren't sure what they were."

:doh:
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Re: Don't put lithium batteries in your checked baggage

Postby Mark620 » Mar 16, 2008 12:16 am

I think allowing LI-Ion batteries in carry-on luggage is a BIG mistake...
They should ALL be in baggage in the luggage compartment.
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Re: Don't put lithium batteries in your checked baggage

Postby NZcaver » Mar 16, 2008 12:37 am

Mark620 wrote:I think allowing LI-Ion batteries in carry-on luggage is a BIG mistake...
They should ALL be in baggage in the luggage compartment.

Why?

(I'm just asking - not necessarily disagreeing.)
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Re: Don't put lithium batteries in your checked baggage

Postby Mark620 » Mar 17, 2008 5:21 pm

NZcaver wrote:Why?

(I'm just asking - not necessarily disagreeing.)


I will only reply to this by PM
I had not better see anyone post the answer in the open forum.
PM sent
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Re: Don't put lithium batteries in your checked baggage

Postby Squirrel Girl » Mar 17, 2008 6:27 pm

Mark620 wrote:
NZcaver wrote:Why?

(I'm just asking - not necessarily disagreeing.)


I will only reply to this by PM
I had not better see anyone post the answer in the open forum.
PM sent

What's going on? You're certainly welcome to have private views you don't want posted publicly, but if you post up *publicly* and emphatically that something is a certain way, then decline to provide any reasoning, it looks kinda odd and begs questioning.

What gives?
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