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Author Topic: Safe LiPo Charging...  (Read 149 times)

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Offline RogMason

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Safe LiPo Charging...
« on: September 02, 2017, 08:12:06 am »

Since Rob D had his LiPo burn situation and nearly lost his house, I have been thinking of  safe ways to charge LiPo's, without having to 'be in attendance' while they charge. (I worry about them charging in the garage unattended) Considerations were, fire proof document safes, steel filing cabinets, vented Ammo boxes, commercially available 'Bat-Safe ($60 USD ea for one battery at a time) etc.
Rob suggested he might try using his BBQ as a safe container/housing for the batteries whilst they charge. Great suggestion Rob! If the BBQ can't withstand a LiPo burn, what can?  Of course, the BBQ might get wrecked but better than your house? 

Problem:
Convenience is important, because if it isn't convenient, we are unlikely to use this method.  Getting the charger, the rat's nest of dangling wires and 120v cable in and out of the BBQ is the issue here. 
Here's one inexpensive, quick and convenient solution that might work for you or inspire other ideas: 

Materials needed:
- Cookie sheet from Dollarama - $4.00
- Storage basket from Dollarama - $4.00
- Nylon cable ties - Dollarama $1.00
- 16" extended battery charging leads - Pinnacle ~$15 ea
- 8" extended balance lead extensions - Pinnacle ~$13 ea
- Two small wedges or spacers - various

Method:
- Position the charger and the storage basket on the cookie sheet, test the length and position of the extended leads
- With everything loosely in position, use a sharpie and mark two adjacent holes either side of the wire frame at each corner of the storage basket
- Drill and de-burr the holes in the cookie tray, sufficient to clear the width of your cable ties of choice
- Attach storage basket and loom the charge and balance leads using additional cable ties
- Carry whole assembly to BBQ, place on rack and close the lid.  (protect the 120v power cable with the wedges placed either side).
- Power up (maybe using an extension cord) and 'Bob's yer Uncle'

Before proceeding - Safety Considerations:
- My BBQ is natural gas, so the gas supply and shut-off tap is several feet away from the BBQ itself. It is also placed adjacent to a brick wall.
- If the BBQ in question is Propane fed, I imagine that a LiPo fire would be similar to a bad fat, flare-up and that BBQ's are designed to contain the flames inside the casing, while protecting the propane feed line.  (Input from Bruce - our built-in, ex Fire Marshall, would be appreciated here)
- This is a suggestion, NOT a proven, tested solution. Please proceed at your own risk

(See attached photos)

Voila! Worry-free/safe LiPo charging for (in my case) up to 4 batteries at a time.

(Guys... grilling ribs at the same time as charging batteries is not recommended!)

 


'Roger That...'

Offline bweaver

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Re: Safe LiPo Charging...
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2017, 09:02:46 am »
Roger, you didn't say what temperature you set the BBQ at?

All kidding aside, the handling, care and charging of lipo batteries is serious business and shouldn't be taken lightly.  Rob and Frank have first hand experiences with the serious outcomes that can occur when charging or discharging your batteries contribute to a fire in your home.  Dr. J has also had one catch fire, but was able to mitigate the damage because it was detected early.  To me, this means that within our small group of club members, there has been (in my view) a significant percentage of fire incidents occurring involving this activity.

Roger, I applaud you for your ingenuity and determination in taking your home and families' safety most seriously.

Just a reminder to those people who don't take charging their lipo batteries seriously, 'good luck', because that's what you will need.

EVERYONE - Test your smoke alarms regularly and have an escape plan.

Offline BJROB

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Re: Safe LiPo Charging...
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2017, 11:34:32 am »
Great Idea Roger
I was actually thinking of something similar with my old propane BBQ.
and I can park it farther away from the house.
Bruce reminded us to check and use our smoke alarms regularly.
Well you know save that old smoke alarm (10year life) or get a new one and mount it either on  the basket or as in my case to the BBQ (inside)
just in case there is a reaction to the liPo  it will give you a heads up
 
My Work??? is so secret....
I Don't even Know what I'm Doing!!!

Offline octagon

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Re: Safe LiPo Charging...
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2017, 12:00:44 pm »
Hey Rog,
Great looking setup, and good for you for taking the time and effort to share your idea. I am lucky (although as you point out it nearly cost me my house to figure it out) to have an old side box smoker that is never used for cooking anymore. It is pretty weatherproof so charging in the rain is not an issue, and if the worst did happen  a fire would be contained. I use the smaller side box to store the charged batteries until they are transferred to an ammo box or bag or whatever. I use the same bbq to discharge batteries when I need to.
What could possibly go wrong?

Offline RogMason

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Re: Safe LiPo Charging...
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2017, 10:37:46 pm »
Hey Rob,
It was your brilliant suggestion of using a BBQ that solves this problem for me. So simple. Adding a tray and basket makes it easy and convenient to carry to and from the BBQ.  As my BBQ is still used as such, I have to have a way to convert it to and from a BBQ and /or battery charging station.

Now I rest easy when my LiPo's are charging.
'Roger That...'