BATTERY ALERT - WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW SERIOUS SAFETY HAZARD! LITHIUM BATTERIES ALL Lithium batteries are classified as “Hazardous”.
There is a serious safety issue concerning the use, and particularly the transporting of batteries
constructed with re-chargeable lithium ion cells. New regulations specific to the transportation
of lithium ion rechargeable cells and batteries that are constructed with them became effective
These are strict safety requirements introduced by IATA, DOT and other associated
Government bodies, worldwide. For reference refer to the IATA Dangerous Goods regulations
49CFR173.185 as well as packaging instructions 903 & 912. A quick check on the web will confirm
what we are telling you. Input “lithium safety regulations” under search and pages and pages will
Lithium is a HAZARDOUS PRODUCT - and as such transportation is subjected to strict
regulation. Avoidance or attempt to contravene those regulations will result in incredibly heavy
fines by Civil Aviation Authorities and Departments of Transport. The danger is REAL when a
lithium battery is subjected to strong impact or shocks, it will get HOT. IGNITE or worse . EXPLODE. Serious accidents, personal injuries and fires have already been recorded.
Discharged or over-discharged batteries present the same dangers - no-one wants to be
responsible for bringing down a passenger or freight airline.
This means that batteries constructed using any form of lithium ion in excess of small quantities
of lithium are restricted and may not be transported by airlines. There are some exceptions for
small consumer lithium batteries, such as lap-top computers, cell phones and calculators and
similar, provided that the lithium content does not exceed the allowable aggregate equivalent
lithium content which may not exceed more than 8 grams per battery or a total of 25 grams for
NO lithium ion batteries manufactured for the professional Film and Video industry with a
rated ampere hour capacity of 5 or 6 Ah or more are able to qualify or meet these new
regulations. To calculate the approximate amount of lithium content in a battery multiply the
rated capacity of the battery by 0.3 then multiply by the number of cells in the battery pack:
Camera requiring 12 Volts 10 Ah capacity batteries would require
4 cel s = max. 16.8 V - min. 10.8 V = 14.4 volts nominal = 12 grams lithium
Camera requiring 24 Volts 10 Ah capacity batteries would require
8 cells = max. 33.6 Volts - min. 21.6 Volts = 28.8 nominal = 24 grams lithium
There is a lot of nonsense spoken about this but the true facts are particularly clear. We hope
that this information should clarify the transportation myths and legends.
Simply you can’t travel with them! Freight forwarding has impossible restrictions!
IF you do determine that use of Lithium ion batteries is the way you are going be sure that you
fully follow the regulations for shipping and that your batteries meet the new testing, marking,
packaging, labelling and shipping paper specifications. These new regulations are incorporated
into the ICAO Technical instructions (2003 - 2004 Edition), IATA Dangerous Goods Regulation -
44 Edition, the IMDG Code as well as the US HMR pursuant to the final rule by RSPA! Failure to
follow regulations have horrendous fines, which are additive and multiple fines may be imposed
for single shipments of cells or batteries that have a combination of testing, packaging, labelling
or other violations! Fines start at $27 500.=
On the TECHNICAL FRONT, from a users point of view, for applications requiring more voltage
and amps, such as 24 volts or more, for film cameras requiring 8 amps or more, present Lithium
ion batteries are not proving to be a reliable source of portable power. They do have serious Lithium ion batteries cannot deliver continuous high power:
Performance is limited. Presently the highest rated ampere hour cells are not more than 5 or
6Ah. Which means that a camera requiring 8 amps or more will cause the Lithium ion battery to
“de-rate” and be unable to deliver the capacity anticipated, whether or not the cells have been
“doubled-up” into a higher stated rating. Precise 12 - 24 or 30 Volt capacity batteries cannot be achieved:
Lithium cells are only available in 3.6 (nominal) rated voltage. The multiplication maths just
Tricky! Safety protections really do rely on 100% performance of all electronic components!
Each lithium ion cell has to be individually monitored - the slighest failure will result in disaster.
Charging is not very “fast” and re-charging requires sophisticated charging technology; each
voltage requires it’s own dedicated charge system (no more universal 1 charger for all); they
cannot be stored in a “flat” state - they will “die”;
Only “49 CFR” certified persons can handle lithium ion batteries, this certification has to be
Lithium ion batteries cannot be stored in a discharged condition.
Lithium ion batteries are extremely expensive. Very, very expensive in relation to the
performance expectations, management and associated difficulties.
There are, nowadays, other more reliable, non hazardous batteries available, all with high
capacity and more reliable in the longer term and often not so expensive.
This Report was compiled by Elemer and Diane Nyiry, of Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom.
Regulation reference sources are stated in the text above.
MAYANK S. PATHAK, M.D. CURRICULUM VITAE , EDUCATION: UNDERGRADUATE: Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania B.A., Chemistry; Minor, Studio Art; 1987 MEDICAL SCHOOL: George Washington University, School of Medicine, Washington, D.C. M.D. 1991 TRAINING: RESIDENCY, NEUROLOGY: University of California, Irvine Medical Center; Orange, California, and V.A.
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