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FORUMS General Gear Talk Camera Bags, Backpacks & Cases 
Thread started 03 Sep 2016 (Saturday) 21:01
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Carrying - Batteries

 
Chris.R
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Sep 03, 2016 21:01 |  #1

Recent FAA rules have restricted the carrying of Llithium /Li Ion batteries on aircraft.
Broadly it's NO spare batteries in hold baggage, and only a max of 2 or 4 (depending where you read) allowed in cabin baggage.

If they're in the appliance (like a phone) then they don't count as spare/loose so can go in the hold.


Even apart from the recent new Samsung phone there are plenty of videos online of "what can happen" (subtext - "especially with grey market copies which many of us use").

For me, with differing cameras, 2 spares isn't enough!

Has anyone had batteries hauled out of luggage?

It would be possible to argue that batteries in Camera Grips, which typically hold two camera batteries, are appliances therefore can go in hold baggage. Authorities/inspectors may not agree, of course.

Accepting that there is a risk even in cabin bags, I imagine that partly or fully discharged batteries would be safer, as the potential short curcuit current, gas pressure etc, would be lower. I would expect fully charged cheap batteries, subjected to low hold pressure, could be most at risk.

The only partial alternative I can think of is to use a ton of AA NiMH batteries in camera grips. They have less power density though, so I'd want a lot, which would also raise concerns. And not an option for compacts.




  
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John ­ from ­ PA
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Post edited over 3 years ago by John from PA. (7 edits in all)
     
Sep 04, 2016 05:28 |  #2

Chris.R wrote in post #18116122 (external link)
Recent FAA rules have restricted the carrying of Llithium /Li Ion batteries on aircraft.
Broadly it's NO spare batteries in hold baggage, and only a max of 2 or 4 (depending where you read) allowed in cabin baggage.

As far as the maximum number of batteries, have you recently traveled and experienced an issue? The FAA does limit the number in one instance, but it is for batteries exceeding a certain size, meaning electrical "capacity". The exact statement (from an FAA source) reads

With airline approval, devices can contain larger lithium ion batteries (101-160 watt hours per battery), but spares of this size are
limited to two batteries in carry-on baggage only.

The typical Wasabi LP-E6 is 2600 mAh and the Canon version, as I recall is 1800 mAh. Note in particular that these ratings are mAh and have to be converted to get the "watt-hours" in the FAA statement. So the Wasabi LP-E6 is 18.7 watt-hours and the Canon 13 watt-hours [NOTE: I've corrected my original math]. No where do I see a maximum number of batteries on the "smaller" capacity types. The terminals have to be protected. I use the manufacturer provided covers. Two of my batteries don't have any covers and I carry them in a soap dish I bought from Target.

As far as "Quantity", the source at https://www.faa.gov …afety/more_info​/?hazmat=7 (external link) specifically states

Quantity limits: None for most batteries – but batteries must be for use by the passenger.

The links below are good resources.

https://www.faa.gov …afety/more_info​/?hazmat=7 (external link)

http://phmsa.dot.gov/s​afetravel/batteries (external link)

As far as the state of charge, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) covers the shipment of batteries by freight methods, not by a passenger. However, they state the following, as of April 1st 2016:

...standalone lithium ion batteries (UN 3480) can only be shipped by air at a state of charge (SoC) not exceeding 30% of the battery’s rated capacity. The 30 percent SoC limit applies to Section 1A, 1B, and II of Packing Instruction 965.

I emphasize this applies to batteries shipped by freight and not carried by a passenger. It might be reasonable to adhere to this guideline, within practical limitations (how do you discharge 6 batteries for example?).




  
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iazybandit
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Sep 04, 2016 19:48 |  #3

I think the battery rule is more referring to battery packs. Like the ones that charges your cellphone, tablets, etc.

I carried my gripped camera with 2 battery, battery pack with 8 AA batteries and charging battery packs with no issues. I've also carried my gear with a slew of batteries for work and no issues.


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lar55
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Sep 04, 2016 20:01 |  #4

John from PA wrote in post #18116363 (external link)
As far as the maximum number of batteries, have you recently traveled and experienced an issue? The FAA does limit the number in one instance, but it is for batteries exceeding a certain size, meaning electrical "capacity". The exact statement (from an FAA source) reads

The typical Wasabi LP-E6 is 2600 mAh and the Canon version, as I recall is 1800 mAh. Note in particular that these ratings are mAh and have to be divided by 1000 to get the "watt-hours" in the FAA statement. So the Wasabi LP-E6 is 2.6 watt-hours and the Canon 1.8 watt-hours. No where do I see a maximum number of batteries on the "smaller" capacity types. The terminals have to be protected. I use the manufacturer provided covers. Two of my batteries don't have any covers and I carry them in a soap dish I bought from Target.
...

Your conclusion is correct (these batteries are not large enough to be of concern), but the math should be: (watt hours) = (amp hours) * (voltage), so a Canon LP-E6 is 1800 mAh at 7.2 V = 13 Wh, which is in fact printed on the battery.




  
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John ­ from ­ PA
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Sep 04, 2016 20:39 |  #5

lar55 wrote in post #18117073 (external link)
Your conclusion is correct (these batteries are not large enough to be of concern), but the math should be: (watt hours) = (amp hours) * (voltage), so a Canon LP-E6 is 1800 mAh at 7.2 V = 13 Wh, which is in fact printed on the battery.

I knew there was a reason I decided on Mechanical Engineering in college instead of being an "EE". :-P




  
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Wilt
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Sep 05, 2016 00:58 |  #6

The amount of lithium in the battery is related to the risk. The watt hours (Wh) which a particular battery provides can be checked by multiplying the milliamp hours (mAh) * volts (V, and lithium content is approximately 8 grams per 100 watt hours.

Most lithium ion batteries currently available to consumers have a power output below 100 watt-hours and the number of these that can be carried in passenger baggage when installed in equipment is not limited.
A small number of large / extended life laptop batteries and some batteries used for powering professional A-V equipment have ratings of 160 watt-hours and are usually restricted to a maximum of two per passenger.


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Sep 05, 2016 03:34 |  #7

Aircraft cargo fire suppression systems will have absolutely no effect on a thermal runaway scenario that would result from a rupturing lithium battery.

For that reason the requirement and limit to in cabin carriage exist.

In the event of a thermal event in the aircraft cabin, the cabin crew can 'fight' this type of fire far more effectively than the halon bottles in the underfloor cargo area.

Most airlines will not carry lithium batteries as freight, because of the inherently higher risk associated with a lithium battery fire.

One such fire has already destroyed a B747 freighter inflight, killing the crew. It took less than 15 minutes.


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Chris.R
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Sep 05, 2016 04:31 |  #8

Thanks @John from PA for digging into it.

There's quite a lot of confusion out there - some of it mine!

Yes the "2" figure does relate to larger batteries which would rarely concern photographers, though some Power Banks and external supplies for flash systems would be big enough. Many Power Banks have grossly overstated capacities - a double reason for not buying them.

The "4" figure came from an individual airline's notes. I've been looking at several; some refer to FAA, some to CAA. I've seen limits quoted for small carry-on batteries as as "No restriction", "20" and "4". Some state that batteries must be in accordance with stipulation XYZ - which one would never be able to prove.

In the past I have had batteries hauled out and complained about, (Libya, an Indian military airport, and Zimbabwe) in one case I handed over some AA Alkalines, (probably because the guy wanted some for himself).

I also checked whether I could post some ahead, as I'm starting a trip from a farm in the middle of Africa. No, forbidden!


I suspect that sooner or later there will be a serious fire from a carried-on battery, which will create a strong reaction.




  
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WaterBoy2090
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Sep 05, 2016 05:25 |  #9

Chris.R wrote in post #18117379 (external link)
I suspect that sooner or later there will be a serious fire from a carried-on battery, which will create a strong reaction.

Has already, 17 events to date;

https://www.atsb.gov.a​u …sponse-to-smoking-device/ (external link)


Here's a sample of 2 of them;

https://www.atsb.gov.a​u …ts/2016/aair/ao​-2016-051/ (external link)

https://www.atsb.gov.a​u …ts/2014/aair/ao​-2014-082/ (external link)

How to travel safely with batteries;

https://www.casa.gov.a​u …avelling-safely-batteries (external link)


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Sep 05, 2016 07:47 |  #10

I have a phantom 3 and I also have 4 batteries. This makes me wonder how I saw a guy traveling with a phantom 3 one day at the airport. I was dropping my daughter off and the kid (late teens) was wearing the phantom 3 backpack. Those batteries are rated 4480 mAh @ 15.2v = 68Whrs. this falls under the 100Wh rule but still having 4 of them in a bag is the same potential as carrying 20 LP-E6 batteries.


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Wilt
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Sep 05, 2016 07:47 |  #11

WaterBoy2090 wrote in post #18117393 (external link)
How to travel safely with batteries;

https://www.casa.gov.a​u …avelling-safely-batteries (external link)

One will see that these recommendations conform exactly to what I have stated in Post #6


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WaterBoy2090
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Sep 05, 2016 08:21 |  #12

Wilt wrote in post #18117449 (external link)
One will see that these recommendations conform exactly to what I have stated in Post #6

100% Agree! Particularly as the fine print of any airline ticket states that it is your responsibility to comply with the governing dangerous goods legislation.

(In purchasing the ticket you've agreed to this too.)

Failure to do this can result in significant fines and convictions, including imprisonment.

The last place you want a lithium battery fire is 10km above the earth in a pressurised, flammable tube, surrounded by even more flammable oxygen bottles, jet fuel & hydraulic fluid.


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Wilt
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Sep 05, 2016 08:40 |  #13

And while lithium batteries smaller than 100Wh are not regulated, it does NOT take a very large battery at all to start a fire! I purchased a small 3.7Wh lithium battery (the label on the battery states its capacity) to replace the old one in an old Palm Pilot that I like to still use. I put it in a wooden file cabinet used for stowage of assorted bits and items, and forgot about it for some months. One night it somehow shorted and caused a flame, which melted assorted plastic things and which left soot all over the interior of the drawer, with clear evidence that flame had been present...from a tiny 3.7Wh battery, not a 100-160Wh one! My wife and I are lucky that the wooden file cabinet contained the flame well enough and the encapsulated smoke snuffed out the flame before it burned the surroundings and the rest of our house.


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drmaxx
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Sep 05, 2016 08:54 as a reply to  @ Wilt's post |  #14

@Wilt: Your post is a double WOW! Firstly, having a battery fire in the closet is really scary - glad nothing really bad happened. Secondly, you must be the last person on earth still using a Palm Pilot:lol: Wow.
 :p


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Wilt
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Sep 05, 2016 08:55 |  #15

drmaxx wrote in post #18117518 (external link)
@Wilt: Your post is a double WOW! Firstly, having a battery fire in the closet is really scary - glad nothing really bad happened. Secondly, you must be the last person on earth still using a Palm Pilot:lol: Wow.
 :p

No I am not the last person, a person I work with also has one!
I do have to admit that having the gigantic screen smartphone which cannot fit your pocket makes continued use of the smaller Palm Pilot a dubious need, however.

A tiny 3.7Wh battery perhaps burning down our house was a real eye opener. Needless to say, all such lithium batterys are now carefully bagged individually in insulating plastic bags which will prevent inadvertant shorting of its terminals.


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Carrying - Batteries
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