Battery Fire.

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Choppa66   10 W

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Battery Fire.

Post by Choppa66 » Nov 24 2018 7:57pm

Hi, I don't know if any if you guys have watched or follow a guy on YouTube called Rich Rebuilds? He fixes and rebuilds damaged or written off Tesla cars. In his latest videos he has put a couple of Tesla battery packs in an old electric kids car...as you do...just to make it faster!! Anyway all was going well until for some reason the packs caught fire in his friends garage...well to say the least the resulting fire and batterys exploding was like something out of a war zone...like a Chinese firework factory going up!! Now I thought these were 18650 cells in Tesla cars?? Correct me if im wrong and everybody says how safe they are compared to lipos etc ...and no doubt they are..i have seen lipo fires and not good....but I have never seen lipos shooting up in the air like rockets and bouncing off the roof!! Anyway good to watch if anyone has any doubts about the dangers of batteries!!

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Re: Battery Fire.

Post by Tommm » Nov 24 2018 8:03pm

They bypassed the BMS and overcharged it.

A spoon can be dangerous depending on how you use it.

Choppa66   10 W

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Re: Battery Fire.

Post by Choppa66 » Nov 24 2018 8:13pm

Hahaha...yeah i guess. :) I'm thinking maybe because the 18650s are in a metal case when they vented the case split and acted a bit like a rocket and that's why they shot up in the air?? Whereas lipos tend to just swell up then vent? Either way wouldn't fancy that happening to a battery pack strapped between my legs! :lol:

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neptronix   100 GW

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Re: Battery Fire.

Post by neptronix » Nov 24 2018 8:34pm

18650 or pouch cell doesn't matter so much.
An 18650 made by a major manufacturer tends to have muuuuuuch better quality control than cheap RC Lipo packs though.

But there are the same potentially explosive materials inside of both formats.

RC Lipos got their reputation for being firebombs from a lot of people doing stupid things with them, sans BMSes, and sans doing quality control after being shipped ( cycle graphing ) .

I tried to teach people the right way to handle RC Lipos but the same mistakes are being made with 18650's, despite the 18650 datasheets actually coming with complete specs and warnings.

These guys are learning things the hard way :P
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MadRhino   100 GW

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Re: Battery Fire.

Post by MadRhino » Nov 24 2018 10:21pm

An idiot can set fire to any battery.

Then, Tesla cells and RC lipo are the same chemistry I believe: LiCo
Round cells being in a casing is making them safer from being damaged or punctured, but once they started to burn, casing restriction can only make it worse. That is why round cells manufacturers are very strict about specs and limitations of their products.

Cheap RC lipo does require conservative usage too, but low impedance high quality prismatic cells are extremely tolerant nowadays. My new RC lipo battery can be carged in 5 minutes yet keeping cool. Such fast charging would have been plain stupid only a few years ago.

In a few years, EV batteries will be safer. Today, safety relies only on precise managing and monitoring.
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.
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dogman dan   100 GW

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Re: Battery Fire.

Post by dogman dan » Nov 25 2018 7:47am

I'm proof of that. A "safe" bms protected 18650 pack charging in my garage did this to my house.

I was an idiot to trust that thing in my garage. As we were getting the dogs out of the burning house, it sounded just like gunfire in the garage, as about 300 18650 cells popped off.
P2110075.JPG

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Re: Battery Fire.

Post by mark5 » Nov 25 2018 12:48pm

Rich Rebuilds: My first Tesla Battery Fire (skip to 3:00)
https://youtu.be/WdDi1haA71Q?t=180

Tommm   10 kW

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Re: Battery Fire.

Post by Tommm » Nov 25 2018 3:13pm

dogman dan wrote:
Nov 25 2018 7:47am
I'm proof of that. A "safe" bms protected 18650 pack charging in my garage did this to my house.

I was an idiot to trust that thing in my garage. As we were getting the dogs out of the burning house, it sounded just like gunfire in the garage, as about 300 18650 cells popped off.
P2110075.JPG
What did you do wrong for it to go on fire?

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brumbrum   100 kW

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Re: Battery Fire.

Post by brumbrum » Nov 25 2018 3:58pm

Its very weird why the video footage is edited at 3.14. You see a charging cable at 3.13 and then there's a little blip and it's gone. Why would they want to edit out the fact it was charging?
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Choppa66   10 W

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Re: Battery Fire.

Post by Choppa66 » Nov 25 2018 6:41pm

dogman dan wrote:
Nov 25 2018 7:47am
I'm proof of that. A "safe" bms protected 18650 pack charging in my garage did this to my house.

I was an idiot to trust that thing in my garage. As we were getting the dogs out of the burning house, it sounded just like gunfire in the garage, as about 300 18650 cells popped off.
P2110075.JPG
I'm pleased you all got out ok,must have been devastating for you and your family. Makes you wonder how much damage that rich rebuilds fire could have done if those guys were not there to push the thing outside! I think that building would have been gutted!!

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Re: Battery Fire.

Post by NickF23 » Nov 25 2018 10:08pm

I think Tesla cells are more dangerous than other 18650 cells because they don't have ptc or thermal cutout, this doesn't matter when they are in a module with fuses, bms and cooling system, but when removed they are at least as dangerous as lipo and should be handled with due respect.

https://batterybro.com/blogs/18650-whol ... pcb-vs-cid
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Hwy89   1 kW

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Re: Battery Fire.

Post by Hwy89 » Nov 25 2018 10:30pm

brumbrum wrote:
Nov 25 2018 3:58pm
Its very weird why the video footage is edited at 3.14. You see a charging cable at 3.13 and then there's a little blip and it's gone. Why would they want to edit out the fact it was charging?
Good catch BB, I wish they had given a little more info on the conditions leading up to the fire. I am currently 1200 miles from home with a damaged Tesla module in the back of my van. The video gives me something to think about as I drive.

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Re: Battery Fire.

Post by Volt_Ampere » Nov 26 2018 9:37pm

I saw this and I wish there was more to explain what they were doing to the batteries when they went off. They said they had no BMS but they don't say how they were charging these modules. My guess is that they severely overcharged them.

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MadRhino   100 GW

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Re: Battery Fire.

Post by MadRhino » Nov 27 2018 10:18am

Volt_Ampere wrote:
Nov 26 2018 9:37pm
I saw this and I wish there was more to explain what they were doing to the batteries when they went off. They said they had no BMS but they don't say how they were charging these modules. My guess is that they severely overcharged them.
Most battery fires are during charge.
Most have a BMS
Almost all of them are slow charging without supervision.

Want to be the safest with LiCo chemistry?

-Buy low impedance, high quality cells.
-Charge them fast enough that you are never tempted to leave them charging alone.
-Unplug them off anything when at rest, charged to 3.8v per cell, sleeping in a fresh safe place. (a small bar fridge is perfect)
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.
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neptronix   100 GW

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Re: Battery Fire.

Post by neptronix » Nov 27 2018 2:12pm

Don't expect details from them. These guys are not electrical engineers.
In fact, they did a couple fake tesla fire videos in the past, just as clickbait.

Not a good source.
"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive." - Dalai Lama

My first major build: 1.6kW 8T MAC motor on a Trek 4500.
The new all-arounder: Leafmotor 1500w @ 4kW on a Turner O2 full suspension.
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Re: Battery Fire.

Post by billvon » Nov 27 2018 2:17pm

MadRhino wrote:
Nov 27 2018 10:18am
-Buy low impedance, high quality cells.
-Charge them fast enough that you are never tempted to leave them charging alone.
-Unplug them off anything when at rest, charged to 3.8v per cell, sleeping in a fresh safe place. (a small bar fridge is perfect)
I would also add - CHARGE OUTSIDE! A fire in your house is so much worse than a fire just outside your house. You cannot put out a lithium ion fire - but you can make sure your house doesn't catch fire as a result.
--bill von

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MadRhino   100 GW

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Re: Battery Fire.

Post by MadRhino » Nov 27 2018 8:07pm

I charge inside a garage. Batteries don’t catch fire when you are there monitoring. Lico chemistry is aggressive, but the process of catching fire is slow enough that you can stop it. That is why I consider the most important rule is to never let them charging out of your immediate presence. They first heat, then they smell, then they start burning. Plenty of time to stop charging, unplug and carry them outside until they are cooled down and can be tested.

Puncture can start a fire quickly, the only situation that you might not have time to carry them outside before they can cause some damage. Some might believe puncture can only be caused by accident or stupid mistake, but puncture can also be caused by animals. A mouse chewing a corner of a lipo brick can burn your house. That is why it is important to store them in a fire safe place.

You can extinguish an RC lipo fire with cheap compaction sand or stone dust, ideally 4 bags for 1 kwh. That is something I keep by the garage door.

Lico chemistry is not for distracted people. One need to be conscious and careful at all times. I don’t trust a BMS to replace my own consciousness. I don’t trust a BMS at all, to be left plugged on my batteries at rest. They can be considered stable, only when they are unplugged of anything, charged to storage voltage, resting at adequate temperature in a fire safe place.
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E-HP   100 kW

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Re: Battery Fire.

Post by E-HP » Nov 27 2018 8:49pm

billvon wrote:
Nov 27 2018 2:17pm
I would also add - CHARGE OUTSIDE! A fire in your house is so much worse than a fire just outside your house. You cannot put out a lithium ion fire - but you can make sure your house doesn't catch fire as a result.
When you charge outside, how do you do it? I'm thinking of doing the same to reduce the risk of burning down my house, and was going to put the battery in my old Weber grill to protect it from the weather, and try to contain the situation if something bad happens (I'm not sure how violent a battery meltdown can be).

This thread really feeds my paranoia, being new to e-bikes and batteries, but has a good helpful info. I've only charged my battery 4 times since I got it, once in the garage where I watched it while working there, once outside my back door, which I also monitored, and the last couple of times in my garage with me going downstairs every half hour to check on it. I ordered a IP camera to put in the garage, so I can watch it when I'm upstairs, which I'm planning on using when I charge in the garage.

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MadRhino   100 GW

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Re: Battery Fire.

Post by MadRhino » Nov 27 2018 9:01pm

E-HP wrote:
Nov 27 2018 8:49pm
...in my garage with me going downstairs every half hour to check on it. I ordered a IP camera to put in the garage, so I can watch it when I'm upstairs, which I'm planning on using when I charge in the garage.
You have bad habits already. You are asking for a fire.

I charge in a garage. My 2 power supplies are too powerful to plug on the same 240v circuit. My battery does charge so fast that the voltmeter is rising like a fuel gauge during refuel. Yet, I am much safer than you, because I am right there monitoring carefully.

Your IP camera... will it transmit the smell?
Adopt safe habits, or use a safer chemistry.
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.
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E-HP   100 kW

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Re: Battery Fire.

Post by E-HP » Nov 27 2018 9:37pm

MadRhino wrote:
E-HP wrote:
Nov 27 2018 8:49pm
...in my garage with me going downstairs every half hour to check on it. I ordered a IP camera to put in the garage, so I can watch it when I'm upstairs, which I'm planning on using when I charge in the garage.
You have bad habits already. You are asking for a fire.

I charge in a garage. My 2 power supplies are too powerful to plug on the same 240v circuit. My battery does charge so fast that the voltmeter is rising like a fuel gauge during refuel. Yet, I am much safer than you, because I am right there monitoring carefully.

Your IP camera... will it transmit the smell?
Adopt safe habits, or use a safer chemistry.
Thanks, don’t want to develop bad habits. How about using the camera to monitor outdoor charging? I have other hobbies that involve volatile materials, that I want to charge as far away from my garage as possible, even if I’m there anyway. How may feet from the house would be safe? I have a broken mini fridge if that offers additional containment outdoors, if throwing it in my old Weber isn’t enough.

My charger is pretty slow, so I’d like to avoid having to watch the battery charge for 4+ hours each time.


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MadRhino   100 GW

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Re: Battery Fire.

Post by MadRhino » Nov 27 2018 9:54pm

Charging outside is OK, as long as the weather does keep within lico operating temperature. You don’t even need to monitor if they are safely contained. I have been charging outside, on the bike parked by a bare stone wall, when I was using lower C rate lipo. Just make sure there is nothing valuable to burn close by, and close the door/cover of your charging box. It could be close to the house and perfectly safe.

A charcoal BBQ is all right, a fridge too. You could just assemble cement blocks and cover them with a steel sheet. I like the fridge because I can set it to ideal storage temperature, to keep the batteries that are not in use.
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.
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Re: Battery Fire.

Post by billvon » Nov 27 2018 10:00pm

E-HP wrote:
Nov 27 2018 8:49pm
When you charge outside, how do you do it?
Here in Socal I just wheel the bike outside. Sometimes (rain etc) I charge it just inside the garage with the door open, on the theory that it is then fairly easy to remove quickly if needed. I charge in the mornings before I leave for work so we have lots of 'eyes on' (and noses on) to detect problems.

I am also doing some work on larger batteries for home energy storage, and for those I use a jobsite toolbox, which is a big lockable metal box, on a concrete pad next to the house. It won't "keep the fire inside" or anything but should contain the pieces from any explosion, and make it easier to protect the house with a hose.
I'm thinking of doing the same to reduce the risk of burning down my house, and was going to put the battery in my old Weber grill to protect it from the weather, and try to contain the situation if something bad happens (I'm not sure how violent a battery meltdown can be).
Plenty of videos to demonstrate that!
--bill von

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E-HP   100 kW

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Re: Battery Fire.

Post by E-HP » Nov 27 2018 10:37pm

Thanks guys, great advice. I'm in NorCal, by the bay, so the weather is always moderate, and I probably won't be riding during the times that it isn't. It will be outdoors for me, on the bike for now, until I fabricate a mount that allows me to remove the battery more easily that what I have now. The cement block idea makes a lot of sense and seems like it would offer good containment.

At some point, I may need to invest in one of those super fast chargers, but probably for my next bike :confused:

EDIT: OK, got the IP camera mounted by the back door of the garage, and the battery charging on the bike, in the backyard. Plus, found a use for an old tablet that was sitting in my junk box :bigthumb:

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Last edited by E-HP on Dec 02 2018 3:09pm, edited 1 time in total.

sporgo   1 µW

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Re: Battery Fire.

Post by sporgo » Nov 28 2018 4:44pm

People using a fridge to contain a battery fire must have never seen one burn. They burn super hot and the foam insulation produces some of the blackest most horrible smoke you can imagine. Even if you house doesn't catch fire you'll never get that smell out.

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Re: Battery Fire.

Post by markz » Nov 28 2018 7:39pm

That video is most likely staged to get more clicks.
I would like to see them inspecting each cell, doing testing, and reassembling it back into a pack.
Someone mentioned Rich buys and rebuilds totalled Tesla's. What damage was on the vehicle that battery came out of?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdDi1haA71Q

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