Lipo Fire

Discussion in 'Electronics' started by FlyteTime, Nov 20, 2017.

  1. FlyteTime

    FlyteTime Ace Pilot

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    Had a bit of excitement just a little while ago. :eek: I have an Arrma Raider XL BLX buggy that I haven't used in a while so I decided to break it out and give it a go. I inserted my brand new Zippy Compact 3S 2200mah lipo into her and turned it on. The esc wouldn't arm at first but eventually after screwing with it, it finally armed. Mind you all this is going on inside my home. I gave it a little throttle and it zoomed across the floor, all looking good. Then I reversed it and it wouldn't respond. So I decided to tap on the esc and all of a sudden a white cloud of smoke came billowing out of the car. I realized pretty quickly the lipo was catching fire! I picked up the car and tossed out the door as the chemical reaction continued. I was able to disconnect the battery from the car but it kept smoking. Pretty much ruined my buggy and stunk up the house badly. Any ideas what could have caused it to go up in smoke? Now I'm afraid of my lipos and will be buying a storage container a.s.a.p. for protection. 1120172029.jpg
     
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  2. I wonder if the esc was shorty out internally, just with it not arming properly and then not going into reverse . I gather the battery charged and balanced no problem? Unless it had a bad connection at one of the cells or something like that.

    Did you try another battery yet in the buggy? (OUTSIDE) ;)
     
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  3. FlyteTime

    FlyteTime Ace Pilot

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    Yes, it must have been a short in the esc Jeff. The battery did charge and balance normally. I bought 2 of them at the same time. I plan to use the one I have left in my new Super Hornet. Hope it doesn't cause me problems in my plane. :eek:

    I think I might just let the car sit for a while as I can't afford a new esc for the thing right now.
     
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  4. Skydiver

    Skydiver Ace Pilot

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    Hi Kenny, sounds like your esc had an internal short, maybe since you hadn't used the car in a while. The trouble is, you don't get a warning.. Maybe TOO small esc?
     
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  5. FlyteTime

    FlyteTime Ace Pilot

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    Yeah Billy I'm betting the esc shorted out. Who knew it would take the lipo out with it? I'm just glad I was able to get it outside before it got as bad as it did. It was an 80 amp esc that was stock on the buggy. I really liked that thing, it would do about 50mph with the pinion gear I had on it. 60 with an upgrade gear!
     
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  6. DualDesertEagle

    DualDesertEagle Ace Pilot

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    Well 80 amps sounds like it can take a bit of a beating even IF the current exceeds that for a short period of time and creating an internal short probably takes some doing aswell. So I doubt that the test inside made the ESC quit. And I also doubt the ESC was shorted at all, simply coz then it probably wouldn't have worked at all. I suspect a faulty battery instead.
     
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  7. Getting it out of the house definitely was the good part,
     
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  8. FlyteTime

    FlyteTime Ace Pilot

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    Good point DE, maybe I'll give it another try OUTSIDE with another battery. It just seemed strange that the battery went off when I tapped on the esc. Thanks for the input.
     
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  9. e3_Scott

    e3_Scott Top Gun

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    Hi FlyteTime -

    Sorry to hear of your misfortune, but glad you managed to get the problem outside before it burned your house down. Lipo fires as you have seen are nothing to be messed with.

    If you haven't checked the ESC yet with a fine tooth comb, I would do so before putting any power into it. Two things about your story jump out at me..."The esc wouldn't arm at first but eventually after screwing with it, it finally armed" and "So I decided to tap on the esc and all of a sudden a white cloud of smoke came billowing out of the car." If I have ever had any issue with an ESC, it is normally with the two battery wires and their connections. These wires get moved, pulled and manipulated a lot over time and use and can eventually break loose causing any myriad of issues, hopefully without fire as a result.

    If one of these wires was loose inside the ESC (probably under the heat shrink), when you "screwed with it", it might have made a temporary connection and then when you "tapped on it", it might have moved one of the wires causing a short which would have cooked your battery. Brand new batteries in my experience if they have been charged properly do not normally cook off on their own. Zippy Compacts in my experience are a pretty good brand of battery, so I can't imagine unless something externally caused a short it would just cook off on it's own. I notice in your picture that you had made an extension with a different connector on the end, I would carefully check that as well.

    Again, it costs you nothing to remove the ESC and have a very close look at it if you haven't already before powering it up again and also check any other connectors you might attach to the battery. Lipos are expensive on their own and even more expensive and dangerous if something goes wrong with them, outside or not. Good luck troubleshooting your issue :)

    Cheers,

    Scott
     
  10. Flybyknight22

    Flybyknight22 Top Gun

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    Sorry about the fire Flyte,

    Good damage control reflexes man!

    I have a good number of those batteries and never had a problem with them,... YET :)

    I guess it could be a problem internal to the ESC but I wouldn’t think that to be the most probable cause.

    It sounds like a possible short in the cable connections/connectors.

    I never trust the battery/motor/ESC connectors from the factory.

    I always re-solder them myself.

    I also try not to use lengthy battery cables or cable Gender changers as that adds resistance and just another “possible” source for a short.

    Another thing I always do and recommend is electrical taping over the motor to ESC connectors just to make sure there isn’t anyway they can short together.

    I also store all of my not in use Lipos in a fireproof container just to be on the safe side.

    I hope you get the problem sorted out.
     
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  11. Flybyknight22

    Flybyknight22 Top Gun

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    Flyte,

    Just a thought,

    I couldn’t help but notice the battery cable Gender Change extender from XT60 to Deans connector used on your toasted battery.

    Lots of folks do this and they do work but I try my very best to avoid them if possible.

    If you can find the gender changer without the cables I would use those instead.
     
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  12. FlyteTime

    FlyteTime Ace Pilot

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    Thanks Scott and FBK for your input. I hear what y'all are saying about the gender changer cable. I'm not sure if I made that up myself or ordered online. I'm gonna check it out closer. I contacted the manufacturer to see if they could help me out and they are checking into it for me. The buggy has a 2 year warranty so maybe I'll be able to get a new one if they find it was a faulty esc that caused the problem.
    My dad has an ammo storage box that I'm going to liberate from him to store my other batteries in for safety.
    Thanks again guys for your help!
    Kenny
     
  13. FlyteTime

    FlyteTime Ace Pilot

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    I may have figured out what went wrong. I was looking through the owners manual and discovered they recommend a minimum 4000mah battery. I used the car frequently with a 3000mah battery (did not know about the minimum requirement, ignorance is no excuse, lol) with no problems. However, I tossed in the largest battery I had which was the Zippy 2200. That may be why it went up in flames. Thoughts?
    Thanks
    Kenny
     
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  14. Well the 4000 would definitely deliver more amps without over heating but just to barely go anywhere plus the initial problems with the esc and such I kinda doubt it.
     
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  15. e3_Scott

    e3_Scott Top Gun

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    Do you have any idea what the amp draw is on that car? If they recommend 4000 Mah battery, what C rating do they recommend?

    You never mentioned the C rating on your battery, if you did I missed it. You could have blown the battery by trying to draw too many amps out of it, that is a possibility, but normally the battery will just puff up quickly before essentially blowing up as it did in this case. The formula to determine what your fully charged battery should be able to deliver is Amps x C rating, so in this case 2.2 times whatever the C rating is of the battery.

    Cheers,

    Scott
     
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  16. Flybyknight22

    Flybyknight22 Top Gun

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    Flyte,

    Maybe but I doubt it.

    On these planes I have used 700mha, 800mah, 1300, 1400, 1500, 1600, 1800, 2200 3S on the same plane and even some 4S batteries of various capacities.

    Using a little smaller battery should not be a problem unless the “C” rating is way off.

    What C rating does the car call for?
     
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  17. Flybyknight22

    Flybyknight22 Top Gun

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    Flyte,

    In other words if the C rating is too low it is possible for the motor to try and pull more current than the lower “C” rating of the battery can deliver.

    “If” that is the case you would over heat the battery and possibly cause the problem you saw.

    Gotta know the C rating of the battery you used and the recommended C rating for the vehicle to know.
     
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  18. e3_Scott

    e3_Scott Top Gun

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    Ok, I'm tapping out, we are asking the same questions on top of each other, could get confusing for FT, you and Jeff can take it from here :)

    Good luck FT

    Cheers,

    Scott
     
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  19. Flybyknight22

    Flybyknight22 Top Gun

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    Flyte,

    I have puffed up a few batteries using too low of a “C” rating.

    Had I kept driving those batteries it’s possible I would have lit ‘em up but stopped doing it after they puffed up.

    Bench testing with watt/amp Meter helps you to see what’s going on with your setup and if you’re trying to suck more out of the battery than it’s C rating says it can deliver.
     
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  20. Flybyknight22

    Flybyknight22 Top Gun

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    Sorry Scott,

    I have very slow network service and did not see your posts before my post.

    It happens and Shouldn’t be any big deal my friend as it looks like we are all suggesting the same basic info.

    Take care,
    FBK22
     
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