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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics
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  #1  
Old 10-18-2014
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Fire Safety, Lithium paranoia?

(Mods, please feel free to move to a more appropriate section.)


I was thinking of lithium battery fires recently, prompted by a newspaper article about the way the UN and international airline pilots associations are meeting to consider banning the little ones from commercial passenger flights.

Not your house batteries, but the lithium packs that power computers and cell phones and rdaios and all the little gizmos we all so love. Apparently, the damned things just like to catch on fire, new or old, brand name or counterfeit junk, doesn't matter, they just keep catching on fire all by themselves. Part of this is from bad chargers, part of this is from the flammable electrolyte that some of them use and the crystal "spikes" they normally grow, which make them puncture themselves and catch ablaze. And once they are on fire--you're not putting them out with anything conventional.

So, how to live with the devil? I saw a YouTube video where someone punctured a cell phone battery while it was in a small metal cash box. The cash box contained the blaze pretty well, and there are double-wall "fire safe" cash boxes under $25, which makes them a reasonable way to store things like spare battery packs. Or a place to put the cell phone and VHF so they can recharge while you sleep--safely.

I don't think my gizmos are going to burn me alive while I sleep, but since they have to be SOMEwhere, and I try to keep all the spare batteries in some kind of plastic or cardboard box anyway (can't short out, easy to find)...I got to wondering.

What's a good way to store the firebombs? In a pyrex baking dish, with a pyrex cover? Or the metal cash box? Pyrex can crack from heat, metal cash boxes....can become metal fires too. Who knew, old VW bug engine blocks were aluminum magnesium alloy, and those apparently can make quite a nice blaze too!

Fire on the boat, fire in the bedroom...Not my style, no fireplaces here. What's a good place to keep the firebombs? While they're charging, and while they're just stored? Not the oven, I want them to have their own little place.
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Old 10-18-2014
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Re: Fire Safety, Lithium paranoia?

One of our club members lost a Jeanneau 41 to fire, the boat was a write-off. They were liveaboards and apparently the fire was traced to a laptop left plugged in at the nav station while they were at work.

So it's a possibility, obviously..
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Old 10-18-2014
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Re: Fire Safety, Lithium paranoia?

Yeah, the laptop would be an issue simply because of size.

But I figure the smaller stuff, especially the stored stuff, should be reasonably inconvenient to store in a better way. Meanwhile though, I make a point not to leave anything charging on any flammable surface, within reason.

I have to say that turning the Big Red Switch and making sure everything is OFF makes me wonder why we only do that on boats.
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