What You Should Know: Transporting Lithium Batteries

It’s been a while since the hobby industry tackled the topic of transportation of lithium ion batteries. It’s helpful to remind our customers about the precautions Hobby Express takes, and why we take them, when we produce, ship and distribute our POWERWING Lithium Polymer battery packs.

Media reports of airline incidents only scratch the surface of the topic. The most recently published, authoritative report is from the FAA’s Batter Incident Chart dated June 30, 2015 and it summarizes critical events since 1991.

With the attention that the media is paying to “Drones” or “Quad Copters” used by enthusiasts, it’s important to note two of the more recent incidents, involving “drones” excerpted here:


Battery Incident Excerpt

Hobby Express provides convenient links to the FAA guidelines on passenger travel with “Lipo Batteries” in our publications and promotions.  It’s part of our commitment to safety and the integrity of our hobby.

At the same time, we comply with all shipping regulations for manufacturing and transporting these products in bulk internationally and in domestic transport, which qualifies as a hazardous material, we go the extra mile with inspections of each unit received.  Upon receipt of every battery here in the USA, we quality check 100% of our batteries — by hand.  Yes, not only are each and every unit serial numbered individually and tracked back to batch production records, and tested at the factory prior to shipment, but we do it again here in the USA.  This inspection includes a confirmation that the battery is balanced.  We inspect every battery prior to outbound shipment to our customer, looking for “puff” or any visual indication of failure.  We will not ship more than two batteries in a single shipping box.

The benefits of these multiple QC inspections are obvious to our customer, but also help insure safety in shipment for cargo and passenger travel.

Some of our batteries that fail the cell balance QC are offered to customers as “scratch and dent” product and deeply discounted.  Customers can often draw the power down in the battery under controlled circumstance, then slowly re-charge the battery in a cycle and generate a balanced condition.  At times, they just have a shorter life.  Most of the product is offered to Middle Tennessee State University where students study the conditions, disassemble the units and offer production improvement insights or gain important experience with power systems from the forensic exam.

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