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Old 03-13-2006, 05:43 PM
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houlibar houlibar is offline
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Default Cordless Tool Battery Charging Station

This was a honey do the boss asked me to make. He'd heard that lithium batteries could catch fire so he wanted a charging station that wouldn't burn.

My idea was to build it with sides and a back which would in effect act like a firewall and have the added bonus of not letting the chargers get knocked off onto the floor.

I built it out of 10 ga. sheet. All the cuts were made with a sabre saw. I used TIG process to weld it up. Only used filler for the welds on the angle steel. The angle steel was used as a stack guide so it would integrate with the top of the parts bins and not slide off. I had a spray can of OSHA blue paint that matched the parts bins pretty close. Krylon alkeyed acrylic. Was pretty nice to work with and dries in about 15 miniutes.
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Old 03-13-2006, 06:32 PM
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Good Idea and it looks the part in use, Two thumbs up!
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Old 03-13-2006, 07:45 PM
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Looks nice, but I'm not sure it would do much for containing a lithium battery fire. They tend to be rather "vigorous".

Here's some video:
http://www.utahflyers.org/movies/Lipofires.wmv
It's 6.5 MB, so probably not good for dial-up. But, hey, it's stuff Blowin' up! :evil:

Fortunately, your chargers are designed for your specific packs and probably have excellent safeties built in. Fires are pretty unlikely, as long as you're using the supplied chargers.
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Old 03-13-2006, 07:56 PM
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Thanks for the link Terry! Wow! Now that was a real eye opener! I suppose I should have built a screen over the top to keep them from launching! Some of those battery fires reminded me of the saltpeter volcanos we used to make in grade school.

Well hopefully the shield built on the back would deflect any flaming debris away from the telephone equipment on the wall behind it. Fortunately, the area is covered by an overhead fire sprinkler system!
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Old 03-13-2006, 08:58 PM
hench861 hench861 is offline
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Default battery

so much for leaving my chargers plug in unattended,never thought it would or could do that thanks for the heads up
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Old 03-14-2006, 01:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hench861
so much for leaving my chargers plug in unattended,never thought it would or could do that thanks for the heads up

Yeah no doubt,To think of how many times I've left mine unattended,and ooooohhhhhh over night !!!
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Old 03-14-2006, 10:49 AM
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Guys, don't worry too much. This really only effects lithium polymer batteries. It's also when they're improperly charged or charged with a charger that lacks common safety features.

The video shows individual cells that are being charged with a universal type charger. This setup is common with ultra light radio control planes. The cells packs have had their safeties stripped for weight and the charger does not have overheat or overcurrent protection.

That said, it doesn't mean it can't happen to other batteries and chargers, but it's significantly less likely. NiCd cells and NiMH cells can overheat and even combust during aggressive charging, but it isn't anywhere near this violent. It's also rare that you'd find a charger that would reach the kind of charging current that would cause a problem.

To my knowledge, Milwaukee is the only power tool using Li Poly batteries at the moment. I'm certain they've built adequate safety into their chargers and packs, but it would still be prudent not to leave those unattended.
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Old 03-14-2006, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Team DeSade
To my knowledge, Milwaukee is the only power tool using Li Poly batteries at the moment.
Makita and DeWalt also came out with their own systems as well. Each went a different direction. Milwaukee choose the 18V weight with 28V power. Makita chose 12V weight with 18V power. DeWalt went heavier with 36V.

I don't know if these are the same, though. I only know "lithium" is involved. Is there a difference between Lithium-Ion batteries and Lithium-Polymer batteries?

This is what DeWalt says about their new system:
To create the battery technology for the 36-volt platform, DEWALT partnered with A123Systems, a developer of a new generation of lithium-ion batteries that incorporate nanoscale technology developed at and exclusively licensed from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The 36-volt battery technology, provided exclusively to DEWALT for power tool applications, has a unique lithium-ion design that offers a high-level of power, durability and life when compared to conventional lithium technology.
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Old 03-14-2006, 12:35 PM
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Seems to me I recall that the batteries in that video were being charged with a 10 amp charger.
I doubt that any of our tool chargers have anything near that kind of muscle.
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Old 03-14-2006, 02:00 PM
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I think the biggest battery shown there in my charging station only has a 4A charger. The smaller ones are, I believe, 3A.

Last time I was at Harbor Freight, I bought one of those electric RC model airplanes. They warn you NEVER leave the battery unattended while charging. The directions for charging the battery are "3 hours or until the battery gets hot." Another use for the IR thermometer!
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