FlyboyOz
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Is It Safe To Charge Batteries In The Air?

Sun Aug 26, 2007 9:59 am

I flew on a wonderful SQ B773ER's Y class seats. My new Y seat has got a powerpoint so I was thinking of charging batteries. However, a safety card said that charging batteries are not allowed when take off, landing and cruising. Is that because they could be heat up or will consume too much power for too long if I forgot to take batteries out or something. Is it possible to charge batteries in the air if I ignored the safety card's rule?

[Edited 2007-08-26 03:29:30]
The Spirit of AustraliAN - Longreach
 
srbmod
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RE: Is It Safe To Charge Batteries In The Air?

Sun Aug 26, 2007 10:14 am

I was of the understanding that it draws too much power from the electrical system. From SeatGuru.com:
http://www.seatguru.com/articles/in-seat_laptop_power.php

Quote:
Will my battery charge while I'm plugged in?

Don't count on it. Again, because of the limited amount of power draw per seat, it is possible that your laptop won't get enough power to both operate and charge. Some airlines, like Continental Airlines, specifically state that battery charging is not allowed and ask you to remove your rechargeable battery from your device.
 
AeroWesty
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RE: Is It Safe To Charge Batteries In The Air?

Sun Aug 26, 2007 10:22 am

The problem really is the wattage both a charging battery and a working laptop would draw. The two combined could be twice the wattage of the outlet. You usually have to choose between charging your laptop, or working without the battery, or with the battery already being full, so it doesn't draw from the outlet as well. There are a number of good threads on this at flyertalk.com, this being one of them:

http://flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=585378&highlight=charging
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SirDeath
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RE: Is It Safe To Charge Batteries In The Air?

Sun Aug 26, 2007 11:36 am

It depends on the type of accumulator. If it is Pb-acid, it will vent hydrogen, an inflammable gas. Now for most consumer products, Pb-acid batteries produce so little hydrogen, it shouldn't be an issue, especially on flights which are non-smoking ( PK is the only major that comes to mind). Otherwise, just beware of those bad Sony batteries that like to explode!
 
VC-10
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RE: Is It Safe To Charge Batteries In The Air?

Sun Aug 26, 2007 12:33 pm

Quoting FlyboyOz (Thread starter):
However, a SAFETY card said that charging batteries are not allowed when take off, landing and cruising. Is that because they could be heat up or will consume too much power for too long if I forgot to take batteries out or something. Is it possible to charge batteries in the air if I ignored the SAFETY card's rule?

I think you are missing the key word in the above statement. I've highlighted it for you.

It may come as a surprise, but the airlines don't have these rules just to spoil you enjoyment of a flight.
 
jetjeanes
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RE: Is It Safe To Charge Batteries In The Air?

Sun Aug 26, 2007 1:55 pm

I would hate for a laptop to burst into flames while seated on a plane,, fire is about the only thing that bothers me when flying
i can see for 80 miles
 
kdm
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RE: Is It Safe To Charge Batteries In The Air?

Sun Aug 26, 2007 7:14 pm

SQ used to tell you to remove batteries if using the in seat power but they no longer do. I assumed that they had relaxed the whole removing batteries thing.
 
VC-10
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RE: Is It Safe To Charge Batteries In The Air?

Sun Aug 26, 2007 8:35 pm

Quoting Kdm (Reply 6):
SQ used to tell you to remove batteries if using the in seat power but they no longer do. I assumed that they had relaxed the whole removing batteries thing.

They might not just have 'relaxed' the rule, they may have modified the wiring installation first. Something other operators may not have done.
 
keesje
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RE: Is It Safe To Charge Batteries In The Air?

Sun Aug 26, 2007 9:05 pm

I was "in charge" of this issue at an airline once upon a time. An American entrepreneur had found a solution for batteries to explode while charged during flight. Then he made a video showing an exploding laptop battery and send it to all the airlines, passenger organisations, NTSB, pilot organisations and the FAA.

He was very aggressively promoting the new problem and his (patented) solution. I was invited in a panel in a Silicon Valley battery power conference on the issue together with someone from SR and the US pilot union. I particularly remember the fun sushi party afterwards in a penthouse.

This smart friendly fanatic guy was the chairman of "roadwarriors'" or something, anyone remember this about 7 yrs ago?
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
srbmod
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RE: Is It Safe To Charge Batteries In The Air?

Sun Aug 26, 2007 11:59 pm

I got to thinking about this a little more. I've noticed that when I charge my cell phone using the car charger, the battery life isn't as long as when I charge it using a charger that plugs into an outlet at home. The same probably holds true if you tried to charge your laptop, iPod, PDA, cell phone, etc. using the on board outlet. So even if an airline allowed passengers to charge their electronic devices using the on board system, it probably should only be used for that function if absolutely necessary. More and more airports have free charging stations where one can hook up their laptop, cell phone, PDA, etc. and charge them while waiting for your flight. So if you're somewhere that has such a setup available, try to recharge your devices as best as you can before you get on board.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Is It Safe To Charge Batteries In The Air?

Mon Aug 27, 2007 2:12 pm

Quoting FlyboyOz (Thread starter):
However, a safety card said that charging batteries are not allowed when take off, landing and cruising

A flight would comprise all three.So no charging aloowed on that flight throught.Is that a company SOP for that Airline.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
iwok
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RE: Is It Safe To Charge Batteries In The Air?

Mon Aug 27, 2007 2:35 pm

Quoting FlyboyOz (Thread starter):
. Is that because they could be heat

Its because there is a major safety hazzard chargin Li-Ion batteries.

Quoting FlyboyOz (Thread starter):
Is that because they could be heat up

Modern Li-Ion does not heat up muching during charging: older NiMH batteries did.

Quoting FlyboyOz (Thread starter):
or will consume too much power for too long

Its not really an issue with power availability; moreso safety.

Quoting FlyboyOz (Thread starter):
Is it possible to charge batteries in the air if I ignored the safety card's rule?

You might be able to, if the outlet is not "power limited" which I highly doubt it isn'y.

Quoting Srbmod (Reply 1):
Some airlines, like Continental Airlines, specifically state that battery charging is not allowed and ask you to remove your rechargeable battery from your device.

Exactly. There is a small, yet not that small, chance for explosions for fire during Li-Ion charging.

Quoting Srbmod (Reply 1):
I was of the understanding that it draws too much power from the electrical system

I believe that most of the smart airlines use power limited outlets which are specifically designed to limit power output, in an attempt to prevent the batteries from charging.

Quoting VC-10 (Reply 4):
t is Pb-acid, it will vent hydrogen, an inflammable gas. Now for most consumer products, Pb-acid batteries produce so little hydrogen

Modern lead acid batteries are sealed, so its not really an issue. However, the bulk of modern consumer portable electronics are powered by Li-Ion which is not the most safe chemistry out there, but is extremely light and definately getting cheaper by the day now that China is spooling up in Li-Ion production.

Sony batteries have the highest profile laptop battery explosion infamy.

Quoting Keesje (Reply 8):
This smart friendly fanatic guy was the chairman of "roadwarriors'" or something, anyone remember this about 7 yrs ago?

I might know who you are talking about.

Fire caused by charging Li-ion batteries, or fully charged Li-Ion batteries is a major concern and its only a matter of time before we have a fire on a passenger air craft. Big problems have already happened on cargo aircract with fully charged Li-Ion batteries. I have already had to change two packs for my Mac, because Sony and Samsung shipped defective battery packs which posed a fire hazzard.

I know a chief power engineer at a major electronics company who has told me that he thinks that charging laptop batteries in a plane is an accident waiting to happen.

iwok
 
Analog
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RE: Is It Safe To Charge Batteries In The Air?

Mon Aug 27, 2007 4:36 pm

Quoting Iwok (Reply 11):
I know a chief power engineer at a major electronics company who has told me that he thinks that charging laptop batteries in a plane is an accident waiting to happen.

It's not just a danger on aircraft. Make sure you wear thick pants when your notebook is plugged in and on your lap.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmPm-YV9vdA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4HZW0jup6A
 
Markhkg
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RE: Is It Safe To Charge Batteries In The Air?

Mon Aug 27, 2007 4:48 pm

What really sucks about a Lithium Ion battery fire onboard an aircraft is that there really isn't any way to put it out until all the cells rupture. Water extinguishers are a no-no as it can generate hydrogen gas if sprayed onto the battery-- and halon extinguishers don't help lithium ion fire from being extinguished as halon cannot disrupt the reaction chain-- it can only help prevent surrounding objects from catching fire.

I remember a FAA circular suggesting that laptops that have caught fire be placed in a "secure" area like an oven. Fairly sure your omelettes never get that hot-- also, one wonders how to bring the laptop to the oven in the first place if it is already on fire.
Release your seat-belts and get out! Leave everything!
 
Analog
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RE: Is It Safe To Charge Batteries In The Air?

Mon Aug 27, 2007 5:06 pm

Quoting MarkHKG (Reply 13):
I remember a FAA circular suggesting that laptops that have caught fire be placed in a "secure" area like an oven. Fairly sure your omelettes never get that hot-- also, one wonders how to bring the laptop to the oven in the first place if it is already on fire.

Given the videos I've seen, I'd wait until the fire was out. Then I'd move the notebook. The carpets and seats aren't flammable, are they?
 
Markhkg
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RE: Is It Safe To Charge Batteries In The Air?

Mon Aug 27, 2007 6:01 pm

Quoting Analog (Reply 14):
The carpets and seats aren't flammable, are they?

Given enough heat or time, they'll still burn even if they meet current FAA flammability standards. Interiors items are designed to be fire-resistant, rather than fire-proof.
Release your seat-belts and get out! Leave everything!