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travsformation

EUCs in an RV- Advice needed on safety and preventing fire hazard

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Posted (edited)

I’m planning on doing some extended travelling in my RV this summer. Last summer I did the same and took my 18XL with me (motorhome + EUC is the ultimate freedom!). The max. temp the inside of the RV ever reached was 50º C (122º F) while driving through the desert (and my main concern wasn't for my wheel, I actually had to pull over because I have no AC and was getting dizzy). 

My wheel stays in the passenger seat, covered, when I'm away from the RV. Indoor temperatures rarely reach 40º C (104º F) even in the height of Spanish summers, since the RV is well insulated and has reflective blinds on all windows + 4 skylights to let the hot air out, and whenever I touch the wheel after it's been sitting in the RV, it feels cool, so I’m not too concerned about damaging the cells.

Heat + charging concerns me more...

I currently have a 160W solar panel fitted, a 250Ah battery and a 1500W, 12V to 220V pure sine inverter, but this setup isn't enough to charge the wheel when stationary (PV is insufficient and the discharge rate is too high and prolonged for an AGM battery). I haven’t bothered adding a second panel because I plan on upgrading to a new RV in autumn. This means I can only charge while driving, when the alternator is running, and since I take it easy, stopping a lot along the way, rarely driving more than a couple hours at once, this proves insufficient to charge my wheel.

This means I have to be plugged into the mains to charge, but luckily there’s not shortage of “RV areas” scattered all over Europe. Last summer I didn’t have a fast charger, so I’d park in one of these areas in the evening, plug in the RV, start charging the wheel, unplug it before I went to bed, spend the night at the RV area and finish charging the wheel in the morning (I’m not too keen on leaving the wheel charging inside an RV I’m sleeping in where everything is made of wood…).

Now that I have a 5A “fast” charger (from 1radwerkstatt), I could easily park, pay a couple euros and charge the wheel in a few hours, and the initial plan was to do so while I went out to lunch or something. But the recent EUC fires have drawn battery safety and fire hazard issues to my attention, and now that I think of it, it might not be a great idea to leave a wheel unattended, charging in an RV that’s 40º C (at head level, floor level is a bit cooler), with a 5A charger that generates extra heat…

The other thing that concerns me is that I won’t be following the ideal scenario of topping off before a ride, but charging to 100% to get maximum range, and in certain instances, possibly having a fully charged EUC sitting in a hot motorhome for a day or too. How bad an idea is that?

Any safety advice or suggestions?

In my next RV I plan on having a garage where I can fit a couple of wheels. I’m thinking the garage should be fully enclosed, like a fire-proof metal container, preferably with extinguisher balls hanging above the wheels, but it’ll also need ventilation (a low-sitting fan to draw cool air in and one on the top to draw warm air out, preferably triggered by a thermostat), but not sure exactly how to implement while still keeping the garage self-contained. Or am I overthinking this? Any ideas? 

@Seba? @Chriull? (sorry for tagging you)

Thanks a ton!

Edited by travsformation

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Posted (edited)

50 °C isn't something an EUC battery couldn't stand during storage. While charging in temperatures below 50 °C is considered safe, it will decrease battery life. And of course I'm talking about battery temperature, not ambient temperature.

Edited by Seba

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Given enough time, all mechanical devices can and will break down. Own enough batteries and one will eventually catch fire. It is a statistical certainty.

Therefore shouldn't you treat your wheel like auto insurance? Do your best not to crash but prepare for the (minor) disaster by having insurance. 

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Posted (edited)

Ive never had insurance that covers the repair of my vehicle. My insurance covers everyone else. I'd imagine as wheels become more like road vehicles, we will have to insure them. Luckily, a wheel poses much less risk to others, than a typical car. I'm enjoying the grey area where we dont have to have insurance like an auto on them. I wonder if insuring a wheel would be more applicable as homeowners or renters insurance? Does insurance on an RV include the belongings inside? I'd imagine its a per policy basis, tho I'd be a little shy about asking to insure 3kw of lithium batteries in an RV full of gasoline and propane, while it sleeps a family. Gotta have big pockets to even worry about it tho, thankfully not one of my concerns. :)

Edited by ShanesPlanet

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Voila, over 60° plastic viscosity increase, and could create shorts... i don't know if this is my problem, but yess my euc was stored in may car, in a sun parking, BUT the temperature mesured on side was not exeeding 60° ...
There is more chance it's the blue shrink pack that compress the cell together, that create an short....

shorted pack Capture.JPG

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Posted (edited)
On 6/11/2020 at 9:52 PM, Seba said:

50 °C isn't something an EUC battery couldn't stand during storage. While charging in temperatures below 50 °C is considered safe, it will decrease battery life. And of course I'm talking about battery temperature, not ambient temperature.

Thanks Seba. So storing it at around 30-40°C and charging it at 30°C (ambient temperature) isn't dangerous then... Good to know, thanks! 

Ideally, I wish I could charge the wheels right before use, but when I'm the road that really isn't an option. I'm going to have to fully charge them when I get a chance to, then store them fully charged. I can live with decreasing battery life a little (I hope it isn't too much), I was just concerned about for risk, especially when charging. But the info you provided in another thread about the Samsung batteries used in the 18XL and the 16X really put me at ease, thanks for that! :thumbup:

Edited by travsformation

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Posted (edited)
On 6/11/2020 at 10:39 PM, LanghamP said:

Given enough time, all mechanical devices can and will break down. Own enough batteries and one will eventually catch fire. It is a statistical certainty.

Therefore shouldn't you treat your wheel like auto insurance? Do your best not to crash but prepare for the (minor) disaster by having insurance. 

 

On 6/11/2020 at 10:44 PM, ShanesPlanet said:

Ive never had insurance that covers the repair of my vehicle. My insurance covers everyone else. I'd imagine as wheels become more like road vehicles, we will have to insure them. Luckily, a wheel poses much less risk to others, than a typical car. I'm enjoying the grey area where we dont have to have insurance like an auto on them. I wonder if insuring a wheel would be more applicable as homeowners or renters insurance? Does insurance on an RV include the belongings inside? I'd imagine its a per policy basis, tho I'd be a little shy about asking to insure 3kw of lithium batteries in an RV full of gasoline and propane, while it sleeps a family. Gotta have big pockets to even worry about it tho, thankfully not one of my concerns. :)

In terms of insurance covering damage to the vehicle and to others I'm fully covered, I have insurance both for the RV and a separate one for each EUC, so if the RV insurance claims the damage caused by the wheel isn't covered, the EUC insurance will cover it (also in case I have an accident while riding and hurt someone, damage property, etc.) 

My main concern is how to prevent failure insomuch as possible and in the event something does happen, minimize damage to the actual RV and its contents as much as possible. Motorhomes aren't cheap... And when you have a custom build, even if the insurance refunds you for 100% of the value ( devaluation is to be taken into account), you might find yourself without a vehicle for a LONG time until you can get a new one outfitted. And when you plan on spending 6 months/year living in it, that can be a real b*tch... 

So what I'm interested in are technical measures I can implement: fans to guarantee air flow and reasonable storage and charging temps, and perhaps a sealed metal trunk to mitigate for risk of fire. 

But from what @Sebahas mentioned in another thread about Samsung cell safety, the latter might be overkill... 

What reasonable precautions do you guys reckon it's worth investing in? 

Edited by travsformation

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10 minutes ago, travsformation said:

My main concern is how to prevent failure insomuch as possible and in the event something does happen, minimize damage to the actual RV and its contents as much as possible.

 

11 minutes ago, travsformation said:

fans to guarantee air flow and reasonable storage and charging temps,

This seems to be a good measure. Just if the RV stands in summertime in bright sunshine temperatures could still get too high?

Li ion cells seems to be most endangered when overcharged and overdischarged. Especially once overly discharged cells are forced to change polarity by the other cells while driving?

So if you ensure balanced cells by monitoring/checking the battery status (full battery pack voltage reached after a full charge, no premature charge cut off by the bms, no "noticable" voltage drop after charging,...) the "biggest" dangers should be avoided?

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18 minutes ago, Chriull said:

Li ion cells seems to be most endangered when overcharged and overdischarged. Especially once overly discharged cells are forced to change polarity by the other cells while driving?

So if you ensure balanced cells by monitoring/checking the battery status (full battery pack voltage reached after a full charge, no premature charge cut off by the bms, no "noticable" voltage drop after charging,...) the "biggest" dangers should be avoided?

Yeah, I definitely plan on closely monitoring battery health and balancing regularly. Thanks for the advice, I'll pay particular attention to premature BMS charge cut-offs and voltage drops after charging :cheers:

20 minutes ago, Chriull said:

Just if the RV stands in summertime in bright sunshine temperatures could still get too high?

I've been monitoring interior RV temperatures for the past few days. Outdoor temperatures have been around 30-31º C, so I've tested several scenarios: if I leave the skylights closed (no hot air can exit) and the sun shields wide open (letting sunlight directly in through all skylights), I get temperatures inside the RV of up to 45º C at head height. This would be the worst case scenario, but one that wouldn't happen unless intentional.

With all (reflective) window blinds closed, skylights open, and skylight sun shields closed 2/3 of the way (to keep out direct sunlight but let hot air escape), the interior temperature doesn't seem to go above 37-38º C (at head height). Still not ideal, but seems like a moderate enough temperature to prevent damage. I don't think I'd charge at that temp. though, I reckon' I'd do that in the evening or first thing in the morning, when temps are in the 25-30ºC range. 

 

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How much will it cost to get AC in the RV? Sounds like heatstroke would be the bigger concern. 

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On 7/27/2020 at 5:32 PM, BFE Duke said:

How much will it cost to get AC in the RV? Sounds like heatstroke would be the bigger concern. 

Late reply here, but haven't been on the forums much (hardly at all) since I set off. Having grown up with Spanish heat, I simply avoid driving at the hottest hours, so in terms of my personal well-being, it hasn't been an issue.

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35 minutes ago, travsformation said:

Late reply here, but haven't been on the forums much (hardly at all) since I set off. Having grown up with Spanish heat, I simply avoid driving at the hottest hours, so in terms of my personal well-being, it hasn't been an issue.

Translation : I don’t need no AC. I laugh at the sun’s attempt to discomfort me. :furious: :roflmao:

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47 minutes ago, travsformation said:

Late reply here, but haven't been on the forums much (hardly at all) since I set off.

Pictures? A few stories? A map of the route? anything ...

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1 hour ago, travsformation said:

Late reply here, but haven't been on the forums much (hardly at all) since I set off.

Where are you ?

50409629177_88c04caea6_b.jpg

 

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On 10/2/2020 at 9:48 PM, RockyTop said:

Translation : I don’t need no AC. I laugh at the sun’s attempt to discomfort me. :furious: :roflmao:

:roflmao:

Nice interpretation! If only it were true...reality is more like "Terrible heat tolerance, should be ashamed to call myself a Spaniard. Drive in the morning and evening, cower from the sun when at its peak. Have developed coping mechanisms over the years, the most effective being seasonal migration" :whistling:

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Posted a video (from a ride from a month and a half ago 😅) here:

 

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