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MSP & garage fire!


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20 minutes ago, winterwheel said:

My oldest wheel, the V5F, loses 25% of its charge within 24 hours of charging up to 100% but then holds steady after that.

Charge % go down from 100 to 75?!

20 minutes ago, winterwheel said:

This thread has got me a bit nervous about that one

At least this sounds very strange - one should at least take some closer look at this.

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Well, I had one of the worst imaginable events happen with my wheel other than injury, which I've already conquered many times in the past.    5 days ago...my MSP C30 wouldn't charge after a 10 m

I'm going to go out on a limb and say "stressing" the bad battery pack led to the ultimate failure. Even an idling wheel on a bad battery pack is probably not good. Nothing like hindsight though.

Stressing a pack with a bad cell by charging or discharging should not be done in any case! Never ever!  From the reports here there seem to be three stages of battery degradation - the firs

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14 minutes ago, Chriull said:

Charge % go down from 100 to 75?!

At least this sounds very strange - one should at least take some closer look at this.

Yes on the first point. On the second point, not sure what taking some closer look would entail, beyond charging it and monitoring its discharge behavior. It seems all that's left is to take the choice to discard the battery packs or keep going with them. It should be noted that, as my oldest and least-used wheel it was shuffled off into a corner and its charge became depleted. This appears to be a symptom of that. 

Maybe the wheel is now a good candidate for some kind of constructive destruction.

Edited by winterwheel
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15 hours ago, amelanso said:

Probe points not needed - the BMS are already setup with access to  individual cells (or how would it do balancing?) - if u take a pack apart you can access individual cell health directly on the bms but (at least for EUC) no manufacturer has taken the trouble to get a BMS/controller interface that reports this data via the firmware. As I write this I am remembering threads where people have posted data on individual cell state so I am suddenly wondering if I am out to lunch? Maybe the api gurus can confirm if this is simply a case of firmware not reporting or actually no data from bms?

I mean packs used in vehicles get bashed around so much, and undergo so many cycles, that it ought to be a must have feature in order to inspect the pack and the operation of the bms. Call it regular service.

Ideally display it in an app, but if that's too expensive at least put a probe point somewhere on the pack. The easiest is to, as you say, just run a cable from the bms terminals and dip the terminal in some coating so it can't short if exposed to liquid.

Otherwise we have no way of detecting issues before it's too late. And by late I don't mean your house burns down, I mean to ride a pack where cells are in the process of going bad without any knowledge. Usually there are loads of warning signs before there's a fire. We simply can't see them and keep riding. In some ways it's like the battery isn't managed at all, false security.

Another nice feature is that you could also hook up an external balancer and breathe life into very old packs. 😁

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9 hours ago, winterwheel said:

On the second point, not sure what taking some closer look would entail,

Looking at the reported voltages and measuring the charger no load output voltage and the battery packs output voltages.

I'd assume range of this wheel already decreased, too?

But most likely that will give no real new clues - the only "real way" would be to open the pack and measure the paralleled cell group voltages.

9 hours ago, winterwheel said:

Maybe the wheel is now a good candidate for some kind of constructive destruction.

That's most presumably the best way to deal with it... Having some kind of "fun" with it and no need to think of it again! Or give someone the chance for DIY projects...

New battery packs should not be worth the money, especially if one has enough better alternatives to drive!

9 hours ago, winterwheel said:

I'm planning to build some sort of compartmented box that will isolate the wheels from each other, trying to imagine what sort of materials one would use for that.

Afair there was some time ago a discussion with the melting point of aluminium beeing quite low and so risk of li ion fire melting through alimunium boxes? Don't have any idea if the li ion fire has enough "energy/substance" to be capable of this - but making the compartments/boxes out of some thick enough tinplate (tinned steel) should be no problem? And isolating them with enough non burnable insulation material ...

There were just ?two? reports of exploding e-bike battery packs. One "managed" to blow the door and the door frame out of the wall... Did not find too much info unfortionatley - if this were brand packs, diy or whatever... At least such "real" explosions seem to be really seldom.

 

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I feel like lithium battery fires will reach national attention and sales of fireproof sheds will increase as the prevalence of e-bikes increase.

This blog post has a list of e-bike fires that have occurred in 2020 & 2019:
http://jimmymacontwowheels.com/battery-fires-create-concerns-for-every-electric-bike-owner/
 

The incidents of e-bike fires seem to be very small, but can still be a threat.

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On 11/25/2020 at 1:46 PM, winterwheel said:

I have 13 wheels in my garage right now, they are stored in a custom-built wooden box, not ideal, let me know if you think of something. :blink1:

Yeah, wood burns :cry2:

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On 11/24/2020 at 12:23 PM, Marty Backe said:

This is the worst nightmare for all of us. I struggle to think where I could possibly store my wheels to be safe. Nothing. I'm stuck playing the odds.

At least we know that your battery pack was known to be bad, so there's that.

Perhaps if you had disconnected it from the other battery pack this may not have happened? Don't know of course.

With all the wheels you must have, the whole neighborhood is stuck playing the odds with you :efefa6edcf:

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On 11/23/2020 at 5:53 PM, Marty Backe said:

This is the worst nightmare for all of us. I struggle to think where I could possibly store my wheels to be safe. Nothing. I'm stuck playing the odds.

At least we know that your battery pack was known to be bad, so there's that.

Perhaps if you had disconnected it from the other battery pack this may not have happened? Don't know of course.

You could make a rack with fire suppressant balls right above them like Kuji Rolls, he also has a metal locker where he charges his vehicles overnight (I would like to know where to find such a locker).

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5WFj-knABI

This is kind of a neat solution for those who have more EUC's than they normally ride, the balls above the rack are supposed burst and douse a fire with retardant chemical (not sure if it's L-ion proof though).

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2OwOEHQ4vA

Check out the cabinet charging station at the 12 minute mark, if anyone can find the cabinet online, please post it thanks.

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EUCs catching fire is one of my biggest fears too. I'm sorry it happened to you.

This is the reason why I never ever try to disassemble the wheel myself. I'd rather pay extra money to have my wheel delivered to a professional service. This is also why I always pay for a dealer post-factory wheel check and waterproofing. I think I'll implement another fire counter-measure after reading your post, that measure being throwing the wheel out of the house if it's not charging.

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5 hours ago, Dive said:

EUCs catching fire is one of my biggest fears too. I'm sorry it happened to you.

This is the reason why I never ever try to disassemble the wheel myself. I'd rather pay extra money to have my wheel delivered to a professional service. This is also why I always pay for a dealer post-factory wheel check and waterproofing. I think I'll implement another fire counter-measure after reading your post, that measure being throwing the wheel out of the house if it's not charging.

Let's not lose sight of the fact that these kinds of fires are extremely rare and that in this case there were some warning signs regarding the problem pack. Getting in a car probably has far more risk than euc spontaneous combustion!  UNless you are taking apart your battery pack, there is not much you can do during disassembly of a wheel that will lead to a spontaneous fire (as the connectors/insulation for batts are pretty well idiot proof). That being said, I once felt the full wrath of a pack when I checked pack voltage while distracted and accidentally left my meter in current mode. I was abruptly shaken from my torpor by a flash of sparks as the dmm probes became spot welders! But you have to be an idiot - like me - to do such a dumb thing... My wife has since relegated my wheel shenanigans from the living room to the garage! She's a wise woman.

Edited by amelanso
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36 minutes ago, amelanso said:

 But you have to be an idiot to do such a dumb thing... 

Along with me bridging the probes by mistake whilst checking voltages - 100v can give you a bit of a shock haha

I would be very careful not to make this mistake with 240v AC mains, but I just got complacent thinking...batteries...nah they are never gonna...ouch!!

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Just wanted to share a video of the fire ball extinguisher thing in action. These balls appear to have optional mounts available so the balls can be suspended in air over whatever object needs fire protection.

There's the Elide Fire Ball version ($120 per ball) and apparently its counterfeit version called the AFO Fire Ball ($30 per ball).

 

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7 hours ago, rogueone said:

Just wanted to share a video of the fire ball extinguisher thing in action. These balls appear to have optional mounts available so the balls can be suspended in air over whatever object needs fire protection.

There's the Elide Fire Ball version ($120 per ball) and apparently its counterfeit version called the AFO Fire Ball ($30 per ball).

 

I may by jumping the gun here, but while this is indeed better than doing nothing. It will not completely put out lipo battery pack from an EUC. At 120 per ball it may be more efficient to construct a box and hang sand bags above it that will break and smother the wheel. Better yet a water tight container with a water container above not that would break, and completely drown the the wheel.

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55 minutes ago, Simply_Striking said:

Better yet a water tight container with a water container above not that would break, and completely drown the the wheel.

Yes, this might be a hassle to set up, but seems to me like the most efficient way to put it out quickly and on its own; by insta drowning. A fire proof metal box should also be good (like Kuji), but it will need vents so it dont explode, and those will probably blow out flames if we consider the volume of flames from the video of the monster. Or have a large enough space to brick off an area where it can burn safely.

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I live in a townhouse, I chain my KS18L to a steel beam through the trolley handle outside the garage. Charging wire goes under the garage door. 

A colleague  has also suggested a steel garbage can to place upside-down over the euc, perhaps cutting a small slot to allow chains and charging cables to pass through. I also leave a fire extinguisher nearby, it won't save the EUC, but will keep anything else from catching.

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10 hours ago, Simply_Striking said:

At 120 per ball it may be more efficient to construct a box and hang sand bags above it that will break and smother the wheel.

"Li-ion batteries undergoing thermal runaway generate their own oxygen, so smothering/depriving the battery of oxygen does not stop thermal runaway"

See this comment from earlier in this thread: https://forum.electricunicycle.org/topic/20813-msp-garage-fire/page/2/?tab=comments#comment-345503

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13 hours ago, AtlasP said:

"Li-ion batteries undergoing thermal runaway generate their own oxygen, so smothering/depriving the battery of oxygen does not stop thermal runaway"

See this comment from earlier in this thread: https://forum.electricunicycle.org/topic/20813-msp-garage-fire/page/2/?tab=comments#comment-345503

Very much aware of that. The sand isn't to deprive the fire from oxygen. Fine sand has a very high melting point, and free flowing. It would insulate the fire from coming in contact with anything else that can burn, and catch fire, like your house.

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On 11/24/2020 at 1:16 AM, Zombie Batman said:

That is my worst nightmare.  I been thinking of getting some sort of large metal box to store my wheel in.  

 

https://www.amazon.com/Buyers-Products-Aluminum-Underbody-24x24x24/dp/B01ASXUSD2/

 

Good idea. I just threw out 2 PC's with desktop cases. A little rework would make a nice cover for a wheel. Not super thick, but metal.

I need to remember to do that.

 

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7 hours ago, Simply_Striking said:

Very much aware of that.

Great/glad to hear it. That was not obvious from your comment in which you used the expression "smother the wheel", and 'smother' literally means "to kill by depriving of air".

Edited by AtlasP
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I think it warrants a discussion regarding folks who are brokering wheels as a sideline. My simple fire cost the wheel and at least 5 figures on damage as we've had people clean the entire house, pack and clean everything in the garage, redo the drywall and paint in the garage and clean every floor with the most impressive system that I've seen. 

Who do you think will be responsible for the repairs? Do you think Gotway is going to step up and help? If not, who do you think they'll go after next? What would be the cost and possible criminal implications if the fire took the house and human life? 

It's been a pain in the butt for me personally and I feel blessed that it wasn't worse.  The likelihood of issues of that nature is very slim but the consequences devastating!

Food for thought...

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1 hour ago, Dzlchef said:

I think it warrants a discussion regarding folks who are brokering wheels as a sideline. My simple fire cost the wheel and at least 5 figures on damage as we've had people clean the entire house, pack and clean everything in the garage, redo the drywall and paint in the garage and clean every floor with the most impressive system that I've seen. 

Who do you think will be responsible for the repairs? Do you think Gotway is going to step up and help? If not, who do you think they'll go after next? What would be the cost and possible criminal implications if the fire took the house and human life? 

It's been a pain in the butt for me personally and I feel blessed that it wasn't worse.  The likelihood of issues of that nature is very slim but the consequences devastating!

Food for thought...

There is another thread on this topic of liability -  IMO you cannot be held liable for such events unless you were clearly negligent (ie you hacked/modded the batt etc.). US is a very litigious place though so not guaranteed a legal leech would not try (especially if you were a person of means)...

 

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I'm a little late to this but there are a couple pieces of info floating around here that are misleading.   

(1) The one that bugs me most is the repeated references to on-board protection circuits on battery cells.   It is true that many (not all) cells exist in a protected version like this.  But it's also true that the unprotected versions are nearly always what are used in these packs - for cost reasons if nothing else.  Therefore, generally speaking, there ARE no such protection circuits on each individual cell.  

(2) A few people have stated that there must be individual probe points per-cell for balancing.  Others seem to understand more correctly, but for the sake of clarity - this is false.  There are probes at each series point (i.e. between each set of cells in parallel) but that's not per cell.  Since packs are generally built by connecting 4, 6, 8 or however many cells in parallel, then connecting those sets in series to achieve the target layout (20s6p or 24s6p for example), the assumption is that 4, 6, 8 or whatever number of cells directly connected to one another will necessarily remain balanced.  This works pretty well until a cell fails.  Balancing is done per series-set (i.e. each of those packs of 4, 6, or 8 cells) but not per individual cell.  While it would theoretically be possible to build a pack with balancing probes per-cell, it would be considerably more costly and still wouldn't really fix this issue  - cells welded together generally DO self balance, so long as none of them fails.  If one fails, balancing won't help.  I suppose one could conceivably build a pack that alarms somehow with probes on every cell, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting on it.  Not even Tesla does this in their packs.  EUC makers are not likely to start.

To many people's points - yes, overall these devices are quite safe.  Caution is still warranted - just as we don't keep cans of gasoline under our beds, we shouldn't do stupid things with Li-Ion cells.  It's just that most of us are less clear on what that really means in practical terms.  For me, the biggest takeaway is this - if your pack behaves strangely, ever, you should suddenly be suspicious of the safety of that pack and act accordingly until you can explain the behavior confidently and be assured of it's safety.  Beyond that - paranoia isn't warranted but caution is wise.

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