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Traveling with Lipo Batteries You Should Notice

There are several advantages of Lipo batteries but there are also a few risk involved during charging, flying and transporting. We have been traveling across the US and Europe with a a number of our Lipo batteries and we always take special pro caution when traveling. Especially when traveling in an airplane. Before you go on an airplane trip, check your airline's regulations when it comes to batteries, review if your country's equivalence to the FAA has any guidelines. And then make sure you follow a few easy steps to improve safety and decrease the probability that something bad could happen.
 
 
 
There used to be some rule of numerous grams of lituim I think it was 11 grams which if i recall was about 7.4v 5000mah lipo battery that put you over the FAA limit. The rule if i recall is not to be in the suitcases in the hold but to go with carry on hand luggage. However some airlines can specifically choose to have their internal own rules and ban any lipos. That's often targeted at laptops with extra batteries as sometimes those caught fire in the overhead lockers . Those are often the Lipo types 6s 2000mha or the modern 6s 4000 mah.
 
I've brought several Gens Ace 2200mah 3s lipo battery and 11000 mah as carry on many times. Here is what I do. Wrap the plug and balance terminal in electric tape. Put lipos in gallon ziplocs, usually 2 per bag. Put the ziplocs in my lipo safe bags and all this in a separate tote. At the checkpoint I take the ziplocs out and lay them flat in a tray with nothing on top. I try to make contact with an agent and say 'hi these are my batteries.' After I get through the scanner, Usually before my stuff, I think back and try to make eye contact with the agents at the TV, when they get that look, I smile and wave and acknowledge that the suspicious stuff is mine. I then tell them they are for my copters, oblige the extra scan and bomb residue sweep. Then go on my way. Has worked every time, even traveling to other countries.
 
Quantities
 
The amount permitted is based on watt-hours (Wh). Wh establishes the lithium content by multiplying voltage with the ampere-hours (Ah). For example, 14.40V x 5Ah battery = 72Wh.
 
The current IATA dangerous goods regulations and your rights as passenger to carry the LiPos with you in carry-on luggage but not in your checked luggage. There are 3 classes of LiPo batteries. Below 100Wh there are no quantity restrictions as to the amount of batteries you can carry. Between 100Wh and 160Wh you are confined to two battery packs total per passenger. Above 160Wh you are not permitted to carry the packs as carry-on.
 
Avoiding short circuit
 
As another safety precaution, though this could not be mandatory according to flight safety regulations is to avoid short circuiting the batteries thus increasing the chance of fire hazard. This is fairly simple, all you need to do is to place each battery into an individual plastic bag. This will come in handy when labeling also, see below. You may also shrink wrap the battery connectors with saran wrap. This process only takes a few seconds and reduces the possibility of electrical arcing and moisture dealing with the battery connectors.
 
LiPo Bags
 
Placing your batteries in LiPo safe bags is an absolute necessity, if you don’t have them, do not even attempt to carry them on board an aircraft. This is also for your safety. Obviously you don't need to have a separate LiPo safe bag for each battery as you have also placed them in separate plastic bags as suggested above. But depending on the number and size of your batteries, be sure to have a bag with enough space for them all, or use multiple bags. This one is a great option, but you can buy larger ones also:
 
We've spent a ton of time combing the internet to know the rules so hopefully this post can help you out when you fly.  Here goes:
 
1. Do not put LiPos in your checked baggage. Should bad things happen the crew wants to be able to fight a battery fire.
2. Put the LiPos in your carryon baggage. If you've still got the original packaging, use it.  If not, put each battery in a separate plastic bag. Tape over the connector and the balancing plug.
3. This isn't a rule, but I always take the batteries out at the TSA inspections and put them in a separate tub. There is not point in trying to hide them because they stick out like a sore thumb in the X-ray scan.
4. You can only carry 2 batteries greater than 100 Watt-hr (e.g. a 6S 5000 mAh) on the plane.
5. How many less than 100 Watt-hr?  Here the rules are a little ambiguous with verbiage like "a reasonable number." I've carried 6 on international flights successfully.
6. This isn't a rule, but it's always a good idea to put the batteries in storage mode (about 50% SOC) to be safe.
7. I wish there was a single site that stated these rules but I haven't found one. The links below are a collection of them.  I print out the relevant pages and have them with me in case of trouble. At several airports the inspectors were very thankful for this documentation and made copies of it for themselves.
8. Generally, getting through security in the US hasn't been too bad, although you should allow extra time because they almost always do the extra sniffing tests on them. Internationally is another story because finding an English speaker is often hard.  My most difficult time was in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia but we eventually prevailed.