Tips For Traveling With LiPo Batteries

Tips4Traveling_LiPo_Batteries

The Axial Blog has been loaded up as of recent with articles filled with tips and information you need to know to attend Axialfest and have the best experience possible. We know many of you are already prepping for the event and planning your trip. For many that trip will require lengthy travel and some will even pack up their gear and head out on planes to get to the event. This brings up one of the most frequently asked question in RC in regards to air travel. How do I get my LiPo batteries from home to the event? We’ve done the research for you and have a number of suggestions depending on your method of travel.

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Battery Transportation Prep

First things first is prepping your batteries for travel, no matter how you plan on getting to an event. The following steps would also serve as a good storage method for your packs even while you’re at home.

1. Take the time to cycle your battery into storage mode, just as it arrived when you first bought the pack. Do not transport fully charged or discharged packs. Many mid-level to high-end chargers have a storage program that will cycle your battery to the proper storage voltage. Consider leaving any damaged packs behind and only bring packs you know for certain to be in good standing condition.

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2. Cover the plug or battery input connectors. There is always the possibility of a short and covering the inputs can prevent that from happening. Some cover their plugs with rubber caps or plastic inserts. For batteries with bullet plug inserts, place tape over the holes. Placing electrical tape over the plugs works too if you don’t have caps, this will prevent metals form coming in contact with the leads. It’s also a good idea to check the connectors where the wires are soldered on, tape any exposed wire, solder or connector tabs.

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3. Tape loose wires against the pack. Many battery packs have wire leads or balance plugs on them. These wires should be taped up against the pack just in case the wires move in transport and may become pinched and short out which can result in a fire. With the wires secured against the pack, it lessens the chance of a rare incident.

4. Place the pack in a plastic bag. Ok, during our research we found several suggestions of placing individual batteries in plastic bags for transport. Some other reports eluded to leaving packs out of sealed bags as they may emit gasses or the battery needs to breathe. We would suggest if you do place it in a bag, not to seal it and move on to tip 4.

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5.Place batteries in a LiPo safe bag. Placing batteries in their own individual pouches would be the best option, but if you must, place multiple packs in a large LiPo sack when toting them around.

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6. Battery bag. Once tips 1-4 are completed, place your wrapped up batteries in a transport bag of their own so they are together in case you need to show the packs to a screening agent. This will make their life and your life easier.

Traveling in a vehicle

When traveling to an event by car, keep your batteries within sight and easy reach. Don’t pack your batteries at the bottom of the trunk and stack all of your RC gear on top of them. Although there haven’t been any reports of any incidents where a tucked away battery caused a problem, it’s always just a good practice to have a product such as a LiPo battery accessible.

Traveling on a plane

Some drivers will take a plane to reach Axialfest and this is where many of the questions come into play. Can I carry my LiPo’s on the plane, or should they be checked? From our research, this is the best practice.

1. First check with your specific airlines battery guidelines and regulations to see how they require you to transport your batteries. It is a good idea to follow and print these guidelines out and store a copy in the same bag as your battery packs. If it comes into question at screening if you are allowed to transport your packs, you’re now prepared to show the agent you’re following the airlines protocol.

2. LiPo batteries should be carried on to the plane and not placed in checked baggage. It is legal to bring your properly prepared (as discussed above) batteries through the airport and on the plane.

3. During screening, it is best to remove your bag that your batteries are stored in an place it in a bin separate and at the end of the line of from your other articles. Most likely your LiPo battery bag will be pulled and checked by a screening agent, but at least you’ll be able to gather up your other property while your battery bag is checked.

4. Cooperate with all questions by the screening agent as the battery bag as it’s checked. The screening agent is just doing his/her job and cooperation will get you to that overpriced, half-cooked airport food that much quicker. Once on the plane, keep your gear close to you.

Plane

Ship your batteries

For those who are prepared well in advance, you may want to consider shipping your batteries via ground transportation to an end location. (Note: Make sure your shipping box is properly labeled with the hazardous battery label.) Perhaps you have a friend in California traveling to the event by car. Ask if you can ship your batteries to him/her while you travel by plane. If you are staying at a hotel nearby Cisco Grove, ship the batteries to the hotel address and make them aware there is a package arriving for your stay. As a last resort some have shipped their gear directly to the Cisco Grove management office to hold for their arrival. We ask that you leave this as an absolute last resort as the Cisco Grove crew is pretty swamped with tasks for the event.

Be Safe

It all comes down to using common sense to be safe with your LiPo batteries. We’ve all seen videos or heard stories of fires or released gases from a LiPo battery. There is a danger element to them so they should be handled with care at all times. Following the tips listed above should help you transport your packs safely from point A to B and even properly store them when not in use. Travel safe and we’ll see you at Axialfest!

DISCLAIMER: Axial Racing and the author are not responsible for any incidents in relation to the information given above. The information given is only a tool for assistance. Proper use and transport of any type of battery is the sole responsibility of the property owner.

A Years Worth of Abuse in One Week?

Those of you that attended the 2012 King of the Hammers race may have seen the Axial demo booth that was set-up near the pit area. Axial ran a demo during the week of KOH with some of our new 2012 SCX10 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon RTR’s. This demo allowed anyone attending the King of the Hammers event to try their hand at driving one of our scale Jeeps on the obstacle course that was built on site. The demo ran twice a day for 2 hours at a time for 5 days, so there is 20 hours of drive time right off the bat. There was also a few extra credit runs at night with these trucks, so we will add another 10 hours of run time there to be on the safe side. We are now at about 30 hours of solid run time for the week, for each of these demos. We recently went to take a look at the condition of the the demo Jeeps in order to prep them for another Axial demo for the 2013 Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah. We grab the first demo JK, pulled it out of the box and was amazed to see how much wear and tear these rigs went through during their week at KOH. The demo rigs look like they had been used for a year, not a week. Everything was intact and working on all the demo SCX10′s too. I thought we put a lot of abuse on the SCX10-JK in the 3 days we spent on the Rubicon. But, the demo drivers at KOH have us beat by a mile as far as the abuse they inflicted upon these demo SCX10′s. Impressive!!

A few photos of the wear and tear. Starting with the front bumper and d-rings.

The front axle.

Chassis skid plate and lower links.

Front driveshaft.

Front wheels. It’s hard to see but almost all the chrome is missing from the outer lip of the wheel.

Moving on to the body, the mirrors took on a bunch of rock rash, but are still intact.

Same goes for the Poison Spyder licensed Crusher Flares, lots of rock rash but they protected the body just like the real product is designed to do.

Rear Crusher Flares.

Again some impressive rock rash for only a few days of running. Way to do work KOH demo drivers!!

Axial – ICON Vehicle Dynamics 61-90mm Aluminum Shocks – Step by Step Build

AX30103 – Icon 61-90mm Aluminum Shock Set – 7mm piston (2pcs)

Now that we have released Axial’s newest scale shocks, which are officially licensed by Icon Vehicle Dynamics, I wanted to take some time to do a step by step build here on the blog to help people get the most out of their new shocks. These shocks are an improvement over our old SCX10 shocks, because of the new fully machined shock piston. The new piston provides a tighter fit inside the shock body which helps eliminate binds as the shock cycles through its travel. The new Icon shock bodies and reservoirs are clear anodized for durability and classic looks, which is a nice touch. Time to dig in and get our hands dirty!

A shot of the packaging. Each package contains all parts and hardware required to build two complete shocks.

I cut all the plastic parts I will need to get started off their respective parts trees.

Open the hardware bags and dump the contents out in a secure location so you don’t loose any vital parts.

Start by locating your aluminum shock bodies and the red o-rings. Apply a little grease to each o-ring before installing them into the shock bodies.

Once you have the o-ring lubed up drop it into place in the bottom of the shock body.

Now locate the plastic spacer that goes in between the o-rings, and install that on top of the first o-ring.

Grease the 2nd o-ring and install it into place on top of the plastic spacer in the shock body.

Next install the lower plastic cartridge and threaded preload adjuster onto the shock body.

Locate your shock shafts and e-clips next.

Install the first e-clip in the bottom slot on the shock shaft.

Slide the shock piston onto the shock shaft next.

Then, install the second e-clip to hold the piston in place.

Both shafts prepped and ready for the next step.

Now we can slide the shock shafts into the shock body from the top. Install the rubber bump stops and thread the rod ends into place as needed.

Apply the Icon decals to the shock reservoirs.

Using the supplied hardware, secure the shock reservoirs to the shock caps.

Insert the black o-rings into the shock cap, and make sure they are properly seated.

Now we will fill the shock body about 3/4 of the way with shock oil and cycle the shock piston to dissipate any and all air bubbles. Make sure the piston stays submersed in the oil while you cycle the shock to get rid of the air bubbles. Once the bubbles are gone fill the shock body until the oil is about 1/16th of an inch from the top of the shock body, so just shy of being full. Once the shock shaft is fully compressed, you should see the oil crown just above the top of the shock body. Screw the cap down tight while holding the shock shaft fully compressed. Once the cap is tight, wipe any excess oil away. Cycle the shock shaft a few times and listen for air bubbles. If you can hear air bubbles gurgling around inside the shock, start over and use a little more oil. Make sure all air bubbles are gone before re-assembling. If the shock shaft won’t compress all the way after this step, you have a little too much oil in the shock body. Remove the shock cap, and re-bleed the shock with a little less oil.

After you are finished bleeding the shock we can install the dual rate springs and spacers as needed.

Slide the springs over the shock body with the plastic spring retainer between the two springs.

Install the lower spring retainer next, and you are done!

That wraps up building Axial’s new fully licensed Icon shocks. Following these tips will help people get the most out of their new SCX10 shocks.