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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.