January 3, 2008

Adam Wilt on Lithium Batteries on planes

Tech Thoughts and Boing-Boing both have good coverage of the new ban on lithium batteries on planes.

Adam Wilt, who apparently has a plane obsession, had some additional comments on over on the SF Cutters list:

>> Between several professional and consumer camcorders, MacbookPro, digital still cameras and a little hand-held micro-cassette audio "note-taker" I have quite a few batteries that travel by air on occasion. I'm wondering whether I'd be Lithium "overlimit" if I packed it all for a shoot!>>


- You can carry on or check as many Li-ion batteries as you want IF they are installed in/on the powered equipment.

- You can't check ANY spare Li-ion batteries.

- Unlimited numbers of small Li-ion batteries may be carried on as spares, but only 2 spares above 8 grams Li content (about 100 watt-hour capacity) may be carried, the total amount not to exceed 25g (about 300 watt-hours). Most pro-level batteries are rated in watt-hours, but prosumer camcorder batteries are rated in amp-hours (Ah) or milliamp-hours (mAh).

Conversion factors:

- Watt-hours = battery voltage x amp-hour rating
- Watt-hours = battery voltage x milliamp-hours x 1000

For example, a Specialized Communications high-capacity Li-ion battery for an HVX200 is rated at 7.2v, 6000mAh. That translates to 43.2 Wh. The stock Sony BP-U30 battery for a PMW-EX1 is 14.4v, 1.95Ah, or 28.8 Wh (the “U30” being a battery with a nominal 30 Wh rating, apparently), while the high-capacity BP-U60 is twice as much.

It’s unlikely that any of the Li-ion prosumer batteries pack more than 100 Wh, so you’re safe carrying on a whole mess of them--but be sure to cover their terminals to prevent short-circuits. I put a bit of gaffer tape over the terminals, or pack each battery in its own plastic bag.
Lithium metal batteries (non-rechargeable, like the lithium button cells used for clock backup batteries) face higher restrictions if they have more than 2G of Li metal, but these larger batteries aren't common in A/V gear to the best of my knowledge.

1 comment:

-> wam said...

Thanks for this post. I am traveling to indonesia with an EX1 and 2 BP-u60's. I couldn't figure out the conversion rate.