power bank when parked up...

SawMaster

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A fellow member on an Indian car forum from Delhi reported his car's interior catching fire due to a power bank that exploded or caught fire while parked outside under direct sunlight. I've decided not to test my luck and refrain from recording while parked till summer subsides. Scary!
Had to be the cheap crappy cells; several reports of those going toast at the slightest provocation. Good LiIon cells will easily withstand 150F/65C and more for hours on end with only perhaps a shortened service life as a consequence. With LiIon, cell quality makes all the difference in the world.

Very good info on LiIon safety here: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/45314

Phil
 

Harsh

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Here's the extent of damage. I'm assuming that the power bank was kept inside the armrest console.

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Harsh

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The car's owner has confirmed that the power bank was kept inside the armrest console and the car was parked outside under direct sunlight for around 5 hours. As extreme as it could probably get..
 

Dashmellow

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How well would a LiPo bag do in case a power bank catches fire? I mean if I place the power bank enclosed inside the bag on the passenger side foot mat.
Don't do that!!

I'm a regular blood donor and last summer when I gave a donation they were giving out free insulated RED CROSS lunch/utility bags. I thought, "Hey this might be good for keeping my power banks from getting too hot out in my truck on a sunny day".

Bad move!! As an experiment I put one of my power banks into the bag and it got crazy hot! The bank was in use but I was driving home with the windows open and never left it running in the bag while I was away from the vehicle.

Power banks not only get hot from the environment but they put out their own heat too. If you've been running a bank for a while feel around the case and a section will be quite warm. It's not the cells that get hot but the electronics that run them. When a power bank is in an enclosed space and is left running it will collected the heat it self generates.

Even without running any power from the banks they got hot inside the bag. Leaving it dangling with lots of ventilation seems like a wiser plan than storing it in any kind of enclosed bag as far as I am concerned. @SawMaster is right though. Lithium cells can get quite warm and still be quite safe, although longevity can be somewhat compromised. On the plus side, warm lithium-ion cells really crank.

My two main power banks (Chinese generics) have been used in all kinds of hot and cold temperature extremes and have endured a lot of vibration on the rural roads around here and they are still doing fine. They have been in daily service for anywhere from 2 to 6 hours. The oldest one is now 37 months old this month and the identical second one has been in service for 27 months. The older one is only just now showing some signs of not holding the charge it once did but it still will go many, many hours running two dash cams before running down.
 
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Dashmellow

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The car's owner has confirmed that the power bank was kept inside the armrest console and the car was parked outside under direct sunlight for around 5 hours. As extreme as it could probably get..
I agree with @SawMaster that crappy cells were the likely cause of the fire. Anything can happen of course, but I am not aware of any other reports of power banks exploding into flames. With so many people using them these days you would think we would hear about it. One thing I've begun to notice is that with large power banks widely available now in mainstream big box stores many people are buying them who have no clue about the care, maintenance and precautions required for lithium-ion cells and so this fact also suggests that they are for the most part relatively safe.
 

Harsh

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Thank you for the info on the bags.

In view of Li-Ion cells being designed with a vent hole when compared to the sealed pouch design of a Li-Po battery. Wouldn't Li-Ion cell based power banks be more suitable for the climate here? A post there suggests so.

All we know is that it was a Li-Ion based power bank by Ambrane.

Li-Po or Li-Ion, If the unit was being left under similar conditions on a frequent basis, with the deterioration due to the heat, I think it was a matter of when..
 

Dashmellow

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Lithium Polymer cells are more likely to swell up than explode like lithium-ion cells that can over pressurize even with vent holes. There are not that many lithium polymer battery banks out there on the market but I have one I bought called a Power Pilot Plus 20,000 mAh from PowerAdd Mine's black and it works quite well but I've not used it in my vehicle too much yet.
 
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Harsh

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Not taking any chances for the next two months at least.

If I need to run the cameras while parked, I'll temporarily move the hardwired 12V socket's fuse-tap to a permanent fuse.
 

flip9

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If its a cheap powerbank that lacks cell protection circuit (for over temp/current) then it will continue to run in an oven till the cells craps itself.

... and if its using crappy Li-ion cells which fails at failing (ha!) then expect flames.
 

SawMaster

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The old Lithium-Coblat cells were touchy, and some of my sources indicate that the crappy Chinese cells are still this type. The newer LiIon cells are close to LiPo in cell chemistry and much safer. I have been keeping LiIon flashlights in my vehicles for a couple years now, including one which was in the console of a burgundy car that stayed parked in full sunlight with windows closed constantly, and never a problem of any kind at all. I only use top-quality cells which makes the difference.

Here's something to watch that will help you dispell any fears you have. This test was done by a friend on a flashlight forum at about the same time as an unrelated car fire burned up the LiIon flashlight I had in the console as I watched. My temps melted aluminum- at least 900 degrees F and it tool about 4-5 minutes of that level heat to make my 18650 cell let go. You'll see his results. He used a propane torch aimed directly at the light at the hottest part of the flame

I'd like to know which exact powerbank this guy had in his car. Only a damaged or crappy cell (or extremely bad luck) could have done that.

Phil
 

Harsh

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I'd like to know which exact powerbank this guy had in his car. Only a damaged or crappy cell (or extremely bad luck) could have done that.

Phil
Don't know the exact model. Could also be a defective cell that was punished daily beyond its normal tolerance levels and therefore exploded.
 

SawMaster

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I was myself concerned about LiIon cells and safety until I learned the facts. And the fact is that you are more likely to be killed by having a dead fish dropped on your head by a seagull in the middle of a desert than to suffer any injury from a LiIon cell venting :p

So do as you wish, but know that it makes no sense to own a dashcam if you are not going to use it when that can be done with this much margin of safety. And put your hard-hat on if there are seagulls around :ROFLMAO:

Phil

 

Dashmellow

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I was myself concerned about LiIon cells and safety until I learned the facts. And the fact is that you are more likely to be killed by having a dead fish dropped on your head by a seagull in the middle of a desert than to suffer any injury from a LiIon cell venting :p

So do as you wish, but know that it makes no sense to own a dashcam if you are not going to use it when that can be done with this much margin of safety. And put your hard-hat on if there are seagulls around :ROFLMAO:

Phil
And this is coming from a guy who's car went up in flames! :D Actually, just kidding. I agree with you. :)
 
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