Freemantle Highway Destroyed

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A Big Tesla power bank, which was not yet fully commissioned into service, is on fire in Australia, and they’re just going to have to let it burn. Firefighters are focusing on keeping adjacent battery packs cool enough that they do not also catch fire.


This is not Australia’s first big lithium battery fire either.

If you don’t want to watch the entire thing, the basic story is that these battery packs replace back up diesel generators in the power system. They have liquid cooling systems just like a gasoline powered car, to keep the batteries cool enough during operation.

A loose cooling line leaked Into the circuitry, causing an electronics failure in the battery management circuitry. That plus the low cooling system allowed the battery pack to go into thermal runaway.

It seems that either one failure or the other would not have been enough, but coolant leaking onto the electronics causing failure of both systems set it all off.
 
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This fire in Australia evidently occurred two years ago in Queensland, and if it had gotten out of control you can see what a disaster of toxic smoke and pollution it would’ve created.

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You will see dozens of articles if you google Australia lithium battery fire.
 
So you’re voting now for even more censorship?

Don’t take that too harshly. Your sentiment is not at all unusual guys. I see it all around the web.

Please be aware of your desire, that you do not become its victim. (In other words, be careful what you wish for, folks.)

There’s a simple time-honored cure for any unease you fellows feel: Don’t look here, and you won’t have to know.

BTW you cannot pay me to do Facebook. I was a member for about two days, 20 years ago. From what I can tell, it’s even worse now.
 
Just for the record, I own an electric boat, and I want an electric car, and I never intended this to be a discussion about politics.
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It’s a discussion about dodgy engineering, and the dangers of mismanaged lithium batteries going into thermal run away.

My major consideration was always the fact that vehicles are extremely prone to be damaged, and a damaged lithium battery pack is a time bomb, if it isn’t already a bomb.

In fact, what generally happens is that a vehicle keeps getting driven as long as it can be repaired economically, but economics have changed.
What generally happens in California is that when a car is damaged so much that the insurance company says it’s a total loss, it gets sold at the wholesale auction as salvage. It gets towed off to Mexico (where the rules are lighter and the labor is cheaper) and it is repaired there and continues a life of service.

It doesn’t take much to total a car nowadays, considering the cost of replacement parts and labor.

I think the same thing will happen with lithium batteries. We will be shipping them away to avoid responsibility for what happened to a pack that was perhaps subjected to extremely high G forces, but never actually ruptured at the time of the accident. Perhaps it’s just waiting for one more cumulative shock to set it off.

I’m afraid we’re going to be shipping around a lot of dangerous items without really good oversight, and with no good way to extinguish a runaway battery.

But I thought this was only a problem with vehicles, until I saw the power banks on fire. Now I realize that this is the sort of product where mis-management of any sort can have terrible consequences, and I’m afraid it will keep me using lead acid batteries for the foreseeable future.
 
My Facebook comment was probably a bad joke. I despise that site.

Not a vote for censorship. Whether you intend it or not this is a politically charged topic.

My vote (for clarification) is to keep this site on topic. I don’t see any connection here to ratrod bikes.

And for what is worth. I loved your last muscle bike build. You blew my mind with the artistic recycling at the end of the build. More of that. Less of this.

Just my 2 cents. Love this site. But I surely don’t own it.
 
Well thank you for that. I am sure to build more bicycles, just not this week.

Also I am sure to build electric vehicles as well, and being retired, I have all this time on my hands. I live to experiment.

But until they get this runaway lithium problem solved, I am not a fan. We have huge deposits of it at the Salton Sea and at the Oregon border with California, so the stuff is there. It would mean a great deal of income to the state if we could mine and sell it.

We don’t even have to import it, if we don’t want to. We just don’t know how to deal with it well yet. The engineering needs more work.

Maybe the best possible use for lithium is 3-D printed solid rocket boosters. Who can say? Materials science moves on every day.
 
When I first read Freemantle Highway, I thought it was about the roadway in Australia. I was in Fremantle in Jan 1983 on liberty call. I had to check out a bike shop I saw while out in town and wound up buying a used BSA 20" folder style bike that didn't actually fold. Just like this one but orange in color.
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Then I was off riding around in my dress white crackerjacks all over town. It was great!
We weren't at a pier, we were anchored out in the harbor, so I had to jump from the liberty boat to the ship's ladder with this thing strapped to my back.
 
. . . Then I was off riding around in my dress white crackerjacks all over town. It was great!
We weren't at a pier, we were anchored out in the harbor, so I had to jump from the liberty boat to the ship's ladder with this thing strapped to my back.

Ha! These real stories are always better than fiction. I can see you now in white bellbottoms and a Dixie cup, climbing the ropes.

My father gave me his WW2 issue Navy cap when I was a child of 9. I remember painting Moon-eyes on it with a pen, and riding around on my bicycle with that hat.

When Dad went to Vietnam, we packed up some things in a suitcase and went to live with relatives in New York and Kentucky, sequentially. I think the hat got left behind in our trailer in the Arizona desert.

It’s funny but I don’t recall thinking about that, until this time.
 
Sorry about the salty language. This guy is really not safe for kids. As engineers go he’s a bit of a Nutter, but he has the right idea here I think.



More fireworks in OZ, where e_bikes explode into flames, as the fire crew stands by . . . .

The advice shared on the news from the fire chief was, “Don’t put these together yourself . . . “. Ummmm, yeaaaah….. make sure you all get the memo on that.

It looks like it’s happening every day, but the real danger is substandard components. Vehicles without apparent damage are catching fire because of bad charging/management circuitry.
 
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Evidently the Australian power pack battery fire went for four days before they considered it completely out. If this keeps happening people will be blaming them for global warming.

They say the fire reached 1000°C. Not hot enough to weld steel, but that’s hot enough to melt brass and copper.

There’s no word yet on how many tons of pollution were put into the atmosphere, but any unnecessary amount is unwelcome.
 
My niece and her family escaped from their million dollar house in the middle of the night with just the cloths on their backs. The house was in a new development outside of their city with no fire hydrants within a mile. The house was totally engulfed and burnt to the ground. The investigation showed that the fire started in the corner of the garage where they had their kids rechargeable hoverboard was plugged in. They awoke to the smoke alarms and got the kids out, and went back in to extinguish the burning board. Fire was out but kept reigniting. By the time the fire dept arrived the house was fully engulfed. This happened a few years back, they’ve rebuilt but are still in litigation over this.
 
This is what keeps me from buying an electric bicycle. Well, actually, the electric Harley Davidson.

I’m even worried about just recharging these darn iPhones, and they do get warm.

I broke a small tablet device that had a lithium battery pack in it about the size of two slices of American cheese, wrapped in plastic. The battery pack was damaged when the connections pulled apart and shorted.

I first realized this as I was disassembling the device, and the plastic bag started swelling up and getting hot. A black spot appeared inside the packaging. I didn’t wait for it to start smoking.

I threw it in a bucket of dirty water in the garden and watched it steam away. There were bubbles of gas coming out of it & a burnt chemical odor that I didn’t inhale on purpose.

I went back and checked on it the next morning and over a quart of water had gone from the bucket.

That pack was only about three amp hours capacity. Cars are into the 3000 ah to 50,000 ah range. My boat is only about 900 ah but that is all lead/acid & under 200 lbs

3000 ah in lead batteries would sink her ;)

I already removed half the batteries and one motor because none of it made the boat go any faster. LoL
 
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Just for the record, I own an electric boat, and I want an electric car, and I never intended this to be a discussion about politics.
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It’s a discussion about dodgy engineering, and the dangers of mismanaged lithium batteries going into thermal run away.

My major consideration was always the fact that vehicles are extremely prone to be damaged, and a damaged lithium battery pack is a time bomb, if it isn’t already a bomb.

In fact, what generally happens is that a vehicle keeps getting driven as long as it can be repaired economically, but economics have changed.
What generally happens in California is that when a car is damaged so much that the insurance company says it’s a total loss, it gets sold at the wholesale auction as salvage. It gets towed off to Mexico (where the rules are lighter and the labor is cheaper) and it is repaired there and continues a life of service.

It doesn’t take much to total a car nowadays, considering the cost of replacement parts and labor.

I think the same thing will happen with lithium batteries. We will be shipping them away to avoid responsibility for what happened to a pack that was perhaps subjected to extremely high G forces, but never actually ruptured at the time of the accident. Perhaps it’s just waiting for one more cumulative shock to set it off.

I’m afraid we’re going to be shipping around a lot of dangerous items without really good oversight, and with no good way to extinguish a runaway battery.

But I thought this was only a problem with vehicles, until I saw the power banks on fire. Now I realize that this is the sort of product where mis-management of any sort can have terrible consequences, and I’m afraid it will keep me using lead acid batteries for the foreseeable future.
Lithium primary batteries have been used for years in mining drill rigs being sent down the pipe to power sensors etc. Researching and reading the Safety Data sheets confirmed that if they dropped too much voltage they were in danger of self starting combustion. And will continue to burn. Scary thing was because shipping used batteries was so expensive back to manufacturer they tended to accumulate in shipping containers converted to storage.

Certainly makes rebuilding and modifying bikes one of the most green things we can be doing.
 

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