The Ultimate LiPo Battery Charging / Storage Solution
I’ve been into RC for a long time and have certainly charged my fair share of battery packs, but I’ll be the first to admit that LiPo batteries scare me just a little bit. Case in point; a couple years ago while I was working on one of my F1 cars on my workbench in my house, I had a LiPo pack charging at the end of my work table. I was doing everything right; wires correctly connected, balance port in play and charging at a very moderate 6amps. I got up to get a drink and noticed an odd smell – I looked over and saw my battery pack was starting to smoke. I ran over and unplugged it and thought to myself ‘Whew, that was a close one’ – however the pack was still smoking. To be safe, I decided to take it outside; thankfully the sliding glass door to my patio was literally right next to the table. As I picked up my F1 car by the rear wing and opened the door, the pack burst into a pretty violent flame! I was lucky enough to get a good toss out the door and onto the concrete where it sat for a second before I hosed it down with a fire extinguisher. I was lucky; but I’ve read quite a few horror stories online about people that haven’t been.
Now, there are some solutions out there – charging pouches, ammo cans, concrete blocks – all great ideas but not without their drawbacks. It’s definitely time for someone to step up and provide an affordable product to combat the possible dangers with LiPo batteries; something that allows you to safely charge your packs without 24/7 monitoring as well as making transportation a simple and safe activity. I’d like to introduce you to the first product that does both; meet the BAT-SAFE.
Product: BAT-SAFE Battery Charging Box
Part Number: BAT-SAFE
Type: Battery Charging Box
Charging Space: 241x165x201mm
Overall Dimensions: 305x228x178mm
What’s In The Box
The BAT-SAFE includes everything you need to keep yourself safe while charging your packs. There’s the BAT-SAFE box itself; a double-walled metal container with fiberglass insulation in between, using thin sheet metal brackets to keep it’s form. It measures 305x228x178mm on the outside dropping down to 241x165x201mm on the inside; plenty of room to charge even the biggest 6S LiPo packs. The outside is covered in bats (BAT-SAFE, get it?) with multiple warning labels to remind you not to cover the vent holes, keep the lid closed and install the wire seal during charging. The lid has 50 vent holes and a substantial carrying handle is attached to one side. Inside the unit is a plastic bag that contains the metal, external charger holder and some Velcro strips. These strips are used to secure both the metal holder and charger to the BAT-SAFE box.
The BAT-SAFE is an extremely easy product to set up and use. First, remove the BAT-SAFE from its shipping container, install your charging wires through the wire seal and you’re all ready to start charging – safely! I do want to mention that feeding the charging leads through the wire seal takes some effort; the seal is there to keep any smoke or fire contained should the LiPo detonate inside the box. This means the seal has to be tight, which it certainly is. The good news is that you only have to do this once, and the BAT-SAFE seal has internal pull tabs to make installation a bit easier.
Attaching the charger stand is also a piece of cake; Velcro on the stand attaches it to the box; Velcro on the charger attaches it to the stand. Take note that the stand is small but should still accept most chargers. Mine held my Hitec X1 Pro charger in place quite easily but struggled a bit with my Reedy 1216-C2 Dual-Port unit. Adding another piece of Velcro near the bottom helped but there’s certainly a limit to what you can put on there. I suspect a Charger-Stand-V2 might be available for those of you with larger chargers.
Once you have your charger connected, simply open the lid, connect your battery, close the lid (and latch it shut) and start charging.
So, let’s say you’re unfortunate enough to have a fire while using the BAT-SAFE. Well, as I mentioned earlier, the lid has 50 vent holes to release any pressure should your LiPo fail. Inside the lid is more fiberglass insulation; this insulation filters the smoke and captures all the soot that results from a fire, releasing only white smoke through the vent holes. I was curious if the BAT-SAFE is a one-use charging box, but after a quick phone call I was told by the designer himself, Tom Mast, that the BAT-SAFE is in fact reusable; simply clean it out and you’re good to go. The insulation in the lid should be good for multiple filterings; let’s just hope you don’t have to test that out!
I’ve used the BAT-SAFE quite a few times already and while I haven’t had a LiPo burst, I do have peace of mind that it will contain any fire should it happen. Tom actually made a video with the BAT-SAFE inside a larger, cardboard box filled with toilet paper and detonated a battery; there was some white smoke but the outside of the BAT-SAFE was relatively cool to the touch with only a little singed TP near the vent holes. Good to see there was no Charmin harmed in the making of the video.