Fire Extinguisher for safety?

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andrew's picture
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I think it would be a good idea to keep on any EV. I did some testing, and a short at the high voltages we run at will cause a big plasma ball of fire. Many of us are doing wiring. The systems are untested and unproven. I remember from a Lectra diary that an optima battery (these are high-quality and expensive) self combusted. I'm also thinking of keeping some cable cutters on the bike. BTW, ALWAYS have a fire extinguisher handy when doing any kind of work on any EV!

I'm going to mount an automotive fire extinguisher on my bike. I'll also have one for the civic. Amazon carries some if you search "fire extingusher" under automotive. It needs the following ratings:

B: Flammable Liquids, C: Live Electrical Equipment

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reikiman's picture
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Re: Fire Extinguisher for safety?

John Wayland got his nickname 'Plasma Boy' in a similar way. He is an infamous EV drag racer etc. He was preparing the White Zombie (one of his cars) for a drag race and, uh, dropped a wrench into the battery pack. It crossed some battery terminals and a plasma ball formed, apparently a big one, that lasted quite awhile. He freaked out but his wife was able to act and for instance wetted a towel and threw it on the plasma ball and the towel vaporized.

But that wasn't a normal situation.. he had the vehicle open, the battery pack exposed, etc. The one time I saw this car he had plexiglass covering the batteries ...

I used to subscribe to the EVDL and there was lots of chatter about NEDRA racing. There were occasions during a drag race that batteries would blow up. But it was under extreme power situations. And if I recall right it was due to internal resistance in the battery.

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Re: Fire Extinguisher for safety?

I can see having a handy master switch and an extinguisher in a 4-wheeled EV, I can't really see me carrying an extinguisher on an E-bike, scoot, or motorcycle. (its a good idea, but I'm just being honest about what I wouldn't do).

I haven't built a bike yet, my plan is to put the batteries in pannier baskets to hide a rear hub stealth motor. But now that I've read this, I can imagine making the basket attachment a quick-release, so I can pull it off if the batteries start to combust, at least saving most of the bike without burning my hands.

I was on a submarine and the wrench used for the ships battery was completely enclosed in rubber (dipped like a chocolate coating and dried), and the inner jaws had the rubber sliced away with a razor. Only the mouth had exposed metal, the sides of the wrench jaws were still covered.

Entry into the battery compartment required a checklist including emptying all pockets, no jewelry, necklaces, rings, pens, keys, etc. If it can be blown up, an 18-year old sailor has done it.

Hmmm...a master kill switch could also be used as a removeable theft deterrant, like a giant fuse attached to a small handle.

LinkOfHyrule's picture
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Re: Fire Extinguisher for safety?

I wonder if they would work on a LiPo fire though. Supposedly, those are virtually impossible to extinguish.

Not really a problem with LiFePO4 batts, but still...

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frodus's picture
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Re: Fire Extinguisher for safety?

well, once a plasma ball starts, its hard to stop, unless you open the current path so no current can flow. If its arcing within a cell, you're outta luck...

Just make sure, with electrical, to use a class C extinguisher... CO2 is recomended for high value equipment because its non corrosive, leaves no residue and hard to get to combust at high arcing temperatures.

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jdh2550_1's picture
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Re: Fire Extinguisher for safety?

spinningmagnets wrote:

Hmmm...a master kill switch could also be used as a removeable theft deterrant, like a giant fuse attached to a small handle.

That's a good idea until thieves start carrying around a six inch nail to jam in there... :-)

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