Shorting a Turnigy Lipo Pack (AKA “Welding”)

Screen shot 2013-11-05 at 11.17.35 AM

In a previous post with a video showing what happens when you short out a Turnigy lipo pack something kind of bugged me.  There were lots of safety precautions taken, but one thing in particular was fairly dangerous in my opinion.  It may have not been the smartest thing to do to plug the leads into each other by hand, gloved or otherwise, to make the short.  Here’s why:

Basically, it’s a little arc welder.  His video actually showed over 1000A going through the connectors, enough to melt the solder (and actually break the circuit).  I dunno, but if you’re cool with handling a little arc welder with leather gloves, then god love ya.  I’m not.  For this demo I had my welding coat, welding gloves, and welding mask on.  Not only spark protection, but heat and UV as well.

The one or two times this has happened to me was while wiring these 4s packs together in parallel, then in series, to get a 80V 20ah pack built up.  Let’s just say, what with all the balance leads, buss blocks and pack leads, you really have to pay attention to avoid mis-connections.  When you make one that happens to be a short, you pretty much find out right away…  as the folks on ES say, “Kentucky Fried Fingers”.

I suspect everybody who’s worked with these packs may have experienced something like this…  a lipo “plasma event”.  Hopefully, it’s one of those mistakes that’s not too much of a catastrophe, but certainly one you can avoid, and probably will once you see what can happen.

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2 responses to “Shorting a Turnigy Lipo Pack (AKA “Welding”)

  1. I do not recommend shorting 56s4p of RC Lipo in your face wearing no safety equipment. You get to pick little balls of molten copper out of your lips after your vision eventually returns. It’s very important to pay close attention when plugging things together in a big RC pack rats nest.

    • ^ Authority speaking.

      Thanks for the comment, Luke, I certainly learned my lesson the first time it happened. I was trying to take the quick way out, and the rat’s nest bit me in the ass. First lesson learned, one step at at time, and one module at a time, and test before plugging. Second lesson was, appropriate dress required.

      The original video I linked, the guy was wearing face protection I guess (I don’t think a welding mask) but had no sleeves, as you can see. He should have at least used a switch, a little further away and enclosed. For someone intentionally shorting out a pack it seemed pretty foolish, in spite of all the other precautions. Luckily the friend/firefighter was there to douse his arms with, what? Dry chemical or CO2?

      I’d “lol” but it wouldn’t have been funny.

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