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#117877 - 12/28/07 10:39 PM New TSA regs for lithium batteries
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Just a heads up--new TSA regs go into effect January 1 regarding carrying lithium batteries on board planes. The TSA annoucement is a bit confusing. The photo shows lithium ion batteries on the home page but the the text really seems to only be describing non-rechargeable "lithium" batteries like Energizer e2's. Very basically put, the rule is no loose "lithiums" in checked bags. In carry-on, on your person, or installed in a device inside your checked luggage, is OK.

Anyway, I'm still trying to clarify whether this rule applies to lithium ion batteries, too. In the meantime, just be mindful of those spare lithium batteries for your cameras, GPS, flashlights, etc. that you are thinking of just tossing in your checked luggage.

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#117879 - 12/28/07 10:59 PM Re: New TSA regs for lithium batteries [Re: Arney]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Sounds like the rule is still up in the air. Or at least the language of the regulation, and so the interpretation, is.

You note the term "lithium battery" is not clearly defined. The functional, hazard, difference between rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries seem unclear to me. I would think both have similar potential to cause harm. Not that I'm pushing for banning all of them. A little logic, clear thinking and consistent rules and enforcement would be, unfortunately, both nice and unusual.

I'm also not sure what they mean by the term "loose". Are they seeking to avoid an accidental, or on purpose, electrical short. Lithium batteries, and a few other kinds, concentrate enough energy that a shorted battery could be a serious fire hazard. Is this the point?

What if they are taped or otherwise contained in such a way that shorting is highly unlikely. A friend used to use small plastic caps, used as plugs to keep dust and crud out of air conditioning lines when they are shipped, as push-on covers. Being an AC man he gets them by the dozen for free.

Sometimes I wish the PTB would speak clearly and concisely about what their concerns are and what regulations are intended to deal with what. Probably too much to ask for.

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#117882 - 12/28/07 11:08 PM Re: New TSA regs for lithium batteries [Re: Arney]
JCWohlschlag Offline
Some guy who wandered in…
Old Hand

Registered: 11/26/06
Posts: 724
Loc: Dallas, Pennsylvania, United S...
The most specific information I could find about this is from http://safetravel.dot.gov/whats_new_batteries.html.

Originally Posted By: Arney
The TSA annoucement is a bit confusing. The photo shows lithium ion batteries on the home page but the the text really seems to only be describing non-rechargeable "lithium" batteries like Energizer e2's.

The new rules affect both Lithium Metal “primary” batteries (i.e. Lithium AAs and 123s) and Lithium-Ion rechargeable batteries.

The way each type of battery is regulated depends on its “equivalent lithium content” in grams. The chart at the bottom of the Safe Travel site shows all the technical details about the battery types and quantities of “equivalent lithium content”. It’s too bad that many of the TSA employees don’t understand technical.

From what it looks like, the main Lithium Metal “primary” (AA and 123) batteries are only allowed in your checked luggage if they are installed in their respective device. Any loose Lithium Metal “primaries” must be in your carry-on.

As far as Lithium-Ion rechargeable batteries, any battery that is under 8 grams of lithium (~100 watt-hour battery) is only allowed in your checked luggage if it is installed in its respective device. Any loose Lithium-Ion batteries must be in your carry-on.

Large Lithium-Ion batteries (greater than 8 grams of lithium/100 watt-hours) are a special case. Check the chart for details.
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