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#44298 - 07/18/05 07:36 PM TSA and Flashlights... continued

My recent post about this was locked for some reason, probably for excessive TSA bashing.

Anyway, just an update. I had no problem carrying 123A lights on four flights recently, BUT I just received an order from Surefire containing a dozen 123As (and a nifty new E2E) and the shipping box was very prominently labeled with large red stickers:

[color:"red"] "Primary Lithium Batteries - Forbidden for transport aboard passenger aircraft."[/color]

I'm aware the 123As have been known to explode on occasion, but I didn't find anything on the TSA website about this. Does anyone know what the story is? I'm really just curious to know what the limits are.

#44299 - 07/18/05 07:44 PM Re: TSA and Flashlights... continued
Craig Offline

Registered: 11/13/01
Posts: 1784
Loc: Collegeville, PA, USA
From what I know, exploding lithiums occur only when you mix different types or brands of lithiums. Also, el cheapo foreign imports have been known to blow.

I think the shipping of batteries alone, by themselves, is forbidden in the manner described, but not when they're on "active duty" in a flashlight.

But don't bet the farm on it. These things seem to change day by day. <img src="/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />

-- Craig

#44300 - 07/18/05 07:49 PM Re: TSA and Flashlights... continued
groo Offline

Registered: 11/02/03
Posts: 722
Loc: Florida
Google knows all.

Next time I order from BatteryStation, this should be interesting. :-)

#44301 - 07/20/05 01:51 PM Re: other devices use lithium batteries

They let plenty of lithium batteries through now, in electronic devices. AFAIK, notebook computers use lithium batteries. I have two types of lithium batteries for my current computer (Dell), and my last two (Compaq & Sony) also used lithium batteries. Sony at one point was having quality control problems with their lithium batteries, but I don't remember the details.

I think my camcorder also uses them, but I haven't had it out of the case in a year or two. I think Sony is big on lithium batteries for camcorders and digital cameras, but I don't currently own any so I can't say for sure.

#44302 - 07/20/05 02:06 PM Re: other devices use lithium batteries
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2830
Correction, notebook computers (and cell phones) use Lithium-Ion batteries (rechargebale), not Lithium (non rechargeable). Lithuim Ion are less prone to explosion than Lithium.

#44303 - 07/25/05 04:20 PM Re: TSA and Flashlights... continued

I needed to order some cells this morning and remembered this thread. Here's a little research. The intent of the regulations seem to be to prevent short circuits and external damage, so I assume the explosion danger comes from overheating due to a short.

I think there are three situations: battery installed in a device, battery in retail packaging, and battery in other packaging. The first two are probably cool, but if you have a couple of cells loose in your pocket with your keys and change, you might have more problems than just getting through security. "Dangerous" means a certain amount of lithium or a larger amount of lithium alloy - I don't know how much lithium is in a 123A.

There are a couple of governing documents. For the US see
49 CFR 173.185
Elsewhere look for
United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Manual of Tests and Criteria
I would assume they are similar but wouldn't bet on it. The CFR does refrence UN documents for testing.

And this Quantus link has it broken down in simple terms.

Can you buy lithium cells in the airport? Next time I'm there I will look in the camera supplies.

#44304 - 07/26/05 03:49 PM Re: TSA and Flashlights... continued
JohnN Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/10/01
Posts: 966
Loc: Seattle, WA

Check this thread on CPF. You have to read down a bit before you get into the meat of it.


#44305 - 07/30/05 01:53 AM Re: TSA and Flashlights... continued
BigAssDiesel Offline

Registered: 06/01/05
Posts: 58
I flew from Boston to Tampa on 7/8 and returned Tampa to Boston on 7/22. In my carry on I had a SureFire L1 and L2 as well as a battery carrier containing 6 123 batteries. No problems whatsoever.


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