Flying with El Wire

A place to discuss all things involving power and lighting. Generator tips, alternative energy, lighting your camp/bike/art/self and more.

Flying with El Wire

Postby Jennet Jourdemayne » Wed Aug 24, 2011 7:20 am

Anyone have any hassle with TSA for traveling with el wire in their carry on? Think it would be betterto check it? I have about 25 feet and four or five small drivers.
Jennet Jourdemayne
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 9:32 am

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby waxpraxis » Wed Aug 24, 2011 7:34 am

I've flown a number of times with hand-made electronics and I always put them in my carry on bag. The last thing you'd want is your whole luggage "removed and destroyed" by an overzealous TSA screener. I figure in the worst case the TSA goon would make me throw out my creation but at least the rest of my stuff would survive.

I always make sure I travel with all of the parts, but disconnected and with batteries so I can show it working if need be (I've never been asked to, but friends of mine have). The worse that has happened were some questions about what in the heck it was! :mrgreen:
User avatar
waxpraxis
 
Posts: 233
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2011 7:45 am

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby junglesmacks » Wed Aug 24, 2011 7:35 am

It's not a problem at all. If it's not mounted, then carry on or check in is fine. If it's mounted and you want to make sure that people handle it nice, CARRY IT ON and just give the TSA screener a heads up as your baggage goes on the belt to be scanned so that they don't freak out.

FYI as well, I just got off the phone with the TSA this second to ask them about the policy regarding carrying batteries. I have multiple battery packs plus extra batteries that I'm traveling with. There are no restrictions regarding the number of dry cell batteries you can bring, but if it's in checked baggage then they need to be installed in the battery pack or device. if it's carry on, you can have as many loose batteries as you want.

The main thing is to just give the guys a heads up at the security checkpoint and be totally cooperative and you'll be fine.

If you'd like to call the TSA, the number is 1-866-289-9673. Go through the menu and stay on the line to talk to a live person and they'll answer any questions you may have.
Savannah wrote:It sounds freaky & wrong, so you need to do it.
User avatar
junglesmacks
 
Posts: 5809
Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 9:54 pm
Location: Orlando, FL/Kailua, HI
Camp Name: Your mom's tent

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby Canoe » Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:23 am

junglesmacks wrote:... I have multiple battery packs plus extra batteries that I'm traveling with...

Lithium ion batteries MUST be Carry-On, and must be uninstalled and carried such that there is no chance of shorting the contacts. I taped mine.
They tested them and declared there to be no risk, but as a precaution they must be carried on such that they are able to be observed in case they do develop a previously unkonwn problem while in flight.

This is for ALL chemistries of lithium batteries (LiPO, LiFePO4, etc.)

This includes individual cells, tool packs, e-bike packs, etc..

Individual cells in their original consumer package is fine.
*** http://www.burningman.com/preparation/ ***
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.
.
“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”
User avatar
Canoe
 
Posts: 1778
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby junglesmacks » Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:44 am

I spoke with a TSA rep right before I wrote this, and was pretty explicit in my questioning as he was in his answering. I stand by the validity of my original post..

He specifically said ALL "dry cell type batteries" which include lithium-ion and alkaline. Your information about taping the contacts is an advisory, not a requirement.

If any of you have doubts or questions, just call the TSA directly.


Canoe wrote:
junglesmacks wrote:... I have multiple battery packs plus extra batteries that I'm traveling with...

Lithium ion batteries MUST be Carry-On, and must be uninstalled and carried such that there is no chance of shorting the contacts. I taped mine.
They tested them and declared there to be no risk, but as a precaution they must be carried on such that they are able to be observed in case they do develop a previously unkonwn problem while in flight.

This is for ALL chemistries of lithium batteries (LiPO, LiFePO4, etc.)

This includes individual cells, tool packs, e-bike packs, etc..

Individual cells in their original consumer package is fine.
Savannah wrote:It sounds freaky & wrong, so you need to do it.
User avatar
junglesmacks
 
Posts: 5809
Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 9:54 pm
Location: Orlando, FL/Kailua, HI
Camp Name: Your mom's tent

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby Jennet Jourdemayne » Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:34 am

Thanks peeps. The wire will be sewn to some clothing, so I think I'll try carry-on, with batteries out of but with the drivers, and see what happens.
Jennet Jourdemayne
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 9:32 am

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby Canoe » Wed Aug 24, 2011 7:59 pm

junglesmacks wrote:I spoke with a TSA rep right before I wrote this, and was pretty explicit in my questioning as he was in his answering. I stand by the validity of my original post..
He specifically said ALL "dry cell type batteries" which include lithium-ion and alkaline. Your information about taping the contacts is an advisory, not a requirement.
If any of you have doubts or questions, just call the TSA directly.

When I flew to/from BM last year, the TSA agents on the line in Phoenix (cheap flights = many connections) were quite upset at the multi-cell multi-wired e-bike battery pack I took as carry on. They, including their supervisor, were quite surprised when I advised them of their requirement regarding lithium-ion batteries or packs. They had never heard of it. I carried a print-out of their requirement, which their supervisor confirmed on their computer. Using tape is an advisory; that they be transported with no chance of contact is required.
This was the requirement at the time of BM last year. The requirement may have changed since then.
I'll go check and report back.
Last edited by Canoe on Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
*** http://www.burningman.com/preparation/ ***
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.
.
“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”
User avatar
Canoe
 
Posts: 1778
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby Canoe » Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:29 pm

The TSA site has toned down their requirements, with the specifics I printed out from their site last year gone, but offer advice on carrying batteries in general.
http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/ ... eries.shtm
They no longer state that lithium-ion must be carry on, nor what the logic was, but...
A site they refer us to, http://safetravel.dot.gov/whats_new_batteries.html, states that
"you may not pack spare lithium-ion batteries in your checked luggage",
but they may be in checked luggage if they're installed in a device, but under lithium they say
"If you pack a device containing batteries, secure it against activation by locking the activation switch in the "off" position, placing the device in a protective case, or by other appropriate measures".

Some of what last year was a requirement for lithium-ion on the TSA site is now under "tips" at http://safetravel.dot.gov/tips.html, even though items are "must" and "forbidden".
That site also includes:
A battery's electrical connections (also called contacts or terminals,) must be protected from contact with metal or other batteries that may cause the battery to short-circuit.
from http://safetravel.dot.gov/how_to.html

And to make it more confusing, there's even older pages on that site from when larger lithium-ion batteries were forbidden in air travel, from before they did the testing and allowed them but with the restrictions I encountered last year.
http://safetravel.dot.gov/definitions.html
stating
Lithium Ion Batteries with over 25 grams ELC (equivalent lithium content) are forbidden in air travel.
also,
Lithium Metal Batteries. These are lithium batteries which can not be recharged. They are designed to be discarded once their initial charge is used up. Larger Lithium Metal Batteries contain over two grams of lithium, and are forbidden in air travel.

Are they nuts? With old out-of-date information still kicking around, and current requirements spread all over the place, how is the average person supposed to know what still does apply versus what no longer applies.
Last edited by Canoe on Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
*** http://www.burningman.com/preparation/ ***
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.
.
“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”
User avatar
Canoe
 
Posts: 1778
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby Canoe » Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:51 pm

Why the concern about Lithium-ion?
Each cell within a battery is somehow physically contained against physical expansion to prevent damage to the cell, be it by individual cells or the pack entire. If parameters are exceeded (charging or discharging) the cell's physical expansion can break the physical containment thereby "exploding". It's not a chemical burn explosion, but a physical pressure explosion. But, the liquid inside (they're not dry cells) can be highly flammable, and it's leaking now and it may have been sprayed it around when the physical containment broke.

The TSA site last year cited a (FedEx?) facility that burnt down after such a rupture and following ignition, from a lithium-ion battery. The rupture/flammable risk varies by the specific lithium-ion chemistry and the physical containment method. The 10ah cells I use have a double containment, with the outer containment having an expansion chamber to take the pressure of an inner containment failure, so there is no pressure-rupture risk or flammable-liquid leak possible without an external force rupture of the cell (and they're a nice shade of blue!).

The TSA logic provided last year to explain why they were now allowing lithium-ion when carried-on was that their testing showed that the likelihood of a problem was remote (and guarded against by preventing shorting of lithium-ion battery contacts), but in any event as carry-on it would be where the development of any previously unforeseen problem would be observed and addressed.

With the prior requirement and that information removed, they're obviously even more comfortable with them now.

Wish I'd saved that page...
*** http://www.burningman.com/preparation/ ***
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.
.
“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”
User avatar
Canoe
 
Posts: 1778
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby tspinning » Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:27 am

Hum... have 2 x 12v little(ish) ELK-1250-Batteries I was going to check.. my el-wire and drivers have already been shipped out... perhaps I should carry these on?
tspinning
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2011 7:31 am

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby junglesmacks » Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:30 am

tspinning wrote:Hum... have 2 x 12v little(ish) ELK-1250-Batteries I was going to check.. my el-wire and drivers have already been shipped out... perhaps I should carry these on?


Yes.. carry on unless they are installed.
Savannah wrote:It sounds freaky & wrong, so you need to do it.
User avatar
junglesmacks
 
Posts: 5809
Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 9:54 pm
Location: Orlando, FL/Kailua, HI
Camp Name: Your mom's tent

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby tspinning » Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:33 am

Will do, thank you!
tspinning
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2011 7:31 am

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby phil » Thu Aug 25, 2011 1:45 pm

The problem with the TSA is that the knuckleheads never agree on anything, but whatever the decision that's made at the gate, it's supported no matter whether it flies in the face of written policy or not.

There's no hope. Abandon all hope of common sense and uniform application of written rules. Not gonna happen. The people at the gate are boobs. There is no accountability for errors and no effective training.
User avatar
phil
 
Posts: 2975
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:10 pm
Location: Codgerville

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby Canoe » Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:57 pm

phil wrote:The problem with the TSA is that the knuckleheads never agree on anything, but whatever the decision that's made at the gate, it's supported no matter whether it flies in the face of written policy or not.

There's no hope. Abandon all hope of common sense and uniform application of written rules. Not gonna happen. The people at the gate are boobs. There is no accountability for errors and no effective training.


That's why I took a print out of their requirements with me. None of them had heard of it.

The agent I was passed to was fixated on the x-ray of the multi-cells with the BMS (battery management system) circuit board with a wire to the top & bottom of each cell (one wire to each cell-to-cell connection), even after they did the wipe & sniff test for explosive residue. Of course it's DIY in a DIY aluminum box. The supervisor realized the technical issue was over her head, but what I'd done matched what I had a printout of and matched what she found on her computer, so with the all-clear on the wipe & sniff, she based her final assessment on me (demeanor, etc.), not the x-ray.

The one agent wouldn't let it go and was trying to drag other agents into it, even after her supervisor gave her clear. I ended it by offering to give them a technical brief on the various lithium chemistries, cell pack methodologies, BMS types, risks and risk management, etc., then started providing details before they agreed to receive them. That got me out of there fast. :D It's a big stick, but it works.

But level of TSA competence varies by site. Tampa was very impressive when I was through there two winters ago. For security reasons, I won't say what they were doing that was so impressive, but they really had it down well, both with visible security and real security, and while being polite, efficient and thorough. Very impressive.
*** http://www.burningman.com/preparation/ ***
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.
.
“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”
User avatar
Canoe
 
Posts: 1778
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby Canoe » Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:15 pm

tspinning wrote:Hum... have 2 x 12v little(ish) ELK-1250-Batteries I was going to check.. my el-wire and drivers have already been shipped out... perhaps I should carry these on?

To be safe, yes.
Especially since it's a wet cell, although sealed. It will be subjected to less pressure in the cabin. Just in case.
As a pilot, I'd be pissed if a checked wet cell got damaged by the loading crew, then leaked acid that got to electrical power/control wires, hydraulics or fuel lines.
As a passenger, I think you'd be pretty ticked about it too.

I'd be inclined to make a tray for them to sit in, from the bottom of a plastic water container of some sort. Just in case there's a leak. Then put cardboard or bubble wrap between the cells and around the container. But that's me. What did they come in?

And protect the contacts somehow, so there is no bare metal showing. The practical danger is from a short circuit.

Given that the TSA one-stop site page is gone, and the convoluted multi-site requirements & tips, I'd suggest NOT traveling with a print out of the requirements. And don't confuse them by mentioning it. "They're batteries. They're wraped because they're not cheap and while on holiday I won't have time to shop or wait for replacements."
*** http://www.burningman.com/preparation/ ***
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.
.
“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”
User avatar
Canoe
 
Posts: 1778
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby Jennet Jourdemayne » Sat Aug 27, 2011 1:06 pm

Yay! I escaped Hurricane Irene by the skin of my teeth on the last flight out. Made it through TSA with zero hassle. I ended up packing all my wire stuff in a giant ziploc which I pulled out separately for screening. Alkaline batteries, loose, in a baggie in my carry-on. BRC here I come!
Jennet Jourdemayne
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 9:32 am

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby gyre » Sat Aug 27, 2011 6:00 pm

All batteries should be carried so they cannot short the contacts.
Not loose.


TSA had a lot of interest in laptops in my luggage, but no issues.
User avatar
gyre
 
Posts: 15346
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 6:01 pm
Location: ΦάÏ

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby knowmad » Sat Aug 27, 2011 10:03 pm

For flying I would use an airplane. El wire will never do.
............................................Image...........................................
Oh yeah, this year I was totally twerping out at the fence. ~Lonesombri
User avatar
knowmad
 
Posts: 3304
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 11:33 pm
Location: Puget Sound
Burning Since: 2009
Camp Name: 09-11 Specialist Clan
12 BWS BDV/DPB

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby gyre » Sat Aug 27, 2011 10:22 pm

It's only wishful thinking keeping them up there, as it is.
User avatar
gyre
 
Posts: 15346
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 6:01 pm
Location: ΦάÏ

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby junglesmacks » Sun Aug 28, 2011 7:22 am

I'm sitting on the plane now after going through security with a ziploc bag full of about 50 AA and AAA batteries, my light suit, controller board, battery packs, everything. Zero problems. They swabbed my bag for analysis and that was it.
Savannah wrote:It sounds freaky & wrong, so you need to do it.
User avatar
junglesmacks
 
Posts: 5809
Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 9:54 pm
Location: Orlando, FL/Kailua, HI
Camp Name: Your mom's tent

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby knowmad » Sun Aug 28, 2011 9:43 am

junglesmacks wrote:I'm sitting on the plane now after going through security with a ziploc bag full of about 50 AA and AAA batteries, my light suit, controller board, battery packs, everything. Zero problems. They swabbed my bag for analysis and that was it.

Flying the friendly skies?
............................................Image...........................................
Oh yeah, this year I was totally twerping out at the fence. ~Lonesombri
User avatar
knowmad
 
Posts: 3304
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 11:33 pm
Location: Puget Sound
Burning Since: 2009
Camp Name: 09-11 Specialist Clan
12 BWS BDV/DPB

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby junglesmacks » Sun Aug 28, 2011 10:12 am

knowmad wrote:
junglesmacks wrote:I'm sitting on the plane now after going through security with a ziploc bag full of about 50 AA and AAA batteries, my light suit, controller board, battery packs, everything. Zero problems. They swabbed my bag for analysis and that was it.

Flying the friendly skies?


You know it. Never underestimate the power of a q tip.. :wink:

On layover in DFW. Almost.. home..
Savannah wrote:It sounds freaky & wrong, so you need to do it.
User avatar
junglesmacks
 
Posts: 5809
Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 9:54 pm
Location: Orlando, FL/Kailua, HI
Camp Name: Your mom's tent

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby Canoe » Mon May 14, 2012 9:19 am

More on Lithium cells.

The United States Postal Service has banned all international shipments of electronics with lithium batteries effective May 16.
http://www.fastcompany.com/1836973/post ... one-laptop

Until such time that a less restrictive policy can be implemented consistent with international standards, and in accordance with UPU Convention, lithium batteries are not permitted in international mail.
http://about.usps.com/postal-bulletin/2 ... dt_004.htm

USPS provided list of gadgets that generally contain lithium-ion batteries:

Video cameras
Walkie talkies (two-way radio)
GPS devices
Radio-controlled toys
Cameras
Scanners
Cell phones
MP3 players
Bluetooth headsets
Smartphones
Laptop computers
Electronic shavers
Power drills
Tablets
Portable DVD players
Electronic measuring equipment
*** http://www.burningman.com/preparation/ ***
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.
.
“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”
User avatar
Canoe
 
Posts: 1778
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby junglesmacks » Mon May 14, 2012 9:47 am

Thanks for the bolded, large font news flash there, sparky.


..and this is why you use FedEx or any other private courier. No biggie. I ship LiPo batteries straight from China to my doorstep all the time with zero problems.
Savannah wrote:It sounds freaky & wrong, so you need to do it.
User avatar
junglesmacks
 
Posts: 5809
Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 9:54 pm
Location: Orlando, FL/Kailua, HI
Camp Name: Your mom's tent

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby junglesmacks » Mon May 14, 2012 10:37 am

Also.. what does this have to do with flying on a plane with EL wire and/or batteries? There has been no change to that TSA policy. There is no problem with it.. your news flash is only regarding sending things in the US Mail. I just flew last week with a bunch of LED equipment and LiPo packs with no problem. They look at it a little longer and one time wanted to open up the bag and just visually verify it, but other than that.. zero issues.
Savannah wrote:It sounds freaky & wrong, so you need to do it.
User avatar
junglesmacks
 
Posts: 5809
Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 9:54 pm
Location: Orlando, FL/Kailua, HI
Camp Name: Your mom's tent

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby Canoe » Mon May 14, 2012 8:19 pm

junglesmacks wrote:Also.. what does this have to do with flying on a plane with EL wire and/or batteries? ....

Has to do with anyone that was looking at alternatives to carrying the batteries with them. USPS is one of the best values for time/cost.

I too love the service of the shipping from China/Hong Kong.
Their shipments get here to my door typically in two to three days.
*** http://www.burningman.com/preparation/ ***
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.
.
“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”
User avatar
Canoe
 
Posts: 1778
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby dragonpilot » Wed May 23, 2012 2:37 pm

Jennet Jourdemayne wrote:Thanks peeps. The wire will be sewn to some clothing, so I think I'll try carry-on, with batteries out of but with the drivers, and see what happens.


Just make sure it's not sewn into your underwear!
Don't bore your friends with all your troubles. Tell your enemies instead, for they will delight in hearing about them.
User avatar
dragonpilot
 
Posts: 1387
Joined: Tue May 08, 2007 12:53 pm
Location: Seattle, WA
Burning Since: 2005

Re: Flying with El Wire

Postby SnowBlind » Thu May 24, 2012 12:33 am

dragonpilot wrote:
Jennet Jourdemayne wrote:Thanks peeps. The wire will be sewn to some clothing, so I think I'll try carry-on, with batteries out of but with the drivers, and see what happens.


Just make sure it's not sewn into your underwear!


Or your shoes...
User avatar
SnowBlind
 
Posts: 331
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 5:27 pm
Location: SF Bay Area


Return to Power & Illumination

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests