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LiIon, LiPo, NiCd & NiMh General General Battery Support


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Old 03-20-2014, 10:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Shipping a Lithium battery USPS? Read this

You just sold some unneeded batteries on Helifreak? Awesome!

Throw them in a box/envelope and stop by your post office in the morning, right? Wrong!

This is basically what you will encounter:
Postal Worker: "Hello, I see you have a package you need sent. Would you like to ship that Express, Priority, or Economy?"
You: "Uhhh, what's the cheapest?"
Postal Worker: "Well I can get a package that size to your zip code in 2 days with Priority for just $2.65!"
You: "Great! More money for me is always a good thing!"
Postal Worker: "Does your package contain blah, blah, blah, blah, lithium batteries, blah, blah, blah?"
You: <Oh crap, did she just ask me if there were lithium batteries in here?? What do I say?? She would never know...> "Uh, actually there are lithium batteries in here."
Postal Worker: "Oh that's too bad, I won't be able to ship them via air! We will have to send them Standard Mail, and that will cost $8.25 instead. Did you still want to send it?"
You: <Ok, last chance! I could tell her no, come back at shift change and save myself $6...how can ground cost more than an airplane, is some guy going to run it there?> "Uh, no I need to get this out so Standard Mail will be OK."
Postal Worker: "Sorry about that, they won't ship lithium batteries by air because if they rub together or something it could cause an explosion and I don't want to be the cause of a plane crash."

WRONG! (This is where you get to tell them how to do their job correctly)

349.222 Secondary Lithium-ion (Rechargeable) Cells and Batteries — Domestic

For domestic mailings only, small consumer-type lithium-ion cells and batteries like those used to power cell phones and laptop computers are mailable domestically under the following conditions. See 622 or IMM 136 when mailing batteries internationally or to and from APO, FPO, or DPO destinations.
  1. General. The following additional restrictions apply to the mailability of all secondary (rechargeable) lithium-ion cells and batteries:
    1. The lithium content must not exceed 20 Wh (Watt-hour rating) per cell.
    2. The total aggregate lithium content must not exceed 100 Wh per battery.
    3. Each cell or battery must meet the requirements of each test in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, part III, and subsection 38.3 as referenced in DOT’s hazardous materials regulation at 49 CFR 171.7.
    4. The mailpiece must not contain more than three batteries.
    5. All outer packages must have a complete delivery and return address.
  2. Installed in Equipment. The following additional restrictions apply to the mailing of secondary cells or batteries properly installed in equipment they operate:
    1. The batteries installed in the equipment must be protected from damage and short circuit.
    2. The equipment must be equipped with an effective means of preventing it from being turned on or activated.
    3. The equipment must be cushioned to prevent movement or damage and be contained in a strong enough sealed package to prevent crushing of the package or exposure of the contents during normal handling in the mail. The shipment must be mailed in a strong outer package.
  3. Mailed With Equipment. The following additional restrictions apply to the mailing of secondary cells or batteries shipped with (but not installed in) the device or equipment being mailed:
    1. The shipment cannot contain more batteries than the number needed to operate the device up to three batteries.
    2. The secondary lithium cells and batteries must be packaged separately and cushioned to prevent movement or damage.
    3. The shipment must be contained in a strong enough sealed package to prevent crushing of the package or exposure of the contents during normal handling in the mail.
    4. The outside of the package must be marked on the address side “Package Contains Lithium-ion Batteries (no lithium metal).”
  4. Mailed Without Equipment. The following additional restrictions apply to the mailing of secondary cells or batteries without equipment (individual batteries):
    1. The secondary lithium cells and batteries must be mailed in “the originally sealed packaging”, and the package may contain no more than three batteries.
    2. The sealed packages of batteries must be separated and cushioned to prevent short circuit, movement, or damage.
    3. The shipment must be contained in a strong enough sealed package to prevent crushing of the package or exposure of the contents during normal handling in the mail.
    4. The outside of the package must be marked on the address side “Package Contains Lithium-ion Batteries (no lithium metal).”


Cliff Notes:
- You can send up to 3 lithium batteries per package
- The batteries cannot exceed 5263 mAH per cell, or 26315 mAH per battery (if my math is right?)
- They should be wrapped separately in a plastic bag or shrink wrap (original packaging)
- The shipping container should prevent crushing (USPS better not crush my package)
- They can be sent with RC equipment, but you must make it impossible to plug in or turn on by itself
- The outside of you package should say "Package Contains Lithium-ion Batteries (no lithium metal)"
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Old 03-20-2014, 10:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Shipping a Lithium battery USPS? Read this

You just sold some unneeded batteries on Helifreak? Awesome!

Throw them in a box/envelope and stop by your post office in the morning, right? Wrong!

This is basically what you will encounter:
Postal Worker: "Hello, I see you have a package you need sent. Would you like to ship that Express, Priority, or Economy?"
You: "Uhhh, what's the cheapest?"
Postal Worker: "Well I can get a package that size to your zip code in 2 days with Priority for just $2.65!"
You: "Great! More money for me is always a good thing!"
Postal Worker: "Does your package contain blah, blah, blah, blah, lithium batteries, blah, blah, blah?"
You: <Oh crap, did she just ask me if there were lithium batteries in here?? What do I say?? She would never know...> "Uh, actually there are lithium batteries in here."
Postal Worker: "Oh that's too bad, I won't be able to ship them via air! We will have to send them Standard Mail, and that will cost $8.25 instead. Did you still want to send it?"
You: <Ok, last chance! I could tell her no, come back at shift change and save myself $6...how can ground cost more than an airplane, is some guy going to run it there?> "Uh, no I need to get this out so Standard Mail will be OK."
Postal Worker: "Sorry about that, they won't ship lithium batteries by air because if they rub together or something it could cause an explosion and I don't want to be the cause of a plane crash."

WRONG! (This is where you get to tell them how to do their job correctly)

349.222 Secondary Lithium-ion (Rechargeable) Cells and Batteries — Domestic

For domestic mailings only, small consumer-type lithium-ion cells and batteries like those used to power cell phones and laptop computers are mailable domestically under the following conditions. See 622 or IMM 136 when mailing batteries internationally or to and from APO, FPO, or DPO destinations.
  1. General. The following additional restrictions apply to the mailability of all secondary (rechargeable) lithium-ion cells and batteries:
    1. The lithium content must not exceed 20 Wh (Watt-hour rating) per cell.
    2. The total aggregate lithium content must not exceed 100 Wh per battery.
    3. Each cell or battery must meet the requirements of each test in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, part III, and subsection 38.3 as referenced in DOT’s hazardous materials regulation at 49 CFR 171.7.
    4. The mailpiece must not contain more than three batteries.
    5. All outer packages must have a complete delivery and return address.
  2. Installed in Equipment. The following additional restrictions apply to the mailing of secondary cells or batteries properly installed in equipment they operate:
    1. The batteries installed in the equipment must be protected from damage and short circuit.
    2. The equipment must be equipped with an effective means of preventing it from being turned on or activated.
    3. The equipment must be cushioned to prevent movement or damage and be contained in a strong enough sealed package to prevent crushing of the package or exposure of the contents during normal handling in the mail. The shipment must be mailed in a strong outer package.
  3. Mailed With Equipment. The following additional restrictions apply to the mailing of secondary cells or batteries shipped with (but not installed in) the device or equipment being mailed:
    1. The shipment cannot contain more batteries than the number needed to operate the device up to three batteries.
    2. The secondary lithium cells and batteries must be packaged separately and cushioned to prevent movement or damage.
    3. The shipment must be contained in a strong enough sealed package to prevent crushing of the package or exposure of the contents during normal handling in the mail.
    4. The outside of the package must be marked on the address side “Package Contains Lithium-ion Batteries (no lithium metal).”
  4. Mailed Without Equipment. The following additional restrictions apply to the mailing of secondary cells or batteries without equipment (individual batteries):
    1. The secondary lithium cells and batteries must be mailed in “the originally sealed packaging”, and the package may contain no more than three batteries.
    2. The sealed packages of batteries must be separated and cushioned to prevent short circuit, movement, or damage.
    3. The shipment must be contained in a strong enough sealed package to prevent crushing of the package or exposure of the contents during normal handling in the mail.
    4. The outside of the package must be marked on the address side “Package Contains Lithium-ion Batteries (no lithium metal).”


Cliff Notes:
- You can send up to 3 lithium batteries per package
- The batteries cannot exceed 5263 mAH per cell, or 26315 mAH per battery (if my math is right?)
- They should be wrapped separately in a plastic bag or shrink wrap (original packaging)
- The shipping container should prevent crushing (USPS better not crush my package)
- They can be sent with RC equipment, but you must make it impossible to plug in or turn on by itself
- The outside of you package should say "Package Contains Lithium-ion Batteries (no lithium metal)"
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Old 03-20-2014, 11:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Good to know! I'm about to ship a bunch of 6s4400's. Thanks for the post... I'll print this one.
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Old 03-20-2014, 11:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You can't prove it's wrapped correctly or is within the standards. So yes they wont ship it via air. You have two options, ship ground or don't tell them it's lipo's :p
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Old 03-21-2014, 12:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Print the shipping label off of Paypal or USPS website and send them priority mail flat rate box. Pack 'em, put on the label and drop it in the box, no teller needed BUT PLEASE PACK THEM CAREFULLY!! Also that says lithium ion, what about lithium polymer which are what we use in the hobby.
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Old 03-21-2014, 01:04 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papamac View Post
Print the shipping label off of Paypal or USPS website and send them priority mail flat rate box. Pack 'em, put on the label and drop it in the box, no teller needed BUT PLEASE PACK THEM CAREFULLY!! Also that says lithium ion, what about lithium polymer which are what we use in the hobby.

If I'm not mistaken, lithium polymer is technically a variant of the lithium ion.
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Old 03-21-2014, 05:43 AM   #7 (permalink)
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are p office has a little computer like you have to manually yes no if it has lithium batts, I press yes then I am asked if there installed, I say no, then they roll there eyes . business as usual
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Old 03-21-2014, 06:55 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Shouldn't this be in off topic? Just sayin.
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Old 03-21-2014, 08:25 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mba83 View Post
If I'm not mistaken, lithium polymer is technically a variant of the lithium ion.
Correct. All Lipos are Lithium Ions.
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Old 03-21-2014, 08:31 AM   #10 (permalink)
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This is what all the little independent battery sellers on ebay use to ship thousands of items a year through USPS. Now I have had some that read the regulation carefully and correctly package each Lipo separately, with some amount of padding even. Then there are the ones that throw 10 single cell lipos into one ziplock, put them in a bubble mailer with the "lithium battery inside" marker on the outside.

How you decide to mail your batteries is ultimately up to you, but the clerks usually have no idea what the actual regulation for lithium batteries is - and neither does the average sender. For example, I recently bought a used traxxas slash off another forum with a single 2s 6500mah hard case Lipo. After payment by me the seller sent me a note saying USPS made him ship Standard because of the battery, but if I had just pointed him to this regulation beforehand he would have saved some shipping costs and I would have my traxxas sooner.
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Old 03-23-2014, 11:08 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Bump for new visitors
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Old 03-25-2014, 01:29 PM   #12 (permalink)
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So, numerous times I have ordered batteries from Gens Ace and Helidirect and other suppliers, they are always shipped out quickly by air, priority USPS.
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Old 03-27-2014, 08:19 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Just don't put fragile on the box, I think it makes it open season on treating it like
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Old 03-27-2014, 11:06 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papamac View Post
PLEASE PACK THEM CAREFULLY!!










what the hell, HK.
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Old 03-28-2014, 09:37 AM   #15 (permalink)
 

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That's the way they work hk. You need to take the risk every time you order from them
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Old 03-28-2014, 09:33 PM   #16 (permalink)
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In fairness - they acknowledged that their packing job was at fault and have shipped me a replacement battery.

Its a good thing that there was nothing made of metal in that particular shipment. An 8000 mAh 4S pack contains a lot of lithium.
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Old 03-31-2014, 12:50 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Thanks to the OP, for this great thread. I printed off the USPS 349.222 rules from the first post and took it with me to the post office to mail a battery and motor. The guy at the desk looked it at (because when I mentioned it had lithium ion batts inside, he got all hesitant, so I showed it to him), and he said, "Can I make a copy of that? I wish they would give us this information!" So, he made a copy to keep at the desk! My package went out just fine.
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:46 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jolynsbass View Post
Thanks to the OP, for this great thread. I printed off the USPS 349.222 rules from the first post and took it with me to the post office to mail a battery and motor. The guy at the desk looked it at (because when I mentioned it had lithium ion batts inside, he got all hesitant, so I showed it to him), and he said, "Can I make a copy of that? I wish they would give us this information!" So, he made a copy to keep at the desk! My package went out just fine.
Awesome!
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Old 07-08-2018, 02:26 AM   #19 (permalink)
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After more than 4 years...this thread is revived
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Old 07-08-2018, 02:52 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Just sayin'.. I work with Military UAV's and we have to be certified to ship anything, including Lithium Batteries. ANY Lithium battery has its own caveats, depending un the UN Number for that Battery, and some, which are considered Primary Cells, cannot be shipped by Air at all! The shipping restrictions that IATA and other regulatory bodies have, including different rules depending on the Carrier, are vast, and if you ship, and are caught in a lie about what you shipped, the fines and penalties (including criminal charges and being imprisoned) can be severe, even if nothing happens during the shipment process!

The regulations for shipping any Lithium Cells seem to change every couple of months, sometimes making things easier, sometimes much harder. It's just not worth being less than honest about what you're shipping, especially when there is a chance that something could happen like in the HK Shipment above. If that incident had been in a Container aboard an Airliner (freighter), and that damaged Battery had burst or caught fire, it would have taken the whole container with it, and perhaps the whole Plane once the other materials in those Containers began combustion on a large scale. I wouldn't want to be "that guy".. and I'm reasonably sure no one else in here would either.

Please check the Regs or at least be honest when you're shipping any Batteries. The folks at the Ship Centers, or the Post Office are trained in Hazardous Materials Shipping for a reason. Yes, I know that the whole process is difficult, and sometimes I believe it's being used to up revenues for companies that ship, but there is definitely a safety of flight concern for manned aircraft, and even for ground transportation.
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