Fire & explosion proof cabinets for safety.


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The-J-Man

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Joined
May 2, 2017
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260
Im not seeing anyone place the battery packs into certified enclosuresor cabinets as a safety measure.
How come?

Im looking at speck sheets for NEMA 4 (and better)certified cabinets and so forth that I could use as the housing for my project since im thinking its the logical thing to do just incase.
In my case my system will be placed in a separate double garage about 10m from my house, but with a proper roof on it with all the solar panels etc. So its needless to say I dont want it to burn down if shit hits the fan.
Other people are saying they are placing it in an external shed thats expendable, but even then isnt it super dangerous if cellsstarts burning and exploding...

So whats your peoples opinion on using a proper cabinet as a safety measure? Im pretty sure a tesla powerwall enclosure would be a certified enclosure of some sort to sustain fires and explosions right?
 

Alec_J

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Joined
Mar 16, 2017
Messages
89
I have been thinking along the same lines. I am very early in my build so I don't have any rack system or enclosure yet in mind. I was thinking about a fire proof enclosure also.
Can you post a link or to to the enclosures you were thinking about? I have looked but only briefly and not found much.
 

The-J-Man

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May 2, 2017
Messages
260
Alec_J said:
I have been thinking along the same lines. I am very early in my build so I don't have any rack system or enclosure yet in mind. I was thinking about a fire proof enclosure also.
Can you post a link or to to the enclosures you were thinking about? I have looked but only briefly and not found much.

Same here, I still have all my options open.

First ones I have found are these:http://www.eta.it/en/products/automazione-industriale-2/boxes/casse-con-fissaggio-a-parete-st/
Have a look at their catalog, sooo many models.Im in Europe so im looking here obviously.

Just at the beginning of learning about these so i have no idea what to look for just yet, every thing is a process :D
 

MajStealth

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Apr 11, 2017
Messages
127
looks more like casual multipurpose boxes

i will build/let build my own design when i get myself a house
image_fybcgg.jpg
View attachment 9
 

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Robert Baumer

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May 6, 2017
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143
Not that I know much on the topic, but most builds have included a fusing system that would prevent cells from overloading/shorting thus preventing a potential issue. I would be interested myself since I am at the stage of collecting cells. I must say, I believe that my gas water heater has a better chance of taking my house out if it explodes than a hot cell. If you properly fused the cell, you should prevent this type of accident from happening.
 

Korishan

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Jan 7, 2017
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As Robert says, most packs have a fusing system set up. That allows the failing cell to be cut off from the rest in the event of a failure. With that, that usually is enough to keep any cells from continuing to the point of igniting and starting to catch things on fire.

The cells won't naturally "explode" unless something pierces their sides and shorts out the internals. And even then, it's not like a firecracker going off, it's more like a roman candle. Of course, if one goes off like this, could potentially start a chain reaction.

However, as the packs are built with space between cells/packs, fused, and put in an area that only sees traffic from the builder, then the chances of a piercing event is extremely slim.

The only major thing we have to really worry about is a fuse that didn't blow when expected. And that's unlikely unless you use a way too big of wire for the fuse. And the way the fuses work is, not to fuse power from the cell to bank, but to fuse the bank from the cell. When a cell shorts out, for what ever reason, the pack will start to dump amps through the fuse to the cell. That's what blows the fuse. So, a fuse can safely be able to handle 30 Amps (if your pack is a 48V setup) and still be safe as the rest of the cells try to dump into that bad cell.
On the other hand, we don't fuse at that high of an amperage because that's more time that that cell is heating up. So we fuse for a much lower threshold of around 5 - 7 Amps. This is far higher than that single cell will ever put out in our packs (as they will normally barely even reach 1 Amp in normal operation). And it provides more than enough material to allow for proper electron flow minimal voltage drop/resistance.

With all that said, you could build your packs in a certain configuration and place them in ammo boxes. I know around my area they are fairly inexpensive. And since they are specifically built to handle "explosive" material, they should work fine for a pack. You'd only need to make 2 holes in the can somewhere to allow for connections to the rest of the system. Just make sure the isolate the positive terminal really well (as the cans are made of steel)
 

Alec_J

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Mar 16, 2017
Messages
89
I agree that fusing each cell is critically important. I feel certain everyone here is doing that in one fashion or the other. I don't think extra safety measures are ever bad. I think a fire safe enclosure is as important as any other step for ME. It also will assist with nods of approval from my wife! LOL!
 

Korishan

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Jan 7, 2017
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LOL And "there" is the real reason, the wife ;)

I do honestly agree with extra safety where it is due. Some people just go way over kill on things. Take all the safety switches on tractors/mowers. Some of them are absurd!

You could go real safe and dig a hole and put them in a bunker :p

Just make sure your 'safety' measures aren't so convoluted that if something were to go wrong and you needed to disconnect something or move something in a hurry, that either 'you' can't move out of the way fast enough, or you can't move the problem out of the way fast enough. I've seen those issues before too; though not with powerwall related issues.
 

Alec_J

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Mar 16, 2017
Messages
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@Korishan I agree with that sentiment as well. There is a nice middle road.

And well yes the wife does have input! Lol! When it comes to safety and money she always holds the trump card. Not a terribly bad thing! Makes me be more creative in my wording of things! [emoji39]
 

The-J-Man

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May 2, 2017
Messages
260
Thanks for the detailed input Korishan, very interesting stuff, and everyone else of course.
Aside from a single cell shorting out and causing a problem, which the fuses should stop, im worried about the elements. In my case it gets rather cold during winter and it could be convenient to be able to heat a small area (like a cabinet) efficiently since the garage will not be heated. Secondly is possible condensation occurring on the cells / wall which could then cause a catastrophic short. Lastly, it will be in a garage and it will be actively used so any chance of someone touching the terminals or anything else thats exposed is a risk in my opinion.

Compared to most other builds that use cells approaching the end of their life im using cells at the beginning of their life so I have one less point of failure there I guess.
And yeh the wife does have input here as well :p it is a brand new home at the end of the day...
I think being able to contain a possible fire / chain reaction in a fire proof enclosure is a more then worth the expense of the enclosure when we are talking about our homes here, no matter how little the chance :D Im also not sure how pleased the building department people would be if they come for an inspection and see 2000cells hanging on a wall, considering they try and control what kind of stones I put in my driveway... :p
 

jdeadman

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Mar 28, 2017
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I'm putting my banks into a metal box to act like fire break incase the worst case happens. It's also separate from my Rv attached to my shed
 

VicRC

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Apr 26, 2017
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I am building my lifepo4 32650 5500ma cells in 4s16p to fit inside an ammo metal case. 4 cases total in series, basically 16s16p 48v solar bank.My main reason for the power bank build is to take my pool pump and garage lights off grid. I have a cinder block storage next to the pool pump where the 4 cases will live in and the storage roof space fits 4 250-300 solar panels.

I have been testing a half filled ammo case 4s8p 44 Amp as a portable battery supply for charging my RC lipos, receiver, and transmitters. Half filled allows for space to carry a small ac power with a balance charger to charge anything including itself if away from home.

image_wwhnmv.jpg
 

The-J-Man

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May 2, 2017
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260
jdeadman said:
I'm putting my banks into a metal box to act like fire break incase the worst case happens. It's also separate from my Rv attached to my shed
nice. I definitely want some sort of barrier between the packs to stop direct fire from reaching over.
VicRC said:
I am building my lifepo4 32650 5500ma cells in 4s16p to fit inside an ammo metal case. 4 cases total in series, basically 16s16p 48v solar bank.My main reason for the power bank build is to take my pool pump and garage lights off grid. I have a cinder block storage next to the pool pump where the 4 cases will live in and the storage roof space fits 4 250-300 solar panels.

I have been testing a half filled ammo case 4s8p 44 Amp as a portable battery supply for charging my RC lipos, receiver, and transmitters. Half filled allows for space to carry a small ac power with a balance charger to charge anything including itself if away from home.

Thats looks cool!
Ammo cases aren't readily available where I am though im afraid :D
 

VicRC

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Apr 26, 2017
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Initially got my first ammo case from Amazon but got the rest cheaper from Harbor Freight, they appear to be made by the same manufacturer.

BTW one 4s16p LifePo4 inside an ammo case is around 26lbs. If my solar project does not pan out, I will have some really nice portable 12V batteries. I have used LifePo4 made by A123s for a long time now and they hold a charge way longer than SLA batteries, the new ones I have are Tenergy so will have to test them out.
 

opus40

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Oct 19, 2016
Messages
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Alec_j I got them off Gumtree managed to get a pallet of them for a good price, they were surplus mining grade fuse boxes weather and fire proof.
The-J-Man that is and old photo have been up and running for about 2 months now. I don't know the rating off he top of my head but have the spec sheet some where - think it's NEMA 4
HB's mount is great the cabinets are like it was made for them
 

The-J-Man

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May 2, 2017
Messages
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opus40 said:
Alec_j I got them off gum tree managed to get a pallet of them fit a good price, they were surplus mining grade fuse boxes weather and fire proof.
The-J-Man that is and old photo have been up and running for about 2 months now. I don't know the rating off he top of my head but have the spec sheet some where - think it's NEMA 4
HB's mount is great the cabinets are like it was made for them

Awesome! Would you care taking a picture of how you did the wiring etc? Or do you have your own build thread here?
 

opus40

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Oct 19, 2016
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I'll try to get one up in the next few days if i get home when its light outside. i should probably get around to doing a build thread as I'm just about to finish my 30KwH
 
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