10.18.2006 08:00 AM
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Li-Ion batteries don't have to be dangerous

News of exploding laptop computer batteries, which has led to the recall of nearly 8 million batteries to date, may have some news photographers and engineers wondering about the safety of the Lithium-Ion batteries they use daily to power ENG cameras and lights.

Responding to such concerns, camera power and lighting specialist PAG says the type of battery cell technology used is not the culprit. According to PAG quality and technical director David Hardy, despite the recent malfunctions, Li-Ion is not an inherently dangerous technology.

The potential for danger centers on “the battery’s materials and construction,” Hardy said. However, when purposefully designed and built to deliver safe performance, Li-Ion batteries don’t have to be dangerous.

For instance, PAG designed the L95 Li-Ion battery from the outset to assure the safest possible operation, exceeding safety standards of current legislation, Hardy said. The battery has been independently tested and certified to comply with United Nations regulations for air transportation, all without any changes necessary to the product design.

According to Hardy, PAG has designed redundant, fail-safe features into its Li-Ion batteries to protect against over and under voltage, over current, over charge, over discharge, over and under temperature and inappropriate charge sources. Additionally, the company has designed the PAG L95 case to be impact-resistant, fire-retardant and chemical-resistant.

Other steps can be taken to ensure safety, he said. For example, internal circuits of PAG's Li-Ion batteries are covered with a Parylene coating that’s resistant to Li-Ion electrolyte to protect against combustion in the event of an electrolyte leak.

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