Traveling with Lithium-ion polymer batteries, polymer lithium-ion or more commonly lithium polymer batteries (abbreviated Li-poly, Li-Pol, LiPo, LIP, PLI or LiP), can be very tricky. Especially if you travel by airplane.

The staff at the airport security checks often has no clue or at least no real knowledge of what is allowed by the international IATA security rules.
The security crews often get scared by the looks of Lipo bricks with their cables. Especially if you carry a large amount of them with you ;)

But the rules are pretty simple… (Rules of today, October 2013. But theses rules might change in the future)

  • You must protect the terminals by either taping them up, or by placing the batteries in individual bags. This is to make sure they can’t get a short circuit. Its also smart to place them in LiPo save bags as a additional protection. Just in case one of them goes up in flames
  • Spare batteries must be transported in your hand luggage. They are not allowed in the checked in luggage
  • You can carry as many as you like, as long as the Watt hour rating is bellow 100Wh
  • Between 100 – 160Wh you are allowed to bring 2 spares. But you will have to get permission of the Operator
  • Batteries with a Watt hour reading larger then 160Wh must be sent as cargo accordingly to the IATA dangerous goods regulations

Its pretty easy to calculate the watt hour rating of you LiPo.
Lets say you got a 3S (11.1v)  2200 mAh Lipo:
2200mAh x 11.1v = 24420mAh = 24.42Wh

So its ok to carry LiPo’s if they are bellow the following specs:

  • 1S (3.7V) up to 27000mAh
  • 2S (7.4V) up to 13000mAh
  • 3S (11.1V) up to 9000mAh
  • 4S (14.8V)  up to 6750mAh
  • 5S (18.5V) up to 5400mAh
  • 6S (22.2V) up to 4500mAh
  • 7S (25.9V) up to 3850mAh
  • 12S (44.4V) up to 2250mAh

The IATA has made a specific document about these restrictions (see below).
So its always smart to print this doc and carry it with you, so you got something on your hands if the people at the security check want to take away your batteries.

(Click on the Image for a full size view)


  There’s also a newer, very detailed document about the  2015-2016 IATA rules.

(Click on the Image for a full size view)



CASA Safety Video – Travelling safely with lithium batteries

Article Author: Mathias Haecki,
RIOT Media,
Link to the blog post

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