Fiasco In The Making: New Travel Restrictions On Lithium Batteries Go Into Effect On 01/01/08; If the Associated Press And Cnet’s News.com Can’t Figure Out The New Restrictions, Then How Will The TSA???

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Travel with spare batteries for your electronics?

You’re in for a fun time…

The TSA has instituted new rules for lithium batteries effective 01/01/08.

The rules are so confusing, that I have yet to see a major news source accurately describe them!

What makes it so complicated is that there are numerous categories of lithium batteries.


Cnet’s News.com is claiming that, “Passengers are allowed to pack two spare batteries in their carry-on bag, as long as they’re in clear plastic baggies.”

The AP is claiming that, “The ban affects…non-rechargeable lithium batteries, such as those made by Energizer Holdings Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co.’s Duracell brand.”

According to my understanding of the new rules, both are sorely lacking details, and are wrong.


The US DOT’s press-release does a somewhat better job, “Common consumer electronics such as travel cameras, cell phones, and most laptop computers are still allowed in carry-on and checked luggage. However, the rule limits individuals to bringing only two extended-life spare rechargeable lithium batteries, such as laptop and professional audio/video/camera equipment lithium batteries in carry-on baggage.”


Here’s my shot at clarifying the TSA’s byzantine new rules:

1. Lithium Metal Batteries, (non-rechargeable lithium batteries) up to 2 grams of lithium, when installed in a device: Permitted in checked and carry-on luggage when each individual battery is isolated from other batteries and put in its own protective case or plastic bag. There is no limit to the amount of these batteries allowed on a plane.

2. Lithium Metal Batteries, (non-rechargeable lithium batteries) up to 2 grams of lithium, not installed in a device: Prohibited in checked, allowed in carry-on luggage when each individual battery is isolated from other batteries and put in its own protective case or plastic bag. There is no limit to the amount of these batteries allowed on a plane.

3. Lithium Metal Batteries, (non-rechargeable lithium batteries) over 2 grams of lithium: Prohibited in checked and carry-on luggage.

4. Lithium-Ion Batteries, (rechargeable lithium batteries) up to 8 grams of lithium, when installed in a device: Permitted in checked and carry-on luggage when each individual battery is isolated from other batteries and put in its own protective case or plastic bag. There is no limit to the amount of these batteries allowed on a plane.

5. Lithium-Ion Batteries, (rechargeable lithium batteries) up to 8 grams of lithium, not installed in a device: Prohibited in checked, allowed in carry-on luggage when each individual battery is isolated from other batteries and put in its own protective case or plastic bag. There is no limit to the amount of these batteries allowed on a plane.

6. Lithium-Ion Batteries, (rechargeable lithium batteries) over 8 grams of lithium, when installed in a device: Up to 2 total 8+ gram batteries are allowed per passenger whether installed or not installed in a device. Combined Lithium content of both batteries must be no more than 25 grams. Permitted in checked and carry-on luggage when each individual battery is isolated from other batteries and put in its own protective case or plastic bag.

7. Lithium-Ion Batteries, (rechargeable lithium batteries) over 8 grams of lithium, not installed in a device: Up to 2 total 8+ gram batteries are allowed per passenger whether installed or not installed in a device. Combined Lithium content of both batteries must be no more than 25 grams. Prohibited in checked, allowed in carry-on luggage when each individual battery is isolated from other batteries and put in its own protective case or plastic bag.



Now I know what you are wondering, because I was thinking the same thing: How the heck do I know how much lithium is in my battery?

According to the DOT, 8 grams of lithium is approximately 100 Watt-Hours (WH)

My Palm Centro’s Lithium-Ion battery says that it has 3.7 volts, and 1,150 mAh.

Here’s the formula to convert those numbers into WH:
WH= Volts x mAh / 1,000
Or
WH= Volts x Amps

So 3.7 x 1,150 / 1,000 = 4.255 WH, or well under 2 grams of lithium.

Conveniently, my Dell 700m’s Lithium-Ion battery says right on it that it is 71WH, which should be under 6 grams of lithium.


According to the TSA, there is no limit to the number of sub-8 gram lithium-ion batteries that you can carry-on with you, so there shouldn’t be a problem.

Unfortunately, I highly doubt that all TSA agents will be trained properly, so just beware if you are traveling anytime soon with lithium batteries as they may just wind up on the TSA’s auction surplus site…


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6 Comments On "Fiasco In The Making: New Travel Restrictions On Lithium Batteries Go Into Effect On 01/01/08; If the Associated Press And Cnet’s News.com Can’t Figure Out The New Restrictions, Then How Will The TSA???"

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Yossi W.

Nice job on the conversions, Dan.

confused

why is it a problem to take extra batteries on board?? what security risks are there?

Yossi W.

The chemicals in batteries can be used to make bombs and the acid *may* even be able to eat away at airplane metal.

MS

Lithium is also a drug used for depression, maybe the airlines are trying to promote their “happiness”. 🙂

eli

they r crazy

Roland Mösl

You are the only source found by Google how much Lithium is used per kWh battery.

There is just right now a dessinformation campaign claiming 1500 g Lithium per kWh instead of the 80g stated in Your article.

Please could You give me a link to a US government site where this rules are published?

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