Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Lithium Ion Batteries Blamed in 'Conception' Dive Boat Fire Off Santa Cruz Island

Dive Boat's Designer blames electrical octopus chargers, which are known for explosion and fire risk.

A catastrophic fire aboard the California dive boat Conception killing 34 may have been caused by Li-ion batteries or their charger says the boats designer, Roy Hauser. "This had to have been, in my estimation, one of those lithium battery chargers," Mr. Hauser told The Los Angeles Times and "there were electrical outlets in the bunk room" added Hauser.

A dive instructor notes some boats no longer allow passengers to charge devices in bunk rooms due to the fire risk.

The 34 who died on the Conception represent the largest loss of life at sea, in modern California history. One might expect the boat's designer to blame the tragedy on something out of his control. On the other hand, fires caused by lithium ion batteries are a known risk.

Many who have been passengers on that boat report that there was a "cellphone tree" below decks, with 14 phones and devices, all plugged in and charging. Samsung Galaxy devices, iPhones and various notepads have from time to time, started fires, generally when their lithium batteries overheat while charging. Such incidents do not occur every day, but they do happen from time to time.

Experts say that the common Lithium-ion ("Li-ion") 18650 battery is a dangerous and potentially deadly item for unsuspecting consumers. 18650 batteries are used in laptops, flashlights, cameras, battery packs, hoverboards, e-cigarette and vape device batteries. Eight-thousand 18650 batteries power a Tesla automobile. Unscrupulous China salvagers re-label recycled unprotected batteries as "new" and sell them at cheap prices with wild capacity claims on Amazon, eBay, and Walmart. Fires and overheating turn them into exploding bombs with serious or deadly consequences for consumers.

For example, a current Amazon listing offers an underwater dive light with fraudulent "Garberiel" branded 5000mAh (milli-amp hour) Li-ion batteries. There are no legitimate Li-ion batteries above 3800mAh.

The National Transportation Safety Board and other government agencies are still investigating the Conception disaster, and no official cause of the fire or report has yet been issued.

The above discussion of batteries taken from:


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