Jump to content


Photo

Air Travel and Lithium-Ion Batteries


  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 Robert Tagliaferri

Robert Tagliaferri
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 57 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 24 February 2010 - 09:48 PM

Hello,

There seems to be alot of confusion about what rules are for transporting Lithium-ion batteries via airplane (even at Transport Canada!). I'm heading off for a documentary next week and after some research and another phone call to Transport Canada, I think I've got it straight. Here are the rules that apply to Lithium-ion (rechargeable lithium) if anyone is interested. NB: Lithium-metal batteries are not rechargeable and have different rules (Max 2g).

Canada and the USA:
All Lithium-ion batteries:
MUST BE CARRIED ON, it is illegal to check these batteries.

For smaller batteries with 0-8g ELC (Equivalent Lithium Content) (Approx. 0-100Wh) :
You can carry on as many as you like as long as the terminals are taped and they are individually contained to prevent short-circuit.

For larger batteries with 8-25g ELC (Approx. 100-300Wh) :
You are allowed 1 battery INSTALLED on the camera/device, plus an additional 2 'spare' batteries, individually contained.

It is illegal to transport batteries that contain more than 25g of lithium-ion (over 300Wh).

To determine the approximate ELC in grams:
Divide the Watt-hour rating by 12.33. EG: A Red brick is 140Wh, so the approx. ELC is 11.4g.


Having said all that- I have checked larger Li-Ion batteries in the past and haven't been nabbed, so I'm not sure how strictly these rules are applied. It was also suggested to me that carrying-on these batteries could arouse suspicion, especially if the security officer was unfamiliar with the rules and how they apply, so take it with a grain of salt!

Links:
Canada:
http://www.tc.gc.ca/...sslugg/menu.htm
USA:
http://safetravel.do...arger_batt.html

PS:
Has anyone here ever had an issue transporting batteries?
  • 0

#2 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11934 posts
  • Other

Posted 24 February 2010 - 11:08 PM

I once got given the third degree for trying to carry on some hard disks.

There are absolutely no safety issues with hard disks nor are there any rules preventing one from carrying them.

What this demonstrates is that if you do anything even slightly out of the ordinary, the person you actually meet will not be familiar with the rules, and will, ahem, develop some rules to suit his own prejudices.

Trying to learn what's actually allowed or not is a largely fruitless exercise. The rules that will actually be enforced will be made up at random by the person enforcing them.

P
  • 0

#3 Daniel Sheehy

Daniel Sheehy
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 407 posts
  • Other
  • Brisbane

Posted 24 February 2010 - 11:36 PM

I once got given the third degree for trying to carry on some hard disks...

I curious, what did that person perceive the problem to be?
  • 0

#4 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11934 posts
  • Other

Posted 25 February 2010 - 07:58 AM

"You can't take those on board"

"Why not"

"Er".

P
  • 0

#5 Robert Tagliaferri

Robert Tagliaferri
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 57 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 25 February 2010 - 08:12 AM

Yes I'm debating whether or not to play by the 'rules' or just check them and hope they squeeze by.
  • 0

#6 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11934 posts
  • Other

Posted 25 February 2010 - 08:36 AM

I certainly wouldn't check 'em. I wouldn't check any sort of battery, for exactly the reasons they're afraid of.

P
  • 0

#7 Adrian Sierkowski

Adrian Sierkowski
  • Sustaining Members
  • 7115 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, Ca

Posted 25 February 2010 - 09:08 AM

Carry on your batts and tape up the connectors. I've never really had a problem when I showed up with batts and a camera. I think the TSA here could put 2 and 2 together.
  • 0

#8 John Sprung

John Sprung
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4635 posts
  • Other

Posted 25 February 2010 - 03:03 PM

Battery restrictions have been tightened recently due to a fire in an overhead compartment that forced a plane to turn back and land.

Why not bypass all the TSA/terrorism issues. FedEx all the equipment to your destination. Bring only the usual clothing and personal items that any other traveler would have with you on the passenger plane.





-- J.S.
  • 0

#9 Adrian Sierkowski

Adrian Sierkowski
  • Sustaining Members
  • 7115 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, Ca

Posted 25 February 2010 - 06:22 PM

Can't fed-ex everywhere with the same confidence I can when I have the battery/camera on my person at least says me. It depends on where you're shooting, but I'd've been damned to ship anything when I was filming in Senegal. That was a case of packing my clothes etc around the camera and sticking my private TP supply in with the tripod (which consequently wound up in South Africa, but that's another story...)
  • 0

#10 Chris Millar

Chris Millar
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1642 posts
  • Other

Posted 25 February 2010 - 07:40 PM

Hi Adrian,

as always - I have to match your Africa story with mine ^_^

'You cannot take these batteries on board sir!' (EX1 UP60 x 2)

- 'um, ok - here you go' (gave him a 4 pack of AA's)

no further word...

Melbourne airport a month ago - security lady started opening my 4x5" transparency film boxes out of my hand luggage:

'woah woah woah! STOP!'

She gives me dirty look...

'There is film in there, you'll ruin it'

'I have to open it sir'

CONTINUES OPENING IT

'It's photosensitive - open it you may as well throw it away!'

...continues digging her fingernail into the paper seal - I grab it off her...

'ok, I need to speak to your supervisor' - whom funnily enough she was calling already - anyway - story short... I got on the plane with the film intact.

Point is - as much as you know the rules, who knows what kind of coffee addicted muppet you'll get and their interpretation of the rules they only overheard in passing one day.
  • 0

#11 Adrian Sierkowski

Adrian Sierkowski
  • Sustaining Members
  • 7115 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, Ca

Posted 25 February 2010 - 07:43 PM

Ha, for my EX1 they put it through the machine and didn't even ask another word!
Funniest for me was when I bought my SR3 and took it through the airport in Ft Lauderdale, and the guy said to me "I'm sorry we don't allow jack hammers as carry-on."
  • 0

#12 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11934 posts
  • Other

Posted 26 February 2010 - 11:59 AM

Of course trying desperately to follow the rules can have its downsides as well.

Few years ago, I do an edit job in New York. I carefully carnet all the fairly large amount of gear I'm taking over: DVCAM VT, monitoring, NLE, the works - enough to build an edit suite in a hotel room. We go. We cut. We return.

Heathrow, 3AM, trying to book the gear back into the country. The green channel yawns open and deserted. So does the red channel. We pick up the customs phone. Nobody answers.

4AM. Someone answers. Someone will be along in 45 minutes.

6.30AM, we leave the airport.

That was worthwhile.

P
  • 0

#13 Chris Millar

Chris Millar
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1642 posts
  • Other

Posted 26 February 2010 - 06:23 PM

Of course trying desperately to follow the rules can have its downsides as well.

Few years ago, I do an edit job in New York. I carefully carnet all the fairly large amount of gear I'm taking over: DVCAM VT, monitoring, NLE, the works - enough to build an edit suite in a hotel room. We go. We cut. We return.

Heathrow, 3AM, trying to book the gear back into the country. The green channel yawns open and deserted. So does the red channel. We pick up the customs phone. Nobody answers.

4AM. Someone answers. Someone will be along in 45 minutes.

6.30AM, we leave the airport.

That was worthwhile.

P



ah ha ha!

Reminds me of arriving in Addis Ababa and getting out of customs etc... to find at 3am there was no way we could change cash into the local currency and anyone accepting US dollars was doing so at 'american prices'. We recalled a bank/money changer back inside the airport before customs and what not, found a door that led back into that area directly and spent about 20 minutes bashing on the window trying to wake up the teller whose feet we could see protruding from his desk - finally we get him awake and exchange some cash then proceed to walk out of customs again (the door we used to sneak through was one way only).

We expected the third degree but at 3am apparently anything goes ...
  • 0


Technodolly

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Paralinx LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

FJS International, LLC

Aerial Filmworks

Glidecam

The Slider

Willys Widgets

CineTape

Visual Products

rebotnix Technologies

CineLab

Tai Audio

Metropolis Post

Wooden Camera

Abel Cine

Ritter Battery

Opal

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Wooden Camera

Opal

Willys Widgets

Rig Wheels Passport

Visual Products

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Tai Audio

Ritter Battery

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

rebotnix Technologies

CineLab

Aerial Filmworks

Broadcast Solutions Inc

The Slider

FJS International, LLC

Technodolly

Abel Cine

CineTape

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

Metropolis Post