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Electronics & Test
Tesla CEO: Boeing Batteries Needed Better Cooling
1/31/2013

Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX: 'Unfortunately, the pack architecture supplied to Boeing is inherently unsafe.' (Source: revengeoftheelectriccar.com)
Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX: "Unfortunately, the pack architecture supplied to Boeing is inherently unsafe."
(Source: revengeoftheelectriccar.com)

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ScotCan
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Re: Rise of Collaboration
ScotCan   2/1/2013 9:33:45 AM
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Encourage the Liaison Engineers to come forward since they are the fixers who return nonconformances to the design intent during the manufacture of aircraft. Most times the fixes are viable, other times they may be over ruled by circumstances but nevertheless there is a paper trail which defines what's going on.

ScotCan
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Re: Rise of Collaboration
ScotCan   2/1/2013 9:33:45 AM
NO RATINGS
Encourage the Liaison Engineers to come forward since they are the fixers who return nonconformances to the design intent during the manufacture of aircraft. Most times the fixes are viable, other times they may be over ruled by circumstances but nevertheless there is a paper trail which defines what's going on.

ltron
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Re: Boeing Batteries Need Better Cooling
ltron   2/1/2013 10:10:19 AM
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Well here is another NY times article that explains a bit more;

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/24/business/global/boeing-787-battery-was-not-overcharged-japanese-investigators-say.html?pagewanted=all 

I am just amazed at all of the irresponsible comments flying around. Tesla in particular is not one to talk. They actually used standard laptop batteries rather than the much more costly space rated batteries in the 787. The Tesla design struck me as total seat of the pants engineering. Me thinks Musk's comments are  more CYA than anything.

Obviously something is going on and the folks invloved need to figure it out. Nothing flys on a commercial airliner without a significant amount of history. Lithium batteries have been a subject of conversation in the airline business since the 70's. I'm sure they fully understood what needed to be done.

The NY times article mentions that the batteries have a long history in space applications. I would not be surprised if they did not have a long history in military applications also. The main reason for the use of older technology is precisly that it has a longer history than the next latest thing. The question now seems to be what went wrong.

We need to wait for the results of the investigation.

 

NiteOwl_OvO
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Active what?
NiteOwl_OvO   2/1/2013 10:15:10 AM
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It kinda sounds like Boeing engineers were not aware that their Li-ion batteries needed active cooling. You would think the battery supplier would have provided that information or that the issue would have been discovered in testing... Maybe not. Either way, I'm sure Boeing will have the issue resolved very soon.


If I'm not mistaken, these units are intended as a backup power source. If so, they would not be expected to be used significantly during a routine flight. It makes me wonder why these batteries are being completely drained and failing. It seems like this may be a symptom of another problem. Not enough main power?

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: Boeing Batteries Need Better Cooling
Charles Murray   2/1/2013 10:21:30 AM
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Here's a short article from EE Times on the history of the lithium-ion battery chemistry, and its original devloper, John Goodenough of the University of Texas:

http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4402526/John-Goodenough--Li-ion-work-kick-starts-a-mobile-revolution

g_ost
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Re: Addendum
g_ost   2/1/2013 10:55:19 AM
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The heat developed by these batteries was ignored during design and project management. How can be ignored that 4 batteries have half of surface cooled and by the other 4 (in the middle) less than 1/4 of the lateral surface is cooled.

The case has no openings, the air cooling was not present. The only cooling available was trough the contact between the bottom of the batteries and the case.

Tesla can teach Boeing! They have several years of experience with LI-ION and this should not be ignored by very proud engineers.

xenos
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Iron
How the battery was tested?
xenos   2/1/2013 11:03:12 AM
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1 saves
JRoque
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Re: Boeing Batteries Need Better Cooling
JRoque   2/1/2013 11:14:22 AM
Spot-on, Warren! They sound like the typical arrogant EE refusing to admit they overlooked something. On the flip side of that, Musk is trying his best to kill the potential fear-induced legislation that will surely follow the frenzy of unfounded "lithium is evil" headlines.

Since the batteries were probably not online and sourcing current (let's hope their design doesn't require cells all the time), I would look into their BMS/charging system. That's most likely the root cause here.

gatesbe
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Iron
Re: Boeing Batteries Need Better Cooling
gatesbe   2/1/2013 11:41:21 AM
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Give Boeing some credit for all their latest generation satellites using lithium ion batteries,  no active cooling, in service for years, nasty environment. They successfully use lithium ion batteries in environments much tougher than the street. Were the batteries tested? Throwing a half billion dollar satellite up with untested batteries would be unthinkable.

gatesbe
User Rank
Iron
Re: Boeing Batteries Need Better Cooling
gatesbe   2/1/2013 11:46:59 AM
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Having said Boeing knows what it's doing I'll also say Boeing is a big company, did the satellite battery experience get to the 787 battery? Maybe.

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