Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Videos of MotoCzysz battery pack thermal event at TTXGP 2012 Portland International Raceway

As I reported earlier, last weekend during the TTXGP race at Portland International Raceway, one of the MotoCzysz bikes nearly had a battery pack thermal runaway in the pit area.  A couple videos have since been posted that show what happened.

The videos below agree with the story Michael Czysz gave me on Sunday morning.  Shortly after when Chris Ancien brought in the bike he was riding, the battery pack became hot and started letting out the magic smoke.  You can see in these videos a white cloud which may be steam, or may be from the battery cells.  The pack nearly went into thermal runaway (Czysz agreed with that description when asked) and if that had happened it would have meant a fire, one that would have been difficult to put out.  Instead, as you can see in these videos, the MotoCzysz crew first pushed the bike out from under their awning, then poured a bucked of water into the battery pack.

That, I think, is a similar sort of desperation move as pouring ocean water into an overheating nuclear reactor.  In both cases you're not expecting to reuse the gizmo, but are trying to avoid a worse problem, such as a fire.

As shown in the videos the gambit worked, the white cloud diminished, and there was no fire.

The first video doesn't appear to allow me to embed the video on this blog post, so you'll have to go to Google+ to view it: 

The second was shot by Travis Gintz, whom you can see standing in the previous video.  In other words, the two videos were shot at the same time, and you can see two different views of the same event.  There's apparently a third video, shot by a person who appears to be liveforphysics532 on Youtube, but he appears to not have posted the video.  (Luke, if that's you, wink wink, nudge nudge)

1 comment:

  1. Pouring water on it may not completely as desperate a move as it sounds. When in the Navy (feel free to roll eyes) when in the battery shop discharging and charging batteries as part of their test cycle on the carrier (nickle something if memory serves right) the procedure for preventing thermal runaway was to put the battery in the sink, turn the cold water on and let it run over the battery, hit the "panic button" (only set an alarm off back in my shop), and leave the room closing the door behind you. Unfortunately I had to use that procedure, and it worked. Now, these batteries were sealed. But the MotoCzysz battery packs I believe are water tight to a certain degree.

    Thanks for the update!