New spare lithium battery travel rules go into effect 1 January 2008

New spare lithium battery travel rules go into effect 1 January 2008

Summary: There are some major new rules regarding packing along spare lithium batteries on aircraft that go into effect early next week, 1 January 2008, so if you travel with lots of devices then make sure you comply with the requirements. In most cases you should be fine carrying the batteries with you on the plane, but there are limits in what can be checked.

TOPICS: Hardware

Nokia batteryI'm starting to think about what to pack for CES in Vegas and also have a few trips to Alaska planned for the early Spring. I just spotted some news on GottaBeMobile that is going to have an impact on how I pack for these upcoming trips. According to the new government regulations, effective 1 January 2008, the following rules apply to spare lithium batteries carried on flights in the U.S.:

  • Spare batteries are the batteries you carry separately from the devices they power. When batteries are installed in a device, they are not considered spare batteries.
  • You may not pack a spare lithium battery in your checked baggage.
  • You may bring spare lithium batteries with you in carry-on baggage – see our spare battery tips and how-to sections to find out how to pack spare batteries safely!Even though we recommend carrying your devices with you in carry-on baggage as well, if you must bring one in checked baggage, you may check it with the batteries installed.

There are also some important quantity limits that may impact geeks like me who tend to carry lots of spares for devices. The limits are expressed in grams of “equivalent lithium content.” 8 grams of equivalent lithium content is approximately 100 watt-hours. 25 grams is approximately 300 watt-hours. Here are the quantity limits:

  • Under the new rules, you can bring batteries with up to 8-gram equivalent lithium content. All lithium ion batteries in cell phones are below 8 gram equivalent lithium content. Nearly all laptop computers also are below this quantity threshold.
  • You can also bring up to two spare batteries with an aggregate equivalent lithium content of up to 25 grams, in addition to any batteries that fall below the 8-gram threshold. Examples of two types of lithium ion batteries with equivalent lithium content over 8 grams but below 25 are shown below.
  • For a lithium metal battery, whether installed in a device or carried as a spare, the limit on lithium content is 2 grams of lithium metal per battery.
  • Almost all consumer-type lithium metal batteries are below 2 grams of lithium metal. But if you are unsure, contact the manufacturer!

Check out the full table and check your batteries before next week. Also, make sure you read the TSA website that gives you guidelines on how to pack your batteries for travel. The large capacity Portable Power Station I use often is 118 watt-hours so it will take quite a bit of battery capacity to exceed this new limit. I think manufacturers will start expressing the "equivalent lithium content" of their batteries in the near future to help travelers figure out the regulations.

It seems these regulations were developed in response to apparent fire hazards with lithium batteries.

Topic: Hardware

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  • Don't forget to pack the these essentials...

    o Nokia usb cable (CA-70) cell phone power adapter for your N800 and N95

    o Linksys USB 2.0 EtherNet Network Adaptor

    o Asus WL-530G 802.11 b/g mobile travel wireless router

    o Power Inverter 175Watt

    o Portable Nuclear Reactor (kidding too bulky)
    D T Schmitz
  • Thank G-d for our wonderful govt

    All these extra hassles and regulations are worth it. I dont mind removing my shoes and being asked to show my papers--its a post 9/11 world and freedom means obeying those who are only trying to protect us.
    • I think you're kidding....

      ...but I'm not really sure....
      so you are kidding? right?
      • You think I am kidding?

        I am so thankful to have a govt that looks after me--whether I want them to or not!

        We in the US are just poor victims...its not like we go around the world looking for trouble..

        So why do they hate us?
        • Why? They say it is because...

          Why do they hate us? They say (and I believe them) it is because of the lifestyle that has become popular among us. I hate the popularity of that lifestyle as well. It's rooted in the relativism that you expressed so well.
          • Wow!

            Wow, you never know what you're going to get with comments. Someone actually mentioned relativism in a comment here? How many readers know what you're talking about?

            The TSA does what it does for one reason: to make their bosses seem like they deserve their paychecks. NO OTHER REASON. Make no mistake - the guys with the guns are there to shoot the "bad guys" but it is unclear who they work for.
  • RE: New spare lithium battery travel rules go into effect 1 January 2008

    WTF!!!! "People who give up their freedom for security deserve neither." Benjamin Franklin. Let's see..lithium batteries. Does this all mean that I can't pack a spare for my Nikon? How TOTALLY ridiculous! Just when you thing GB and the boys can't possibly get more ridiculous, they manage to find a way. And remember this, my fellow readers: we ELECTED them.
  • RE: New spare lithium battery travel rules go into effect 1 January 2008

    A couple months ago an engineer told me the problem with these Lithium batteries is the manufacturers push their capabilities to the limit. And once they start to burn they put off oxygen which in turn sustains the fire. How much fun that would be on an airplane!
    • saftey

      I think it is smart to carry only one battery on the airplane for safety reasons and one that you can turn off. We offer this feature with our Portable Power Staion batteries at as our all in one batteries can keep all your electronic products from 5 to 28V running anywhere in the world. Enjoy! ANd Happy Holidays from BatteryGeek USA
  • RE: New spare lithium battery travel rules go into effect 1 January 2008

    These rules seem to be written from the viewpoint that a traveler will carry only one battery operated device with them.

    But as a professional photographer I can (and do) carry:
    laptop computer
    several digital cameras
    several flash units (strobes)
    radio-operated flash trippers (slaves)
    handheld light meter
    Pocket PC
    cell phone
    pair of FRS radios

    These all use one form or another of Lithium-Ion rechargable battery. Pluse for all of these I'd carry spare rechargables as well.

    What the heck am I supposed to do?
    • battery travel rules...

      Stop traveling... or take the train?...:)
  • RE: New spare lithium battery travel rules go into effect 1 January 2008

    There has been a lot of confusion about this travel ban, but the reality is that it doesn't change much for most people. My only concern is the confusion that is generated between Lithium Ion and Lithium Polymer cells and the Lithium Primary (not rechargeable) cells that are the primary subject of this restriction. Even people with large rechargeable batteries will be able to fly with them... I wrote more about calculating the effective lithium content of the cells on my <a href="">blog.</a>
  • RE: New spare lithium battery travel rules go into effect 1 January 2008

    How is this supposed to make airlines safer? Why can't the installed li-ion battery be of concern? The spare li-ion battery is less likely to explode since there's no stress on it. It seems that TSA harassment continues to build. I no longer fly much because of all the bs one encounters.
  • what about?

    Let me see if I've got this straight: I can take a crate full of electronic devices powered by lithium-based batteries, take aboard as many as will fit in my carry-on and check the rest and all is just fine, but if I carry any spares I have to meet these tight restrictions? The inmates have taken over the asylum!
  • RE: New spare lithium battery travel rules go into effect 1 January 2008

    they have the very top lithium ion batteries for travel for all electronic devices and medical devices for people around the world.