TSA & Nimh Battery Packs

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Tom Nic
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TSA & Nimh Battery Packs

Post by Tom Nic » Sat May 26, 2012 8:18 am

Headed for Bonaire, and will be bringing my Z-Light! :supz:

Anyone have any or know of any issues with Nimh Battery Packs in carry on luggage? The packs are basically rechargeable C-Cells, 6 of them.

Haven't heard of any issues, nor can I find anything on the TSA website, but wanted to throw this out to the collective experience / wisdom of the NWDC just in case.
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Jeff Pack
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Re: TSA & Nimh Battery Packs

Post by Jeff Pack » Sat May 26, 2012 8:25 am

Only lithium's, because of the fire hazzard. NiMh is in many camera's, etc.

But.. they will examine battery packs closely, depending what else is seen under xray.
(like when I had a bunch of AA cells in my carry on along with an MP3 player (that looked like a cell phone).)
=============================================

- I got a good squirt in my mouth
- I would imagine that there would be a large amount of involuntary gagging
- I don't know about you but I'm not into swallowing it

CCR discussion on Caustic Cocktails.

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Tom Nic
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Re: TSA & Nimh Battery Packs

Post by Tom Nic » Sat May 26, 2012 8:29 am

Jeff Pack wrote:Only lithium's, because of the fire hazzard. NiMh is in many camera's, etc.

But.. they will examine battery packs closely, depending what else is seen under xray.
(like when I had a bunch of AA cells in my carry on along with an MP3 player (that looked like a cell phone).)



Thanks Jeff... I've gone through with other batteries, but never a battery pack of batteries after market put together, so thus my curiosity.

Yeah, I couldn't find anything other than the warning on Lithiums.

I'm thinking that separating the battery packs from the light and making sure it is easily accesible in your carry on is the ticket.
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Jeff Pack
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Re: TSA & Nimh Battery Packs

Post by Jeff Pack » Sat May 26, 2012 8:33 am

Oh yea, if they are all together in a pattern, expect the evil eye.
=============================================

- I got a good squirt in my mouth
- I would imagine that there would be a large amount of involuntary gagging
- I don't know about you but I'm not into swallowing it

CCR discussion on Caustic Cocktails.

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Tom Nic
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Re: TSA & Nimh Battery Packs

Post by Tom Nic » Sat May 26, 2012 8:35 am

Jeff Pack wrote:Oh yea, if they are all together in a pattern, expect the evil eye.


Evil eye I can deal with! :)

"Sir, these aren't allowed in your carry on luggage." ....not so much. :extinguishflame:
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lamont
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Re: TSA & Nimh Battery Packs

Post by lamont » Sat May 26, 2012 9:37 am

some TSA screener in hawaii had me called over the intercom once and i had to listen to him lecture me about how nasty my battery pack looked on an x-ray, then he didn't bother to tell me anything else i could have done, or should do, and let it through, so i was left with the overwhelming impression that it was a slow day and he just needed to be a dick about something...

that was back in 2007, only halfway serious issue that i've had...

the mexican guys in december coming back got a bit excited about my lithium batteries since i had one in my carry on, and called in someone who looked like a bit of a supervisor who let it through the screening... that only burned about 5 minutes at the x-ray line though...

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Re: TSA & Nimh Battery Packs

Post by Tom Nic » Sat May 26, 2012 9:40 am

lamont wrote:some TSA screener in hawaii had me called over the intercom once and i had to listen to him lecture me about how nasty my battery pack looked on an x-ray, then he didn't bother to tell me anything else i could have done, or should do, and let it through, so i was left with the overwhelming impression that it was a slow day and he just needed to be a dick about something...

that was back in 2007, only halfway serious issue that i've had...

the mexican guys in december coming back got a bit excited about my lithium batteries since i had one in my carry on, and called in someone who looked like a bit of a supervisor who let it through the screening... that only burned about 5 minutes at the x-ray line though...


That's funny. :)

Marcoux and I ran into the same issue in San Juan - TSA computer looker guy says in a voice loud enough to be heard about 50 ft. in any direction - "Wow, that looks just like a bomb." ...this in regard to Doug's 50 watt Salvo water boiler.

But that was back in 2008 or so, so maybe the training has gotten a little better! :)
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Re: TSA & Nimh Battery Packs

Post by Dusty2 » Sat May 26, 2012 11:43 am

I would think having the battery pack separated might look even more like a bomb.

Let me know what happens so I can pass it on when asked.

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Re: TSA & Nimh Battery Packs

Post by Jeff Pack » Sat May 26, 2012 12:52 pm

Its how the cells are arranged when viewed...
=============================================

- I got a good squirt in my mouth
- I would imagine that there would be a large amount of involuntary gagging
- I don't know about you but I'm not into swallowing it

CCR discussion on Caustic Cocktails.

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Re: TSA & Nimh Battery Packs

Post by H20doctor » Sat May 26, 2012 12:58 pm

They sniffed mine, and put them in the microwave.. Even my scooter batteries, not a big deal.. Never had an issue
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Re: TSA & Nimh Battery Packs

Post by diverden » Sat May 26, 2012 1:00 pm

I took a bunch of flights with my 35 W - 20 Ah pack. It draws a lot of attention, especially if I leave it crammed in a bag with a bunch of other gear (regs, dive computers, etc.) "You should really take that out of the bag next time." So, after that, I regularly took it out of my bag and had it in a second TSA tub (the first with my laptop.) The 10 Ah pack I have for my 21W light draws a lot less attention but I always run it separate and since there's always been a lot of wasted time with a bag of regs, I take those out too. Sometimes they swab test the light, sometimes they don't. A couple trips ago they ran over to me for a bag check and realized that it wasn't in a bag and thanked me for doing that to save everyone's time.

That was the last few years. Fast forward to a month ago where I wore my, new to me, rebreather (sans tanks) through security . On the way to Florida at 9PM on a Monday night, they didn't blink an eye about anything in Sea-Tac, neither rebreather or 10Ah lithium pack. On the way home via Orlando, the TSA line was stupid long (30 minutes and no room to queue) but I immediately got flagged. One of the agents was very curious and knew I must be into something cool because I was wearing a Dive-X t-shirt as well. The short version of the story was that my 10 Ah lithium light was lonely and jealous that the rEvo had stolen all of it's attention. I basically had to explain what a rebreather was to three agents because, whoa, that sounds really cool.

The battery regulations all seem to be about lithium but as far as I know, no one is going to try to determine what type of chemistry your battery is. I have no idea how they differ under x-ray. They just want to get a good look at under x-ray and be able to take a quick look at it and maybe swab it. I have never separated the battery from the light and have even offered to fire the light but no one has taken me up on that. Rather, the agent told me that he used to work for a machine shop in LA for James Cameron and that you shouldn't use Delrin because it absorbs water.

I always give myself plenty of time and take hunks of metal and really expensive shit out of bags. If I were checking a battery (or tanks or sorb) I would print out the regulation and attach it to the gear in your checked bag. That's what I WOULD do but have flown a sierra a few times now (checked the scooter and battery) forgetting to do that since it had NiMH stickers on it ;-) It would be extra safe to have printed copies of whatever TSA regulation might be relevant to your stuff on hand, just in case.

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Re: TSA & Nimh Battery Packs

Post by Tom Nic » Sun May 27, 2012 2:36 pm

Security in and out of sfo and sea today no problem. They swabbed my carry on because the gal looking at the tv had never seen scuba gear so they used me to train her. Something about the first stage weirded her out. The experienced agent apologized and thanked me for being good natured about providing experience for the newb.

And yeah, packing your stuff to be quickly and easily accessible is doing yourself a big favor.
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Re: TSA & Nimh Battery Packs

Post by E_Mo » Sun May 27, 2012 5:42 pm

A little off topic, but what about dive knives... Obviously they have to be put in checked luggage, but does that automatically get your bag searched? Do you include a note of why you have a dive knife?
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TSA & Nimh Battery Packs

Post by Scubie Doo » Sun May 27, 2012 7:25 pm

Dive knives are no problem. I have checked them through and have not had my bag searched. Definitely don't strap it to your leg like scuba Steve though :)

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Re: TSA & Nimh Battery Packs

Post by BASSMAN » Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:44 am

TSA looked at my Light Cannon(out of my Carry-on) and wondered about it, but not much of an issue.
the Dusty Light's sailed through with no problems. ( I think). Other diver's on same trip, had the Dusty Lights.
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Re: TSA & Nimh Battery Packs

Post by defied » Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:25 am

So far, the only grief I'd ever gotten about my carry-on was my steel backplate preventing them from seeing anything else. The batteries have never been an issue.

D

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Re: TSA & Nimh Battery Packs

Post by ArcticDiver » Tue Jun 26, 2012 6:11 pm

Gee y'all live far more exciting lives than I do. Used to be battery packs got attention. I had a screener in Miami pull out my battery pack for my can light, hold it up by the wire and loudly ask his supervisor if it was a bomb. Needless to say that got everyone's attention.

Even though they are dive lights I use them for other purposes as well. Other than that at the airports I routinely travel no problems at all. I've looked at the screener's display and they can see the cells, wiring, etc. and see that it clearly is a battery pack and nothing else. So, my recommendation is to press forward.

Things like big knives, saws, tools, hatchets, swords, you name it can all go into checked luggage with no problems. You ought to see the stuff folks check. Stand by check in or baggage claim sometime and watch what comes by. Everything.

Oh yes, I would be concerned if someone gives you a hard time. I'm guessing that means you triggered some kind of human analysis profile and they are checking you, not your belongings, out.

Remember TSA folks are very low on the food chain working under pretty stringent conditions. Put a cop wanna-be, or anti-social person in the mix and it can be a bit disconcerting. But of the many times I go through screening a year I can count on one hand the number of times there has been a real problem.
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Re: TSA & Nimh Battery Packs

Post by CaptnJack » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:32 pm

At least in MX batteries are not to be in carry-on. They think you'll put the light together and use it or shorted batteries to start a fire. So to leave MX they need to be in checked baggage for minimum hassle, although sometimes you can get through. Pretty much the exact opposite of TSA, but obviously they aren't TSA. Once past customs they are best put back into carry-on for the final flight home.

Expect Bonaire to have unique concerns about something, who knows what.
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