Monday, January 07, 2008

Lithium problems - Come fly with me (or not)

Amidst all the confusion about airport baggage restrictions here in the UK, you may not have noticed a new rule implemented from Jan 1st by the US aviation authorities. There are new restrictions on carrying Lithium-Ion rechargeable batteries, especially the chunky ones that pro camcorders use. You can't put spare batteries loose into checked-in luggage and there are quantity limits on how many batteries in total you can take on board with you. The limits are specified in terms of grams of Lithium: 25g is the upper limit, which is approx 300 watt-hours. (Two very high capacity packs).

The official US advice page is here.

Although these limits apply only to FAA governed flights, I suspect it can only be a matter of time before the CAA adopt them for UK flights. These aren't terrorism-inspired limits, but rather safety rules prompted by faulty batteries catching fire.

If you were at the December wefcpug, you may recall my ranting about the sudden and unexpected death of two of my IDX batteries, and the shocking price of replacements! I am happy to recommend an alternative manufacturer of compatible battery packs - DSM who are a UK source. What is also interesting is that, over 5 or so years, capacities have doubled for the same price (so not so shocking after all).