Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Breaking: JAL 787 experience battery issue. Gases vented though revised system

Boeing is reporting that a JAL 787 experienced a smoke condition that may have come from the venting of a single lithium ion battery cell.  The aircraft was on the ground in Tokyo in maintenance.  There weren't any passengers on the aircraft at the time but Boeing did say that the revised containment/venting system did work as advertised.  JAL said that there was liquid coming from the power pack and that there was fault in the battery and charger.  While the info on this is still coming out, one thing that is known that only one of the eight cells in this one battery was effected and it seems, at the moment, that the other seven cells were unaffected by what happened with the other cell.  Again this information is preliminary.  Boeing redesigned the battery so that any thermal conditions in one cell doesn't spread to the others. It appears that this redesign may have worked.  The question, however, still remains as to if this was another battery event and if so, why this cell experienced a thermal event. I don't have any information as to the identity of the aircraft other than it was a JAL 787.

I'll update this post as more information is available.


nskiwi said...

This is not good news and JAL will not be happy. I wonder what components of the aircraft were on to use the battery supply and if it was flying in the air if there would be any difference as to oppose being on the ground using the battery

David Cummings said...

Does anyone know which Dreamliner (eg reg) this has affected?

David Cummings said...


From my research using flight radar 24 and my own site I think it must be one of the above aircraft as most of the others are either in the air or prepping for flight

TravelingMan said...

So long as the overheating issues remain local, are contained and fairly easily repairable, you wonder if airlines might accept the risk for the 787's value. Boeing is undoubtedly hoping so, at least until the cause is understood. With the new A350 coming online this year, it seems like a huge gamble.

1coolguy1 said...

Nightmare not worth continuing.
In the end, for what?
Which doesn't matter, as any advantage PALES when compared to industry dissatisfaction.
Stunning Boeing did not have a backup plan in place to switch to their standard battery, "just in case".

Uresh said...

What would you suggest they do as a backup?

David Cummings said...

It's ja822j that's been affected for those interested

1coolguy1 said...

As to a backup, that's out of my league.
The one idea I would offer is knowing how difficult some aspects of the LI batteries are, a complete replacement system using Boeing's battery system on all of their other models should have been designed and put into place in case the LI system failed.

No other Boeing plane uses the LI batteries, as you know, and neither is it in ant Airbus planes.

Sometimes things aren't worth "breaking your pick" over and given the huge costs Boeing has and will continue to incur, both in dollars but more importantly in customer dissatisfaction, not having an alternative borders on malfeasance at this point.

And for what? To save weight is the only reason I have found as the answer. After all the additional materials and equipment added for the "fix", I question whether there has been any material weight savings.

TurtleLuv said...

Line 6 has been in Texas for almost 2 years now, right? Uresh, can you do some digging to find out what's up with this frame?

Vaibhav Andleigh said...

To do a backup to the Li batteries on a 787 using more conventional aircraft battery choices would require not just a redesign of the battery pack, but also of the entire aircraft electrical system (different battery chemistries operate at different voltages and current) as well as possibly the removal and downgrade of many other systems that traditionally have used hydraulic and bleed air systems in prior aircraft. Part of the reason for going electric on these other systems is for increased reliability and reduced maintenance costs -- this is also why many systems in your car went electric (steering pumps, A/C, fan, etc.). The 787 uses as much as 4 times as much electrical power as any other aircraft so it's not like you can just swap in another battery technology.

In effect, they'd have to redesign/downgrade a major chunk of the plane to have a suitable backup as you mention. I'd claim they already have that -- the 767 (and used 757's)

John Simms said...

Could improperly filtered ground source power be causing a problem with the charging system at some airport maintenance facilities?

1coolguy1 said...

Vaibhav - Thank you for your thorough explanation.

Ryosuke said...

Hello from Japan. The aircraft involved was JA834J. It was doing a check-up before departure to BKK from NRT. JA829J was substituted.

Ryosuke said...

Hello from Japan. The 787 involved was JA834J. It was doing a check-up before departure to BKK. JA829 was substituted.