2-jan-2008 : added some batteries that are effected (cor)
The FAA has recently passed a new rule that limits what you can do with lithium batteries while traveling on airplanes in the US. This only applies to Lithium batteries, not to other types of batteries like NICad or NiMH.
Almost no one will be affected by these rules. The only people that could be affected are those traveling with large, professional grade, batteries. The only thing impacting everyone is that if you plan to take any extra lithium batteries (outside the device) you must take them in your carry-on. For a full breakdown read the details below.
The new rules are as follows:
- You can not pack any spare lithium battery in your checked baggage outside the device
- You can put a device with the battery installed inside it in your checked baggage (but not recommended)
- You can bring spare lithium batteries with you in carry-on baggage
- Any chargeable Lithium battery (normally called Lithium-Ion), no matter where it is, must have less than 8 grams of lithium content
- You can bring two spare chargeable lithium batteries with up to 25 grams of aggregated lithium in addition to the rule above. (for instance, 2 of 12.5 grams)
- Any non-chargeable Lithium battery (called Lithium metal battery), no matter where it is, must have less than 2 grams of lithium content.
Impact for divers and underwater photographers
Almost all batteries and devices that we as divers and photographers carry will not be impacted by this rule. This means you can still travel with them, but you must carry any spare batteries in carry on.
The rules apply to a lithium content measured in grams. Most batteries do not carry their lithium contents on the label, but you can easily calculate it. To calculate you need to know the amount of Lithium cells in your battery. Lithium cells are always made as 3.7V. So you can first calculate the number of cells in your device:
Number of Lithium Cells = Voltage of battery / 3.7
Lithium Content in Grams = Ah * 0,3 * (Number of Lithium Cells) (approximation)
Example, Nikon D2x battery:
1900 mAh = 1.9 Ah. 11.1V battery, so this is 11.1/3.7 = 3 cells. (when in doubt, round up). Lithium content in grams is then 1.9 * 0.3 * 3 = 1.7 grams of lithium content. This is well below the 8 gram limit.
Some other example devices
laptop battery (Apple Macbook Pro) - 5500mAh = 4.95g
Sony FM70 battery - 2600mAh = 1.56g
Sony F970 battery - 7000mAh = 4.2g
Phone battery (Sony Ericsson) - 1100mAh= 0.33g
As you can see, this is all way below the limit of 8 grams.
Impacted batteries or devices
Batteries over 8 grams but below 25 grams. Two allowed with total lithium content under 25g per person: (NOTE: Member Ken Kurtis has contacted the DOT, and got to talk to the actual guy that wrote these rules. He says that you can bring a total of 3 batteries PER DEVICE, two spare, and one in the device. So, if you have two large video cameras, according to him you could take a total of 6 of these batteries, but it is unclear as of yet how the lithium gram content should be added. Please inform yourself with TSA before you need to travel with these types of batteries)
Anton Bauer Dionic 160WH
IDX Endura Elite 142WH
Red Brick (Battery for RED One): 140WH
Batteries over 25 grams (not allowed at all)
No known batteries
Here is the link to the DOT website for a detailed explanation:
DOT battery regulations
Edited by Moderator. Thanks Joe for letting us use his post