For small lithium batteries, there are three standards that our Battery Lab tests to most often:
- UN/DOT 38.3 5th Edition, Amendment 1 – Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods
- IEC 62133 2nd Edition – Rechargeable Cell/Battery Safety
- UL 2054 2nd Edition – Household and Commercial Batteries
Following is a quick overview of each one.
Want to ship a lithium battery almost anywhere in the world by air, vessel, rail, or truck? Unless you want to be extremely restricted in your options for transporting your batteries (ground transport as Class 9 Hazardous Goods), you will need to certify that your batteries have passed UN/DOT 38.3.
Found in many countries’ shipment of dangerous goods regulations, this standard is relevant for the transportation safety of all lithium metal and lithium ion cells and batteries
UN/DOT 38.3 is a self-certify standard but because of potential liability issues, most companies choose to use a third party test lab like MET Labs.
UN 38.3 presents a combination of significant environmental, mechanical, and electrical stresses, in sequence (T1-T5):
- T1 – Altitude Simulation (Primary and Secondary Cells and Batteries)
- T2 – Thermal Test (Primary and Secondary Cells and Batteries)
- T3 – Vibration (Primary and Secondary Cells and Batteries)
- T4 – Shock (Primary and Secondary Cells and Batteries)
- T5 – External Short Circuit (Primary and Secondary Cells and Batteries)
- T6 – Impact (Primary and Secondary Cells)
- T7 – Overcharge (Secondary Batteries)
- T8 – Forced Discharge (Primary and Secondary Cells)
Some tests are easier to pass than others. The altitude test is the easiest. The vibration test, on the other hand, is intense and long-running: 3 hours in each of the three cardinal planes. And the T1-T5 sequence typically has a negative cumulative effect.
Mandated by many IEC end-device standards, IEC 62133 is the de facto standard for international compliance. UN 38.3 transportation testing (see previous section) is an integral requirement, but does not need to be repeated.
The standard includes four tests:
- 2.2 Molded Case Stress
- 3.2 External Short Circuit
- 3.3 Free Fall
- 3.6 Overcharging of Battery
Compared to the requirements of UN 38.3, these tests are relatively easy to pass.
Compliance with the requirements of UL 2054 is mandated by a number of U.S. end device standards. It is a challenging standard involving roughly double the number of tests found in the UN or IEC requirements:
- 7 electrical tests
- 4 mechanical tests
- 4 battery enclosure tests
- 1 fire exposure test
- 2 environmental tests
With the inclusion of single faults and worst-case operation, the electrical tests are the most challenging. The abusive overcharge test is the most difficult given the overvoltage conditions applied to the faulted pack. Abnormal charge, forced discharge, and two short circuit tests also involve significant risk of failure.
For lithium batteries, UL 2054 defers all component cell level testing to UL 1642. Warning: Not all labs will accept another NRTL’s test results. For example, when testing a battery to UL 2054, MET Labs will accept another NRTL’s cell level UL 1642 test data and apply it to the UL 2054 testing. This saves the client time and money. We recommend avoiding NRTLs that don’t follow this client-friendly practice.
The future of UL 2054 is cloudy. UL has released the first edition of UL 62133, which is fully harmonized with IEC 62133, 2nd Edition. UL 2054 and UL 62133 essentially compete for the same test space although their requirements are quite different. The timing of UL 62133 adoption is still unfolding, but it is expected to have an impact on the future role of UL 2054 as an important U.S. compliance standard.
In addition to these three standards, MET is increasingly seeing a demand for testing to IEEE 1625 and 1725 for CTIA battery certification. MET is a CTIA Authorized Test Lab that offers full scope CTIA-accredited battery testing and certification services for these standards.
Not sure what standard applies to your batteries? Contact us for quick and easy answers.
With the growth of electric vehicles and their associated technology ecosystem, MET Labs is seeing higher levels of testing and certification in this industry. Following is a summary of the standards that apply to electric vehicles (EVs) and electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE).
EV UL Safety Standards:
UL 2202 EV Charging System Equipment
UL 2251 Standard for Plugs, Receptacles, and Couplers for Electric Vehicles
UL 2231-1 and UL 2231-2 Personnel Protection Systems for EV Supply Circuits
UL Subject 2580 Batteries for Use In Electric Vehicles
UL Subject 2594 EV Supply Equipment
EV International (IEC) Standards:
IEC 61851 Electric Vehicle Conductive Charging System
IEC 61982 Secondary Batteries for the Propulsion of Electric Road Vehicles – Performance and Endurance Tests
IEC 62133 Secondary Cells and Batteries Containing Alkaline or Other Non-Acid Electrolytes – Safety Requirements
IEC 62196 Plugs, Socket-Outlets, Vehicle Connectors and Inlets – Conductive Charging of EVs
EV SAE Standards:
SAE J1772 Electric Vehicle and Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Conductive Charge Coupler
SAE J2293 Energy Transfer System for Electric Vehicles
SAE J2464 Electric and Hybrid Electric Vehicle Rechargeable Energy Storage System (RESS) Safety and Abuse Testing
SAE J2894 Power Quality Requirements for Plug-In Electric Vehicle Chargers
SAE J2929 Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Propulsion Battery System Safety Standard – Lithium-based Rechargeable Cells
The Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) – often electrical code inspectors – have final say in the acceptance of equipment and electrical installations in the United States. The U.S. National Electric Code (NEC) informs the AHJ that a piece of equipment is acceptable if it has the listing mark of an approved Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). In the case of EV charging systems, Article 625 indicates that all electrical materials, devices, fittings and associated equipment shall be listed or labeled.
Over 25 years ago, MET Labs became the first NRTL, and today is capable of performing testing to all major EV and EVSE standards.
Nearly all lithium batteries are required to pass section 38.3 of the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, to ensure the safety of lithium batteries during shipping.
UN/DOT 38.3 Transportation Testing for Lithium Batteries 5th edition was issued in 2009, with Amendment 1 in 2011.
It includes eight sections. Sections T1-T5 use the same samples, and are tested in order. All primary and secondary cells and batteries are subject to these sections. Sections T6-T8 have more limited applicability. Following is a basic primer:
T1 – Altitude Simulation
This is low pressure testing that simulates unpressurized airplane space (cargo area) at 15,000 meter altitude. After storing batteries at 11.6kPa for >6 hours, these criteria shall be met: no mass loss, leaking, venting, disassembly, rupture or fire, and voltage within 10% of pre-test voltage.
T2 – Thermal Test
This test covers changes in temperature extremes from -40C to +75C. Batteries are stored for 6 hours at -40C (12 hours for large cells/batteries), then 6 hours at +75C (12 hours for large cells/batteries), for a total of 10 cycles. Testing may be performed in a single chamber or thermal shock chamber, but less than 30 minute transitions shall be used. Same pass criteria as T1.
T3 – Vibration
This test simulates vibration during transportation. Test is a Sine Sweep: 7Hz – 200Hz – 7Hz in 15 Minutes; 12 Sweeps (3 hours); 3 mutually perpendicular axes. Same pass criteria as T1.
T4 – Shock
This test also simulates vibration during transportation. Test is a Half-Sine pulse: 150G/6ms for small cells/batteries; 50G/11ms for large cells/batteries; 3 pulses per direction; 6 directions (+/-z, +/-x, +/-y). Same pass criteria as T1.
T5 – External Short Circuit
This test simulates an external short to the terminals of the cell or battery. At temperature of +55C, apply short circuit (<0.1ohm) across terminals. Maintain at least an hour after sample temperature returns to +55 +/-2°C. Pass criteria are: Case temperature does not exceed +170°C and no disassembly, rupture, or fire within 6 hours of test. Fuse, current limiting circuit, and venting mechanism activation are allowable.
T6 – Impact
This test is only applicable to primary and secondary cells. For cylindrical cells >20mm diameter, it simulates impact to case of cell. For cylindrical cells <20mm diameter and all other cell constructions, it simulates crushing of a cell. Pass criteria for any type is: Case temperature does not exceed +170C & no disassembly or fire within 6 hours of test.
T7 – Overcharge
This test is for secondary or rechargeable batteries only. It simulates an overcharge condition on a rechargeable battery: 2x the manufacturer’s recommended charge current for 24 hours. Then battery shall be monitored for 7 days for fire or disassembly.
T8 – Forced Discharge
This testing simulates a forced discharge condition for primary and secondary cells only. Same pass criteria as T7.
Per 126.96.36.199, in the event that a cell or battery type does not meet one or more of the test requirements, steps shall be taken to correct the deficiency before the cell or battery type is retested. Partial retest is not allowed.
Last month, MET Labs attended a CTIA Battery Certification Program meeting in San Antonio, Texas. The agenda included a review and update of the certification program documents (CRD, PMD, CRSL). There was also a discussion to expand the program to include battery life testing. In attendance were all the system vendors, CTIA-Approved Test Labs (CATLs) and carriers such as Verizon and AT&T.
Some of the key updates made in the Certification Documents were:
- The manufacturing location as well as the entity controlling the design of the battery shall both meet the ISO 9000 requirements.
- System or cell operating outside its temperature or voltage range shall be shut down and not allow 911 calls.
- CTIA will adopt the definition of coin cells in UN 38.3 to define the appropriate battery chemistries that can be considered under IEEE 1725.
- Adapters shall be compliant with USB-IF Battery Charging Specification Rev 1.2 and OMTP1.1 to avoid compatibility issues (and slow charging rates) between different OEM chargers and devices.
- Burr control will be harmonized in CRDs for both IEEE 1625 & 1725.
- Battery identification is required for both embedded and user-replaceable battery packs.
- Battery packs installed in its host and normal application of the device is above head level, the drop height shall be 1500mm; for all others the drop height shall be 1000mm.
There was also a proposal to include battery life testing mainly for smart phones. The proposal included creating a working group to develop an accurate battery life test standard for smart phones that will cover the following parameters:
- User profile
- Network settings
- Device settings
Read more about the CTIA Battery Certification Program in this previous post.
In March, MET Labs attended a CTIA Battery Certification Program meeting at Verizon Wireless in Bridgewater, New Jersey. The meeting was attended by carriers (AT&T and Verizon), CTIA-Approved Test Labs (CATLs) and a few vendors. The focus of the meeting was to address pending issues and update the battery certification program requirements and management documents.
CTIA manages a program to permit operators and their suppliers to validate a lithium ion battery’s compliance with the IEEE Standard for Rechargeable Batteries for Cellular Telephones, IEEE Standard 1725 – 2011, and the IEEE Standard for Rechargeable Batteries for Multi-Cell Mobile Computing Devices, IEEE Standard 1625 – 2008.
Some of the main discussion points were as follows:
The temperature sensing device (e.g. thermistor) will be tested to ensure it meets the manufacturer or the battery pack vendor stated temperature range. The purpose of this validation is to ensure that a thermal sensor either in the battery pack and/or host monitors cell temperature and works with the system to limit operation within the cell’s safe thermal specifications. This is to mitigate potential hazards, such as shutdown, or disabling of charging and/or discharging, or other protective action.
The test voltage for ESD will be at the minimum level 2 (2Kv or 4KV) and can also be higher (e.g. 8Kv) depending on the battery casing material.
CTIA will revise and clarify procedures for site evaluation to ensure all CATLs follow the same guidelines for site evaluations. CATLs will evaluate systems, subsystems and manufacturing sites using criteria set forth in the certification requirement document (CRD) in accordance with the applicable version of the Certification Requirement Status List (CRSL).
For non-embedded packs, the worst case test condition shall be used for testing.
Coin Cell Inclusion
IEEE 1625 and IEEE 1725 will be reviewed to include coin cell batteries in the program.
A new section in the Program Management Document (PMD) covers issue resolutions and challenges regarding site recognition or certification. The introduction of this section will mean the validity of site recognition or a certification of a product could be challenged by another CATL or Vendor. If a challenge is successful, the operator members of the CATL review committee may place the CATL or Vendor who was challenged on probation, suspension or revocation, depending on the severity of the findings.
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