We are really happy with our new battery bunker.  This storage facility designed and built by out AARR students is tricked out with a Nest WiFi smoke + CO detector and offers us a safe, secure spot to store our robot batteries (lithium-ion polymer batteries, aka Lithium Polymer, aka LiPo) outside of a university building.  This translates into massively reduced fire risk and a much safer situation for our Sierra Hall laboratory building.

Since fully initiating our bunker a few months back, we have been happily incident-free.  Incident-free that is…until today.



A Smoked Alarm?

Midafternoon we got an automated notice that our Alarm inside the bunker had detected smoke.  It reported that the smoke had subsequently cleared, but the warning was there.  This really highlights the value of our WiFi-enabled warning system which automatically notifies our lab and our university police dispatch.

Thankfully when we cautiously opened the bunker nothing was amiss.  No heat, no puffy batteries, no scent of anything even vaguely smoke-like in our sealed bunker chamber.  This seems to have been a false alarm, possibly triggered by heat on this first very warm day in quite some time.

Lessons

  1. Our takeaways include a new plan to install shadecloth over the bunker to at least partly mitigate the heat of midsummer sun.
  2. We were happy with the notification and our communication with campus police/campus dispatch worked well and caused no unnecessary deployment of any EMS services (given we were on hand to check the bunker ourselves).  The workflow is a great one that serves both our lab and greater campus safety.

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