Dreamliner probe: No battery voltage surge

TOKYO (TIP): Officials probing the emergency landing of a Boeing Dreamliner said on Thursday that they will dismantle its battery pack, after the investigation found no evidence of a sudden surge in voltage. A fire risk from overheating powerpacks emerged as a major concern after pilots were forced to land the domestic All Nippon Airways flight in western Japan on January 16 due to smoke thought to be linked to the plane’s battery. Investigators later released a picture showing the blackened remains of the battery in the ANA plane.

But on Thursday, they said there were no signs of a battery fire, while data gleaned from the flight’s digital data recorder showed the powerpack did not suffer a rapid surge in voltage. The pack’s voltage had been at normal levels before it plunged just before the system alert that forced the emergency landing, a Japan Transport Safety Board official said. But he said the pack – made up of eight individual lithium-ion batteries – would have to be dismantled to inspect each of the units, which are similar to those used in mobile phones and tablet computers. “It was a very normal level of voltage for a lithiumion battery (shortly before the emergency landing),” the official said.

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