As a filmmaker who’s constantly on the go, there’s nothing easy about lugging your camera equipment from country to country, airport to airport. Out of all the equipment that you carry, batteries can be one of the trickiest items to get past security, especially when you’re not 100% sure on what the rules are.
This article originally published on Anton Bauer’s website: Antonbauer.com/Taking the hassle out of battery travel
Q: So what exactly are the rules now for traveling with Lithium Ion batteries?
A: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) sets the regulations related to the air transportation of goods. As an outline, they state that before shipping them as cargo with a carrier such as Fedex/UPS, Lithium-Ion batteries and cell packs need to be discharged to 30% of their rated capacity (or less).
Hazardous cargo such as Lithium-Ion batteries may not travel in the hold of a passenger aircraft so they can’t be in your checked luggage while you travel. However, batteries can be in your carry-on luggage and must be treated as a laptop going through TSA security. Unlike cargo shipments through a carrier, batteries traveling as a carry-on item during flights can be fully charged to 100%.
Q: How many Lithium Ion batteries can I have in my carry-on?
A: For batteries less than 100 Wh in capacity, the regulations don’t place a limit on the number of batteries carried per passenger; however, be aware that airlines may have individual policies which do. For batteries between 100 Wh and 160 Wh, the regulations stipulate that a passenger may carry one battery on a piece of powered equipment plus two spares. Batteries greater than 160 Wh may not be carried on or taken in the hold, and therefore must be shipped as cargo.
Q: When do/did these new regulations go into effect?
A: IATA’s new policy is currently in effect, as of April 2016.
Q: Do these restrictions apply to all types of travel?
A: Fortunately, no. These new regulations don’t apply to sea or ground transportation of Lithium-Ion batteries.
Q: So how is Anton/Bauer dealing with these changes from the IATA?
A: To help everyone comply with IATA’s new regulation, Anton Bauer developed a new, free feature for our Performance Quad Charger that will automatically drain your batteries for you to the proper charge level so you don’t have to worry about it when you ship your batteries. All you have to do is take five minutes to download the new firmware update, turn on the “Global Trans” mode in Settings, and set the level of discharge for your batteries.
Q: And I couldn’t use other chargers to do this for me?
A: No, Anton/Bauer’s Performance Quad Charger is the only one on the market that offers this function.
Q: Would the charger be able to do this for all Anton/Bauer batteries?
A: This update would only apply to Anton/Bauer’s current generation of Lithium-Ion batteries, such as the CINE, Digital, and Dionic Series. With CINE or Digital batteries, you’ll be able to tell right away when the battery is clear for travel with its extremely accurate power gauge that shows the percentage of charge. For the Dionic batteries, you’ll see a single bar of charge that represents less than 30% capacity.
Q: If I don’t want to use Li-Ion batteries, does Anton/Bauer have an alternative I can use for power when traveling?
A: Of course. Anton/Bauer also offers the high-powered HyTRON Series, which is a NiMH battery that can provide power for hours without limits or travel restrictions.
Q: Where can I go to get more information?
A: For the latest information on battery transportation regulations, download IATA’s PDF on lithium batteries.