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The Boeing Company Message Board

  • stocksentinel stocksentinel Jan 28, 2013 2:29 PM Flag

    Guess how long it takes BA to fix 787 battery problems

    I am guessing about a year to fix it and get the FAA to aprove it unless they replace the LI batteries with allready proven safe battery, then about four months.

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    • McNerney will announce that it is the unions fault during the earnings report.

    • From looking at all the posts, it looks like no one is expecting a quick fix. A lot of people express concerns of BA halting 787 production, I think the chance of that happening is about zero. I also don't think there will be much, or any change in the charging system even if they ditch the LI batteries. As they have stated the battery monitoring circuits controls the charger, so if they change batteries the new battery monitoring circuits can axiomatically make any adjustments to charging as needed.

      The big issue if they keep the LI batteries will be containment, or the lack of it which I suspect played a large part of the reason for the FAA grounding all 787's. The heavy bowing of the box shows it was pushed to its limit to contain the raging infernal similar to a runaway atomic reactor doing the Three Mile Island, I don't think the FAA at this point will settle for anything less than complete containment of a catastrophic battery failure, other than venting the nasty fumes outside of the aircraft. So other than for discoloration, a worst case failed battery will have to show no sign of damage on the outside.

      I don't think there will be much of a change in the batteries unless they opt for a chemistry change to one of the newer somewhat less volatile ones like LifePO.

      As for the battery control board, I expect a massive ground redesign that makes the old one look primitive. For sure it will monitor each cell for voltage, temperature, and control charging on a per cell basses. That will insure no single cell is subject to overcharging, and if a cell starts to get a little to warm before it gets out of control it will signal the charging system to drop the charge rate, or even stop it and isolate the battery from the electrical system to give it a chance to cool down before it goes into a thermal runaway state.

      I think all the engineering work can be done in about 6 months, and if I was BA I'd get a prototype case for demonstration purposes done in a month, it might no even be close to the final case design, but that wouldn't matter as I would want to ASAP show the FAA and the world BA can totally contain even the worst battery failure.

      • 1 Reply to stocksentinel
      • Do you know what you are talking about or are you guessing or did you just misstate something? Because you've made contradictory statements.

        1. "I also don't think there will be much, or any change in the charging system."
        2. "As they have stated the battery monitoring circuits controls the charger."
        3. "As for the battery control board, I expect a massive ground redesign that makes the old one look primitive."

        The monitoring and charging systems are integrated and are part of the same system. So in #1 you say that they won't change the charging system, but in #3 you say that they will have a massive re-design. Which one is it ?

        Sentiment: Strong Sell

    • 18 months ??

      Sentiment: Hold

    • If someone really knows how long the fix is going to take, let McNerny know so he can announce it during the earnings report. You are all just speculating with no facts.

      • 2 Replies to cbx6cylinder
      • Actually, I have a lot of facts. I know that there were two battery fires. I know that both fires were related to the Li-Ion batteries. I believe that both fires were the result of thermal run-away within the batteries (based on the pictures that I've seen). I know that this battery chemistry is very volatile and not robust, and that there have been many other fires caused by this battery chemistry not being properly controlled. And I know that I have kept these batteries from being deployed on very expensive, very reliable spacecraft due to the inherent safety risk of the thermal run away problem. I know that i have designed and tested monitoring circuits for similar batteries. And I know how fickle they can be.

        I believe it will take them six months to design, develop, test, and integrate a new charging and monitoring system and another 2 - 4 months to get it approved by the regulatory agencies. I believe that they have other battery chemistry options that they will employ during this period, but it will still take them 2 - 3 months to get them tested, integrated and approved (unless they can simply pull a system from the 757, 767 or 777, which I doubt).

        I know that they will have to pay concessions to the airlines for lost service, while these planes are grounded.

        And I believe that they are talking about a $1 to $ 2 Billion charge when its all over.
        And I just shorted the stock a week ago, after it became apparent that the grounding were related to the Li-Ion chemistry.

        Sentiment: Strong Sell

      • Lack of facts hasn't never bothered McNerney before. After all he announced first flight any number of times for more 3 years, the first time was 2 months after the 787 stage prop was rolled out on 7/8/07

    • It could be done faster if they can do accelerated screening of defects in current battery inventory. It appears the problem is random manufacturing defects in Li batts. Learn how to make them fail. Esatablish a screen protocol designed to sterss the battery weaknesses in mfg (suspect PVC dialectric film voids, occlusiuons, pinholes, ect). Screen all bateries, set up acceptance testing based on sterss criteria, refine defect monitors and controls in manufacturing process, ensure mitigation to prevent recurrance...even if it means replacing batteries more often.

    • The bat problem WILL get fixed, but the question for this forum is how long will it be before investors start to flee BA. The grounding isn't that expensive but any slide to production will be very expensive. This may get interesting.

      • 1 Reply to habu_driver
      • It will take them 6 -8 months to correct the battery monitoring system for the Li-Ion batteries (which is the most likely problem). But i suspect that within the next 2-3 months, Boeing will provide another battery solution (Ni-Cad possibly, or less combustible Li-Ion package) to get the 50 aircraft back in the air. What I can't guess is whether they will halt production until the new Li-Ion system is ready, or forge ahead with a less risky battery option.

        Sentiment: Strong Sell

    • 8 to 12 months and the problem is not just the battery, It could be the whole electrical system, which pretty much puts the plane back on the drawing board. BA open at $72 tomorrow and under $70 after missing earnings call.

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