questionsdid you know that the usps is curtailing…


[Silly character limit]

...and it clarifies that you can't send lithium batteries, even if in their own box:

"Primary lithium metal or lithium alloy (non-recharge­able) cells and batteries, or secondary lithium-ion cells and batteries (rechargeable), regardless of quantity, size, or watt hours, and regardless of whether the cells or batteries are packed in the equipment they are intended to operate, with the equipment they are intended to operate, or without equipment (individual batteries). This standard applies to all APO, FPO, or DPO locations."

It looks like this also applies to Canada/Mexico, and may or may not apply to Hawaii.

No cameras either, nor sending spare batteries to your kid.

It includes MP3 players, cameras, walkie talkies, and just about everything else on it. Be prepared for even more questioning when shipping anything bigger than a postcard.


Absurd! ...Unless there's something I'm missing. BTW: This ban includes Kindles & other e-readers. Way to reward our military personnel & make their lives a bit more tolerable. /sarcasm


I was reading about that here:

and here is the explanation from the article:
Lithium batteries, which power many personal electronic devices, can explode or catch fire in certain conditions. In order to get around this, consumer electronic manufacturers such as Apple or Amazon ship their products with a minimal charge--which mitigates the safety risk.
Fully charged, improperly stored, or improperly packed lithium batteries do pose a risk of explosion, however. Lithium batteries have been implicated in at least two fatal cargo plane crashes since 2006, including a UPS jet in Dubai.

It is not clear why the USPS is afraid of the risk, but private parcel services are not.


Taken from the comments on

"The USPS has nothing to do with this, nor does Obama or unions. These are international rules, and considering that the bulk of mail from the USPS goes overseas goes by commercial aircraft, the USPS has to comply. The private companies (DHL, Fed Ex, etc) have their own aircraft that they use to ship mail overseas, thus their lack of a ban (as of yet)."


Also take into account the state of arrival of packages from the USPS. They are getting to be worse then UPS.


If lithium batteries are so combustible that new shipping rules will take place, then why are cell phones, iPads etc.. still allowed on passenger planes? Something is screwy. I understand the need to be safe and that several cargo planes went down due to lithium batteries starting a fire, but I'm not understanding why it's dangerous for shipments but not for passenger planes. Weird.


@dreamyvelvet: I remember reading articles shortly after 9/11 that predicted laptops would soon be banned, because a li-ion battery could easily be made into a bomb right on the plane. Thankfully, this hasn't happened yet (both li-ion terrorism and banning of laptops)


I wonder how big an issue this is. I see my GPS will not charge in direct sunlight so it will not explode, but has anyone heard of this actually happening?


With LiPo powered remote control cars, for instance - charging errors, shorting, or rough use can create a flash hot enough to burn right through their metal casings. LiPo is lithium polymer - a slightly different formulation from the standard lithium-ion batteries... but the same dangers apply.

Yes lithium can explode with severe shock, through shorting (especially a problem where multiple cells are contained in a casing, joined together to get the right voltage) and yes they can cause a good deal of damage... but its more fire hazard than explosive damage.

Lipo has a discharge rate MUCH higher than lithium-ion (to the order of 150A for a battery less than half the size of a brick) and even still - their explosive force isn't great... it's a pop, to be sure, but it's the resultant flame flare up and electric arc that can reach 2500 degrees that poses the danger. For l-ion, the explosion and fire risk is much lower, but still there.

With all of that said - it's very rare.


@caffeine_dude: According to the article it's (fires) happened twice since 2006. Not necessarily GPSs but lithium batteries.

As someone that relies on APO shipping I am not impressed with this. I guess I could go out on the economy and pay a massive premium if there's something I really really need but otherwise I guess I'm out of the electronics market for the foreseeable future.


@zuiquan: Can you get the electronics shipped APO without batteries, and have batteries shipped separately by private parcel services? Just a thought.


@notanaardvark: I guess that'd work for laptops if I could convince whatever company to take them out and do that but for things like kindles and ipods there'd be no way. Also, it'd be pretty cost prohibitive if I could find someone willing to even do it.