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Elon Musk Offers Boeing SpaceX Batteries For the 787 Dreamliner

timothy posted about a year ago | from the borry-a-cup-o'-sugar dept.

Power 163

An anonymous reader writes "Boeing is currently dealing with a bit of a disaster as the company's 787 Dreamliner has been grounded due to safety concerns. Boeing is currently investigating the situation, but they aren't alone. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, has stepped in to offer his help and technology if Boeing wants it. Musk has had to harness battery tech not only to run his Tesla Motors, but also to function flawlessly aboard SpaceX spacecraft as they travel both in and out of the Earth's atmosphere. If you need a battery to work at any altitude, you'd trust Musk to supply one, and that's exactly what he's offering Boeing."

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163 comments

Batteries if you must (4, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year ago | (#42725539)

Batteries if you must,
In moving parts trust,
Or with mere soap and a blade,
Be plying your trade.
Burma Shave

Re:Batteries if you must (1)

Nexus7 (2919) | about a year ago | (#42726023)

Brother, you should see the moving part sin a Norelco shaver head. It would put the Bolshoi ballet to shame.

Speaking of which, the most trouble free and long-lasting lithium batteries are in shavers. They run forever, until they die years later!

Re:Batteries if you must (1)

dawich (945673) | about a year ago | (#42726131)

Disagree - some shavers yes, but my older Norelco I replaced the batteries 3 times before I gave it up as a bad idea. My new Braun (basic model) is good. But our big Oster clippers? 3 months on the battery, and now it only works if it is plugged in. Next set of clippers will not be cordless.

Re:Batteries if you must (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42726277)

There seems to be a movement to make all shavers and clippers cordless, and moreover, unable to work on mains power alone. I wonder if there's a mod to make such an appliance work with a dead battery.

I wonder if there's a way to make the Dreamliner work with a dead battery. Hydraulics, perhaps?

Re:Batteries if you must (1)

mspohr (589790) | about a year ago | (#42727747)

Most shavers contain NiCd batteries which many admirable qualities but are notorious for suffering from a "memory" effect. If you recharge the battery before it is completely discharged, it will "remember" the partial charged state as "empty". The solution is simple, always let the battery discharge completely before recharging.
I have a Norelco shaver that is about 10 years old with NiCd batteries. I always let it discharge completely before recharging. A fully charged battery will last me about a month before it runs down completely. I then recharge it overnight and it is good for another month.

Re:Batteries if you must (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42726509)

I have one of the last models of corded Norelco razors. It replaced a 1960's Norelco that I got from my dad. BTW, any idea where to get HQ55+ blades anymore?

Re:Batteries if you must (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42727179)

Amazon?

User review: I bought these for a Norelco Reflex Plus 6615x razor and they fit correctly. The back of my razor says "Use only head HQ55+" but this one works just fine.

Re:Batteries if you must (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#42727875)

If you quit shaving, you don't need to worry about blade disposal, or batteries, or even worry about dropping your shaver in the sink. I never figured out why guys want to shave, or bother with it. Just let the foliage grow!!

Re:Batteries if you must (1)

garyebickford (222422) | about a year ago | (#42728365)

It's the ladies, man. Most ladies just don't like beards. Also my beard went grey 10 years before my head (which is just starting). I wasn't ready to look that old quite yet so I cut it off.

Too bad the batteries weren't the problem. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42725593)

It's the components that hook up to the batteries.

Re:Too bad the batteries weren't the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42726647)

It's the components that hook up to the batteries.

I'm pretty sure that system is working in the overall SpaceX design as well.

He's nothing if not a PR master (5, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year ago | (#42725599)

Have to admire the guy.

Re:He's nothing if not a PR master (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42725657)

Yeah considering they figured out a week ago it was not the batteries and suspect its the control system for the batteries.

Re:He's nothing if not a PR master (1)

sunking2 (521698) | about a year ago | (#42725825)

Kind of sad when these are the things we now admire.

Re:He's nothing if not a PR master (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42726755)

Kind of sad when these are the things we now admire.

He also has the tech to back it up. What is there that we should admire about, say, you?

Won't work... (5, Insightful)

TimeandMaterials (2826493) | about a year ago | (#42725621)

Great idea...but this won't work. A new battery would require some redesign. All of this would need FAA & EU (forget the agency name) approval. That would take at least 8-12 months. Boeing wants the 787 flying in weeks.

Re:Won't work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42725735)

And the issue wasn't the batteries to begin with. This guy is whoring for attention and nothng more.

Re:Won't work... (1)

sys_mast (452486) | about a year ago | (#42726459)

If the same batteries are in SpaceX, wouldn't they already have some approvals?

Maybe they would need additional for this application, but I suspect that would be the case with ANY new battery. But a unit already in use for some flight applications sounds like it should be easier to approve for another flight application, than a battery not currently used for flight.

Not that it matters, sounds like it wasn't the batteries anyway.

Re:Won't work... (1)

mbkennel (97636) | about a year ago | (#42726779)

SpaceX's rockets don't carry people, and it doesn't fly powered for 12 hours.

Re:Won't work... (2)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year ago | (#42727291)

No, they fly powered for about a week and a half... Although I suppose they get power from the ISS while docked. Nonetheless, the powered flight time for a Dragon capsule between launch and docking is far longer than any commercial air flight.

Re:Won't work... (2)

adamgundy (836997) | about a year ago | (#42727543)

the battery system is also "human rated", since the capsule is rated that way - astronauts are working in it once it is berthed to the ISS.

Re:Won't work... (2)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | about a year ago | (#42729283)

More importantly, the SpaceX design is for batteries that are actually used, and not a backup-on-backup. Tesla/SpaceX has an interesting design (series connection of highly parallel set of cells, with active heating/cooling), but it isn't what Boeing actually seems to need. I wish more details about the Boeing (Thales/GS Yuasa/Securaplane) design does for its battery management system were available. I would have thought that the system does very frequent sweeps of cell impedance across a range of frequencies to proactively detect a failing cell and isolate the battery, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

Honestly though, the 787's battery problems look fairly overstated. The ANA problem on the ground seems to indicate that some level of monitoring and active ventilation is required when the plane is not pressurized, and the JAL incident seems to be a failed battery and a mild over-reaction by the pilot given the ANA incident. There are a few system improvements that should be made to containment and venting from what I can tell... but nothing too major.

Latest news: Batteries not the problem in 787 (5, Informative)

captainpanic (1173915) | about a year ago | (#42725641)

TFA seems a little irrelevant since the news today says that the batteries are not the problem. Instead, the electrical systems and monitoring systems are now being scrutinized.

Here's one article, but the internet is full of it.
http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/morning_call/2013/01/batteries-not-a-problem-on-boeing-787.html [bizjournals.com]

Re:Latest news: Batteries not the problem in 787 (5, Insightful)

trout007 (975317) | about a year ago | (#42725827)

I'm pretty sure he wants to sell the whole package. You know he has to manage the batteries as well.

Re:Latest news: Batteries not the problem in 787 (2)

vlm (69642) | about a year ago | (#42726331)

I'm pretty sure he wants to sell the whole package.

I wonder if boeing buys from aircraft spruce and specialty like everyone else? And yes aircraftspruce.com does sell different chemistries for aviation lithium systems. Probably due to quantity Boeing goes direct to mfgr.

They'd be infinitely more likely to go with a COTS LiFe system than jury rig somebodies Li-Ion car or rocket battery into place.

Lithium ION can be made to blow up and you can only put those on a plane if is a LSA, ultralight, experimental... or maybe Boeing. Can anyone confirm the actually battery chemistry? There's about a zillion different Li chemistries all with different issues. Lithium IRON phosphate is FAA / DOT / whatever approved and theoretically electrochemically impossible to blow up, and only a bit heavier. If Boeing actually managed to set a LiFe battery on fire thats gotta be the first deployed LiFe fire I've ever heard of, they're supposed to be heavy but indestructible. I know several general aviation planes have LiFe batteries having seen them with my own eyes. I don't know what the A+P mechanics had to do, I'm told modern Rotax charging systems are drop in compatible, donno about random 40 year old electrical charging systems for example. Worst case, new alternator maybe?

I'm not a pilot or A+P but I wanted to be one once, and I've got lots of pilot friends, so this is all hearsay, but at least semi-informed hearsay. There are lots of LiFe GA planes flying around and lots of Li-Ion LSA/ultralights flying around.

Re:Latest news: Batteries not the problem in 787 (4, Interesting)

slew (2918) | about a year ago | (#42726795)

The lithium battery is supplied from the Japanese company GS Yuasa. This company was chosen by Thales (the 787 subcontractor chosen by Boeing for the Electrical Power Conversion System). FWIW, this has been in the news lately as the stock of this company rose shortly after it was announced that the battery wasn't likely defective.

You can read all about it on their website [gsyuasa-lp.com]...

I'm an EE, but not a battery expert, but a quick glance indicates this is a fairly vanilla Lithium Cobalt Oxide Cathode technology which is the most common (probably similar to the chemistry used in your laptop or cell phone battery). Also, by all accounts these folks seem to be a competent battery supplier (they've apparently flown batteries in satellites and got a contract for the international space station).

Re:Latest news: Batteries not the problem in 787 (1)

fnj (64210) | about a year ago | (#42727965)

Can anyone confirm the actually battery chemistry?

It's lithium cobalt oxide [americanmanganeseinc.com], absolutely the most inherently dangerous there is. Not lithium manganese oxide, or LiFePO4, which would make FAR more sense. And the individual cells are not 18650s or 26650s. They are GIGANTIC [ntsb.gov] 6 pound prismatics of 75 Ah each!

Re:Latest news: Batteries not the problem in 787 (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | about a year ago | (#42729515)

Apparently the LiFePO4 wasn't an option when they were certifying the plane. Hopefully they will switch to a more stable chemistry as a performance improvement, but one of the batteries needs to start the Auxiliary Power Unit, so it has a pretty high inrush current.

Re:Latest news: Batteries not the problem in 787 (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#42726789)

How long does it take to charge a Tesla?

Re:Latest news: Batteries not the problem in 787 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42726879)

How long does it take to charge a Tesla?

30 minutes, at a supercharger station.

Re:Latest news: Batteries not the problem in 787 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42726099)

This was found two days after the offer you chucklefuck.

Re:Latest news: Batteries not the problem in 787 (1)

dawich (945673) | about a year ago | (#42726141)

>

Here's one article, but the internet is full of it.

I see what you did there.

Re:Latest news: Batteries not the problem in 787 (1)

CKW (409971) | about a year ago | (#42726849)

Any battery system that is so ... intolerant of it's environment that any small falt in inputs can cause it to kill 400 people ... not worth it.

Fires on aircraft are immediate life or death. A burning half ton Lithium battery is more like thermite. Doesn't need oxygen.

I'm dead serious when I say this, I have an advanced hard core science degree and a I think I have damn good jugement. I know there's not much information ... but ... pardon my euphamism ... my jimmies are rustling and if they leave Li batteries in the dreamliner, I will refuse to fly a given flight if it's using a dreamliner. Not until 5 years have passed with zero battery fires.

Re:Latest news: Batteries not the problem in 787 (1)

fnj (64210) | about a year ago | (#42728047)

Pretty much agree with everything, but, um, half TON??? The 787 battery weighs 63 pounds [ntsb.gov].

Look at the size of those bus bars interconnecting the gigantic prismatic 75 Ah cells, though. It sure seems they are pulling BIG amps out of it.

Re:Latest news: Batteries not the problem in 787 (1)

garyebickford (222422) | about a year ago | (#42728397)

I think that's just one battery, and that there are several of them on the plane - I don't know how many.

Re:Latest news: Batteries not the problem in 787 (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42727703)

The problem is not with the batteries, the electrical system, or monitoring. It was revealed over a week ago that the problem was with protons mysteriously shrinking by over 4% causing an under-current that tripped the recharge circuits resulting in an over-current that sounded like whoosh.

Thanks, but... (4, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year ago | (#42725697)

As noted the issue was not the batteries, which have passed muster after inspection by the FAA and the NTSB - the focus now is on the charging systems and monitoring systems, as well as the related failure of the containment system.

SpaceX may have a fantastic battery, but they still need to use a charging system designed for charging from a power source that is fairly unreliable in consistency (the four generators on the 787s engines, and the generator on the APU), a power source that is reliable but completely different in power characteristics (ground power), and be FAA certified. Not to mention that it needs to be charged and discharged on a much regular basis than that of a battery used on a booster.

I rather think SpaceX's solution to the charging system is not compatible with that required by regular service usage of the Boeing 787.

Re:Thanks, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42725775)

But.. The Tesla Roadster charges and discharges the same amount, if not more.

In your argument, some of these things are not like the others, some of these things are just not the same.

Re:Thanks, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42726127)

Well then, why don't you tell your insight into the matter to Elon Musk, who has successfully build flawlessly operating battery systems for high performance and extreme conditions for year.

Or maybe you're taking the 'selling a battery' too literal and now realize that Elon's companies would be extremely capable of designing a top notch custom battery system for boeing that outperforms and is much more reliable than what they have now.

Re:Thanks, but... (2)

rabtech (223758) | about a year ago | (#42726589)

As noted the issue was not the batteries, which have passed muster after inspection by the FAA and the NTSB - the focus now is on the charging systems and monitoring systems, as well as the related failure of the containment system.

Here's the thing... These batteries should have on-board controllers, with temperature and physical deformation sensors on each cell.

Any sort of over-voltage, current over-draw, overheating, or cell bulging should trigger a temporary disconnect.

It should be literally impossible to damage the battery, no matter what the airplane systems attempt to do to it. That is obviously not the case if they are relying on circuits external to the battery for safety.

Re:Thanks, but... (2)

robot256 (1635039) | about a year ago | (#42727047)

Umm, what? The batteries DO have "on-board" controllers--how much more on-board can you get than putting them in the same box? It's not like you can fuse protection circuits into the lithium cells themselves, and a properly designed BMS supporting multiple cells is no different than strapping individual BMS's on each cell, and likely weighs less. It *should* be impossible to damage the battery, but it obviously *wasn't*, so now they have to take apart the box to see which part failed.

Re:Thanks, but... (1)

fnj (64210) | about a year ago | (#42728169)

Well, actually you CAN incorporate "protection circuits into the lithium cells themselves". 18650 cells very typically have such self-resetting protection circuits inside of them to prevent Bad Things Happening as a result of a short circuit applied to the cell. Not all of them have this, but plenty of them do. These are known as "protected" cells.

Not sure if it would be practical to have such circuits inside those gigantic 75 Ah prismatics [ntsb.gov]. Those big ass interconnect bus bars you see in there indicate they are pulling really heavy amps out.

Publicity (5, Insightful)

Sepultura (150245) | about a year ago | (#42725717)

The batteries have already been ruled out as the cause of the problems. It's most likely in the charging or temp monitoring systems.

This is just Elon Musk being a bit of an asshole and drumming up publicity.

PR is PR.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42725911)

He is no more of an asshole than any company sponsoring cancer research with its pink ribbons...or any charitable cause. It's both a tax write-off and an image bump.

I guess everybody is an asshole.

Re:PR is PR.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42726153)

I know I am. Asshole party at my house later.

Re:Publicity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42726217)

You don't think that SpaceX or Tesla knows a thing or two about charging or temp monitoring? And battery problems hurt his image, even if it is a different company. Or is this the Libertarian idea that if you can't do it yourself, your competitors that played it safe and are using more fuel should destroy your airplane business? No help from anyone BS.

It is the chemistry anyways. LiFePO4 would have worked better with less catastrophic events. I'm not sure why any of the big companies use them.

And when being a Good Samaritan and getting some good PR for helping is equal to being an A-hole, the world has failed.

Re:Publicity (4, Insightful)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about a year ago | (#42726545)

The batteries have already been ruled out as the cause of the problems. It's most likely in the charging or temp monitoring systems.

This is just Elon Musk being a bit of an asshole and drumming up publicity.

No, he made the offer before it was publicized that the problem wasn't batteries. We've been the victim of Slashdot being slow and posting things in the wrong order. Maybe he is an assole (don't know) and I'm sure he wanted publicity out of it. However, I don't see anything wrong with his offering to help.

It isn't a battery issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42725725)

Investigators have already decided the batteries are not the heart of the problem (no defects found). Instead it is the electronics/software around the batteries that appear to not be working quite right (it would seem). So, is Musk offering a complete control system as well as the SpaceX battery technology? And even if his alternative is workable, how long will it take to certify them for flight?

Re:It isn't a battery issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42727221)

is Musk offering a complete control system

I would think so. Power management systems are likely more key to sucessful operation of Tesla Motors vehicles than the batteries themselves are. The guy has access to people that know their stuff when it comes to electrical engineering. They wont dick around and cut corners.

If his alternative is workable, how long will it take to certify them for flight?

It would still likely take some time, knowing the bureucracy of the FAA. However Musk has the kind of money necessary to push this kind of thing through, provided he knows there will be a long term gain after paying for the up-front costs. Space-X may be a competitor with Boeing on some fronts, but a smart businessman would see no point in burning any bridges if a competitor can be a customer as well. Also there may be more future opportunities if both companies can find a way to work as allies. I think that would answer why he was quick to come up with this proposal.

Union won't let that happen... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42725765)

Elon Musk is an entrepreneur, a union workers worst nightmare. Hell no they won't take his offer no matter what the cost.

Re:Union won't let that happen... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42725851)

Ah yes, blaming the unions.

Maybe next you'll blame the unions for the next time some entrepreneur crashes and burns in a paroxysm of arrogance-fueled bankruptcy.

Or better yet, you'll blame the unions for how you keep getting fat while eating cheeseburgers.

Tesla Motors to offer his help and technology (2)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about a year ago | (#42725769)

It would be interesting to know why Boeing didn't choose Tesla in the first place, and selected a Japanese company instead. Maybe because of a "you take our batteries, we buy your planes" deal?

Re:Tesla Motors to offer his help and technology (3, Interesting)

chaim79 (898507) | about a year ago | (#42726231)

Maybe because of a "you take our batteries, we buy your planes" deal?

More likely then you might think. I work in the aviation industry and crap like that is what you have to deal with once you become an international organization. We (the engineers) just learned recently that India has put in place regulations that if you want to sell planes in that market (which is a huge market) you have to use India-based work for a minimum of 20% of the development/manufacturing effort spread across all parts of the project. Which is why we now have an India-based office who gets to play in all sorts of projects... and which we have to cleanup after in all sorts of projects.

Re:Tesla Motors to offer his help and technology (1)

mbone (558574) | about a year ago | (#42726395)

It would be interesting to know why Boeing didn't choose Tesla in the first place, and selected a Japanese company instead. Maybe because of a "you take our batteries, we buy your planes" deal?

Maybe because Tesla does not make the batteries that they use? Why not buy from, you know, the actual vendor?

Never waste a crisis. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42725891)

Never waste a crisis.

At least it wasn't Fisker (4, Funny)

Radak (126696) | about a year ago | (#42725937)

At least it was Tesla/SpaceX making the offer, and not Fisker [jalopnik.com].

Re:At least it wasn't Fisker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42726681)

Tesla had a recall themselves.

And if you want to test some Roadsters, or a SpaceX rocket after being flooded in a storm surge, feel free to do so.

Publicity stunt (4, Insightful)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | about a year ago | (#42725967)

Elon knows very well that you can't simply swap out batteries on a passenger jet. The entire system is subject to rigorous (and expensive) certification that would be tossed out the window if you simply started swapping parts. That's to say nothing of the supplier issues.

In any case yesterday I believe Japanese investigators announced that no fault whatsoever was found with the battery, and instead they were looking into the electronics.

This is just a stunt to bolster is company's profile.

Re:Publicity stunt (1)

berashith (222128) | about a year ago | (#42726151)

Will things move faster if a modification is put in place that is provided by Boeing than a modification that is put in place by Boeing that is supplied from a third party. It seems that some parts are going to have to be re-worked, and the scope of the replacement will determine the re-certification more than the source of the mods. We can also call into question the rigor of the original certification process at this point.

Re:Publicity stunt (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | about a year ago | (#42727171)

fukishima was less than two years ago, have you learned anything about trusting Japanese "investigators"? they would have reported no problems if every battery they tested blew up.

Re:Publicity stunt (1)

garyebickford (222422) | about a year ago | (#42728457)

In any case yesterday I believe Japanese investigators announced that no fault whatsoever was found with the battery, and instead they were looking into the electronics.

I would take this with a grain of salt. Japanese investigators have been found to whitewash problems in other situations - Fukushima, for example. The culture is apparently so attuned to avoiding loss of face that it's hard to actually criticize one's own, in this case the maker of the batteries. IMHO the conclusion that the batteries were not at fault was remarkably quick.

Re:Publicity stunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42729775)

And I do think you are part of Boeing Damage Control and Counter-Propaganda. Outsourced to Sri Lanka, of course.

SpaceX? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42726011)

I should think that the failure rate of spacecraft would not be acceptable for passenger flight. It would translate one catastrophe every dozen years into several dozen per day.

Space craft parts not good enough for FAA (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year ago | (#42726075)

The quality and reliability specs for FAA far exceeds space craft specs. For FAA passenger safety is the highest factor. For space craft weight is the highest factor. Spacecraft necessarily trade off safety for weight. At least NASA does not have as much cost constraints as private spacecraft consortia. So it would spend what it takes to get high safety at low weight. It would not go about jury-rigging automobile batteries, which themselves were jury-rigged laptop batteries into space craft. To me it looks like a blatant publicity ploy by the SapceX consortium.

Re:Space craft parts not good enough for FAA (1)

garyebickford (222422) | about a year ago | (#42728603)

IANA A+P mechanic, but I think the differences are not that simple. Space-qualified equipment has to handle much higher acceleration and shock and IIRC wider temperature range and atmospheric environment. FAA may require more paperwork, and probably a longer testing regime? But aside from the weight, especially since the various Shuttle problems, I suspect NASA requirements have become much stricter, even taking into account the weight considerations. Weight is a factor in aviation as well, although not as much as space. But I dunno, really.

SpaceX batteries are used in the Dragon, which is now man-rated, which means it has to pass NASA standards and inspections.

Having said all that, I am befuddled as to why Boeing would go for Lithium Cobalt instead of LiFePh. LiCo is always one glitch short of catching fire, and requires lots of control systems to keep it from doing so. LiFePh is heavier and larger, and takes longer to charge, but that's a reasonable price for the difference in safety. Interestingly, the weight consideration goes against your argument - weight is a factor in aviation as well as in space.

Funny...that was my first thought... (1, Insightful)

PortHaven (242123) | about a year ago | (#42726093)

When I first heard of the battery/charging issues. I thought they should contact Tesla Motors and GM's Volt team. Between the three companies they'd work it out.

Re:Funny...that was my first thought... (1)

Bigby (659157) | about a year ago | (#42727503)

On the same logic, maybe they should contact Duracell and Energizer.

Re:Funny...that was my first thought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42728219)

Moron.

Knock off the hate-fest pls (5, Insightful)

mattr (78516) | about a year ago | (#42726121)

Elon Musk's actual tweet: "Desire to help Boeing is real & am corresponding w 787 chief engineer. Junod's Esquire article had high fiction content." 3 days ago

All the rest about whoring, nothing if not a PR wiz, it's the wiring and control not the batteries, etc. is all a huge raft of solid bullshit, thanks Slashdot I don't get enough in my day job!!

Look, IANAEE but temperature and voltage control is apparently an integral part of these batteries. Even if the circuit is a 100m away and not inside the battery pack itself, or You can't just say it is the battery he's whoring, etc. Elon Musk has a huge amount of practical experience with this technology and nothing bad can come from offering to talk over their problems with Boeing, as he is doing. Nothing bad except of course, all this crazy dipshit hater stuff, starting apparently with an Esquire article and continuing into slashdot. Probably he could give them an idea of what to look for, or offer an alternate circuit design that is already FAA approved, etc. You'd have to be an idiot to turn down an offer to at least talk. Honestly it is amazing how the crap-fest volume approaches infinity immediately after a rare tweet from Mr. Musk. Who is a guy who actually accomplishes things.

Primadonna attitudes (1)

goodmanj (234846) | about a year ago | (#42726203)

Offering help as a way of dissing your competitor? Kinda tacky, Elon. Reminds me of the old joke:

"How many sopranos does it take to change a light bulb?"
"Two. One to climb the ladder, and the other to say 'if that's too high for you, honey, I'll get it.'"

Something stinks about this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42726291)

It must be Musk.

What a load... (1)

mbone (558574) | about a year ago | (#42726293)

SpaceX may have battery technology that Boeing could use, but this sounds like a sales job to me, and that's being polite. It did get Elon Musk in the news, which I suspect was the real purpose here.

Note that altitude has nothing to do with the battery problems.

The Tesla batteries are individually small units - basically, repurposed laptop batteries stacked together. Tesla does not make them. And, they have been known to have problems, which Tesla has had to engineer around. Putting them in a 787 almost certainly would require serious airframe reengineering, not to mention serious testing. The SpaceX Dragon batteries have to work over a short period, for about 45 minutes at a stretch. That is a rather different part of parameter space from the batteries in the 787, which have to work for repeated flights, I am sure for at least months at a time. And, of course, it's not just that the batteries have to work, it's that they have to provide sufficient power and fit in the allotted space. Not to mention that I doubt Tesla actually makes them either.

Tesla / SpaceX may well have relevant technology and expertise, and I could see them putting in a tender to get Boeing's business. I can't see them swooping in as saviors.

Re:What a load... (2)

SydShamino (547793) | about a year ago | (#42726515)

So... you say Tesla doesn't make batteries, but has experience "engineering around" known battery problems.

Meanwhile, Boeing has determined that it's not the batteries that are their problem, but the bits of engineering around them. And Musk is offering their whole technology package to Boeing, not just the battery cells alone.

What's so loadful about that?

Re:What a load... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42729131)

Tesla spent years working on Lithium Ion batteries, were the first ones to beat the thermal runaway problem when it was still a laptop battery issue and has an in house battery lab for testing these things. Their battery supplier invested in Tesla because they were learning so much from what Tesla was breaking and rejecting from them and why. Musk was very involved with the battery issues on the early roadsters and the technical teams between SpaceX and Tesla should be very knowledgeable.

Clearly GP probably thinks NASA was just whoring for the free press when they helped Toyota with their software code review. Sometimes you need somebody who has experience with the technology at a high level, and with Lithium Ion batteries, Laptop and Cell Phone companies won't have any practical advice about what happens at that battery size and with the energies involved.

Proxy from work hates /. so I am not bothering to login.

Tekfactory.

Re:What a load... (1)

FrankieBaby1986 (1035596) | about a year ago | (#42727685)

The Tesla batteries are individually small units - basically, repurposed laptop batteries stacked together. Tesla does not make them. And, they have been known to have problems, which Tesla has had to engineer around.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battery_(electricity) [wikipedia.org]

"In electricity, a battery is a device consisting of one or more electrochemical cells that convert stored chemical energy into electrical energy."

Sounds like connecting a bunch of cells they don't actually manufacture into a battery, and basically successfully dealing with the side effects, management, and other issues involved in stringing together a battery of cells. How are they not qualified to make batteries?

Re:What a load... (1)

mbone (558574) | about a year ago | (#42728141)

If you want to argue nomenclature, go head but count me out - if you have portable radio and put in 3 AAA batteries, would you say that you installed 3 batteries or 1 battery with 3 cells ? I would say 3 batteries. If you want to call them 1 kumquat with 3 aardvarks, or whatever, feel free.Note that the Tesla aardvarks occasionally explode, and one of their technological innovations was stacking them so that the entire kumquat doesn't go up when they do. I don't see this as that relevant to Boeing's issues, as they have a monolithic battery.

Re:What a load... (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year ago | (#42728421)

Three batteries. However, if you have a cordless phone that has three cells soldered together and wrapped in shrink plastic, and you unplug the lead and plug in a new one that you bought at Wal-Mart, you replaced a battery even though you replaced three cells.

A battery (or, often, battery pack) is a unit of end-user (or at least maintenance technician) connection. It can contain one cell (e.g. a AA battery) or multiple cells (e.g. a laptop battery). What makes it a battery is that an average person can replace it as a unit without the need to solder wires or spot weld straps onto a cell.

Re:What a load... (1)

garyebickford (222422) | about a year ago | (#42728629)

Open up your laptop battery. What you'll find is probably a bunch of AA cells wired together with a controller.

Re:What a load... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42729437)

Laptop batteries typically use 18650 Li-ion cells, not AA cells.

Tesla cars had fire issues too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42726875)

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/07/tesla_roadster_recall/

It's a joke (1)

Bomazi (1875554) | about a year ago | (#42726973)

Rockets and spacecrafts are considered experimental vehicles by the standard of the aerospace industry. They have nowhere near the reliability of airliners, if only because the number of flights and hours of flight required to certify an airliner dwarf what any family of spacecraft experiences during its entire operational lifetime.

Besides, SpaceX has sill not begun regular commercial operation. Their ability to maintain a schedule and attain their cost and reliability objectives is totally unproven at this point. I'm not even sure it will be around in 10 years.

All this boasting about Mars or how they will make Boeing or Arianespace obsolete is a little premature.

Re:It's a joke (1)

LVSlushdat (854194) | about a year ago | (#42727485)

Besides, SpaceX has sill not begun regular commercial operation.

Umm.. you are incorrect, sir.. The last SpaceX launch was the first of the NASA contracted supply missions to ISS.. They most certainly HAVE begun commercial operation.. The first mission to ISS was a combination mission which was originally intended to be a simple fly-by, with a second grapple/dock mission. It was decided to combine the two.

Yeah, Mr $hill/Apologist (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42729717)

Elon Musk is a great American entrepreneur who Gets Things Done. Without burning through dozens of billions and then releasing some half-baked MBA-monstrosity.

Mr Musks E-cars have to deliver at least as much energy and max power as Boeing ever needs in the 787 to start APUs and keep the cabin lighted when switching over from APU to ground power. I am not privy to Mr Musk's companie's internals, but I suspect he does not value politicial correct bullshit MBA's like every large corporation such as Boeing does. In other words, he is not a politico, but a Guy Who Get's Things Done Right.

Plus he is a salesman. A true American hero, I would say. I am German and I work for a super-corpo here. I know bullshit politics and how costly it is first-hand. My hands as an engineer are tied by corporate red-tape and coward managers. I read war stories of R&D managers being fired for the sloppy work that resulted from top management pressure to "ship quickly no matter what" ( an advanc ed Diesel engine which crapped out at 100000km because the management crappers would not allow for proper testing).

Fix to subject (1)

AdamWill (604569) | about a year ago | (#42728685)

subject should read: "Elon Musk Offers Boeing SpaceX Batteries For the Free Publicity"

Yeah $hill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42729609)

It is always very funny how the Super-Porker Boeing has killed it's ability to properly engineer anything advanced, but have developed a serious Propaganda capability. YOU are just one of their pawns.

BOEING vs AIRBUS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42729617)

For the most part I don't give a shit about sports, but in aero-tech I support AIRBUS. So when I see BOEING taking a bath, I fucking love it. Sport for nerds.

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