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Interpretation Response #12-0245 ([VBOX Inc.] [Mr. Andy Linn])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: VBOX Inc.

Individual Name: Mr. Andy Linn

Location State: MN Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

January 2, 2013

Mr. Andy Linn
VBOX Inc.
2340 East Co Rd J
White Bear Lake, MN 55110

Ref. No.: 12-0245

Dear Mr. Linn:

This responds to your October 24, 2012 email regarding the applicability of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 100-180) to a portable oxygen concentrator (POC) your company manufactures that is known by the trade name of the Trooper Oxygen Concentrator (Trooper"). You ask whether this device is regulated as a hazardous material under the HMR.

You state the Trooper" is a device that separates oxygen from ambient air through a process called Vacuum Swing Absorption (VSA). The maximum operating pressure of the oxygen exerted within the device is less than 5 psig at 20°C (68°F).  The device can be powered using AC or DC electricity.  It is equipped with an AC power cord and a battery pack consisting of six 3.1 amp hour (Ah) lithium-ion cells equating to an equivalent lithium content of 0.93 grams per cell and 5.58 grams aggregate equivalent lithium content (66.96 watt hour (Wh)). The lithium ion cells and battery pack have been tested pursuant to Sub-section 38.3 of the United Nations Manual of Tests and Criteria.  When offered for transportation the Trooper" battery pack will be packaged in a manner to prevent short circuits and, when transported by aircraft passengers or crewmembers, the Trooper" will be carried onboard rather than checked.

Based on the information provided in your letter, the Trooper" POC is not subject to the HMR as a 2.2 non-flammable gas.  The lithium-ion battery pack used to operate the device appears to conform to § 172.102(c)(1), Special Provision 188 for the transportation of small lithium cells and batteries and the POC contains no other hazardous materials.  Therefore, the Trooper" POC is not subject to any other requirements in the HMR.

Please note that notwithstanding the passenger exception in § 175.10(a)(18) of the HMR, Special Federal Aviation Regulation 106 (SFAR 106) "Rules for Use of Portable Oxygen Concentrator Systems on Board Aircraft" apply and are under the purview of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), not PHMSA.  This response letter satisfies only one requirement in the FAA approval process before a POC may be operated onboard an aircraft.  You may contact Ms. DK Deaderick in FAA's Flight Standards Service at (202) 267-7480 for questions regarding FAA's approval process.

I hope this information is helpful.  If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact this office.

Sincerely,

Robert Benedict
Chief, Standards Development Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

172.102 SP 188, 175.10

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.185 Lithium cells and batteries
175.10 Exceptions for passengers, crewmembers, and air operators