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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #17-0080

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Transportation Development Group LLC

Individual Name: James Powell

Location State: WA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

June 15, 2018

James Powell
Transportation Development Group LLC
2023 Sims Way, Suite 372
Port Townsend, WA 98368

Reference No. 17-0080

Dear Mr. Powell:

This letter is in response to your July 27, 2017, letter requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to the transportation of lithium batteries contained in equipment. You describe several scenarios in which you ask whether a material would be classified as "UN3481, Lithium ion batteries contained in equipment."

We have paraphrased and answered your questions as follows:

Q1. You ask if a portable Wi-Fi router with a self-contained battery would be considered a lithium battery contained in equipment.

A1. The answer is yes. The lithium battery installed in the router is for the primary purpose of providing electrical power for its operation; therefore, for the purposes of the HMR, it would be considered a lithium battery contained in equipment.

Q2. A portable GPS, lamp, radio, and strobe-light are installed in the same metal casing and powered by a single lithium battery. You ask if this would be considered a lithium battery contained in equipment.

A2. The answer is yes. See A1.

Q3. A portable GPS, lamp, radio, and strobe-light are installed in a piece of hard-sided luggage and powered by a single lithium battery. You ask if this would be considered a lithium battery contained in equipment.

A3. The answer is yes. See A1. The battery's primary purpose is still to provide electrical power to the devices; therefore, the piece of luggage containing the battery would be considered "equipment" for the purposes of the HMR.

Q4. You ask if the piece of luggage referenced in Q3 (i.e., "smart luggage") can be considered, "UN3481, Lithium Ion batteries contained in equipment" when shipped as cargo (regardless of power level) if it meets the applicable requirements of § 173.185. Furthermore, you ask if the addition of external USB ports changes that determination.

A4. The answer is yes. See A1. The addition of external USB ports does not affect the classification of the material, provided the primary purpose of the luggage is not exclusively to provide electric power to another device.

Q5. You describe a product called a "lithium generator" which consists of multiple lithium ion cells and an AC inverter with charging capability. You ask whether this product would be considered a lithium battery contained in equipment.

A5. The answer is no. Based on your description, the product would not meet the definition of "equipment" because the primary purpose of the lithium generator is to provide electrical power to another device.

Q6. You ask if a "lithium generator" equipped with solar panels that provide power to the generator would be considered a lithium battery contained in equipment.

A6. The answer is no. See A4.

I hope this information is helpful. Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.

Sincerely,

Dirk Der Kinderen
Chief, Standards Development Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.185 Lithium cells and batteries