Certification Requirements for Shipping Lithium Batteries

After a recent prototype build, we received our systems - but they were shipped without our batteries included! When your product is a portable, this can be a showstopper.

In order to ship lithium batteries by air, you must submit your battery design for UN38.3 certification to ensure design safety.

Normally your battery vendor will apply for UN38.3 certification once they are able to produce battery samples. If your battery design changes (appearance, voltage, capacity, model), you are obligated to re-certify your battery. Many teams wait until battery design is locked down before applying for this certification.

The certification facility must put your battery through a pre-test round of 50 charge-discharge cycles. Depending on your product, this pre-test cycling can range from 1-4 weeks. Then, the vendor will submit your battery to a suite of tests specified by UN83.3:

  • T1 – Altitude Simulation
  • T2 – Thermal Test
  • T3 – Vibration
  • T4 – Shock
  • T5 – External Short Circuit
  • T6 – Impact
  • T7 – Overcharge
  • T8 – Forced Discharge

Certification facilities usually request 1-16 samples. Expect this certification to take 4-8 weeks.

Further Reading