Certification Requirements for Shipping Lithium Batteries

Updated: 20190910

After a recent prototype build, we received our systems - but the CM shipped the devices without our batteries! This can be a show-stopper when your product is a battery-powered device.

We learned that we needed to submit our battery design for UN38.3 certification to ensure design safety. Without that certification, we could not ship our batteries by air.

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 must to re-certify your battery. Many teams wait until they lock down the battery design 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 will typically request 1-16 battery samples. Expect this certification to take 4-8 weeks.

Further Reading

Change Log

  • 20190910:
    • Changed header format for consistency with other posts
    • Improved wording of some sentences
  • 20190322:
    • Improved grammar
    • Added link to lithium battery general article