Last year, lithium-ion batteries hit the news when Samsung recalled some portable devices after battery flaws caused fires. Now lithium batteries are making news in the window coverings industry. A Draper competitor recently recalled lithium batteries used in their battery-operated shades.

There is still some dispute about the actual root of the problem that led to this recall, and whether or not the batteries were to blame for safety issues. Whatever problem is eventually identified, however, we want to reassure our customers that this in no way impacts our own battery-powered shades. We have experienced no issues with the batteries used in our products, and we’re confident in the continued safety and reliability of the batteries and motors we use.

Draper manufactures battery shades that use lithium and lithium-ion batteries. Lithium batteries are a primary cell and lithium-ion batteries are secondary cells. Primary cell refers to cells that must be discarded after one use. Secondary cell refers to a battery’s ability to be recharged.

Our recently-introduced FlexShade® Recharge uses lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are tested to comply with:

  • UL 1642 (Lithium Batteries)
  • IEC 62133 – Battery Safety Testing
  • UL2054 (Household and Commercial Batteries)
  • UN 38.3 (Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods)

In addition, FlexShade Recharge batteries are tested to cover all aspects of safety, including:

  • Thermal testing—temperature extremes
  • Vibration and shock testing
  • Short circuit
  • Impact/crush
  • Overcharge
  • Forced discharge
  • Altitude simulation—for aircraft cargo

Additionally, Recharge motor assemblies utilize an integrated charge management circuit that protects against over- or under-charging. This circuit also enables individual cell balancing, which ensures the longevity and integrity of the entire battery pack.

Our other battery shade, the Battery-Powered FlexShade, uses Somfy’s WireFree motor. This product is powered by Energizer® Lithium batteries #L91. Safety features of these batteries, according to Energizer, include:

  • Temperature and pressure activated ball vent mechanism.
  • Temperature responsive PTC acts as a resettable fuse.
  • Thermally responsive separator shuts down to limit temperature build-up.
  • All-foil current collector resists shorting during physical abuse.
  • Cathode particle size control prevents separator damage.
  • More than twenty in-line inspections of every battery.
  • Passes all industry standard tests for abuse and common misuse.
  • Used by NASA and military agencies around the world.

In addition, the battery wands come with internal safety protection. The Polymeric Positive Temperature Coefficient (PPTC) device ensures protection for all batteries (even for ones that are not self-protected by a PTC). If someone attempts to recharge Lithium and Alkaline batteries in the wand, the charger will stop, eliminating any fire risk.

If you purchase a Draper Battery-Powered FlexShade with a reloadable battery wand, use Energizer® Lithium batteries #L91. In addition, make sure the batteries are installed according to the instructions on the battery wand: All the batteries must be facing in the same direction, as indicated on the battery wand. If two or more batteries are facing the wrong way, the product will not work. If one battery is facing the wrong way, the motor will operate but that battery will overheat and stop working. In lab testing, it was determined that this does not create a fire risk.

Draper prides itself on the quality and safety of our products. In addition to the above-mentioned testing and safety steps for the batteries themselves, each battery-operated shade product is tested before leaving our facility. Because of that, you can rest assured of long and safe service from your FlexShade Recharge and Battery-Powered FlexShade!

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