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This photo, released by the Japan Transport Safety Board Friday, shows the damaged main battery of the All Nippon Airways plane that made an emergency landing in Takamatsu on Wednesday. / AFP/Getty Images

Federal investigators announced Sunday that the battery that caught fire in a Boeing 787 Dreamliner earlier this month in Boston didn't get more power than it was supposed to, but they are continuing to inspect the battery, its wiring and other components to determine what went wrong.

The National Transportation Safety Board says that the lithium-ion battery aboard the Japan Airlines flight never exceeded its design voltage of 32 volts during its flight Jan. 7. The battery provides auxiliary power for the innovative plane that uses more battery power than typical jetliners.

Concerns about the batteries grounded all 50 Dreamliners worldwide on Jan. 16. Boeing is working with the NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration to determine the root of the problem and get the plane back in the air.

So far investigators have X-rayed and done a CT scan on the battery. They also have divided the battery into its eight cells, and three of the cells were selected for closer examination.

Investigators plan more tests on the battery's charger Tuesday at the Tucson, Ariz.., headquarters of manufacturer Securaplane Technologies Inc. Investigators have developed test plans for components of the aircraft that work with the batteries, and they removed wire bundles and battery-management circuit board.

"Potentially there could be some other charging issue," says Kelly Nantel, an NTSB spokeswoman. "We're not prepared to say there was no charging issue."

John Goglia, a former NTSB board member and aviation safety expert, says it's possible a charging problem caused the battery failure in Boston and on an All Nippon Airways flight that made an emergency landing in Japan on Jan. 16.

"The battery is like a big sponge," Goglia says. "You can feed it with an eye dropper or you can feed it with a garden hose. If allowed, it will soak up everything it can from the garden hose until it destroys itself."

The two Japanese airlines grounded 24 Dreamliners on Jan. 16 because of the battery problems. Later that day, the Federal Aviation Administration then grounded the six Dreamliners of United Airlines, and other countries around the world stopped flying their planes, too.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Friday the batteries seem to be the main problem, and that the plane won't fly again until regulators can be certain they are safe.

"Those planes aren't flying now until we have a chance to examine the batteries," LaHood said outside a U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting. "That seems to be where the problem is."

He said he couldn't say how long the review might last or when Dreamliners would fly again.

"Those planes aren't going to fly until we are 1,000% sure that they are safe to fly," LaHood said. "We just have to be patient here. What the American people want is to fly on planes that are safe, and that's what we're going to assure them of."

Contributing: The Associated Press.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Safety investigators examine Dreamliner battery

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