LiPo Use & Handling Guidlines
All Li-Po (Lithium Polymer) batteries, require proper handling and care for safe and maximum performance.
Lithium Polymer batteries come partially charged and are significantly more volatile than the alkaline, Ni-Cd or Ni-MH batteries used in RC applications.
LiPos are sensitive to ambient temperatures and do not like being exposed to heat. The biggest factor in “mysterious” pack damage is storing packs in excessive heat. When transporting LiPos, keep them away from the heat. Do not leave them in the trunk on a hot sunny day. Keep them in a cool, dry location. Anything over 140°F can easily damage the packs.
USE A LIPO-SPECIFIC CHARGER
LiPo batteries are fundamentally unique in their charging needs, and thus require a specific kind of charger. Most LiPo chargers do charge other battery types, but not every charger is necessarily compatible with LiPos.
MONITOR THE CHARGE
Never leave a LiPo unattended while charging. Either the battery or charger could malfunction, resulting in blistering heat or combustion. Being there to unplug the charger or smolder-out a small fire is the difference between a small loss and a total catastrophe. Check the pack often. If it starts getting hot to the touch, unplug it immediately.
USE A BALANCER
Most LiPo packs contain multiple cells that work in sync. In a perfect world, all of the cells would charge and discharge equally, but unfortunately, that isn’t the case. To maintain consistent performance and durability, it is important to use a balancer when charging. Using a balancer is extremely important, regardless of brand. It performs charging diagnostics to the individual cells in real time, resulting in a more consistent charge, cell to cell. Determine which kind of balancer the pack uses, and purchase one that supports the interface.
Never attempt to overcharge a LiPo pack. Unlike NiCd batteries that like to be cooked, and NiMH batteries, which give frequent false peaks, “done” typically means “done” for a LiPo pack. Never restart a charging cycle unless you are confident that the charge ended prematurely
CHARGE IN A SAFE LOCATION
The marketplace is now full of a variety of safe charging and transport devices. They are insulated and safeguard against charging mishaps, as well as protect the cells when traveling.
Choose a safe place, away from the vehicle and other valuables to setup the charger and battery. Place the battery on top of a LiPo case or similar, and give the charger plenty of room to breathe. Charging at high amps is a powerful task, and proper placement for both the battery and the charger should be considered.
ONGOING BATTERY CARE
Always unplug the battery pack when not in use. This will help prevent accidentally over-discharging the cells, as well as preventing ESC damage and the possibility of a sudden “runaway” vehicle.
LiPos should never be left plugged in when not in use. Even though there isn’t a strong current draw, the battery does slowly discharge when plugged into the ESC with the power off. Only connect the battery when the vehicle is in use.
KEEP THEM DRY
As a general rule, water and electronics do not mix, and that usually applies to LiPo batteries. Some packs, however, are more suitable to water exposure. Always refer to the instructions before bringing moisture into the equation.
LiPo packs should never be drained to nominal voltage. Draining the battery too far causes irreversible damage. Many ESCs offer a low-voltage cutoff, with LiPos in mind. When the ESC senses that the battery voltage reaches a critically low level, it cuts offpower, preventing damage from over-discharging the cell. Other methods of monitoring voltage are on-board monitors, alarms, and telemetry systems.
STORE WITH 50-70% CHARGE
LiPo packs should be stored with a partial charge. Check the battery’s instructions and determine the recommended voltage or capacity level for storage. Most manufacturers suggest storing LiPos between 50% and 70% charge capacity and voltage.
INSPECT FOR DAMAGE
LiPo packs should be regularly inspected for damage, as a small problem can result in a meltdown over time. A telltale sign of LiPo damage is swollen or puffed-up cells. This indicates irreversible damage and a potentially hazardous situation.
DISPOSE OF RUINED PACKS PROPERLY
If any puffing or ballooning is evident, discontinue use immediately, and plan on getting rid of the pack. Although lithium isn’t necessarily toxic, it is still recommended to recycle spent packs at a designated location.
When a pack no longer holds a charge, or the cells show signs of damage, it is best to dispose of it immediately. Check the manufacturer’s instructions on proper disposal, but most recommend discharging the cells completely with a low-drain device like a light, or using the discharge function on the charger.
CHECK THE VOLTAGE MONTHLY
Use a battery monitor or simply hook up the battery to your charger, to check its voltage.
While LiPos hold their charge well in storage, they do slowly lose voltage over time. When storing packs long term, check the voltage and capacity monthly. If it dips below the recommended storage voltage, it is best to discharge the battery and add a fresh charge, or at the very least, top off the existing charge appropriately.
There are no products to list in this category.