RC Beginner Series Lipo Battery Safety / Basics

Team Associated

 

Welcome to the RC Beginner Series Lipo Battery Safety and Basics.  In this installment of the RC Beginner Series, I’ll review the basics on the most used battery in RC: the Lipo.  When I first got into RC, Nimh (Nickel Metal Hydride) batteries were the normal, especially for ready to runs. Now with all of the advancements in Lithium batteries, the benefits outweigh the risks, especially if you know all the “rules” of using Lithium batteries.

As of 2017, the mainstream battery used in RC are Lipo (Lithium Polymer) batteries. Here’s a breakdown of positives and negatives for Nimh vs. Lipo batteries.

Nimh vs. Lipo Batteries

Nimh

Lipo

Heavier Lighter and smaller
Discharges at the highest voltage (1.2v/cell) then become less and less powerful during use Discharges at a consistent voltage until cut off
Has somewhat of a memory effect and lower cycle span Has a longer lifespan and practically no charge memory

 

Safer during charging and use More volatile during charging and use
Takes longer to charge Depending on charge rate, can charge faster
Does not need a cut off Needs a Lipo cut off built into the ESC (or an external)
Needs a less expensive charger Needs a Lithium specific balance charger, which are typically more expensive

Lipo Performance Numbers

On Lipo batteries, there are a few numbers that relate to its performance:

Mah: Milliamp hour – Basically “runtime” or how long the battery will last. The higher the number, the longer the runtime. There’s no rule on mah as the type, size, weight and terrain of your vehicle determine the true run time.

v: Voltage – Determines the amount of cells inside your battery. 1s= 3.7v, 2s=7.4v, 3s=11.1v, 4s=14.8v, 6s=22.2v You’re electronics system must be capable of running specific voltages (cells).

c: C Rating – determines the continuous discharge rate. The higher the rate, the faster the discharge. There are some myths on C ratings so purchase from reputable companies. Normally, an RTR does not need anything more than a 50c battery. Sometimes, companies will list peak discharge which is typically double the continuous.

Lipo Battery Safety

Lipo batteries can be very safe if you follow a few rules and respect the performance they give us in our hobby:

Never!

1. Never leave a charging battery unattended.

2. Never use a puffed or damaged Lipo battery.

3. Never leave a Lipo battery fully charged or discharged for more than 3 days.

4. Never charge or use a warm Lipo battery. Let it cool to room temperature.

5. Never store your Lipo batteries in a hot environment like a vehicle or garage.

6. Never store your Lipo batteries in the fridge (moisture issues).

7. Never charge above 4.2v/cell.

8. Never discharge below 3.0v/cell.

9. Never purchase used Lipo batteries.

Always!

1. Always use hardcase Lipo batteries in radio control surface vehicles.

2. Always keep Lipo batteries in a storage mode after 3 days.

3. Always use a fire safe bag to charge your Lipo batteries.

4. Always keep your Lipo batteries at room temperature.

5. Always balance charge your Lipo batteries with a proper Lipo charger.

6. Always have a Class D chemical fire extinguisher nearby when using/ charging Lipo batteries.

7. Always unplug your Lipo battery when not using them.

These simple rules will make help make your RC hobby a safe and enjoyable one. Are you new to the hobby? New to Lipo? Do you have a question about Lipo technology?  Leave a comment or question below!

Each month The RCNetwork will be featuring a new topic for those starting out in the RC hobby and lend a few tips to seasoned hobbyists.  Be sure to check out all the posts in our RC Beginner Series.

Also, check out some of these related posts: Tips for Choosing RC Batteries and Chargers and Tool Tuesday EP 30 – Hitec Lipo Checker Equalizer

Here’s other items mentioned in the video:

Reedy 324S Charger and 3300mah Lipo:  amzn.to/2mkZ50P
Reedy 324S Charger: amzn.to/2leNWK1
Team Orion Touch Duo Charger:  amzn.to/2m0HZoj
Reedy Zappers 2s Lipo:  www.teamassociated.com/parts/details/27301-ASC27301-reedy_zappers_5600mah_7_4v_100c/
Reedy 2s Shorty Pack:  www.teamassociated.com/parts/details/27306-ASC27306-reedy_zappers_4400mah_7_4v_100c_shorty/
Reedy 4s Lipo:  www.teamassociated.com/parts/details/325-ASC325-reedy_lipo_5200mah_55c_14_8v/

Each month The RCNetwork will be featuring a new topic for those starting out in the RC hobby and lend a few tips to seasoned hobbyists.  Be sure to check out all the posts in our RC Beginner Series.

RC Beginner Series Topics

Jan. –  Tools needed for your new RTR/Using your Owners Manual
Feb. – Battery Safety/Lipo rules/Battery Choices
Mar. – Ride Height Adjustment/Shock Collars
Apr. – Trims and Dual Rate on your Radio
MayClean Your RC – Compressed Air
Jun. – Changing your Pinion/Gear Mesh/What Gearing does/Heat
July – Adjusting Body Posts
Aug. – Adjusting Turnbuckles – Camber/Toe
Sept. –  Adjusting Slipper Clutch
Oct. – Inspecting Bearings/Free Driveline
Nov. – Inspecting Suspension/Free Suspension
Dec. – Shock positions

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