Lipo (lithium polymer) batteries combine a high discharge rate along with a high energy-storage-to-weight ratio. The combination leads to an ability to provide a greater flow of energy over a longer period of time for its weight than most other battery types. Because of this, lipo batteries are the battery of choice for remote control modelers looking to power their vehicles with an eye towards speed and stamina. The high efficiency of lipo batteries comes at the price of high maintenance. Lipo batteries are relatively fragile. If handled improperly they damage quickly. Damages can range from minor, such as no longer holding a high charge level, to serious damage such as possibly catching on fire if not charged correctly. With proper maintenance, you can enjoy full use from lipo batteries, benefiting from a high level of battery technology.
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Things you need
- Lithium battery charger
- Pyrex dish
- Fire extinguisher
- Lipo tap voltage meter
- Lithium polymer battery pack
- Flashlight bulb
- Insulated wires
- Wire stripper
Count the individual cells in your battery pack. Each separate battery in a pack counts as a single cell.
Set the lithium battery charger to the same voltage as your battery pack. The pack voltage is clearly marked on the battery pack label. Set the battery charger for the number of cells in the pack as well to prevent under- or overcharging.
Set the charger in the centre of a fire-safe surface. Line a pyrex dish with a layer of sand 1/4 inch thick. The surface is a precaution should the charging process go spectacularly wrong and flames erupt from your battery pack. This is a small chance, but a fire extinguisher should be within reach during the charging.
Attach the lipo tap voltage meter to the taps for each cell, placing the positive connector on the positive tap at the head of the cell and the negative connector on the negative tap. Check the voltage on each of the cells using the voltage meter. Make sure the cells are all within 0.1 volts of one another. If not, then charge each cell individually from the taps using the battery charger set for a single cell to 4.2 volts to balance the battery pack.
Connect the leads from your battery pack to the connectors extending from the charger. Watch the cell display on your charger for the first few minutes of the charge cycle to make sure it continues to display the correct number of cells in your pack. Make any corrections to the cell count as necessary.
Charge the batteries until the indicator light on your charger shows charged batteries at full capacity. Immediately remove the charged pack from the charger.
Charge the batteries fully before storage. A full charge will begin to dissipate after six months--recharge the battery at this point. Use stored batteries every two years to maintain them at peak efficiency.
Tips and warnings
- Charge your batteries in a well-ventilated area in case of cell failure, as the fumes from a split in a cell are hazardous.
- Never leave charging lipo batteries unattended in case of charging failure.
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