LiPo Battery Charging | How To Charge Guide
LiPo, Li-poly, lithium-poly and others are all abbreviations for lithium-ion polymer battery. This is a rechargeable battery of lithium-ion technology which uses polymer electrolyte instead of a liquid electrolyte.
You will find these batteries being most commonly used in RC aircraft and Mobile devices where the weight of the battery is a major concern as these batteries provide higher specific energy than other lithium battery types while also weighing less.
More about LiPo
LiPo batteries are made up of one or more cells that are joined together in a line. Each cell has a voltage range of 3.7 as its base voltage which goes up-to 4.2 when completely charged. Each battery has a milliamp-hour capacity (mAh is the capacity of the battery and how much current it holds) and a C rating which an indicator of how much current it is capable of delivering.
When all the cells are hooked up, the voltage will compound. Taking an example, a 3 cell battery is 3.7 x 3 or 11.1 volts. However, even in the case of 11.1 volts, each individual cell must be at the same 3.7 volts (full charged, they should be 4.2 volts per cell). When they are all the same volts, that battery is a balanced one.
How to charge a LiPo battery
Lithium Polymer cells have made massive advancements in the battery industry. However, the way these batteries are made, due to their chemistry, charging them can be a bit of a task. Whilst charging them, there is a possibility of it catching fire and as we mentioned, it is unavoidable due to how its made. With that said, there is nothing to worry about.
There are a lot of dangerous items in our household that we use. All you must do is adhere to some instructions and safety measures and you should be good. Whilst LiPo battery charging, keep in mind the following:
More often than not, people take the “macho” route and ignore these instructions. Do not be that person. You do not want to harm yourself or another due to ignorance or “being cool”.
LiPo battery charging tips
First things first, get yourself a best LiPo charger. I suggest getting a good charger, you do not want to cheap out here. A good charger which is computerised will offer you multiple modes of charging like Charge, Fast Charge, and Balance Charge. Also, before charging, make sure that your charger is designed for LiPo cells and do not charge over 4.2V per cell, over-discharge under 3V per cell.
Fast charging, though is a viable option, it is known the shorten the lifespan of your battery so avoid it if you can. I suggest charging at a balance by choosing the balance charge option.
Once you have done that, choose how many amps you want to charge at and the cell count of the battery. The charger will warn if you try to charge mismatched cells and it is always suggested to count them yourself as if your charger does start charging, it is not going to be fun what follows.
You want to, ideally, charge your batteries at the mAh rating of the said battery or 1C. If your battery supports fast charging, it can charge at 2C, but that reduces the life of the battery and I would recommend avoiding it.
In case you wish to many packs quickly and together, you can just parallel charge them. Adjust the settings correctly, you are going to have the main power lead plugged into the charger via banana plugs and you will then have to also connect the balance leads to the corresponding charger. After this is done, press and hold the start button and the charging should start.
Make sure you keep a keen eye on the batteries. If you notice them getting hot and puffing up, disconnect the charger immediately, stop charging and run out to a fireproof place or outside your home if there is none inside.
Like most pieces of technology, LiPo batteries have their advantages and disadvantages. If used wisely, they are great. However, if you do not take the necessary precautions while LiPo battery charging, it can really end up messing something up.
In conclusion, there is not much to fear. These batteries get a bad rep. because their chemistry is such that they are flammable, but if you follow the steps and take all the necessary safety measure, you should be just fine.