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21 Feb

LiPo Batteries Explained A How To Guide for Lithium Polymer Batteries

LiPo Batteries are pound for pound the longest lasting best performing batteries you can use for RC applications. LiPo batteries can often deliver twice the capacity at nearly half the weight of conventional cells. Lithium Polymer Batteries were introduced several years ago to the RC industry but many hobbyists still do not understand or use the technology. First and foremost let’s talk safety. LiPo batteries require special care and precaution compared to NiMh and NiCd batteries. LiPo cells need to be carefully monitored during the charging process and the LiPo cells should not be allowed to drop below 3.0v per cell, or charged beyond 4.2v per cell. If cell voltage varies outside this window there is a significant risk of fire. LiPo battery packs have been known to explode and cause severe personal injury and property damage, so take the precautions seriously. It is highly recommended that LiPo batteries are stored and charged in fire-proof containers. Fire proof charging “sacks” are readily available.

Problems can easily be avoided by using the correct equipment. First don’t buy the cheapest LiPo battery charger you find, spend the extra money, you won’t regret it. Also look into purchasing a good LiPo charger/balancer combo. Many LiPo batteries have safe charging circuitry integrated into the battery pack. This circuitry prevents over charging, over discharging, and in some cases helps to balance the pack out. If your pack has a “charge” connector on it, always charge through that connector.

Lithium Polymer cells are 3.7 volts each, compared to NiMh and NiCd cells typically being 1.2 volts each. Terminology for LiPo is significantly different as well. First you will notice that most LiPo packs are 2S, 3S, 4S, 5S and now even 6S. The “S” stands for series and translates to 2S = 7.4volts, 3S = 11.1volts, 4S = 14.8 volts, 5S = 18.5volts and 6S = 22.2volts. You will also see “P” which refers to parallel wired cells, cells wired in parallel do not increase voltage. The next abbreviation you need to know about is “C” and it is very important to understand. Let’s look at a 5000mah 3S 11.1V LiPo battery pack. The specs for this particular battery are 20C constant, 30C sustained and 50C burst. What this translates to is: 100 amps constant, 150 amps sustained and 250 amps burst. Basically you multiply the “C” rating by the mah, then divide by 1000.

RCSLOT has a great selection of LiPo batteries and LiPo battery chargers to choose from. Check out our selection in the RC Airplanes Batteries category and RC Car Truck Batteries Accessories category. We also have a category specifically for RC Rock Crawlers, check it out! Always feel free to contact RCSLOT if you have any questions, we will be happy to help you select the correct LiPo batteries and LiPo battery chargers for whatever application you may have.

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