How to get more life out of Lipo Packs

Today we are going to talk about Lipos.  Lithium Polymer Batteries or otherwise known as Lipos, power most of our electric models (cars, airplanes, boats and even our transmitters) and for most could represent the largest investment in the hobby.

How to get more life out of your battery!  

I bet you are all wondering what can possible lengthen the life of your battery; well today I have a few tips that will help you preserve your investment in lipos.  There are a few things about Lipos that are not common knowledge to most and hopefully I can shed some light on this topic and if you have a bit of Lipo knowledge, this can help you get much more life out of your packs.

Storage 101.

The majority of the life span of the typical battery is spent in ‘Storage’.  Days, weeks, months of improper storage takes a toll on the pack and speeds up the aging process.   So what can we do to prevent premature aging of our investment in Lipos and actually get more life out of them?   We can manage the storage voltage and storage temperature.

Store Your Lipos in a Lipo Safe Bag

Store Your Lipos in a Lipo Safe Bag

Lipo Facts

Let’s go over some lipo facts so you can understand the whys and hows of Lipo batteries.  Lipo batteries work on a “Chemical Reaction” inside their sealed foil envelopes.  If you ever seen the inside of a Lipo you should understand what I am referring too.  If you have not, I highly suggest you do not attempt to open the packs.  There are many safety issues concerning opening lipo packs, so please do not attempt to open a pack.

Chemistry 101

Ok, lets change gears again and put on our chemistry hats. A chemical reaction doubles it speed for every 10 degrees in temperature.  This is why lipos do not work well in cold temperature and you see all sorts of battery heaters and other products to keep batteries warm before use during the cold.

 Lipo Ageing Effect

As lipos age, their internal resistance rises causing the voltage to drop under load, reducing the maximum discharge rate the battery once had.  (ie lack of power)

As lipos age, capacity is lost.  (ie less flying time)  Typically once a battery has lost 20% of its rated capacity, it is considered at the end of its life cycle and time to be replaced.

So lets get to the Storage.

Voltage: A Lipo battery that is fully charged is approximately 4.2v.  Due to the chemical make up of Lipos, they should actually be stored at “50 %” or Half Full.  Half full for a lipo pack is around 3.85v.

Temperature:  Remember from earlier we talked about lithium polymer batteries not working well in the cold, this can help with storage.  Reducing the temperature slows the chemical reaction and slows the “aging process” of a lipo.  Now I am not suggesting you take your lipos and stick them in your refrigerator, but something as simple as storing them in a Lipo Safe Storage bag and keeping them in your climate controlled room in the summer vs the hot garage will help tremendously.  Also, the moisture of the refrigerator is not the ideal environment and we all know what happens when batteries get wet and besides, who in their right mind would want Lipos batteries next to their milk?

Checking Your packs

So I have my lipos in a climate controlled environment, so how do I check the voltage?  Grayson Hobby has several tools to test the voltage of the Lipo Packs as well as

Check the pack and cells voltage

Check the pack and cells voltage

individual cells.  Voltage meters, Battery checkers, even most mid-grade chargers have the ability to determine the voltage of each cell.  Keep in mind, the charger, tester or other tool has to have a balancer.

 

 Chargers that Store Lipos

Most charges on the market today have a “STORE” mode which charges the pack up with the proper voltage (around 3.8v)  The better charges on the market can actually “Discharge” and or “Charge” your battery to the proper rate as well.

Conclusion

In conclusion, storing your packs at the correct voltage and temperature are the simplest thing you can do to prevent premature aging of your Lipo Pack and will actually increase the life span of the pack.  This is assuming you do not over discharge during regular usage.  Storage is not just “over the winter” but also for the flying season.  If you just fly on the weekends, then technically, your packs are in “Storage Mode” all week.  Week after week of improper storage of your packs over the course of the season can slowly degrade you packs.

So before you store your packs for the week, season, be sure to “STORE” your batteries in a climate controlled space, especially during the summer months.

Here are some tools to storing your batteries

Lipo Bag

Simple Voltage Tester

Battery Pack / Cell Analyzer

Lipo Charger with Store Mode

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “How to get more life out of Lipo Packs”

    1. Hi,

      Thanks for the comment and question

      That all depends on the voltage. You will need to “Charge” the pack if its under 3.85v and you will need to “DISCHARGE” the pack if its over 3.85v.

      Basil
      You want the pack at 3.85v for storage.

  1. Muito util suas dicas, se entendi bem temperaturas mais altas
    são mehores para as lipos? Ou seja não tão altas, mais ambiente
    em torno de 28 a 30 graus centigrados? E as descargas, cada celula deve ser usada até mais ou menos 3,60 volts, está correto?, grato PAULO…….

    1. Great question and thats for Google Translate…
      Very useful your tips, if I understand higher temperatures
      are mehores for liposuction? That is not so high, more environment
      around 28-30 degrees centigrade? And discharges, each cell must be used until about 3.60 volts, correct?, Grateful PAULO ......
      .

      Cut Off Voltage
      For Low Voltage Cutoff, or LVC, you can set it to LOW which is around 3.2V to 3.0v and for HIGH Cutoff its usually around 3.4V to 3.5V/cell,

      Storage Temperature
      10 °C or 50 °F is a good resting / storage temperature.

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