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10 RC LiPo Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

We use lithium batteries and almost all the devices that we use nowadays, but we don't really think about the battery all that much because ultimately we have very little control over them to charge most devices, it's a matter of just plugging in your charge cord and that's it. That's what makes the RC hobby so unique because when it comes to the batteries we use we have full control over them. We control what batteries we pick how we charge them, how we discharge them how we store them, how we use them, and ultimately how we abuse them so that's why in this blog, we're gonna go over our top 10 mistakes that Lipo users make coming from the RC perspective and this list is not in any particular order.

No.1 Not balance charging the Lipo

It's absolutely necessary that every single time you charge your Lipo battery that it's on the balance charge mode always, the only exception to this is if you have a single cell Lipo battery, there isn't anything to balance because you only have one cell, but any Lipo that has two or more cells within it needs to be balanced charged every single time you charge it, no exceptions.

No. 2 Discharging the Lipo down to zero

Dischargering a Lipo battery down to zero. Energy not only creates a very dangerous condition, but it also will ultimately destroy that Lipo battery. The absolute maximum, the individual cells inside of a Lipo can be discharged is 3 volts per sell, beyond that permanent degradation will take place in that battery.

No. 3 Not giving yourself enough headroom

When you set the low voltage cutoff in your models ESC, all modern ESCs or electronic speed controllers that are designed for Lipo use will have some sort of LVC or low voltage cutoff, which just cuts the battery in use when the voltage of the battery reaches a certain pre programmed limit. Remember we just said in No. 2 that the maximum you should ever drain your battery is 3 volts per sell. But again that's the maximum so we don't want to ever come close to that instead we want to check out what presets the electronic speed controller has for the low voltage cutoff and program one, that's gonna give us enough headroom just in case anything should happen. We have a bit of a buffer there, so the battery cells never reach that 3 volts. Wwe recommend a low voltage cutoff of 3.4 volts per sell.

No. 4 Not using a fully charged Lipo

Let's say you charge the Lipo battery with the intent of going out and using it but instead something comes up and you can't, so the battery just gets set aside to be used some other day in the future. If a fully charged light bolt battery sitting around even for just a few days, it can start to experience cell degradation, and this often comes in the form of swelling or puffing. So never let a fully charged Lipo just sit around if you can't use it in your model, then put it back on your Lipo Balance charger and set it to a storage charge, which will discharge all that extra power out of your Lipo.

No.5 Failing to storage charge your Lipo after every use

Even after using your Lipo battery in your model the battery may contain too much energy or too little energy to be stored away for another day. So it's really important to create the very simple and basic habit of after use put your Lipo back on your charger and set it to a storage charge, this will bring up your battery's voltage to the safe level if there is not enough, or it will bring down the voltage if there is too much and ultimately the balance charge rebalances your cells. So the battery is in a healthy state to be stored away.

No. 6 Buying a brand new Lipo battery

But then not using it right away, all Lipo manufacturers storage charge their Lipo batteries before they get shipped out to be sold , and depending on where you buy it, and who from and how long ultimately that light bow has just been sitting around since the manufacturer storage charged it could mean that that lipo storage charge voltage has slowly dwindled throughout the days weeks or months since that storage charge took place. So by taking that brand new battery and charging it or at least balance charging it, is gonna help bring the battery voltage up to that safe level as well as balance out those cells. If you let that battery sit around too long and you don't use it you could be past your warranty date should you down the road find out there's some other unrelated issue.

No. 7 Not letting your light pose cool down

First of all as you probably know when you store your light bows they should always be stored in a cool dry place. Let's say you just got finished using your light bow and you want to charge it again to play more, it's important to let it cool down first before you recharge it. Ultimately charging a hot Lipo battery will degrade it, and if your Lipo is really really hot after you've just used it in your model, it could mean that the C rating is not adequate for your application or it could also mean that your Lipo battery was discharged too . Going back to point No. 3 ensure that your LVC has enough headroom as a note when it's really cold out you can charge your batteries and use them just fine that cold temperature will not harm your Lipo batteries, but cold batteries just don't retain the same energy that they do under normal ambient temperatures. So in cold weather your battery may feel like it just has less power or less punch. If you're curious if there's any harm to putting your lipo battery in a refrigerator or a freezer, there is, but the real harm is not when the lipo is inside the refrigeration unit, instead it's when you pull the lipo out and it's now colder than all of the ambient temperature, which creates condensation and that can form inside the lipo, which is harmful and unhealthy for the pack. Don't leave Libos in hot cars, do I have to say that and it's so obvious.

No. 8 Buying used lipos

When we buy used cell phones, we don't worry about the battery or how it was charged or used it makes no sense, only in RC, do we have the ultimate control of our batteries ? That means when you buy a used Lipo batterydon't know how it was used or abused or charged or discharged or where it was stored or where it wasn't. That's why unless you're absolutely certain of the history of a used battery it's not a good idea to buy used lightbos if you can help it. Now here are some exceptions like Spectrum's Smart Battery technology where their lightbos are now coming with a micro chip that will relay the data of the battery's history , that information could be really handy if you were trying to buy those type of batteries used.

No. 9 Letting Lipo batteries sit around too long unused, unchecked and unbalanced charged

If for whatever reason, you have lipo batteries that are gonna be sitting around without any use for months or maybe even years until you can use them again, it's really important to at least every 6 months stick that battery on the balance charger, rebalance the cells in that pack and bring its voltage back to a healthy state even better practice would be just to take a cell checker , and plug your light bow into that cell checker maybe every two to three months, quarterly and ensure those cells look okay if they aren't then put them on the balance charger. Lipos that just sit around idle slowly drain energy, and eventually those cells can drain down to a really unsafe voltage, that's why a good old fashioned storage charge on that idle battery can help bring it back up to a healthy state.

No. 10 Throwing away Lipo batteries that still contain energy

Lipo batteries are perfectly safe and fine to just toss in your trash, and go to your local land fill, but first the battery must have 100 percent of its energy drained out of it before you can throw it away. If that battery still has energy in it it's a huge fire risk for your local garbage company who will compact the trash, either in the garbage truck or at the local landfill, so that's why before you toss that Lipo in the trash completely drain it of all of its energy. For more information on how to drain a Lipo battery down to 0.

That's our top 10 list of lipo mistakes and how to avoid them. Some of these practices are really minor and if you turn them into habits you can create a lifetime of happy, healthy and safe lipo battery use. If you have any questions please leave us a comment down below!

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