LiPo Charging and Safety Tips for Drone Batteries

Posted by Francisco Farray on

Before using or charging LiPo batteries, you should know basic LiPo charging safety tips for working with these devices. High power LiPo charging for applications such as drones need more attention than do batteries for cell phones and tablets. They tend to be of larger capacity. If something were to go wrong, the fire or explosion could be harmful to both people and property. LiPo batteries can catch fire if drained to below 3.0 volts or above 4.2 volts per cell. You should not store a LiPo battery that is fully charged or too drained. Chargers are built to lower battery voltage to 3.8 volts per cell for safe storage. LiPo batteries do not like heat, as in leaving them in a hot car. They can react as if they have been overcharged.

lipo charging

Do not leave LiPo batteries unattended while they are charging. For additional safety, fire safety bags can be found from Carolina Dronz. Also, a non-flammable container such as a clay flowerpot and some sand can help contain such fires pretty well. Several hobbyists recommend using surplus steel ammo containers while charging. If something happens, the ammo container will contain the fire or blast.

LiPo batteries may be single cells, as a single AA battery for a flashlight, or they may be multiple cells in a pack, connected internally. The number of cells in the package is marked as the number of cells followed by the letter "S." For example, "3S" means "3 cells." This video walks you through the entire procedure.



A multi-cell pack will have two kinds of connectors, one with two pins. And a second, balance lead with up to six pins depending upon the number of cells. It should be charged using a LiPo balance charger. A balancing charger charges all of the battery's cells equally. Your battery will last longer and be safer to use.

Learn to read and understand the labels and spec sheets. You will have to set the charge rate for the battery by hand and tell the charger how many cells the battery has. The capacity of the battery is usually printed as a number greater than 1000 followed by "mAh." You have to look on the back of the battery for the charge rate, which will be something like 5C, and do the math. An example from Instructables:

A 2600 mAH battery that can be charged at a 5C rate can be charged at 13 amps, which is 5 times 2.600 amps (2600 milliamps). Do not confuse that with the burst rating, the highest current that can be drawn for 10 seconds, which is printed on the front of the battery and is a much higher number.
If you have questions about charging LiPo batteries or drones in general, please contact Carolina Dronz.
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