Tips for Using a LiPo Battery After Sitting Idle
It’s common in those cold, dark, and winter months for people to store their LiPo battery away for use on a brighter day. In this article, we offer a few tips on how to tell if your LiPo battery is any good when you’re pulling it out of storage to use for the new season.
Tip 1 – Make Certain the LiPo Battery Isn’t Puffed
The first thing you’re going to do is pull your batteries out of storage, and hopefully, they were stored in a cool, dark, and dry place in a firebox. Open up the box, pull out our batteries and inspect them to ensure that they are not puffed. If any batteries are puffed, they need to be disposed of safely. LiPo batteries can puff for a lot of different reasons. The battery may have been stored fully charged, maybe it was stored dead, or LiPo batteries can just fail like any other electrical device. Learn more here about how to dispose of LiPo batteries safely.
Tip 2 – Inspect the Outside
Once you’ve ensured the battery isn’t puffed, you can proceed to the next step, and that is visually inspecting the battery. First, inspect the case for cracks, look at the wire leads, check out the connector on the end, and then look inside the connector bullet holes for corrosion. The copper should be nice and coppery or gold, if it’s brass, it should not have any corrosion. Next, inspect the balance lead, look at the balance wires, and the connector on the end. If there is a balance port on the battery, make sure it looks good, and those contacts aren’t bent.
Tip 3 – Check the Health of the Battery
After you visually inspect the outside of the battery, you want to inspect the inside by using a cell checker. You want to check two things; one is to ensure that the cell voltages of the individual cells are balanced and in line with each other. The second is to ensure that none of the cells are below the minimum voltage needed to charge on a LiPo balance charger. That voltage can vary depending on the charger. If any cell is below the correct range, you will not be able to charge it on the LiPo mode.
Tip 4 – Use 1C Charge Rate First
Once you’ve ensured that the cell balance looks good, you’re free to charge the pack. And, we recommend the battery be charged on a nice and easy 1C charge rate for the first charge of the season. After that, follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for your battery.
Tip 5 – Cycle Charge Your LiPo Battery
What if you plugged your battery into the cell checker, and the cell balance didn’t look so good? There’s a couple of things you can do. One is to balance out the cells slowly. It’s a patient process that takes some time. You can also put your LiPo on the charger and do a cycle charge. If the imbalanced cell spread is a lot, the charger will need more time to (slowly) balance those cells. In some cases, the charger may not do it in one process, and the charger may timeout.
If the charger times out, you’ll have to repeat the process. You will need to discharge the battery, put it back on the balance charger, let it go again, and repeat this process until you get those cells balanced. This process takes a while and requires patience, but it can be done. When it is finally complete, the battery pack will have freshly balanced cells, and it’ll be ready for the season and beyond.
So, to recap, when pulling your batteries out of storage, inspect the pack, make sure they’re not puffed, make sure the wires and the connectors look good, and there’s no corrosion on the metal connectors. Then check the cell voltages of the battery. Next, you want to make sure that the battery is balanced. We can’t stress enough how important it is that the battery cell voltages are balanced. Lastly, the very first charge of the battery after storage must be at a nice and easy 1C charge rate.
Once again, if you would like more information on LiPo care, handling, storage, or how to dispose of a LiPo battery safely, please review the ProTek RC LiPo battery manual. It has a ton of great information that pertains to LiPo batteries. It is definitely worth reading!
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Tips for Using LiPo Batteries after Sitting Idle
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