Lipo Battery Care

Proper battery care for R/C Lipo (lithium polymer) batteries is essential. Unlike other batteries, lipos require a specific routine of charging and discharging to ensure proper performance and longevity. In addition, lipos designed for R/C use have had all safety mechanisms removed to achieve the incredible performance that your R/C helicopter requires.

Every lipo battery is made up of individual cells from anywhere between 1 and 8 cells per battery. These cells are always rated at 3.7 volts. So a 2 cell battery will have a rated voltage of 7.4 volts, a 3 cell lipo would be rated at 11.1 volts and so on.

What most people do not know, is that all of the available power in a lipo battery is contained in the top 1 volt of power. In other words a single cell 3.7 volt lipo battery would be fully charged at 4.2 volts (max full voltage) and that same battery would be totally dead at 3.2 volts. As a matter of fact, if you were to let that battery ever drop below 2.9 volts, you would have permanently damaged the battery and it may no longer have the ability to be recharged or used ever again.

In order to avoid this happening to your lipo batteries try these suggestions:

  • Never leave your lipos fully charged while storing for more than 30 days straight. It is best to leave your batteries at 3.9 volts per cell if you are not planning on using them within a week. Leaving them stored at full charge will seriously decrease the longevity of the battery as well as increasing the chance of a short in the battery as fully charged lipos are much more unstable than ones maintained at a safe storage voltage of 3.9 volts. A discharging device is essential to proper battery care. I recommend the Battery Medic which includes not only a discharger but also a cell balancer and most importantly an LCD display which indicates each individual cells voltage. Without knowing each cells voltage, you are really flying in the dark when it comes to your batteries health.
  • One of the biggest mistakes R/C pilots make is flying too long. The rule of thumb is, as soon as you notice the slightest loss of power, i.e. the operator having to increase the throttle to maintain the same altitude. If you fly your heli until it cannot get off the ground, you may have already damaged your battery and it may no longer take a charge. These batteries are not like the lipos in your cell phone, and you never want to fully discharge and re-charge in order to make it last longer.

Even though all lipo chargers say they also balance, they do not perform nearly as well balancing as they do charging. We highly recommend getting an additional battery balancer like the battery medic to balance your battery.