Maths, charge rates, nominal voltage… the list goes on and on with terminology about LiPo battery, there is so much information, many of it conflicting, out there that many people choose not to pay attention. I decided to write this to give a brief overview, and maybe shed some light on these batteries from our favorite toys.
Many companies, DJI in specific, are going to smart batteries and their own proprietary charger that do not need much technical understanding to charge their batteries. And that’s a good thing, sort of. Many do not read the part of the manual about LiPo batteries, I mean how hard can it be, charge and fly, right? Again sort of. I made a quick list of some things to watch for. Feel free to agree, disagree, comment, or share your personal experience. I’m sure some people push their batteries farther and harder but this will be a good guideline to keep you pack flying for its intended 300 uses.
#1 **** Do NOT charge, discharge, balance, use a puffy LiPo pack. If it looks or feels spongy like there is a pocket of air in the pack it is damages and needs to be disposed of. Click Here for disposal instructions taken from rctoys.com. If you have a crash store the LiPo by itself in a LiPo bag or metal container for a few days to make sure the pack is still in tact.
#2 Storage as well as charging and discharging should be done in a metal container such an ammo box (these can be picked up at many surplus type stores) or a LiPo storage bag. These are designed to prevent the spread of fire should your LiPo ignite.
#3 Charging with new smart batteries is pretty simple plug it in and charge it, with traditional LiPo’s you should only charge at 1x (1C) the current rating of the battery unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer.
Example is a 4500mah (4.5amp hour) battery could be charged at 4.5Amps. High end professional batteries may be able to be charged at a faster rate, but it will us ally say on the LiPo. Charging with these chargers should lead to there being 4.2Volts per cell in the battery. The DJI Phantoms fly on a 3 cell battery (3S for in series) which should leave you with 12.6 Volts at fully charged.
#4 Discharging for storage, if you have charged up a pack and decided not to use it within a couple of days, it should be discharged down to 3.6-3.8Volts per cell on a traditional LiPo, on the DJI Smart Battery they say run down to 8% buy turning on your Phantom and letting it discharge either by flying it or just letting it sit until it dies. DO NOT run down until dead with a traditional LiPo, Either fly until your on screen display shows 3.6-3.7Volts per cell or use the “Storage” function on your LiPo charger.
#5 Store your LiPo in a room temperature or cool buy dry place, and do not operate below -5 to -10 Celsius, the pack could stop operating and your drone will stop flying.