Safely Handling and Feeding Your Drone Batteries
This entry was posted on December 29, 2015.
There are different kinds of Lithium based batteries, but the most common for Drone use is the Lithium Polymer cell, due to the lightweight construction and the performance associated with this type of battery. Lithium Polymer Batteires have a high discharge rate and a high energy storage/weight ratio. Treat a Li-Po battery well, and it will serve you faithfully. So how do you avoid the pitfalls of Li-Po battery use, and make sure you have a long and happy relationship with your current Lipo battery packs? Well, we’re here to let you in on the secrets. At first, we start with the basic tips of LiPo battery maintenance.
Battery Maintenance Tips
1. Do Not Charge Immediately After Flight
This is very important as the batteries will be quite warm after an extended flight and putting them directly on the charger can create a potentially hazardous situation. If lithium batteries get too hot, they can catch fire. Make sure you let them cool down before charging by letting them sit. A good rule of thumb is to let them set for twice as long as you ran them. So if you just did an 8 minute flight, let them sit for at least 16 minutes.
2. Do Not Fly Immediately After Charging
Similar to the above, you want to keep the Lipo batteries from getting too hot and yanking them off the charger and slapping them into your AR Drone is not a good idea. Let them rest for 10-15 minutes after pulling them from the charger.
3. Inspect Batteries Before Every Flight/Charge
If you see any damage to the batteries, do not use them. Any damage to the cells will drastically increase the odds of the cells failing, and when I say failing, I mean bursting into flames and burning your house down. Take these batteries seriously. Keep a fire extinguisher or a pail of sand handy when charging.
Safely Handling Lithium Polymer Batteries
Most Lipo Batteries are not a true lithium polymer battery but rather a hybride between two batteries technologies. First and foremost, batteries use chemical reations to produce electricity. A true lithium polymer battery creates electricity with a chemical reaction between dry components. Unfortunately, this doesn't creat electrical current at a rate that is necessary for drone motors. So drones use a hybrid battery that combines wet and dry chemicals to facillitate the reaction at the rate necessary to power high-energy consumers such as drones. Here we recommend you our Gen Tattu lipo batterires, The Tattu LiPO battery pack is the best choice to match DJI S1000 professional aerial photography equipment.
LiPo batteries are ideal for drones because they can be built in many shapes and sizes, they have a favorable size to power ratio, and they have a high energy discharge rate which is ideal for electric motors. But for all of their benefits for use in drones, LiPo batteries are still very dangerous if not cared for correctly.
Properly charging a Lipo battery
It is extremely important you only use a charger specifically designed for charging Lithium Polymer cells. All new chargers now come with a balancing feature which is essential for both safety and battery life reasons.
The stated operating voltage of a typical Lithium Polymer cell is from 3V to 4.2V when fully charged. Discharging cells below 3 volts will invariably cause irreversible damage and charging above 4.2V is dangerous and easier to achieve than you might think!If you have a selected the ‘LiPo’ function, your charger will be set to peak detect cells reaching 4.2V at which point the charger will cut off. Set the wrong type of battery; begin charging beyond 4.2V, the pack will swell and if left, will eventually catch fire! Yes, it’s that dangerous, so please be vigilant when setting your charger!
The most common way to damage a LiPo battery is by overcharging it. Overcharging a battery can cause you battery to swell like the one shown in Figure 1. Swollen batteries can catch fire and explode. Over-discharging your battery can also cause issues if it remains un-charged long enough. The battery chemicals can come out of soloution and cause the battery to short when you attempt to charge it again. A LiPo battery that is shoring out internally can explode and catch fire.
Most drones come with proprietary LiPo battery shapes and connector. This is probably more of a functon of commerce than safety, but regradles, use only the charges designated for your drone's batteries. If you buy an aftermarket charger, be sure to read your drone's manual to ensure that your charger has all the proper safety mechanisms to ensure you never overcharge.
Never leave your LiPo battery on a charger if you don't intend to monitor its progress. If your charger's shutoff feature fails, you could end up with a problem on your hands.
Avoiding dropping or crashing your LiPo battery
LiPo batteries are also very fragile. So fragile that simply dropping a LiPo battery on the floor can damage a cell and cause the chemicals within the battery to react uncontrollably. If your drone is involved in a crash, you will want to ensure that the battery did not withstand any damage. Placing a damaged battery on the charger can result in a fire.
Safely disposing of LiPo batteries
Unlike Ni-Cd batteries, lithium-polymer batteries are environmentally friendly. For safety reasons, it's best that LiPo cells are fully discharged before disposal (however, if physically damaged it is NOT recommended to discharge LiPo cells before disposal. The batteries must also be at ambient temperature before proceeding with disposal.
LiPo batteries can’t simply be thrown away in the garbage can. While they may not be fit to fly, they can still be quite dangerous. Before throwing your battery away, you must first completely discharge the electrical charge. Most chargers come with a discharge feature that will drain the power from the battery rendering it fit for the garbage can.
If your battery is damaged or swollen, you still need to discharge the battery before tossing it out. You should not put it back onto the charger to discharge it. A common way for discharging damaged LiPo batteries involves connecting it to a light bulb and burying the battery in a bucket of sand until it is fully discharged.
With proper care and maintenance, your batteries should last a good long time and keep you flying as much as possible. Just keep in mind a few simple tips to ensure that you take care of them and they will take care of you. If you are looking for the best quality Lipo batteries, look no further than Gens Tattu USA. We are the leaders in equipment and batteries for RC cars, helicopters and more. We stock the most advanced technology in lithium polymer batteries. If you would like to invest in the best out there, contact us today.