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  1. #1
    RC Racer
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    Are LiFe batteries going to be the next must have?

    I'm coming back from a 6 year rest from RC, and when I left the Ni-mh was the norm, brushless was something new and on the fringe, and I'd not heard of Lipo packs or cells for RC.

    Now, Ni-mh is considered antiquated junk and brushless is at least equal in popularity to the legacy brushed motors, and Lipo batteries are the industry standard.

    I see some batteries listed as LiFe out there, but only a few and they are not practical for a primary power source for a 4x4 due to what I'm seeing as limited capacity. I've only seen 2800 mah at the large end, too small for most guys who enjoy the extended run times of the current large capacity Lipo packs.

    Do you think that the LiFe packs will grow in capacity while providing a less volatile pack than the Lipo (regarding more resistant to smoking, swelling or popping), or will some other technology take over and replace both Lipo and LiFe packs?

    Sent from a Galaxy S3, far....far away.

  2. #2
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    I think that the LiPo's and liFe's will adventually be replaced with something bigger and better but as of now lipo is the battery of choice for electric model cars. You say that lipos are known to swell and smoke and pop when in reality they are very stable. The guy at my lhs says in over 10 years of owning lipos and going through a hundreds of packs he has only had one smoke. He didn't charge it right and there wasn't any popping or and throng crazy just swelling and some smoke. I would say lipos are still a great choice as they have great power with a low cell count and can have very long run times.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by larry0071 View Post
    Do you think that the LiFe packs will grow in capacity while providing a less volatile pack than the Lipo (regarding more resistant to smoking, swelling or popping), or will some other technology take over and replace both Lipo and LiFe packs?
    I would imagine so. There's always *something* evolutionary in the RC world. It took LiPos and brushless a few years longer to really take hold in the area of cars (I've been flying them both since 2002). I'm not one to make predictions, but I would imagine LiPos will have their sunset eventually. Maybe hydrogen fuel cells? They're already using them in laptops (although I don't know if they're capable of producing enough volts & amps on such a small scale).

    In the meantime, LiPos work awesome if you take care of them and educate yourself on safe usage. Balance them, keep them cool, don't leave them with a full charge for too long, etc.

    Personally, I've never had a LiPo fire. I've had one swell badly, probably because I left it charged for a year. Another one I destroyed by my own stupidity.
    Make it idiot-proof and along comes a better idiot

  4. #4
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Jimmie Neutron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by larry0071 View Post
    I'm coming back from a 6 year rest from RC, and when I left the Ni-mh was the norm, brushless was something new and on the fringe, and I'd not heard of Lipo packs or cells for RC.

    Now, Ni-mh is considered antiquated junk and brushless is at least equal in popularity to the legacy brushed motors, and Lipo batteries are the industry standard.

    I see some batteries listed as LiFe out there, but only a few and they are not practical for a primary power source for a 4x4 due to what I'm seeing as limited capacity. I've only seen 2800 mah at the large end, too small for most guys who enjoy the extended run times of the current large capacity Lipo packs.

    Do you think that the LiFe packs will grow in capacity while providing a less volatile pack than the Lipo (regarding more resistant to smoking, swelling or popping), or will some other technology take over and replace both Lipo and LiFe packs?

    Sent from a Galaxy S3, far....far away.
    LiFe packs will not surpass LiPo... LiFe was actually around before LiPo.

    LiPo is less dangerous than NiMh in my opinion... NiMh can explode just as LiPo can and usually without much warning.

    A properly treated LiPo pack will never explode. Treating them properly is mostly just simple common sense, really. Most of these LiPo explosions on YouTube are the result of direct negligence... purposely overcharging, puncturing, or mistreating the pack just to show how "dangerous" LiPo is when in the real world you would not be doing those things to your pack.
    Whatever it is I just said... I could be wrong.

  5. #5
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    Do you typically charge in the "Lipo Safe" burn bags? I ask because I've been playing with Ni-cad and then ni-mh since the late 80's and have never had (or thought of) a battery failure other than a cell or pack dying from leaving them go flat from long term storage. Now that I'm starting into this new (to me) technology of Lipo packs, I'm watching these videos that you referred to and buying into what may be an exaggerated risk of burning down my house or getting hurt. So I went and purchased the Lipo battery charge bags and in storing them in old GI ammo cans for fear that they might go into flames while I'm away or sleeping.

    Maybe I'm buying into the panic to much?

    Sent from a Galaxy S3, far....far away.

  6. #6
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    "Battery Bunkers" and/or LiPo sacks are a good investment. I don't use mine religiously enough, but that's going to change now that I'm charging so frequently for my cars. It isn't paranoid; it's recommended safe practice.
    Make it idiot-proof and along comes a better idiot

  7. #7
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    I have had 1 lipo go bad on me. It just puffed and smoked it fried my speed control too. But this is nothing compared to what happened to my nimh I had. It exploded blew the battery compartment (chassis part too) off of my Merv and fried the each, It was LOUD too. So from personal experience I like lipo's more. They are more predictable in when they go bad or when they puff you know to stop using them.
    A lipo bag and ammo case is plenty the don't explode the just smoke lots with a few flames the odd time.

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  8. #8
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Jimmie Neutron's Avatar
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    If you monitor the cell voltage of a pack, you will know it is going bad before it puffs.
    This is why I use a $5 cell checker... before I charge, after I charge, before I use, after I use. If one cell is out of balance, chances are that cell is on its way out. But, just because one cell is out one time does not indicate a bad cell... but if that same cell is always out... then it is bad.
    If this method of checking is used, you are going to know a pack is going to puff before it puffs... and once they are puffed, you stop using them... completely discharge them and dispose of them.

    Being cautious is not being paranoid... things can happen, they are just not likely if some simple rules are followed.

    I personally don't use a LiPo bag, but that is my personal choice. I don't recommend NOT using one...
    Whatever it is I just said... I could be wrong.

  9. #9
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    I'm more aware of the lipo in my ipad and it's slow charger, than my rc lipo's. I don't like slow chargers and personally i think slow chargers should be banned no matter how safe they are.
    Guide books aren't part of the packaging.

  10. #10
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    Yeah that's what always gets me!

    Lipos are EVERYWHERE from cameras, to cell phones to flash lights basically anything that needs small sized batteries with high power requirements, and yet you never see people complaining about the dangers of having a phone in your pocket, gps on your dash board or a camera in your purse on the plane.

    LiFe is certainly older, and I've read more horror stories about them than I have about lipos.

    Everytime I see someone worried about a lipo, I think of them using their phone next to their face, or using a high end mouse or keyboard or any of that stuff WITHOUT a worry in the world.

  11. #11
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. rjm2519's Avatar
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    Most cell phones use a li-ion pack and the pack has its own protection circuitry. A 850mah pack charged at .85 amps is charging at 1c which isn't really a slow charge. Li-ion are good with "slow" charging, really lipo is as well, but they are capable of being charged faster as a benefit. Li-ions don't have to be discharged for storage either they are good fully charged so they are always ready to go. Most are limited in capacity by their physical cell size. I use the 18650 in a couple of flashlights so I had to learn pretty quick how to charge them and store them and whatnot.

    Lithium batteries have been around a lot longer than most people realize, mostly in li-ion form not polymer form though they both have pros and cons, IMO neither is dangerous unless treated improperly. To put it in perspective, my phone has been on since the day I got it, oct 21-2011 I don't turn it off generally speaking for any significant amount of time. My last phone I never shut off for 2 years I had it, so years on end of discharge and charge cycles with no downtime. I would call that fairly safe.
    Donít handicap children by making life easy

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjm2519 View Post
    years on end of discharge and charge cycles with no downtime. I would call that fairly safe.
    +1 this...we don't even bother thinking about it.
    Make it idiot-proof and along comes a better idiot

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