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Thread: LiPo Care

  1. #1
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    LiPo Care

    Hey guys, I just ordered 2 Traxxas 2S 5000mah LiPos and the EZ Peak Plus charger with the dual charging adapter. I'm new to RCing, so I'm obviously new to LiPos and RC batteries in general. I've done a ton of reading on here and a little confused about how to care for my LiPos(and the NiMH that came with my Slash 4x4). I see that some people are putting their LiPos in the refrigerator. What does this do? Is it something I do immediately after running or is it for storage purposes? So far with my NiMH, I've been charging with the supplied charger until the green light comes on, running my Slash until it goes into low power mode, then removing the battery and letting it cool on the kitchen counter before re-charging it. Is this correct? What do I need to do different with my LiPos? Thanks for all the help.

  2. #2
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. JimmyNeutron's Avatar
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    LiPo care is pretty basic... but can be overcomplicated just like anything else. lol

    1) Use a balance charger designed for LiPo's. (like your EZPeak plus)
    2) Always balance charge. This is a feature on your charger.
    3) Always use your pack within 30 hours of charging. The longer a LiPo pack is at full voltage, the shorter its life span will be.
    4) When storing your LiPo for any length of time, use the storage feature of your charger and keep in a cool dry place. This storage environment will help any battery last longer.
    5) Use your LiPo with a LVD equipped ESC. This will prevent over discharging your pack.

    You will find that properly sized LiPo packs don't heat up like a NiMH and really don't require a cool down period between runs.



    I wrote this a while back... not all of it applies to your questions, however, I feel that it is important to have as much factual LiPo information as possible and to have it all in one location. Try not to get overwhelmed... just take it in bit by bit.
    That being said...

    LiPo 101
    now in session


    Rules
    1) NEVER discharge below 3v/cell
    2) NEVER charge above 4.2v/cell
    3) NEVER puncture your pack
    4) NEVER short out your pack
    5) NEVER use a pack that has puffed
    6) NEVER charge unattended
    7) NEVER charge at a higher C rate than recommended
    8) NEVER use a pack that has been over charged/discharged
    9) ALWAYS check cell voltage before connecting your pack to anything
    10) ALWAYS keep your LiPo pack well balanced

    To calculate the charge rate of your pack
    mAh x charge C rate / 1000 = charge amps
    For example:
    A 2200mah 20-40C pack that states a 2C charge rate.
    2,200 x 2 / 1000 = 4.4
    This battery pack can be charged at 4.4 amps.
    - Please note that if no charge C rate is stated, 1C is standard.

    To calculate the constant discharge rate of your pack
    mAh x minimum discharge C rate / 1,000 = available amps
    For example:
    The same 2200mah 20-40C pack.
    2,200 x 20 / 1000 = 44
    This battery pack can consistently provide up to 44 amps.

    To calculate the peak/burst discharge rate of your pack
    mAh x maximum discharge C rate / 1,000 = available amps
    For example:
    Again, the same 2200mah 20-40C pack.
    2,200 x 40 / 1000 = 88
    This battery pack can provide a peak discharge rate of up to 88 amps.
    Peak rates are limited in time... unfortunately, this amount of time does not have an industry standard. This is how a lot of inflated discharge ratings can be claimed. In my experience, honest retailers/manufactures of packs will list the constant discharge rating along with the burst discharge rating and not only the burst rating.

    Ratings
    When setting up your power system for your RC, make sure that the lower discharge C rate matches or beats the continuous amperage rating of the ESC. I try to beat it by at least 10%. This practice will provide you the most out of your system and it will also keep your batteries from working too hard. A LiPo should NEVER be hot... during use or charging. If it is, you are abusing the pack. Also, the less your pack has to work the longer it will last. However, LiPo's perform at their best once they are between 100F - 120F. (yet another reason to have a temperature gun)


    Parallel
    Running two LiPo's in parallel will double run time and also your available amperage... which is handy for high demand systems. Some misinformation I have read about the discharge C rating of packs in parallel is that the rating of the pack doubles. This is not the case. The C-rating of a battery pack is a fixed parameter of that pack; well actually it is the cells within the pack that have the C rating. Connecting two packs in parallel does not change either pack as they still have the same specifications, however it does create a battery "system" with twice the effective C rating. The packs are the same, but the parallel system is now theoretically capable of discharging at twice the Amp rate. This is much like the cumulative capacity available when connecting two packs in parallel.
    The packs ran in parallel MUST be of the same cell count and should be the same age, capacity, and brand.

    Series
    Running two LiPo's in series will double voltage, therefore nearly doubling the speed of your RC. Capacity remains the same. The two packs ran in series MUST have the same capacity and discharge rate. Also, they should be of the same age and brand.
    Be prepared to gear down when increasing voltage on your power system.

    Charging
    There are many charging options out there... it can get really confusing really fast. The best advise I can give is to get the absolute best charger you can afford and to ask before you purchase. Your charge system is the backbone of your electric RC hobby, treat it as such. RC's will come and go, but your charge system will remain.

    The following features are what I consider to be the absolute bare minimum for a charger... balance charging and a storage charge/discharge feature. If the charger cannot perform these tasks, look for another charger. If you are going to be charging multiple LiPo's at the same time or 10th scale or larger packs, I recommend getting a charger that is capable of at least 10 amps or more. Also, ANY half-decent charger can charge multiple LiPo's at a time. It does not require a dual or multi-charger to perform such a task. It only requires the right support equipment... such as a ParaBoard, which I use.

    Storage
    Storage voltage is 3.85v/cell. This voltage is the only voltage that is not super critical for LiPo. Anywhere between 3.5-4v/cell is considered to be acceptable for storage.
    I suggest putting a full pack to storage voltage if it is not going to be used within 30 hours or so. The longer a pack is at full capacity, the shorter its lifespan will be.
    I also suggest bringing a pack up to storage voltage after a run. When a LiPo's voltage lowers to a certain point, they begin to loose their voltage quickly. I would hate to see you loose a pack (or more) due to not charging up within a few hours after a run.
    For long term storage; I bring my packs to storage voltage, seal them in an airtight container, and stick them in the refrigerator. As I type this, I have had my "speed" set of 3S packs in the fridge for over 8 months at storage voltage... I check them monthly and they are still at 3.85v/cell. Almost makes me regret buying them. lol

    Making your LiPo's last
    I will just give an example of how much a small change in how a pack is taken care of can dramatically change how the pack behaves.
    Two identical packs were both charged and discharged in the exact same matter.... except one pack was charged to 4.20v/cell and the other to 4.10v/cell. This was done in a very controlled environment... NOT in an RC.
    After 500 cycles, the pack that was charged to 4.20v/cell had reached its life expectancy... it would not take more than 65% of its original capacity; meaning the LiPo was no longer able to be used safely.
    The pack that was charged to 4.10v/cell was still at 70% capacity after 1,000 cycles... so the .10v/cell difference more than doubled the life expectancy.



    Here is what I have done...
    this information might help with your decision

    I use inexpensive batteries.
    I have found them to be very reliable, extremely cost effective, and they have been proven to be under-rated; usually providing more mAh and a higher discharge C rate than stated on the pack. SPC is a great brand that under promises and over delivers. There are others that claim extreme discharge ratings that are simply impossible with the technology that is available.

    I use an iCharger 206B.
    When I purchased the charger, I thought I would never use all 20 amps of its capability. Well, now I rarely charge at anything less than 20 amps lol. I have even considered selling it to get more amperage! I have performed hundreds of charge cycles with this charger and it handles the task without a single issue.
    I highly recommend any charger in the iCharger line.

    I built my own power supply.
    I have ~$30 into my 24v 75a 1800watt power supply.
    Sounds complicated, but it really is not that difficult. If you go this route, you are going to want a server power supply as they do not drop voltage when you are pulling amperage like a standard ATX PC power supply.
    You can also purchase these pre-built at a very reasonable price.

    I hope this information helps!!

    Here are some links to some more:
    http://traxxas.com/forums/showthread...rger-vs-cooker
    http://traxxas.com/forums/showthread...charging-setup
    http://traxxas.com/forums/showthread...ply-Conversion
    Whatever it is I just typed... could be wrong.

  3. #3
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    Thank you!! That is everything I was looking for in one post!

  4. #4
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. JimmyNeutron's Avatar
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    Glad to help!
    Whatever it is I just typed... could be wrong.

  5. #5
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    Jimmie is the man when it comes to lipos.

  6. #6
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. JimmyNeutron's Avatar
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    I did tons of research about them... glad my months of research can benefit others as well as it did me.
    Whatever it is I just typed... could be wrong.

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    Jimmie your the best

  8. #8
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. JimmyNeutron's Avatar
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    I don't know if I'd go that far, but thanks!
    Whatever it is I just typed... could be wrong.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmie Neutron View Post
    I don't know if I'd go that far, but thanks!
    You ALWAYS got the answer and its RIGHT. That says ALOT thanks for all your help. I'll admit it you have got my lipo dumbness out of a mess more than once.

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    How should I clean my batteries? I know LiPos and water is a no-no, so I've just been wiping them off with a paper towel. However, I have some crud in the connector that goes into the balance board and curious how to clean it out? Just a dry toothbrush or what? Really don't wanna ruin my new batteries. Thanks again!!

  11. #11
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. JimmyNeutron's Avatar
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    Dry toothbrush will work... a few taps and blowing on it might work too, depending on how dirty it is.
    Whatever it is I just typed... could be wrong.

  12. #12
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    I wipe the cases with a damp rag and use CRC plastic safe aerosol contact cleaner for battery and balance terminals.

  13. #13
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    Thanks guys!

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    Sorry to jack the thread but I got some lipos for Christmas today and my brother (not knowing what he is doing) charged them to full capacity while his is broken so they can't be run. My question is- what is the max amps I can discharge (I hope that is the right term) the battery at to storage level?

  15. #15
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. JimmyNeutron's Avatar
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    Discharge rate is limited by your charger... if it has a discharge feature. The battery can handle way more than most chargers can.

    What is the capacity of the battery?
    What is the C rating of the battery?
    What charger do you have?
    Whatever it is I just typed... could be wrong.

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    I have spc 5000mah 50c 2s and the hitec x4 ac plus

  17. #17
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. JimmyNeutron's Avatar
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    Battery discharge capability: 250 amps
    Charger discharge capability: 1 amp

    From full to storage it will take roughly 129 minutes.
    Whatever it is I just typed... could be wrong.

  18. #18
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    Thank you that is what I needed

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    I hate to hijack this thread but felt my question would fit best here.

    I have an Onyx 230 and am switching to Lipo power. This is not listed as a balancing charger. Am I out of luck?
    What doesn't kill u-only serves 2 make u stronger!

  20. #20
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. JimmyNeutron's Avatar
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    I would get a different charger.
    Whatever it is I just typed... could be wrong.

  21. #21
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    Recommendations?
    What doesn't kill u-only serves 2 make u stronger!

  22. #22
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. JimmyNeutron's Avatar
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    Traxxas, Hyperion, iCharger, Revolectrix (FMA)... those are the brands I trust for chargers.
    Everything else is a major risk in my opinion.
    Whatever it is I just typed... could be wrong.

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    If I were to go with the EZ-Peak Plus would I be covered?

    The dual charging adapter says "The Dual Charging Adapter is for use with Traxxas Power Cell LiPo batteries only." Is that saying that it won't do NiMh or that it won't do the SPC batteries that I'd like to order?
    What doesn't kill u-only serves 2 make u stronger!

  24. #24
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. JimmyNeutron's Avatar
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    The dual charging adapter will work with any LiPo battery that has a TRX main connector and a JST-XH balance connector. This would include SPC, but not NiMH. NiMH cannot be charged in parallel or series... they have to be charged by themselves.

    The EZPeak Plus is a great starter charger.
    Whatever it is I just typed... could be wrong.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpjatogo View Post
    If I were to go with the EZ-Peak Plus would I be covered?

    The dual charging adapter says "The Dual Charging Adapter is for use with Traxxas Power Cell LiPo batteries only." Is that saying that it won't do NiMh or that it won't do the SPC batteries that I'd like to order?
    Basher here 2 EZ-Peak Plus chargers and love em.

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