LiPo batteries also known as lithium polymer have become increasingly popular over the last few years, most especially in consumer electronic devices.
When people need batteries for long-term usage, their first option is usually LiPo batteries and that’s because of their high-power supply, plus it’s more environmentally friendly than other R/C batteries.
Most people see LiPo batteries as an upgrade to lithium-ion batteries, and they aren’t far from the truth. Who doesn’t want a battery with high power capacity that can last for a long time?
However, LiPo batteries have a limited lifespan and won’t last forever.
Let’s delve deeper into how long LiPo batteries last and what you can do to make them last longer.
What’s The Lifespan of a LiPo Battery?
The battery life of a LiPo battery will vary from 300 to 500 cycles. Ideally, a LiPo battery pack can last up to 3 years if properly maintained. It’s a bit impractical to measure the lifespan of your LiPo battery because they experience a different depth of release while in use.
According to certain manufacturers, LiPo batteries can last up to three decades, but this is only true if it’s probably used twice a week. LiPo batteries begin to decline in battery life as soon they are activated and depending on how it’s being stored, their performance can still deteriorate while in storage.
The most useful phase of a LiPo battery is when it’s above 80% of its initial capacity.
How to Prolong the Lifespan of a LiPo Battery
The essence of buying a LiPo battery is that you need a battery with long run times. While LiPo batteries may offer a lot of benefits, when misused it’s just a waste of money.
The big question is how to maximize the lifespan of your lithium polymer battery, and we’ll answer that now!
1. Proper Storage Mode
When it comes to LiPo batteries, there’s something called “storage mode”. It’s possible that after using your LiPo battery, you may decide to keep it for later use, but unlike other batteries, you don’t just casually put LiPo batteries in a drawer and expect the power capacity to remain the same.
With LiPo batteries, you need to store the battery pack properly if you intend to prolong its lifespan. You can decide to do this process manually if your charger doesn’t have a defined charging mode to store the pack.
Every battery pack comes with a voltage pack, and this is how you can tell the best storage specification for your LiPo battery.
Your battery capacity is usually 40% at the right storage voltage, and the voltage of a battery pack is 3.85 volts.
When you keep your battery at maximum charge when not in use, it drains it faster than you can imagine, also leaving it almost drained isn’t the best option either.
To maximize the lifespan of your Li-Po battery, ensure that you stick to the storage voltage specification.
2. Use LiPo Compatible Chargers and Don’t Overcharge
You can’t expect a $3 charger to get your LiPo battery to full charge without overcharging or overheating it.
There are lots of battery packs that claim to offer over 10+C charge rates, and that’s absurd because you’ll end up with a damaged LiPo battery in no time.
3C charging has a great speed, and to optimize the health of your LiPo battery, it’s even advisable to opt for 2C charging. Some people even charge at a 1 C rating and they have no complaints about the lifespan of their batteries.
Normally, LiPo batteries get unbalanced when charged with cheap charges, and this can cause them to have different voltage values.
To get the best out of your LiPo battery, you need to invest in a LiPo-compatible charger.
The highest voltage your fully charged LiPo battery can attain is 4.20 volts, and it’s not even advisable to recharge to this point, as it reduces the lifespan, so it’s best to charge below that.
In the case of LiPo batteries, the lower you go below the 4.20 volts mark, the longer your battery’s shelf life.
3. Knowing The Right Time to Charge
For LiPo batteries, you need to know the exact time to plug them in, or you’re at risk of damaging them before enjoying their benefits.
Remember that the lifespan of a LiPo battery is 300 to 500 charge cycles, but there’s no point waiting to charge it after the battery life is completely drained.
Charging your LiPo battery before it’s completely drained is a sure way to maximize its lifespan. Whenever you get the chance to plug in your battery, please do.
Unlike other batteries, LiPo batteries don’t care if they are being charged a hundred times, so don’t fret about damaging them from too much charging. Make sure you are using the right charger and you are charging at a decent charge rate – 1C or 2C.
4. Temperature Check
LiPo batteries are sensitive, so you aren’t advised to toss them around anywhere and go about your day.
Do you know leaving your battery under the sun can permanently damage it? Heat is a huge spoiler when it comes to LiPo batteries, and they won’t charge well in hot environments.
Storing your LiPo battery pack according to the ideal storage specification without keeping it in a cool place is a disaster.
So, make sure your battery has cooled down to a moderate temperature before using or charging.
5. Know The Maximum Discharge Time
When we talk about maximum discharge rating, this is the highest power capacity you can use out of your LiPo battery. You may be wondering why you need to follow any discharge rule, after all, you are supposed to enjoy your battery until it gets depleted.
Unfortunately, that is not the case with LiPo batteries; remember the plan is to make sure your batteries last as long as possible.
So, if you are still on that track, the best way is to allow your battery pack a run time of 80% or less than that. There should always be at least 20% capacity in your battery pack before charging.
Most people fail to adhere to this rule, not because they don’t want to, but because they don’t even know the capacity in their battery pack. The best way to do this is to know the maximum run time you have in your LiPo battery pack, so you don’t go more than 80%.
How to Check for a Damaged LiPo Battery?
LiPo batteries are expensive, yes; however, it’s still not an excuse for you to keep using a damaged battery. Everyone wants a battery that can last for many decades, but that’s impossible, and with a LiPo battery pack, it’s best to know when it becomes damaged so you can carefully dispose of it.
The most common way of knowing your LiPo battery is damaged is when it doesn’t supply power to your RC devices anymore. There are other signs you need to look out for, so you can immediately dispose of your battery when it gets bad.
- If you are noticing an unusual electrolyte smell emanating from your LiPo battery, there’s a high chance that it’s damaged already. A leaking electrolyte is dangerous to even your devices because it’s acidic, plus electrolytes are highly inflammable.
- Noticing dented corners around your LiPo battery pack? If yes, it has gone bad.
- When it comes to all types of batteries, puffiness is bad news. So, if your LiPo battery is puffy, you need to stop using it ASAP!
- Visible damage on the body of the battery is likely a sign that it’s already damaged.
Important Information Every LiPo Battery Owner Should Take Note Of
- Used LiPo batteries should not even be considered an option. Yes, LiPo batteries are quite expensive, and you might want to save extra bucks by purchasing a used one, newsflash; it’ll most likely get damaged in less than a year. The reason is that you have no idea how well it was stored and managed by the previous owner. Not everyone is well-versed on how to care for LiPo batteries, so don’t think about it.
- Scary as it may sound, LiPo batteries can easily cause a fire outbreak if you are not careful. Nobody can be too careful, and that’s why it’s advised to have a fire extinguisher close by to your charging and storing area. Plus, you need to keep your charging area free from inflammable materials. When charging, it’s best to use a fireproof LiPo safety bag to prevent a fire hazard.
- LiPo batteries will not function fully in extremely cold or hot weather. The chemical activity inside the battery will be affected and this can reduce the lifespan of the battery as well.
LiPo batteries are great investments and last for a long time when handled with care. Yes, there are risks involved with using them, but the benefits far outweigh that. LiPo batteries are common, plus their battery cell has up to four times the energy of normal batteries, so why shouldn’t you go for it?
Remember, with LiPo batteries, you don’t over-charge or over-discharge.