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Beginners New to e-power flying? Get the low down in here from experienced e-power RC pilots!

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Old 11-10-2006, 05:36 AM   #1
EpoweredRc
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Default Warning to anyone new to RC and Lipo batterys

This is for any new RC person. As I have been back on here regular over the past few weeks it seems we are getting a lot of new members and people new to the hobby witch is Great. I am so happy to see this site with so many members and see new members, I love helping people out in this hobby.
This is just a be careful with Lipo battery thread. This is a great hobby and is a lot of fun. But with some battery's can be right down dangerous.

Watch this video, this is what can happen to a lipo, if it ever swells up get rid of the pack
http://www.helihobby.com/videos/LithiumBattery.wmv


Never charge it in the plane.

Always charge the battery at the rate it states to be charged at.

Always use the right charger, as in don't use a nicad charger to charge a lipo.

do not drop them

do not leave in a hot car


Down below is a Video and some pictures, look at them and remember them. 3 years ago almost me and my father found out about lipo's I was scared about using them but now not as bad, cause I have seen if your careful and don't over charge and don't drop them and misuse them there not that dangerous. but some people new to tis hobby might not understand or know any info on them.



Here are a few pictures
1.The first one is a house that the guy was charging in his house, had 30,000 worth of damage to his house.

2.a guy was charging in his explorer in his garage. he was outside doing stuff, he didn't know about the fire until the back window of the truck exploded.

3.is a picture of a lipo pack thats on fire.

4.used to be a helicopter until it caught on fire.

I am not trying to scare you or discourage you from flying your plane, I am Only Warning you what can happen if you don't be safe.

Happy flying , You can read more about lipo packs in battery and charger section of this site.

BTW the pics are not mine, or I don't know the people, just some that I found while searching around, I have seen worse then these, somewhere there is a thread with a suv totally on fire in flames at a flying Field, and someones house pretty much totally burned down.


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"I'ld rather be flying"

"B&D 1100 Cells and A123 2300 cells are my
best friends."

_______________
My Personal RC website:
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Old 11-11-2006, 01:03 PM   #2
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Good training video! Use to have the Ni Cad's in aircraft go into thermal runaway and would burn right through the aircraft structure and out of the aircraft!
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Old 11-11-2006, 04:29 PM   #3
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foamiesrfun
I have a battery that one the the cells have swollen.
I know not to use it but what is the best way to
discard a battery that has gone bad? Delsol
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Old 11-11-2006, 05:01 PM   #4
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The method I've used is to discharge it, cut and tape the leads, then submerge it in salted water for 24 hours. After that you can just throw it away.

I've discharged a few by hooking up a set of leads to a light bulb and use the battery to power it.

I fly, therefore I crash.
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Old 11-11-2006, 08:00 PM   #5
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The latest and greatest info is that saltwater does not work. discharging completely is the way to go.
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Old 11-11-2006, 11:29 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by delsol View Post
foamiesrfun
I have a battery that one the the cells have swollen.
I know not to use it but what is the best way to
discard a battery that has gone bad? Delsol
Delsol, I would discharge the pack all the way down, If it is a 2 -3 cell or a single cell then you can take a simply light blub like goes in your tail light for your car and hook up the cell to it, when it goes all the way dim you cant see it anymore it will be totally discharged. I myself would do this maybe outside on concret away from anything flamable. just to be safe.

You can then cut the leads and splice them together ( this will give a direct short to the cell and it wont regain life)

you can then stick it in salt water for however long( I really not sure)


*Note* They have been auguments going back and forth if salt water will work or not, seems most who discharge first then put into salt water it works, and the ones who doesnt discharge first doesnt work*

I know for us ( me and my father) he just discharges the packs and sticks them in this fire proof container out in the middle of the yard away from everything.. we have packs from a few years back out there in that thing.

kinda hard to discard old packs always has been, cause you jknow your not even supposed to throw AA and AAA and whatever in the trash can
but everyone does it.

Hope I helped a little, I am not the battery expert.

"I'ld rather be flying"

"B&D 1100 Cells and A123 2300 cells are my
best friends."

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Old 11-12-2006, 02:38 PM   #7
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Thanks for the info, I'll discharge the pack today!
I'll call a few places that might take the battery
off my hands.
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Old 11-16-2006, 12:14 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by delsol View Post
Thanks for the info, I'll discharge the pack today!
I'll call a few places that might take the battery
off my hands.
No problem, safty first!

"I'ld rather be flying"

"B&D 1100 Cells and A123 2300 cells are my
best friends."

_______________
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Old 11-21-2006, 02:53 AM   #9
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is there any way you can get something like a base to make the acid impotent, then you can get rid of the base/acid mixture by like, idk, burniong it if its flamable? but be safe dont take a teenagers advice lol- safety=longer life span than I
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Old 02-16-2009, 06:55 AM   #10
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This needs to be bumped back ttt , I forgot it as I hardly use lipos now. I love A123's.

"I'ld rather be flying"

"B&D 1100 Cells and A123 2300 cells are my
best friends."

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Old 02-16-2009, 09:47 AM   #11
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I have heard the salt water thing too.. but I just cant get my head around the idea of submerging ANY battery in water and expecting a good outcome, wether salt nulls the acid or not, its still electricity and water to me. What if you had a crash and banged up your LiPo to the point that the leads are not connected inside? Discharging wont do you any good because you wont discharge anything.. and then blindly drop that in a bucket of salt water? not in my yard...

I have had my share of damaged LiPo's. Some from crashes and some that puffed up from intense use.

The Law here in Germany is pretty clean cut on this one.

If you sell an item, you have to have a way to dispose of that item. ie If you sell LiPo's then you must have a channel for disposing them.

Disposing of LiPo, NiMh, NiCad packs is actually quite simple. Ask your LHS if they perform a disposal service for used batteries (as mine does) if they dont, then contact you local auto parts store (one with a garage) They are required by Law to properly dispose of hazardous materials like corrosives, chemicals and Batteries from their shop. You may have to pay a buck or two for that service, but I would gladly put off McDonalds tonight to know that I wont burn down anything or get someone hurt tomorrow.

Recycling plants and the EPA can also point you in the right direction... and thats just a phone call..

I charge my liPo's in a large ceramic bowl and away from stuff I don't want burned up. and always near a window just in case I need it out of the house NOW! ya know? I push a few rules and things now and then.. but I dont play with well being of my car, house or family..


Edit-
WOW Did I just trip over something, I went looking for an EPA link describing disposal regs.. they linked to a site called the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporatation who, on their web site, lists by Zip Code, those stores and locations who will recycle your rechargeables for FREE!! Radio Shack seems to be the big guys in that one..

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Old 02-16-2009, 02:07 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by stinkweed007 View Post
... recycle your rechargeables for FREE!! Radio Shack seems to be the big guys in that one..
Yep. A friend of mine dropped his damaged lipos off at RS and they took them with no questions asked.
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Old 02-16-2009, 02:09 PM   #13
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I'm not really new to RCs but Li-po's do scare me. I've seen the pics before and heard the stories. I've had one pack almost go into melt down, so I haven't used one since. This weekend I picked up a MCX, so I'm back to being nervous again

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Old 02-16-2009, 02:24 PM   #14
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I have punctured lipos, split lipos open and had lipos fall from the sky onto concrete and nothing happened. I still fly the one that fell from the sky. Where I see people getting in trouble is from incorrect charging or exceeding the batteries capability and discharging them too fast.
With the mCX you have nothing to worry about.
Ways to ruin a lipo and your day.
-Charge at a faster rate than designed
-Short leads or balance taps together
-Overload and overheat the Lipo

Just respect them and don't do any experimentation and you'll be fine
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Old 02-16-2009, 02:38 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by crosborne View Post
I have punctured lipos, split lipos open and had lipos fall from the sky onto concrete and nothing happened. I still fly the one that fell from the sky. Where I see people getting in trouble is from incorrect charging or exceeding the batteries capability and discharging them too fast.
With the mCX you have nothing to worry about.
Ways to ruin a lipo and your day.
-Charge at a faster rate than designed
-Short leads or balance taps together
-Overload and overheat the Lipo

Just respect them and don't do any experimentation and you'll be fine
Exactly! Where is that thanks button.

Lipos are not dangerous when used properly. No more dangerous than the gasoline you put in your car or the electricity running through your house.

All three can kill you if mistreated. But if handled properly will give you years of enjoyment. Just be careful and pay attention as you do with anything that is potentially dangerous.

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Old 02-19-2009, 10:06 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by crosborne
I have punctured lipos, split lipos open and had lipos fall from the sky onto concrete and nothing happened. I still fly the one that fell from the sky. Where I see people getting in trouble is from incorrect charging or exceeding the batteries capability and discharging them too fast.
With the mCX you have nothing to worry about.
Ways to ruin a lipo and your day.
-Charge at a faster rate than designed
-Short leads or balance taps together
-Overload and overheat the Lipo

Just respect them and don't do any experimentation and you'll be fine
Heard this one a while back in South Aus.. A fellow RCer shed full of 40+ years of flying had a lipo go up... Lost the lot, some irreplaceable i would imagine. Don't quote me but did hear bits and pieces about "experimentation" with Ni-MH charger

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Old 01-03-2010, 04:38 PM   #17
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It is 2010 and felt this needed to be bumped back up, I feel it needs to be a sticky but that won't happen I guess.

"I'ld rather be flying"

"B&D 1100 Cells and A123 2300 cells are my
best friends."

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Where I got my edge 540
http://www.fancyfoam.com/
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Old 01-27-2010, 07:08 PM   #18
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Note that this thread was started in 2006. Some information is timeless but info about lipos is not. We just know so much more now.

True, Lipos are more prone to damage than Nickel based packs, but we know a LOT more about how to use them then we did in the beginning.

Today, Lipo balancing is common. Back then it was not.

So, here is what we know.

* Use the proper charger - Lithium batteries, like all batteries, need to be charged with the proper charger. Note that there are several different kinds of lithium batteries and they all need a charger that is right for them. Two popular ones today are Lithium Polymer and the A123 packs. Both are Lithium but they have different charging requirements. Be sure your charger is right for your pack.

* Over discharging - Lithium Polymer packs don't do well if you let them discharge below 2.5V resting voltage PER CELL. That would be 7.5V on a 3 cell pack, for example. In order to avoid going this low, most ESC LVC will cut the motor when the voltage is around 3V under load. Take off the load and the pack will bounce back to 3.2, maybe 3.3V per cell, but there is very little useful charge left at that voltage. Certainly it will not sustain the demands of the typical motor but it can sustain the receiver and most servos so you have plenty of time to land.

If you run a pack down below 3V per cell, you risk damage. Below 2.5V per cell and you are pretty likely to get damage. If you then fast charge them, THAT is typically when this puffing and bursting stuff happens. Most chargers will not even try to charge a lipo pack if it is down below 2.5V/cell.

If you have to set the cell count on your charger, make sure that you set it correctly.

* Balancing - Back in the early days we didn't know about balancing and how critical it was to lithium packs. If the pack got out of balance, then one or more cells could drop below that critical 2.5V while other cells in the pack might still be at 2.7V, for example. When you charged you charged to a total voltage which might mean that the pack came to the proper charge voltage but there could be cells that were being over charged. Lithiums don't like being over charged.

Today, virtually all lipo packs have balance taps for charging so that your charger or your cell balancer can bring them all to a common voltage. If balancing is done regularly you get better performance and better pack life and you don't over charge or under charge individual cells.

* Don't leave them connected - Don't ever leave your battery pack connected to the ESC. Even if there is an on/off switch, the ESC still draws a little power. This can drain a lithium pack flat. You don't realize this has happened. You put the pack on the charger and hit the charge button. NOW YOU RUN THE RISK OF A BAD EVENT!

When we were using Nickel based packs, this was no big deal. In fact it might be beneficial as this would bring the pack back into balance, all cells were zero volts. For a lithium pack this is death.

If your plane gets stuck in a tree and sits there for days, chances are the lipo pack will be ruined.

* Physical damage - Lipos are soft. Things can get poked into them. This can lead to internal shorts and other damage. If your lipo pack is in a crash, don't stick it immediately on your charger or in your glove box as there could be a problem. This can happen with Nickel based packs too, but it is not as easy. I have had NiMh packs catch fire while charging due to an internal short.

Damage can be hidden, so we generally store our Lithium packs in fire proof containers. A pack may look OK but there may be a small damage that is unseen that can turn into a short or other problem later. So store them in a fire proof container. This is also a good idea for your Nickel based packs.

If they puff up, consider our Lipoly pack damaged. Get it off the charger immediately and don't try to use it again.


Summary

Lithium packs are very safe IF AND ONLY IF you handle them properly and treat them right. This is true of any battery pack, or glow fuel, or propane torches and backyard BBQs. Ignore safety procedures and you could have a problem. Follow good practices and you have little to worry about.

Remember you likely have lithium batteries in your phone, your laptop, and many other devices around your home. Lithium batteries come embedded in toys and are more and more common with RTF airplanes.

Dont worry about them, just handle them properly and you won't have any problems. I have been using Lipos since 2005 and have not had a single problem.

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Old 01-27-2010, 07:58 PM   #19
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Just a little side note ... to help prevent over discharge of your Lipo battery you can buy a LBA. (Low Battery Alarm)

Very cheap and very useful! ($2-$3)

http://shop.ebay.com/i.html?LH_BIN=1...=p3286.c0.m301

For those using planes ... they do make much louder models. But these smaller ones can be just as useful. Fly for 5-7 minutes and land. (perhaps longer if you have a higher capacity lipo) Check the LEDs on your LBA and see if you're close to over discharge.

A few bucks is well worth saving your batteries. It's simple plug in play.
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Old 01-28-2010, 01:39 AM   #20
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I hope people also realize that Lipo's are not the only risk.

I have my soldering irons, and things like hot melt glue guns, and heat guns, plugged into a 6 outlet plug strip, that is controlled by a wind up bathroom fan timer switch. It will not stay on for more than 1/2 hour at a time, if you need more, wind it up again. I've caught my self leaving it on for days before I wired like this. I've got a temp regulated one so it wasn't as high a risk as a common soldering iron.

Then there was the day I came home to find a commercial high quality PLUGMOLD brand plug strip (6' long metal with separate outlets) burning! one of the outlets without a cord in it had short circuited, started a fire, melting a plastic parts drawer unit, that of course was feeding the fire!! I had flames 3' high, directly below the shelf that held my transmitters! there was about 6 transmitters going to be bar-b-qued in minutes I don't remember if I put the fire out or grabbed my equipment first The smokie went off, that is the only way I knew something was wrong, and I was going to leave for the night.

So if you use Lipo's or not, check your smoke alarm, and have a fire extinguisher handy, You don't even want to think about what would happen if a fire started close to a case of glo-fuel

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Old 02-19-2010, 11:18 AM   #21
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I have a 3s 3200 mAh 20 C that has a split on one cell. The cells go.. 3.98, 4.22 4.22. 12.42 total

Should i discard this battery or is it ok? Thank yall.
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Old 02-19-2010, 12:30 PM   #22
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Are you using a ballance charger? If not that will bring your voltages closer.

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Old 02-19-2010, 12:41 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by CLSSY56 View Post
Are you using a ballance charger? If not that will bring your voltages closer.

Yes i am using a balance charger and have discharged and the brought back slowly.
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Old 02-19-2010, 01:17 PM   #24
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There's a couple of guys on youtube that microwave thing's ,I've seen ni-cads and lipo's ,a bit of smoke and flames, not really exciting but TNT was a blast!!!
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Old 02-19-2010, 05:29 PM   #25
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First: thank you whoever made this a Sticky.

Second: Thank you AEAJR for your info, and well you can still buy some lipos w/o balancing and remember if someone got a hold of a old charger they might charge it w/o balancing. I have a triton and it charge w/o balancing, it does not offer it.

But yes most have it now a lot more then back when I wrote this, I still treat lipos as Bombs and handle with care, I do fly some now and have single cell batterys in my micro flyer they don't scare me like a big 3 or 4 or more cell one.

"I'ld rather be flying"

"B&D 1100 Cells and A123 2300 cells are my
best friends."

_______________
My Personal RC website:
http://chrissrcplanes.tripod.com/
Where I got my edge 540
http://www.fancyfoam.com/
My clubs Site.
http://pcmaviation.org/NewIndex.htm
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