Lithium-ion polymer (LiPo) batteries are quickly becoming the number one battery choice for R/C operators, from professional drone flyers to weekend hobbyists. But what exactly makes these batteries superior to other R/C options? Here are four things about LiPo batteries you should know that highlight the benefits of these power sources. Additionally, learn how to properly care for these batteries to avoid complications or even hazardous situations.
Superior to NiMH & NiCD Batteries
Before LiPo batteries, most R/C vehicles used Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) or Nickel-Cadmium (NiCD) batteries for power. However, NiMH and NiCD batteries are bulky, boast a low energy density, often weigh a lot, and are incredibly energy inefficient. LiPo batteries are lighter and have a much higher energy density. They can provide huge sudden bursts of energy for incredible acceleration off the line and much more consistent power output through the entire discharge cycle.
The Benefits of Lithium-Ion Polymers
LiPO batteries are incredibly effective at extending the standby time of various applications thanks to a lower internal resistance than NiMH and NiCD batteries. Furthermore, LiPos boast impressive charging and discharging characteristics, mainly due to the use of highly stable colloidal electrolytes.
In addition, LiPos feature no signs of the “memory effect,” a battery-related phenomenon that impacts NiCD R/C batteries. The Memory Effect means that NiCD batteries lose performance capabilities after each charging and discharging cycle – basically, they weaken over time. However, LiPos are very resistant to the Memory Effect and maintain supreme performance for many cycles!
Environmentally Friendly Alternative
Did you know LiPo batteries are a more environmentally friendly alternative to NiMH and NiCD options? Notably, lithium-ion polymer batteries are entirely free of cadmium, mercury, and lead. As such, these batteries are much less likely to introduce toxic materials into the environment and harm surrounding ecosystems. Certain LiPo battery manufacturers even follow the ISO14000 environmental standards when creating LiPo batteries to reduce their carbon footprint and environmental impact.
Always Discard “Puffy” LiPo Batteries
After many hours of use, you may notice that your LiPo batteries appear “puffy” or “swollen.” While rare, this clearly indicates severe battery complications and requires immediate disposal of the batteries. Charging, using, or simply storing a puffy LiPo battery increases the risk of the battery rupturing, exposing dangerous materials, and potentially causing a fire. Ensure you dispose of your LiPo battery at a certified e-waste recycling location – research your local battery recycling programs to find the nearest available location.
Understanding these four things about LiPo batteries can help you when shopping for new R/C equipment and accessories. Check out our selection of high-performance LiPo batteries and related devices here at GMI Energy!