The first thing you need to know about LiPo batteries is that they are different from other batteries you may be familiar with. If too much energy is consumed from or put into a LiPo battery, it can cause permanent damage or even result in a fire. Therefore, closely monitoring the remaining energy in the battery is crucial during usage. This way, you will know when to finishing using and ensure the battery’s health. When you get a new lipo battery for your device, you must want to let your lipo battery “live” longer. So, what should we do to achieve that？ This first step is to know how to charge your lipo battery for the first time. In this article, we will firstly introduce what is storage voltage and what is battery cell of lipo battery. When you completely understand the basic information about lipo battery, then we will tell you haw to charge your lipo battery for the first time.
What is Storage Voltage of LiPo Battery?
When you get your new lipo battery, you will find that there some electricity left. We call it storage voltage. What is this?
When you receive a new LiPo battery, it comes partially charged. This partial charge is referred to as the storage voltage. The storage voltage is the voltage at which each cell of the battery is charged to approximately 3.8 volts (don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar with cells, we’ll explain in more detail later). This voltage is considered the most stable for LiPo batteries. Any more or less energy in the battery can lead to gradual degradation and reduced efficiency. That’s why it’s crucial to either charge or discharge the battery to the storage voltage immediately after use.
How to Charge Your Lipo Battery For the First Time?
To ensure safe and optimal performance of your LiPo battery and charger, it’s important to carefully read the manual or manufacturer’s instructions that came with them. Each brand and model may have specific guidelines and recommendations that you need to follow.
Using a charger that is not specifically designed for LiPo batteries can cause damage or even result in a fire hazard. Always make sure you have a charger with a balance charging feature to ensure all cells are charged evenly. Before charging, check the voltage of your LiPo battery using a LiPo voltage checker or a charger with a voltage display. Make sure it’s not below the safe minimum voltage specified by the manufacturer. If it is, do not charge the battery and consider disposing of it properly.
To charge your LiPo battery, connect it to the charger using the appropriate balance lead and main power lead. Double-check that the connections are secure and correct. Set the charging parameters on your charger according to the specifications provided by the LiPo battery manufacturer. This includes selecting the correct cell count (e.g., 2S, 3S, 4S), charging current, and charging mode (balance charge mode is recommended for the first charge). Begin the charging process by pressing the start button or initiating the charging sequence on your charger. Monitor the charging process closely and never leave the charging battery unattended.
During the first charge, it’s advisable to use the balance charging mode to ensure all cells are charged evenly. This helps prevent cell imbalance and extends the overall lifespan of the battery. Once the charging process is complete, the charger will usually indicate this or emit a sound. Disconnect the LiPo battery from the charger and double-check that the battery is at the recommended storage voltage (usually around 3.8-3.85V per cell) for long-term storage. If you’re not planning to use the battery immediately, store it in a safe and fireproof LiPo bag or container away from flammable materials. Remember to never store fully charged or completely discharged batteries for an extended period.
What is Lipo Battery Cells?
LiPo batteries come in various shapes, sizes, cell counts, connector types, and so on. From very small single-cell batteries to large 6S batteries typically used for drones with 5-inch propellers. (Yes, there are models with more than 6 cells, but this guide may not be suitable if you need one of those.) When you add multiple batteries together to create a larger and more powerful lipo battery, the voltage of the whole battery is multiplied by the number of cells.
For example, a 4S battery with four series-connected lithium-ion cells has a maximum voltage of 4.2V multiplied by 4, which is 16.8V. A 6S battery has a maximum charging voltage of 25.2V. The higher the voltage, the faster the motors spin. That’s why it’s important to match the right motor speed with the correct battery voltage. But we’ll leave that for another guide.
The important part here is understanding the relationship between voltage and battery cell count. I also recommend having an OSD (On-Screen Display) show the average battery voltage in your FPV goggles. This way, it doesn’t matter if you’re flying with a 4-cell or 6-cell battery, it will show you the average battery voltage, and you’ll get used to using that value to decide when to land.
You may also come across batteries listed as 4S2P or 2S2P. That simply lets the buyer know that there are some cells connected in series and some in parallel to achieve the required voltage and capacity of the whole battery. So, in the case of 4S2P, it lets you know there are 4 series-connected cells, each composed of 2 parallel-connected batteries, to get extra capacity without increasing the voltage.
Any lithium battery made up of multiple individual cells has the potential to become unbalanced. Ideally, you want all the cells within an individual battery to always be at the same voltage. To help you achieve this, your lithium battery charger has an option called “balance charging.” Some chargers also divide the charging process into “fast charging” and “balance charging” stages, quickly charging the battery to near full capacity first, and then slowly filling it up while checking the voltage of each cell to ensure they are all charged evenly when finished.
To keep your battery healthy to the maximum extent, you should always balance charge your battery. That’s also why your 2-cell or larger lithium batteries have a second plug.
It’s also important to periodically monitor the voltage of each cell within the battery. All lithium battery chargers capable of charging a battery for 2 seconds or longer should display the voltage of each cell in the battery. If you notice that one cell’s voltage is significantly lower than the others after using the battery, you’ll know it may be time to retire that cell.
This brings us to the part about charging lithium batteries. To maximize the lifespan of the battery, you need to understand some knowledge about charging. First and foremost, never leave a charging battery unattended. The risk of fire increases significantly when lithium batteries are being charged. Properly charged healthy undamaged lithium batteries are unlikely to catch fire, but charging batteries damaged or discharged excessively due to crashes in FPV drones can be extremely dangerous.