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How to read and understand a rc lipo battery

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How to read and understand a rc lipo battery

Lithium Polymer batteries also known as "LiPo" batteries are a type of battery used in many consumer electronic devices. Over the years LiPo batteries have soared in popularity in the radio control industry and are the most popular choice for anyone looking for long run times and high power.

However, there is a lot of confusion surrounding LiPo batteries. Many users do not understand how to read and understand a LiPo battery's specifications. This guide was written to help new users to understand the basic data and figures surrounding Lithium Polymer batteries.

Lithium Polymer batteries also known as "LiPo" batteries are a type of battery used in many consumer electronic devices. Over the years LiPo batteries have soared in popularity in the radio control industry and are the most popular choice for anyone looking for long run times and high power.

However, there is a lot of confusion surrounding LiPo batteries. Many users do not understand how to read and understand a LiPo battery's specifications. This guide was written to help new users to understand the basic data and figures surrounding Lithium Polymer batteries.

 

Battery Voltage

The first spec that everyone looks at when picking out a battery is the voltage. As you know, the speed of your motors is proportional to the voltage you supply to them.

All LiPo cells have a nominal voltage of 3.7V. If you have a 7.4V battery it means that there are two 3.7V cells in the series. Their voltage is added together. That is why you might sometimes hear people talking about a 2S battery pack or a 3s pack which is 11.1V and so on.

 

Battery Capacity

Capacity is the first thing people think about when talking about upgrading a LiPo battery.

This common term refers to how much power/energy the battery pack can hold. The units for measuring capacity in LiPo batteries are indicated in milliamp-hours (mAh). So, when you see 1500mAh written on the front of your battery, that is your battery capacity.

And when it comes to capacity higher numbers indicate higher runtime. However, higher capacity makes a battery heavier and this might affect performance adversely.

 

C-Rating

The C-Rating is the most misunderstood aspect of LiPo batteries.

In the RC LiPo battery world, C-Rating or discharge rating is how fast a battery can discharge safely or without being damaged. More easily, C-Rating is the battery's ability to do work. One of the things that makes the C-Rating hard to understand is that it is not a stand-alone number.

The C-Rating requires you to know the battery's capacity to figure out the safe amp draw. Once you understand the battery capacity, it's just simple math from there. Let's take a battery with 50C and a capacity of 5000 mAh for example.

50C = 50* Capacity in Amps (1000mAh= 1 Amp Hour)

The C-Rating for this example is 50* 5 = 250A

250A is the optimum sustained load on this particular battery. Numbers exceeding 250A can lead to the deterioration of the LiPo battery at a faster rate. In the worst-case scenario, your battery might explode.

Most RC Lipo Batteries include two C-Ratings: number one is a continuous rating (the one we have already discussed) and the burst rating.

The burst rating functions in the same way but within a ten-second time frame. For example, your burst rating comes into consideration when accelerating but not when moving at a constant speed in a straight path.

In the real world application, there is no universal perfect C-Rating. You need to understand your maximum current your car or plane will draw to know which battery pack is the best for your needs.

 

Charge Rating

LiPo batteries require specialized care especially when it comes to charging.

The charge rate is the highest charge current rating a manufacturer states that the battery can be charged safely. A battery with a 5C charge rate indicates that you can safely charge the battery at 5 times capacity.

If you have a 5300mAh pack, for example, the calculations are 5* 5300 mAh= 26,500, ah, or 26.5 Amps. However, please note that charging at maximum rates shortens the battery life. This number only indicates the safe maximum number but not the best for maximum life. Using low charge rates of 1C or lower is always better for increasing your RC LiPo batteries.

 

LiPo Smart Battery

Considering how delicate LiPo batteries are, advancements needed to be made in the handling and care of the batteries. As a result, LiPo smart batteries came to life. With LiPo smart batteries you don't need to worry about the charge preferences.

After connecting a smart LiPo battery to a smart charger, unique specifications and health of the battery upload from a smart memory microchip within the battery. Through the smart charger, you can view and set preferences such as charge time and rates. This unique feature helps you save on time since you do not have to constantly monitor your charging.

The best part is that most smart batteries are assembled with IC3 or IC5 output connectors which are conveniently compatible with older devices using the same connectors.

 

Final Takeaways

So there you have it. Now you know what needs to be known about LiPo batteries. We hope this guide is useful and will help you learn how to read and understand LiPo batteries.

If we missed something or you have any questions, let us know in the comments section.

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