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Electric 4 Ever

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PostSubject: LIPO BATTERIES   Sun Apr 11, 2010 3:00 am

[justify][justify][justify]

I found something great about LIPO,,, so have a look afro

What are LiPo batteries and why are they so popular in the RC world?

LiPo batteries (short for Lithium Polymer) are a type of rechargeable battery that has taken the electric RC world by storm. They are the main reason electric cars is now a very viable option over fuel powered models.

RC LiPo batteries have three main things going for them that make them the perfect battery choice for RC planes and even more so for RC helicopters over conventional rechargeable battery types such as NiCad, or NiMH.


RC LiPo batteries are light weight and can be made in almost any shape and size.
RC LiPo batteries have large capacities, meaning they hold lots of power in a small package.
RC LiPo batteries have high discharge rates to power the most demanding electric motors.

In short, LiPo’s provide high energy storage to weight ratios in an endless variety of shapes and sizes.

These benefits are important in any RC model, but for airplanes and helicopters they are the reason electric flight has become so popular. Face it, electric cars and boats have been around for decades, it wasn’t till LiPo battery technology arrived on the scene, that electric planes and helicopters started showing up and are rivalling nitro power in terms of performance.

There are a few down sides with RC LiPo batteries however; once again proving there is no perfect solution.


RC LiPo batteries are still expensive compared to NiCad and NiMH, but coming down in price all the time.
Although getting better, RC LiPo’s don’t last that long, perhaps only 300-400 charge cycles (much less if not cared for properly). That said, I have heard some people getting over 1000 cycles if all the rules are followed.
Safety issues - because of the volatile electrolyte used in LiPo’s, they can catch fire or explode.
RC LiPo batteries require unique and proper care if they are going to last for any length of time more so than any other battery technology. Charging, discharging, and storage all affect the lifespan – get it wrong and a LiPo is garbage in as little as one mistake.

LiPo RC Battery Ratings
Now that I have bored you to death on RC LiPo battery basics, time to get into the main topics at hand. First are ratings, specifically voltage and capacity. These are the two main numbers you will need when going battery shopping.. There is a third number you will also need to be aware of which I will get to in just a bit.

VOLTAGE
Unlike conventional NiCad or NiMH battery cells that have a voltage of 1.2 volts per cell, LiPo battery cells are rated at 3.7 volts per cell. The benefit here is fewer cells can be used to make up a battery pack and in some cases like on the Blade mCX, one 3.7 volt cell is all that is needed to power the model.

Other than the smallest of electric RC models, RC LiPo battery packs will have at least two or more cells hooked up in series to provide higher voltages. For larger RC models that number can be as high as 6 cells (even more). Here is a list of LiPo RC battery pack voltages with cell counts. If you are wondering what the 2-6S in parenthesis means; it is a way the battery manufactures indicate how my cells hooked in series (S) the battery pack contains.


3.7 volt battery = 1 cell x 3.7 volts
7.4 volt battery = 2 cells x 3.7 volts (2S)
11.1 volt battery = 3 cells x 3.7 volts (3S)
14.8 volt battery = 4 cells x 3.7 volts (4S)
18.5 volt battery = 5 cells x 3.7 volts (5S)
22.2 volt battery = 6 cells x 3.7 volts (6S)

I should point out you may run across packs or cells hooked up in parallel to increase the capacity. This is indicated by a number followed by a "P". Example: 3S2P would indicate 2, three celled series packs hooked up in parallel to double the capacity.

So, those are the voltages you need to know and each RC model or more specifically, the motor/speed controller combination will indicate what voltage is required for correct operation/RPM. This number has to be followed to the letter in most cases since a change in voltage equates to a change in RPM and will require changing the gearing - not something I want to get into. If a model calls for a 3 cell (3S) 11.1 volt battery – that is what must be used unless you want to open a whole new can of worms.

A quick word on motor ratings...

Many people new to electric flight get confused by brushless electric motor ratings, specifically the Kv rating thinking Kv = kilo-volts (1 kV = 1000 volts). This is not the case at all. The Kv rating of a brushless motor refers to how many RPM it turns per volt. An example might be something like a 1000 Kv motor with a voltage range of 10 - 25 volts. That would mean this motor will turn at about 10,000 RPM @ 10 volts up to around 25,000 RPM @ 25 volts.

I don't want to start into motor ratings; battery ratings are plenty to get through... I just thought I would make mention of it since I do get that "Kilo-Volt" question often.

CAPACITY
Capacity indicates how much power the battery pack can hold and is indicated in milliamp hours (mAh). This is just a fancy way of saying how much load or drain (measured in milliamps) can be put on the battery for 1 hour at which time the battery will be fully discharged.

For example a RC LiPo battery that is rated at 1000 mAh would be completely discharged in one hour with a 1000 milliamp load placed on it. If this same battery had a 500 milliamp load placed on it, it would take 2 hours to drain down. If the load was increased to around 15,000 milliamps (15 amps) a very common current drain in a 400-500 sized RC helicopter, the time to drain the battery would be only about 4 minutes.

As you can see, for a RC model with that kind of current draw, it would be very advantageous to use a larger capacity battery pack such as a 2000 mAh pack. This larger pack used with a 15 amp draw would double the time to about 8 minutes till the pack was discharged.

The main thing to get out of this is if you want more flight time; increase the capacity of your battery pack. Unlike voltage, capacity can be changed around to give you more or less flight time. Of course because of size restrictions and weight you have to stay within a certain battery capacity range seeing that the more capacity a battery pack has, the larger and heavier it will be.

DISCHARGE RATE

Remember that third number I was talking about when you go RC LiPo battery shopping? Yes, discharge rate is that number. This one is probably the single most over rated & miss understood of all battery ratings.

Discharge rate is simply how fast a battery can be discharged safely. Remember that ion exchange thing further up the page? Well the faster the ions can flow from anode to cathode in a battery will indicate the discharge rate. In the RC LiPo battery world it is called the “C” rating.

What does it mean?
Well Capacity begins with “C” so that should give you a pretty good idea. A battery with a discharge rating of 10C would mean you could discharge it at a rate 10 times more than the capacity of the pack, a 15C pack = 15 times more, a 20C pack = 20 times more, and so on.

Let's use our 1000 mAh battery as an example; if it was rated at 10C that would mean you could pull a maximum sustained load up to 10,000 milliamps or 10 amps off that battery (10 x 1000 milliamps = 10,000 milliamps or 10 amps). From a time stand point, this equals 166 mA of draw a minute so the 1000 mAh pack would be exhausted in about 6 minutes.

This is calculated by first determining the mA per minute of the pack. 1000 mAh divided by 60 minutes = 16.6 mA's per minute. You then multiply that number by the C rating (10 in this case) = 166 mA of draw per minute divided into the packs capacity (1000 mA) = 6.02 minutes.

How about a 20C rating on a 2000 mAh battery? 20 x 2000 = 40,000 milliamps or 40 amps. Time wise, a 40 amp draw on this pack would exhaust it in about 3 minutes (2000/60= 33.3 mA minutes multiplied by 20c = 666 mA per minute - divided into the packs capacity of 2000 mA = 3 minutes). As you can see, that is a pretty short flight and unless you are drawing the maximum power for the entire flight, it is unlikely you would ever come close to those numbers.

Most RC LiPo Battery packs will show the continuous C rating and some are now indicating a burst rating as well. A burst rating indicates the battery discharge rate for short bursts of extended power. An example might be something like “Discharge rate = 20C Continuous / 40C Bursts”

The higher the C rating, usually the more expensive the battery - this is where you can save some money. Getting a high discharge rated pack when there is no way you could possibly pull the full amount of power is not required. You can’t go too low on your C rating either or you will damage your battery and possibly your ESC (electronic speed control).

So how do you know what C rating to get when purchasing your LiPo RC Battery Pack? Time for a little more math - sorry...

You need to know your ESC’s maximum amp rating which is usually determined by the motor it will be used with. Since the ESC is what ultimately delivers the power to the motor, that is why the ESC’s amp rating is more important than the motor’s watt rating. All ESC’s will have an amp rating and from that it is easy to figure out what C rating your battery should be.

For example, an ESC rated at 30 amps used in conjunction with a 2000 mAh battery pack would need a battery with a minimum C rating of 15C (15 x 2000 milliamps = 30,000 milliamps = 30 amps).

Now for a RC boat or car where it is doubtful you would be using full power all the time and only be using full power intermittently, you might be able to save a few bucks by using a 12C battery with a 15C burst rate for example.

I feel getting a pack with a constant discharge rate equal to what the ESC is able to deliver is the economical way to go.

This calculation method won't push the pack past its maximum discharge rate, and it allows a nice buffer zone (unless you are using full power the entire flight (not very likely). A pack that is not pushed to the threshold of its discharge capacity will run cooler improving the overall life span of the battery pack and will end up saving some coin in the long run.

Time for another example to go through all this:

If we had a Trex 450 RC heli with 35 amp ESC and a 2100 mAh 20C battery, we can calculate if this battery is good enough for even the most demanding 3D pilot. The Battery is capible of producing 42 amps of maximum power (2100 mA X 20C = 42000 mA = 42 amps). More than enough for a 35 amp ESC.

Don't forget the time calculation either. At a full 31.5 amps of draw, our battery would be exhausted in about 4 minutes. I know a Trex 450 with a 2100 mAh battery pack will give at least 6 minutes of flight when pushing some hard sport type flying and only the most aggressive 3D flying could come close to exhausting that pack in 4 minutes.

As you can see "by the numbers", unless you are pushing things to the limit, spending serious cash on high discharge rate packs is somewhat of a waste.

That said, RC LiPo packs are coming down in price all the time. If you find a 30C pack for the same price as a 20C when that is all you need, go for the 30C pack - it will run cooler and most likely last a little longer. Like most things, pushing a Lipo pack hard close to its limits will wear it out in short order. Having a little wiggle room on the high side will ensure that won't happen.

Lastly feel your packs after running them. I'm afraid to say it, but just because a pack says it is rated at 20C doesn't necessary mean it is in real world applications since nothing runs at 100% efficiency. A LiPo battery after a flight or race will be warm. The warmer it gets, the more stress is being placed on it. If you are running a 20C and it is very warm or worse, hot to the touch after using it, your should definitely consider going up to a 25C or 30C pack.

The other thing that will heat a pack up fast is if you push it right down to 3.0 volts per cell under load. Even if you have a 40C pack and can only draw half that amount, if you push it hard right down to 3 volts per cell - it will become very warm/hot and will shorten its life.

Charging RC LiPo Batteries


Charging RC LiPo Batteries is a topic in itself. LiPo, and Li-Ion batteries obviously have some very different characteristics from conventional RC rechargeable battery types. Therefore, charging them correctly with a charger specifically designed for LiPo batteries is critical to both the life span of the RC LiPo battery pack, and your safety.

Maximum Charge Voltage and Current

A 3.7 volt RC LiPo battery cell is 100% charged when it reaches 4.2 volts. Charging it past that will destroy the battery cell and possibly cause it to catch fire. This is important to understand once I start talking about Balancing RC LiPo batteries, so keep that in the back of your head for right now.

It is critical that you use a charger specified for Li-Ion or LiPo and select the correct voltage or cell count when charging your RC LiPo batteries if you are using a computerized charger. If you have a 2 cell (2S) pack you must select 7.4 volts or 2 cells on your charger. If you selected 11.1V (a 3S pack) by mistake and tried to charge your 2S pack, the pack will be destroyed and most likely catch fire.

Most good RC LiPo battery chargers will use the constant current / constant voltage charging method (cc/cv). All this means is that a constant current is applied to the battery during the first part of the charge cycle. As the battery voltage closes in on the 100% charge voltage, the charger will automatically start reducing the charge current and then apply a constant voltage. The charger will stop charging when the 100% charge voltage of the battery pack equalizes with chargers constant voltage setting (4.2 volts per cell) at this time, the charge cycle is completed. Going past that, even to 4.21 volts will shorten battery life.

RC LiPo Battery Charging Current

Selecting the correct charge current is also critical when charging RC LiPo battery packs. The golden rule here use to be "never charge a LiPo or Li-Ion pack greater than 1 times its capacity (1C)."

For example a 2000 mAh pack, would be charged at a maximum charge current of 2000 mA or 2.0 amps. Never higher or the life of the pack would be greatly reduced. If you choose a charge rate significantly higher than the 1C value, the battery will heat up and could swell, vent, or catch fire.

Times are a changing...

Most LiPo experts now feel however you can safely charge at a 2C or even 3C rate on quality packs that have a discharge rating of at least 20C or more safely, with little effect on the overall life expectancy of the pack as long as you have a good charger with a good balancing system. There are more and more LiPo packs showing up stating 2C and 3C charge rates, with even a couple manufactures indicating 5C rates. The day of the 10 minute charge is not far off (assuming you have a high power charger and power source capable of delivering that many watts and amps).

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Electric 4 Ever

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PostSubject: Cotinue "LIPO BATTERIES"   Sun Apr 11, 2010 3:03 am

[justify]Balancing

Finally onto RC LiPo battery balancing – what is balancing and why is it important?

Remember me telling you to keep the 100% charged voltage value of 4.2 volts per cell in the back of your head? Well, here is where that number comes into play. For a single cell (3.7 volt LiPo battery) you don’t have to worry about balancing since the battery charger will automatically stop charging when the 100% charge voltage of 4.2 volts is reached.

Balancing is required however on any RC LiPo battery pack that has more than one cell since the charger can’t identify from different cells and know if one might be overcharged even though the total voltage of the pack indicates otherwise. For example let’s look at a 3 cell LiPo battery pack (three LiPo cells hooked in series or 3S).

This would be an 11.1 volt battery pack (3.7 volts per cell x 3 = 11.1 volts). The 100% charge voltage of this LiPo pack = 12.6 volts (4.2 volts x 3 = 12.6 volts). Our trusty charger set up for a 11.1 volt RC LiPo battery pack will then stop charging at 12.6 volts – simple right.

Well what would happen if one of those three cells is charging a bit faster than the other two? There could be two cells at only 4.1 volts and the one that is charging at bit faster could be getting overcharged up to 4.4 volts before the charger stops charging at 12.6 volts. That would certainly cause damage to that one cell, perhaps even a fire.

This is an extreme example and that kind of voltage difference between cells is unlikely with a healthy pack, but even a 0.1 (100 mV) voltage difference between cells can cause issues and damage over time.

On the other end of the spectrum is if there is one cell in the pack that is not reaching full charge when the pack is charged and then gets discharged below 3.0 volts even though the 3 cell battery pack is indicating a voltage of 9 volts or higher.

Balancing ensures all cells are always within about 0.01-0.03 volts per cell so over charging or discharging of one or more cells won’t ruin your battery pack, or worse become a safety issue from overcharging a cell.
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Khalifa1990

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PostSubject: Re: LIPO BATTERIES   Sun Apr 11, 2010 3:04 am

wooow i always loved lipos but i never wondered why so here i am at lest i understand, thanks a lot Very Happy
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radaweee

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PostSubject: Re: LIPO BATTERIES   Sun Apr 11, 2010 10:33 am

thnx man for the great information
i really love lipo battery cuz i have one of the with my tc3 its 3000mah i bought it from hobby corner
its really good battery with nice performance and cheap price Very Happy
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