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Sep 11, 2018, 01:36 PM
Oleg Golovidov
olgol's Avatar
Discussion

Battery care and feeding. Discharging, storing, abuse, etc.


First off, I admit that I am lazy and abusive to my batteries
I tend to keep them fully charged for convenience, so I can grab them and go for practice without waiting for the charge. I also disable or lower the ESC voltage cutoff so that the ESC does not shut off when the voltage drops too low, instead it keeps the motor grinding at lower speed. I know this is not healthy for the batteries. And usually my batteries start puffing not long after being put into service. I consider the batteries an expendable supply. But it certainly would help to keep their lives longer.

When at the TS, I noticed how David Beach always discharges his batteries to storage voltage, and his batteries reportedly live a very long life.
Hence this inquiry...
  • How much is battery's life affected by storing it at full charge?
  • Do you store your batteries discharged to 3.8V? or charged?
  • What do you use to discharge the batteries?
  • Do you use low voltage cutoff on your ESC? at what cell voltage?
  • How long do your batteries usually live? Do they puff quickly or not at all?
  • Do you keep using puffed batteries?

Feel free to tell anything else related to batteries, chargers, checkers, balancers, dischargers, etc.
Hope we all can learn more about care and feeding of batteries...
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Sep 11, 2018, 02:37 PM
USA, SC, Lexington
Wayne Robinson's Avatar
Good topic Oleg,
I see a lot of abuse with lipos, can’t believe what some pilots do to their expensive 5&6 cell batteries.
I got back into flying Control Line abt 8yrs ago and went electric and the past two yrs moved back to sailplanes since the electric options are quit plentiful.
I do take care of my cells and am still flying batteries 8yrs old.

Below is what I do with my batteries:
1. Highly recommend a cell volt meter and I check my batteries after each flt.
You can check each cell voltage, capacity & imbalance of cells and overall capacity.
2. I try not to take them below 20%.
3. Ballance the battery abt every third charge. I only charges at 1C.
4. If not to be used in a week or so I place them in storage abt 33%. I use a auto light bulb to discharge to 33% or you can let your charger do this also.
5. Worst enemy is heat, over discharge, too fast of a charge, left in the sun and let cool after each use befor placing on charge again.

Puffed cells I would not use in my competition ships, they might not fit anyway.. to dispose of batteries I recommend following the manufactures recommendation. I discharge them with a dummy load (light bulb) cut the leads off then soak them in salt water for several days. They now can go out with the trash.

Battery chemistry keeps improving. Can’t wait to see what comes out next.

-WR
Last edited by Wayne Robinson; Sep 11, 2018 at 03:57 PM.
Sep 11, 2018, 03:41 PM
Team Hello Kitty
SoaringDude's Avatar
Regarding discharging your Lipo packs I never used to until I found a cheap but very effective Smart Lipo Discharger. I just posted a review from a local newsletter article I did about this: http://www.f5j-usa.com/article-smart...harger-review/ Hope it helps.

Regarding balance charging, the reason to balance charge is to equalize the charged cell voltages so that each cell will discharge equally in use. This helps ensure similar life out of each cell in your packs. A common belief is that packs only occasionally need balancing; to get the benefits you need to balance charge every time. i.e. the packs themselves do not "remember" a past balance charge.

Chris
Sep 11, 2018, 03:49 PM
Registered User
Olgol, what you do is actually what kills batteries, LOL. Storing at fill charge and discharging to low levels with load. I keep batteries at storage and charge them right before I use them. Helps to have a good series of chargers. I have a couple Junsi I charger duos and a couple ISDT chargers for the field. 3s-850s and 4s-650s charge in about 8 minutes, easy peasy. There are a few cheapo storage discharges out there. Get a couple of those too.
Sep 11, 2018, 04:00 PM
Oleg Golovidov
olgol's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoaringDude
Regarding discharging your Lipo packs I never used to until I found a cheap but very effective Smart Lipo Discharger. I just posted a review from a local newsletter article I did about this: http://www.f5j-usa.com/article-smart...harger-review/ Hope it helps.
Chris
Darn, Chris. I just paid $35 for this same thing to HobbyKing, before I posted my query here.
At least this confirms my choice of the discharger
Sep 11, 2018, 04:01 PM
Oleg Golovidov
olgol's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmwjoon
Olgol, what you do is actually what kills batteries, LOL. Storing at fill charge and discharging to low levels with load. I keep batteries at storage and charge them right before I use them. Helps to have a good series of chargers. I have a couple Junsi I charger duos and a couple ISDT chargers for the field. 3s-850s and 4s-650s charge in about 8 minutes, easy peasy. There are a few cheapo storage discharges out there. Get a couple of those too.
Bmwjoon, do you have links for those cheapo dischargers?
Sep 11, 2018, 05:40 PM
Registered User
AOKoda CellMeter8 8S Battery Voltage Capacity Balance Servo Checker Tester With Discharge Module
https://banggood.app.link/RU7dBrOp8P
Sep 11, 2018, 05:41 PM
Registered User
It's not smart however and you need to stop the discharge. It does beep and keep cells balanced however. And you can check batteries with it of course.
Sep 11, 2018, 05:50 PM
solastagia
kcaldwel's Avatar
I'm no LiPo expert, but I'm using 5 year old LiPos, and my packs rarely puff - the only two ThunderPower batteries I've ever owned excepted. I always discharge my packs to storage voltage using my battery chargers, and charge in the morning before flying. I find if I do two F5J style flights per pack, they are usually very near storage voltage anyway, and it only takes a few minutes on the charger to fine tune the storage voltage. If I don't deep discharge them, they do seem to last better too.

The low voltage cut-off on my ESCs is set to 3.2V a cell, and I have never had an ESC cut out on me (HK Blue series mostly). The smallest battery I use is an 850mAh 3S though. I suspect if the pack voltage is falling below 3.2V/cell, the current draw is well beyond the real current capability of the batteries, and that won't be doing the cells much good either.

Kevin

Edit: I always balance charge at 1C as well.
Last edited by kcaldwel; Sep 12, 2018 at 09:48 AM.
Sep 12, 2018, 02:18 AM
Registered User
The FD1000 smartness worth nothing if discharging is not coupled with balancing.
Without sensing the cells voltage individually that device is really a battery killer for big cells count packs !
A 6s discharged pack voltage 6*3.5V = 21V, can be read as a fully charged 5s * 4.2, which obviously is wrong, because its smartness will thing that fake 5s pack need discharge , send wrong commands and destroy it...

To reply OP:
How much is battery's life affected by storing it at full charge?
- a pack used specially this (wrong) way at our club for testing purposes, was been charged/flown weekly and left fully charged over the week, puffed in 6 months

Do you store your batteries discharged to 3.8V? or charged?
- discharging to 4V/cell any batt left charged in a weekend session, if next weekend is sure flight, else, if not sure discharge to storage

What do you use to discharge the batteries?
- the charger itself, has a storage mode

Do you use low voltage cutoff on your ESC? at what cell voltage?
- separate 3.6V balance plug acoustic/visual monitor, not cuttoff. ESC feature disabled

How long do your batteries usually live? Do they puff quickly or not at all?
- 50-100 cycles according to abuse scenario

Do you keep using puffed batteries?
- separate healthy cells to build myself non-critical packs for low currents, like ground station/LED lights, etc
Last edited by renatoa; Sep 12, 2018 at 02:36 AM.
Sep 12, 2018, 04:36 AM
Registered User
ViktorF's Avatar
What I do. Or try to do.
Never store fully charged batts for more than a day or two.
Never discharge batts too low and never hit ESC cutoff. Usually in competition mode I use fresh battery every or every second flight.
Never charge more than 1C and allways with balansing.
Finishing flying session, change existing charged batts every 2-3 flights and they will stay close to storage conditions.
I have several batts 2-4 years old and they still useable.
Sep 12, 2018, 09:31 AM
Registered User
Since new batteries come at 3.8 to 3.85 volts that is a good storage voltage. Obviously they are set for long term storage.

I only discharge, or charge, to that setting if I wonít be using them for a week or more.

That Information came to me from a local battery importer of OptiPower batteries.
Sep 12, 2018, 10:03 AM
Overkill is underrated
elac2az's Avatar
Chris, I followed your link and read your article about the discharged. You don’t mention what % of charge it discharges to. Inquiring minds would like to know.
(I currently discharge with an EOS 0606i unit in my shop and it discharges to about 58% which is what I have read is the best discharge percentage.)
Sep 12, 2018, 10:04 AM
Sagitta Fanboy
Quote:
Originally Posted by elac2az
Chris, I followed your link and read your article about the discharged. You donít mention what % of charge it discharges to. Inquiring minds would like to know.
(I currently discharge with an EOS 0606i unit in my shop and it discharges to about 58% which is what I have read is the best discharge percentage.)
Percent doesn't matter, the cells care about voltage.

You should be at 3.8-3.85V ideally.
Sep 12, 2018, 10:42 AM
Team Hello Kitty
SoaringDude's Avatar
Hi Ed, Mawz is correct: 3.8v/cell is the default discharge storage value for the Smart Discharger. I also use this value for my 3S HV packs. Even though it could be set a bit higher it's more than close enough.


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