How To Store Your Li-Po Battery For A Long Time

Of all the innovation that paved the way to the rise of electric RC flying, battery technology plays one of the biggest roles. Today, modern batteries have a much better power to weight ratio than before. This allows RC airplanes and helicopters to stay in the air for a lengthy period of time — even as long as their nitro counter parts, or even longer. Amongst the types of batteries, Li-Po or Lithium Polymer rates as the best your money can buy. While they cost much less than they used to, it is always wise to make sure that your Li-Po battery will last for as long as it could. This article will provide some pointers as to how to store your Li-Po battery for long periods without sacrificing its overall lifetime.

Ifthe Li-Po battery is brand new and you decide to keep it for a while before putting it to first use, contrary to common sense, it is best not to store the battery in its uncharged state. The best practice is to fully charge it and maintain it at 4.2 V per cell before storing the battery away for a long time. For example, if you bought a 3-Cell Li-Po battery rated at 11.1 V, when fully charged, the battery will hold 12.6 V. This will make it suitable to keep stored away for 3 to 6 months. However, after 6 months, the voltage will start to weaken. When this happens, fully charge it again, whereby giving another 6 months of storage time. While this procedure can be performed over and over, the battery shouldn't be kept without being used for more than 2 years.

If the Li-Po battery is fairly new and has been used no more than 70 times, has never reached temperature of more than 45 degrees, and never short circuited, the individual cells within the battery needs to be balanced before storage. This easily can be done through new versions of charger which has a «balance cell» function. Another method is to measure the voltage of each cell and set each cell to have an equal voltage to the least-voltage cell. The cells can be discharged using a simple-circuit light bulb making contact with individual cells, whereby slowly draining out each one. Once the cells are balanced, fully charge the battery, which will give each cell about 4.2 V. By doing this, the battery will be ready for a 2 to 4 month-long storage, upon which time the procedure must be repeated. Please note that ultimately, batteries of this condition stored using this procedure should not be kept for more than 1 year.

For batteries that are in a sorry state, such as having been used more than 70 times and have reached temperature higher than 60 degrees and has been short-circuited plenty of times, the first thing to keep in mind is to not hope for much. The procedure for storing these batteries still remains the same as the procedure above. Balance the cells first then charge the battery fully before storage. However, the result won't be great.

As for the storage, keep the battery in a zip-locked bag and place it in a padded aluminum or stainless container (such as a cookie box). Keep the box away from sunlight and humidity. The reason for the stainless box is to protect your house from fire which may be ignited by batteries short-circuiting. Better safe than sorry right?

Battery Usage and Disposal Tips

Batteries are essential in today's world of all things high-tech and portable. So what is the best way to use and dispose of batteries?
Battery Usage
Before inserting a battery into any electronic device, use a cloth or pencil eraser to clean the ends of the battery and the compartment.
Next, make sure the batteries are placed properly into the compartment. The (+) and (-) terminals must be aligned properly. To extend battery life, always turn off electronic devices when they are not in use.
For rechargeable devices, such as laptops, cell phones, and digital cameras, cycle the battery to ensure top performance. To do this, simply run the battery until it is completely dead, fully recharge it, and repeat. Do not keep a rechargeable electronic device plugged in past the time needed to recharge. Doing so can shorten the battery's lifespan.
Battery Storage
Store batteries in a cool, dry location. Batteries should not be kept in warm places, as extreme temperatures reduce their performance. Many battery-operated items, such as laptops, need to have good airflow to keep them cool. Keeping a battery cool while it is in use lengthens its lifespan.
If you only need to use a particular battery-powered device once in a while, like when you go camping, take the batteries out of the device when it is not in use.
Battery Types
Household batteries can be broken down into three categories in terms of environmental friendliness: the good, the bad, and the rechargeable (which are also good).
The Good. Batteries made of oxyride or alkaline are a good option for those who do not want to spend money on rechargeable batteries and a battery charger. Oxyride batteries generally last longer than alkaline batteries but are also a bit more expensive. «High-drain» alkalines are available at most grocery stores for devices that use a lot of battery power, like digital cameras.
The Bad. NiCAD, rechargeable alkaline, and lithium. NiCAD batteries are considered obsolete and have now been replaced by non-toxic NiMH batteries, which last longer. rechargeable alkaline batteries cannot be recharged as many times as regular rechargeable batteries, and they do not work well in high-drain devices. Lithium batteries are marketed as the batteries of the gods because they last a long time, but they cannot be recharged, and they contain toxic materials.
The Rechargeable. Nickle-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries have replaced NiCADs because they lost longer. rechargeable batteries are a good option for devices that are used often, like remote controls. However, rechargeables can die after a few months of extended use or non-use. Therefore, rechargeables should never be used for emergency items like flashlights or smoke alarms.
Battery Disposal
Most batteries should be disposed of at recycling centers. These batteries include AAs, AAAs, cell phone batteries, laptop batteries, etc. Recycling centers have the means of disposing these batteries in an manner that will not leak the toxic chemicals into the environment. Other batteries to take a waste or recycle center include button batteries, lithium or lithium-ion batteries, Ni-Cd, Ni-Li/Ni-hydride, sealed lead-acid batteries, and silver oxide batteries. Oxyride or alkaline batteries can be disposed of with one's household trash.
Choose reusable and recyclable batteries, both for your pocketbook and for the health of the planet.

Get More Mileage From Your Laptop Computer With an External Laptop Battery

When you need to extend the operating time of your laptop computer, an external laptop battery may be your best solution. These batteries are gaining popularity in both the consumer and commercial market segments because they allow users to power their computers for longer periods of time than traditional laptop batteries.
External laptop batteries generally use either the lithium-ion (Li-ion) or lithium-polymer (LiPo) battery chemistry. Both of these battery types provide high energy to weight ratios, are proven rechargeable battery technologies and are economically feasible. They are also more environmentally friendly that the older battery chemistries.
External laptop batteries are often also called universal laptop batteries because they are inherently equipped with several features to operate a wide variety of laptop computers. The key features in this regard are the variable voltage outputs and an assortment of power adapters.
The key optional specification in the choice of an extended battery pack is the amount of energy that it will hold, since it is this stored charge that will provide power to operate the laptop computer. Although many laptop batteries are specified with the milliamp-amp hour (MAh) rating of the battery to indicate the battery's storage capacity, the watt-hour (WHr) rating is a better specification because it is more of an absolute value that is independent of the battery's voltage.
Popular consumer versions of these extended laptop battery packs are commonly supplied in the 74-142 WHr rating range. This will generally supply enough power to operate a laptop computer for an additional 5 to 12 hours, depending on the battery's capacity and the power requirements of the computer. These consumer targeted batteries will generally weigh from one and a half to three pounds. Commercial versions of these batteries are typically available in the 200-500 WHr range to maximize your computer's operating time when using them as the remote power source for the laptop.
Attention must be paid to the voltage requirements of the computer when choosing an external laptop battery. Although these batteries will often provide voltages at several discrete intervals, you must make sure that one of these available output voltages is within ±1 volt of your laptop's required voltage. However, since it is common to find these universal batteries provided with three to five different voltage outputs, the same battery can be used to power a number of different laptop PCs with different voltage requirements.
In addition to the voltage requirement, it is necessary to ensure that a power adapter that fits your computer's power port is either included with the battery itself or is available as an option. The chargers that are equipped with these batteries terminate in a plug over which an adapter needs to be placed. In many cases these are called barrel style adapters since they slide over a mini-microphone type plug on the charger's side and have a cylindrical shape.
Although not so much a safety concern, it is also important to make sure that the amperage of the battery pack is equal to or exceeds the amperage requirements of the laptop computer or it will not be able to deliver power to the laptop. This specification is most easily found by looking at the label on the charger that came with the OEM battery and laptop computer.
A distinct benefit that many external batteries offer is their ability to power other devices, such as: PDAs, iPods, digital cameras, portable DVD players and cell phones. USB power cords are supplied with many external batteries that have a 5 volt output to facilitate this.
Most times these external batteries will be able to recharge your laptop computer's internal battery. However, this is dependent on the computer's circuitry and may not always be the case. Some of these batteries and their associated chargers offer an automatic voltage detection of the laptop computer and provide an LED power display to indicate the charge level of the external battery. A few of these batteries require the use of the PC's power adapter to energize the battery, but most are equipped with their own battery charger. Also, some chargers will operate at both 120 and 240 volts making them convenient for international travel and usage. Optional converters are also available to charge these batteries from a 12 volt DC power source, such as a car battery.

7 Tips To Maximizing Your Battery Performance

Battery technology seems to have taken a leaping step recently, allowing electric RC models to go places where once only nitrous models could go. Leading this innovation are the Li-Po or Lithium Polymer batteries which has become the standard power source for electric-powered helicopters, planes, cars, boats, and almost every other type of model. However, these batteries are not exactly cheap, and improper operations will have detrimental effects. Here are seven tips to maximize your battery performance.

1. Break In New Batteries

Although not as big a deal with newer Li-Po packs as it was when NiMh and NiCad batteries were kings, it is still recommended that you fully charge the battery before first use. Fully discharging and charging batteries a few times before first flight or will also give your battery a little bit extra lifetime and power.

2. Keep the pack clean

This is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of battery operations. It is a good idea to keep the battery pack clean, and this is especially important for the dean connectors. If the dean connectors are dirty, the connection may be obstructed and could result in a mid-flight power failure. The easiest way to clean dirty contacts is simply with alcohol and cotton swaps.

3. Keep up the battery's health by constant exercise

Leaving the battery inactive for a long period of time shorten its life and decrease its total potential. You should use your battery pack at least once every one to two weeks. Fully discharging then charging the pack will also quell this problem.

4. Take breaks between flights

A fully charged lipo pack has enough power for a 10-minute flight. However, to fly for ten minutes straight on one pack is not recommended. If you have two packs, it's best to fly a 5 minute flight, switch to a fresh pack, fly for another 5 minute, and then switch back to the old pack. Doing this will greatly increase the life-span on the battery.

5. Do not charge when hot

Never charge the battery pack while it is still hot. Battery pack becomes very hot right after a flight; you must wait until it cools down before charging it again. Charging a still-hot pack is one of the most successful ways to shorten a battery's life.

6. Store them well

To store the battery for a prolonged period (a month or more), the best way to store them is in a clean, dry, cool place away from metal and heat. Remember also that battery packs lose charge over time even without usage.

7. Avoid hard impact

Individual cells within a battery pack can be damaged upon heavy impact which could cause circuit leaks and can be dangerously unstable. There is also no way to repair a damaged cell. Try your best not to crash, but of course, we all already do.

Rechargeable Batteries Are Time and Money Savers

There's been some debate as to what is
really better between the traditional alkaline batteries and the rechargeable
ones
. Basically, it depends on what consumers find convenient for them to use.
However, the trend today is on using rechargeable batteries especially in
cameras, laptops, and other portable
electronic devices.

lipo battery

Many people find this type of battery to be
much better than the traditional one. They have reasons to choose this because
of the various benefits it provides.

Firstly, convenience is its greatest
advantage. Why so, you may ask? It is because, with this rechargeable
battery
, consumers do not need to buy new packs every time they're out on a
photography expedition whether for a family gathering or to pursue a hobby. So
if ever you run out of power, you don't need to panic and then hunt for a store
nearest you to buy a new pack. Lucky for you if there's a store available but
what if there's none?

But with rechargeable camera batteries, all
you need is just to bring your charger wherever you go and voila, you can
provide power for your camera in no time. This is also a time-saver in the
sense that you only have to replace your drained one with your fully charged
extra battery instead of opening a new pack of the usual and, disposable type.
And that's the convenience many people who own cameras look for today.

Additionally, this type of camera accessory
is a real money saver. Take for instance you ran out orunower while in the
middle of a birthday party where you're so engrossed taking photos of family
and friends. If you're using traditional camera batteries, you need to buy
extra packs wherever you go. That means you have to spend extra money every
time you're attending an event where you will be taking pictures.

But if you own rechargeable batteries, you won't have
to spend much. With what you have, you can charge it several times even
hundreds of times, and then use them again. Yes yo,u may need to spend more when
purchasing this type of accessory compared to the traditional ones but then
again, you save money for the long term.

Mother Nature will also appreciate you if
you prefer these rechargeable camera batteries. If you properly choose an
efficient system, you can contribute to cutting down on toxic materials that
are sent to landfills. Unlike if you're using the disposable ones, you're only
adding harmful chemicals that adversely affect the environment.

Rechargeable batteries nowadays come in a
variety of sizes and contain different chemicals as well. The most common types
are the nickel-cadmium (NiCd), nickel-metal hydride (NiMH), lithium-ion (Li-ion)
and lithium-ion polymer (Li-ion polymer).

When using this accessory with digital
cameras, make sure that the extra ones you're buying are compatible with your
gadget. Some brands do not allow the use of a different brand so be sure to
check this before you purchase your extra battery.

Finally, make it a point to store your
batteries in the right place — a dry and cool area. This will help them stay
usable for a long time.