How to Charge a liPo Battery for the First Time

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If you are new to LiPo Batteries, it’s pretty common not to know how first to charge them. This is because getting your hands on any tech can be a bit overwhelming at first. With that in mind, it’s essential to know what you are getting into before you go too deep. So, this article will address how to charge a LiPo battery for the first time.

We’ll start with the basic question: How do you charge a LiPo battery for the first time?

Your LiPo battery will come partially charged at a level called the storage voltage. You’ll want to bring that level up to 100% using a LiPo charger’s balanced setting. Make sure your charger’s mAh (milliAmphours) rating matches that of your battery.

Below, we are going to dig into some further tips and tricks you can use to charge your LiPo batteries.

Check out the linked article if you are looking for the Best LiPo Charger.

What are LiPo Batteries?

LiPo, which stands for lithium-ion polymer, is a unique battery using a polymer electrolyte solution instead of a liquid. This gel substance is more popular in small applications (like mobile phones), but automotive lithium batteries are also a thing.

LiPo batteries have two major forms:

  • Single cell (smaller battery)
  • Multiple cells (larger battery)

Single cells are easier to manage but have less power potential. Larger batteries require more management, meaning they need to be balanced. In either case, cells are typically around 3.8V (volts), with the potential for permanent damage if they dip below 3.2V.

Multiple cells have the added trouble of requiring you to balance the voltage. We’ll talk about how you address that problem further down the line.

Why is Balanced Charging So Important for LiPo Batteries?

Balanced charging is essential to using your lithium-ion polymer batteries for safety and longevity concerns. An unbalanced battery can lead to the following:

  • An unbalanced LiPo has the chance to catch fire.
  • Your battery cells might be permanently damaged trying to compensate.
  • It may cause an overcharge of one of your cells.
  • You’ll likely have to buy a new battery

Whether charging the first time of the 100th time, always make sure you have balanced voltage. A good LiPo charger will be able to tell you the voltage of all cells.

Can I Use The Fast Charging Setting?

If this is your first charge, do not use the fast charging setting of any charger. Fast charging is great in a pinch but isn’t great at keeping balanced voltage.

Always start with a balanced charge. If your cells are unbalanced in your new LiPo battery, you’ll need to discharge it.

How to Discharge Your LiPo Batteries Safely

If you want to discharge your LiPo batteries, most good chargers include this function built-in. Check your charger’s owner’s manual to see about those settings. Always discharge your LiPo batteries before storage.

You’ll know a battery is safely discharged when you have a low current setting on your charger. Shoot for voltage around (but not below) 3.2V. Setting a low current of about 1A (amp) is a safe way to get to that level.

If your charger lacks that function, you can use halogen lightbulbs to discharge batteries safely. You’ll need an XT60 male connector and two wires alongside your lightbulb. A LiPo battery that cannot power a lightbulb is considered safe for storage or recharging.

How to Charge a Lipo Battery – Safe Charging Tips

Safety is crucial when charging your batteries. If this is your first charge, keep these in mind:

  • Check the battery for damage, bulbing, and exposed wires before the charge
  • Ensure the LiPo settings are set to a charge level matching your owner’s manual.
  • Always check the settings to be sure you are set to have a balanced charge.
  • Charge the LiPo batteries in an area free from flammable materials (ex. garage in a metal box).
  • Make sure your battery is in a cool, dry place.

Note: Avoid charging your batteries while taking a shower, leaving the house, sleeping, or situations where you are not present. You need to be ready just in case.

Be sure you have enough time to hang around for the entire charge. If you need to leave due to an emergency, unplug and turn off your battery. Here’s a video with some additional tips:

How To Find Out How Long it Takes to Charge A LiPo Battery?

To find out how long it will take, check out your charger’s rate. For example, the maximum charge rate of the Tenergy TB6-B charges at a rate of 5000 mAh (maximum).

That means it will take an hour to charge something at the same capacity. If your battery had 1000 mAh, that would take twelve minutes, or one-fifth of the time. Understanding that mAh is a “per hour” charge is crucial to understanding the math.

How To Safely Store LiPo Batteries

  • Discharge your batteries before storage.
  • They should be stored in some sort of fireproof container. You can buy a LiPo bag or invest in a metal box. You can use fireproof safes, empty ammo boxes, and ceramic flower pots.
  • Check your LiPo batteries to be sure they stay above the suggested 3.2V limit. Any lower will result in permanent damage.
  • If you plan on storing them for several months, invest in a LiPo battery maintainer. These trickle charge the batteries over time o ensure they don’t drop below low voltage.
  • Check the battery every two months for long-term storage. Put it in your schedule for a reminder.
  • Store the batteries in cool, dry places.

Benefits of LiPo Batteries (Compared to Other Battery Types)

how to charge a lipo battery for the first time
Photo Credits: SparkFun Electronics
  • LiPos have a high energy density, meaning they can hold a higher capacity for power. They are great for electric cars.
  • These batteries are great for both charging and discharging.
  • LiPo batteries are useful in devices requiring less weight, such as thin laptops and smartphones.
  • Flexible packaging allows you to see troubles before they become serious (i.e., bulging is easier to spot).
  • You can recycle LiPo batteries with greater ease.
  • There is no chance of overflowing when compared to liquid batteries.

Conclusion

LiPo batteries are great for RC car enthusiasts, drone lovers, and other kinds of electronic hobbyists. But when it comes to learning how to properly charge a new LiPo battery, all of those activities are dependent upon the right steps.

We hope this article has helped answer some of those burning safety questions. Always consult your owner’s manual to double-check our work, as every battery is a bit different. A good charger makes a lot of difference though.

We’ve got another article on the best LiPo chargers available. Check that out if you are in the market

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