UNDERSTANDING HOW TO CHARGE A LIPO BATTERY
Some of you may have purchased a new Lipo battery and are not entirely sure how to charge it. Starting out in electric can be a little confusing at first, especially if you’re new to the hobby.
First things first – you need a charger. But what charger?
We sell a few different types of charger here at Zuue. Each one has their own pro’s and con’s.
For example, the E4 charger is very simple to use and very basic, but lacks some of the functions a B6-AC has. Do you want simplicity, function, or a mix of both? These are questions you need to ask yourself before purchasing a charger, but we think its best to go with functionality. Why? Because you will quickly learn how to use your charger and once everything seems less alien, you’ll really appreciate the added functionality your charger offers. The ECO6, Accucell 6, B6, B6-AC and the B8+ all offer fantastic functionality and after a little use will seem fairly straight forward. If all you need is a simple to use charger though, the E4 or iMAX C-403 chargers will serve you brilliantly.
Before charging, you first need to take a look at your battery. Most batteries are rated at a 1C charge rating, although some are higher. All our Turnigy batteries are rated at 2C, but we generally suggest charging them at 1C anyway. The reason for this is that a slower charge will increase the batteries lifetime, helps to keep your cells balanced and generally keeps your battery stable. You don’t want to massively overcharge or force your lipo batteries to charge too quickly, as they can become unstable, heat up and in rare cases actually catch fire. We use the word rare because if the correct settings are used and you take care of your batteries, the chances of a lipo fire are greatly reduced. Mistreat your batteries however, and the risk becomes higher and higher. And they DO happen. So just be careful! Lipo Bags are a good idea for helping to control a lipo fire incase the worst is to happen.
So, what is 1C?
Well, 1C is how many amps you set your charger to when charging your battery, but it’s different depending on your battery. There is a simple method that will let you figure out what to set your amps to on your charger to charge your battery at a 1C charge rate if your battery has a 4 digit number capacity (2200, 3000 etc).
The method to figuring out your batteries 1C charge rate is as follows:
1 multiplied by your batteries capacity, discard the last two digits, and then put a decimal between the two digits left. Confused?
Lets do some examples.
If you have a Turnigy 3S 2200mah battery, and you want to charge it at 1C.
1 multiplied by 2200 = 2200, discard the last two digits leaves you with 22, put a decimal in-between the two digits left over and you get 2.2 – which means to charge a 3S 2200mah battery at 1C, you would set your charger to 2.2amps. (2.2A)
Another example, lets take a Turnigy 2S 1000mah battery this time.
1 multiplied by 1000 = 1000, discard the last two digits leaves us with 10, put a decimal in-between the two digits left over and you get 1.0 – which means our 1C charge rating is 1amp.
Another example – a Turnigy 4S 5000mah.
1 multiplied by 5000 = 5000, discard the last two digits leaves us with 50, put a decimal in-between the two digits and we are left with 5.0amps, meaning we charger our battery at 5amps.
What if the battery has a capacity that is only 3 digits? For example a Turnigy 2s 500mah. Well, we do the same method, but this time putting the decimal at the beginning instead of in the middle.
1 multiplied by 500 = 500, discard the last two digits gives us 5 – and place the decimal at the beginning which gives us 0.5, which means we would set our charger to 0.5amps in order to charge our battery at 1C.
So, how do we charge at 2C? Some batteries can take a 2C charge and handle it gracefully. Our Turnigy batteries will handle 2C charging just fine – and it’s a good way to charge your batteries quicker when your at the field.
When we were figuring out our 1C charge rate, we were multiplying the capacity of our batteries by 1. All we need to do to figure out our 2C charge rate is to multiply the capacity by 2.
Let’s do another example with a Turnigy 2S 1800mah battery.
2 multiplied by 1800 = 3600, discard the last two digits leaves us with 36, place a decimal in the middle of those two digits gives us 3.6, and so our 2C charge rate is 3.6amps.
Some batteries have an odd capacity number, such as the Turnigy 3S 2650, but you should still follow the method and take off the 5 and the 0.
Some batteries are capable of charge rates up to 5C such as the Nanotech range.
Now, we still don’t advise this, as it will reduce the amount of cycles you can do with your battery, but it is capable of it and will happily charge at 5C whenever you ask it to.
Lets take this Turnigy Nanotech 3S 1300mah and charge it at 5C for one last example.
5 multiplied by 1300 = 6500, discard the last two digits leaves us with 65, place a decimal in the middle of those two digits which gives us 6.5, so our 5C charge rate is 6.5A.
By now you should be able to figure out how to use the info and specs given by the battery manufacturer to figure out how many amps to charge your battery at. ALWAYS check the manufacturers instructions before charging a battery you are unfamiliar with!