*Batteries should almost NEVER be left to charge unattended in case of catastrophic failure. If at all possible, purchase a “LiPo bag” / “LiPo Sack” and keep proper fire safety equipment close by!*
What is the difference between all the Li— (lithium-based) batteries I see?
They all function essentially the same, the difference being the chemistry which is used in the cell. Certain lithium mixes are more stable and less volatile to discharge, undercharge, and temperature fluctuation. In the case of LiPo, you are generally dealing with multiple cell batteries connected together to increase the voltage, capacity, and to allow a much higher discharge rate.
Protected Battery? High Drain? What’s going on here?
This is a common question and often misunderstood topic here on the forum. Protected batterieshave a built in circuit which protects the cell from temperature, pressure, and over discharge. In the case of high pressure, the battery will most likely stop working completely for safety reasons. High Drain batteries have no protection circuit and use chemistry such as IMR (LiMn2O4) which provides a more stable, reliable, and safe battery chemistry on their own.
Which do I use on my device?
If you are using a simple mechanical mod like a single voltage tube, most vendors will recommend aProtected Battery. This is because these mods do not have any built in protections for the battery and a high discharge of the battery is not required. If this is the device you own, you may want to think about purchasing a penny/2 cent fuse as well which will help protect your device in the event of catastrophic failure.
High Drain Batteries such as IMR are generally recommended for regulated devices, often providing variable voltage/wattage. These devices require a higher discharge rate than normal protected style batteries can often provide. The battery protection in these devices are often found in the electronics of the device itself. You may also find that certain brands of IMR batteries are also recommended on mechanical devices due to their safer chemistry, known reliability, and performance. Once again, you may add a fuse for an extra layer of protection in your mechanical mod if you choose to use an IMR battery.
What’s the deal with this whole battery stacking thing?
Battery stacking is when you take two or more batteries and run them together to increase your voltage output and capacity. Two 3.7 volt batteries will provide an output voltage of 7.4 (3.78 X 2) for example. The amount of time you get out of stacked batteries compared to one will depend on the output voltage and amps you are pushing under load. To summarize, stacked batteries allow you to increase the potential power and battery life of your device.
Is it dangerous?
In short, it CAN be. The problem with stacked batteries is that the less “in sync” they are with each other, the more likely an issue can occur. If one battery has a lower reading than the other it can cause one battery to “reverse charge” the other. This causes current interference and temperature spikes inside the batteries which if left alone can cause the batteries to burn and/or explode. If you decide to run stacked batteries in your device, ALWAYS use them in pairs. Use and charge them at the same time. If one begins to age decline before the other (less voltage off the charger), properly dispose of them BOTH. Many people use stacked batteries with no problem and you can too! Just remember to pair them and perhaps properly label them as such.
What are the safety concerns and symptoms?
Both physical and electrical abuse of these batteries can cause anything from premature death of the battery to explosive fire hazards. It’s important to treat batteries with care and understand symptoms of a failing battery. Symptoms include:
– Battery getting overly hot
– Battery starting to smell or releasing gases into the air
– Bubbling, Bloating, or Melting of battery casing
– Noticeable sudden decrease in battery life
If any of these symptoms occur, stop using the battery IMMEDIATELY. In the case of an overly hot battery or battery with sudden life loss, I recommend asking on the forum where members can help troubleshoot a potential solution. With the more severe symptoms, it is safe to say that you should not hesitate to dispose of it properly. Dumping the battery in a bucket of salt water (outside or a WELL ventilated area) is the quickest way to neutralize the battery and make it safe for handling.
What can cause my battery to become volatile and/or dangerous?
The most common causes of battery failures are the following:
– Dropped or physically damaged battery
– Over discharge of the battery
– Over charging the battery
What if I drop my battery or it takes some abuse?
If you drop or put any physical strain on the battery, ALWAYS visually inspect the battery to make sure there are no signs of wear. You can then place it in your device and use it shortly. Remove the battery again and inspect it once more. Continue to do this until you personally feel comfortable about no damage being done.
How do I prevent over discharge of the battery?
Ensure you are using the proper battery for your device. Make an effort to use any and all protections possible on your device. In the case of mechanical mods, a fuse is a great idea to give you an added layer of mechanical protection. With digital devices, most of the protections are built in and will run automatically. If you have battery failure in one of these devices, stop using it immediately and contact the vendor.
How do I prevent over charging of the battery?
Always use the proper charger for your battery. Ensure that the output voltage and amperage of the charger match or are lower than that of the battery going to be charged. Charging a battery at a LOWER amp rating than listed will not harm it and only causes your charge time to increase.Charging a battery at a HIGHER amp rating than listed however can result in a fire hazard.
Remember, just because a battery fits into a charger, doesn’t mean the battery is SAFE in that charger!
How do I find out the Amps I can charge my battery at?
There is a very simple way to calculate the amp output needed to properly charge your battery.Remember, your charge should never exceed (small margins can be acceptable) the max amp rating. You simply take the mah rating of your battery and move the decimal 3 spots to the left. For example:
3500 mah battery = 3.5 amp MAX
2250 mah battery = 2.25 amp MAX
600 mah battery = 0.6 amp MAX
How do I store my batteries?
If you plan to buy spare batteries that you won’t be using for months at a time. It is recommended that you store them at around a 50% charge. This prevents cell leaking, which in return can cause irreversible cell death (the battery won’t hold as large of a charge). This IS a recommendation and isn’t something you absolutely have to do.
When storing batteries, ensure that they are protected INDIVIDUALLY from contact with other batteries and metals. An affordable and cheap way to do this is by buying the plastic cases you can find all over the internet. These cases are great when carrying batteries on your person as well.Never place loose batteries into a pocket or bag where they can come into contact with each other or metals.