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NIMH (nickel–metal hydride battery)
Questions about Charging are the most common things we are asked, so here are a few answers... With NiMH batteries you DO NOT need to fully discharge them before recharging. It is perfectly OK to just top them up after slight use. The faster a battery is charged, the more heat is produced, a battery getting warm during charging is quite normal & will not cause damage, but if the battery gets too hot, this could lead to damage. We recommend that as a general rule of thumb the charging current should be no more than half the battery capacity i.e. for a 2600mAh battery, it should be charged at no more than 1300mA. For larger batteries such as SubC sizes & above, the charge current can be up to the capacity, i.e. for a 3300mAh SubC cell it could be charged at up to 3300mA. These are maximum ratings, it is always best to go a little lower than this - it will improve the life expectancy of the battery. A good figure to go for is a quarter of the capacity (650mA for a 2600mAh battery) The first 3 or 4 charges of any new battery pack should ideally be carried out at a lower current, this gives the cells chance to equalise, around 10 - 20% of the pack capacity is a good figure to aim at if possible. The use of an automatic charger is best, as this prevents any accidental overcharging, this is what can damage the battery, as once the battery has reached full charge, the energy supplied by the charger is no longer being stored in the battery, but instead is being turned into heat & it is this heating effect that will cause the damage.
SLA (sealed lead acid battery)
To calculate the charge time for a lead-acid battery is not as easy as for a NiMH battery, as the two battery types are charged in quite different ways, however, as a fully charged lead-acid battery takes almost no power from the charger, it is not damaged if inadvertently left on charge too long. If we assume that the battery is pretty well discharged, then the following equation can be used to get an approximation for the time to reach a near full charge.
|Battery Capacity in Ah||x 1.5 = Approx Charge Time in Hours|
|Charge Current in A|
Tips: Where the battery has charge left in it, the charge time will be less than given in this equation. You do not need to fully discharge a lead-acid battery before recharging it. There is no "'memory-effect" with lead-acid batteries A battery will last longer if regularly topped-up, rather than being fully drained & then full charged. If a battery is to be stored unused for long periods (over winter etc) it should be at least part-charged first. Sealed lead-acid batteries can be used & charged any way up.
Lithium Polymer Charging/Discharging Instructions & Safety Information
Lithium Polymer Safety Tips: Lithium Polymer cells are a tremendous advance in battery technology for RC use.
However, due to the chemistry of lithium cells, there is a possibility of fire if charging is not properly done. It is
unavoidable due to the nature of lithium itself. This is no different from many things we use in daily life – knives, kitchen
cleaners, automobiles, for a few examples – which are inherently dangerous, but which can be used safely by adhering to
simple rules and precautions.
Connection: Be sure that the correct polarity is observed when connecting battery packs to charger or ESC.
RED = POSITIVE (+)
BLACK = NEGATIVE (-)
Charging/Discharging: Your new pack arrives half charged. Charge your pack fully before first use. Charge your LiPo
battery pack at 5C or less on the LiPo setting only. You must use a balance charging system similar to the our
chargers offered here at Component Shop. Otherwise, you risk your pack becoming severely out of balance over time, which
will significantly decrease the lifespan.
Ex: If charging a 4000mah LiPo pack at 1 C, you would be charging it at 4 Amps.
Ex: If balance charging a 4000mah LiPo pack at 5C, you would be charging it at 20 Amps.
Set your speed control to hard cut-off at 3.2V/cell or higher-3.4V per cell is best. If your ESC does not have this
feature, you will need an external cutoff or alarm. (Ex. Novak Smart-Stop or LVA)
Do NOT charge your LiPo packs on a NIMH/NICD charger. Your charger must be designed for LiPo cells. Do not charge
above 4.2V per cell, over discharge under 3V per cell. Never leave LiPo packs unattended during charging or after a
crash in your vehicle. Don’t leave the battery pack plugged into a vehicle while not in use. The pack can still discharge
to an unsafe level and damage the pack even if all components are turned off.
It is dangerous to draw more power than what the pack is rated for. This will void any warranty on the pack and can also
cause your battery pack to ignite into flames. The temperature of the pack should never exceed 140F degrees. If it does,
you may need a pack that is rated to handle more power.
Storage Procedure: When not using your LiPo/Life battery pack, store it at 60-70% of the pack’s rated capacity. Make
sure to cycle your packs at least once per month since leaving them on the shelf for a prolonged period of time can cause
the packs to get severely out of balance, puff/swell or even go dead.
Balancing Leads on LiPo/LiFe Packs: All Component Shop LiPo/LiFe packs come standard with a JST-XH style balancing lead
(white connector). These leads are compatible with all Component Shop balance chargers. Always balance charge your pack before
each use as this “matches” the voltage of each cell to give you the highest performance and longest life.
All Lithium Polymer Batteries we carry are only approved for rc use, and may not be used in any other application.
Battery discharging, charging, electric motors, spinning propellers, and flying models all have the potential for serious
injury to persons and damage to property. In purchasing these products, the user agrees to accept responsibility for all
such risks, and not to hold the battery manufacturer, distributors, or retailers - (all including owners and employees) -
responsible for any accident, injury to persons, or damage to property.
The use of Lithium Polymer batteries in radio-controlled models is to be considered experimental, and there is no
warranty, expressed or implied, by the manufacturer, distributors, or retailers with respect to the capacity, life in cycles,
storage, or discharge characteristics of lithium cells in RC use, nor any other use nor aspect unless otherwise stated.
LiPo Battery Warming Devices/”Bumping” LiPo Packs:
Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to “heat up” your batteries or increase the voltage of a pack above 4.2V per cell
using these devices or techniques. Some insidious lithium polymer retailers/distributors have suggested using these
devices and techniques to increase the performance of your lithium polymer packs. THIS IS NOT SAFE AND IS
LITERALLY PLAYING WITH FIRE!
Devices on the market that heat up lithium polymer batteries can increase the risk of a fire. Lithium polymer cell
manufacturers suggest that exceeding 140 degrees is NOT a safe temperature for a lithium polymer cell. At 140 degrees,
the pack can become unstable and very dangerous. The small increase in performance is not worth the risk of a fire.
PLEASE STAY SMART AND SAFE BY NOT USING THESE PRODUCTS!
Some retailers/distributors of other brands of lithium polymer batteries have suggested that their customers and racers
“bump” the voltage of their packs using settings other than the lithium polymer setting on their charger. The
manufacturers of lithium polymer cells suggest a voltage range of 3V-4.2V. Increasing voltage above 4.2V per cell is not
safe. You should never attempt to charge your packs beyond the voltage set for lithium polymer packs on your lithium
polymer charger. Using other battery settings to “bump” the voltage beyond 4.2V per cell can cause fire and injury. The
small increase in performance is not worth the risk of fire. PLEASE DO NOT USE THESE METHODS!