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LiPo Battery Safety

Charging, Handling, Using, Storing, and Disposing of LiPo Battery Packs


Lithium Polymer or LiPo battery packs are frequently used in radio controlled vehicles. They generally charge faster and store more energy than a comparable Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) battery pack. However, LiPo batteries do require special handling. Misuse -- including improper charging, handling, and storage -- can cause LiPo batteries to burn or explode.

Charging a LiPo Battery Pack

Only use a charger that is designed for use with lithium polymer batteries. Also, only use a charger that can handle the specific cell count of your battery. While some chargers may be able to detect the number of cells automatically they could misread the battery. Others must be set manually. Doublecheck your settings for cell count and current no matter what type of charger you are using. Always read and follow the instructions that came with your charger and battery packs. Charging batteries should never be left unattended and should never be charged while inside your vehicle (your family car or your RC model).

Handling a LiPo Battery Pack

Don't let children handle LiPo batteries. When transporting your LiPo batteries, use a non-flammable container that does not contain sharp objects that could puncture the battery packaging. Don't carry LiPo batteries in your pockets or throw them into your tool box. Don't place batteries -- especially damaged ones -- on flammable or hot surfaces. Don't handle damaged batteries with bare hands. If a damaged battery leaks on your skin, wash immediately with soap and water. After flushing with cool water, seek medical help if it gets in your eyes. When charging and using LiPo battery packs, keep a fire extinguisher or a bucket of sand nearby in case of fire. Do not try to put out a LiPo fire with water.

Using a LiPo Battery Pack

When operating your RC vehicles in or around water, make sure your LiPo battery is protected from the water. Don't immerse it in water or let it get wet. Make sure you don't have the positive and negative terminals reversed when operating your RC. Always inspect your LiPo battery after each use -- cleaning it if necessary. Always inspect your LiPo battery after a crash. Let it sit for an hour or so even if it appears to be OK. Do not continue using it if the packaging is torn or punctured or if you notice any ballooning of the battery. Continued use or charging of a damaged LiPo battery could result in an explosion and fire.

Storing LiPo Batteries

Make sure your LiPo battery is in good condition and partially charged before storing. Keep them in non-flammable containers, away from sharp objects or flammable materials, and at moderate temperatures. Store your LiPo batteries out of the reach of children. Don't store dead or damaged batteries.

Disposing of a LiPo Battery Pack

After fully discharging the battery, place it outside in a covered container of salt water (keep away from pets and children) for several days (some sources suggest 2 weeks). Skip the discharging step and go straight to the salt water if the battery is ballooned or the covering torn. The discharged/soaked battery can now be placed into your household trash.
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