Battery technology seems to have taken a leaping step recently, allowing electric RC models to go places where once only nitrous model could go. Leading this innovation are the Li-Po or Lithium Polymer batteries which has become the standard power source for electric powered helicopters, planes, cars, boats, and almost every other type of model. However, these batteries are not exactly cheap, and improper operations will have detrimental effects. Here are seven tips to maximize your battery performance.
1. Break In New Batteries
Although not as big a deal with newer Li-Po packs as it was when NiMh and NiCad batteries were kings, it is still recommended that you fully charge the battery before first use. Fully discharging and charging batteries a few times before first flight or will also give your battery a little bit extra lifetime and power.
2. Keep the pack clean
This is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of battery operations. It is a good idea to keep the battery pack clean, and this is especially important for the dean connectors. If the dean connectors are dirty, the connection may be obstructed and could result in a mid-flight power failure. The easiest way to clean dirty contacts is simply with alcohol and cotton swaps.
3. Keep up the battery's health by constant exercise
Leaving the battery inactive for a long period of time shorten its life and decrease its total potential. You should use your battery pack at least once every one to two weeks. Fully discharging then charging the pack will also quell this problem.
4. Take breaks between flights
A fully charged li-po pack has enough power for a 10-minute flight. However, to fly for ten minutes straight on one pack is not recommended. If you have two packs, it's best to fly a 5 minute flight, switch to a fresh pack, fly for another 5 minute, and then switch back to the old pack. Doing this will greatly increase the life-span on the battery.
5. Do not charge when hot
Never charge the battery pack while it is still hot. Battery pack becomes very hot right after a flight; you must wait until it cools down before charging it again. Charging a still-hot pack is one of the most successful ways to shorten a battery's life.
6. Store them well
To store the battery for a prolonged period (a month or more), the best way to store them is in a clean, dry, cool place away from metal and heat. Also remember that battery packs loose charge over time even without usage.
7. Avoid hard impact
Individual cells within a battery pack can be damaged upon heavy impact which could cause circuit leaks and can be dangerously unstable. There is also no way to repair a damaged cell. Try your best not to crash, but of course, we all already do.