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charging batteries

Discussion in 'Standard/4k Discussion' started by jbuzalic, Jan 15, 2016.

  1. jbuzalic

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    can i leave battery charging unattended all night long?


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  2. Jorgejim90

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    No. Very highly unrecomended. As a matter a fact charge em right before your flighta and dont leave batteries charged if you are not gana use them.
    If you whant to go more into detail search "phantom 3 battery maintnence" on youtube
     
  3. LuvMyTJ

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    It is a pleasure to welcome you to the Phantom Pilots forum. I hope that you will take advantage of the benefits that come with membership and that you will be able to use the forum for the exchange of innovative ideas and as a resource for current developments in Phantom quadcopter’s.

    I would recommend never letting them out of sight if you are charging them inside of any structure. That is the most dangerous time for any lipo. These are not like your typical household alkaline. If you are not familiar with them they have very specific care and handling that must be followed for long, safe usage. Google time. ;)
     
  4. jamesb72

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    Most people use lipo sacks which are fire retardent bag for storing or charging lipos.

    They are a few quid on ebay the 22cm x 18cm size fits two smart batteries.

    You should never leave the house with lipos on charge but its not practical to never store them charged as its unavoidable so bags are sensible precaution.
     
    #4 jamesb72, Jan 15, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2016
  5. LuvMyTJ

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    I use metal ammo cans for storage. ;)
     
  6. jbuzalic

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    thank you


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  7. tcope

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    Yes you can... obviously. It's not recommended to leave them unattended as there is always a possibility they they could blow up. The chance is almost nill but it does/can happen. I leave them on the charger and walk away from them all of the time. I doubt anyone sits there are watches then charge for an hour. If you are sleeping in the home I doubt you will have an issue.
     
  8. LuvMyTJ

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    I charge in the room I am in for this very reason...

     
  9. tcope

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    If for that reason do you also watch them with a fire extinguisher in hand? In truth, that almost never happens and we apply safety in proportion to the risk. It certainly can't hurt to monitor them closely but let's not fear to much.
     
  10. LuvMyTJ

    LuvMyTJ ADMINISTRATOR
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    It may not happen often but it only takes one time to lose everything.
    I will continue to watch my lipo's when charging... you do what you want.







     
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  11. Jorgejim90

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    What happens when this occurs to a phantom baterry?
    Is there an investigation done? Or is it automatically assumed your fault. .
     
  12. TheTanger

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    Well I literally never knew about this. I've always just left it plugged in and thought that because it was an intelligent battery that it would stop charging when I needed to stop charging. I've had mine plugged in for a day or two all the time. No longer! Is there a warning label I missed somewhere about leaving it on the charger too long?
     
  13. LuvMyTJ

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    If it were to have an issue while charging and was newer, I assume they would handle it under the warranty. They can tell usage from the 'black box' card in it. If a lipo ever swells or 'puffs up' it is damaged and likely to have a problem, you need to dispose of it the correct way. I drop mine into salt water and leave it for about a week. By then hopefully it has fully discharged and is now safe for your trash or better yet, see if there is a collection center for lipos nearby. Also, if you ever crash your quad, be sure and inspect it carefully and definitely eyes-on watch it when charging it again as it may swell or puff up when charging if it was damaged. You can monitor their use in the Go app too.

    While it is not real common for a lipo to have an issue (I have never had one catch fire but I have definitely had hobby lipos that swelled), it is better to be aware of the "what if's" so if something should go wrong, your ready to deal with it. Fire moves quickly and they usually spew toxic gasses into the surrounding area prior to fire. DJI seems to have an excellent track record with their smart lipos so there shouldn't be to much to worry about with them, just stay vigilant.
     
  14. LuvMyTJ

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    It shuts itself off like you thought... I would unplug it though. You just need to be aware of what could happen. Like you said, you didn't know there was a hazard. They are not your typical household alkaline's. ;)

    And why charge them up if you're not planning on using them? Lipos do not like to be stored fully charged. That is why DJI built in a discharge function. You should only charge them when you plan to use them, say within 48 hours.
     
  15. TheTanger

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    Okay, thanks. So I have been so confused with these things. I had a toy quad lipo that swelled that I knew something was wrong with, but didn't know the Phantom 3 batteries did the same. Anyway, the confusion comes in a case like SHOULD I fly with a say 65% full battery the next day (I tried once before the firmware update and within an instant I experienced the critical low power about 100 feet about the asphalt!). Freaked me out.

    So...apparently, we should charge them till full...then take them off and store them. BUT if you need fly, it has to be within 48 hours? Beyond 48 hours we top off on the charger before flying? Am I getting this correct? This is a pain with multiple batteries so might need to buy a multi-charger. Can they not just be stored in the storage case with the P3? (I'm assuming never leave the battery in the bird because it drains faster?)
     
  16. LuvMyTJ

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    Lipos are basically made up of chemicals that react to make the power. Never store them fully charged. The 48 hours is a rule of thumb I use, but not everyone does. I store mine in metal ammo boxes, a firesafe is good too. There are settings in the Go app for when it starts the discharge cycle.
    ammo can.jpg
    Here is an informative link - http://valleyrcflyers.net/articles/lipo storage tips.pdf

    1. Never charge, discharge, use, or store a damaged or puffy LiPo battery. Immediately follow proper disposal protocols.

    2. Avoid purchasing used LiPo batteries. You never know what the previous owner did with them and they could already be badly damaged. “LiPo Battery Like New, Used Once” is usually a scam and should be avoided.

    3. Always use a proper LiPo battery balance charger/discharger when charging and discharging your LiPos. It is crucial that all cells in a LiPo battery maintain the same voltage across all cells at all times. If the voltages across the cells deviate too much from each other (5mV ~ 10Mv), the battery can become unstable and dangerous. (Unless it’s a single cell LiPo, in which case you do not need to worry about cell balance).

    4. Always use a fire proof LiPo safety bag, metal ammo box, or other fire proof container when you are charging, discharging, or storing your LiPo batteries. While LiPo fires are rare, they can happen incredibly quickly and can do a lot of damage. All it takes is an internal short circuit to set the battery off. There is no way to predict when it will happen. It does tend to happen more often when batteries are fully charged, being overcharged, or while being discharged, but it can happen to any LiPo at any time. Never fill the container to capacity with your batteries, always follow manufacturer recommendations on LiPo bags for how many mAh’s it can safely contain. Do not settle for cheap Chinese knock-off bags!

    5. Do not use your flight case/travel case for long term LiPo storage. The foam and plastic in these cases can help spread a LiPo fire. Always use a fire proof container such as a metal ammo box or fire proof safe for storage.

    6. Never leave your LiPo batteries charging while unattended. If a battery starts to become puffy, smoke, or catches fire you need to be able to immediately handle the situation. Walking away for even just 5 minutes can spell disaster.

    7. A LiPo fire is a chemical fire. Always keep a Class D fire extinguisher nearby your battery charging/discharging and storage area. The battery charging/discharging and storage area should be free from any materials which can catch fire such as wood tables, carpet, or gasoline containers. The ideal surface for charging and storing LiPo batteries is concrete or ceramic.

    8. Never overcharge a LiPo battery. Typically a full charge is 4.2v per cell. Never “trickle” charge a LiPo battery.

    9. Never discharge a LiPo battery below 3.0v per cell. Ideally you never want to go below 3.2v per cell to maintain a healthy battery. 2.9v per cell and lower is causing permanent damage.

    10. Never leave your LiPo batteries sitting around on a full charge for more than 2-3 days. If by the 3rd day you realize you are not going to use your battery today, you need to discharge your battery down to 3.6v-3.8v per cell for safe storage until you are ready to use the battery again.

    11. Always store your LiPo batteries at room temperature. Do not store them in a hot garage, or in a cold refrigerator. Even though a cold battery has less chemical reaction taking place which can prolong its lifespan, taking a battery out from a cold fridge can cause condensation to occur on the inside of the battery, which can be very dangerous.

    12. Always remember that heat is the number one enemy of LiPo batteries. The hotter your batteries get, the shorter their lifespan will be. Never charge a battery that is still warm from usage, and never use a battery that is still warm from charging.

    13. Depending on how they are used, most LiPo batteries typically do not last longer than 300 charge cycles. Leaving them around on a full or depleted charge all the time, running them completely dead, or exposing them to high temperatures will shorten this lifespan dramatically.

    14. LiPo batteries do not work well in cold weather. The colder it is, the shorter your run times will be due to the slowing down of the chemical activity within the battery. If it is below 14F (-10C), LiPo usage is not recommended at all. Your battery could cause your R/C vehicle to suddenly fail without warning in these temperatures.
     
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  17. TheTanger

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    Holy cow...that's a lot to think about. I wonder if those "hoverboards" all use LiPo batteries too hence all the catching on fire. I'm sure quality of battery has something to do with it. Do Lipos have a memory effect? How long would a typical P3 battery last? I mean, charge discharge cycles?

    By just charging it then, and NOT using it when you thought, we are increasing the # of cycles on it and moving it closer and closer to end of life, right? I will have to re-think why and when I re-charge now too...and it will be harder to just have a charged battery on hand for a quick jaunt.
     
  18. LuvMyTJ

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    Those 'hoverboards' do in fact use lipos for their high energy but they used inferior manufacturers as you see. Many items you use every day use them... watches, cell phones, lap tops, the TX for your P3, they are everywhere. Usually in a protected environment like your lap top, etc. It is not likely to get damaged.

    I have seen people here get as few as 50 cycles. I am not sure what the life is on the P3's in real life, DJI says 300 cycles as I recall. I don't think anyone has gotten close to that.

    It does take planning. We are almost up to 50 degrees here so I have a couple charging right now, and they are in my sight. ;)
     
  19. TheTanger

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    Great...one last newbie question. What is defined as a "cycle"? If I charge a battery up and plan on using it, but don't within say a week then I'm supposed to let it discharge on it's own (or expedite it on P3 with no blades)? That would be one of my 300 cycles then? This is getting pricier and pricier. :(

    BTW...I have broken SO many of those rules you posted, it's not even funny. Ugh!
     
  20. jamesb72

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    Just to balance this, all the lipo fires I've had accurate info on were RC lipos (not Phantom Smart Batteries) either being physically damaged in crashes or being overcharged either due to wrong setting or faulty chargers, ie a 3S (~12v) battery accidentally put on to charge as 4S (~15v) - when overcharged (above ~4.2v a cell) the lipo cells will generate gas, swell up and eventually the foil pouch splits and they vent flammable gas, if there is any spark (ie from the battery splitting open yanking the internal wiring off) they tend to jet flame for a few seconds - if you contain in a lipo sack and are in the room/house during charging this shouldn't be a big issue, let the flame burn out, then get the lipo and sack out of the house - don't try to grab the flaming pack - give it a chance to finish venting first.

    The Phantom 3 batteries are 'smart' in that they contain their own protection circuit for charging/discharging/cutoff, so if everything works correctly they should never overcharge or over-discharge, so the risk is much much lower, however any electronic circuit can fail or go wrong, so I think charging in lipo sacks is a sensible precaution, I personally also store them in lipo sacks, just for peace of mind but I wouldn't worry more than that.

    To avoid leaving fully charged (which accelerates the aging process) I bought a second 100w charger, so I can charge two packs at once in around 40mins, so if its a nice weather forecast I can charge up to fly next day - I also have a couple of dischargers so I can run a battery down if I can't fly that day, I haven't needed these yet, as I generally charge night before when forecast is good and then fly the packs next day, but I have it ready.

    Ammo cans are strong metal boxes so definitely should contain the vent/fire of a lipo issue, only concerns I have personally are they are metal so any exposed wire/contact can be shorted out (shouldn't be an issue with P3 batts though) and secondly - a load of lipos in one box isn't brilliant if one goes up, its like a box of fireworks setting each other off - the lipo sacks are cheap enough you can have one per lipo which I am happier with - anything is better than nothing though, and in a perfect world I'd store each lipo in a lipo sack and all in a metal or other non-flammable container, but that's probably a bit close to paranoid.

    A cycle is normally reckoned to be a full charge/discharge - with my cheap RC lipos I reckon 50 cycles is a good lifespan, the cost per flight is pretty low - with the Phantom3 Smart batteries obviously the cost is a lot higher (10x!), but if you get a few hundred flights, the cost per flight is not a lot - almost certainly less than your car petrol/gas driving out to fly, so not worth worrying too much about 'wasting' a cycle if you charge but can't fly.

    I don't have an exact figure, but my feeling is storing a lipo correctly it should last a few years, if you store it fullly charged you are accelerating this aging by maybe 10-20 times, certainly on smaller 3S 2200mah lipos, I have stored them full for weeks so I could fly at the drop of a hat, and they have lasted me a year or so - for a $12 lipo thats not a problem to me, but obviously I hope to get longer from the Phantom3 SMART batteries (and my bigger 6S 5000mah RC lipos), so I will take a lot more care not to leave fully charged for more than a few days before either flying or discharging - worst case the SMART battery will auto-discharge itself after 10 days (default, but you can change in lipo options on app).

    Certainly its not worth keeping/flying a suspect lipo and risking your whole quad for - if you see any damage or issue with a lipo, just don't fly it, chalk it up to experience and replace it. At the end of the day this is a hobby for fun, so we already spend way too much money on this stuff - not worth risking a mishap for a few weeks hobby funds ;)

    I did stick a video up showing my battery care thoughts if thats useful.

     
    #20 jamesb72, Jan 15, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2016