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If you recently purchased a Traxxas RC car or are interested in buying one then you may have noticed that some of them have LiPo batteries. Of course all batteries come with some risk of fire or damage but some LiPos are known for having issues and you obviously don’t want your brand new RC car to burst into flames.
In this article we will do our best to answer whether Traxxas LiPo batteries are safe or not.
All battery technologies come with their risks and need to be treated with care to keep them in good condition. LiPo batteries are no different. However, LiPo batteries actually require more attention and have a slightly higher risk of bursting into flames if not handled and cared for properly. Your Traxxas LiPo battery is not likely to burst into flames but there are certain things you can do to make sure that your LiPo battery stays in good working condition.
As a matter of fact, with the modern chargers and speed controls as well as the Traxxas’ ID technology, fires are a rare occurrence. This, however, does not mean that you can be careless with your batteries. Ultimately, ensuring that your battery is safe is all about how you treat it both while charging and discharging it. Also, it is important to make sure to store your batteries correctly and as directed as doing otherwise increases the possibility of having serious hazards.
If you want some tips about how to make sure that your LiPo battery does not have any issues then you will want to watch the video below and then keep reading through the rest of the article.
Practices to Keep Your LiPo Batteries Safe
As we have already noted, LiPo batteries in general have a higher risk of issues than NiMH batteries and Traxxas LiPo batteries are no different. Let’s look at some of the primary practices that will help to keep your LiPo batteries healthy and safe.
Right after you have purchased your Traxxas LiPo battery, the first thing you need to do is to charge it. First, make sure the charger is compatible with your LiPo. This should be written on the box, the charger itself, or the manual.
As soon as you’ve made sure that the charger is compatible with the battery, check what the correct settings for charging your battery are if the charger is programmable. Make sure to set it appropriately and be sure to follow all of the rules for setting up your LiPo battery’s charging. If you are unsure about how to do it properly then talk to a pro at your local hobby shop or contact the charger manufacturer for more help.
Discharge or “C” Rating
To make sure that the battery can cope with the power needs of your car, look at the LiPo’s discharge rating. This rating is typically between 10-90C. Using the 11.1v 3200mah 35C LiPo battery for an example. The AMP that a battery can handle is found by multiplying the MAH by the C so in this example you would multiply 35 X 3200=112,000. You would then divide that number by 1,000 to get the max amps that the battery can handle. In the above example that would be 112 Amps.
This means that if your Traxxas car had an 80A Electric Speed Control, this battery could take more than the ESC will deliver, making it a safe rating for the application.
Storage is very important in keeping your LiPo in good condition. Storing a LiPo battery fully charged or empty for more than 2 weeks can significantly affect its life and performance. LiPo batteries should be stored at 3.70v to 3.85v per cell which is about 50-70% charged.
If your charger’s storage charge setting automatically charges or discharges the battery to the right voltage for storage voltage and you won’t be using the battery for more than a week, put it on the storage charger. If your charger can’t do this, put it on charge for half the time it usually takes to charge the battery fully. This should come close to the correct voltage and is better than storing it fully charged or fully depleted.
You can also use a multimeter if you have one, to check the cell voltage from the balance lead.
If your Traxxas LiPo battery can’t charge anymore or is damaged and you can’t use it, you’ll have to dispose of it. But, you can’t simply throw it in the trash because that would be very dangerous. Before you dispose of a LiPo battery, completely discharge it, so it’s powerless.
To do this, connect a low draw device such as a light bulb, until the battery is totally discharged. How much time you need to leave it connected for will differ depending on the current charge percentage of the battery and the battery’s capacity. This should typically not take more than a day or two.
Once your battery is fully depleted you can discard the battery in with your normal trash in most locations. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of discharging the battery many local hobby shops will take them and dispose of them properly for little to no cost.
Being safe with your LiPo batteries cannot be overemphasized. LiPos catching on fire is far too common to be ignored, so you have to be really careful. There are many possible reasons for a LiPo battery to catch on fire. The 2 most prominent are over-discharging (which is the most significant cause of LiPo death) and the second and even more dangerous is overcharging.
To lower the risk of damage to your LiPo and things around it, be sure to use only a LiPo balance charger on the correct settings. Do not ever use an ESC without a LiPo cut-off. Also, make sure you use a LiPo safe bag for storing and charging and be sure that when storing your LiPo it is only stored at the proper voltage.
Other Safety Precautions
There are a few other things that you will want to do to make sure that your Traxxas LiPo battery is not a danger to you or your vehicle. Some things that you should check are:
Search for LiPo damage
LiPos come with a thin foil wrapper around each cell. On the downside, this can make the cells easy to puncture, but it also allows you to monitor the battery’s health.
Never use a LiPo that is punctured, swollen, deformed, crushed, or seems damaged in any way. Be sure to examine your LiPo batteries carefully before charging them. Look for any loose leads or connectors, fluid leaks, damaged wire insulation, cell deformity, impact damage, swelling (which points to internal damage), or any other abnormality.
If you notice any of these above conditions, do not use or charge the battery. It is best to dispose of it properly at that point.
When you’re not using your batteries, be sure to unplug them from the vehicle, and this needs done even if the vehicle is turned off. The completed circuit established when the battery is plugged in will drain the battery over time, and this can damage your batteries and may even cause a fire. This applies to whether you’re using LiPos or NiMHs.
You also don’t want to leave the battery connected to the charger when you’re done charging. Make sure that you always unplug your LiPo battery.
Almost every device or appliance we use these days is operated with a battery. This is true from our phones to our laptops and other devices, including our RC vehicles. This reality makes it very important for us to know just how to stay safe while using these batteries.
Even if you aren’t using a Traxxas brand car the above safety instructions apply to all LiPo batteries. Without proper care, these batteries can have serious issues, and the consequences can be hazardous to you and your RC car.
To see exactly what happens when you overcharge your Lipo battery watch the video below.