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For certain RC applications, the LiPo battery lifespan may have a different range.
For example, RC EDF jets or RC boats may have a shorter lifespan as these vehicles draw so much power from the pack. On the other hand, trainer-style RC airplanes, or smaller-scale RC boats pull significantly less power.
LiPo batteries are one area of the RC hobby that can be fairly expensive. Especially if all the RC vehicles that you prefer to run, use a different pack. With all the batteries lasting a different amount of time between charges, you probably want to know the lifespan of a Lipo battery.
The typical lifespan that you can expect from a LiPo battery is 2 to 3 years. Exactly how long it will last depends on how often it is used and charged as well as if it is taken care of or left sitting.
If your LiPo battery is not going to be used for a long time the battery should be put in storage mode (which means the battery cells aren’t fully charged). A battery that is left fully charged or fully depleted will not last as long as one that is stored properly.
These LiPo battery packs will have a useful lifespan of many years. For these reasons specifically, it is very important to maximize the battery lifespan so you don’t need to purchase new lithium polymer batteries every year or two.
Purchasing new batteries can be very expensive! Prolonging the life of your LiPo battery pack is not hard, and something everyone should do. After all, the longer you can keep your LiPo battery near its original capacity the longer life it will have.
In order to maximize the life of your battery, it is important to be certain that you have a lot of headroom in the C rating of your pack. If you only draw 50% of the maximum constant voltage power output that your battery specifications it will last longer.
The smaller the load factor of the battery pack, the more you are able to prolong the life of the battery pack. You can also prolong the life of the battery by using it often, and not letting it sit for long periods of time.
To see the most popular LiPo batteries on the market just click here.
When Should I Replace My LiPo Battery?
Apart from physical damages, the most important factor in regard to LiPo batteries is internal resistance (IR), which indicates the health and performance of the LiPo battery.
LiPo batteries don’t have an expiry date printed on them, but from my personal experience, new batteries almost always perform better than old batteries, even when they just sit there and are not used much.
You should only replace your LiPo battery when it can no longer power the RC device it was designed for. Your LiPo battery should last about 400–500 charge cycles which will vary depending upon use.
There are other factors such as how much “abuse” you put your batteries through, and how you handle them on a daily basis that change this number of charge cycles as well.
500 cycles might sound a lot, but if for instance, you are flying a mini quad, it’s extremely likely that you damage them way before you hit that number. Whereas if you are using these LiPo batteries in RC cars you shouldn’t ever damage them unless you continuously run into things that damage your LiPo battery cell.
How Do I Know If My LiPo Battery Is Bad?
Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries are used in most consumer electronics such as RC cars, trucks, drones, and more due to their high power and long run times. Manufacturers make LiPo batteries that are lightweight and available in any shape and size. They also have higher capacities and depth of discharge rates than other batteries.
On the other hand, LiPo batteries require special care during storage and charging. Most LiPo batteries will come with a charger that will turn off when the battery is full so it does not get overcharged.
Your LiPo battery is bad if it does not power the RC device anymore or if it is bulging. Any deformation of the battery is dangerous and the battery needs to be disposed of immediately.
LiPo batteries or cells are damaged when they show any unusual features.
- Damaged plastic cell envelope or visible deformities on the package of the cell.
- The smell of leaking liquid electrolyte. A physically compromised LiPo battery may have a leaking electrolyte solution. The liquid is acidic in nature, and it may destroy your electronics, while the leaking gases can ignite because they are flammable.
- Unusually high internal resistance (IR). There are several factors that affect IR; they include the quality of the cells, capacity, chemical properties, temperature, age, voltage, and discharge rating. Therefore, the IR of a larger battery is low, but when you measure it and find out that it is abnormally high, then the cell is damaged.
- Dented corners.
- Puffing or swelling shows that the battery is damaged, and therefore you should discontinue discharging or charging immediately. Further, swollen cells have a higher IR; thus, you should stop using the entire pack immediately.
- Damaged LiPo batteries get puffy, and release smoke when charging. These signs show that they can ignite at any time.
- Decrease in the Mah (milliamp-hours) that your battery has.
A healthy LiPo battery should not have any of the above signs. If your battery shows any of these signs, you should stop using these cells and dispose of them properly.
How Do You Test A LiPo Battery?
It’s known that like most things in life, LiPo batteries do not last forever. Eventually, LiPo batteries degrade to a point that makes them become unusable for your application.
The real question is, how do you know when an RC LiPo Battery is dead, and how do you test it?
The best way to test a LiPo battery is to visually inspect it. If it does not charge or pass a visual inspection it is probably a bad battery.
What you are looking for when you are inspecting your LiPo battery pack is any sort of ballooning of the pack itself. A ballooning pack is caused when gases are released inside of the LiPo battery.
Ballooned LiPo battery packs can be very dangerous and should be properly disposed of immediately.
How To Check LiPo Battery Health?
LiPo internal resistance (IR) is a useful measurement that all electric RC ers should at least be aware of.
It’s not the only thing that matters, but it can certainly be used to gauge cell performance, efficiency, and battery health.
The internal resistance of the LiPo battery and the individual cells within the battery is the best way to check your LiPo battery’s health.
Comparing brand-new IR readings of the cells to the ones you take will tell you your battery’s health.
As LiPo packs age, the power they put out will be lower, and they will run warmer and warmer. Eventually, the LiPo battery will not put out enough power to move your device, and it will be time to replace your battery.