The increase in the use of remote systems and drones over recent years has largely been attributed to technology advancements in batteries. The Lithium Polymer (LiPo) battery , provides a large amount of power for a low pack weight, and can be made in a variety of shapes. There are however some disadvantages. LiPo’s are still fairly expensive, they are volatile and as such require unique and proper care.
LiPo’s should be handled with care and inspected for damage before and after every use. Do not expose them to high temperatures as they become unstable, when they are subjected to cold temperatures the ion transfer is inefficient so they won’t last as long. When in use the battery should feel warm to the touch but not hot.
Over charging and over discharging are the biggest killers of LiPo’s, to get the maximum life from your battery it should be charged at 1-2 C using a balance tap/ balance charger (unless your Aircraft uses Smart batteries such as modern DJI aircraft).
Never discharge a LiPo below 20% unless you are disposing of the battery and finally never leave a charging battery unattended!!
Below is a video of a LiPo battery catching fire when punctures to demonstrate just how volatile these batteries can be.
Lithium polymer batteries should ideally be stored at 40% charge. They should be stored in a cool dry place away from high temperatures, flammable objects and away from areas where they can be damaged.
It is recommended that LiPo’s are stored in a metal ammo container and when charging it is recommended that they are enclosed in a LiPo bag with the cables protruding.
Transporting LiPo batteries
When your LiPo batteries are in transit we recommend you keep the batteries stored in a LiPo bag. If you are taking LiPo bags on a plane, you will need to make sure that they are less than 100Wh (most modern DJI batteries are 99.9Wh) and you discharge them down to 40% charge.
You will also need to carry these with you in hand luggage, NEVER place them in the hold.
Check with your airline how many batteries you can carry in your hand luggage, some allow 2, others up to 4. It's worth printing the airline's policy and taking it with you when going through security.
If your batteries aren't 'smart' batteries, cover the connectors so the contacts aren't exposed and place them in LiPo bags during transport.
Always treat your LiPo batteries with care, even your smart ones by DJI. If you ever get a puncture or damage to your batteries, isolate it immediately and safely dispose of the battery at your nearest recycling facility.
Most waste centres have a means of safely disposing LiPo batteries. You should NEVER dispose your LiPo batteries in your general waste. Please see https://www.gov.uk/hazardous-waste-disposal to find your nearest facility.
LiPo batteries are quite volatile when not handled or disposed of correctly so make sure you treat them with care. Don't discharge your batteries below 20% unless you are disposing and never leave a charging battery unattended.
You can transport LiPo batteries on a plane but you need to keep them in hand luggage and they need to be below 100Wh.
Invest in some LiPo bags as a minimum, and if you can get hold of one, use a metal ammo container to store your batteries.