Li-Po, the battery of drones

Li-po is a rechargeable battery of lithium-ion technology in a pouch format. Eh? It’s got loads of different polymers inside aka flexible plastics.

They are used a lot in those personal drones and RC planes that the geeky survivalist and prepper ‘must have’ as a toy.

In the last post Death by Lithium Ion Battery  I talked about the fire and explosion risk of these batteries. Only I forgot my modeling days with its not so baby brother the LI-Po power pack.
In real life these lightweight cells are brilliant. Loads of power in a tiny package. Thus are found in RC battery-powered models in all shapes and sizes including the White House Favorite, DRONES.

Drones aka Aerial Surveillance
Know what?
These damn batteries are even more twitchy than Li-Ion.
So here is a very quick do and don’t do list of things to consider.

First thing, heat and these cells is a definite NO NO.
Above 140F / 60C they become unstable. Unstable = Fire Risk

lipofireFor safety, Lithium Polymer must be CHARGED and STORED in a fire-safe container and never leave them unattended when charging them. When these cells start to fail they don’t hang around. Swell, smoke, and fail can happen in seconds.

Only use “dry” type fire extinguishers on them.
Water/gas or water based foam is not safe.

As per the Li-on, physical damage is bad BUT unlike Li-ion, most Li-Po’s come in soft plastic packs NOT hard metal or hard plastic. thus they are more prone to “crunch” damage.

Thus everything I said about Li-Ion failure applies here.
In short, if it goes wrong, DITCH THE BITCH!

  • Never use a Ni-Cad, Ni-Mh battery charger, only use one that can be set specifically for LI-Po’s.
  • Be careful when charging. Always make sure your charger is set up correctly to suit the voltage and current settings FOR THAT PACK.
  • They will fail if overcharged as per a Li-ion battery.
    Being in ‘soft packs’ the clue will be them swelling. Once that starts disconnect fast and ditch even faster!
  • Most Li-ion have inbuilt “safety” cut outs, Li-Po as a norm don’t.
  • Never store Li-Po batteries fully charged. For long-term storage discharge the cell to about 50% capacity or 3.8 volts.

In conclusion.
Lithium. Why, oh, why would anyone be thinking of using such a potentially ‘difficult’ power source.

One where maintaining it off grid has the potential to do so much damage by poor charging techniques, bad storage, or physical damage.

Whoops. I forgot, it’s the preferred power source for all those geeky electronic toys the credit card preppers and survivalists love.

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2 Responses to Li-Po, the battery of drones

  1. equippedcat says:

    Why use Lithium? Because it is the “best” battery technology we have. For any given amount of energy storage, it is smaller and lighter, which means smaller, lighter gear OR more power in the same size/weight. Also, this technology self discharges the least. More dangerous? I’m not sure that is a major consideration for suppliers. After all, doesn’t the marketplace embrace enriched flour and GMAO food?.

    • Self discharges the least? LOL
      For long-term storage you need to discharge the pack to about 40% capacity.
      Then store it cool (in the fridge) around 6 degrees Celsius.
      So, off grid, you’ll need an accurate way of discharging or charging it to 40%.
      Plus a way of keeping it cool.

      Before I found out the trick of doing that I was exercising my LI battery packs every couple of weeks to keep them alive.

      But now lets pop a prepper into one of your hotter US states and cut the national electrical grid.
      Chances of the Li-Po or LI-ion surviving for a while would be??

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