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Written by Jay Smith and Rachelle Haughn.
Storing and disposing of your batteries.
Read the full article in the October 2015 issue of
Model Aviation.


Storing and Disposing of LiPos



Battery storage: If storing a LiPo battery longer than one week, batteries should be stored at 3.8 to 3.9 volts per cell (approximately 50% charged). Storing a fully charged LiPo battery can affect its capacity loss over time. Many chargers on the market today have a built-in storage charge/discharge function. Select this option on the charger, input the battery parameters, and let the charger do all of the work!

According to Thunder Power RC, the optimum temperature to store batteries is between 40° and 70° and they should not be exposed to direct sunlight for an extended period of time. It is also a good idea to cover the connectors or ensure that multiple connectors cannot come in contact with one another and possibly cause a short. Caps can be purchased to cover many popular connectors.

Batteries should be stored at 3.8 to 3.9 volts per cell—approximately 50% charged. The optimum temperature to store batteries is between 40° and 70° and out of direct sunlight.



Caps can be purchased to fit and cover many popular connectors and prevent a short.


Commercially available products that can be used to store your batteries include items such as the LiPoSack, the LiPo Battery Bunker, or even an ammunition can. If you are using an ammunition can, you can remove part of the seal or drill small holes in the top to allow for venting in the event of a LiPo battery discharge or fire.



Many products, such as the LipoSack, can be used to safely charge and store your batteries.


Recycle It

If your LiPo batteries have reached the point where they have lost 20% or more of their capacity, or have puffed, it’s time to say your goodbyes and recycle them.

Call2Recycle, a battery collection program that has accumulated more than 5.7 million pounds of rechargeable batteries, will recycle your NiMH, Lithium Ion (Li-Ion), LiPo, and Ni-Cd batteries weighing up to 11 pounds (New York’s weight limit is 25 pounds) for free. There are approximately 30,000 participating public collection sites across the US and Canada.

The collection sites are conveniently located at retail stores, small businesses, and municipalities. In Indiana, where AMA Headquarters is located, drop-off sites include Sears, Lowe’s, Best Buy, Ace Hardware, Staples, Home Depot, Office Max, HobbyTown USA, Office Depot, and solid waste districts.

Finding a drop-off center located near you is simple. All you need to do is visit www.call2recycle.org and type in your ZIP code. This action opens a map showing the closest drop-off locations. If you don’t have Internet access, you can call (877) 273-2925 in the US or Canada.



Call2Recycle provides free battery collection at many popular retailers. Drop-off locations can be found on the organization’s website. Best of all, the batteries are recycled.


There is a collection box for the batteries at each drop-off site. All batteries intended to be recycled must be individually bagged to ensure that the terminals cannot touch. Puffed battery packs can also be recycled as long as the structural integrity has been maintained, they are bagged, and the terminals are protected.

You may be wondering why you should recycle your aircraft’s batteries when it’s more convenient to throw them in the trash. Before you toss them, you should know that some states have passed laws making it illegal to dispose of certain types of rechargeable batteries and cellular phones in the regular trash. New York, North Carolina, New Mexico, and California have such laws in place. You can find more information on each state through the Call2Recycle website.

After the batteries are collected, the chemicals in them are used to make new ones. The cadmium in Ni-Cd batteries can be used as a stiffening agent in materials such as cement, and the nickel is used in stainless steel products.

In its more than 20 years of existence, Call2Recycle has diverted millions of pounds of rechargeable batteries from landfills. In 2014 alone, 12 million pounds of batteries were recycled instead of being tossed into landfills. In California, more than 1 million pounds of batteries were recycled, and collections in Canada climbed to an all-time high of 4.4 million pounds.

Call2Recycle is funded by major product and battery manufacturers that want to ensure that the batteries and cellphones they sell are recycled.

Call2Recycle does not accept single-use/disposable or automotive batteries. A detailed list of what batteries can be accepted is found on the Call2Recycle website.



—Jay Smith
jays@modelaircraft.org
—Rachelle Haughn
rachelleh@modelaircraft.org


Sources:

Call2Recycle
(877) 723-1297
www.call2recycle.org

“LiPo Battery Basics” (Part 1)
www.ModelAviation.com/lipo1

“LiPo Battery Basics” (Part 2)
www.ModelAviation.com/lipo2

“LiPo Battery Basics” (Part 3)
www.ModelAviation.com/lipo3




9 comments

I am very confused by the statement that lipo cells put out 7.4 volts when fully charged and should be discharged to. 3.4 volts for storage. I have never seen a single cell voltage on a lipo cell go above about 4 volts when properly charged. I have a 11 volt pack with three cells for most of my planes and there is no way it is over 20 volts when charged. This has to be wrong and should be corrected in the video!

We added an annotation to the video a while back. You are correct - cells are typically no more than 4 volts when properly charged. Users should discharge a battery to 50% and the voltage down to 3.8V/cell.

Every lipo I've ever had no matter the size is 4.2 volts per cell fully charged. Various sizes brands of chargers -

I would like to see a very thorough article on LiPo batteries, including either videos or pictures:
1. Cell basics - what is a LiPo battery? construction, components, etc.
2. Types of LiPos and how to charge them. Include complete info on various chargers.
3. Types of connectors, incl. names, pictures, and how to change connectors to match connectors of quads, copters, planes, cars.
4. Proper storage. How to discharge for storage.
5. Proper disposal of LiPos. Where. Sources for disposal.
6. Ways to ship LiPos. UPS, FedEX, etc. How to package for shipment.

All the above in ONE place and easily accessible to copy for use on my computer(s).

Thanks!

Thanks for the suggestions, Richard! I'm not sure if you are aware that the article above is just one in a series of four pieces called "Battery Basics". While the series doesn't touch on every topic you mentioned, it does cover some of these topics such as types of connectors (with names, pictures, and throughout ratings), discharge and storage, disposal, and some information on charging.

We gathered these articles onto a single page recently for a separate article. You can find links to all four articles at: http://modelaviation.com/battery-safety-faa-highlight .

I've passed along your suggestions for additional topics to our Editor-In-Chief.

A lot of people keep their LiPo's out in the garage. My garage can get really hot on a warm day, and I didn't really want to find a place inside the house for the batteries (actually, that was my Wife).

I got lucky at a yard sale, and found a micro refrigerator. It's about a 20" cube, the kind that you might keep a few beers in under a counter somewhere. I set the temperature a lot warmer than most of us would want for beer, about 45 to 50 degrees F. Now I have a nice neat place for my batteries and they're a lot happier in there than they'd be in my 120-plus degree garage. The small batteries for my micro flyers are in a small plastic tub on one of the racks. The larger batteries rest on the racks just fine, but because the racks are steel, I cover the connectors. I found some soft vinyl caps that were intended to cap the end of a plastic tube, they fit over my xT60 connectors just great!

How is it possible to tell what voltage to run a motor or ESC at? How can you tell if they are 3,4 or even 5 cell just by looking at them? Is some special gadget required to evaluate a motor?

What is the proper way to "VENT" a Military surplus Ammo case.
I know this is to relieve the pressure of the lipo if it ignites but there needs to be some info on how to vent the case so that flames do not escape.
Jay Burkart

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