How to tell if you have overcharged Lipo batteries

Lipos (the types of batteries on most drones) are serious business. They are highly volatile, prone to damage and can cause fires. Despite highly responsible ownership, a lipo battery is still thought to be the cause of a fire that burned down an RC shop in San Diego, and numerous videos show other accidents involving lips. Overcharged Lipo batteries might very likely be the cause.

Luckily, drone makers including DJI and Yuneec have recently started creating “Smart Batteries,” meaning they display remaining battery capacity. Additionally, power management is handled internally so the battery doesn’t require a separate balance lead to control charging.

Whether you have a smart battery or a traditional lipo, here are 15 things you need to know about your batteries.

How to tell if your batteries are overcharged?

Even with the rise of improved technology like smart batteries, there’s still one thing I still frequently get asked: How do you tell if your batteries are overcharged?

The short answer? Fire.

Here’s the long answer around overcharged Lipo batteries:

The first stages of overcharging will cause your battery to puff up, become swollen or otherwise misshapen. If your battery appears puffy, responsibly dispose of the battery immediately.

If left plugged in to overcharge, the battery will eventually smoke, then start a fire. Don’t let that happen! Always remain in the vicinity of the charging battery so you are aware that is has overcharged, before a fire starts.

How to dispose of damaged Lipo batteries

In the event you did overcharge your batteries, you should get rid of them, as they likely have permanent damage and can be a safety hazard.

Wondering how to properly dispose of Lipo batteries? For starters, don’t just put your batteries in the regular trash bin! Batteries can be disposed into specific recycling boxes only after being completely discharged. When in doubt, contact professional battery disposal or recycling agent for help.

Get tons more information about lipo battery care here. Happy flying!

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