LITHIUM POLYMER BATTERIES: SAFETY GUIDELINES AND TIPS FOR CHARGING
When it comes to powering portable electronic devices, lithium cells have become a popular choice because of their lightweight, high energy density, and long lifespan. The lithium polymer (LiPo) and the lithium ion (Li-ion) cells stand out from the previously-used nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) and nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries. However, they come with some unique qualities and require specialized handling and charging procedures due to their high energy content. In this article, we will discuss the safety guidelines and tips for charging lithium polymer batteries.
Safety is a crucial aspect to consider when handling lithium cells. While every type of battery should be treated with caution, lithium cells contain the highest energy density, making them potentially hazardous. They require specialized safety considerations and should never be charged with NiMH or NiCd-only battery chargers.
Before charging a lithium polymer battery, ensure that you have a charger designed specifically for Li-Ion and Li-Poly batteries. Chargers like the TAHMAZO T26 charger are recommended as they can charge up to 10 LiPo cells and have 10 battery memories, making them user-friendly to operate.
Guidelines for Charging and Using Lithium Polymer Batteries
1. Use only chargers approved for use with lithium batteries. Ensure that they are designed for Li-Ion and Li-Poly.
2. Set the correct cell-count on the charger; otherwise, the battery could potentially burst into flames.
3. Balance charge your new lithium battery for the next couple of cycles. This helps prevent the pack from becoming unbalanced, which may cause it to explode. Balance charging becomes necessary when the cells show a reading that they are not within at least 0.1 volts to one another.
4. Charge the batteries and the charger on surfaces that can contain any potential fire. Fireplaces, Pyrex dishes filled with sand, or a vented fire safe are suggestions.
5. Limit charging your batteries to one hour at a time. Exceeding this time significantly increases the chances of a fire.
6. Do not puncture a cell that has ballooned while on charge. This may cause a short circuit resulting in overheating. Wait for at least 2 hours before discharging it slowly.
7. Charge your batteries in well-ventilated and open areas. Should they rupture or explode, they will emit dangerous material and fumes.
8. Always keep a bucket of sand nearby when charging lithium batteries. This is a cost-effective way to extinguish fires and is absolutely necessary.
9. In case of battery disposal, consult the battery disposal guide for proper instructions and regulations.
Lithium polymer batteries are an excellent choice for powering portable electronic devices due to their high energy density and extended lifespan. However, they can be dangerous if not handled and charged correctly. Always use a charger designed specifically for use with Li-Ion and Li-Poly batteries, ensure the correct cell-count is set, balance charge your batteries, and charge them on surfaces that can contain fire. Do not exceed the recommended charging time and always keep a bucket of sand nearby. Following these guidelines will ensure your safety when handling and charging lithium polymer batteries.