LIPO SAFETY and Disposal

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    Taj Manning

    I came across bulletin whilst pursuing the Hobbyking website . It relates to LIPO safety which needs to be read and digested.

    Saltwater Bath

    There is a great myth that shares more in common with Terminator than the RC industry because this myth just won’t die. Do not attempt to dispose of you LIPO battery by placing it in a saltwater bath. This dissolves the aluminium tabs within the battery but does nothing else. It appears to be flat because when you run a multimeter over the main discharge leads there is no reading. This is because the internals of the battery has been corroded leaving each cell with a charge.

    Responsible Battery Disposal

    hobbyking battery recycle We all have a responsibility to make sure that batteries are disposed of in a responsible manner. Many local governments have hazardous waste drop-off centres that accept batteries, some at no cost to you. Batteries are hazardous to you and the environment so do the right thing drop your old batteries off for recycling. Also be sure that your batteries are completely flat prior to disposal as a charged battery can be quite volatile. If your battery starts a fire as a result of its charge state you may be held liable so be sure you discharge the battery before disposal.

    Most LiPo chargers have a special discharge function that can be used discharge your LiPo battery. Generally, the charger will discharge the pack into an internal resistor producing heat so 50w or less is the usual max setting. Whilst discharging smaller currents is fine you need remember that it may take many hours. If you are trying to completely discharge packs for disposal a light bulb may be more effective as it’s a set and forget method. Some dischargers have a cut-off voltage and will not discharge beyond a safe voltage of 3V. If this is the case, you will need to finish the job with a bulb anyhow.

    Light Bulb Method

    The Lightbulb method is a tried and tested and quite a popular tool for discharging LiPo batteries. The method is cheap, fast, reliable, easy to make, and can be cobbled together from parts you have in your workshop. A 3S LiPo can be connected directly to a 12V light bulb and a 6s can be connected to two 12v globes in parallel. You can also use a resistive load like those found in hair dryers.

    Story Images by Mike


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