GoolRC B6, iMax B6, and our very own Gens Ace IMARS III–there are so many different chargers in the market that it can be quite difficult to choose between them all and decide which one is the right fit for your RC Lithium-ion Polymer (LiPo) battery.
In order to help in finding a suitable charge for your needs, we will review certain battery parameters, like current, voltage, and power in this article.
In general, a LiPo battery of 3000mAh capacity should be charged at a current of no more than 3A. Just as a battery’s C rating is used to determine the rate at which a battery can be continuously and safely discharged, there is also a C rating for charging. Most LiPo batteries have a recommended charge rate of 1C.
In order to calculate the charge rate of a 1C battery, divide the battery capacity (mAh) by 1000. A 3000mAh, 1C LiPo should be charged at 3A while a 5000mAh 1C LiPo should be charged at 5A.
Some battery labels are marked with, “3C charging rate,” which means that the battery can be safely charged at a maximum of 15A (3 times that of a 1C battery).
If you need to fast charge your device, it’s recommended that you choose a battery that has been manufactured to accept a high charging rate for battery safety.
A LiPo battery pack consists of multiple cells. Battery labels will usually have a S or P in the battery description. 1S in this case equates to 1 cell (3.7V).
The nominal voltage of LiPo batteries is 3.7V per cell, and, at a full charge, they are 4.2V. It’s vital that LiPo batteries should never go lower than 3.0V after discharge.
If a LiPo battery has only one cell, or 1S, then the voltage on the charger should be set at 3.7V. If the battery has 3 cells, or 3S, then the nominal voltage is 11.1V (3.7V x 3). Overcharging your battery past 4.2V per cell can be dangerous and will most definitely void your warranty.
There are also high-voltage LiPo batteries with a voltage of 4.3V; the ultra-high voltage LiPo batteries even have a voltage of 4.35V.
To determine the wattage, you can use this formula:
WATTS = AMPS x VOLTS
Let’s say you have a 5000mAh, 6S battery. That means it has 5A, and the fully charged voltage is 25.2V (six fully charged 4.2V LiPo cells in series). With the formula in mind, the battery will draw 126 watts of power (5Amps x 25.2Volts).
Regarding the technical details of charging, most chargers follow two processes. The first process is to apply a constant current and keep the current flowing into the battery until it reaches a certain voltage.
After this value is exceeded, the charger will switch to constant voltage mode, where the charger will vary the current to ensure that all batteries have the same voltage. As the cells approach the maximum charging voltage per cell, the current will slowly drop until it finally stops at 4.2V.
If you would like to know more about chargers, read more in our blog about the several functions that can be available in RC chargers.
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