This is the first article in a series of three about LiPo airsoft batteries. This article will cover how to charge them properly.
What are these things called? How do they work? What safety precautions should be taken when using or charging one?
In this article, I’ll try to explain all that and more. After reading this article, you should know what type of battery charger to get and how to use it. That’s the most important part: SAFETY. The first law of airsoft says: Turn off the switch or unplug the battery charger when not in use.
What Is a LiPo Battery?
A LiPo airsoft battery is a rechargeable, high-capacity battery made specifically for use in airsoft guns. It’s abbreviated as “LiPo” or “LIPO”, but must not be confused with the lithium batteries used to power remote control cars and planes.
Although they’re known as LiPos, their actual name is LiFePO4. It’s a type of battery that uses lithium iron phosphate instead of conventional lithium cobalt oxide to produce electrons and current.
How Do LiPo Batteries Work?
A LiPo airsoft battery is made from many small batteries wired together in parallel (to make them all have the same voltage) or series (to add voltages of the individual batteries). This makes them larger than ordinary airsoft gun batteries, such as a NiMH battery. They also output about three times more voltage than their NiMH counterparts.
High discharge rates and high currents are what make LiPo airsoft batteries special. They can be discharged at very high rates (in C) without getting damaged. They can also output high currents (in A) to drive the motors of airsoft guns.
How to charge LiPo batteries?
A LiPo airsoft battery can’t be charged like a NiMH airsoft gun battery. It can’t be connected to a standard wall adapter or a computer’s USB port and left charging overnight. Unlike NiMh batteries, “trickle charging” won’t work when charging from 0% to 100 %.
Li-Ion batteries can’t be overcharged, but they can get very hot during the charging process. This is because charging and discharging a battery generates heat by default.
A LiPo airsoft battery must be charged using a specialized rechargeable battery charger. Unlike ordinary NiMH chargers, these special chargers have features that prevent the batteries from getting damaged.
How long do batteries last also play an important role when doing airsoft, since not all batteries are the same.
Here is how to properly charge LiPo batteries:
Step 1: Charging safety precautions!
Step 2: Setting up your smart charger (if it’s not a smart charger, skip this step). You should read your user manual first and make sure you understand how to set it up.
Step 3: Connect the battery. Most LiPo chargers have a balance lead connector that has multiple pins. Make sure you connect the battery to your charger properly by matching up all of the +/-s, not just the Red and Black ones!
Step 4: Plug in the wall adapter and turn on your smart charger. Most chargers take 3-4 hours to fully charge an airsoft LiPo battery. Don’t start and stop the charging process frequently, as it can cause potential hazards such as venting gas/fire.
If you’re using a wall adapter that’s rated under 1A, the battery may take longer to charge because it’ll take your wall adapter longer to provide enough power for the charger.
Types of LiPo battery chargers?
A battery charger recharges depleted batteries by applying electric current to them. The process involves converting AC (alternating current) into DC (direct current), storing the converted energy in the batter and then discharging it to power an airsoft gun or device.
There are two types of rechargeable battery chargers: manual and automatic.
A manual charger is a simple device that does not have any smart features. It doesn’t charge batteries automatically, but it can be used as a power adapter to connect depleted LiPo airsoft batteries to any powered DC device like flashlights or radios. Automatic battery chargers are smart devices that take care of the charging process automatically. They work almost like a computer peripheral, with plugs and sockets. You can even program their settings to charge batteries of different voltages at certain times.
LiPo Batteries Safety Precautions
A LiPo airsoft battery is NOT like a standard airsoft gun battery that you just charge and go. You need to observe safety precautions before charging it.
Charging Li-ion batteries incorrectly can cause them to overheat or catch fire. They’re not as sensitive as lithium-ion batteries found in power tools, but they’re not 100% safe either.
The following steps must be followed during the charging process:
1) Always wear eye protection and protective clothing when working near Li-Po Batteries.
2) Make sure there’s an adult supervising you while charging the battery.
3) Read the user manual/guidebook for your charger before use.
4) Never attempt to charge a damaged or puffy battery.
5) Never leave your batteries unattended when charging.
6) Never charge batteries overnight.
7) Never use a charger with loose, damaged or corroded wires/pins.
LiPo battery care tips?
Don’t try to open the airsoft LiPo battery. It’s not a simple plastic shell that you can pry off with your hands. Their shells are made from aluminum or other special materials and the circuit board inside is tightly integrated into the casing.
When charging, don’t start and stop frequently. It’s best to charge your LiPo batteries overnight. Charging a Li-Ion battery from 0% to 100% in one go can cause it to overheat or vent gas, which may result in fire/explosion. This is why battery manufacturers recommend charging your batteries in at least 2-hour increments.
When storing or transporting Li-Ion batteries, make sure they’re tightly wrapped up and secured well. If a Li-ion battery is punctured, overheated or short-circuited it can become unstable and catch fire.
Do not expose them to extreme temperatures. Store and charge them in a cool, dry place. Do not leave them outside in freezing conditions when the weather changes suddenly or in direct sunlight for an extended period of time.
How to check if your LiPo is bad?
The best way to know if your airsoft battery is bad is by using its voltage reading function! Some smart chargers have built-in voltage readers, but if yours doesn’t you can use your multimeter to read it. You will need a specialized LiPo battery tester or multimeter with an “auto-trigger” feature that automatically turns on the voltage reading function of the tool when you connect a wire to it.
Remember, never attach the red lead to the positive terminal when testing a battery. Attaching the red probe to negative will trigger it automatically, but applying it to the positive side of a LiPo airsoft battery can damage your multimeter.
How do I know if my charger is broken/faulty?
When charging a battery, check for these signs that your charger might be broken:
– Does the red charging light turn on? (If it doesn’t, then check to see if your wall adapter is working)
– Does the power button flash when you press it?
– If your charger has a fan that rotates, does it spin during charging
LiPo airsoft batteries tend to get hot when charging. If you see the battery getting extremely warm or hear a crackling sound while it’s heating up, then something is wrong and you should stop charging immediately.
Understand how to charge your airsoft LiPo batteries correctly so you have a safer experience! Please refer to this guide whenever you’re charging any kind of battery and make sure there are no other people around you.
For those who don’t know anything about using LiPo for airsoft, it is best to use normal NiMH or NIMH for your airsoft guns, as they are safer and more reliable in the long run. Not to mention cheaper too!