LiPo Battery Pack Basics For Airgunners
With the new Barra 400e, we have the first battery-powered, “hard air” AEG. It’s a revolutionary product, as you can read from our HAM review! Doubtless more will follow. So this is a good time to learn some LiPo battery pack basics.
Some of you may already have knowledge of LiPo batteries from airsoft AEG or radio-controlled vehicle use. But for others, this will be a whole new field to investigate. Either way, it makes sense to learn – or remind yourself – about LiPo batteries and how to care for them.
LiPo battery pack basics divide roughly into two areas. They are safety and service life.
Let’s start with safety…
Always use the correct type of charger for your LiPo battery. The battery pack for the Barra 400e incorporates three cells wired in series. (That’s why the battery pack is designated “3S”).
So an appropriate “balanced charger” capable of charging a three-cell battery is required. This is the type of charger marketed by Barra Airguns. Cell balancing is a way of ensuring that the LiPo battery pack is monitored during the charging process and that it charges safely.
Note the three LEDs, one for each cell.
Never allow a LiPo battery pack to charge while unattended. You need to be present for the unlikely – but possible – event of a battery fire while charging.
Better still, buy and use a LiPo safety sack or similar device that can limit the effects of a possible conflagration. But still don’t leave it alone while charging!
2. Keep It Dry
Never allow a LiPo battery pack to become wet. It could potentially malfunction and this could be dangerous.
3. How To Identify A Damaged Battery
If a LiPo battery pack swells-up notably beyond its original size, that’s a clear sign it’s damaged. Do not use it! Get it out of the house immediately! Dispose of it asap through an authorized recycling center. You can find a list of local facilities at https://www.call2recycle.org/locator
Do not leave the LiPo battery inside the gun. Remove it immediately after use and store in a LiPo safety sack at cool room temperature.
Do not store LiPo battery packs at temperatures above about 130 degrees F. Remember that temperature can be reached or exceeded in a car or truck on a sunny day!
5. Don’t Mess With It!
Do not try to modify, alter, disassemble or tamper in any way with a LiPo battery pack. Anything you do could be very dangerous!
1. Charge Before First Use
Charge the battery pack according to the manufacturer’s instructions before you use it for the first time.
2. Don’t Over Discharge
The most common cause of premature LiPo battery pack failure is over-discharging. Don’t let the voltage fall to less than 3.5 Volts per cell. Buy a low voltage alarm and connect it to the battery before and after use to monitor the remaining voltage in the pack.
Note that the total voltage in the battery pack – as in this case – may exceed the 11.1 Volts. This is because the 11.1 Volts marked on the battery itself is actually the nominal average usable voltage, not the peak voltage possible.
3. Keep It Cool
We mentioned above that allowing a LiPo battery pack to get hot is dangerous. But it can also permanently impair its performance. Temperatures above about 135 degrees F will kill LiPo batteries fast!
4. Don’t Over Charge
Over-charging, over time, will permanently damage LiPo battery packs. Again, using a balanced charger as marketed by Barra for the 400e can prevent this from occurring.
5. Use It!
Try to use the LiPo battery pack at least once every 5 to 6 weeks.
LiPo Battery Pack Basics Summary
Most of these LiPo battery pack basics are pretty straightforward and logical. However this is basic guidance only.
As with every other aspect of airguns, it’s every shooters’ responsibility to understand their gun and operate safely. Remember – RTFM…
In the vast majority of cases, LiPo battery packs function as intended. But it’s important that we understand how to prevent – or at worst identify – problems.
So don’t take any chances! If you have any questions or concerns about LiPo battery packs – or you just feel the need for more information – contact the manufacturer of the battery, charger or gun – or the reputable dealer you purchased it from.