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Damnit, the lipo battery industry needs better standards!

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Damnit, the lipo battery industry needs better standards!

Old 11-09-2009, 06:41 PM
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Freezetron
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Default Damnit, the lipo battery industry needs better standards!

Its a learning experience and a farking expensive one. I knew getting into this avenue of electric truck wasn't gonna be cheap, but holy hell, I had no idea the tech in the Lipo's was so damn picky and unstable in comparison to NimH. Case in point. I slightly puffed one of my Lipos from my second set of SMC Lipo's just yesterday. Yes, in 6 months, im on my SECOND set of $170 Lipo, after I ruined the first batch apparently from running the cells to low with the LVC at to low of a setting and they got destroyed according to Bryan at SMC




I got lucky and got 50% credit from SMC towards a new and updated cell set from Bryan at SMC and I was a happy camper that they came through for me and I proceeded to be more cautious with my Lipo's and raised that LVC on my MMM to 3.5v to be extra safe.

Fast forward three months later to yesterday, I got back from the bash pit and started to charge up my Lipo's like I usually have done so they are ready to go at moments notice when I wanna go bash, its much more convienent for me. I get done with the second pack two hours later and I noticed a slight bulge in the middle of the pack. Hard to tell, but it was easily tellable comparing it to the other pack. My first thought is.....

Ohhhhhh Sh!

I immediately called up Bryan at SMC this morning and this what I can remember of my conversation with him:


Me: Hey Bryan, this is Bryce from Montana
Bryan: Hey Freezebyte! Good to hear from ya, how goes it?
Me: We'll, im calling cause I have a big concern on my second set of Lipo's from you guys
Bryan: Ok, whats up?
Me: Well, i've been babying these packs since I got them, balance them at every charge, raised the LVC to 3.4v.-3.5v and they've been doing very well up until yesterday when I charging the last one, I noticed it puffed slightly near the end of its charge. Its hard to tell, but its definently budged a bit.
Bryan: How bad is it? Is it breaking the seal on the outside case?
Me: No, not that bad, just the center is raised a little bit if you compared it to the other pack
Bryan: Did you just charge them today before you went out?
Me: No, I charged them the previous night and let them sit like i've always done, its more convienent for me.
Bryan: Ohhh, thats not good for our cells.
Me: What?
Bryan: Yeah, you don't wanna fully charge up your Lipo's until you're ready to go. The cell chemistry in Lipo's and especially ours doesn't like to sit fully charged for extended periods of time. I"m surprised you haven't majorly puffed up your Lipo's sooner as a result
Me: Ohhh crap....now what?
Bryan: Well, I would immediately discharge them either via driving or your charge and get them down to 7.4v or even lower. We typically will use our cells in races up until the LVC kicks in or get noticable slower and then will keep them discharged like that until the day we need them and then charge them full.
Me: Damnit, I heard something about that but I figured it wasn't a big deal,l its just so much easier for me to charge my Lipo's and have them ready to go when I want
Bryan: Yeah, I can understand why and I know some cell makers like Trinity, orion or Turnigy apparently are more forgiving in that area, but ours don't like to kept fully charged for idle periods of time
Me: Damnit to hell, so...am I screwed again?
Bryan: I wouldn't say that, it sounds like the puffing is very slightly and it may go away if you get them discharged immediately. I can't say for sure without seeing them myself. I know we have Lipo's that have been puffed for months and we charge and discharge them on a regular basis along with racing them and have had no issues. You very well could be fine, but again, dont' quote me on that
Me: Damn, well iv'e got winter coming up here and i'm not gonna be able to use my Flux for a few months, so what do I do?
Bryan: For our Lipo's, discharge them to around 7.2v area, don't worry about the rated capacity, we go by voltage. Then once a month or month and a half, fully charge and discharge them to cycle the chemicals in the cells to prevent them from prematurely wearing out. Lipo's do not have the discharge issues that NimH do, so if you leave 1000mAh 7.2v alone and check it a two months later, its gonna be pretty much within .1-.2 V from where you left it
Me: Arrrgh, this is fustrating. So other Lipo's don't have this charge storage issue.
Bryan: They ALL do, some cell makers have their cells be more forgiving for extended periods of full charge then ours do
Me: Damnit, another costly noob mistake
Bryan: I wouldnl't sweat it too much, just take your packs and discharge them to less then 7.4v is the ideal voltage and keep an eye on them. If the puffing gets worse during the discharge or charge, then i'm afraid their ruined. If the puffing stays the same or goes away, you should be fine, just keep a close eye on them. Sorry to hear about the troubles, we do state how to store our Lipo's on our instruction sheet that comes with all our batteries.
Me: Yeah, I kinda read through it but didn't pay it much attention
Bryan: So we have noticed, and were in the process of updating that documentation so people have a better idea of how to care for our Lipo's as for what works on our Lipo's, may not work on other brands.
Me: *Sigh.......* Well I guess thats what I needed to know then.....
Bryan: Again, you should be ok, just keep an eye on them and don't get depressed, well take care of you if they do get worse. We'll stand by our products always and help you and all our other customers best we can
Me: Well, thank you very much Bryan, I do very much appreciate your time and energy to speak with me and other customers
Bryan: No problem, thats what I'm here for. We are crazy busy at times, but we do all we can to help our customers and backup our products. If you ever have any questions or concerrns about anything, even not Lipo related, feel free to give me a call. That's what i'm hear for and happy to do it for our customers like you
Me: *Sighhh* It makes me think about going with the LiFe series of batteries that are more forgiving and easier to take care of, but damn they are expensive and not many choices available
Bryan: Yeah, I have heard some good things about them, but I have no personal experience with them yet.
Me: Ok, well thanks so much again Bryan for your time, im gonna go get these discharged and hope for the best
Bryan: Sounds good, don't worry, well take care of you whatever the outcome, feel free to call me and keep my posted.
Me: Awesome, thanks again Bryan
Bryan: No problem Bryce, take care!


Again, SMC has proven that they are willing to stand by their products and going WAY out of their way to help customers. I don't think I can name any company who's gone to such extremes to please customers before. That being said, I am getting very fustrated that the Lipo industry is NOT coming any closer to standardizing the C ratings of Lipo's, let alone the proper way to charge, discharge and maintain them. It seems like they have left the hobbyists to fend and learn from themselves in regards to this new battery tech and if it costs us *literally* to learn about their traits, the industry doesn't seem to give a rats ass.

At times, the NimH industry looks like its in good shape to continue being the firm base for electric RC usage. You can charge and discharge them all you want, they can sit for months on end without having to be messed with and you only gotta worry about temperatures during charging and usage. Sure, they are heavier and don't have the same punch the Lipo's do, but damnnit, you don't have to freaking "baby" NimH like you Lipo and thats what's fustrating me the most. A simple battery is causing most of the angst and confusion in this industry and hobby, along with ruined/damaged ECS's, batteries, wallets and feelings and there seems to be no one who is willing to stand up and say "Enough is enough!" We need all these Lipo makers to agree on a proper Lipo care and usage so we don't have this cluster of varied opinion/ideas/suggestions that changes with every single maker of Lipo!

LiFe batteries are starting to look like the REAL batteries of the future. They last longer, can be charged much higher/faster, they dont' need a LVC, they don't explode with over charge/discharge. This is truly what this industry needs, a very foolproof, stable and safe platform to build the next generation of RC hobbyists because lets face it, the diehards will always be a small nit and dedicated group that are willing to put up with the roadbumps of new tech. But its the first time learners, new and curious bystanders watching someone drive and fly and the first time drivers/flyer that will make or break this hobby in the 21st century. Having a battery technology that will advance the usage of RC in all area's that is capable of being powerful, stable, clean and most of all, SAFE and COMPLIANT for the general hobbyist will truly be the best way to help this hobby grow and for people to have safe and reliable fun with their RC equipment.

EDIT: WEDNESDAY FOLLOW UP

I decided to give Bryan at SMC another today and verify some information about their SMC Lipos, specifically what the safest route is to keep them in a charged and discharged state:

Me: Yes, is this Bryan?
Bryan: Yes it is
Me: Bryan this is Freezebyte again from Montana
Bryan: Hey Freeze, good to hear from you again, what can I do for ya?
Me: Well, I'm calling to give you and update on the condition of my Lipo after I discharged them and left around 1000mAh inside them which put them at around 7.3v. The puffing seem to have gone down a little bit.
Bryan: Ok, you should be in the clear then, the new Lipo cell chemistry is a bit more forgiving then the older batch, so just keep an eye on it.
Me: Sounds good which brings me to my follow up question that I couldn't remember your full answer to. For your guy's SMC Lipos and cells inside them, what is the maximum and safest amount of time to keep them at a fully charge state that won't damage the cells?
Bryan: For our Lipo's, no more then 1 day, 24 hours max. Past that, you greatly increase the risk of causing the chemicals inside our cells to start to break down and risk puffing. I know it sucks, I know its a bit inconvienent for some people but our Lipo's are designed for performance and racing and arn't as forgiving as other "generic" Lipo's. Theres a tradeoff, you either want really good performance Lipo's that require more attention and care or you can have lesser performance but be able to beat the crap out the Lipo for extended periods of time. Its like a Ford Focus ya know, its built to last and go for miles and miles but it sure as hell ain't gonna win you any street races vs a Ferrari. Each one is built for a different reason and use.
Me: Well, that makes perfect sense, I didn't think about that
Bryan: Yeah, the cells we use in our Lipo's are designed to give maximum punch and power for racing needs and that comes at a price, in this case, they require more attention to their charged and discharged state and react poorly when you over or under discharge them vs other Lipos. I know at one race one of the guys their was using Orion packs and was doing pretty good but was having issues over some bigger jumps. He asked if he could borrow one of ours and he was able to clear the jumps no problem now. I"m not saying Orions are crap, they do make good stuff, but I don't think they are geared for real high end demands like our packs are designed for, however the tradeoff is that you can beat, abuse and use them over and over and they just keep taking it. It just a matter of what you want out of the Lipo.
Me: Yeah, i've heard peeps saying that their Turnigs and Zippys are sitting charged for days or weeks on end with no ill effect and last a bit longer
Bryan: Yeah, Orions are apparently the same way, but we've also seen the performance difference between their packs and ours on the track so its either babying a high performance pack more or be able to hammer and beat up a pack but have less performance, you can't have both.
Me: Well, that makes alot of sense now that you put it that way. I"m glad I asked and now know how to properly care for your guy's particular Lipo's and cells. Thanks so much again Bryan, I really appreciate it
Bryan: Hey your most welcome, glad to be of help. Give us a call if you have any other questions or concerns, thats what were hear for. Oh and congrads on your truck in the new RC Car action! Sweet looking color scheme, simple but nicely laid out with the wheels and tires and even nicer scenery and bashing spot, im jealous!
Me: Lol, well thanks so much! I am pretty proud of it myself and I just heard that my truck also made RC Driver in the Jan 2010 issue!
Bryan: Really? We'll congrads again, I'll keep my eye out for that one too! I'd kill to have a bashing spot like you have up there, especially with that scenery!
Me: Ironic, you want my bashing spot, and I want your guys big races and events, lol Thanks again Bryan, take care!
Bryan: You too freeze!


So there ya have it folks, straight from the horses mouth. Needless to say, i've decided I want more "bulletproof and forgiving" Lipos for my needs. I hate babying crap as it doesn't make this hobby fun when I have to spend extra time and effort into something as simple as a battery. Im gonna order some Turnigys when my SMC's give out and take this as another valuable lesson learned in the new world of Lipo and RC usage.
Old 11-09-2009, 06:52 PM
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PrjctStrtFrce
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Default RE: Damnit, the lipo battery industry needs better standards!

Cliffs? [:-]
Old 11-09-2009, 07:05 PM
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Freezetron
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Default RE: Damnit, the lipo battery industry needs better standards!

^ That was utterly useless, dont' spam crap my thread if you having nothing constructive to say allright? [:@]


Anyone uses these LiFe series i've been hearing at hobbyking? Will they work well for Savage Flux's demands? I don't see how the hell Maxamps can charge nearly $150 for the same LiFe battery

http://www.hobbycity.com/hobbycity/s...v=l&sortlist=P
Old 11-09-2009, 07:22 PM
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Default RE: Damnit, the lipo battery industry needs better standards!

I think if i was going to run electric, NiMh would be the way i would go. Mainly because of what my budget would be and the ease of use and decent performance that a NiMh battery gives.

It seems like Lipo's are just a very expensive ticking time bomb to me. Oh well, i moved away from electric a while back and dont think i want to go back anytime soon Although, ill have to admit that a VXL Traxxas Stampede would be a lot of fun at times.

Eric
Old 11-09-2009, 08:09 PM
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Default RE: Damnit, the lipo battery industry needs better standards!

Nitro.

Not spam, a suggestion. It's superior in nearly every way.
Old 11-09-2009, 08:32 PM
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PrjctStrtFrce
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Default RE: Damnit, the lipo battery industry needs better standards!

I tested the waters with a VXL MERV and it is definitely easy and fun plug n' play action, but my main niche in the hobby is nitro. I like the "ease" of plugging in the batteries and driving it, but I mainly like the tinkering and pre-game that comes with nitro.

I've been reading up on lipos and such for the MERV and it's quite frightening to see videos of what can happen to these crazy expensive batteries. I've been reading that the average life of lipos is between 100-300 cycle. Now, let's say you get 200 cycles. 200 cycles x an average 10 minutes per charge = 2,000 minutes/60=about 33 hours of run time from ONE battery. Now, these batteries can cost anywhere from $20-$100+, depending on what type of vehicle you are putting it in, capacity, and cell count. Good chargers for these things aren't exactly cheap either, easy low-mid $100's for an all in one charger, discharger, and balancer. And if one were to really be into electric, then two chargers would be a minimum, since you do not want to be waiting for approximately an hour charge per battery with only one charger. A tank of fuel in a Savage will last about 10-15 minutes as well, so I figure you can get about 6-8 hours of run time off of ONE gallon of fuel at about $30/gallon. Now you would need about 5 gallons of fuel ($150) to equal one average battery's lifespan. If you look at the small picture, then lipos are cheaper, but the big picture is if/when these lipos go POOF, it's pretty much a wasted item.

Fuel is expected to be burnt and wasted, but batteries are expected to last for the most part, which is why it's a big bummer when these expensive batteries surprise you with some smoke, expansion, or in some cases, explosion.
Old 11-09-2009, 08:49 PM
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Default RE: Damnit, the lipo battery industry needs better standards!

thats pretty insane to hear, well at least they stood buy you, at the price of those LiFe's i'd get two and give um a shot for $80 it could prove to be a very worth while invstement, if you can fit um i'd get the 3s sets for sure, just for power reason's

i think the battery industry needs some work, yes lipo revoulution whoop dee doo, but if we can't get packs to fit in our cars or are limited because our cars were designed 5 years ago and now the shape of lipo's is totally different than a six cell, why should we try and cram a lipo into our chassies we should start re designing lipo specific chassies, and drivelines that can handle the power out of the box, i give traxxas a big kudos with their VXL's for including an all metal tranny, the industry needs to really wake up, and start getting out of our old mentality, we need to start over, totally i think almost EVERY chassie in the electric and some in the nitro industry should be scrapped and compaines should start over from square one, yes it would kinda suck but it needs happen

the lug
Old 11-09-2009, 11:01 PM
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thzero
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Default RE: Damnit, the lipo battery industry needs better standards!

You could also check into A123 cells...

As far as the LiFe goes; they just don't have the punch at the LiPos do as they are only a rated for 1.65v per cell as opposed to 3.7v per cell of a LiPo. But there is the advantage of not being as volatile as LiPos. And they require more cells so tend to be bigger.
Old 11-10-2009, 01:12 AM
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Default RE: Damnit, the lipo battery industry needs better standards!


ORIGINAL: thzero

You could also check into A123 cells...

As far as the LiFe goes; they just don't have the punch at the LiPos do as they are only a rated for 1.65v per cell as opposed to 3.7v per cell of a LiPo. But there is the advantage of not being as volatile as LiPos. And they require more cells so tend to be bigger.
Uh, its 3.3v, not 1.65
Old 11-10-2009, 01:37 AM
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Default RE: Damnit, the lipo battery industry needs better standards!

Just curious - everybody knows a well running lipo brushless is faster than nitro..

Take, say, a Savage XL with LRP Spec 3, and put it up against a Flux with Nimh. How would they compare?

Just curious..
Old 11-10-2009, 02:11 AM
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Default RE: Damnit, the lipo battery industry needs better standards!

If you want to be on the Cutting Edge of things then it is going to be expensive especially if your not 100% knowledgable, on the subject.
Old 11-10-2009, 02:15 AM
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Default RE: Damnit, the lipo battery industry needs better standards!

ORIGINAL: HPI_Savage_RC

Nitro.

Not spam, a suggestion. It's superior in nearly every way.
Hay man, i was running my savage today, all of a sudden the engine stopped. I couldn't seen any colored liquid in the tank, and I think the tank might have swelled. What do I do?
Old 11-10-2009, 02:49 AM
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sharkattack99
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Default RE: Damnit, the lipo battery industry needs better standards!

ever since i started in this hobby and these forums, Electric vs Nitro always seems to be one of the topics. each have there strong point and each have there down falls, its all chalked up to personal preference no more no less. some like electic some like nitro, and thats the way it going to be forever and ever and always so LET IT GO already, lol.
Old 11-10-2009, 07:15 AM
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Default RE: Damnit, the lipo battery industry needs better standards!


ORIGINAL: IceWindius


ORIGINAL: thzero

You could also check into A123 cells...

As far as the LiFe goes; they just don't have the punch at the LiPos do as they are only a rated for 1.65v per cell as opposed to 3.7v per cell of a LiPo. But there is the advantage of not being as volatile as LiPos. And they require more cells so tend to be bigger.
Uh, its 3.3v, not 1.65
Did you ever think someone might have made a simple mistake?
Old 11-10-2009, 10:06 AM
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Default RE: Damnit, the lipo battery industry needs better standards!

Whenever someone has a problem and comes here to share or seek help, the 'versus' begins. This is unnecessary and unwanted.

Please keep the smartass comments out and attempt to remain constructive.

Thank you.
Old 11-10-2009, 11:09 AM
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thzero
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Default RE: Damnit, the lipo battery industry needs better standards!

Yes, well, an extra divide by 2 occured... whoop.

ORIGINAL: cummins driver
ORIGINAL: IceWindius
ORIGINAL: thzero

You could also check into A123 cells...

As far as the LiFe goes; they just don't have the punch at the LiPos do as they are only a rated for 1.65v per cell as opposed to 3.7v per cell of a LiPo. But there is the advantage of not being as volatile as LiPos. And they require more cells so tend to be bigger.
Uh, its 3.3v, not 1.65
Did you ever think someone might have made a simple mistake?
Old 11-10-2009, 02:13 PM
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Freezetron
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Default RE: Damnit, the lipo battery industry needs better standards!

God damnit you guys, don't start turning this thread into a "Nitro vs Electric" flamewar, that's not what this is about. [:@] All you nitro heads stay the hell out if you have no relevant and or unbiased information about Lipo tech and we electric users will stay out of your nitro methane filled threads, mkay?
Old 11-10-2009, 02:48 PM
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Freezetron
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Default RE: Damnit, the lipo battery industry needs better standards!


ORIGINAL: cummins driver


ORIGINAL: IceWindius


ORIGINAL: thzero

You could also check into A123 cells...

As far as the LiFe goes; they just don't have the punch at the LiPos do as they are only a rated for 1.65v per cell as opposed to 3.7v per cell of a LiPo. But there is the advantage of not being as volatile as LiPos. And they require more cells so tend to be bigger.
Uh, its 3.3v, not 1.65
Did you ever think someone might have made a simple mistake?
And I was simply correcting him, whats the problem?
Old 11-10-2009, 02:49 PM
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Default RE: Damnit, the lipo battery industry needs better standards!

Hey, Ice

What did you have the LVC set at with the first set of batteries?
Old 11-10-2009, 03:08 PM
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Freezetron
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ORIGINAL: t9dragon

Hey, Ice

What did you have the LVC set at with the first set of batteries?
3.2v most of the time I believe.
Old 11-10-2009, 03:24 PM
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Default RE: Damnit, the lipo battery industry needs better standards!

hi thinking you are protesting far to much for someone who is not reading the instructions and following the instructions when all else fails
Old 11-10-2009, 03:47 PM
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ORIGINAL: jbooker82

ORIGINAL: HPI_Savage_RC

Nitro.

Not spam, a suggestion. It's superior in nearly every way.
Hay man, i was running my savage today, all of a sudden the engine stopped. I couldn't seen any colored liquid in the tank, and I think the tank might have swelled. What do I do?
Oh no, you must have stored the tank with fuel in it overnight, that means you you ruined a $170 set of SMC fuel tanks, the 2nd in 3 months! You better convert to electric, cause it's sooooo much easier and less expensive. Oh wait.[:-]
Old 11-10-2009, 03:52 PM
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Default RE: Damnit, the lipo battery industry needs better standards!


ORIGINAL: HPI_Savage_RC


ORIGINAL: jbooker82

ORIGINAL: HPI_Savage_RC

Nitro.

Not spam, a suggestion. It's superior in nearly every way.
Hay man, i was running my savage today, all of a sudden the engine stopped. I couldn't seen any colored liquid in the tank, and I think the tank might have swelled. What do I do?
Oh no, you must have stored the tank with fuel in it overnight, that means you you ruined a $170 set of SMC fuel tanks, the 2nd in 3 months! You better convert to electric, cause it's sooooo much easier and less expensive. Oh wait.[:-]

I think you "nitro boys" have shiffed just a little to much nitro.
Old 11-10-2009, 04:21 PM
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Default RE: Damnit, the lipo battery industry needs better standards!

Try hobbycity and you will love both the quality and the price! Search around and you will find tons of information and comments on HobbyCity.

My friend runs hobbycity lipos in his flux for more than 6 months now and it is a beast! Crazy power.
Old 11-10-2009, 04:34 PM
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Default RE: Damnit, the lipo battery industry needs better standards!

im running thunder power 3s in my converted x been running it for about 4 to 5 months now no problem they are just a little bit spendy, but i figured you know why go cheap with batteries might as well get some good well known ones and not worry about it for a year or two give or take. but i like them and plan to buy a thunder power 6s soon as well.

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