Balancing is a term used to describe the equalization of the voltage of each cell inside the battery pack. LiPo batteries are balanced to make sure that each cell discharges at exactly the same amount. Doing this helps the performance of the battery, and is crucial for safety. There are balancers that are sold separately on the market, however, it is recommended to use a charger with built-in balancer.
A balancer is a crucial part of the charging system. However, what to do if there is no balancer or if your balancer broke and you need to charge the battery? The question is Can you charge a lipo battery without a balancer?
The short answer is yes. You can charge a LiPo battery without a balancer. There is a must to do things however when charging without a balancer. You have to charge at low rates. In addition, do not draw your battery packs down do far "that will cause them to unbalance and then you have to balance them once more".
Balancing is mandatory if you are going to tax your batteries while discharging or you are going to push them to the edge. However, if you are going to treat your batteries gently, and you will not tax them, then yes you can charge them without a balancer safely.
What is battery cell balancing?
Battery balancing is a term referring to a technique used to improve the available capacity of a battery pack containing multiple cells. Moreover, it is a process used to increase each cell's longevity too. Balancing a battery pack uses a device called a battery balancer or a battery regulator. A battery balancer is an electrical device that is connected to a battery pack in which it performs battery balancing.
To understand the process more, due to manufacturing processes' variances, there are never two batteries with the same exact capacities. This results in a difference in the capacities between the batteries in a battery pack. Balancing a battery pack takes the difference between each battery into consideration, making charging and discharging process a safe process. A battery balancer is a device responsible for making that happen. Balancing a battery pack maximizes the pack's life, making it last longer and safer to be used.
How do you connect a LiPo battery balance charger?
The First Step to decent charging a LiPo battery is the choice of the charger. Right now one of the best chargers on the market is the Dynamite Passport P1 Mini. It is a multi-chemistry charger that can charge NiMH, NiCd, and LiPo batteries. It has a built-in balancer and can charge up to six amps.
If you have a larger capacity battery and need to charge them, you would need a charger that can operate on higher wattages. To determine that refer to the equation Watt= Voltage x Amperage. Now by knowing these two quantities in your batteries, you would know the exact charger you have to buy.
The second step is to choose the Charge type. The first thing you have to know about this is that for a LiPo battery Parallel charging can be extremely dangerous. Experts consider parallel charging an extremely dangerous chore that should not be considered even by experienced users. The problem with parallel charging is that when you hook up your batteries in parallel, you are basically doubling the capacity of these batteries, while at the same time you maintain the voltage of one of the individual batteries. All of that means is that your charger cannot see all the batteries instead it only sees one.
Also, there are two identical batteries on the market. For batteries to be safe during parallel charging they must be identical, which means that the batteries and the cells within them must be from the exact same production lot, with the same chemical composition, age, and change history, which is impossible to achieve in day to day life.
Series charging is the safe way to go. If you want to charge a number of LiPo batteries that, have the same capacity. You can wire them up in series, setup your charger for the added number of total cells in the setup, and balance charge the batteries. Balancing here is mandatory step because it makes the charger individually charge each cell, making sure that they are all kept at safe levels.
For multiple batteries, the best way to charge them is by having a multi-port charger. So, in case you want to charge multiple batteries, it is the safest thing to do is to purchase a charger that fits your needs.
The third step is to connect the charger to the LiPo battery. This step is the easiest of them all. However, it is crucial that you connect the charger correctly. The positive side of the charger must be connected to the positive side of the battery. The negative side must also be connected to the negative corresponding one in the battery.
There are some safety rules that you must follow when dealing with a LiPo battery, these rules are:
c Never pick up a LiPo battery by its leads. The wires may be pulled off from the solder joints. Always pick it up by its body.
c When charging, charge at a fireproof location. The usage of LiPo safe bags is preferable.
c Never charge your battery immediately after usage, wait for it to cool down first.
c It is recommended that you charge your battery at a rate of 1C or less.
c Never leave your battery unattended when charging. Always check on it to make sure it is not getting warm or swelling.
c Never try to charge a damaged LiPo battery, doing so may cause fire or an explosion.
c Before charging, make sure that the number of cells and battery type match the numbers on your charger.
c Avoid overcharging the battery.
c Never leave your LiPo battery in the sun or in a hot car.