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Spark battery care question

cdouble

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I've read comments in this forum that batteries should not be stored for long periods in highly discharged state. But if I run them down to less than 20%, then partially charge to around 50% for storage, I'm subjecting them to two partial charging cycles per flight (instead of one full cycle by just doing one full charge when it's time to fly).

Does anyone have objective information on best approach?

Thanks,
Chris
 

Dodge DeBoulet

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Lithium batteries, especially the high-drain ones such as those used in RC equipment, will tolerate discharge/recharge cycles much better if they're not fully discharged and the recharge is to less than 80%. Storing them for long periods with less than 20% charge will take a much higher toll than recharging them to 60-70% prior to storage.

Absolutely charge to 100% if you're planning on flying soon. But if you know you may not be flying for a few weeks, it's a good idea to bring the charge down to the 70% range before you put everything away. Topping the batteries off from 70% should only take 10-15 minutes.
 

msinger

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Does anyone have objective information on best approach?
The batteries will live a longer life if you keep them within this range as much as possible:

64475b96525f9d8739fa5f05d3920b25ccb60624.png
 

Andre Levite

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I've read comments in this forum that batteries should not be stored for long periods in highly discharged state. But if I run them down to less than 20%, then partially charge to around 50% for storage, I'm subjecting them to two partial charging cycles per flight (instead of one full cycle by just doing one full charge when it's time to fly).

Does anyone have objective information on best approach?

Thanks,
Chris
The battery actually has its own User Manual. It gives the official DJI storage recommendations to "greatly extend battery life":

FDE742E7-CACD-43A5-847A-F3EA8F181E3B.jpeg
 
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cdouble

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Very helpful. One more question. Everything I read online says the charger current should not exceed "C" which is battery MAh / 1000. The spark batteries are 1480 MAh so by that rule the charger should not exceed 1.5 A. The charger that shipped with the Spark is rated at 5V/3A; 9V/2A; 12V/1.5A. The voltage of the battery says 11.4V. So based on that, this is the most powerful charger I should be using. Am I interpreting this correctly?

Sorry for all the **** questions, I just like to be sure I understand, plus I know enough about lithium that I don't want to take any chances in my house. Which begs the actual last questions: have you ever heard of these batteries catching fire when used appropriately? Do you charge or store in a battery bag?

Thx
Chris
 

Spark 317

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Which begs the actual last questions: have you ever heard of these batteries catching fire when used appropriately? Do you charge or store in a battery bag?
I have not heard of any of the Spark batteries spontaneously combustioning, unlike the hover board, phone, whatever batteries you may have read about in the past.

I was over protective at first...

20180728_195444.jpg


20180728_195531.jpg


This was a small currency till that I refurbished into a fireproof battery box because of the hype back then.

Now a days, the batteries sit on top of the refrigerator, lined up ready to go, outside of the container.

If you travel, it is wise to secure them in lipo bags or container, just in case, to prevent an incident.
Don't have them in a Crown Royal bag bouncing around loose. :confused:
 

TeamNIR

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If the battery discharges on its own after 3 days, wouldn’t that eventually discharge enough to properly hibernate by design?
 

msinger

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If the battery discharges on its own after 3 days, wouldn’t that eventually discharge enough to properly hibernate by design?
Yes, the battery will discharge down to the storage level on its own. The issue is that it will continue to slowly discharge over time if you store it without use for 3+ months. At some point, the charge will be so low that it could start to damage the battery.
 

TeamNIR

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What is dji’s Longest recommended storage cycle? By DJIs battery recommendations, storing the battery for longer than 10 days is not ideal, but by day 3 it’s already begun self discharging. Does anyone know the typical self discharge time cycle from when it goes into self discharge until it gets down enough in capacity to Hibernate?
 

msinger

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What is dji’s Longest recommended storage cycle?
After the battery auto discharges down to the storage level, it'll be within the above storage range. When the battery drops below that range, you should charge it until the 3rd battery light starts blinking.

DJI recommends fully charging and using each battery at least once every three months. If that's not possible, then just keep the charge within the above range. I wouldn't trust that DJI batteries will be okay if you let them drop below that range into hibernation.
 

TeamNIR

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I was one of the many that purchased the batteries from Hobby King that roughly a year or older. They were definitely hibernating during that time without charging. I have not had any Ill effects as of right now but it is interesting to know what’s the General storage length recommendations without damaging the batteries.
 

Kendallfordguy

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I was one of the many that purchased the batteries from Hobby King that roughly a year or older. They were definitely hibernating during that time without charging. I have not had any Ill effects as of right now but it is interesting to know what’s the General storage length recommendations without damaging the batteries.
I don't know this as a fact but I would assume that this cycle doesn't start until the batteries are activated(charged) for the first time.
 

Chips

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I have 4 batteries and normally, I recharge them all to full on a Friday night and then go out to fly on Saturday. Depending on conditions and finding worthwhile locations, I may use all or just some of the batteries. Then I recharge those used ones on Saturday night for Sunday flying, but use the ones that were not used on Saturday (I number the batteries and use in sequence). On Sunday, I use two batteries so there are two that are fully charged. I usually don't fly on weekdays so I just pack the stuff away but I was wondering if there is a way to discharge the batteries manually without flying.
 

Kendallfordguy

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I wonder if it's really necessary to force a battery discharge when the smart battery will safely discharge its self over time. Since ideal the storage charge is somewhere around 50%, you would need to constantly watch the state of charge (or discharge) until it gets to that level. With multiple batteries it becomes an even more of a challenge.
 
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msinger

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I wonder if it's really necessary to force a battery discharge when the smart battery will safely discharge its self over time.
Right -- it's not necessary to manually discharge batteries.
 

Decado

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One more question. Everything I read online says the charger current should not exceed "C" which is battery MAh / 1000. The spark batteries are 1480 MAh so by that rule the charger should not exceed 1.5 A. The charger that shipped with the Spark is rated at 5V/3A; 9V/2A; 12V/1.5A. The voltage of the battery says 11.4V. So based on that, this is the most powerful charger I should be using. Am I interpreting this correctly?

Sorry for all the **** questions,
There's no such thing as a silly question except the one you should have asked but didn't.

LiPo batteries have a huge advantage in how quickly they can discharge ... 4 or 5 C is possible but the chemistry required to make this possible makes them volatile and particularly vulnerable to poor charging or penetrating damage. They *can* also if handled correctly charge at better than 1C but that shortens battery life, requires some know how to do safely and is out of the scope of this discussion so we'll leave it.

Most LiPo used in R/C applications are "dumb" batteries. They are a group of cells in series and or parallel and that's it. Charging them safely is up to you and your charger. I'm a Technician by trade and been doing the R/C thing for going on 30 years so I'm fairly across it by now. The average dumb flight battery needs two connections to the charger, one to the actual charge input and one to the inbuilt cell balance circuitry of the charger. My flight charger retails at about $600 and I didn't begrudge a cent of it. You only have to see one LiPo fire to be convinced.

We on the other hand have it easy with our R.P.A.s, DJI have been kind to us and most (if not all?) of their batteries are "smart" batteries and carry integrated smart charge/dischage controllers onboard which also offer short and over draw protection as well as auto discharge. Initially I was skeptical of just how good these systems were. Over time I have become convinced. Nothing is fool proof however, "idiocy resistant" is the best you can hope for.

Generally speaking anyway (not always but mostly) a device will only draw the current it requires. If it needs 1 amp and you connect it to a 500amp supply, no problem as long as the voltage is right. Connect it to something with too high a voltage and then it's fireworks time!

Short answer, always use your DJI charger or an aftermarket charger manufactured by a reputed company and designed for the battery you are using when you possibly can. If you are caught out and have no choice ... for example you have the charging dock but the power brick has died .. then use one not exceeding the maximum rated voltage of the original and don't worry about current output as long as it is not way lower than required as then overheating of the charger will be an issue.

Never leave your batteries unattended while charging whether using the original charger or not.

I have the DJI Docks for all my aircraft and have made cables to connect them to my flight charger. It has four charging "channels" so I programme each channel to output the expected input of the dock connected to it and charge Spark, Mavic, Phantom etc batteries at the same time if under time constraints (I own an R.P.A. business) but if time is not a factor I still use the original DJI equipment every time.

Regards
Ari
 
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Kanehi

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These are smart batteries and will discharge and hibernate automatically. It will slowly discharge after three days. Just charge them fully on flight day.
 

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