Lipo Batteries Exploding - has anyone ever experienced this? (+ what do you recommend)

Hey guys -

As I'm waiting for my first real model airplane to arrive, the ProJet RQ-11 Raven from NitroPlanes, I can't help but ask, has anyone ever experienced a Lipo battery explode?

Here's a video of one doing just that:

From what I read so far, it's pretty easy to overcharge/overdischarge Lipo batteries and they are very quick to explode if handled the wrong way. But what does this mean exactly? How can you "overdischarge" a battery? I thought that if you fly the plane and it suddenly turns off, wouldn't that shut off prevent it from discharging any more battery?

Also, as I'm a newbie, how do you guys charge your batteries? Do you use one of those chargers with the screen and buttons for controlling the charge or do you just simply connect it to an AC adaptor? Sorry if I'm being too much of a noob but I thought that these airplane batteries are charged just like the Lipos in iPhones, am I wrong?

Thanks in advance!

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3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on December 28, 2010 at 9:34pm
You use special LiPo chargers like this one, with this power supply
Comment by Duane Brocious on December 28, 2010 at 9:40pm
Put the battery inside a welder's glove while charging  and/or in a fire proof area like the middle of an empy garage or basement floor.
Comment by Robert Godlewski on December 28, 2010 at 9:54pm
I probably should have thought about this before I ordered the plane... never imagined that this could be so dangerous.
Comment by John Hestness on December 28, 2010 at 9:56pm
If you read the warnings and follow the instructions you will be OK. I would summarize like this: dont charge at a rate higher than the battery is designed for. You should probably know the difference between a volt, an amp, and a watt. And the difference between an amp and a milliamp. And if you like you can use added safety devices like charging bags or only charge in the middle of an empty garage floor. Also don't cut, smash, nail, impale, or drill your batteries.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on December 28, 2010 at 9:57pm
Most of those LiPo problems were a while ago. In recent years, LiPos and chargers have become very reliable. I've worked with hundreds of them and never had a problem.
Comment by John Hestness on December 28, 2010 at 9:58pm
Phones use lithium ion, planes use lithium polymer.
Comment by Duane Brocious on December 28, 2010 at 10:02pm
Its not that common but better safe than sorry.

Comment by Jason Short on December 28, 2010 at 10:10pm

Buy a fiberglass bag and NEVER charge them while away.  It's really not that bad. 


Comment by Jack Crossfire on December 28, 2010 at 10:13pm

Battery gets too hot, discharges too fast, or discharges too deep -> generates gas which causes the case to puff -> case breaks -> water vapor in air reacts with lithium -> explosion


Discharge & recharge rate has to be much lower than the rated rate for most of the discount batteries or they puff.



Comment by Gary Mortimer on December 28, 2010 at 10:49pm
Best explanation I have ever seen Jack, I'm going to nick it.


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