What is a LiPo Battery?
Lithium Polymer batteries usually referred to as LiPo batteries are a type of battery often used in consumer electronics prducts such as phones, games controllers, remote control toys, and much more. These batteries are common place in our society today but what do you need to know about them in order to use them in your projects.
Pros & Cons
Why would you use a LiPo battery in your project/application? Well there's quite a few advantages to using LiPos but with anything there are also a few drawbacks.
LiPo batteries are much lighter than other batteries and come in a wide range of different shapes and sizes. Thanks to the way these batteries work they're available in much higher capacities than comparible batteries without increasing drastically in size. The higher discharge rates on LiPo batteries also means they're ideal for use in higher powered applications. Some of the drawbacks to using Lipo batteries are that they require special chargers and have a slightly shorter lifespan than other batteries.
Most LiPo batteries have a nominal voltage of 3.7V meaning they output 3.7V for while they have charge. It is possible to find LiPo batteries with other voltages. These use single 3.7V cells in series to create a larger voltage, the most common one other than 1.7V is 11.1V which is made of 3 x 3.7V cells and often referred to as 3S for the 3 cells in series.
Example of an 11.1V LiPo battery often used in drones.
Discharge Rate (C)
The continuous discharge rate (C) is a measurement of how fast the battery can safely be discharged without damaging the cell/s. In order to calculate a safe discharge rate you'll need to know the capacity of the battery. For example with a 1000mAh battery with a 2C discharge rating:
This is the maximum constant load the battery will be able to provide over a sustained period of time. Some modern batteries have a burst rating which means they're able to provide over their safe discharge rate for a shorter period of time.
Datasheet for 110mAh Lithium Polymer Battery
The capacity of the battery is how much charge it can hold, the larger the capacity the longer the battery can be in operation. Think of it like a water bottle, the larger the bottle the more water it can hold. The higher the capacity of a battery the larger it will be in size. LiPo batteries are available in a wide array of capacities from 110mAh to 12000mAh.
It's also important to understand the difference between mAh and Ah.
1Ah = 1000mAh
If a battery has a capacity of 1000mAh(1Ah) this means it can provide 1A for 1 hour.
We hope this gives you a good overview of what you need to know in order to understand and use a LiPo in your next project! You can view our complete range of LiPo batteries in our batteries section.