Bashers Basics – The Bench – Charging Station
Charging RC batteries is probably one of the most dangerous part of the whole hobby (we aren’t renowned for being daredevils), but there is a way to do it right, and a way to do it wrong, not sure if you are safe? Never fear, Bashers Basics is here!
There are 3 steps to take to diagnose your battery charging situation concerning safety.
- Are my batteries undamaged, balanced (if lipo), and within their respective lifespan?
- Is my charger capable of properly charging, balancing (if lithium based), and monitoring my battery?
- Is the space in which I charge my batteries safe, well ventilated, and reasonably fire retardant?
Lets take a closer look at step 1. The lifespan of your batteries will vary drastically depending on the style of your batteries, and the level of care that you invest into your batteries. If you are not sure, consult your local hobby shop for a more reliable answer. If you have lipo batteries, you must make sure that all the cells are equally balanced (3.6 volts per cell), and make sure to dispose batteries immediately if the batteries are significantly unbalanced, or there is any puffing on one or more of the cells.
Now onto step 2. You need to make sure that your charger is compatible with your battery. If you have a Nimh battery, you are pretty much set with whatever charger you currently have. If you still have a Nicad battery, you need to make sure your charger is a smart charger, so you don’t destroy your battery. If you have a Lipo battery, you need to make sure that you have a smart charger, capable of charging all the cells of your battery.
Finally, step 3. You need to find a well ventilated space with minimal flammable materials around. I suggest outside, on a paving stone. Not only is it ventilated and impervious to fire, but it requires the least additional equipment to set up. Another option is to charge in a steel ammo box. These are widely available in many army surplus stores, and while it doesn’t handle the issue of ventilation as well, it is a far more convenient solution.
Now that you are all set up, you are ready to top up those batteries, and get bashing! See you next time on Bashers Basics!