In this blog post, I'll be discussing a battery type that we don't sell at Cutting Edge Power. Please do not confuse this battery type with our lithium batteries. The purpose of this blog post is to introduce you to our charger, not batteries.
Lipo batteries (or, lithium polymer batteries) are different from lithium ion batteries. Lithium polymer is not a great descriptor for this type of battery, but in this blog post I'll refer to these pouch-style RC batteries as lipo. They're used in lightweight and extremely power dense applications. Lipos are used almost exclusively in things like drones, RC planes, cars and boats, and airsoft guns because they can discharge a lot of power very quickly without adding too much weight. These batteries can have really impressive discharge and charge rates, sometimes up to 100C. This means a 28Wh lipo with a 100C discharge rating can discharge up to 2,800 Watts!
We don't sell or recommend lipo batteries for in-home solar and wind devices (Remember, we recommend our lithium ion batteries for in-home solar and wind devices). This is because the RC-style Lipo batteries can be a little dangerous for a few reasons. 1. Chemically they are inherent to being more flammable than lithium ion batteries. 2. Physically they are usually packaged in a soft pouch-style almost "bag". This package offers weak protection. If punctured, lipo batteries can start a large fire almost immediately. 3. It's common in the "RC World" to not use a BMS (Battery Management System). (For reference, Cutting Edge Power designs multiple redundant safety BMS systems in each of our batteries).
But the purpose of this blog is not to trash lipo batteries! We love lipo batteries and use them all the time in our personal hobbies. For that reason, we wanted to develop a solar charger for RC lipo batteries. This charger is super lightweight and can safely charge lipo batteries with only a solar panel - no additional charge controller or batteries needed. It has an XT-60 output connector and it can also charge your phone with the USB-C output!