Overcharging Lithium-ion Polymer Batteries

battery charging

There are many advantages to using Lithium-Ion Polymer (LiPo) batteries: High working voltage, high energy density, long cycle life, low self-discharge rate, and no memory effect.  To fully utilize these aspects of LiPo batteries, users should aim to prolong the life of their batteries.  In order to do so, LiPo batteries should not be overcharged or discharged as explored in this article.

Activating LiPo Batteries

Some may have heard that new LiPo batteries need to be “activated” and thus charged for more than 12 hours.  This is sometimes commonly heard amongst people who have new mobile devices and consequently drain and charge their battery for 12 hours.  This might have been true when Nickel batteries, such as Nickel-metal Hydrogen (NIMH) or Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) batteries, were the predominant power source for mobile devices; however, most mobile devices now use Lithium-ion batteries.  Users do not need to drain and charge their mobile devices in such a manner anymore.

lithium polymer batteries

Do batteries need to be activated?  Yes, but this process is completed by the manufacturer and has nothing to do with the user having to do so.  The actual process involves charging the batteries at 0.02C and then charging them in standard charge and discharge cycles to check for certain standards, such as the internal resistance, voltage retention, and maximum capacity.


One of the most common ways that LiPo batteries are abused is in how people overcharge their batteries.  If users leave their batteries charged for too long, the batteries can become damaged, performance can be lost, and the life span of the batteries can decrease.

battery fire explosion

Fortunately, there are many chargers that automatically stop charging a Lithium-ion battery when the battery is fully charged.  However, there are some devices that do not stop on their own, so users should exercise caution in order to prolong the life of their batteries.  Ultimately, shallow charge and discharge are beneficial to LiPo batteries.

There are also safety concerns especially when users use Lithium-ion batteries incorrectly.  They can become too hot if they are overcharged  As shown by the many videos online, explosions can even occur if users are not careful.  Users should refer back to the instructional and cautionary guidelines behind the products that they are using.

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