Airsoft LiPo batteries: What you need to know
LiPo Batteries - What you NEED to know!
LiPo batteries are quickly becoming the standard source of power for Airsoft AEGs, offering a more compact power source than the legacy NiMH batteries and allowing AEG external design to become more compact than ever before. Gone are the days you need a fixed stock to fit a decent-sized battery inside; LiPos provide a whole lot more power in a more compact package, but this does not come without its downsides!
LiPo Airsoft Batteries - Do's and Don'ts
LiPo batteries tend to be far easier to damage than their NiMH counterparts and are particularly sensitive to being squashed into a cramped battery compartment which can damage or puncture the cells and potentially cause a fire. Avoid treating your LiPos roughly and they will last much longer with no risk of burning your AEG down to the ground!
We recommend storing and charging your LiPos in a Safe Charging Bag to mitigate potential damage in a worst-case scenario. These bags are usually made from fire-resistant materials and allow you to use LiPo batteries with confidence that if something goes wrong, damage will be limited. That said, the frequency of LiPo batteries causing fires is often exaggerated, but it is always good to play it safe.
LiPo's also require what is known as "balance charging". This method of charging keeps the individual cell voltage balanced across multi-cell LiPo batteries and is essential to avoid damaging the sensitive Lithium Polymer cells.
While a NiMH battery can be charged using a household battery charger, LiPo batteries need to be charged via the balance port using a LiPo balance charger. No matter what brand of charger you use, the balance lead (the small white connector found on LiPo batteries) must be connected during charging.
Unlike NiMH batteries, LiPo batteries cannot be run completely flat. This will damage the cells, and mean the battery cannot be recharged. When you are using a LiPo, it is important that you switch your battery to a charged one if you notice a change in your AEGs performance, usually a more sluggish gearbox noise, reduced rate of fire or slower trigger response.
A great way to keep track of your LiPo's current voltage and avoid damaging batteries by running them flat is a LiPo Voltage Alarm.
LiPo voltage alarms connect to the balance connector of your battery and emit a beep when the battery voltage drops too low.
Examples like the NUPROL LiPo Battery Low Voltage Alarm (shown on the right) even have a display to indicate the exact voltage of your battery's cells.
You should never leave your battery, whether NiMH or LiPo, connected to your AEG when it is not in use. This is particularly important for AEGs equipped with a MOSFET or ETU, as there is a high chance that the MOSFET will drain the battery completely flat, meaning it is effectively dead.
LiPo Batteries - DO!
- Treat your LiPo's delicately and transport them inside a hard storage case
- Always charge your LiPo using a LiPo balance charger
- Always store your LiPo batteries in a hard case or battery charging bag
- Always disconnect your LiPo from your AEG after each firing session
- Always charge a LiPo battery with the balance lead connected to the charger
- Always change your battery if you notice a drop in trigger response or rate of fire
- Always dispose of damaged or non-functional LiPo's at a battery recycling point
- Always charge your LiPos while you are present. If you need to nip out, turn off the charger
LiPo Batteries - DON'T!
- Never squash a LiPo cell or squeeze it into a cramped battery compartment
- Never leave your LiPo connected to your AEG while stored
- Never charge your LiPo without the balance lead connected
- Never charge your LiPo on a NiMH-specific charger
- Never run your LiPo battery completely flat
- Never store your LiPo batteries in a cold or damp environment
- Never throw a damaged or non-functional LiPo battery into your household waste
- Never expose a LiPo battery to a naked flame or dispose of it in a fire
- Never leave a battery, LiPo or otherwise, charging while unattended
Which LiPo Battery Voltage do I choose? - 7.4V or 11.1V
If you are wondering which voltage to choose for your AEG, refer to our product descriptions for our recommended battery voltage and type. Using the battery type we recommend will give your AEG the best chance of lasting a lifetime and will keep your 12-month warranty intact, assuming the AEG has not been modified or disassembled.
Most UK spec AEGs will require a 7.4V LiPo, despite what retailers in other countries and even the manufacturer themselves recommend. This is due to the lower power springs used to meet UK legal requirements.
With a lower power spring than international models, UK spec AEGs will cycle much quicker and under much less strain, resulting in a higher rate of fire and faster trigger response using a 7.4V LiPo battery. This also means if you install an 11.1V battery, you run the risk of throwing the gearbox timing off and causing what is known as "pre-engagement".
Pre-engagement is when the piston engages the gears too soon over the course of a cycle, and can often result in the rear of the piston being torn off. This is, of course, sub-optimal, thus our recommendation of sticking to a 7.4V LiPo for most AEGs. The only exceptions are AEGs that are specifically designed to use 11.1V batteries regardless of the strength of the main spring.
11.1V LiPos are generally only required for AEGs with a MOSFET or ETU which includes a low voltage cutoff function but can also be used in AEGs with the angle of engagement (AOE) corrected with a piston head spacer and other reinforced parts. While you may be able to run an 11.1V battery for a short duration on a standard AEG, it will significantly shorten its lifespan and would also void your warranty.
Below you can find a rough outline of our recommended battery types for various manufacturers:
7.4V LiPo Ready AEGs
- Lancer Tactical Gen.2 and Gen.3 AEGs
- Tokyo Marui AEG and NGRS Platforms
- Specna Arms FLEX, CORE, EDGE and EDGE 2.0 AEGs
- CYMA Standard and CYMA Blue Edition AEGs
- Evolution AEGs
- Krytac AEGs
- NUPROL DELTA series AEGs
- ASG AEGs, including the Scorpion EVO
- Jing Gong AEGs
- Army Armament AEGs
- Snow Wolf AEGs
- G&G Combat Machine AEGs
- Umarex AEGs
- Cybergun AEGs
- APS AEGs
- Double Bell AEGs
- SRC AEGs
- ARCTURUS Sportsline and Standard AEGs
- LCT AEGs
- S&T AEGs
11.1V LiPo Ready AEGs
- CYMA Platinum AEGs
- CYMA Platinum E-Edition AEGs
- Double Eagle EFCS AEGs
- Bolster Tuned AEGs
- Bolster Armouries AEGs
- G&G CM & GC AEGs with ETUs
- Novritsch AEGs
- Zion Arms AEGs
- ARCTURUS Perun MOSFET Enhanced AEGs
Please note, this is a rough guide. For more accurate information specific to your AEG, check the "Specification" section of your AEG's product description.
Now you know your stuff about LiPo batteries! A quick reminder, never leave a battery charging unattended, LiPo or otherwise, and always charge your batteries in a fire-safe area, preferably a Battery Charging Bag. If you know what you need and are ready to browse Airsoft batteries, click the button below!