Have you run into the situation where you have a couple of LiPo’s of the same brand and size and you got them mixed up at the field so you don’t know which battery that is used and which is fully charged? Well I have and that is why I found it necessary to get a LiPo tester into my field box. Even more as I recently have expanded my stock of LiPo batteries and also tried to streamline it the necessity of this purchase grew.
|Turnigy 3S Mini LiPo Battery Monitor|
A LiPo tester, what is that?
Well to start with a “LiPo” is a Lithium Polymer battery widely used in the R/C hobby today. These batteries have commonly 1-6 cells adding about 3.7V each (actually it is 4,2V/cell but 3,7V/cell is the nominal value). So a 2 cell LiPo is marked as 7.2V and a 3 cell LiPo as 11.1V and so on. You want all of the cells to be balanced so that you have pretty much the same voltage for each cell in a healthy LiPo battery (that’s why you should use a charger with balancing when charging your LiPo). There are of course LiPo batteries with more than 6 cells but I think 1-6 cells are most common.
Ok, back to the LiPo tester. When you’re at the R/C field and you have your LiPo’s all mixed up you don’t know which one that is fully charged and which one that’s not. This is where the LiPo tester come in handy. The LiPo tester is a small device that you connect your LiPo battery to and then it will tell you if it is charged or not. Commonly the LiPo testers will tell you this by showing the voltage of the LiPo on a small LED screen. Another nice feature that is common on LiPo testers is that they show you the status/voltage of each cell.
The Turnigy 6S Mini Lipo Battery Monitor
My LiPo tester is a Turnigy 6S Mini Lipo Battery Monitor bought from HobbyKing.com for 8.89$. I prefer these small and “minimalistic” LiPo tester just because they are small and easy to bring to the field.
|Cycling through all cells and total|
This particular LiPo tester measures in 0.01V steps which is nice (some others measure in for example 0.03V steps = less accurate). It is also very simple to use. Just plug the balance connector into the LiPo tester and it starts to cycle through each cell and also shows the total voltage of the LiPo. The correct way to plug you LiPo into this particular LiPo tester is shown below.
|How to connect the battery to the LiPo tester using the balance connector|
This LiPo tester also has an alarm feature where the LED will show the first character on the screen flashing, that is the cell number character. This alarm will be triggered if the voltage of any cell is below 3.4V.
The LED display shows the voltage in a bright and clear way and the figures are about 10mm high on the screen. This combined with it’s weight of ~6g makes it a good option for you to attach it more permanent to a plane/heli to measure and monitor the cell voltage.
I know that some people have had problem with the accuracy of the measurements of some LiPo testers but I haven’t experienced that problem with this tester. (Just as a note, even if it would not show the voltage exactly correct you will still see if it is a fully charged battery or one that is already used. I’m not saying that you should accept inaccuracy but I just want to mention that from my opinion you’ll still be able to use it at the field.)
Below are the specifications of this little fellow.
|Battery type||Lithium Polymer battery (LiPo) with balance socket|
|Cells||2S – 6S|
|Voltage||2.7V ~ 4.5V/cell|
Where to buy?
- Turnigy 6S Mini LiPo Battery Monitor at HobbyKig.com (this is where I bought mine)
- Cell Spy Platinum Lipo Voltage Tester
- 2-6S LiPo tester from HobbyKing.com
- Digital Voltage Display for Lithium Polymer Battery Packs
Would I buy this product again?
The answer to this is Yes. I would buy the Turnigy 6S Mini Lipo Battery Monitor from again because it has a good price, it’s accurate, has a good display and spans over the number of cells that I have use for.