Li-Ion and Li-Po Batteries - Features, safety precautions and tips to increase battery life

Are you curious to know about the Li-Ion or Li-Po batteries, that are used in most of the electronic devices? Are you looking to know the difference between Li-Ion and Li-Po batteries? Do you want the battery of your device to have a long life? Read this article to find out the difference between Li-Ion and Li-Po batteries and the features of these two batteries. You will come to know about certain safety tips and the tips to increase the life of Li-Ion and Li-Po batteries.


As we use many types of batteries to run the various devices. These batteries are cheap dry cell batteries or the most advanced Li-Ion of Li-Po batteries. Dry cell batteries are only for one time use as these batteries are not durable and provides very less backup. These batteries are not suitable for modern electronic devices. After this, rechargeable batteries called Ni-Cd came in the market. These batteries were cheap and could do well. But, lacked backup capacity. The backup issue resolved with Ni-MH cells, as these cells had a large storage capacity. But, it was taking more time to recharge. A 2100 mAh battery could take up to 15 hours of charging fully and safely. Then, the Lead-Acid batteries came in the market, these batteries were more heavy to use in the electronic devices. The solution to all the these backup problems came in the form of Li-Ion and Li-Po batteries. These batteries could charge very fast and available with very light weight. Also, these batteries are capable for large backup capacity.

Li-Ion batteries

Most of the batteries used in today's electronic devices are Lithium-ion batteries, which are known as Li-Ion batteries or Lithium-Polymer batteries, which are known as Li-Po batteries. The electrodes in Li-Ion batteries made by Lithium and Carbon. Lithium is very highly reactive and thus it stores a lot of energy in its atomic bonds. A typical Li-Ion battery might store up to 150 watt-hours of electricity in a one kg of battery. Compared to this, a Nickel-Metal Hydride NiMH battery is capable to store up to 100 watt-hours per kg of battery. The storage capacity of a lead-acid battery is only 25 watt-hour in a kg of battery. So, the lithium batteries are very popular due to their high storage capacity, light weight and less percentage of charge loss. The electrolyte used in Lithium-ion batteries is a flammable organic liquid solvent.

Li-Po batteries

Li-Po batteries are using a dry electrolyte polymer separator sheet like a thin plastic film, both types are largely relying on lithium-ion exchange between the Lithium Carbon Cathode and Anode. In the lithium polymer batteries, the electrolyte separator pressed between the Anode and Cathode of the battery, that is allowing for the lithium-ion exchange. The main difference between these two types of batteries is, its cells packed inside the batteries and the type of the electrolyte used. Hence, the former products made only in a rectangular shape and the later comes in various shapes.

Advantages and disadvantages of Li-Ion and Li-Po batteries

Li-Ion and Li-Po batteries comes with a great advantages than the batteries before used. Li-Ion and Li-Po batteries come with features like fast charging, light weight and long durability. These batteries used in almost all power consuming electronics equipment like Laptops, Digital cameras, Mobile phones, PDAs, Notebooks, Camcorders and more such devices. We can use these batteries at any point of charge. This means, we can use the battery even when it is not fully charged. Since there are no memory issues, these batteries are charging at any time. These batteries have a very long storage life and a low natural discharge.

These batteries has some disadvantages also. You need to replace these batteries after every two to three years. These batteries are highly sensitive, as the high temperature and heat causes them to discharge very fast. Also, these batteries can damage if you completely discharge them. Very rarely, these types of batteries might burst into flames due to some inherent defect inside them. Both batteries have their own advantages and disadvantages. So, if the new technology can make the batteries more secure and safe, along with increased power and reduction in the charging time, it will greatly benefit the technological world.

Important features of Li-Ion and Li-Po batteries

Let us discuss some of the important features of Li-Ion and Li-Po batteries, which every one of us using them must know.

Storage capacity

Normally we say, such smartphones equipped with the certain mAh battery. But, we never think of what this term actually means. The charge storage capacity of a battery measured in Ah (Ampere hour)or mAh (milliampere hour). This indicates that, the current in amperes multiplied by time in hours. Let us take an example of 2000 mAh battery for explanation. This means that, this battery can supply a 2.0 Amp current for 1 hour or 1.0 Amp current for 2 hours. If the battery connected in series mode, the voltage of battery increases. On the other hand, if the batteries connected in parallel mode, the Ah capacity increases.

Discharge Current capacity

The discharging of current capacity of the battery is the largest amount of current it can produce without heating up and damaging itself. This discharge current capacity measured in C.C is the multiplication reason of storage capacity (Ah or mAh). For example a 3000 mAh 2C battery can discharge up to 6 Amp without any problem and a 1200mAh 20)C battery can discharge up to 24 Amp.

Charge and discharge cycles

Li-Ion and Li-Po batteries has a great number of rechargeable cycles. These batteries are charging and discharging for about 1000 cycles. The voltage of these batteries is about 3.6V per cell at full discharge. The voltage increases between 4.1V to 4.2V when fully charged. After fully charged, the power drains from battery and decreases the voltage also. Even after reaching 3.6V per cell level at full discharge, the battery is capable for supplying the current. However, an over discharge reason can damage the battery. When the battery level reaches at full discharge level, we must charge the battery immediately. It is necessary to keep the battery in a cool places even when it is not used for a long time.

Special batteries to be charged with special chargers

These are some special batteries, that we must charge with special chargers only. If we simply use power supply with any other charger, these batteries will damage partially or permanently. The special batteries are highly sensitive to overcharging and over discharging. We must take care while using these batteries. The batteries have varying charging times according to their types and sizes. It also depends upon the charging current of charger used. These batteries are charging very fast up to 70%.

Safety and Precautions

Li-Ion and Li-Po batteries are highly sensitive to overcharging and over discharging, as stated already. These batteries very sensitive to short-circuit and high temperatures. Any of these conditions will damage the batteries partially or permanently. Li-Po batteries has very fast discharge rate. If not used carefully, it will cause of dangerous fumes or even explosion. So, we must take care this batteries while charging by using a proper charger adapters. Do not charge a battery with normal power supply or with an ordinary charger. Also, take care whether the battery is not over discharging.

Tips for increasing the life of lithium based batteries

There are some good steps to follow for increasing the battery life in your devices. The long battery life of our devices is very necessary, as most of the users are using these devices during travel and when away from home or office. Let us learn a few tips to increase the life of batteries used in our modern-day devices. Follow the below steps to make your device battery to run efficiently:

  1. Keep your batteries at room temperature of between 25 and 30 degrees C. Never forget your mobile phone with a lithium battery in a closed car when the temperature is very hot. Heat is one of the most important factors, that causes reduction of your battery life.

  2. It is better to have a high capacity lithium battery for your device, rather than to have an additional spare battery of low capacity. The spare batteries get deteriorated over time, even when you do not use them. When buying a battery, it is very important to note that, your battery should not bear a very old manufacturing date.

  3. Remember that, the lithium batteries do not have a charge memory. This means, you do not need deep discharge cycles. The tip is to avoid full discharge of your battery. Instead, allow partial discharges.

  4. You should avoid completely discharging lithium-ion batteries. If a lithium-ion battery is discharged below 2.5 volts per cell, a safety circuit built into the battery opens and the battery appears to be dead. The original charger will be of no use then. Also, for safety reasons, do not recharge deeply discharged lithium-ion batteries if they have been stored in same condition for several months.

  5. If you want to store a battery for longer period. Then, the tip is to discharge a Li-Ion battery to about 40 percent and store it in a cool place like refrigerator (not the freezer). Do not store the fully charged battery. This is because the oxidation of Li-Ion batteries is at the highest rate when stored fully charged.


We must follow all the safety precautions when using Lithium based batteries in our electronic devices. The Li-Ion or Li-Po batteries can last quite long if they are taken a proper care of. It is not uncommon to get up to 500-1000 charge / discharge cycles for our Lithium based batteries.

Read Battery doesn't last long? Tips for increasing battery life


Guest Author: phil27 Sep 2015

You may want to restudy your facts on li-ion and li-po batteries. 3.6-3.7 volts is nominal voltage meaning that this voltage can be sustained under load . Fully dead voltages on these batteries are between 2.75 -3.0 volts per cell . Most rc speed controls that run li-po have a low voltage cutoff of 3.0 volts ..

Author: kevin26 Oct 2015 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 1

Which is the best battery: Li-Ion 3000mAh or Li -po 2600mAh?

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