19 Apr

LiPo (Lithium Polymer) and 18650 Li-ion (Lithium-ion) batteries are two popular types of batteries used for drones. LiPo batteries are commonly used in drones because they have a higher energy density than other batteries. This means they can store more energy in a smaller space, which is ideal for drones that require agility and speed. 18650 Li-ion batteries, on the other hand, are more efficient than LiPo batteries, making them ideal for larger drones that require endurance and stability. In this blog, we will explore the differences between these two types of batteries and their high discharge versions.

LiPo batteries

LiPo batteries are lightweight, have a high discharge rate, and can deliver high power output, making them a popular choice for smaller drones. They have a high energy density, which means they can store more energy in a smaller space, making them more compact than other batteries. This compactness allows drones to be more agile and have better flight performance. However, as they discharge, their voltage drops faster, leading to a reduction in performance. LiPo batteries are also less durable and have a shorter lifespan than Li-ion batteries, which means they need to be replaced more frequently.

18650 Li-ion batteries

18650 Li-ion batteries are a popular choice for larger drones. They have a higher voltage and energy density than LiPo batteries, making them more efficient and capable of delivering more power output for longer periods. They are also more durable and have a longer lifespan than LiPo batteries, making them a more cost-effective option in the long run. High discharge versions like the Sony VTC5D, Sony VTC6, Molicel P26A and Molicel P28A are designed for high-performance applications like drones and can deliver higher currents for longer periods without overheating or damaging the battery.

Density of charge

The density of charge is the amount of energy that a battery can store per unit of volume or weight. Li-ion batteries have a higher density of charge than LiPo batteries, which means they can store more energy per unit of volume or weight. This translates into longer flight times for drones using Li-ion batteries. For example, a drone using a 1500mAh LiPo battery, which would have the same volume as an 18650 battery, can fly for 4-6 minutes, while a drone using a 3000mAh Li-ion battery can fly for 12-15 minutes. Therefore, if you want your drone to have longer flight times, it's better to use Li-ion batteries.

Weight and Size

LiPo batteries are generally smaller and lighter than 18650 batteries, making them a popular choice for drone enthusiasts who prioritize weight and size. However, 18650 batteries are still relatively small and lightweight, and their higher capacity can offset their slightly larger size and weight.

Discharge Rate

LiPo batteries have a higher discharge rate than 18650 batteries, meaning they can deliver more current in a shorter amount of time. This makes them a good choice for drones that require high bursts of power, such as racing drones. However, high-discharge 18650 batteries like the VTC5D, VTC6, P26A, and P28A are also capable of delivering high currents without overheating or reducing their lifespan.

Voltage Cut-Off

LiPo batteries have a voltage cut-off of 3.3V per cell, meaning the battery should not be discharged below this voltage to prevent damage or reduced lifespan. In comparison, 18650 batteries have a voltage cut-off of 2.5V per cell, which is slightly lower than LiPo batteries.

It's important to note that while 18650 batteries have a lower voltage cut-off, they also have a more gradual voltage drop during discharge compared to LiPo batteries. This means that it's easier to monitor the voltage of 18650 batteries during use and avoid discharging them below the recommended level.

Overall, it's important to monitor the voltage of your drone batteries during use and ensure they are not discharged below their recommended voltage cut-off to prevent damage and ensure a long lifespan.

Safety considerations

It is essential to consider safety when using any type of battery. LiPo batteries are more prone to swelling and catching fire if not handled properly. They need to be charged and stored in a safe location away from flammable materials. In contrast, 18650 Li-ion batteries are less prone to swelling and catching fire. However, they can still be dangerous if they are not handled properly.

Choosing the right battery for your drone depends on your specific needs and preferences. If you have a small drone that requires agility and speed, LiPo batteries are a good choice. However, if you need longer flight times and have a larger drone that requires stability and endurance, 18650 Li-ion batteries are a better option. High discharge versions like the VTC5D, VTC6, P26A, and P28A offer higher performance and longer flight times for high-performance drone applications.

When using any type of battery, it is essential to follow safety guidelines and handle them with care. LiPo batteries require more careful handling and storage than Li-ion batteries, but both types of batteries can be dangerous if not used properly.