I help organize a robotics competition in my home town. For the past 16 years, we provided each team with two 12v battery powered drill. They were cheap, easy to find and provided us with 4 batteries, two chargers and two motors. The battery chemistry was NiCd and provided us with two easy access port.
They shorted them, they depleted them, they beat them up to death and nothing spectacular ever happened. Only one time did one basically inflated.
However, NiCd 12v drills aren't available anymore. The industry defacto standard is now 12v Lipo or 18v Lipo. From my understanding, Lipo are much more tricky to use in term of charge, discharge, c rate etc..Furthermore, it gives access to all the intermediary cells on the battery connection header.
With that in mind, my questions are:
- Am I right to assume that those batteries are more dangerous to use by error prone teenagers?
- Are there any way to mitigate any risk?
- Bonus: what kind of chemistry would you recommend instead? I know I can't ask for a specific product suggestion, but having a general idea of what chemistries are safe would be really helpful.