Semi-Retired; more time for trains.
My charger has variable charge rates, balance charging storage charging, and discharge options, also options for the various type of Lithium batteries and other rechargeables. My opinion is if you are using this type of technology (lithium) which has know hazards, then buying good quality ancillaries (charger) is important.Lipos used in model aircraft tend to have thinner internal construction, as this allows for much higher discharge rates. Compare this to a mobile phone or laptop battery and the model R/C batteries are much less stable.
If you are using model r/c batteries in a railway model - even with quite low discharge, all the same safety information applies. I personally use lower discharge rate lipos designed for robotics and toys, as these are safer to charge in the model. I use a 5V usb charger for my 7.4V packs, as this has a very low charge rate - about 1 hour for a full charge.
To maintain good storage, charge batteries to only about 75% of full capacity and only fully recharge prior to a running session. This stops cell rot.
"Spicy Pillows" (You can safely google this!) are when a Lipo starts to expand due to failure of the cell structure. When they go like this, they can be quite dangerous, so need disposing of at a local tip or battery disposal point at a supermarket. You must first FULLY discharge the battery - I use a 12V 5W light bulb and immerse it in salt water for a about a week to neutralise the battery chemistry somewhat. Don't just dispose of a dead battery in the dustbin, as they can start fires. If this happens in the bin lorry, it can be quite exciting to watch, but on the whole is a bad thing...
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