RC Batteries

RC Batteries have come a long way since NiCad or Nickle Cadminum Batteries. Yeah you know NiCad as the ones you have to drain completely or they’d have their capacity cut short almost immediately. NiCad were left behind by Nickle Metal Hydride (NiMH) and Lithium Polymer (LiPO) makes it’ embarrassing to have NiMH let alone NiCad cells.

Battery Ratings

All batteries have three key ratings which you should be aware of: Voltage (V), Max Current Flow (C) and milliamp-hours (mAh).

Voltage can be thought of as “electrical pressure”. The higher the voltage, the stronger the battery is.

mAh rating tells you the capacity of the battery. The higher the rating, the longer the battery can run between recharges.

C rating tells you how much power can be delivered all at once and also how much power can be delivered on a continual basis. You may have two 5000mAh batteries that are both 7.4 Volts but it doesn’t mean they are the same battery. If one has a rating of 40C it can deliver more power because it has less internal resistance that a 20C pack.

Which Battery Is Best for Me?

NiMH

NIMH PackNiMH batteries are most often sold in packs consisting of 6 or more cells. Each cell provides 1.2V, so a 6 cell pack would be rated for 7.2V. NiMH batteries are about twice as heavy as LiPo’s and cannot provide as much current as a  LiPo, but they are cheaper and need not to be treated with near as much care. NiMH batteries are generally recommended for beginners.

LiPo

LiPo batteries consist of packs containing two or more cells of 3.7V each. A two cell battery has a total voltage of 7.4V, and is usually called a “2s” pack, which stands for “2 cells in series”.  LiPos are much lighter than NiMH, and they are able to provide more current as well. The down side is that they can be more expensive, and they require more careful handling. lipo batteryYou must use a special LiPo charger to recharge them. LiPo batteries are very sensitive, and all the cells must be charged to the same level or you will have problems. Lipos also have to stored at a good voltage. Most LiPo batteries have a 2nd, smaller connector called a “balancing connector” so that the charger can monitor and charge the cells individually. If you discharge the batteries too far (below 3V per cell), they will be damaged and cease to function properly. If you overcharge them (above 4.2V per cell), short them out, or physically damage them, they can explode.

Share