Hello friends and enemies! This is Heikki from EuroRC and today we charge batteries! For our more experienced drivers this is a normal walk at the park but please do not skip yet - at least check out our brilliant Halko Charging Cables that are beefy and include the most common connectors used in hobby. Please read further especially if you are a beginner but even for more experienced drivers this should be a good read.
In modern RC the batteries play essential role. They fuel our trucks and give power for all the equipment such as lap counters, lights and winches. They can be easily considered as one of the backbones that keeps our sport running! Batteries are not cheap and due the special nature of the modern battery technology their condition and their service is often overlooked.
Power Pack Basics
Wonderful World of Batteries is full of acronyms. NiMH, LiPO, LiHV, C-rate, 2S, 6S, 8S, XT60.. Seasoned hobbyists know their terminology and don't stop for a minute to think that the one who is asking has no clue what these mean. Sure, you can Google around but some basic information is needed or you just sink deeper in the world of complex terms. At the end of this high voltage Hobby Letter you will find our Short Battery Terminology to check what these letter combinations are about.
If you've just purchased your very first RC and it was a Ready-To-Run package, good changes are that there has been a NiMH battery included. RC manufactures prefer these as they are strong, cheap and can be sent in a normal delivery. They are not very powerful but this is a good thing because slower speed is better for beginners. RTR-batteries are also very safe to use and I don't see these going away anytime soon!
Sad thing about RTR batteries is their low capacity. Just when you were starting to have fun the battery dies and USB charger while convinent to use can take up to 12hrs to charge your small battery. This is a moment when you grab your phone or computer, open up the browser and head to our Batteries and Chargers to get something that really spins some tires!
Lithium batteries (Lipos between friends) have a lot of advantages compared to NiMHs. First is that their capacity is huge compared to older batteries. They pack easily more than +60% of energy at the same size. They have also fast charge and discharge rate meaning that the power can be delivered in or out of the battery very very fast.
Especially modern, large sized Bashers and Stunt Trucks suck these batteries dry faster than Dracula empties its victim! This is what C-rate is standing for - it gives you information about the "speed" of the battery. Higher the number, faster it gives and receives energy. (Hey Mr. Engineer plz ease up I am trying to explain these things to noobs! Science was never simple!)
Choosing the Right One
This is another no-brainer for experts but we get actually quite much questions about this topic. What batteries fit my RC? For this the simple and fast way is to check it from your manual! If the manual is lost or is otherwise unreachable here is the checklist:
Choose the right voltage range. Your 1:10 RTR will probably run OK on 2S (7.6V) or even up to 3S (11.1V) battery. This depends about the other electronics such as Speed Controller. Check manual or contact us. Bigger and heavier the car is, the bigger and heavier are the batteries used!
Choose the right connector, check from your car and compare it to the chart below. Please contact us if in doubt. Use adapter if necessary. For Traxxas cars we recommend Traxxas batteries and Chargers.
Check the physical size of the battery and compare it in to your cars battery tray. Usually they fit but better be sure and double check!
Get a Safety Charging Bag! Don't gamble your luck. Better be sure and safe! You'll find them here.
Please note! If you are overseas or want your batteries delivered via Air Freight, please read our FAQ about issues regarding to battery delivery procedures!
Charge Right, Storage Right
Charging the battery is easy with today's intelligent chargers (they are much smarter than average RC hobbyist who is writing these letters) but it is good to know some functional basics.
Always use Balance Charge mode. This charging method is bit slower but it will give your battery a longer life and is safer to use. Batteries are built from one or more "cells" and their voltage should always be in sweet balance between each other. This is why LiPOs come with the small white connector - the charger is charging those cells all the same time while keeping eye on the voltage levels. You can measure the cell voltages yourself using our dedicated LiPO Voltage Meter.
Balance between the cells is very important. If one cell is empty and another one is full the battery will start to balance itself and it will do it in very aggressive and volatile manner. This may really end up in to significant damage for property and people. Please use Safety Bag and always Balance Charge!
One more thing to remember with LiPOs is the Storage Mode that will help your battery live longer. When the battery is not used, it should always be charged to storage level to keep it in good shape for next heated racing session! Modern chargers handle this too and is very recommended. Remember that these batteries are not cheap so treat them right. Do this after every driving session and not the day after!
We've all seen these videos where someone "accepts a challenge" to try something stupid. One of these Big Brain Moments is to hit a nail through the old LiPO and try to get some fireworks. I have no words here to express how stupid that is. There is nothing challenging to be stupid. Even if the battery is "dead" does not mean it is trash. There is no trash. There is only resources! Your old battery is full of valuable minerals and they can be reused many times. Do not waste the energy and the labor that was already put in for your entertainment.
Another issue is that the smoke and fumes that you will inhale when destroying the battery are super poisonous for every living being around. Don't be Jackass and you'll see better fireworks every new years eve anyhow.
Bash out with no brains all the way you want but please recycle your old batteries. Be smarter than previous generations were.
Battery about to Die
While this was a bit no-brainer for most of our experienced customers I hope you enjoyed the show! Message of today is that treat your precious batteries in the way they deserve. Atleast try to keep them in storage voltage while you are not driving!
Time for a Members Rides! Oh yes! Today we make it double and present you these rugged and rough FTX DR-8 Desert Racing Truck by Nick from Netherlands and Über-cool Tamiya VW Beetle "Folkrace"-themed replica build by our customer Mikko. His father was racing the full sized one back in the days and now the spirit is carried on in the scale of 1/10! Big up and thanks for sharing guys! Love seeing these in our mail, please, keep them coming! Just reply to this mail and attach photos. All builds, action photos, results of bashing damage and puffed lipos are more than welcome!
Keep on charging! See you next week!
Heikki from EuroRC
Short RC Battery Terminology:
NiMH: Nickel-Metal Hybride -battery. Safe to use but not very powerful! This true survivor can be driven empty and will still wake up.
LiPO: Lithium-Polymer battery. Perfect for RC use, big capacity and fast dischrage rate. Needs a spefified charger that can charge each one of the cells to keep them in balance. Dies if driven completely dry.
LiHV: High-Voltage Lithium Polymer Battery. Professional stuff.
mAh: Capacity of the battery in ampere hours. Normal passenger car battery has approx. capacity of 80000 mAh (80Ah).
2S, 3S, 4S..: Number of power cells inside the LiPO battery. More there is cells, higher is the voltage.
C-rate: Charging and discharging capability of the Lithium battery.
Balancing Board: Item used to fit "balance connector" to your charger. Very useful!
Safety Bag: Fire resistant bag or poach that may save your house one day.
XT-60: Popular connector, often yellow in color. Has big brother XT-90.
EC-5: ARRMA uses this connetor type in their cars
Deans/T-plug: Very popular connector. Dark red color.
Tamiya Plug: Immortal legend but not very good connector. Please replace.
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