When it comes to RC cars, the battery is one of the most important factors to consider. It is important to know which of the RC car batteries suits your requirements. If you are unsure about the requirements, then you better check the manual.
Volts of RC Car Batteries
The RC car or truck uses a 7.2-volt battery pack to power the small electric motor. The pack is composed of six sub-c sized 1.2-volt batteries that have been connected in a series configuration. There are two types of configurations when it comes to RC car batteries. These are side-by-side pack and the stick pack. While both packs are 7.2 volts, the only difference is their layout. The side by side pack is wider compared to the stick pack.
Types of RC Car Batteries
There are type common RC car batteries used by hobbyists. These are LiPo, NiMH, and NiCad batteries.
Lithium Polymer or LiPo RC car batteries are cheap. They are also very light and have an average weight of 250 grams. They are also very powerful and have no memory effect. The best thing about LiPo batteries is that they can be charged and used several times a day. However, you should use them with caution. The batteries can burst into flames when punctured or overcharged. The possibility of them overheating is one reason why we recommend them for those who have experience with RC cars.
Nickel Metal Hydride
Nickel Metal Hydride or NiMH RC car batteries are also powerful and are usable twice a day. On the down side, they are very heavy. They have an average weight of 400 grams. NiMH batteries take a long time to charge. While charging, they require peak and temp detection chargers.
Then there are Nickel Cadmium or NiCad RC car batteries. They are cheap and durable even if abused by the user. However, NiCad technology is already old, and it doesn’t provide a good amount of power or capacity. While relatively lighter than NiMH batteries, NiCad batteries are still heavy at around 350 grams. And they have memory effect.
If you are just a casual hobbyist, then you can use NiCad RC car batteries which are cheap and safe to use. However, if you want to race your RC car, then you should consider getting LIPO batteries.
What is Memory Effect?
As stated above, NiCad RC car batteries have memory effect. This is bad news when it comes to RC car batteries. Memory means that the batteries remember the level of their last charge. For instance, if you only use 80 percent of the battery and then recharge it, the battery will only charge 80 percent of the maximum capacity of the battery. To work around the memory effect of NiCad RC batteries, users will completely discharge them before recharging.
Capacity of RC Car Batteries
The capacity of RC car batteries is measured in milliampere hours of mAH. A battery pack with 2,400 mAH capacity can run twice as long compared to the pack with 1,200 mAH capacity. The higher the mAH number, the better the performance. However, it will cost more. Weight will be a factor, especially if you are thinking of racing your RC car. A lower capacity battery pack will be lighter.
RC Car Batteries Charger
There are several types of RC car batteries chargers to choose from. Peak detection chargers are more expensive, but they are good for a beginner in the RC world. This type of charger will detect when the battery is fully charged and stop the charging process.
On the other hand, a timer charger has a dial that the user can set on how long the battery will charge. This is dangerous because you can easily overcharge batteries. However, there are also instances in which peak chargers don’t peak and overcharge your battery. When you feel that the batteries are warm, you should stop charging them.
How to Get the Most Out of RC Car Batteries
Here are some tips that can help improve the life of your RC car batteries. You should discharge the batteries fully before charging, and the use of a peak detection charger will help prevent you from overcharging the batteries.
It is also important that you charge at a constant rate of around 3.5 amperes. Charging batteries at a higher rate will charge them faster, but it will affect their lifespan. When using NiMH or NiCad batteries, you should cycle them at least once a week. LiPo batteries do not require being fully discharged. Another thing about NiCad and NiMH batteries that you should know is that you should not use them more than once a day. It is also important to avoid charging warm batteries.
These are the things that you need to know about RC car batteries. For beginners, cheap battery packs will do. However, LIPO batteries have become the standard for serious racers.
Related: Learn more about your electronics in our article RC Car Radio Transmitter and Electronics