All You Need to Know About Buying RC Vehicle Batteries
If you’re new to RC vehicles, the various different batteries and charging options available might make the buying process harder than it has to be. For that reason, in this article, I’ll do a run-down on how to shop for and replace the batteries of your current model, and I’ll also help you find a way to reduce charge time. These guidelines are aimed at new RC operators and this is a non-technical approach to the basics of RC electronics and batteries.
RC vehicles and other RC electronics have either Alkaline, Ni-cd, NiMH or LiPo batteries. Alkaline batteries aren’t rechargeable, and they’re the most commonly used ones around your household. Nickel Cadmium batteries are rechargeable but are environmentally unfriendly. Nickel Metal Hydride batteries are robustly rechargeable and quite easy to maintain. And lastly, Lithium-ion Polymer batteries are lightweight and feature higher energy density, a consistent, powerful discharge, but a shorter lifespan and are quite volatile and demand intelligent chargers. Most low-end RC vehicles come with a NiMH battery, while high-end RC models don’t come with a battery and charger, and allow you to pick a type yourself.
When picking the right battery for your RC vehicle, there are a couple of important considerations to take into account. The cost, physical restrictions, and the connector type are all things that can play a huge role in your selection. Batteries that come with the model are oftentimes selected by the manufacturer for a balance of production cost, weight, and performance. In other words, they might not be picking the best battery for you.
Check the type of connector your current battery or ESC is shipped with, and whether your ESC is compatible with the battery you want to buy. This is important because different batteries have different chemistries, and a new battery may have more cells than the old one. The dimensions of the battery tray can also limit your choices, as many models offer a clamp-style setup that can be shimmed to increase capacity.
Buying a battery with a large capacity can make sure you have a lot of fun for quite some time, but when it comes to recharging that monstrous battery, it’s going to take a while before you can use your RC vehicle again. Intelligent chargers can make all the difference, as they recharge your batteries faster and ensure they are well taken care of. Smart chargers usually come with balance boards, battery leads and many other accessories that allow them to be used with different battery types.