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RC Car Battery Tips
Understand how to charge, discharge, and take care of your rechargeable rc car batteries. Plus interesting questions and answers from the reader's of the RCCarTips Newsletter.
Update: Lipo batteries is now the new technology for rc car racing. Visit the RC Lipo Battery Review page for more info.
Nicad and Nimh are still popular especially for ready to run kits and backyard bashing. Below are some info on charging and storing them.
If I double the battery pack on my RC Car, will it make the car faster or will I just get longer battery life? And can doing that damage my motor? - Brian Charles
Answer: Hi Brian. If it is an RC car, I
would not recommend doubling the battery. The added weight will not
help the speed and handling. Also if you wire them in series (i.e. 7.2
+ 7.2 = 14.4 volts) you will increase the voltage but not the capacity.
You will burn out a normal 540 motor.
Dear joe. Please advise me what is the difference between ni-cad and NiMH battery. Any price and performance between of this two type batteries? Regards kamalez
Answer: Hi Kamalez. NiCad is more value for money... while NiMH provides a lot more capacity (longer run times)... if you are just playing, NiCad would be better. - Joel
P.S. A good technical document is "Characteristics of Rechargeable Batteries" from National Semiconductor. It is slightly outdated but still contains interesting facts and info about NiCads, NiMH, and Lithium Ion batteries.
What amp rate should I use to charge my NiMH batteries?
A lot of people recommend 5 amps for racing conditions, including the well respected Team Trinity. According to Team Trinity, higher amp charging will result in more acceleration early, but the battery will flatten out towards the end of a race.
"We have been using a linear 6 amp charge rate with very good results. But a 5 amp charge will give you a slightly more runtime." - Fukuyama Racing on GP3300 cells
"Peak detect cut-off ( voltage threshold ): We suggest a .05 ( 50 mv ) for 6 cell packs. We suggest a .03 ( 30 mv ) for 4 cell packs." - Fukuyama Racing on GP3300 cells
"For 3000 NiMH Batteries. Charge at 4 to 5 amps... Discharge at max 20 amps, then your settings will stay the same for cycling, get the battery between 2 to 5 minute break before starting the discharge." - Team Associated
What amp rate should I use to charge my NiCad batteries?
"4A is a bit less punchy, 5A seems to be the best balance between top speed and punch." - Integy on charging 2400 NiCad batteries
A lot of experts recommend discharging each cell to 0.9 volts. For example, a 7.2 volt battery pack should be discharged to 5.4 volts before storing. If the battery pack will not be used for a couple of weeks, it is better to charge them for 1 minute before storing.
"If you plan to store it for a long period, put 30% of charge back into the pack. Otherwise, run 3000 pack once a week with or without racing in order to keep their voltage high." - Integy
Batteries that have not been used for a long time feel like there is no punch or power. Here is a tip from Integy:
"The best thing to do now is get them maintenance zapped on a machine like the Integy DCX3000, get them rematched and then cycled on the bench a couple of times a day. Do this every other day with a day off in between. Try to let the packs rest about a week after you've cycled them 5-7 times." - Integy
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