RC Cars HPI Dash

Thursday, December 29, 2005


If someone has been using electric RC car models for some time it is essential for him to know how to take care of the batteries. They are the power generators for these racing models. A little attention and handling gives them better life span and more power. It is essential to understand how to charge, discharge and take care of them.

It is often assumed that doubling the battery pack would make the car go faster or give more battery life. Actually, in case of RC Cars, this is not the case. The added weight will neither add speed nor life to the battery. Also wiring them in series would just increase the voltage but would not affect the capacity. Only some of the monster trucks are designed to run with 14.4 volts rest are designed to run on 7.2 volts only with two packs wired in parallel.

The common confusion also prevails between the heavy duty and alkaline batteries. User often does not know which of them are better and supposes that although heavy-duty are cheaper but alkaline last longer. Actually “heavy duty” are also alkaline batteries. It is just that if any battery is allowed to sit for some span of time, one would be considered lucky to derive anything out them after that. Manufacturers use the term heavy duty to denote their bargain brand batteries. They also have premium brand batteries. The difference in cost is generally due to difference in cost in producing standard alkaline or oxy-alkaline cells. Other than this the manufacturers also change their premium battery names frequently in which the actual difference lies only in tweaking the oxy-alkaline formula a little bit.

Usually most of the alkaline batteries give similar performance and life span regardless of the brand. Other than that usage pattern also determines the battery performance and life span. Different usage patterns in different models give varied response from the batteries. If one is using controller to charge the cars then using alkaline batteries is preferable. If simple controller is only used than carbon batteries are also sufficient.

NiCad and NiMH batteries are the commonly used batteries for RC models. NiCad is usually the ones that give more value for money while NiMH give more capacity that means longer run times. NiMH batteries are good to charge at 5 amp for racing conditions. Charging them at higher amp would result in higher acceleration but the battery would flatten out till the end of the race. For NiCad batteries 5 amp balances best between top speed and punch.

For storage, the best option for NiCad is to discharge them up to .9 volts and then store them. For example 7.2 volt batteries should be discharged up to 5.4 volts and then stored. If these have not been used for more than a week then it is good to charge them for up to 1 minute and then use them. NiMH batteries thirty percent of the charge should be put into the pack and then stored. Dead batteries should be maintenance zapped once and then cycled on the bench couple of times. If the same is done every alternate day it can help the dead batteries get some charge.

Batteries are the moving power of the RC cars. If proper care is taken they give out maximum power and better run times.