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Rechargeable Battery

Battery Chargers

For Radio (Remote) Controlled Model Batteries
Battery-Charger
Introduction

    Battery technology is ever changing and Radio Controlled Model enthusiasts are taking advantage of each advancement to the max.

    However, each new development provides us with a new problem: How to charge those batteries to get the best out of them.

    My article below explains the different rechargable batteries available and how to safely charge them to get improved performance and efficiency.


















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Hints and Tips


How to Charge Rechargeable Batteries
for Radio Controlled Models

Ni-Cad (Nickel Cadmium) Batteries


1/  All Ni-Cad Batteries have to be Discharged soon after use. This is to avoid the dreaded "Memory" effect that on subsequent re-charges can cause a momentary drop in performance during a race. A simple discharger can be made from a car 12v bulb.

2/  Try to time your charge to complete just before a race. This will ensure maximum punch and duration. If a Ni-Cad is left to cool after a charge this advantage dissipates.

3/  The higher the charge current the more Punch the Ni-Cad battery will have (up to around 8 amps), however, the downside to this is a reduction in duration and effective battery life.

4/  Ni-Cad Batteries should be left to cool for about an hour after use before recharging. This will increase the effective life of the battery.


Ni-Mh (Nickel Metal Hydride) Batteries


1/  Never charge Ni-Mh batteries at a current higher than 4.5 amps. Although these batteries can give a higher voltage than Ni-Cad Batteries, they are much more sensitive and easy to damage if charged too quickly.

2/  Charging methods for Ni-Mh batteries can also be detrimental. The best I found was the "Slope" method. Avoid "Pulse" charging as this tends to effect crystal formation detrimentally and (it seems to kill them off) thus reduces duration over time.

3/  If using a temperature cut off charger on Ni-Mh batteries set to no more than 40 Degrees Centigrade. Any higher than this can damage the crystals.

4/  It is not necessary to discharge Ni-Mh Batteries. Unlike Ni-Cad batteries they do not develop a memory. Also, if they are totally discharged they sometimes will not charge straight after and need to be coaxed with a 10 minute trickle charge.

5/  Ni Mh Batteries can be recharged shortly after use without any discernable detrimental effects.


Li-Po (Lithium-Polymer) Batteries


1/  Li-Po batteries are a huge step forward in performance compared with Ni-Cad and Ni-Mh batteries. However, care has to be taken when charging. If certain procedures are not followed they could burst into flames or even explode, therefore I do not recommend Li-Po batteries for RC beginners.

2/  Li-Po batteries are more expensive and have a shorter effective life. Generally considered to be between 200 to 400 charge cycles compared to 1000+ for Ni-Cad and Ni-Mh.

3/  Consider a Battery pack listed as "2S 5000Mah 40c 2C".
"2S" is the number of cells in the pack, in this case 2 cells. Each cell provides around 3.7 Volts, so a 2S pack is around 7.4 Volts.
"5000Mah" (Mili-Amp-Hours) is the capacity. The amount of charge the pack can hold.
"40c" is the maximum Discharge rate. Which in our example would be calculated as 5000 (Mah) x 40 = 200000Ma (200 Amps).
"2C" is the maximum Charge rate. 1C being 5 Amps, so in our example 2 x 5 = 10 Amps.

4/  To safely charge your Li-Po Battery I would recommend a good Computerised charger, preferably one that can handle a Charge current of around 25A and always place the charging battery on a fireproof surface.

5/  Finally. NEVER leave your charging Li-Po battery unattended and NEVER EVER charge it above the recommended rate. When not in use, store with around 60% charge remaining in a fireproof box.


For More Setup Information check out my Hints and Tips page.








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