The Model RC Power Battery Introduction

What is power battery?

Engine model which uses the electric motor to act as the engine is called electrical model, while the battery used to drive this kind of motor is the power battery. Due to the big difference between the power battery and other batteries, it is important for the performance of the model RC airplane.

The different types of the battery and its development

There are many kinds of batteries which can be used to act as the model airplane, solar cells, silver zinc batteries, lithium batteries, nickel cadmium batteries, nickel metal hydride batteries, etc. Read RC Battery Comparisons and Characteristics. The solar cell output current slants small, and it must been made larger to support the electric model plane fly, and the cost is very expensive, so little people has interests into that. Silver zinc battery has a strong power, and the big stream of the power makes the life of the battery short. At present, mainstream varieties of batteries used in the model aircraft are nickel series (including the nimh batteries and nickel-cadmium battery) and New lithium battery (including lithium ion battery and lithium polymer battery).

3.7V 240mAh RC LiPo Battery

Why the electric model airplane was popular in European and American in the 1970s, the main reason is that it can be charged repeatedly and has already produced in a mass production. While the nimh batteries showed an extra advantage in offering power 50%-100% more than nickel cadmium battery. But in the large discharge power, it has been obviously lagged behind the nickel cadmium battery for a long period of time. However, in the early 21st century, nimh batteries have been widely used in model aircraft dynamics and become one of mainstream varieties by its small effect on memory, and little pollution to the environment.

In the early days lithium-ion batteries were used as a disposable batteries, it cannot charge, and with a high power, but the

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internal resistance is very big, so they can’t provide larger electric power to support the electric model plane fly. The use of lithium-ion batteries is for military, but now it was used widely for our daily life such as our mobile, camera, PC ect. And it is forward to become the engine of model RC airplane in a long time in the future.

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RC Battery Comparisons and Characteristics

As we all know any new battery breakthrough will most likely makes its way down to the RC and give us improved hobby time. Most popular RC batteries such as lithium-ion, lead acid, and nickel metal hydride batteries offer far better performance than their predecessors. Which one will be better? Let’s have a glance at their pros, cons and characteristics. And read more about How to Choose RC Battery Charger?

RC NiCad battery
NiCad is short for Nickel Cadmium. It uses nickel oxide hydroxide and metallic cadmium as electrodes. A Ni-Cd battery has a terminal voltage during discharge of around 1.2 volts which decreases little until nearly the end of discharge.

It is cheap and isn’t too sensitive to overcharging. Compared with other types of rechargeable cells they offer good cycle life and capacity, good performance at low temperatures, and work well at high discharge rates.

To lithium ion batteries, NiCad batteries are more difficult to damage; it can tolerate deep discharge for long periods. Additional, it is the best for fast charging.

Comes with a heavy body which prevent you carry it with you anywhere. Low capacity, have a higher self-discharge rates than some other types batteries and memory problems are its biggest flaw. NiCad batteries suffer from a “memory effect” if they are discharged and recharged to the same state of charge hundreds of times. Further, the environmental impact of the disposal of the heavy metal cadmium has contributed considerably to the reduction in their use.

RC NiMh battery
NiMh or nickel–metal hydride, it is very different from NiCad. For example, NiMH batteries cannot handle the high rate of charges or discharges (typically over 1.5-2 amps), however, NiCAD batteries can. And the most common sizes are AAA and AA.

Compared to Ni–Cd batteries, NiMH batteries have a higher capacity and are less toxic, and are now more cost effective. If handled correctly, NIMH batteries will have a much longer run times than the same sized and weighted NiCAD batteries. So it is always be used for applications that call for long duration but not a high amp load. For large servos that pull a lot of amps or more than 8 standard servos aircraft, it is suggest using the NiCAD batteries. The other feature for NIMh is it has no memory effect and compared to other types battery, Ni–Cd sale at mid priced.

NiMH batteries can’t perform well in high rate discharge applications, and it can only provide a small fraction of the rated capacity in these instances.

RC Li-Po batteries
Li-Po (Lithium Polymer) is the most popular battery in the world of radio-controlled aircraft, radio-controlled cars and large scale model trains.

The advantages of Li-Po are lower weight; increased capacity and power delivery justify the price. Moreover, it does best with a balancing charger.

Compare to other types batteries, it sales at the highest priced. Needs special care to avoid flat Performance must NOT be overcharged, and it is 3.7 volts per cell.

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