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RC car batteries can die in a surprisingly short amount of time because the cars engines are constantly powering them at high speed. This rapid-fire draw means that these batteries are spending more time in use than other types of cars, and RC car drivers may find that their battery needs charging after what seems like a few minutes. To fix this, some owners try to wait for the engine to idle before using the remote control. If you’re like me and forget about it then your battery could be dead faster than normal.
Most of us plug our remote control cars in and go about our day with no negative side effects. When you are using an RC car every day though, extending your battery life is important. The faster your engine is running, the faster your battery will drain.
Most people do not know this, but the engine can actually pull too much power from the battery causing it to drain quickly. If the battery becomes drained of power, the motor will stop pulling energy from the battery and eventually turn off. This is why it’s always a good idea to make sure that a car battery is fully charged before you leave for an extended period of time in order to prevent this scenario from ever occurring.
A common mistake I see people doing when they aren’t charging their remote control cars on a daily basis is letting them discharge in an unplugged position so that they don’t have to recharge them every day. When you let the batteries drain on a daily basis, they will lose around 1% of their battery capacity every day which is a standard battery capacity loss rate. All batteries have this kind of constant internal discharge to keep them from becoming damaged by being stored too closely together.
It is possible to have extra voltage in the battery though, and if you completely drain your battery it will still work as long as it has enough power. I’ve seen people use their battery for several hours without recharging them because there seems to be more than enough voltage available in that particular pack.
I personally charge my batteries every night so that I don’t have to worry about it the next day. To be on the safe side though, I make sure that the battery is fully charged before I take it out of my car and put it away for an extended period of time. If you find yourself having problems with your brushless car battery dying, this might be a good idea to try!
One quick and easy way to extend your RC brushless car battery life is to turn off the engine when you are not using your remote control car rather than letting it run in idle mode. If the engine runs continuously, it is pulling more power out of your battery than you need when you aren’t using it.
What I find most surprising about remote control car batteries is how long they actually last. You can be running your vehicle constantly for several hours and not notice any change in voltage or speed of the brushless motor. On the other hand, you can run it for a few minutes and it can be dead already. It all depends upon what battery you have and how you utilize it.
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How can I make my RC battery last longer?
If your RC batteries tend to die more quickly than you ever expected, here are some tips to help prolong the life of your battery:
1. Don’t wait until your battery is completely dead to recharge it. Plug the charger in as soon as you notice the power of your car decreasing. This will prevent your battery from completely draining, which could permanently damage it.
If you’ve been driving through water, dust, or mud, you will want to wipe off any visible debris on both the battery and the terminals before recharging it. The same applies if you’ve dropped your car by mistake while carrying it. You will want to take a look at the charger port and make sure nothing is stuck in there that could be potentially harmful to your battery.
2. Don’t let the battery get too hot. This may sound obvious, but no matter how clean or well you maintain your car, it may produce extra heat. Be careful what you do with your radio system in this situation. You may feel a little warm each time you stop to change the channels, but the battery could be overheating and begin to damage itself.
3. Keep the battery fully charged at least once per month. If you’ve noticed that your RC car is dying more quickly than usual, it could be that your battery needs charging when there’s nothing on your radio to listen to.
4. Don’t let your batteries sit on the charger for more than 6 hours. If you have several batteries, this may be a good way to keep track of the charge in each one.
5. When you buy new batteries, do not charge them for more than 48 hours. It’s important to allow your batteries to reach their full charge before you use them.
What causes my RC car battery to lose its charge over time?
It is true that most RC vehicle batteries will only last up to about 3-4 years (depending on how often they are used). The most common reason for this is the type of batteries you use, and how you charge them.
What type of RC battery should you use?
Most hobbyists will tell you that NiCad or NiMH batteries are not good for this kind of application, and they are right. These are relatively low quality batteries that don’t last very long at all. In fact, a NiMH battery can be drained in as little as 1-2 weeks depending on what you do to it!
What’s the difference between the different RC battery types?
NiCads are rechargeable lithium batteries that run on a low voltage (usually 3.6 volts or less). They were the standard in RC modeling for years until they fell out of favor with most hobbyists because they were not very durable over time.
NiMH batteries are also rechargeable lithium batteries that run on a higher voltage (usually 7.2-8.4 volts). They are newer and better than NiCads but they still do not last very long in most RC models.
LiPo (Lithium Polymer) batteries are the best on the market today because they do not have any of the disadvantages associated with NiCads or NiMH batteries. They have a very high discharge rate, and can be recharged hundreds of times before they may need to be replaced. Due to their performance characteristics, most hobbyists prefer to use these types of battery packs for their RC vehicles, planes or helicopters instead of NiCads or NiMHs.
What’s the best way to charge your RC battery?
This is a very important part of the RC experience. You want to make sure you are charging your battery in the safest and most efficient way possible. There are many varieties of chargers on the market today, ranging from cheap or unregulated models (which shortens battery life), to expensive smart models such as Triton and MRC Super Brain. It really depends on your budget what you decide to buy. Here’s how I like to charge my LiPo batteries:
First, it is highly recommended that you invest in a quality LiPo charger for this purpose. It is a device that will help to prevent the safety hazards associated with charging batteries, and it also is more efficient at getting the most charge from your battery.
Second, make sure you use the right adapter or connector depending on the charger you have and what type of battery you are using. After connecting your battery to the charger, make sure you select the proper charging setting (usually 3-5 cells and/or 1000 mAh).
Some chargers require a balance charge so that all cells are charged at a similar rate. This will help to ensure long battery life in the future. Finally, set your timer or wait until it goes green indicating that your battery is ready to be used again.
Charging your RC battery from a wall outlet
This is also something you should think about when investing in your charger. You can get away with a cheaper model, but the problem is that most cheaper chargers do not have an automatic timer so you will need to monitor the progress of your battery. If you don’t know how to do this, I suggest you invest in a good smart charger and leave it on all the time.
I like my cheap “smart” charger because it has a timer and an automatic shut off function if it does not see movement for 30 minutes after charging. This is very important if you are going somewhere outside of your house because it will protect your battery from overcharging and damage.
What to do if your RC battery is dead and won’t charge?
This may not be a good time to try and recharge your battery. The problem is that it takes a good amount of power to charge a LiPo battery. The best thing you can do in this situation is to take precautions so that your battery does not end up becoming useless (or even worse, a fire hazard).
First, make sure that has no sign of corrosion or damage on it. Check for loose wires and metal parts inside the pack as well. If your charger has an automatic shut off function and it looks ok, try charging the pack anyway but don’t use the power unless you know what you are doing.
If there is a problem with your battery, the safest thing you can do is throw it away immediately. Do not leave it in your garage or attic or near any flammables for that matter. Batteries may look harmless but there are small amounts of explosive material inside that can cause serious damage if damaged. Don’t take any chances with this kind of material!
If your battery looks good but will not charge, try putting it on the wall charger overnight and see what happens in the morning.
What do I do if your RC battery won’t hold a charge?
In my experience, this doesn’t happen very often unless you leave your car sitting for an extended period of time and never drive it again. If you don’t drive at all, all of your batteries will die out from lack of use. There are a few things you can try to make sure that you get the most charge possible from your battery:
If you have a smart charger, try setting it on the highest charge setting and charge until it is full. This will help in the future as well when you want to run your battery at full capacity. Batteries should be charged after every ride so that they can keep their charge and last much longer.
Try letting it sit overnight and plugging it back into the charger in the morning. This will give your battery some rest and help to lower the internal resistance. The more charge you put into a battery, the less it will hold.
Finally, remember to always maintain your battery by using the tape or shimming technique if needed. This will help your pack retain its charge for much longer than running it at maximum capacity on every ride.
How to maintain your RC battery?
There are several things to remember when maintaining a LiPo pack:
When you first get a new set of batteries, do not use them right away. If you need them for an event, make sure they are charged fully before hand so that you have plenty of time to break them in.
Always charge your batteries after every ride and store them in a cool, dry location. I like to put mine in zip lock bags with the power wires clipped off and place them on one side of my pit box. If you don’t have a pit box, make sure they are not sitting directly on the concrete if you are at a track day or autocross because they will get very hot during use. No matter what, you should always pay attention to the temperature of your pack while it is charging.
Hopefully this guide has been helpful to you in some way as you work to improve the functionality and performance of your RC vehicle. It is not hard to set up and operate a remote control car, but before you can take the next step towards your goal, you will want to have an understanding of how everything works and how to maintain it properly so that it doesn’t get damaged.