Without a battery, your electric RC car will not work; the battery is the power source, so you need to use the best and recommended battery for your car. Using the wrong battery will damage your RC car, and it may cost a lot of money to repair the damage. It is also important to learn everything about the batteries used for remote-controlled cars.
Of course, you can use a 7.4 volts battery instead of 7.2 volts on your RC car. However, it must be within the range of voltages the electronic speed control (ESC) of your car can handle. If 7.4 volts is not in the range of voltages and you use it, you could damage the motor and ESC beyond repair.
You are free to increase the voltage of the battery you use in your RC car. However, before increasing the voltage, you must have read the user manual to know the range of volts recommended for your car.
Can You Use A Higher Voltage Battery?
One of the ways you can increase the speed of your RC car is by using a higher voltage battery. However, if the higher voltage battery you use exceeds the voltage range of your remote-controlled car, you can damage it. We will look at the RC car battery configuration and how to know the voltage range of your car.
All remote-controlled cars come with an electronic speed controller (ESC). It allows the operator to control the power and speed transferred to the motor. It is plugged directly into the battery pack. The ESCs in RC cars vary, so they all have different expected input voltage ranges. The ESC is also connected to the motor, and it has its voltage range.
The motor can handle voltages higher than the specified range without getting damaged; the only issue is that it will run hot. The capacitors in the car determine the maximum voltage of the ESC. So, to know the specified range of voltage for the motor and ESC, consult the user manual.
For example, if the specified input voltage of your RC car is 5 volts to 8 volts, the battery that comes with the car would likely be a 5 volts or 6 volts battery. If you want to make it faster, you can use a 7.4 volts battery. As long the voltage is within the range, you would encounter no issue.
Using a battery with a voltage higher than the specified range will overwork the ESC, and it could get burned. The motor will also be damaged because the ESC is supplying too much power to it. So, you must read the user manual before using a battery of higher voltage.
Types Of RC Batteries
Different batteries are used to power RC cars; these batteries are different in size, voltage, and price. In choosing a battery for your RC car, you need to consider these; otherwise, you could buy a battery not suitable for your car. And if you use the wrong battery, you can damage the car.
LiPo stands for Lithium-ion Polymer, and it has two or more cells in series. A LiPo battery is usually flat and rectangular. LiPo batteries have a higher energy density than other batteries and are lightweight. They also produce stronger discharge and are more volatile than other batteries.
A LiPo battery can last for about 150 to 300 charge cycles, depending on how you use and maintain it. As you use the battery frequently, charging and discharging it, the capacity is reduced.
NiMH stands for Nickel Metal Hydride, and they are cheap, rugged, and do not require much maintenance. However, in comparison to LiPo batteries, NiMH batteries are heavier. They can last for about 300 to 450 charge cycles, so they do not get completely depleted as fast as other batteries.
Can You Use LiPo Batteries Instead Of NiMH In An RC Car?
You can use either a LiPo battery or NiMH battery for your RC car, except when the manufacturer specifies the type of battery you should use. Most remote-controlled cars come with NiMH batteries. The significant difference between these batteries is their chemical properties.
Before charging a NiMH battery, you need to ensure it is completely discharged, and you must store it fully charged. LiPo batteries do not have to be fully discharged before you charge them.
NiMH batteries must be fully charged before you store, except when stated otherwise, like Traxxas NiMH batteries. LiPo batteries must be at 50 to 70 percent charge before they should be stored. The standard battery voltage of a NiMH battery is 1.2 volts, while a LiPo battery is 3.7 volts.
LiPo batteries have a high energy density, so they have a longer run time and an improved weight-to-power ratio. They also have lower internal resistance than NiMH batteries, so they draw power effectively. All NiMH batteries are cylindrical, but LiPo batteries are mostly rectangular.
LiPo batteries have more voltage and capacity than NiMH batteries of the same volume, and they sustain a higher voltage for each run. So, your RC car will go faster and run longer with a LiPo battery than it would with a NiMH battery of the same volume.
What Battery Is Better NiMH Or LiPo?
LiPo and NiMH batteries are different in their features and properties, and they are designed to work on some specific RC cars. However, with technology, most remote-controlled cars can work with either LiPo or NiMH batteries. This has made RC newbies ask which battery is the best.
When considering a good battery, the first things you should look out for are the capacity and voltage of the battery. The voltage is responsible for power and speed, while the capacity is the total run time. A LiPo battery has 3.7 volts, while a NiMH battery has 1.2 volts, so you have more speed with a LiPo battery.
LiPo batteries are more energy-dense than NiMH batteries; they can keep more energy in relation to their size. This feature means you have a longer run time and a better weight-to-power ratio. NiMH batteries are more durable and rugged than LiPo batteries; they are encased in metal wraps.
However, the encasement is an added weight to the battery, so you have less speed. LiPo batteries do not have protective casings and are lightweight, so if your RC car will be used for competitions, a LiPo battery is the better choice.
LiPo batteries are prone to wear and tear since they are lightweight and lack protective casing. You would need to replace your LiPo batteries regularly. NiMH batteries have an exponential discharge rate; the more energy consumed, the more the performance declines.
On the other hand, LiPo batteries have a steady discharge rate; the performance is maintained as energy is consumed. The performance only declines when all the energy is consumed. NiMH batteries have a longer lifespan than LiPo batteries. Nevertheless, both batteries lose their capacity with usage, charging, and discharging.
NiMH batteries are considered safer than LiPo batteries; they are not flammable and, at worst, will have a short circuit problem. LiPo batteries are fairly dangerous because of their superior performance, in the worst case, they can explode.
From the comparisons we have made, you can see that LiPo batteries have more advantages than NiMH batteries.
Deciding the battery to use for your RC car is a critical decision that you should never take lightly. The wrong battery can cause severe damage to your car. If you are to choose between a LiPo and a NiMH battery, you should consider what you use your RC car for and how long you operate your car. If you can answer these two questions, you will know the best battery for your car.
Shawn Manaher loves to play with new toys and dive into new hobbies. As a serial entrepreneur, work definitely comes first but there is always room for hobbies.