When you start driving or piloting RC vehicles, batteries can be an overwhelming topic to learn. There are hundreds of different battery types, shapes, sizes. In this post we will discuss the difference between a 2S and 3S LiPo battery. We'll also talk about different use cases for 2S and 3S batteries and when you may want to choose one voltage over the other.
2S VS 3S LiPo Battery - in Plain English
LiPo batteries come with all kinds of numbers, ratings, and capacities. So, I wanted to take a moment to discuss the differences in 2S and 3S LiPos in simple terms.
A 3S LiPo is more powerful than a 2S pack. Full stop.
So, higher voltage batteries will have a higher "S" number.
However, you have to research your RC vehicle and make absolutely sure it can handle 3S batteries before you buy one and install it on your rig. So, double check that your RC's electronic speed controller and motor can handle a 3S pack before plugging one in. Not all RCs can run 3S.
If your RC car, boats, plane, drone, or helicopter can run on 3S, it will perform better running the 3S pack than the 2S pack. If you are bashing your RC monster truck, and it can handle a 3S pack, get a 3S LiPo for your truck.
If you want the best accelerations and top speed for your RC drone, get a 3S pack instead of a 2S pack.
I think you get the rule here - 3S is better, faster, and stronger than a 2S LiPo. But DOUBLE CHECK that your electronic system can handle it or you will burn up your motor and ESC.
What Do All The Numbers Mean On A LiPo Battery?
There are three numbers you need to understand on a LiPo battery, and they are:
- Voltage or S
- Capacity or mAh
- Discharge or C rating
The voltage (S) is a measure of how powerful your battery is. So if your RC car or Plane has an ESC and motor that can handle a 3S lithium battery, the 3S pack will provide more power and a higher RPM to your motor than a 2S pack.
The capacity (milli amp hours or mAh) is how much power the battery can hold. This translates to run time. The higher the capacity, the longer the RC can run. So a 2200 mAh pack will last longer than a 1100 mAh pack. The rule of thumb for capacity is the higher the number (mAh), the more drive time or flight time you can expect out of the pack.
The discharge rate (C rating) is how much continuous power a battery can discharge over a certain time. The higher the C rating, the more current the battery can discharge to the motor. Higher C rated LiPo packs are more expensive, but provide better performance.
2S VS 3S LiPo Battery - Understanding The Voltage
The difference between 2S batteries and 3S batteries is the voltage. Each cell in a LiPo pack provides 3.7 volts. To calculate the voltage of a LiPo pack, multiply 3.7 volts by the number of cells. Again, the number S number tells you the number of cells.
A 2S LiPo battery has two cells and a voltage of 7.4v while 3S means the LiPo has a voltage of 11.1v and three cells.
2S VS 3S LiPo Battery - What Does The S mean?
When you look at any LiPo battery, you will see the letter S on the pack. The S tells you how many cells the pack contains. So, a 3S LiPo will have three 3.7 volt cells that are wired in series to produce a voltage of 11.1 volts.
2S VS 3S LiPo Battery - What Does The C mean?
The "C" rating on a LiPo battery stands for the discharge rate. What you need to know is the higher the C rating, the better. High C rating batteries are more expensive because they produce a higher current of electricity flow to the motor.
From my own experience, a battery with a higher C rating will feel more "punchy." When I hit the throttle with a high C battery pack installed, I can tell that the RC car or helicopter (I love helicopters btw) has this crazy power burst.
You have to look out for cheap knockoff packs online. Many cheap LiPos will claim a high C rating. So stick with quality LiPo packs from reputable dealers. I like Spektrum and Traxxas batteries because they actually produce the power they are rated for.
Can Brushless Motors Use 2S or 3S Batteries?
The voltage a motor can handle will be stated by the manufacturer. So, not all motors are built to run at 11.1 volts (3S.) You have to research not only the motor, but also the electronic speed controller. If we take look at the Traxxas Slash VXL, it can run either 2S or 3S LiPos. The VXL 3S ESC on this truck is 3S rated. Generally speaking, if a motor and ESC combo can run a 3S battery, they can also run a 2S pack. However, you still need to double check the motor and ESC specifications to make the battery is safe to run in the RC vehicle.
FAQs For 2S VS 3S LiPo Battery
Are 2S or 3S LiPo Packs heavier?
Is a 2S or 3S LiPo more powerful?
Do 2S batteries have less power than 3S?
Conclusion For 2S VS 3S LiPo Battery
Understanding the differences between 2S and 3S LiPo batteries is important because you can break your RC vehicle if you push too much voltage. So always double check that both your ESC and electric motor is rated for the battery pack you are looking to use in the RC model. To recap, the S value on a LiPo means the number of cells in the pack, and each cell is 3.7 volts. So a 2S is 7.4 volts and a 3S is 11.1 volts. Finally, the battery's capacity is measured in milli amp hours, and just because a battery has a high capacity does not mean it will produce more power to the motor. So make sure you take some time to research what LiPo is best for your RC vehicle before you buy a new pack! Happy RC'ing RC warriors!