As an RC enthusiast, one of the most important things you can do is make sure your car has a long run time. We often get the question "Can I use a higher capacity battery in my RC car?" The general answer is yes. It is safe to run a higher capacity LiPo battery in your RC car.
Many people mistakenly go out and buy a higher voltage battery in order to get longer run times. However, this is not the case. If you are looking to increase the run time of your RC car, buying a battery with more capacity is the better option.
But, don't forget, a higher capacity battery weights more and the added weight could have some negative affects on performance.
Lets dive into the details of RC LiPo batteries, capacity, and voltage.
Increasing Battery Voltage Vs Capacity
What is more important for run time voltage or capacity?
The answer is capacity.
Run time is all about how long your RC can stay powered on and keep running. The higher the capacity of the battery, the longer it will be able to power your RC.
Voltage on the other hand is will determine how fast your RC will go. A higher voltage battery will send more power to the electric motor.
Depending on what your objective is, you may care more about speed than run time. Most drivers want to find the right balance between run time and power output.
If you want your RC car/truck to run for a long time without needing to be recharged, increasing your RC's mAh capacity will increase the total run time.
Read our post on how long it takes to charge an RC car battery for more info on charge times.
What is MAh in RC Cars?
mAh stands for milliamp hours and it is a measure of the amount of energy a battery can store. The higher the mAh, the longer the run time. So if you want to get longer run times for your RC, you should look for a battery with a high mAh rating.
There are other factors that affect run time such as discharge rate and weight. But increasing your RC's mAh capacity is the best way to get longer run times.
However, there is a tradeoff. Batteries with higher mAh ratings are usually heavier and more expensive. This will have an effect on the performance of your RC. So you must not increase the capacity of your battery beyond a certain point where the benefits no longer outweigh the cost.
The takeaway is that if you want to get longer run times for your RC, focus on finding a battery with a high mAh rating. This will give you the best chance of getting the longest possible run time for your RC. Just be aware that there is a tradeoff in terms of weight and cost. But if you can find a balance, you'll be able to get the most out of your RC.
When Does Battery Voltage Matter for RC Cars?
There are a few key things to remember when it comes to battery voltage for RC cars. The first is that higher voltages will generally result in more power and speed.
Many RC cars and trucks can run at multiple voltage. For example, the Traxxas Slash VXL can run on a single 2S LiPo battery or a single 3S LiPo battery.
- A 2S LiPo will have two cells each at 3.7 volts for a total pack voltage of 7.4 volts.
- A 3S LiPo will have three cells each at 3.7 volts for a total pack voltage of 11.1 volts
the Traxxas Slash VXL will run much faster with the 3S LiPo battery than the 2S pack.
Another thing to remember is that higher voltages can also lead to shorter battery run time. So if you're looking for maximum run time, you'll want to use a battery with a lower voltage and as high a milliamp rating as possible.
One last thing to remember is different RC vehicles call for different voltage battery packs. An RC crawler will most likely need a lower voltage than an RC Basher. When you are crawling, you are driving slow. However, bashing your RC truck around calls for top speeds and a higher voltage battery pack.
Read our post on why an RC car battery dies so fast if you are having trouble with your LiPo batteries.
Typical Battery Configurations for RC Vehicles: How to Select a Battery for Your RC
There are several things you need to consider when selecting a battery for your RC. The most important factors are capacity (measured in mAh), voltage, and discharge rate.
Capacity is the amount of energy that a battery can store. It is usually measured in milliamp hours (mAh). The higher the capacity, the more energy the battery can store and should yield longer run times.
Voltage is the amount of power that a battery can deliver. It is measured in volts (V). The higher the voltage, the more powerful the battery will be.
The discharge rate is the rate at which a battery can deliver its power. It is usually measured in amps (A). The higher the discharge rate, the more rapidly the battery will be depleted.
Common RC LiPo Battery Configurations
Here is a list of the most common RC battery configurations:
- 11.1 V Lipo Battery 3S 50C 5000 mAh
- 11.1 V Lipo Battery 3S 100C 5000 mAh
- 11.1 V Lipo Battery 3S 30C 2200 mAh
- 7.4 V Lipo Battery 2S 30C 5000 mAh
11.1 V Lipo Battery 3S 50C 5000mAh is a very common battery type and I own about 10 batteries just like this.
Here, 11.1 is the voltage, 50C is the discharge rate, and 5000 mAh is the capacity.
Check out this Spektrum LiPo pack, this is a great pack for Arrma or Traxxas RC cars/trucks!
If you are on the fence between Arrma or Traxxas, make sure to check out our post comparing the two manufactures.
Ideal Battery Capacities for 1/10 and 1/8 Scale RCs
The Standard battary capacity for 1/10 and 1/8 scale RC cars is 5000 mAh. 1/8 and 1/10 scale RC cars are big vehicles and they need a large capacity battery to run them.
You can expect a 5000 mAh LiPo battery to last about 30 minutes for normal driving and about 20 minutes if you are full throttle most of the time.
NiCd and NiMH Versus LiPo technology
For a long time, the standard battery capacity for both brushed and brushless RCs was 3300mAh. This was based on the NiCd (nickel-cadmium) battery chemistry that was popular at the time. However, as RC technology progressed, NiMH (nickel-metal hydride) batteries became more popular due to their increased performance and lower cost.
As a result, the standard battery capacity for RCs increased to 5000mAh.
Nowadays, there are two main types of battery chemistries used in RCs: LiPo (lithium polymer) and LiFe (lithium iron).
LiPo batteries are currently the most popular type of battery used in RCs due to their high energy density and discharge rate. The standard battery capacity for LiPo batteries is typically between 4000 and 6000mAh. But you may find some other capacities on the market.
So, what is the ideal battery capacity for an RC?
It really depends on the type of RC you have and how you plan to use it. If you plan on using your RC for racing, then a higher-capacity battery will be beneficial as it will give you more run time between charges. However, if you only plan on using your RC for occasional recreational use, then a lower-capacity battery may be all you need.
When it comes to increasing your battery capacity on your RC car or truck, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
First, using a battery with a higher milliamp hour capacity won't damage your RC's electronics. You must make sure that your RC vehicles ESC is rated for the voltage of tha battery you plan to use.
Second, make sure you are not running too high of a voltage battery. if you have a 3S capable ESC, make sure you don't try to run anything higher than a 3S 11.1 volt LiPo battery. If you run a higher voltage battery that your ESC is designed for, you could damage the electronics. Make sure to check the manufacturer's specifications before using a different battery in your RC vehicle.
Finally, remember that more mAh capacity doesn't necessarily mean more speed - it just means longer run time.
So, there you have it. Increasing the mAh capacity of your RC's battery is a great way to extend its run time. Just be sure to pay attention to the voltage and discharge rate as well, as these can also affect performance.
Higher Capacity Battery in My RC Car FAQs
Is a Higher Capacity Battery in My RC Car going to make it slower?
A higher capacity battery in your RC car can slow your car down due to the added weight. If you compare a 2200 mAh to 5000 mAh 11.1 volt LiPo, you don't get the extra boost from an increased voltage. To speed up your car, you will need to increase the voltage of the battery pack, not the capacity.
Will a higher voltage battery make my RC car go faster?
Yes. A higher voltage LiPo pack will help your car or truck reach higher speeds. Make sure your vehicle's ESC can handle the extra voltage before connecting it.