When you buy your first RC car, you buy one or two batteries to go with it and quickly realize you should have bought several more. You will eventually start asking what is the longest lasting RC battery, and how can you get the most drive time out of them?
If you are driving your RC cars with your kids or friends, you are going to need several large capacity batteries to make sure everyone gets a turn and is having a good time.
In this post, we will take a look at the longest lasting RC batteries and the science behind battery discharge rates. By the end of this article, you will have a good understanding of how long each of your LiPo batteries should last between charges. Let's dive in!
TLDR - What Is The Longest Lasting RC Battery?
The longest lasting RC battery must have a high mAh capacity. The higher the mAh capacity, the longer the battery will last in your vehicle.
If you compare a 3S 5000 mAh battery to a 3S 6500 mAh battery, the larger battery will provide a longer runtime. There is a point where the added weight of a larger battery will start to hurt run times rather than help. So, you have to balance the larger capacity and weight with the actual extra run time.
If you are looking to get an extra 5 or 10 minutes of time out of your battery, finding one with 10% to 15% more capacity should increase your run time, and the extra weight should not be much of a factor.
Something like this Zeee 7000 mAh LiPo should provide plenty of run time. It has a deans connector, so you may want to make sure you have the right type of battery connector before you pick up a new LiPo.
Introduction and Variables for The Longest Lasting RC Battery
Before we get too deep into this article, I wanted to define a few variables and constants that will carry throughout the post.
For any calculations, I will reference The Traxxas Slash VXL with the Velineon VXL 3300kV motor and a 5000 mAh battery with a 25C continuous discharge rate.
There are so many different battery and motor combinations on the market. But, these ideas and formulas should carry over to other vehicles and motors.
- RC vehicle: Traxxas Slash VXL 4x4
- Brushless Motor: Velineon VXL 3300kV with a continuous amp draw of 25 amps
- Battery discharge of 80% (we stop driving when our battery has about 20% charge left.)
- Amp Hours = watt hours/voltage
- Milliamp hours = (watt-hours/voltage) /1000
- Battery lifespan = Battery Capacity / Current Consumption
To calculate the battery lifespan of our 5000 mAh battery running the Velineon VXL 3300kV motor at full throttle and discharging it to 20% capacity, we divide the battery capacity by the continuous discharge current and multiply that value by 0.8 or 80%.
(5000mAh / 25A) x 80% = 9.6 minutes
This LiPo battery from Traxxas is what I use in many of my 1/10 scale models, and most of the data in this post are from my experience with this LiPo battery. It is a great battery and will last a long time.
How Long Will My RC Battery Last?
Drivers don't run their RC vehicles at full throttle the entire time. We also don't run our batteries down completely because that can damage or ruin the battery. As I previously mentioned, it's best to stop driving the RC vehicle when the battery is about 80% discharged. You can use the examples and calculators below to help you find the longest lasting RC battery for your vehicles.
RC Battery Runtime Example
Let's do some fuzzy math to calculate how long our Traxxas Slash would run in a typical driving session.
Let's say you are running full throttle for half of the time you are driving the car and half throttle for the rest of the time. And, we stop driving once our battery has been discharged 80% of its total capacity.
- Full throttle would give you about 9.6 minutes of drive time because (5000mAh / 25A) x 0.8 = 9.6 minutes
- Half throttle would get you 24 minutes because (5000mAh / 12.5A) x 0.8 = 19.2 minutes
- So 9.6 minutes + 19.2 minutes = 28.8 minutes of runtime in our Traxxas Slash
The harder and faster you drive your car, the less time you have to drive.
How Long Does a 5000mAh Battery Last in The Traxxas Slash VXL
I will personally note that I get about 30-40 minutes of fast-paced driving out of my Traxxas Slash. That is in line with our fuzzy math example above.
So you should be able to take the example above and apply it to your RC vehicles. All you have to remember is it all depends on the throttle!
RC Battery Drive Time Calculator
You can try our calculator to see what your drive time could be. All you need to know are these two variables:
- The capacity in Milliamp hours of your LiPo battery
- The amps your motor consumes (our example is 25 amps for the Velineon motor)
To get started, type in 5000 (mAh) in the first box, 25 (Amps) in the second box, and 0.8 (percent of battery discharged) in the third box!
Please note, the motor consumption rate in box two is the main variable here. You have to play with this number to simulate how much of the time you are at full throttle. We have also added a max discharge safety value of 80%. So the calculation assumes that you are not discharging your battery past the 80% range.
What Is The Longest Lasting RC Car Battery?
If you are looking for the longest lasting RC car batteries, the general rule of thumb is the larger the capacity, the longer the battery will last. Keep in mind, the bigger the battery, the longer it takes to charge.
The higher the capacity of the LiPo, the larger the pack will be. So make sure you have plenty of room in your car chassis to fit the battery pack. Many RC cars have plenty of space for larger packs, but it's still a good idea to measure and check your available space.
For many 1/10 scale RC cars, a 5000 mAh battery will get you plenty of run time. If you drive Traxxas vehicles, this 25C LiPo from Traxxas should get you about 30 solid minutes of fast driving.
The Traxxas Slash's chassis comes with a foam block that you can add or remove depending on how big your pack is. In my Slash, I run the 5000 mAh Traxxas LiPo with the foam block in the battery tray to ensure it's snug and not able to move around while driving.
How Long Does An RC car Battery Last?
Many great RC vehicles have a long battery life span. But, you want to look for the following specs to ensure the vehicle will run for as long as possible on a single charge:
- Brushless Motor
- ESC that can run LiPo batteries
- Lightweight Lexan body
Brushless motors are the most efficient type of motor for your electric RC vehicles. When paired with a LiPo battery, a hobby-grade RC car should get you at least 20 minutes of run time. Many cars can run for 30 or 40 minutes if you aren't doing full-throttle speed runs the entire time!
For any of you running Arrma vehicles on 2S, I recommend Spektrum LiPos and this 5000 mAh 30C pack is a great choice for longer run times.
Average Remote Control Car Battery Life
There are two types of RC vehicles on the market. Hobby-grade RC cars and toy RC cars. The average drive time of a hobby-grade RC vehicle will be between 20 and 40 minutes. Most vehicles should easily drive for 30 minutes on a single pack.
Toy RC cars, on the other hand, won't last near as long between charges because they will most likely have a brushless motor and a NiMH or NiCad battery.
To get the longest run time, your car must have a LiPo battery and a brushless motor.
Wondering why your RC battery is dying so fast?
FAQs For What Is The Longest Lasting RC Battery
What is the longest lasting RC car battery?
Lithium polymer (LiPo) or lithium-ion batteries are the longest lasting type of battery for your RC vehicles. LiPo batteries are considered "energy dense" batteries and pack in more capacity per cell than other types of batteries. They also have a long lifespan and can be charged an discharged many times before finally wearing out.
How can I prolong the lifespan of my RC car battery?
Storing your LiPo batteries at a half charge (aka maintenance mode) in a cool dry place when you are not using them will help prolong the lifespan of the battery. If you don't plan on using the battery for a month of longer, it's best to discharge the battery with your balance charger to 50% capacity.
Can I upgrade my RC Car battery?
Yes, many RC cars have an electronic speed controller that will accept different types of batteries. Make sure to check with the manufacturer's instructions to see what your vehicle can handle. If you can upgrade to a LiPo battery, you will immediately see performance gains like faster acceleration and higher max speeds.
Conclusion For What Is The Longest Lasting RC Battery
If you are disappointed in your RC vehicle's run time, you can try a larger capacity battery, upgrade to a brushless motor, or upgrade to a LiPo battery. If you notice your battery isn't lasting as long, it may be time to replace it. The take-home point from this article is battery capacity. If you get 25 minutes of run time in one car, a slightly larger capacity battery should give you a longer run time. However, the bigger the battery, the more it weighs. So, you have to balance out run time with capacity. Finally, if your vehicle is running a brushed motor, upgrading it to a brushless motor will get you longer run times. Brushless systems are more efficient and last longer on a single battery charge.