How Long Does An RC Car Battery Last
As you probably already know, RC cars are either nitro or electrically powered, with the electric models using batteries connected to the frame to provide the electricity necessary to move the car. The first RC car that I bought was an electric model, and something that I always wondered before buying it was how long will the battery last on a single charge. I now have owned several electric RC car models, so I’m pretty qualified to answer that question.
And the answer is that The NiMH batteries that come stock on most NiMH RC cars are going to give you about 15-20 minutes on a single charge, depending on the mAH and the voltage of the battery in question. This is for the stock batteries though. LiPOs will give you about 30 minutes of run time. Also, You could always buy a bigger battery with a higher mAH rating that will last longer on a single charge. Other factors that will affect how quickly the battery is discharged include the voltage of the battery, and how cold or hot the temperature is when riding the car, among other things.
There are ways to make the battery last longer, but there’s always the chance of decreasing power, something that you probably aren’t looking for. Some folks prefer LiPO batteries because they think they have more battery life. Anyways, if you want to know more about how to make your battery last as much as possible, which batteries are the longest lasting in the market, and the differences between LiPO and NiMH batteries, check below for more info.
LiPo VS NiHM: Is There A Difference In Battery Life?
For a long time, people have talked about the differences between LiPO and NiMH batteries. To keep it short, LiPO (Lithium Polymer) batteries are more powerful and they are lighter, but they are not as beginner-friendly though. NiMH (Nickel metal hydride) batteries are cheaper and weaker, and they are also much easier to use.
And when it comes to battery life, the general consensus among enthusiasts is that LiPO batteries last significantly longer. LiPO batteries tend to have the same mAH (Milliamp Hour), but a higher voltage rating, which provides much more power. They are also lighter like I said above.
The average LiPO battery is going to last about 30 minutes on a full charge, which is significantly more than the 15-20 minutes of the average NiMH, which is one of the reasons why most serious RC car enthusiasts will only use LiPO nowadays.
Which Batteries Lasts The Longest?
While there is an uncountable number of batteries available for purchase today, their battery life on a single charge will obviously vary. Over the years, I have bought and used several battery packs and I have finally found which ones have the most battery life. If you are looking to use your RC car for hours on end without stopping, then check these batteries out!
Ovonic 7.4V 50C 6200mAh 2S RC Lipo Battery – Massive Size And Massive Battery Life!
When it comes to LiPo batteries with long battery life, this one reigns supreme. This battery is perfect for those folks who want to ride as long as possible. Officially, this is a 2S battery, which means that it has 2 cells with 3.7 volts each. Expect this battery to last you about 1 hour and 30 minutes when used aggressively, and more than 2 hours and used more conservatively.
The fact that It has 2 cells also means that the weight of the battery far surpasses more conventional lipos. This baby weighs almost a pound, so because of this, RC cars with smaller motors might lose some speed. Just something to keep in mind.
Another problem of this is the fact that not only is this battery pretty heavy, but it’s also quite bulky. If you are going to buy this, please make sure that it actually fits your RC car. Most 1/16 scale models won’t fit the battery, and there are even some 1/10 scale models that won’t either.
Last but not least, this battery is pretty expensive, which is something very common among LiPos with high mAH ratings. It’s completely worth it in my opinion though, especially if you are tired of stopping your RC car every 20 minutes because the battery died.
Zeee 8000mAh 11.1V 100C 3S RC Lipo Battery Pack – Best Bang For Your Buck!
Zeee is a company that has been making quality batteries for years now, and this one is no exception. This is an 8000mAH battery with 3 cells, and while it doesn’t have as battery life as the one I posted above, it has several pros that you won’t find in that one either.
The first one is the fact that this battery is a little bit smaller and lighter than the one above. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is still bulkier than a normal battery, but it’s more manageable than the gigantic one above. This might even fit 1/16 models
The other pro is the fact that this battery is pretty affordable for what you get. LiPos tend to be on the expensive side, but given that fact that this battery has much more battery life than normal, I think that the pricing is fair. Just don’t expect to pay $20 dollars for it though.
But the most important thing about this is the fact this battery is going to give you what you are looking for: battery life. Expect this battery to last about 1 hour when riding the car aggressively, which is a great number in LiPo batteries.
ZDF 2S 7.4V 12000mAh 50C 100C Hardcase LiPo Battery Pack – High Battery Capacity On A Pinch
The third battery on this list is made by ZDF, and if you are looking for long battery life but do not need very high performance from the battery, this could be a great choice!
This is actually the battery that theoretically could last you the longest. It’s a 2 cell battery with 12000 mAH and it doesn’t have as much voltage as the other batteries above (also, it only has 50c), which might not generate as much power but that also means that it’s going to drain more slowly than something more powerful. This could be a great choice for smaller and lighter 1/16 models.
Also, it’s pretty affordable too. I have seen this battery at under $60 dollars, which is a steal given the quality of it. Anyways, this is a highly recommended battery if you are looking for something with long battery capacity.
Tips To Save As Much Battery Life As Possible
There are several things that you can do if you are tired of charging your car’s batteries every 5-10 minutes or so. what I personally recommend is:
Try To Avoid Riding On Extreme Temperatures
If you didn’t know, the battery life in your car can get affected by the temperature outside. Both very high or very low temperatures will affect battery life, so don’t be surprised if you find that your car discharges faster in the winter. Usually, RC car manuals will tell you the temperature range that is most recommended for riding without issues. These temperature ranges are generally between 65F to 85F. So if you go lower than that, your battery might lose power more quickly than normal.
This mostly applies for cold weather, but battery life can take a hit on very hot weather too. Because of the heat, the battery tends to corrode more quickly on the inside, affecting the battery life and the car ability to accelerate in bursts. So conserve your battery, avoid riding when it’s very cold or very hot.
Avoid Abruptly Hitting The Throttle
One of the quickest ways to quickly discharge an RC battery is by hitting the throttel abruptly and riding erratically in general. The ideal way to ride your car is as smooth as possible. Try to press and depress the throttle gradually, and avoid accelerating abruptly. Now, I’m not saying that you need to necessarily ride slowly, but if you are the kind of guy who tends to do sudden stop and go maneuvers, accelerating your car in a more graceful way will go a long way of ensuring your battery lasts dramatically longer.
Reduce Weight Of Car
This is one of the best ways to improve the battery life in your car. This is because not only are you saving the battery itself, but you are also making your car faster because there’s less weight to push forward. If you do not know about motor modding, then one of the popular ways of doing changes if by shaving parts of the motor, so that it weighs significantly less. This is one of the most common weight-saving methods, but there are other things that you can do too.
You can also try to get rid of plastics in your car that are only there for aesthetic reasons. My RC cars can have parts of the fenders removed, but other ones require you to cut them with a saw or electric wire brush. There are also some plastics inside that do not support the car’s weight, so if you can find them, cutting them or drilling a hole in them could reduce a lot of weight from your car, which improves battery life. Just make sure you do not cut or drill any important parts of your car!
Make Sure The Tires Are In Good Condition
If you are using offroad tires, then make sure that your tires have enough thread for them to maintain traction with the ground. Another sneaky reason why your car battery might be discharging prematurely is that the tires aren’t gripping the ground as well, which means that more power is needed to reach the same speeds than if you were using tires in good condition. This could also affect how well your car breaks.
To know if you need to change the tires, simply take them off your car and examine them. Do they look beat up and almost flat? If so, it’s probably time for a replacement.
Change Bushing For Bearings
Depending on the car that you have, there’s a good chance that your RC car has bushings instead of ball bearings. A bushing is used to reduce friction between moving parts on an RC car, and they are generally the cheapest choice available, but they do not reduce friction as well as ball bearings, which use small metal balls inside to handle the friction between moving parts.
Installing ball bearings will help the internals rotate more freely than with bushings, reducing the amount of throttle needed to accelerate the car. I will be making a guide on how to change the bushings for bearings on the future, so if you are interested in changing them, I would recommend going to a hobby shop and asking for help on that until I make the guide. (NOTE: This video might help you change the bearings!)
Make Sure The Batteries Are In Good Shape And New
This is most likely the reason why your battery is not lasting as long as you would like: It might be worn out or dying already. As you probably know already, RC car batteries (and all batteries in general) have a limited lifespan. This lifespan is going to depend on several factors, including which battery type you have, if the battery was taken care off, how often was the battery used, etc… So if you have used your battery for a long time already, then the battery charging capacity might be shot already. If this is the case, you are going to have to get yourself a new battery.
Another reason for short battery life is if your battery is broken. LiPOs are notorious for being very fragile and sensitive to a whole lot of things, including very cold or hot weather.
Doing things like charging the LiPo battery with the wrong charger, fully charging it or not charging it at all for storage, and charging it way too quickly, will not only affect the battery life, but it will also render the battery unusable or even worse, make the battery explode.
NiMH batteries are much safer and easier to use, but they are weaker and heavier. They also do not last as long as LiPos.