Batteries play a crucial role in how your RC vehicle performs, regardless of whether it’s electric or nitro powered. Many people wonder what batteries have to do with nitro-powered RC vehicles since they run on fuel. Well, even though that’s the case, you still aren’t going anywhere without a battery, since the battery powers the servos and receiver. There are many different types of batteries, and the two most popular ones and NiMH and LiPo RC batteries.
Most RC vehicles don’t come with LiPo RC batteries, so you’ll most commonly find them being sold as accessories. LiPo batteries are lighter, yet offer similar capacity and voltage as NiMH batteries, allowing your vehicle to go faster. Furthermore, they can maintain their voltage for significantly longer as the pack is depleted. In other words, instead of delivering less and less voltage as it depletes, LiPos can deliver steady voltage for the most part, but then fall off quickly right at the end. They are a bit more expensive than NiMH batteries, but that gap is closing. Lastly, LiPo batteries require more care for safe and long use.
Most ready-to-run models come with a NiMH battery, simply because it is more affordable, rugged, and doesn’t require much care. However, as I mentioned before, these batteries are heavier and as they deplete, their voltage delivery decreases as well. Although you may not notice it at first, as you start using your RC vehicle, it will go a bit slower as every minute passes by.
Regardless of whether you pick a NiMh or LiPo battery, you’re going to need a battery charger. There are NiMH and LiPo specific chargers, but also universal models that can charge both battery types. The charger should have a high amperage output so that it charges your batteries faster. If your model came with a charger that has an amperage rating of 300mA, and the battery on your model is a 300mAh, it will take the charger about 1 hour to fully charge the battery.
However, that doesn’t mean that you need to get a charger that has an output that’s significantly higher than your battery’s capacity, as that can reduce the battery’s longevity or even fry it completely. As a general rule of thumb, don’t get a charger with more than double the amperage capacity of the battery.