How To Charge A Rc Car Battery Without Charger

How To Charge A Rc Car Battery Without Charger – Charging the battery seems very simple, but it can be very difficult for beginners. There is always a risk because of the energy that can be stored in some of these cells. This article aims to

Here are some best practices for charging RC batteries, introducing the hardware you’ll need, some of the processes involved, and avoiding a lot of technical jargon.

How To Charge A Rc Car Battery Without Charger

How To Charge A Rc Car Battery Without Charger

Disclaimer: RC Geeks is not responsible for any damage to your equipment or person as a result of following the actions in this article. We strongly recommend that you read the manual that comes with your charger, check the physical condition of the batteries and be careful when charging the cells.

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If you are new to battery technology and connectors, we recommend reading our remote control car battery introduction article. Without repeating the content of that article, the most important details to know when charging are the chemistry your batteries use and what connectors they have. Although there are many available, we will focus on the two most common types used in remote control cars.

NiMH batteries are strong, great value and often bundled with budget RC cars. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but tend to stick to the stick package designs shown below. Most are connected with a ‘Tamiya’ clear white plastic female connector (left), but some come with Tamiya (right) or XT60 mini plugs.

Lipo batteries are generally ‘power’ batteries capable of a larger burst of power. They offer better performance than NiMH, but require more care in charging, use and storage. They also come in different sizes, some in hard cases, but mostly vacuum sealed kit bundles. They are available in various plug types such as XT, T/do, HXT, EC and many others that support thicker gauge wiring.

Once you understand what chemistry and connector you are dealing with, what battery charger should you use/buy?

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If you’re on a budget, the only option is a basic trickle charger. Basic chargers are available for NiMH and LiPo batteries, usually costing less than £20, and can safely boost the cell (up to a maximum of 2 amps) via a balance socket through the connector (or in the case of LiPo batteries) .

Note that most NiMH trickle chargers end with a Tamiya connector (as seen above), so be sure to purchase an adapter if it doesn’t fit your battery. Most plug balance chargers only support 2 or 3 cell batteries (as seen below), but check the manual to be sure.

These types of chargers are our recommendation for anyone looking for a safe (if not fast) charger at a reasonable price. Their wait-and-forget-style operation makes charging hassle-free.

How To Charge A Rc Car Battery Without Charger

Those looking to get into the hobby should consider a smart charger. There are dual channel models which are ideal if you want to drive as fast as possible or if your model takes two batteries at the same time. Premium models also have cooling fans and are compatible with temperature sensors to monitor cell heat. Some can be powered by car batteries or include cigarette lighter adapters.

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A good example is the RC-D100 Overlander with AC and DC inputs, dual-channel charging outputs, temperature sensors and a USB charging output. The latest models include app integration to monitor with your mobile phone or even generate QR code stickers to create charging presets for your batteries!

However, if you have any Traxxas iD batteries, you will need a Traxxas iD battery charger due to the battery’s proprietary balance connections feature. Although more expensive than universal chargers, these modern units are often smart press-and-forget chargers that don’t require extra cables.

The high-output EZ-Peak Live Dual iD charger can handle both NiMH and LiPo cells, charging up to two 4S LiPo batteries in parallel! Its plug-and-forget approach means you won’t accidentally try to charge a NiMH battery like a LiPo, and it features dual fans, audible alerts and an impressive 200W output. The peak charge function is capable of charge up to 16 amps on a 2 or 3 cell battery.

With its Bluetooth connection, you can use an app on your smartphone to remotely monitor the charging process, with alerts when charging is complete. It’s an extremely powerful, full-featured and largely foolproof fast charger that comes highly recommended. If all this is too much for you, the most basic 40w chargers compatible with the Traxxas iD start from around £40.

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As mentioned, chargers usually come lead-free, allowing enthusiasts to purchase the necessary wiring to connect their batteries. For the most part, this multi-charge cable will fit almost all batteries and is designed to use only one of the plugs at a time, not for parallel charging.

For some types of batteries, you can get an adapter, which (as seen in the first picture below) or changes the gender. Rare connectors such as the XT90, HXT and XT150 are available as individual LEDs with 4mm banana connectors ready to connect to a charger.

If you’re particularly handy, there are bare connector plugs available that allow you to plug in your own custom adapter cable.

How To Charge A Rc Car Battery Without Charger

We’ll use the Overlander charger as an example, but the trans manufacturer took many of the concepts (as a push to begin with) and applied them to other four-button battery chargers. You should always check the manual before inserting the batteries.

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Choose the right adapter cable for your battery, our Absima battery is closed with Deans/T-plug. For LiPo batteries, we identify how many cells there are by reading the label and comparing it to the number of wires in the balance plug (three wires in our case = 2 cells).

Many chargers do not have advanced power switches and turn on as soon as they receive a power input. The RC-D100 C5 accepts a three pin ‘clover’ style power plug but will also accept DC input, a 3 to 5 cell battery with an XT60 connector.

Insert your battery with the correct plug and insert the balance cap with the correct polarity (red positive to red positive, etc.). Pay special attention to bare conjunctions such as Decans. When using a multi-wire cable with a bare male connector (such as a Deans plug), always ensure that it is protected with a cap or tape to prevent shorting.

Multi-cell LiPo batteries almost always include a JST-XH multi-wire connector balance plug. It must be connected to the charger so that the voltage in each cell is monitored individually. Most chargers have the port on the side, but the RC-100 we’re using features the breakout board seen on the right side of the photo above.

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If you forget to insert the balance cable, most chargers will give you an error when you try to start the charging process as shown below.

Modern Traxxas iD chargers often automatically detect the type of battery you’re plugging in, but have a button to switch modes if necessary. It’s also a simple toggle to select the charging mode between Store/Quick/Balance.

There are many options for advanced chargers. The RC-100 configuration of our Absima battery goes as follows:

How To Charge A Rc Car Battery Without Charger

Once configured, press and hold the Enter/Start button for 3 seconds. The charger will perform a battery check before asking you to confirm the number of cells in the battery. Those registered (or found) will be displayed against those selected (your entered configuration), if they match press start to start charging or if they are canceled to go back and adjust your settings.

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Battery type, DC input, DC voltage input, charging mode, elapsed time and charging capacity will be displayed while the charger is running. Swiping left and right will often show current cell balance voltages, percentage of pack charged, etc.

When the process is complete, it is common to see the amperage output drop significantly, with the charger dropping to the last 20% or so. The process can be stopped at any time using the Stop button. When it’s done, some chargers will beep or blink to confirm that the process is complete. Turn off the charger and then disconnect the battery.

Balance charging refers to the process of ‘charging up’ the battery and ensuring that the voltage in each cell matches. A balanced battery will provide better performance and reduce the chance of a cell falling below operating tolerances. We recommend always using a balancing method when charging.

Charging and fast charging techniques depend on the charger and we recommend you check your manual to understand exactly what they mean. With our RC-D100 example, Fast Charge aims to charge the battery quickly, but (not always) to full capacity.

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We recommend you charge your batteries at 1C. Our example is a 3000 mAh battery, which means 3.0A. It will be 5.0A for the larger 5000mAh Overlander battery. Modern expensive batteries support high-speed C charging, shortening your charging time

Often high temperature and ultimately reduced battery life. You may also find that some cheaper chargers are unable to output

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