Charging RC Car battery packs Nimh & Lipo

     Safety, common sense, and basic knowledge is all one needs to properly charge a battery pack. A decent and proper charger also helps. Today there is a renaissance occurring in the electric RC hobby world. A decent charger only costs about $60.00....and now offers AC/DC charging as well as Lipo, Nimh, and various other battery type options. I currently use a Thunder AC6 as my charger for both my Nimh as well as Lipos. It set me back $55.00 and though I sell battery packs on my website www.rccarbatterypacks.com - I currently do not offer chargers....so shop online and get your best deal. There are many chargers on the market at various price points so I recommend doing some research. My review of the Thunder AC6 charger is here.
    Safety is often overlooked when charging a battery pack. People rushing  to get their battery packs charged may choose the wrong settings for current, type of battery, or number of cells.  Nothing ruins a day more than a burned up battery pack, RC car, or house / car fire! READ the owners manual of your charger. Know how much current (AMPS) your battery pack can handle while charging. This is also known as "C" rating and this term may be used in regards to charging and discharging. NEVER rely on your battery charger to "turn off" on its own. Yes.....a charger is supposed to shut off after charging the battery pack to full capacity....but what if there is a malfunction or user error in setup? Always monitor the battery pack. A Nimh or Lipo battery should never be too hot to touch. Nimh tend to get warmer than Lipos....that is normal...but hot like a stove top is not good either!  Soft case Lipos should never puff up or  "blow up like a balloon"....gases are releasing in this case, and most likely the battery is damaged.
     Common sense should always make us aware when things are just not right. Running a battery hard in an off road buggy or truck could generate a lot of heat and the battery pack could be really hot.....it would be prudent to let the pack cool for 15 minutes or so BEFORE recharging. Give your battery packs a break....this way they will last longer!  This also applies if one plans to keep the battery pack in the car while charging....if it gets even hotter...it may MELT your chassis!  When in doubt charge at a rate no more than 1C. Most battery packs (Nimh and Lipo) for RC Car and Truck use can be charged at this rate. 1C means one times the capacity is the recommended current for charging. So if the pack is 5000 mah the pack should be charged at 5000 ma which is 5 Amps. This will prevent overheating of your battery pack while charging. Make sure the charger setting is correct for type of battery pack. Never charge a Lipo with a charger set at NIMH or vise-versa. It will not charge properly and could be damaged.
     Basic knowledge includes knowing what battery one has....is it Lipo or Nimh? Lipos generally rely on "balance" charging....that is that each cell's voltage is monitored by the charger as to not be overcharged. In Lipo speak....a 1S is a 3.7v ONE CELL PACK....2S is a 7.4V TWO CELL PACK....3S is a THREE cell pack and so on.....so make sure your charger is set to proper "S" as well as "C" setting. Most Lipos charge to 4.2V per cell.  NIMH battery packs usually have more cells as they are only 1.2V per cell. Most RC Car Nimh battery packs are 6 or 7 cell and are NIMH ( nickle metal hydride). These battery packs use cylindrical metal cased cells and are the common "old school" means of propulsion. The Lipo battery packs are usually either "soft packs" or have their cells inside plastic hard case enclosures.

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