Voltage, mAh, C ratings, S ratings, capacity what does all this mean? I do agree these terms are some of the most confusing in the RC world.
The capacity of a battery pack is expressed in “mAh” or milliamp hours. You can easily remember this as the gas tank size. The larger the gas tank the longer the run time you get. You can also find small changes in the amount of acceleration you get. But I am going to avoid this for confusion ( or lack of) sake. This means that a 5000 mAh battery will run longer than an 1800 mAh battery.
The voltage of a battery can be thought of as the speed the battery can push your car. Voltage is not to different from the octane level of your gasoline in your real car. This is one area that you do have to be careful. If you attempt to run a battery that has to high of voltage you can do permanent damage to your
ESC and or your motor.
Here are two terms that are hard to get straight: Series and parallel.
Series wiring increases voltage but not the amp/hour capacity mAh. Here is the way to remember this… 3 – 2 volt/200 mAh cells wired in series, = 6 voltz/200 mAh.
Parallel wiring increases capacity not voltage. Here is the way to remember this one.. 3 – 2 volt/200 mAh cells wired in parallel = 2 volts/600 mAh.
For those of you that do use Lipo batteries there are two more terms that really get mis-understood. These two terms are the S-rating and C-rating. The “S” rating means the number of cells that are wires in series. 2S means 2 cells in series, 3S is 3 cells in series and so on. Packs that are wired in series have their voltage higher which means higher top speeds.
C ratings show the level of current a pack can output. Now I have lost you right? It just means it will spit out the juice faster, so you get more acceleration.
OK you were right ! Sometimes there is a “P” rating. And yes, it means the cells are wired in parallel. This will increase the packs capacity as you would expect. These are not common. It is far easier and more reliable just to increase the size of the pack. Cells that are wired in parallel have a lot of solder joints, this can cause the packs to become out of balance. We can discuss this in a later blog.
Now that I have cleared all this up, I am going to mention that you can get battery packs that have their cells wired in both series and parallel….So why did I have to say that :-)