Introduction: How to Upgrade the Battery-life of Your RC Vehicle?

About: I am an optical engineer and love to design and build things out of trash for a good use of research.

This post will discuss how you can upgrade the battery/battery-life of your RC car to increase the running time of the car.

This thanksgiving I bought a 6.4-Volt Ford Raptor truck from Walmart for $15 (on sale) for my 3 year old son, who loves to chase RC cars. In the beginning I was very happy with its performance and speed. But Soon I realized that it had such a short life time of 15 to 20 minutes, which was very disappointing for my son.

Step 1: Original Battery

So I thought may be something was wrong with the battery because this was such a big truck (1:15). I opened the truck and this is what I found out (image 4). The blue thing in the image 4 was the battery powering this truck- a 6.4V 350mAh rechargeable battery. So it explained the short life time

Step 2: Look for the Additional/replaement Battery

I decided to increase the lifetime by adding a bigger battery to it. I searched online and found a suitable addition on I bought a 6.4V 1600mAh rechargeable battery for $30 (shipping included). It was a LiFePO4 battery which offered great cycle life, constant discharge voltage and great safety (safety was important because it was to be incorporated in a toy).

Step 3: Adding the Batteries Together

The idea here was to increase the lifetime/working time of the vehicle by increasing the capacity of the original battery. And it was done by attaching the two batteries (original (blue) with new (white) in Parallel, so the voltage remained same of 6.4V but the capacity was increased from 350mAh to 1950mAh (350+1600). If you want to increase also the performance- you have to increase the output voltage, which is very risky because the circuit was designed for a certain voltage. So never put the batteries in Series if you are not sure.

Once the batteries were solded together I mounted the blue battery in its holder and white battery (which was little heavy) above the rear wheels (it was a real wheel drive truck) to give it more stability. Now the truck was ready with roughly 5 time increase in working time (roughly 100 to 120 minutes). My son was really happy with this upgrade and I was too because now I could make him sweat.

Step 4: Conclusion

The charging time was also 5 times longer now- (because

there was no chrger provided with the truck) I use a 5 Volt 1A cell phone charger to chare the batteries. It took almost 6 to 8 hours to fully charge the batteries.

The procedure is outline in the pictures. It will be different depending on the vehicle but the idea would be the same. Please be safe when playing with the batteries.