Types of RC Helicopters

With an incredible popularity in the toy market, RC helicopters have become a staple toy for big boys today. Apart from its wonderful flying experience, RC toys have unique characteristics that can make anyone go crazy over it. If you have an RC helicopter, there are different types of stunts you can perform along with complex maneuvers and intricate control that has made these machines a common favorite among RC enthusiast.

There are three choices in front of you when you go to pick your new RC heli – Electric, Gas and Nitro.

Electric powered Heli

Electric helicopters are the most recommended among beginners, as they are simple to control and are more affordable. It also comes with a very basic engine composition which makes it easy to solve any problems that you might encounter initially. Controlling these electric helis in the air is also easy in electric RC toy, as comprehending the radio controller interface is much easier than any other powered engine.

All the latest electric helicopters that come today in the market have a rechargeable lithium battery. Electric Helis are also much quieter when they are up in air, and is most preferred in quiet neighborhood.

Gas Powered Helicopters

If you are a skilled and experienced RC enthusiast, you can certainly head for gas powered RC helicopters. The reason why most enthusiasts go for gas powered ones is because of its flying sound in the air, which very closely resembles a real helicopter, but in the toy category. These types of helicopters come with extremely complex and challenging mechanisms, which make it more exciting for any RC fan.

The engines that are fixed to a gas powered helicopter resemble the single cylinder of 2 stroke gasoline engines that in present in any chain saw. For the fuel, these flying machines use regular gasoline in combination with engine oil

Nitro Powered RC Helis

Most RC aficionados prefer Nitro powered RC Helicopter than the electric one because of its high performance and incredible quality in comparison to electric counterparts. However, they are a little on the expensive side, so only serious RC enthusiasts may want to buy them. Some Nitro Heli’s come with a customizable option with ‘ready-to-run’ or ‘self-assembly’ kit.

The Nitro machines use the same fuel that is used for your lawn mower, as they have a very powerful engine with a top speed of 120mph. the engines come with various range of capacities, so you can literally choose to make your masterpiece. These Nitro powered ones are very noisy, so you might want to check for any neighborhood restrictions before indulging in a purchase.

What’s the difference between single blade, coaxial and fixed pitch helicopters? When you look at your options in the RC helicopter market, you can see that expensive models replicate the real life models with a single rotor while many models feature a twin rotor setup. Ever wondered which one suits your requirement best? Read on to find out the answer! 

Coaxial RC Helicopters 

Coaxial RC helicopters are a dream to fly because the twin rotors ensure that the torque created in the process of flying the RC heli is eliminated completely. For a newcomer, this means a tail rotor is not necessary so you will be operating one channel less. This is a huge deal for newcomers struggling hard to avoid crashes. These are very easy to fly and keep in the air but as gentle as it may sound, coaxial helicopters do have some disadvantages. It is not easy to do banked turns and those aerobatic maneuvers you always dreamt of are never going to be achieved. In my opinion, coaxial helicopters are the only true ‘ready to fly’ models you get in the market because single rotor models, no matter what the manufacturer says, still requires some tweaking before flying. 

Fixed Pitch RC Helicopters

Fixed pitch electric RC helicopters are very easy to fly and the only downside with them is the lack of collective pitch but they can be maneuvered efficiently with the rotor speed. However, you can’t expect the same results as collective pitch models and may require faster turning rotors. 

Collective Pitch Models 

From collective pitch RC helicopter models, you are no longer an RC hobbyist but it’s more of a serious commitment. Collective pitch models can be navigated aggressively, but they demand excellent knowledge on RC flying. It is recommended to have proper training or use an RC flight simulator to learn how to fly a collective pitch model before start using your newly arrived RC helicopter. If you are thinking of opening the box and installing a few parts and then fly it in your backyard, you are committing a terrible mistake.

Indoor Vs Outdoor Models, Which One To Choose?

The tricky part for many beginners is choosing between an indoor and outdoor RC helicopter. While it seems easy to conclude that an outdoor model is the way to go, you will notice some disadvantages too. Of course, outdoor RC helicopter models are a charm because they give you wider possibilities in exploring the nature and fun. An indoor RC model is not a very good choice for outdoor usage because they are not equipped with powerful motors and for that matter, their wind resistance capabilities are also very limited. However, indoor helicopters have advantages that are often overlooked by newcomers.

To begin with, indoor RC helicopters are very simple to fly and they are extremely precise, staying exactly where you want them to be. An outdoor model always demands more space. If you have immediate access to a garden, park or you are planning to join a nearby RC club, an outdoor model makes perfect sense but for beginners, an indoor RC also does the job.

Infrared Control – RC helicopter is not always operated with a radio control system. Infrared control systems are very popular with mini RC helicopters, especially the indoor models. Infrared is a very popular wireless technology: we see them in almost all gadgets but they are not as good when it comes to RC choppers. Infrared is light rays so they are restricted in range.

Moreover, infrared can’t pass through obstacles. These are the reasons for infrared controllers to be a part of indoor models.

Radio Controller – A radio controller uses radio waves and is the most desirable option because it can operate from longer distances and are very precise. Moreover, physical obstructions do not affect your control over the helicopter a 100%.

2-Channel – Rudder Control

3-Channel – Elevator Control

4-Channel: Aileron Control

5 and 6 Channel: insert Collective Pitch long with gyro gain

7+ Channel and elective additions: These are features or functions which you can add to increase the helicopter repertoire with any channel you want. For instance – retractable landing function, laser tag triggers, lights, etc.   


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Flying RC Helicopters – The Educational Aspects of It

So you have finally spent a significant amount of time and money to bring home that long awaited flying beauty of yours. That’s right! RC Helicopters are not just fun, but to a large extent can teach you all that physics that your teacher in school couldn’t help you understand. RC helicopters, just like a normal plane, can fly forward, dive, climb and turn right and left. However, a helicopter is capable of doing all of these along with rotating 360 degrees, flying sideways and backwards. Isn’t that cool!

Helicopters have incredible maneuverability, which makes them such a favorite toy among RC flying enthusiasts. However, unlike planes they have a completely different system of control and are in fact much harder than you expect. Flying a helicopter demands a lot of concentration, and above all, good time control skills, which can come only through experience and a lot of knowledge on how these beauties work.

A typical helicopter has a rotor located above the fuselage with 2 rotor blades that stretches from a central head. A very important component of the helicopter is the swashplate beneath the rotor head and has a revolving and a non revolving disc located on it. This swashplate is connected with the control stick which can be tilted in any direction by the pilot.

It is important to understand the basics of pitch angle so you know the main function of rotor blades.

What is Pitch Angle?

Also known as the Angle of Attack, the pitch angle is the amount of airfoil lifted on the rotor blade as it moves through the air. Just like a plane, the rotor blade of the helicopter has airfoil profile that lifts up when these blades rotate, exactly how you see on a plane wing. This pitch angle can be controlled in two ways – cyclically and collectively.

So what’s Collective Control?

When the control lever is moved up and down by the pilot, the lever in turn directs the swashplate to lower or rise on the motor without tilting it in any way. This lever can only move up or down and is associated with the direct movement of the helicopter. If you lift the lever the helicopter rises, and if you lower the lever, the helicopter lowers down.

The control of the swashplate by the pilot makes it change the pitch of all the rotor blades at the same degree at the same time. This collective movement in order to operate a single movement of the object gave it the ‘Collective pitch control’ name. 

Cyclic control

Cyclic control means that the control stick can move in all directions other than just moving up or down. When the rotor blade changes the angle of pitch in a cyclic movement, we can tilt the helicopter however we want, and this is how the name has been derived. Cyclic control is generally used for controlling pitch and roll, and is often referred to as elevator (pitch) and aileron (roll).

Improving Eyesight, Concentration and Patience 

Learning to fly an RC helicopter is indeed much complex that picking up how to drive an RC car without crashing on the walls. There are quite a few things that need to be addressed. Traditionally many of us are lead to believe that good RC heli flying skills come from instinctive reflex actions and inborn eyesight, but I disagree with such wrong assumptions. In my opinion, many people do not pick up the art of RC flying because they haven’t got their initial training from a professional. 

RC Helicopters For Children And Adults – The Benefits

It goes without saying that flying RC helicopters have some unforeseen advantages. It is not very easy getting hold of these little toys. Unlike an RC car or boat, you have to consider many factors such as wind resistance, taking off and landing when dealing with an RC helicopter. By learning to fly RC helicopters, you will dramatically improve your concentration and patience.

In today’s world where most families rely on television sets and computers for education, money, empowerment and entertainment, there is no surprise why obesity and cardiovascular diseases become a part of most families. Many children grow into obese adults because they are not used to being physically active. These issues can be address to a large extent by encouraging them with hobbies that demand a lot of outdoor activities. This is where flying RC helicopters come into the scene. RC choppers encourage outdoor activities and it is not just about exercise. Flying RC choppers ensures that your eyes get adjusted to sunlight and you are breathing fresh air.

Yet another vital aspect to flying helicopters is improving one’s concentration power and patience. Children when flying these amazing beauties, not only enjoy the sport, but indirectly develop good concentration power and patience that is later applied to their lives as well. Studies have proved that active children find greater motivation and organizational skills than less active children, as their brain is constantly alert and results in better learning skills.

What Age is Suitable ?

Increasing physical activity right from the age of four can actually help your child to gain many benefits, including learning to fly an RC helicopter like a pro. Children under parental guidance and supervision can incredibly learn faster to fly than adults.

Apart from the aspect of learning to fly an RC helicopter, children also learn some essential characteristics that help them to be a better citizen. Children under the guidance of parents subconsciously learn the most important trait known as obedience. That’s right, unless the child carefully listens to his parent, he will not be able to fly the RC toy properly, and constant practice of lessoning and learning inculcates discipline and obedience. Along with the controlling of RC helicopters comes the Focus needed. Children will learn to focus when they are controlling the toy, something which many attention-deficit children are lacking nowadays in class.

Grasping power is also another feature that adds to your child’s character when he is with you and being guided on how to operate a complex toy makes him capable of developing superior grasping and understanding skills. This can later be applied on his studies and problem solving skills.


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Radio Control System For RC Helicopter

The Transmitter – Transmitter is nothing but the unit you hold in hand and operate the RC helicopter. The modern day transmitters come with in-built LCD screens and programmable memory for better user experience.

The Receiver – A receiver receives the signal from the transmitter and controls your RC model based on the inputs. The system consists of a battery and a converter to convert radio signals to electric signals.

The Servos – The electrical signals received by the receiver needs to be converted into mechanical movements and this task is done by the Servos.

The Receiver Battery and Wiring Harness – the separate battery pack is not mandatory for small RC models as they use a voltage regulator and source power from the main battery. However for larger RC helicopter models, it is necessary to have a separate battery system to ensure longer flights and reliability.

Modes – Understanding Mode 1 And Mode 2

If you are new to flying RC helicopters, you will come across the terms ‘Mode 1’ and ‘Mode 2’ from time to time. It is necessary to understand this term because when you advance with RC helis, you will need sticking to either one.

Mode 1 – Mode 1 is the oldest systems out there, started with the Reed systems. The Mode 1 transmitters came with two buttons for each servo. If the first button drove the servo to front, the second button drove it backwards. The main drawback of Mode 1 is that it was nearly impossible to operate two servos with single hand as the servos are located on the opposite directions of the controller. Mode 1 is the most popular mode in most parts of the world except for the US where Mode 2 is more popular.

Mode 2 – Mode 2 has aileron and elevator on the right stick while throttle and rudder are on the left stick. Mode 2 is very popular in USA as these aircrafts are easy to operate. Almost every radio control unit you get in the US market comes with Mode 2 mode as long as you don’t specify otherwise.

Single Stick – The single stick combines all the features into a single joystick but the model is no longer very popular, being restricted to a few selected models.

Trimming of RC helicopters

Trim is nothing but a small adjustment to your RC Helicopter control to help it fly accurately. An RC helicopter is completely ‘in trim’ when it has minimal or almost no tendency rotate or turn in any direction. The helicopter does not pitch, roll or yaw, but is in stable flying condition and no control system is applied. If a RC helicopter is able to accurately balance itself with a properly installed leveled swash plate, the amount of trim required to keep the helicopter stable should be minimal.

Trim control on the helicopter can be found as digital trim or analog trim, depending on the type and complexity of the RC toy and comes as a switch or a slider by the side of the transmitter’s control stick. Unless you want to go for throttle, the helicopter should require ‘no trim’ position and the slider kept on its central position. However, if you want to go for throttle trim, it should be for consistent engine idle position and can be done on internal combustion motorized helicopters or is generally pulled down in RTF electric helicopters. The setting for such throttle trim totally depends on how the speed controller is designed. 

The benefit of a digital trim is that you don’t have to worry that it would accidently move when you are using the transmitter. This is not the case for analog trim, but the advantage of analog trim is that it is always visible, and can be changed quickly especially when you want a throttle trim, since you can quickly stop a running engine by shifting the trim to the bottom position.

Pitch trim and a hover trim is something new that you can find in some advanced transmitter which allows adjustment in trimming with a slight change on the mid stick, and you can alter the whole pitch rage by moving it slightly down or up.

Trimming your RC helicopter mechanically is always considered best compared to electronic trim. Adjusting your trim through the linkages is always best before you use the radio, as too much of electronic trim may put a restriction on the travel servomotor. 

Flying range and time

If you have a RC Helicopter, the first thing that you should know is its range capability, so that every time you fly, you know what to do. Checking the range of your helicopter is extremely important when you fly outside, where there is a possibility that the helicopter can go farther from you compared to indoor flying.

To understand the rage of a RC heli, we here will take the example of a standard controller that is given with any beginner coaxial or with few FP helicopters. With the help of your controller you need to totally collapse the antenna to full reduced position. Now, you can plug in or turn on your heli and move away from it to a distance of 100ft. If you are testing your heli indoors, then it is suggested that you move away as much as you can.

If you have a coaxial heli, increase the throttle to its full or 15%, and then slowly accelerate the forward stick until you see the trail propeller begins to slowing spin. If you notice that the tail rotor or the main rotor is not spinning, you can be certain that you have a range problem.

In the case of a 2.4GHz radio heli like a Spektrum, you need to put your heli 100 ft away and then with the help of the range check screen you need to follow the manual instructions to check the accurate range capability. 

Channels – Know Everything About Channels 

Channels are nothing but the frequency used to operate the RC helicopters. Radio control systems work with frequencies and each frequency is assigned to a task.

2 channels – this is the very basic radio control system that you will find in RC toy grade helicopters and comes with two simple functions: while one channel controls the speed of main rotor, the second channel controls the tail rotor for navigation and speed control. The 2 channel system is a standard part of toy RCs and is shipped along.

3 channels – the only difference of a 3 channel system to that of a 2 channel is one additional channel installed for operating the secondary blade. 

4 channel – from the 4 channel systems, things start getting serious. In a 4 channel system, one channel is allotted to control the main rotor. The second channel controls the left and right movement, third channel for the forward and backward movement and the fourth channel for controlling the left and right movement. Unlike 3 channel, the 4 channel does not use a tail rotor to control its forward and backward movement, but it uses small motors (servos) to control the specific angle of bottom rotors of the helicopter. Tilting the rotor front or back moves the heli accordingly, and tilting them to the either side makes the heli lean to its specific motion. This is known as aileron. The combination of aileron with front and back movements can help the heli to move diagonally towards the right or the left. The 4 channel system gives the helicopter more agility when compared to a 3 channel control.

Then there are more complex systems such as 5, 6 and even multi channel radio control systems!


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RC Helicopter Parts Explained!

Although an RC helicopter is a miniature form and is regarded as a toy by non-enthusiasts, they are more than mere imitations. An RC helicopter is built sophisticatedly in order to achieve a close to perfect experience to that of flying a real copter. This is why it is imperative to understand the key components in an RC helicopter. 

Main Frame – The Skeleton Of A RC Helicopter

The RC helicopter frame does hold a very valuable role when it comes to its durability, performance and maneuverability. The market today has showcased various helicopter frames that can come within one’s taste and budget.

Air frames can be found in carbon fiber, aluminum and more, and this frame does the role of holding all helicopter components securely. You may also find the latest models coming with half exposed design, and holds its own charm.

Aluminum – Aluminum was the first type of material to be used on RC helicopters, as it is strong, lightweight and extremely affordable. However, it can be a bit heavy on small models and can over time develop cracks or may sometimes bend or carry a dent.

Plastic – Plastic is a common favorite as it takes in vibration better and will not carry any dent. It is affordable, lightweight and is durable to a large extent. Although not as strong as aluminum, it is generally used on Nitro powered models.

Fiber Glass – This is becoming common lately and is generally used on high end models. It absorbs vibration well, is heat resistant, and gives a very professional look to the whole machine.

Carbon Fiber – Carbon fiber seems to be the most suited material for such machines, as it is strong, lighter than any other material out there, absorbs vibration better than aluminum and plastic, takes in heat and cold effectively. 

Tail – If you are flying a coaxial helicopter, you will miss this part because RC heli tails are a part of advanced helicopter models. A tail is nothing but the small blades on the back that is used to maneuver your helicopter effortlessly. It ensures that your RC heli is flying in the direction that you want and has excellent stability. This is often supported with an extended part of the mainframe to ensure structural rigidity. 

Swashplate – A swashplate is a very crucial part of your RC helicopter because it ensures movement of your helicopter blades. However, an RC helicopter’s blades are not rotating at a constant speed but it needs to be changed continuously to achieve various speed levels, control and handling, which makes the swashplate a very important part of your RC helicopter. 

Rotorhead – A rotor head has a lot to do in lifting the helicopter when you apply increased pitch to the blades. A nitro powered RC helicopter model requires an engine governer to handle the RC properly. Rotorhead is also important in maintaining the structural rigidity of the RC helicopter, which is achieved by a combination of components. 

Speed Controller and Motor – A speed controller has come a long way in today’s electronically powered RC helicopters. If they were used to control speed in the past, today they are the main powertrains to the key components of your RC helicopter and also warns you about low battery.

Battery – An RC helicopter’s battery has pretty much became Lithium Polymer batteries (Li-Po) because these batteries are lightweight, generate a lot of power which means they can power even the most demanding motors and can carry a lot of energy in small packages. 

Canopy – RC helicopter canopies have come a long way from what they used to be. Today, top end models use high end carbon fiber frames for structural strength. The same rule is applied for main and tail propellers too, which means they can resist debris and other possible damages when flying.

Gyroscope – This is a rotating mechanism in the form of a wheel that spins and allows resistance to any unwanted turns in any direction. In olden times, these machines had mechanical gyros, but today you get the digital accelerometers that offer more effectiveness. Piezoelectric sensors found in accelerometers use small crystals to do its function. These crystals are put under stress and start to vibrate when the helicopter is experiencing acceleration. This acceleration produces a voltage which is considered to measure the amount of force implied. 

Gyros today work with accelerometers output conversion into a signal that is then transmitted to the tail motor, which resists any unwanted movements. Gyros can be again divided into Heading hold and Yaw Rate.

Yaw rate gyro is responsible for monitoring angular acceleration and also when the machine is moving too fast. It sends a signal to the tail motor to slow the machine or spin in the opposite direction to control the speed.

Heading Gyro, as the name says, is responsible for holding back any unwanted heading. This can actually sense the movement of the machine and will control the tail motor to maintain the right and accurate heading.

RC Helicopter Landing Gear

If you are new to flying a RC helicopter, we are sure the most difficult aspect operating your new flying machine is landing. Even highly experienced pilots after years of practice have trouble landing at times. 

The reason for this complexity is that in those last few minutes of landing a lot can go wrong, and if the pilot is not capable of operating his machine professionally, the helicopter can suddenly become uncontrollable and may tip and crash causing permanent damage to the blade or other important feature. 

Fortunately there is a sure shot solution for this problem. All you need to do is to extend your landing platform with your training gear and this can prevent any uncontrollable crashes while landing. 

Having an RC helicopter is always a fun and entertaining activity which should not be missed at all. If you are a person who loves adventure sports, bringing home an RC helicopter would be the best choice you might have ever made. 


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Remote Control Helicopter – Four Reasons To Get One For Yourself

It is common to see both the young and adults have fun with a remote control helicopter or plane at their backyard or the resident park. Some claim that remote control toys are just for kids but countless RC helicopter fans across the world disagree. They insist that owning, maintaining, and upgrading an RC helicopter is a meaningful and satisfying hobby. Do you a plan to purchase one out of curiosity, but is still hesitant to do so? Here are four reasons that will surely convince you that owning a new and high-performance RC helicopter is a decision you will never regret.

A perfect way to explore and have fun

You bring your RC helicopter anywhere and play with it as long as you keep a certain distance from it to keep it controlled. You can fly it around the park and have fun watching it maneuver around trees and other obstacles. Organizing a club consisting of RC helicopter enthusiasts in your neighborhood will double the fun. You can organize a friendly competition and be amazed on what your RC helicopter can do in midair. Attaching a small camera on your RC helicopter is also a great idea as you can make a full movie out of it filled with beautiful sceneries and familiar places your RC helicopter captured. You are only limited by your creativity in searching for many ways to get the most out of a new remote control helicopter.

Make your little ones happy

Can’t find a perfect gift to make your son happy on his special day? A new RC helicopter is definitely one gift that he won’t be expecting. Since RC toys are not simple to control, you can spend quality time with your kid as you teach him how to properly play with his new toy. Although you might end up spending a bit more, no amount can equal the fun and memorable moments an RC helicopter can introduce to you and your child.

A perfect way to have a fun-filled weekend with the whole family

The whole family’s weekend will never be the same again with a new RC helicopter. Your wife can prepare delicious meals while you and your kids enjoy the beautiful nature sceneries while playing with an RC toy. You can add some spice to your game by competing with your kids as to how long they can keep the toy flying. The one who manages to have the longest time will win. This game can serve as a perfect bonding moment and will definitely leave fun memories worth remembering for the rest of your life.

A worthwhile investment that equates to years of fun

Buying a high-performance RC helicopter is a serious investment. Nevertheless, don’t be turned down since remote control helicopters nowadays are built to last. With proper regular maintenance, you don’t even need to worry about future repairs. Facing several troubles as you play with your RC helicopter often is inevitable. Don’t despair if faced with this kind of situation, for at Helicopter Smartfly, we provide labour-free repair services for you. The owner only pays for the damaged parts that needs to be replaced and it is generally inexpensive. If you carefully weigh the pros and cons, you’ll eventually realize that having a remote control helicopter despite all the odds is worth it.


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Charging and Maintenance of Batteries for Your RC Toys

It goes without saying that one of the crucial components of RC helicopters – or RC toys for that matter – is their batteries. Battery technology has evolved in the last few years and this ensured longer flying hours and added reliability to RC helicopters. Had the battery technology not evolved, many RC models in our possessions today would have remained ridiculously expensive or inaccessible for the common man. A wide range of battery technologies are available today, ranging from Lithium Polymer (Li-Po), Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd) and Nickel Metal Hybrid (Ni-Mh).

It is important to understand each type of battery for RC helicopters, how they function, their charging time and lifespan, so that you can ensure longevity of your RC helicopters. There are many incidents of crashes primarily because of the poor maintenance of RC helicopter batteries. Compared to the price of an RC helicopter, batteries are relatively inexpensive and it is a wise idea to maintain them properly to avoid permanent damage to the more expensive helicopter itself. 

Basic Battery Specifications 

If you are new to RC helicopters, terms such as 7.4V, 2700 mAh etc. can confuse you. What does a 7.4v 1500mAh 2S 30C battery mean to your helicopter? The typical voltage of a Lithium Polymer batter is 3.7volts. So a 2S, 7.4v battery means it has two cells of 3.7volts! If you at least have primary school education, you already know what ‘v’ stands for! ‘v’ stands for volts. However, you can get confused with the Kv ratings on brushless motors in RC helicopters. The ‘Kv’ on RC helicopters doesn’t stand for 1 kilovolt (1,000 volts) as many beginners think. Instead it represents how many RPM (rotations per minute) the motor can do per volt.

mAh – Anyone with a basic understanding of helicopters would have already figured out that the mAh ratings on battery somehow represents power. But what to make out of this rating is an unanswerable question for many. Let’s take the 1500mAh rating on our example: what does it really mean? Thousand milliamps is equal to 1Amp. A 1,500mAh battery can power a 1 amp motor for 1.5 hours. If the motor capacity is 10 amps, the same will fall to 1.5 minutes! If you increase the mAh, you can propel your helicopter to longer durations. Many RC owners push the flying limit of their helicopters with larger battery packs till the power to weight ratio stays within the acceptable category.

The ‘C’ rating – What does the 30C on the battery stand for? C on battery ratings stands for capacity. C rating is used to tell you how fast a battery’s charge can be consumed (discharged). A 1500mAh battery can be discharged at a rate of 45amps or 45,000mAh! 

Understanding Li-Po batteries and their benefits

Lithium Polymer batteries are known to be lightweight in comparison with Nickel Cadmium batteries with a similar capacity. This makes your RC helicopter significantly lighter. A lighter helicopter naturally tends to be faster and cover longer distances. Similarly, the chemical structure of Li-Po batteries results in much lesser internal resistance. In layman’s terms, a lithium polymer battery do not waste energy overheating, which means every drop of charge is used to power your RC helicopter’s turbine. They also offer higher voltage in real life situations, which makes your RC toys faster and energy efficient.

A combination of these properties makes Li-Po batteries the most desirable choice for RC toys owners that prefer power and longevity with each flying session. Moreover, Li-Po batteries can be practically made into any size and shape. In the past, electric flight was not a viable option because of shorter flying durations and underpowered engines. However, LiPo batteries could successfully replace the fuel powered RC heli engines to a large extent by offering equivalent power and being practical alternatives. 

Lithium Polymer Batteries – how to make the most use of them? 

Structure – Li-Po batteries, as the name suggests, uses a Lithium chemical base and is suspended in a polymer matrix (now you know from where the name ‘Li-Po’ came). The average cell voltage of a Li-Po battery is 3.7 volts, the operational voltage ranging between 3.3v and 4.2v.

Safety – Li-Po batteries are proven to be safe and user-friendly under normal operational circumstances but they are not known to take mishandlings really well. If you were to use Li-Po batteries for your RC helicopters, be prepared to be a careful handler of these batteries. 

Why do Lithium Polymer batteries demand extra care from users? 

Lithium Polymer batteries are prone to damage if mishandled. Physical damage to the batteries can cause explosion. Overcharging and complete discharging can also damage these batteries. This is why the batteries need extra care. Once the battery is removed from the storage, it is put under core inspection for any damages like dents, scratches, punctures, swelling, broken cells, heat shrink or distorted wires. After confirming that the battery is under perfect condition, it is connected to an open circuit voltmeter and a lowest pack voltage is out to 3.3 V for every cell. For instance, a pack with 3 cells has 9.9 Volts.

If the battery condition does not meet the required expected perfection, it is disposed off immediately. However for minor damages which can be repaired and retained, repair work will be carried out so that they can continue to be used.

Nickel Cadmium and Nickel Metal Hybrid batteries

Nickel Cadmium and Nickel Metal Hybrid batteries are no longer a favorite among expensive RC helicopters because a few bucks you can save on the battery can have an adverse effect on your RC chopper. For instance, a Ni-Cd battery is heavy and may work well for an RC car as the power to weight ratio is not as significant as an RC helicopter. If you have cheap chopper models and you are still on the learning phase, these batteries make sense but for advanced users, Li-Po is the way to go. 

Basic Care for your batteries 

  • Always store your battery in the suggested temperature levels. Nickel Metal Hybrid batteries have poor low temperature performance. Move them to warmer enclosures in winters.

  • Li-Po batteries are prone to damage if overcharged or drained out completely. Use a charger with the cut out system to make sure that they are never overcharged. Do not push the limit of your helicopter that will eat up the whole battery power when using Li-Po.

  • Nickel Cadmium batteries require occasional full discharges in order to maintain their longevity.

  • Do not fly your RC helicopter with damaged batteries, especially in the case of Li-Po. Explosion is just one possible danger in using damaged batteries but Nickel Cadmium batteries, if not maintained properly, can ‘die’ unexpectedly. This means your helicopter may crash unexpectedly.


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