Everybody’s Scalin’ For the Weekend – Batteries for the Trail
A few weeks ago I wrote about a recent club outing and tried to answer the question, “What exactly is an r/c trail run?” The article actually spurred a good number of questions from people wanting me to go more in depth on the subject so it’s now going to be a recurring theme.
Running on trails with scale trucks presents an interesting battery dilemma. This is one of the few forms of r/c where a hobbyist plans to play all day yet (most of the time) has no access to a battery charger. You won’t find many power outlets while deep in the forest or climbing the side of a mountain. The right battery(ies) is imperative because no one wants to run out of juice and be forced to make the “walk of shame” all the way back to the parking lot.
While everyone has differing opinions, I’ve found the sweet spot for a scaling lipo to be a 2S around 5000 mah with a 20-30c discharge rate. With a high turn motor (27t+ brushed, 18.5t+ brushless) I get run times of around 2 hours per battery. If I’m really heavy on the throttle this drops to about 1 hour. The bottom line is that most guys don’t use much throttle when walking behind a truck and really only give it gas when attacking an obstacle. I always take two 5000 mah packs with me and it works out great. 3S has also become popular while using high turn motors because you get the torque/run time associated with them but the increased voltage gives you good wheel speed when you need it. Just remember that the hotter motor you run, the quicker you will suck juice.
If you are serious about going on longer trail runs then I would always recommend at least one spare battery, even if you don’t necessarily think you’ll need it. I’ve seen lipos quit due to being dunked, de-soldering during nasty tumbles, or simply just losing charge due a manufacturing defect. A bad battery sucks with any type of r/c bashing/racing but when you have a very long walk back to your house/vehicle it’s downright infuriating.
Ok so you have your brand new Axial SCX10 or Deadbolt, have a nice battery or two, maybe even a shiny new pair of tires…what else should a newbie do to prepare for the really gnarly stuff? Next week I will write a short checklist for a backpack as well as a few simple (and free!) mods to do to your stock truck. Have a great weekend!