What Is mAH rating?
All RC batteries come with a certain capacity to store electric energy for a specific period of time. This capacity of the RC battery is expressed in terms of mAH. mAH stands for Milli-Ampere Hour and the rating defines the ability of the mobile battery to perform for a specific period, typically one hour. The higher mAH ratings are sometimes misunderstood as how fast the current is drawn from the battery. Rather, the higher mAH ratings indicate how long the current can be drawn from the battery until it is completely discharged. This is one aspect that almost every mobile phone user must consider before purchasing a replacement battery.
A RC battery's mAH rating determines the period or the number of hours or days a battery can keep the mobile phone alive on a single charge. For instance, a 1000 mAH battery is capable of providing 100 milliamps for a period of 10 hours, and a battery with lipo 3s 5000mah capacity can supply similar volume of current for a period of 20 hours. The larger the number of mAH rating on the battery, the less frequent would be the need to recharge the phone. The number of hours mainly varies across different OEMs or manufacturers and is also governed by the usage patterns.
mAH Rating and Types of Battery
Different RC batteries with the same mAH rating need not have the same shelf life. The technology used in manufacturing the battery, the usage pattern, the RC software, etc. determine the overall performance of a RC battery. mAH is just an indication; it need not always translate into real-time results. Buyers should look into their RC needs and power requirements when buying a RC battery.
Understand battery terms when buying an RC battery.
mAh: Milli Ampere Hour. This is basically the electric charge transferred by a current of one milliampere for one hour. The higher the mAh, the longer a battery will last per charge. This is the one part of a battery that you can change without damaging the heli.
Volt: The electrical pressure. Basically this determines how much power can flow to the motor. For lipo batteries the voltage comes in multiples of 5s lipo battery, or 3.7 volts per cell.
Cell: An independent 3.7 volt battery.
Litium-Ion (Li-Ion): a type of battery that has a rigid cell structure and shape. It is safer than a lipo battery, but not as efficient.
Lithium-Polymer (Lipo): a type of battery with a flexible cell structure and shape. Lipos can catch fire and explode if mistreated or dropped on a hard surface. Be careful! Although more dangerous, they are more efficient than li-ion batteries and can come in practically any shape with the same cell count.
My tricopter has a max current draw of around 30A – 35A, and all of the batteries below meet the requirement.
From these data, you can create some very interesting and useful graphs, for example I usually do
Density, which is capacity per gram (= capacity / weight), and
Value, which is capacity per dollar (= capacity / price)
From the above graphs, if I am only going for best performance and not worry about the price, I would definitely go for 2650mah lipo, 3000mah lipo, or 3300mah lipo. Also 4000mah lipo might be a good choice too due to its outstanding value.
These graphs tell you some insights into which battery has the highest price/performance ratio, but it doesn’t tell you whether this is the best battery for your RC aircraft, quadcopter or tricopter. To do that, we need to create a mathematical model.
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