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HPI RC Batteries and their associated technology have evolved a long way in the last decade. Capacity and run time duration has increased, yet charging times have in parity reduced, and the all important performance versus price point equation that modern packs now offer has hit an all time high.
HPI RC Batteries tend to be split into two types: - NiMH (or Nickel Metal Hydride) and LiPo (or Lithium Polymer). Both having a variety of applications across the whole spectrum of the RC Hobby, from the main pack in RC Cars, RC Boats, RC Planes and RC Helicopters, to Receiver Packs in IC Vehicles, Sail Boats and unpowered planes like RC Plane Gliders.
Both types have their advantages and disadvantaged. And dependant upon the application, and your experience as a hobbyist, this will dictate the type of HPI Battery you choose .
NiMH; Safe & Steady
HPI NiMH Batteries have a much Longer lifespan than LiPo's, usually into the 1,000 cycles range if well looked after. They are more cost effective and far easier for newcomers into the hobby to Charge, Use and Store. HPI NiMH batteries use far simpler Chargers and maintenance routines for Safe Use. Their disadvantages are that they are much heavier, and far more limited in size as they tend to be made up from AA or C Cells configured into 4, 6, 8 (or more) cell packs. HPI NiMH's offer a Lower average capacity, so a reduced duration in some applications. HPI NiMH packs have a lower Discharge Rates, so in turn offer less punch. In application such as Race RC Cars or RC Speedboats, that's often a decisive factor.
LiPo Cells + Punch & Responsibility
HPI LiPo's are much lighter in weight, and can be made in almost any size or shape to suit a multitude of RC Hobby applications. They can also be made in much higher capacities, allowing them to hold much more power, therefore offering much longer run times and duration. Because of the cells chemistry they also offer much higher discharge rates (or C Rating), meaning they physically pack more punch in use. Dependant upon the cell type , they can also be charged faster as long as this is done in a controlled manner using a proprietary Balance Charger. They tend to have a much shorter lifespan, with most HPI LiPo's averaging between 150–250 cycles. In many application such as RC Cars and RC Boats, Hard Cased packs are recommended as the sensitive chemistry can lead to a fire risk if the batteries cells get punctured. HPI LiPo's should never be over discharged or they will not maintain or hold a charge again. To this end, any RC Vehicle running them must have a built in Low Voltage Detection Circuit, or if not, a plug in LiPo Alarm or Cut Out needs to be fitted by the end user.
Here at MIBI we can offer help and advice when selecting your HPI batteries, and provide you with the correct package of HPI Cell/s, Charger, Charging Leads and Accessories. This isn't a Dark Art, It's all about understanding the chemistry and treating the cells correctly when charging, using and storing them.