Batteries?!? Really? What can we say about batteries? Nothin' really "sexy" about them, right?
Well, your battery is THE "component" that takes up the most percentage of your Micro FPV drone build's all-up-weight (AUW) - so you better choose wisely! Like frames, batteries come in many different shapes and sizes. The vast majority of time for FPV we use LiPo batteries (sometimes Li-Ion for extended flight times).
LiPo batteries are described by their voltage and the number of "cells" they have, their capacity (in milli-amp hours - mah), and their discharge rate (or C-rating).
We'll use the images below of a typical LiPo battery to go over each of these parameters.
In the left-hand image in the red bar at the bottom of the battery you can see "4S1P." The "4S" means this battery has 4 "cells." You can see each of these cells better in the image on the right. Each cell has a nominal voltage of 3.7-3.8 volts. The total voltage is the number to the right of this 4S1P designation which indicates 15.2 volts. However, on the left-hand side of this same image , it indicates "HV 4.35V" which means each cell could be charged to a maximum of 4.35 volts each or for all 4 cells total = 17.4 volts using the LiHV setting on your charger. Your motors' spin rate (or RPM = revolutions per minute) is directly proportional to the voltage of your battery. The higher its voltage, the faster your motors spin. However, the greater the # of cells on your battery, the more it weighs. For my 3" & 4" builds, I use 4-cell (4S) batteries and for my whoop-type quads to 2.5" builds, I use 2S or 3S LiPos.
The big "1100" in the middle of the image indicates its capacity. The higher this number is the longer flight time you'll experience. However, this also comes at the expense of weight and physical size (i.e. there's a trade-off here as well). So, the way I choose my batteries is by calculating the ratio of capacity-to-weight (mah/# grams). This particular 4S 1100 mah LiPo is the highest capacity battery I run on any of my Micro FPV drones and it comes in at a weight of about 91 grams. Its capacity-to-weight ratio is then 1100/91 = 12.08. Normally, on my 3" - 4" builds I'll use a 4S LiPo with a capacity of 650 - 1100 mah (depending upon its discharge ("C") rate and type of flying I'll be doing). I use primarily GNB or RDQ brand LiPos as I find these brands to be high-quality and long-lasting.
So, let's talk about the C-rating. In our example, this image shows a 50C/100C rating. The number 50 is the continuous discharge rate and the number 100 is the 'burst' discharge rate (good for only a few seconds). If your C rating is too low, your Micro FPV drone will be underpowered for flight and you could wind up damaging the battery and/or reducing its life. For racing or really fast (extreme) freestyle flights LiPos with a C rating of 100C/200C for mini-quads (5" quads) are available (at a weight of 230g!). For most of us "mortals," a 50C/100C rating for long cruising flights works just fine and for more rapid short flights 80C/160C works great!
BRAND # CELLS CAPACITY WEIGHT (CAP/WGHT) RATE Purchase at (click on Vendor name)
RDQ 2S 525 29.05 18.07 80c RaceDayQuads
RDQ 2S 650 31.6 20.57 60c RaceDayQuads
RDQ 3S 650 46 14.13 60c RaceDayQuads
RDQ 4S 525 54.8 9.58 80c RaceDayQuads
RDQ 4S 650 60.6 10.73 60c RaceDayQuads
I recommend charging your LiPos at a 1C charge rate. So, for an 1100 mah LiPo, a 1C charge rate would be 1100mah x 1C = 1.1 amps. This will charge your LiPo in 1 hour. I recommend reading up on LiPo battery safe-charging procedures such as using a fireproof LiPo Safe bag, never charge batteries unattended, have a fire extinguisher available, etc. Many of these practices are demonstrated in the video below on the D6 Dual Lite LiPo charger.
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