Your airsoft battery is not forever. It is not for life. It has to be regularly maintained, and the primary care of a battery is its charging methods and schedules. You must know when to charge airsoft battery. However, to be able to maintain your airsoft battery, you have first to know your battery. This is to avoid the wrong method of charging and maintenance. Wrong maintenance techniques will end your battery’s lifespan faster than you can think. No tree or shrub has dollar bills as leaves, that is why you have to ensure you maximize your battery’s lifespan. Even if money grows in your orchard, you do not want to be the extravagant senseless buyer. This article will, therefore, guide you on your battery maintenance.
TYPES OF AIRSOFT BATTERY
As previously stated though, you have to be able to identify your battery type to put it to proper use and maintenance. The following are the basic types of airsoft batteries:
1. Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-Mh)
This battery type is the most popular and easily available. Most packages guns come with these batteries in them, and they are also the most found in the battery market. The nickel metal hydride has many advantageous attributes. It is the safest if compared to other battery types. It is also built to adapt and even thrive in cold weather conditions. Furthermore, it is considerably more portable to others due to its smaller design.
The downside of the Ni-Mh, however, is that it tends to discharge its current faster than any other type when in use. Such fast discharges prevent it from fully reaching its potential. This will also enforce constant charging, and this will most likely reduce the battery’s lifespan.
After all considerations though, this battery type is the most preferred because of its sure reliability. Also, if it is properly discharged, the issue of it being overcharged can be corrected.
2. Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cad)
This battery type bears a lot of similarities to the Ni-Mh. The major differences it has is its slight bulkiness and its inability to perform well in freezing weather condition. The merit of the Ni-Cad is its suitability for rapid charging and discharging. It is also excellent for use in guns that shoot high and fast bursts of energy.
However, the Ni-Cad is an expert battery, and in any case of overcharging, it gets damaged. It should never be used for long periods with a smart charger.
3. Lithium Polymer (Li-Po)
In the current battery world, this is the costliest and best-advanced invention. They range in just two voltages, that is, from 7.2V to 11.2V. They are most suited for AEGs that can withstand the high-intensity heat these batteries emit. They take the longest to charge, and extreme weathers have no effects on their performance. It must be noted that they are highly hazardous though and in cases of an explosion caused by overcharging, severe damages are done, even death. They use special charges that can cost up to $60. And with its purchasing price being just $75, the Li-Po can be considered as a killer acquisition if bought. It is most necessary to carry out researches to avoid buying fake batteries that are too dangerous for use.
This is an old model battery. It cannot be easily seen these days in Airsoft, but they can be gotten. The Alkaline can last for years at a temperature of 70F, and it can even last longer in cold conditions. They are also very cheap, even lesser than the Ni-Mh.
It does not allow for constant charging through and cannot keep up to the rapid pull of today’s guns. Guns powered by this battery type are not to be shot for too long as it does not have a lot of milliamps.
TIPS TO KNOW WHEN CHARGING
Having known the different types of battery your airsoft can use, it is time to know some important tips that have to be put in mind to know when to charge your airsoft battery.
First, be observant of your charging. Over the years, several battery types have come into use, and each type has its own set of features that differentiate how it is to be used and managed. You must make sure to adhere to battery manual to avoid the wrong usage that can lead to explosions. Voltage and MaH ratings of a battery can be found printed on its outside. These prints must be regarded when charging to avoid damages. The charging duration of a battery depends on its rating. As the rate ascends, the charging duration also increases. However, in Li-Po, due to its Hugh technology, the difference in the duration might not even be noticed. But in Ni-Mh, the duration is most important to be noted as it cannot accept charge over a particular limit.
Second, be sure of what you do. It is dangerous to use incompatible battery chargers with batteries. The safest bet is to use the charger that comes with the battery. This is because it must have been made to suit the specifications of the battery. At times though, the charger that comes with the battery can be inferior if the company is trying to cut costs. You can, therefore, buy better and faster chargers but only when necessary. Most extra chargers are not suitable for your battery.
Third, avoid wrong charging. Batteries are more spoilt by charging them wrongly than any other reason. A battery with a fast charge rate will be at more risk than a battery with a low charge rate. Proper care must be taken to choose chargers. If you have several chargers, ensure you use the suitable one for your battery.
Fourth, keep with the battery’s charging rate. The charging rate can either be fast or slow. The slow rate may take up to half a day to fully charge a battery because it charges a battery at one-tenth of its amperage. Some chargers, however, can charge at one-third of your battery’s amperage and take just 4 hours to recharge it fully. A fast charging rate uses 120 percent of your battery’s amperage and takes just an hour. It takes especially advanced batteries to use this rate though. Companies give manuals on batteries that can take this rate. Batteries like Li-Po are suitable for this rate. If your battery cannot take a fast charging rate, do not charge it at that rate.
Fifth, have a supercharger. A supercharger can be a universal charger. A charger that can be adjusted to charge at different rates is highly advisable. However, this should be bought only under proper guidance and knowledge. If you are unsure of what you are doing, do not buy a universal charger. To be sure, you can ask the company’s experts to help determine the right charger you can use. New technology chargers can determine the proper charging rate and maH for your battery. This kind of charger will go a long way to protecting your battery and, more importantly, your health and life.
WHEN TO CHARGE AIRSOFT BATTERY
The core of this article as we have mentioned is to know when to charge battery. Since you have known the type of battery, you use and tips to employ to maintain it, knowing when to charge it comes next.
In several places in this article, we have mentioned that airsoft batteries are not to be overcharged or constantly charged. The Li-Po even with its advancement does not provide much allowance for incessant charging. Therefore, knowing when to charge your battery is very important.
Your battery should be charged only when it becomes necessary. A good airsoft battery discharges a percent per day and at most two percent per day. If put to heavy usage, it may discharge five percent a day.
Charge your airsoft battery when its percent goes below 20. Do not charge it when it is still above 50 or so, and it might lead to overcharging. Also, your battery should be charged when the weather conditions allow it. Although the weather condition is not always paramount, it can be a catalyst sometimes. Charge your battery when the power is of the right voltage. Do not charge your battery when you will not be changed to monitor it. Most importantly, charge your battery when it is safe.
Airsoft Battery Buying Guide
If you just got your first airsoft gun or purchased one that did not come with batteries, it’s not so difficult to choose a battery without going too deep into battery technicalities and performance. Commonly, most models of AEG use specific battery types that are designated for them. However, there are some general rules you could use when purchasing airsoft batteries and they are outlined below.
Also, note that the maximum voltage for most AEGs is 9.6v unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer. Anything higher than that could damage your AEG and void the manufacturer’s warranty. Also, ensure you get a LiPO charger only if your AEG uses LiPO batteries. Using the wrong chargers can cause battery failure and in extreme cases, a fire hazard. And remember, your airsoft gun case is only for the gun, DO NOT store LiPO batteries in it.
Some models of AEGs are designed to contain specific shapes of the batteries, so, it is essential to know the exact shape your gun needs. The different shape options such as Brick, Nunchuck, and Stick comes in various sizes and voltages making them better suited for your rifle than others.
Brick style batteries are commonly arranged in two columns, sometimes with one cell at the bottom of the pack depending on the cell count. Brick style batteries that are higher than 1600 mAh are often larger and can only fit in AEGs with large battery compartments.
The high capacity batteries sometimes have a Large Tamiya connector instead of the standard mini Tamiya, and in such cases, you may need an adaptor to connect the battery to your charger.
Nunchuck style batteries usually come with the cells in two separate column packs connected by a wire. These batteries are typically designed for use in front-wired AEGs where the battery is kept on the handguard on either side of the barrel. Nunchuck batteries like the Brick style batteries can fit into battery compartments of larger AEGs.
Stick style batteries come in a single continuous column and are used in AK47 variants that may have feeding stocks that are unable to house batteries. These batteries are often contained in the handguard or under the top receiver of AK47 rifle variants. In a limited-space AEG, you may need to get a battery constructed with smaller cells. While a small-battery will have the correct voltage for your gun, it may sometimes have a limited amount of available electricity.
There are two types and two sizes of connectors; the female and male types and the large and small size. Male connectors are only able to connect female connectors of the same size. That is; you must join a small male connector to a small female connector. You cannot join a male to a male or a small to a large. So, if the connectors are incorrectly paired, they will not work.
However, if you must connect incompatible connectors, you will need a special adapter to get it done.
Power levels vary significantly between batteries, and it is more important to check the Milliamp Hours (MaH) and Voltage to gauge the power you intend to get accurately.
The battery MaH levels show how much power your battery has when fully charged, and gives an accurate representation of the run time on a fully-charged battery.
Battery Chemical Makeup
A key determinant of the battery’s performance is the chemical composition of the battery; this also determines the number of charges cycles and the speed it takes to charge your battery fully. Now, virtually every AEG can handle each type of battery chemical, but they come with their pros and cons so you would want to decide which key aspects are essential to you. There are more than a few options when it comes to the battery chemical makeup, with the more common ones being Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH), Nickel Cadmium (NiCd), Lithium Polymer (LiPo), and Lithium-Ion (Li-ion).
We’ll be looking at LiPo batteries as like the NiCd batteries are gradually losing popularity with so many users believing this type of battery has a memory that will lead to a lower charging capacity as time goes on until the battery finally dies. Thus, they must be completely discharged, or the charging capacity declines over time. And even while they charge very fast, they produce an extreme amount of heat during charge with an ever-present risk of an explosion when overcharged.
LiPo batteries are probably the most popular among airsoft players; it is lightweight and available in many shapes and usually sold in 7.4 – volts and 11.1- volt options.
Their small, compact design makes it easy to fit into your gun. LiPos are smaller, flexible and provide the same or more voltage depending on the one you want and also, despite the usual small size, LiPos can hold more power than their NiMH counterpart. This means you’ll be able to stay in battle longer without needing to go back and charge it. They are also a lot cheaper than NiMH batteries, and you can be sure they won’t upset your budget if you are starting on the sport and this also means you can get extra backup batteries in case one breaks down in battle.
Generally, LiPos run better and gives you better trigger response on your gun, and they let you have a more consistent ROF (Rate of Fire) boosting your performance on the field. Also, if you are concerned about discharging your battery and balancing it out, you have one less thing to worry about as a lot of smart chargers can get you covered on that so you won’t have to deal with your battery dying in your fight.
No matter how much you upgrade or alter the components of your gun, never mix battery chargers with batteries unless you are confident of their compatibility. More often than not, all the work required of you is just hooking up your battery to the “basic” charger that came with it.
It’s possible to buy a faster battery charger, but other times, the “basic” charger is all the battery can withstand.
You may find information regarding this on most good instruction manuals but not always. You will want to do your research to find out the charging rate a particular battery can take and thankfully, there are details online.
Charging Your Batteries Right
Fact: More batteries are damaged by improper charging than by any other cause. While it may seem a hassle to own many specialized chargers especially if you own more than one airsoft gun, it is often the safest way to go.
However, if you own a lot of different airsoft guns models that require different batteries, there are good quality universal chargers with varieties of connection cables and switches for you to set the various voltages and charging rates. Most are fitted with some host adaptors to contain multiple types of battery connections.
Some smart chargers even come with computer-controlled sensing devices that detect a battery’s composition and charge accordingly. Plus, these chargers can help to prevent an explosion from overcharging.
Battery Charge Time
The last thing you want to do is overcharge your batteries, and this is why you need to figure out the charging time. To do this, you need to know two numbers; the mAh of the battery and mAh output of the charger.
Charge Time Formula
mAh of battery/mAh output of charger = charge time
E.g., on a 1500 mAh battery and a 500mAh output charger you will get the following:
1500 mAh / 500 mAh output = 3hrs
Note: the formula above is only for completely discharged batteries and you also want to reduce the charge time by about 25% to be on the safe side. Also, check the battery half-way through the charge time, as hotness could indicate that it’s charged and can be disconnected. However, this method isn’t foolproof, and may not even work in some situations so you should consider getting a smart charger.
That said, airsoft batteries have improved and will continue to do so with more modern technology. The overall performance has been enhanced many times and so, worth the effort you should take to keep your batteries running. For that reason, it is necessary that you understand your specific battery type and follow every instruction on charging and its general maintenance. In return, you will be rewarded with longer battery life and power when needed.
A crude trick to know the percent of your battery while it is being charged is to feel its temperature. When it is lukewarm, it is fully charged. When it is hot, the battery may have been damaged. This trick is not foolproof, and only a smart charger is recommended for your battery.