Can’t seem to get your remote control (RC) helicopter to hold a charge? Whether it’s a toy or hobby-grade model, this is an all-too-common phenomenon experienced by many RC pilots. You may connect your helicopter to the wall outlet using the appropriate power cable, but when you try to take off several hours later, it lacks the necessary power for lift.
Identify The Batteries
The first step in troubleshooting this problem is to find out what type of batteries your RC helicopter uses. Some of the cheaper, entry-level models may use rechargeable AA batteries, which are easy to replace in the event that they no longer hold a charge. The problem with AA batteries, however, is their power limitation. When compared to some of the newer and more advanced batteries, traditional AAs are sub-par, and this is reflected in their performance.
Lithium polymer (LiPo) batteries, on the other hand, last longer with a higher power output than their AA counterpart, making them the preferred choice for serious RC hobbyists.
Maintain Proper Voltage
Assuming your RC helicopter is powered by a LiPo battery, you’ll want to pay close attention to the voltage. Much like other lithium-ion cells, LiPo batteries are heavily dependent on voltage, meaning the wrong voltage could degrade or even destroy them. If your RC helicopter uses a 2-cell LiPo battery, for instance, the voltage cannot drop below 6.6. And if your helicopter uses a 3-cell LiPo battery, it cannot drop below 9.9 volts.
Another common reason why RC helicopters fail to charge is because the battery has been overcharged. Most LiPo batteries have built-in Over-Charge Protection (OCP) circuits, which as the name suggests is designed to protect the battery from overcharging. Some batteries, however, may lack this critical safety feature, or in some cases the OCP may fail to perform its intended function. Whether your RC helicopter has OCP or not, you should get into the habit of disconnecting it from the power outlet once the battery reaches 100%.
Exposure To Water
Has your RC helicopter been exposed to water recently? If moisture is able to reach the battery, it could prevent the unit from charging. Again, most manufacturers take certain precautions to protect their RC helicopters and respective batteries from moisture damage, but there are times when water will make its way into the battery terminal. If you happen to get your RC helicopter wet, dry it off immediately to reduce the risk of damage.