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Lithium Battery Review - 3 Brands Compared


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#1 gcw360

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 10:15 AM

Since I have access to several lithium batteries of various configurations, I decided to do a non-scientific comparison of three of them. Please note that this is not a head-to-head comparison in the sense that all batteries are assumed to be equal and thus tested to see if there is a performance winner. Instead, it is a comparison of three very different batteries with my intent being to list the inherent differences and potential pluses and minuses due to various factors such as construction, configuration, capacity and cost.

The three batteries I tested where made by Kong Power, RA-Tech and FIREFOX. The stats and my impressions are listed below.

All batteries were balanced charged and tested for ROF performance using approximately 2 second bursts. The ROF was recorded. Three consecutive readings were taken per battery and then the next battery was tested. After all three batteries where tested, I repeated the trial for ROF with all three batteries.

Tests included:
  • Charging
  • ROF
  • Quality assessment
  • Fitment in KWA crane stock
  • Pros
  • Cons
  • Price per mAh
Notes

Charger used - Thunder AC6 Dual Power balanced charger
Chrono for ROF - Xcortech X3200
Gun used - KWA SR5
All batteries fitted with Deans connectors

Charging - All batteries were balanced charged with the Thunder AC6. All three batteries charged without any notable incidents to the max voltage of 4.2/cell. The batteries were observed for heat, changes in form (expansion) and cell voltage deviation. There were no notable changes or observations for any of the test batteries. Below is a picture of the charging loop for a balanced charging set-up along with the charger used.

Posted Image

Batteries Tested

Kong Power 11.1 Crane Stock/Nunchuck

3 cell Li-Ion
1400 mAh
15C
21 amps continuous
35 amp burst
135mm (2cell) 71mm (1cell) L x 20mm W
Price MSRP $48.95

Posted Image

Quality assessment

The Kong Power battery comes in a plastic sleeve with a cardboard top. Nothing fancy but it doesn't need to be. Included in the container is a very nice description of the battery along with charging information and specifications for the battery. Additionally, specifications are on the battery itself and are quite complete. There is no question regarding what the battery is capable of mAh and you don't need a calculator to figure out C rating.


Posted Image

In my opinion, the Kong Power battery is the best with regard to quality construction. The wiring is nicely reinforced with shrink wrap and there is ample wire length for fitting into the stock. The shrink wrap also helps to protect against "pinching" during the fitting of the end stock Kong Power uses a "flat wire" construction which presumable gives it a better fir into a stock, more on this later. Regardless, this was the most impressive of the three batteries tested when it comes to quality.

Fitment in KWA crane stock

Fit in the stock was slightly snug but not to the detriment of the battery. In fact, the tighter fit compared to the RA-tech allowed for the battery to remain in place rather than sliding up and down the stock tube. This could help relieve some stress to the wiring during play.

Posted Image

Results:

ROF

Test A
22.32
22.16
22.29

Test B
22.46
22.37
22.31

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
  • Best spec info (provided by the manufacturer) of the three tested.
  • Snug fit allows battery to remain in place during play.
  • Reasonable price
Cons
  • Snug fit could be an issue for some
Price per mAh
$3.50/100 mAh


RA-Tech 11.1 Crane Stock/Nunchuck
3 cell LiMn
1600 mAh
12.5C
20 amps continuous
Amps burst unknown
142mm (2cell) 74mm (1cell) L x 21mm W
Price MSRP $99.95
(Can be purchased for about $70.00)

Posted Image


Quality assessment

The RA-Tech come with a very impressive, at least compared to other batteries, black box. Presumably this is to justify the high price. There was no manufacturer information included.


Posted Image


While the construction appears competent, there is no use of shrink wrap to reinforce/support the wiring and the wires are shorter that most batteries I have used. This could be an issue with some installations though I have not had issues with fit in the SR5 crane stock.

Fitment in KWA crane stock

The RA-Tech is an easy fit into the KWA crane stock. I have noticed with time that because the single cell side of the battery moves during play, that there is some stress being added to the charging plug though I have not had a wiring failure to date. The shorter wires do help in closure of the end plate on the stock with the KWA. However, this is would not necessarily be a plus in a different stock configuration.

Posted Image


Results:

Test A
21.16
21.26
21.30

Test B
21.86
21.62
21.56

Pros
  • Well made battery.
  • LiMn is a more stable chemistry.
  • Easy fit in crane stock.
Cons
  • Shorter wires
  • Battery moves during play and could cause wire stress
Price per mAh
$4.37-6.24/ mAh


FIREFOX 11.1 3-piece flat cell
3 cell LiPo
1200 mAh
20C
24 amps continuous
Amps burst unknown
127mm L x 19mm W x 6mm (single cell) T
MSRP Unknown
Purchase price $23.99

Posted Image

Quality assessment


The FIREFOX came with no manufacturer information in a blister pack on cardboard container. The build appears good and there are ample wires for added ease in tough fit configurations. Shrink wrap is used wisely to reinforce and support the wires.

Posted Image

Fitment in KWA crane stock

The FireFox battery with its 3 flat cells offers more options with regard to battery fitment. It easily fits it the crane stock with 2 cells in one of the tubes. It also fits into tight aftermarket fore grips that the nunchuck batteries will not. As stated above build appears good and there is ample wire for added ease in tough fit configurations. I have owned the RA-Tech 3 piece battery and though not tested here, I can say that it is easier to fit the FireFox in tight places. Some of this is to the detriment of battery capacity though.

Posted Image

Results:

Test A
23.1
23.49
23.67

Test B
23.73
23.81
23.66

Pros
  • Best cost per mAh of the three batteries tested though this could be due to the low total mAh of the battery as the FireFox batteries tend to become more expensive relative to total mAh as the capacity goes up. Also because this is a flat, soft cell, battery the cost should be lower from other batteries I have seen.
  • Fitment options are greater
Cons
  • Less durable build based on the cell style (flat). Cells more easily damaged.
  • Low capacity
Price per mAh
$1.99/100 mAh


To sum it up

The FIREFOX offers the best cost/mAh of the bunch and has the advantage for multiple configurations. It does sacrifice capacity and durability though and for me is not my favorite.

The RA-Tech is the lease affordable of the three, has fair construction at best and is limited in supply though the LiMn chemistry should mean that it is more stable. That is a plus.

I stated at the beginning that this is not meant to be a head-to-head test with similar batteries to determine which is best. Clearly, the batteries are all very different, each with their inherent Pros and Cons which I have outlined. Regarding the Kong Power I will simply say that in my opinion this battery offers the best balance of quality and value of the three. The price is competitive and the build is the best I've seen so far. It performs well and offers a very good choice for anyone looking for a Lithium battery for their KWA crane stock AEG.

I will happily live with this battery as it has replaced my RA-Tech in my SR5 which is now my back-up. I hope to do some further capacity tests to determine the number of rounds I can get from the freshly charged battery.

I am looking forward to your questions and comments.

#2 Jonas888

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 11:43 AM

Pin! Pin! Pin!

Great write-up!
The Firefox would be my choice after reading this ;) With it's highest RoF and lowest cost. That it can be easly damaged is no problem if I just handle it with love :>
Low mAh? Buy two! Cost the same as 1 Kong Power.


I am always on a budget so what else than the Firefox would I have answered? ;)

#3 gcw360

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 12:21 PM

View PostJonas888, on 04 April 2010 - 11:43 AM, said:

Pin! Pin! Pin!

Great write-up!
The Firefox would be my choice after reading this ;) With it's highest RoF and lowest cost. That it can be easly damaged is no problem if I just handle it with love :>
Low mAh? Buy two! Cost the same as 1 Kong Power.


I am always on a budget so what else than the Firefox would I have answered? ;)
All true. Remember I did not have the FIREFOX MSRP against which to compare cost/100mAh and since they are coming from overseas the shipping may end up being a deterrent to some. Had I tested a similar FIREFOX nunchuck/crane battery, the price compared to the Kong Power is virtually the same and you might change your opinion. The construction of the FIRFOX battery will damage more easily. I have experienced this first hand. This is my second FIREFOX. Also, since there are only few sights selling Kong Power the actual price could be lower in the future. My son uses a FIREFOX as do I. I put mine in my very snug M4A1 fore grip while the Kong Power is reserved for my SR5. Remember that there are lots of wires too with the FIREFOX so they can be easier to pinch. In the end it's not a "one size fits all" argument. Find the one you like and you decide.

Thanks for reading the review and for your comments.

#4 airsoftmatthias

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 08:05 PM

Great review! This deserves to be pinned! I found this to be extremely helpful, and I'm sure newer KWA owners will find this invaluable when looking for a Li-XX battery. I primarily use the Li-Mn you reviewed because I feel more comfortable with the stability of the cells. I'm willing to sacrifice money and 1 RPS if that means my batteries are less likely to catch on fire.

#5 gcw360

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 05:12 AM

View Postairsoftmatthias, on 04 April 2010 - 08:05 PM, said:

Great review! This deserves to be pinned! I found this to be extremely helpful, and I'm sure newer KWA owners will find this invaluable when looking for a Li-XX battery. I primarily use the Li-Mn you reviewed because I feel more comfortable with the stability of the cells. I'm willing to sacrifice money and 1 RPS if that means my batteries are less likely to catch on fire.

Thanks.  I wouldn't get hung up on the ROF numbers.  The next battery you get may test higher.  It's not as if I tested 5 of the same battery and found that one brand tended to be higher or lower.  I think that there is variability from maker to maker and type to type but this test wouldn't necessarily prove that.  What it does show is the inherently high stock performance of Lithium batteries in a KWA AEG.  Posted Image



#6 karMeister

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 01:30 AM

Great work!  I have the same FF 20c. Also check out the FF 12c! Its about 2-3mm slimmer than the 20c and last longer because  of the discharge  (duh) hehe yes they do get a bit fragile because on the connector parts where the wires are soldered to the cell's foil but for the price its really worth the try.  I wrap the cells with large shrink warps and zip tie the ends to give them some reinforcements hehe. :thumbsup:

#7 gcw360

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 06:52 AM

View PostkarMeister, on 10 April 2010 - 01:30 AM, said:

Great work!  I have the same FF 20c. Also check out the FF 12c! Its about 2-3mm slimmer than the 20c and last longer because  of the discharge  (duh) hehe yes they do get a bit fragile because on the connector parts where the wires are soldered to the cell's foil but for the price its really worth the try.  I wrap the cells with large shrink warps and zip tie the ends to give them some reinforcements hehe. Posted Image

Thanks kM.  I do the same with the shrink wrap and ties.  Guess where I got the idea? Posted Image

#8 martinairsoft

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 11:46 AM

Figured i would put this question here instead of starting a new thread, I'm about to get a KWA SR7, and i dont have enough money for a RA-tech lipo that the people at KWA reccomends, so i found this
http://shop.ehobbyas...tery-cqb-r.html
I plan on buying two of those batteries and a Thunder AC6 charger, and rewire everything to deans. That battery is only 12c, is that underpowering the motor? i know that a battery thats not strong enough to turn the motor right can explode, and i saw that the RA-tech batteries are 12.5 C, is 12.5 c the minimum? or can it be lower? also, approximately what ROF would i achieve with that battery and the SR7, wired to deans? Also, i could get a 11.1 20c 2350 mah Rhino lipo from hobbyking, and buy a full stock. What full stock would fit on an Sr7? Which one of those options would you guys go with, and what would the ROF be with that 20c lipo?

#9 Guest_allizard_*

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 06:37 PM

A couple things...

1. We are now moving to Kong Power and BOL Batteries.

2. Do not use any battery that's over 15C discharge rate, it will damage the gun.

#10 martinairsoft

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 06:54 PM

Hmm, I'll look int kong power batteries, but I'll probably still go with the RA-tech battery. If I ever need a spare I'll look around for a KP battery. But which would be better for the SR7, the kong power or the RA-tech.

#11 gcw360

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 07:13 PM

View Postmartinairsoft, on 03 August 2010 - 06:54 PM, said:

Hmm, I'll look int kong power batteries, but I'll probably still go with the RA-tech battery. If I ever need a spare I'll look around for a KP battery. But which would be better for the SR7, the kong power or the RA-tech.

I have both, I like the Kong Power. :gun:

#12 martinairsoft

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 07:25 PM

Hmm, if i order straight from RA-tech, the battery is only $20 plus shipping, but the Kong Power is quite a bit more expensive... I'll probably go with the RA-tech.  

Ehh, wtf. Maybe i'll get both  :dance: Could someone give me a link to the specific battery the KWA mods are going to be switching to, for use in crane stocks.

Edit:
which one would let the gun last longer, The RA-tech right?

Edited by martinairsoft, 03 August 2010 - 07:26 PM.


#13 gcw360

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 11:31 AM

View Postmartinairsoft, on 03 August 2010 - 07:25 PM, said:

Hmm, if i order straight from RA-tech, the battery is only $20 plus shipping, but the Kong Power is quite a bit more expensive... I'll probably go with the RA-tech.  

Ehh, wtf. Maybe i'll get both  :dance: Could someone give me a link to the specific battery the KWA mods are going to be switching to, for use in crane stocks.

Edit:
which one would let the gun last longer, The RA-tech right?
Just guessing but the one in my view would be a safe bet for one of the one's KWA might be carrying.  Both RA-Tech and Kong Power are safe for your gun.  The Kong Power is better made. :whistle:

#14 dsdehan

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 06:37 PM

Is the kong power in spec? 15c x 1400mah gives you 21 amps. But maybe I am wrong. If it is only 15c, is it safe to go just above 18 amps as gcw360 did? I found this battery for my g36c 2gx but im worried its out of spec. http://www.kongpower...&pkind_recno=O1
1400mah 15c = 21amps= over specs.

#15 Guest_allizard_*

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 12:17 AM

It is fine.

#16 Exibit

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 01:05 AM

Excellent thanks for the taking the time to put this on the forum

If you have time might also be good if you could post the web sites these Lipo's came from

Edited by Exibit, 10 November 2010 - 01:07 AM.


#17 dsdehan

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 04:29 PM

allizard, I know this is in the m4 forum, but the batterys fine for the kg36 2gx also right? Do the recommended battery specs apply to the kg36 as well or are they a bit different?

#18 gcw360

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 04:44 PM

View Postdsdehan, on 10 November 2010 - 04:29 PM, said:

allizard, I know this is in the m4 forum, but the batterys fine for the kg36 2gx also right? Do the recommended battery specs apply to the kg36 as well or are they a bit different?

Yes, they do.

#19 dsdehan

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 05:17 PM

what is different?

#20 gcw360

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 05:22 PM

View Postdsdehan, on 10 November 2010 - 05:17 PM, said:

what is different?
Sorry, I mean the same specs apply to all the KWA AEGs. :gun:




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