How to connect a RC airplane receiver to a battery pack

Updated July 20, 2017

Before the advent of electric powered RC aeroplanes, all RC aircraft carried an on-board battery pack to power the receiver and the servos. Electric powered RC aeroplanes utilise a battery elimination circuit (BEC) that allows one battery to power the motor, receiver and the servos. The BEC cuts power to the motor while there is still enough battery left to power the receiver and servos; this allows the plane to be glided in for a landing.

Locate the aeroplane's centre of gravity and use the on-board battery pack to help obtain the correct balance. Mount the battery pack securely using rubber bands or hook and loop fasteners.

Route the battery cable to the "On/Off" switch. On-board battery packs use a special connector and the "On/Off" switch converts the connector to a standard servo-type connector.

Plug the switch connector into the receiver port marked "battery" to complete the installation.

Plug the ESC into channel 3 on the receiver -- this is the throttle channel. The receiver and the servos will receive their power through this connection.

Locate the battery pack close to -- or right on -- the plane's centre of gravity. Try to balance the plane without the battery pack; this will allow the pilot to use a variety of batteries without throwing the plane out of balance.

Mount the battery using hook and loop fasteners to allow for quick mounting and removal. Most electric-powered planes do not use an "On/Off" switch to reduce weight.


Always charge your on-board pack before flying; if the pack runs down in flight, the receiver will loose the radio signal and servos will stop working. Loss of signal will cause the plane to crash and can cause property damage or personal injury.

Things You'll Need

  • 4.8 or 6.0 volt battery pack or Electronic Speed Controller (ESC) with BEC
  • On/Off switch harness for non-BEC installations
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About the Author

Howard Altman is a transplanted New Yorker located in Centerton Arkansas. He has over 25 years of experience in the information technology field programming and supporting code. His hobbies include keeping a 1988 Ford F150 up and running and 30 years of Radio Control (cars boats and planes) experience. He has been writing how-to articles since 2008.