All electric radio control modellers are familiar with the ubiquitous Sub-C battery packs and are aware that buying new packs can be one of the most expensive aspects of the hobby.
Being able to assemble your own Sub-C battery packs from individual cells is a great way to save money, improve performance and extend the battery life of your models. Soldering Sub-C batteries is also useful for repairing old packs that may have been damaged from excessive heating, charging or physical impact.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- 60W soldering iron
- Sub-C cells
- Battery jig
- Battery bars
- Needle-nosed pliers
- Silicone wire
- Wire strippers
- Battery connectors
- Heat shrink tubing
- Hot air gun
- Permanent marker
Insert the mains cable of the soldering iron into a power outlet and turn the device on. Use a soldering iron that has a power of at least 60W.
Place the Sub-C batteries into the battery jig, alternating the polarity. Battery jigs can be bought from all model stores and help to properly space the batteries.
Use the soldering iron to melt a little solder onto each of the exposed ends of the cells. This process is known as tinning and prepares the cells for the battery bars.
Prepare Batteries and Equipment
Hold a battery bar with needle-nosed pliers on across two cells. Use the soldering iron to heat the battery bar. This will melt the solder and secure the bar in place. Before moving on to the next cell, apply a second layer of solder onto the connection.
Complete the first side of the battery pack, wait for it to cool and flip it over. Repeat the process for the second side.
Cut two lengths of silicone wire, and solder these to the final positive and negative terminals of your battery pack.
Strip 1/4 inch of insulation from each of the wires and terminate the wires with your battery connector of choice. Do not allow the exposed wires to touch each other.
Insert the battery pack into a length of heat shrink tubing. Heat the tubing with the hot air gun until the packaging has fully encased the battery pack. Use a permanent marker to mark the date, capacity and voltage on the pack.
Attach the Battery Pack Hardware
Tips and warnings
- Buy "matched" cells for the best battery performance for your models. These are available through most online hobby stores.
- When soldering, use a heat-proof mat and work in a ventilated area.
- Double check your battery pack after each soldered connection to ensure you are not creating a short circuit.
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