So you have you swanky new AEG, ready to play, turn up at a site, get your gear on, load up, safety brief, hit the chrono get a couple of shots in (sounds a bit weird hmmm), start the game, spend some time flanking, be a sneaky sneaky, get the opfor in your sights, pull the trigger... And... Chug chug, clunk, then nothing, well apart from the hail of BBs now heading your way cause you broke cover to take the shot...
Did you remember to charge your batteries before your game day? Are you using a cheapy charger that came with your mate's AEG? Did you charge for long enough, or even too long? Hopefully this will help!
A lot of AEGs come with batteries & chargers, they are mainly naff, they will be cheap quality freebies thrown in by the lowest bidder, one of the best upgrades you can buy before you even touch your gun is getting a decent battery & charger. There are many batteries out there, we do VP, WE & Kong Power, all we have had very good reports from in the field use (we use them ourselves too!). With the chargers I have nothing but love for the WE SM3 smart charger, you need to know how to program it (if you got it from us just give us a shout we'll talk you through it). You get what you pay for in chargers and the SM3 has the capacity to charge almost anything.
There are a few types of batteries out there at the moment a few of which are below...
Ni/Cd - Nickel Cadmium :- Oldest tech so far, suffered from memory problems and slowest discharge rates, didn't always last too long, but there are still some packs out there, some just keep chugging!
Ni/Mh - Nickel Metal Hydride :- The most popular and easiest to start with battery in airsoft, memory problems are negligible (though we do recommend cycling the packs just as best practice. Still can't quite lay down the power that some airsoft AEGs to demand, but close enough so most won't notice.
LiPo - Lithium Polymer :- One of the newest techs out there, pioneered through remote control flying vehicles where the need for small high discharge packs were highest. Upsides, high discharge rates, small packs, different sizes & shape packs, very fast charge capability. Down Sides, Slight possibility that if mistreated may explode (don't panic it's still very rare and I'll try and clear this up in a bit), only available in 7.4v or 11.1v, must be balance charged.
LiFe - Lithium Ferrite :- Even newer than the Lipo battery the ferrite has all the upsides of the Lipo with the added bonus that is is a bit more stable and has a slightly more airsoft friendly voltage of 9.9v. Downsides? Rare on the ground and thus more expensive, again must be balance charged.
We recommend starting with Ni/Mh, most AEGs are designed with enough space to fit them and they should give you a trouble free start. With chargers you can get either a trickle charger (charges very slowly and you have to turn it off manually) or a smart charger (faster, auto detects when it is full, but may not be as good for the battery) we would recommend a smart charger simply down to ease of use, you know when that light is green your
trap is clean! battery is charged!
Batteries have 3 numbers you need to worry about, Voltage, Amp hours & C rating. The Voltage & Amps are the main thing most people will have to worry about. Voltage (v) will push your AEG, the higher the voltage, the higher the rate of fire. Amp hours (usually measured in milliamp hours - Mah) governs the battery capacity I.e. how many BBs your AEG will fire before you run the battery flat, the higher the number the longer it will last. Lastly C rating, this is where it gets complicated, this is how fast the battery can supply it's current. 1C means it can fully discharge over 1 hour, 2C means it can discharge twice over the space of an hour (fully discharge in half an hour), 3C, three times in an hour and so on. Unlike voltage a higher discharge rating won't automatically up your rate of fire, rather it's if the AEG needs the current it has the capacity to draw extra, not all AEGs do, but the ones that can take advantage of the extra available current can up their rate of fire. And no, under anything but exceptional circumstances your battery cannot raise or lower your FPS...
Basics for charging. LiPos & LiFes always need to be balance charged at below the rating specified on the battery or paperwork you got with it, this will auto shut down when complete, simples! Always charge in a safe place on a fireproof surface, never charge unattended etc...
Ni//Mh & Ni/Cd these can be charged either trickle or smart, on a smart charger set the current (we recommend not more than half 1C so for a 1600 Mah pack, that would be 800 Mah or below) a smart charger will auto cutoff, but don't rely on this make sure you know when your battery will be finishing just in case. Trickle charge is much slower and requires you to work out when it will finish, this sum should help you work it out...
Charge Time = 1.4x (Battery Mah/Charger Ma)
I.e. if your battery has an Mah of 1600 and the charger has an Ma of 300...
7.466 Hours = 1.4x(1600/300)Ni/Mh & Ni/Cd can also benefit from a initial (first time only) conditioning charge of around 10% longer. Never overcharge your batteries, never short your batteries and always make sure you are using the correct voltage charger for your batteries!
Well, hopefully that covers that lot,
Keep those batteries in good nick,
See ya soon!,
P.s. That bit about exploding LiPos, don't worry too much it is a possibility, though it is rare. The problems come when the packs get damaged, either physically or by over (unbalanced) charging or over discharging. The points you need to know, use a decent charger, if your rate of fire starts to drop stop firing and change battery (or use a LiPo alarm) and last but not least do not under any circumstances hit it with a hammer (check youtube!)... But yeah, don't throw them around as the cells don't have a protective case they are vulnerable to physical damage. These won't always cause an explosive failure of the cells, but may damage them internally limiting your battery's capacity, function & safety on future uses. If you think you have damaged your battery stop using it... Better safe than sorry!