Radio-controlled cars, or RC cars for short, are quickly becoming a popular hobby for people of all ages. In the RC world, the importance of batteries is well-known, but you may still wonder, for safety reasons, if Traxxas batteries are waterproof.
Traxxas batteries are not waterproof but are water-resistant. Running your car in light rain will be ok every once in a while but will damage the battery if it’s exposed to water for too long, especially saltwater. For use in wet conditions, coat and seal your batteries with liquid electrical tape.
In this article, I’ll be discussing whether Traxxas batteries are waterproof, how to waterproof them, and other useful information about batteries and chargers.
Will Water Damage Your Traxxas Battery?
Traxxas is one of the biggest names in the RC world, and most hobbyists know and love them for their high-quality cars and batteries, which provide hours of unadulterated fun to adults and children alike.
For the high energy demands of RC cars, regular alkaline batteries such as AA and AAA won’t cut it, so manufacturers usually create their own batteries specifically designed to best power the device.
For this reason, it’s always best to use the battery that comes with any given RC car. However, if a battery needs to be replaced, you can’t go wrong with a Traxxas battery.
Traxxas Batteries Are Water-Resistant
In order to better protect devices that use batteries, people will want to know the limitations and resistances of the products. In the case of Traxxas batteries, they’re extremely well-made and better than most competitors, but they aren’t completely waterproof out of the box.
However, Traxxas Batteries are water-resistant, meaning they’ll probably hold up to some light rain or if a drink is accidentally spilled on them, but they’ll probably be compromised and fail if exposed to too much water or other liquids.
Most Traxxas LiPo batteries are stacked in such a compact way that water or snow in the environment shouldn’t get in. Unfortunately, if it does, the water will cause the components to corrode and stop working properly.
Something to keep in mind is that when it comes to water, saltwater is worse than regular water and will corrode components in electronics many times faster. So, avoid using RC cars near saltwater at all costs!
Thankfully, for RC enthusiasts who want completely waterproof batteries for use in wet environments, there are ways to better prepare them, so you don’t have to worry about any damage.
How To Waterproof Traxxas Batteries
There are a few different ways to waterproof Traxxas batteries, but the simplest is to wrap the battery in a simple plastic wrap akin to a plastic bag or Saran wrap. This will decrease the chances that water can get to parts it will ruin. If you’re after something closer to true waterproof capability, it gets a bit more involved.
Ideally, you’ll want to buy what’s known as liquid electrical tape, which is a special rubber liquid coating that can be used to seal electronics. Plasti Dip Performix from Amazon.com is an excellent product for this and is often recommended by RC hobbyists online.
Here are the steps on how to waterproof a Traxxas battery:
- Open your Plasti Dip or other liquid electrical tape and stir it to ensure it’s an even and consistent mixture. If the mixture is lumpy, you won’t get a tight seal.
- Tape over any parts of the battery or wires that you don’t want to be sealed or exposed to the Plasti Dip. This is best done with electrical tape.
- Holding the end of the wires, dip the battery into the mixture. You’ll want to also coat the first two inches of the wires coming off the battery because they’re the most likely area that water can get into and settle.
- Remove the battery and hold it over the can. Wait until all the excess mixture drips off the battery before proceeding.
- Dip the battery and wires again to ensure it receives an even coat of the mixture. Stir the mix again beforehand if necessary.
- Let dry for 45 minutes to 1 hour. This is best done on a line with pegs holding the top of the wires so that the coating can dry without touching any other surfaces.
After you’ve coated your battery, inspect it to make sure that you’ve got an even coat everywhere that water can get in. As I mentioned, where the wires come out of the battery is an important area to check. If it isn’t totally sealed, repeat the procedure above until you’re satisfied.
TIP: Another place to check is the bottom of the battery where the excess mixture dripped off - the dripping can create an uneven and rough coating on that side. Use your judgment to decide if that is coated enough.
If done correctly, your battery should be effectively waterproof, but I wouldn’t recommend throwing it in a pond or lake to test that. Rather, it should remove any worries you have about whether your RC car can perform in rainy or snowy conditions.
NOTE: you’ll need to coat all of the electrical components of your RC car to be absolutely certain the whole thing is waterproof and suitable for use in a wet environment.
How to Store Traxxas Batteries
Waterproofed or not, you need to know how to best store your Traxxas batteries if they’re to last for a long time. LiPo batteries are best stored in “storage mode” and the environment shouldn’t be too hot or cold – room temperature should be perfect.
However, if you live in areas with extreme temperature fluctuations or humidity, you may need to consider storing the batteries inside, or in an airtight bag or container. This will help to prevent any moisture from getting into the components as the car sits inactive.
If you want to be extra-safe, invest in a fireproof container as, in the event of high temperatures, batteries can catch fire and even explode.
How To Store NiMH Batteries
NiMH batteries don’t need special storage care like LiPo batteries, but they’re also vulnerable to temperatures and should be stored similarly.
Something important to know about NiMH batteries is that they’re susceptible to something called ‘false peaking,’ which is when a battery is stored for a period of months or longer without being used or charged. When you do finally pull the battery out to charge it, it charges unusually quickly and goes dead much faster than it should.
TIP: To counter false peaking, simply leave the battery on the charger, even if it claims it’s fully charged. An average Traxxas battery takes about 45 minutes to charge, so leave it on the charger for an hour and a half or so.
If the battery still discharges fast, leave it on the charger for even longer until the problem is fixed, which can take up to 5 charge cycles.
A good way to check if the battery is actually charged is to touch it; if it’s not warm and claims it’s charged, it’s probably a case of false peaking.
Learn more in my related post: Why My Traxxas Battery Won’t Charge?
How To Choose the Right Traxxas Battery
The most common types of batteries that Traxxas manufactures are LiPo or lithium-ion-polymer and NiMH or nickel-metal-hydride.
Every RC car has unique power needs as specified by the manufacturer, which determines the physical dimensions the car needs depending on the battery tray, and the type of battery it takes.
1. Choose a Battery With a High Milliampere per Hour
The most important things to consider when picking an RC battery are voltage and milliamp hours, or mAH. The former will determine how much power the battery supplies to an RC car, and the latter determines how long the battery will last before it dies.
Naturally, the higher mAH a battery has, the longer it will last.
2. Choose the Voltage Recommended by the Manufacturer
Every RC car has recommended specifications for the best type of battery. Meeting the recommended voltage will ensure that the battery supplies enough power for the car to work at full power.
Higher voltage doesn’t necessarily mean better performance, as cars and batteries alike are tuned for specific voltages and performance. You should always use a battery with the recommended voltage – don’t go over just because you think it equals more power.
On the other hand, higher mAH won’t harm a car or battery. If you can get a Traxxas battery with the recommended voltage for your car but higher mAH, that just means you’ll get more time out of it!