Last update, December 12, 2009
6 volt five-cell flat packs for System Board
9.6 volt eight-cell flat packs for Futaba TX
Individual 1.2 volt AA batteries for Spektrum TX
A fast charger
A small meter for your toolbox, Radio Shack or,
the RMG digital flasher
Note: After exhaustive search and study since we lost Apak, I like Only Battery online. They are simple and to the point in products. I know some of you shop price totally but Only has a nice easy site to work on with all the choices and specifications plainly stated and even shows you the fitting plugs so you can get it right.
Some of you are using the Span FCM1-C fast charging manager (shown above). This charger requires a 10 ohm thermister and three lead wires out of the battery to your connector of choice. The charger and power wall plug transformer is available at Span Inc. If you see that Lithium may be in your future look at the FCM1-XC unit.
A #10139 MRC 960 peak charger will be tested here from Only. This will charge two packs at once and can be powered by AC and DC. The latter with an optional cigarette adapter. Report to follow.
In the hobby market, specialty battery retailers call the fast chargers, Peak Chargers. Do not buy more charger than you need. Pick one for 2 to 8 cell Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) packs with charging times 1.5 hours to one hour for larger capacity batteries.
Conversation with Only requests that they be emailed if a battery is desired with this thermister to insure they have it in stock. When you find the battery you want, note the part number and what lead plug you want and email them.
So, those that have the Apak three wire set up can replace batteries for the charger.
Batteries for our boats have become a simpler choice, longer lasting, cheaper and faster charging. You can even build your own battery packs if you like. Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries are what you want. The packs are of 1.2 volt AA batteries and if added up tell you the voltage of a pack. Modern radio transmitters operate on 9.6v and the receiver and servos on 6v. The winch is a servo.
Battery packs are now reaching high milliamp (ma) capacity. 2700ma packs are popular with the sailing crowd. This will power an 8-cell TX all weekend with time to spare. Trying to stretch out a 5-cell pack for the System Board is not worth the effort here. A battery change after lunch is more comforting.
Check your voltage often to make sure and you will get a feel for the duration. It should be noted that the higher the wind pressure the more power is needed to hold the sails. Some have installed the RMG flasher onto the board so that it comes on with the board power switch. It is not much of a draw while sailing. It is practice here to change a System Board pack the first time it shows 6.4 volts.
There are a zillion places to get batteries so just a couple will be named here for assembled packs and supplies to make your own. The shop here is standardized to Futaba and Hitec connectors on the batteries and chargers. These are interchangeable. So, you will want to make sure to order packs with the correct tabs you will be using. Choose a fast charger for your set up and if you have questions on this, call the retailer for their advice.
You might want to check out a local hobby store. The larger ones have the same pricing for battery packs and chargers as the online retailers. They also have a wide selection of plugs and adapters. Plus, there is a live person there that speaks English.
So, this is all you need these days.