Looking for the best LIPO battery for your FPV drone? You should definitively check our CNHL LIPO battery review. We tested some packs of ChinaHobbyLine’s Black and MiniStar series. I can’t guaranty they have top performance, but for sure they have one of the best price/value ratios right now.
Not so long time ago, the most commonly used batteries by FPV drones were the 4S/1300mAh ones. Now, we want more power so in consequence race-grade quads switched to 6S packs. Lately, a new type of FPV drone grown in popularity, the so-called CineWhoops. They require smaller capacity 3S and 4S packs (350-1100mAh). In the case of micro-size (2″ or less) brushed drones, every gram is precious, so you should look after LIPO batteries with the best weight/power ratio.
Many newbies make the mistake to start with cheap packs, but, usually, these start swelling (puffing) after a few charging cycles. Since these batteries contain lithium-ion which is prone to catching fire and causing blasts, I suggest you purchase them only from trustful LIPO brands.
ChinaHobbyLine LIPO batteries review
Disclosure: I received these batteries as part of a product review collaboration with China Hobby Line. Although the LIPOs were offered for free, all opinions in this article remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the sponsor.
In the last few months, I lost lots of LIPO batteries during my drone reviews, leaving my stock close to zero. I’m living in a small European city with no local RC hobby stores, so my only option is to order online. Another issue that I constantly have when I try purchasing drone batteries is that most of the Chinese retailers refuse to send batteries to my country due to some local regulations.
As in the following weeks, I expect a couple of news drones for review I started to lock for a partner to sponsor me with some LIPO batteries. Kevin from CNHL was the first who answered my emails and offered 5 types of LIPO packs (3s and 4S). I also requested some 6S batteries, but they were out of stock.
The batteries arrived just 9 days after I sent my first email. Unwrapping the package I found out that they included two of each type of LIPOs. This was nice and helpful for my tests. This way I will be able to compare if two identical batteries have the same performance.
At a glance
I received 2 pairs from their Black series and 3 pairs of MiniStar orange series. All batteries were packed in the same types of unbranded black cardboard boxes and protected by bubble wrap.
To be honest, they felt cheapie and less finished compared to the batteries I used till now. The labels on the CHNL Black LIPOs look like they were applied in a hurry and are about to peel off. Even my wife noticed that they look like were applied by me. Anyway, I don’t want to use them as fancy decorations on my Christmas tree :) Personally, I like more the CNHL MiniStar LIPOs because they are easy to spot after a crash being orange.
Only the MiniStar 4s/1800mah packs had included balance plug protectors. None of the batteries came with printed safety instructions.
CNHL Black vs MiniStar series
Initially, I thought their flagship batteries are from the Black Series, but NO. CHNL MiniStar LIPO batteries are a bit more expensive and they have a higher discharge rate too. In the table below I compared the size, weight, discharge rate (Continuous/Burst), and price of the two most commonly used FPV batteries.
Besides the contrasting wrapping colors, these two series contain different gamut of batteries. While the Orange MiniStar contains lower charge capacity batteries (350/450/650mAh), the Black series include high capacity packs like 2200 and even 5000mAh.
Thanks to the lower internal resistance, the CHNL MiniStar LIPOs have a higher discharge rate (C). For skilled pilots, C-rating is one of the most important factors to consider when buying LiPo batteries for their FPV drones. It indicates the maximum current they can draw from the LiPo safely, without damaging the battery. IMHO, for normal flights, 75-100C is just fine. You will need a higher C only for racing competitions or you are a super-skilled pilot which can perform acrobatic maneuvers at full throttle.
Maximum continuous discharge current (load) can be calculated by the following formula: Max load = C-rating * Battery Capacity. Translated to the MiniStar 1800mAh 120C pack this will look like 1.8Ax120C= 216A. By, comparison a huge Lead-acid car battery can deliver about 1000A.
How do they perform?
Based on my experience, LIPO packs achieve their top-performance after a couple of flights, so prior to testing them, I did 5 full charging cycles.
In order to find out the real charging capacity, I discharged the batteries to 3.3V/cell and fully charged them again. In the table below, you can find the max charging capacity for each LIPO pack.
Tested CNHL LIPO batteries
|CNHL||Black 3s/1300mAh||Black 4s/1300mAh||MiniStar 4s/650mAh||MiniStar 4s/850mAh||MiniStar 4s/1800mAh|
|Weight||125 grams||163 grams||87 grams||110 grams||209 grams|
|Number of cells||3/11.1V||4/14.8V||4/14.8V||4/14.8V||4/14.8V|
|Charge rate||5C Max||5C Max||5C Max||5C Max||5C Max|
Another important factor that determines the quality of a lipo pack is how balanced they remain after usage. All ChinaHobbyLine batteries passed the ‘balance’ test, the LIPO cells across the pack remained at about the same voltage (max ±20mV).
There are many variables involved that can influence the max flight time that you can achieve with a specific LIPO battery. Total take-off weight, wind condition, outside temperature, and not lastly flight style.
I tested the 4S packs with my HGLRC Sector 5 V3 FPV drone. I generally got 4-6 minutes with the CHNL Black 4S/1300mAh and about 6-8 minutes with the CHNL MiniStar 4S/1800mAh. The 3S/1300mAh pack allowed 6+ minutes with my Veyron 3″ CineWhoop. Usually, I run my batts down to 3.5V/cell.
Price and availability
I could do all kinds of tests, but many RC enthusiasts look at only one thing, PRICE. You can find LIPO packs with almost the same parameters from different brands at double or even triple the price of each other. I have recently read somewhere that up to 50% of every RC LiPo cell on the market comes from a single facility, so I don’t know if it’s worth purchasing the most expensive LIPOs on the market.
All seen ChinaHobbyLine batteries in this review can be purchased from their online store and many popular retailers. According to your geographical location, CNHL Black and CNHL MiniStar LIPOs are available from their US, Europe, Australia, or Global warehouse. During Christmas sales, you can get 10% off using this ‘CNHL2020‘ coupon code.
Both, CHNL Black and MiniStar batteries performed quite well. I managed to charge all batteries with the labeled capacity. They are friendly priced and provide enough power for most pilots. Their battery range covers from 2″ CineWhoops to 7″ long-range FPV drones.
After one week of usage, I can’t say that are the most durable LIPO packs but they look solidly made and hope to last 1-2 years. Remember, a longer lifespan can be achieved by avoiding overcharge and over-discharge.
User Review( votes)
- Friendly priced;
- Worldwide shipping from US, EU, or Global warehouse;
- Wide range of batteries (2-6 cells, 450-5000mAh);
- MiniStar LIPOs have a high discharge rate (120C) and nice orange color.
- Not the highest quality wrapping.
ChinaHobbyLine LIPO review: Photo Gallery (product images and test results)
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