This is a repost of my independent review of the 6500mAh 150C Race Edition 2S LiPo that I originally published on June 9, 2011. The company recently got the video review removed from YouTube on copyright claims in spite of the fact that every single pixel and every sound wave in the entire video was my own creation, to which I owned exclusive copyrights. I have updated
the discharge chart with data from a more recent Gens Ace pack since the past four GA packs I have tested have shown lower performance than my old, original benchmark.
I have manually transcribed the video narrative into text for safe-keeping here, where fraudulent copyright claims cannot be filed. The text has been edited very slightly to read better, but reflects all of the same content as is covered in the video.
Please spread the word about this video if you choose by linking to this thread where appropriate and allowed. Do not, however, "spam" it or take any of my words out of context in an attempt to use this review as a weapon of spite or malice. This is an honest review, and my testing was approached without bias, and objective, subjective, positive, and negative points are presented.
[removed for legal reasons]
This is going to be highly controversial. I've tested here the 6500mAH 150C Race Edition hard-case LiPo pack
Why is it going to be controversial? Well, there's always drama surrounding this company's pack tests. There are a whole lot of folks out there who just say that their packs are not worth the money, and that they are just "crap" for what you pay for them. This is coming from folks who have never in their lives owned on of their packs! Then, on the other side you've got folks who say this company's packs are the very best in the world. This, in turn, is coming from folks who have never used anything other than this company's packs. How do you cut through all of the Internet drama and the folks who don't know what they're talking about? That's hopefully where a truly unbiased, both objective and subjective review like this comes in, showing both pros and cons of the product and testing it the same way as every other pack I've tried.
Before I get into the results, let me just talk a little bit about the physical characteristics of this 6500mAh pack. First off, this is a heavy
pack, heavier than any 2S pack I've tried out before. This is good, because it means it's nice and dense, and full of that good LiPo paste that makes things go!
Normally with a race pack you will find 4mm terminals on either side to hook up your own connectors. This pack does not have those, but it does route its direct-connected wires in a sensible way. Oftentimes on an RC vehicle you will get a battery hold-down strap that will go lengthwise down the middle or diagonally across. The wires on this pack exit at the corner, so they don't get in the way. They don't stick out on the longitudinal axis, so they won't butt up against the end of a battery tub or tray, and they also don't extend off to the sides either. It's good, sensible design.
The company website has a great ordering system where you can choose your own style of balance connector and you can also choose your preferred main connector. On this 6500mAh 150C pack I got a genuine W.S. Deans connector.
While I mentioned that the pack is fairly heavy, it's also a little on the large side, measuring 140mm x 47mm x 26mm, making it a pretty tight fit in some vehicles. It's about the largest size you can get for a standard-configuration 2S LiPo car pack. In my Traxxas 2WD Slash chassis it was a tight fit from the sides and under the hold-down strap (even in the high-clearance position). I did have some fitment issues with my SC10 4x4 where I couldn't move the battery all the way to the back of the chassis without doing some trimming. That's kind of the price you pay, though, for having maximum capacity & power in a battery.
Or is it?
Before I even started testing out this pack in my SC10 4x4, I did a bench test with it, and the results are attached. This is my standard discharge graph, using a 30A bulb discharger like racers have used since the NiCd & NiMH days. A 30A discharge (data logging showed that it actually varies slightly through the cycle, falling from ~30.5A at the 1 min. mark to ~29A at the end) approximates the average discharge you'll see in a real-world situation with a brushless 2WD vehicle like a short course truck. I did three discharge runs with a fresh, brand new pack, fully charged, and on the chart here I show the two best results. The voltage was simply sampled every 30 seconds with a multimeter.
I really would have expected a "150C" pack to completely obliterate the so-called "cheap, low-quality" packs from Chinese brands that cost significantly less and have a much lower "C" rating. Here's a little secret: That 150C thing is a burst
rating for the individual cells.
What was most puzzling to me was that this 6500mAh pack was delivering roughly the same runtime as the 5000mAh packs from other brands. On subsequent recharges, I only got roughly 4900mAh added back into the battery. Does this mean it it just had more in reserve? Or does this mean that the entire test is completely flawed and somehow rigged to make the pack look bad? Let's see...
Out on the track on my Castle SCT 3800kV combo powered Team Associated SC10 4x4, the 6500mAh 150C pack actually felt very good. It was plenty punch and gave pretty good top speed as far as I could see. It did soften up a bit as the pack drained, but it wasn't dramatic -- it was pretty much as consistent as any other pack I'd recently used. Regarding runtime, on the product page for this battery, it said an end user could expect runtimes of about "39 minutes." I got runtimes of a little under 15
minutes. Does this mean the company was lying to us? Not at all. Put the same pack into a lighter-weight, 2WD vehicle like a Traxxas Rustler or 2WD Slash, run it with a low-end basher brushless system or stock brushed system, run it light, run it easy, and I'm sure you can get at least
the stated "39 minutes," if not more. It all depends upon how you're driving, driving conditions, terrain, tire choice, and of course what type of vehicle you're using.
As soon as the pack I was testing ran out of juice, I swapped in the Gens Ace 5000mAh 40C pack seen on the discharge graph, ran under the exact same track conditions just minutes later, and I immediately noticed that I was able to clear the exact same features on the track with less throttle. At first I was using the same amount of throttle input as I had just been using for 15 minutes straight with the 6500 pack, and I was now over-clearing things. The Gens Ace pack definitely seemed to be delivering more punch in the real-world tests, and a witness confirmed what I saw, while another individual in the pits reported similar results in his own casual, independent testing.
The Gens Ace pack also gave me the exact same 15 minute runtime on the track, even though it's a 5000mAh and the other is marked as a 6500.
Value isn't just about performance & price, it's also about support. With the 6500 pack you get do get proven, consistent customer support based in the US. The company does stand by their products by all accounts I've read that I feel I can trust. You also get a 3-year limited warranty with each pack... or do you?
Take a look at the actual warranty terms on this company's website and you'll see that if there is a problem with the battery due to a manufacturer's defect, they will replace the pack within 1 year of your purchase for free
. Starting the day after that first year, though, you have to pay 33% of the original purchase price, even if the problem was because of a defect in the pack, and not because of your own use or abuse. For this $142 pack, that's a $47 charge to replace your battery. That's the cost of a Gens Ace 5000mAh 40C pack plus a nice lunch. After two years, the warranty replacement price goes up to 66% of the original purchase price. That's almost $100.
I know brand loyalists are going to have a fit about this, but (deep breath) I do not recommend this pack. To me, it is not worth its price. It is branded as a 6500mAh 150C race pack, and it costs $142 US. It is delivering real-world performance equivalent to that of $35 packs that are rated as 5000mAh 40C packs. That, to me, is unacceptable. Even if the cheaper competing packs had absolutely no customer support available (which is absolutely not the case), I could still get 4 of those for the price of one of these 6500 packs. If half of the cheaper alternatives went bad, I'd still be on top for my money. If the other half of the packs went bad for one year, I could still get another of those, and have money left over, for less than the cost of a so-called "warranty replacement" of the MA pack.
That's not random Internet hate or trolling. That's not loyalty to some other brand. That's real talk, backed by real performance and real-world results.
(Last edited by theJANG : 1.13.12 at 4:49 pm)
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