Drone Batteries: OEM vs. Generic vs. Brand Name

Batteries

Hi Everyone,

I recently had a question from a fellow droner asking why a generic 1000mAh battery was cheaper then an OEM 800mAh battery.  I thought this was a very good question, whose answer should be shared with all of you.

Here is a slightly modified answer to address a more general crowd.

OEM batteries are generally more expensive batteries as they will always be up to spec on what is required by the drone.

Generic batteries are more of an aftermarket knockoff, and they are usually advertised for several different make and model drones.  Typically, these batteries are lower quality, and often (purposely) miss labeled.  For instance, cheap batteries often do not have the C rating labeled, or purposely miss label it at a higher rate than it really is.  (C Rating is basically how much power you can safely draw from a battery without damaging it).  From what I understand, the MJX X600 for instance needs a 25C battery.  The cheaper generic battery used in this scenario may only be 15C, and it is either not labeled, or miss labeled as 30C.  So the drone pulls more power from the battery than it is rated for.  The battery heats up a lot, which is bad for LiPo batteries.  The LiPo overheats, starts to puff up, and can potentially explode.  Now I stress “explode”, as I have yet to experience such a small battery exploding.  I’ve just had them puff up and go bad after 3 uses.

Anyways, you buy the cheaper battery, it fails much faster, but you don’t think much of it because it was so cheap.  Then you go right back and buy another, again, because it was so cheap.  But the failure rate is so much higher, you do end up paying more in the long run.

If you want to buy additional batteries or want an upgrade from the stock battery, I recommend going with brand name ones, they are almost always a safe bet, and usually outlast and outperform the OEM ones.  Plus, the manufactures take the risk of publicly branding their batteries.  So if they don’t perform, they hurt their brand.

If you want a good name brand battery, Turnigy makes a wide variety of LiPo batteries which will fit almost any budget drone.
You can get them from HobbyKing:
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__86__85__Batteries_Accessories-Li_Poly_All_brands_.html

C Rating explained much better here:
https://www.commonsenserc.com/page.php?page=c_ratings_explained.html

Cheap LiPo Explosions explained here:
http://www.wired.com/2015/12/why-hoverboards-keep-exploding/

Finally, if you want a really good writeup on LiPo, check this post from Tested.com:
http://www.tested.com/tech/502351-rc-battery-guide-basics-lithium-polymer-batteries/

Well, let me know what you thought.

Leave your questions and/or comments below.
As always, I am more than happy to update my post if you have some valuable info to share.

Thanks,
Chris

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