Tenergy 20C High Output 11.1 and 7.4v Batteries Review by Booligan
Discuss this review HERE
High output Lithium Polymer (LiPo from here on) batteries are one of the cheapest and easiest ways to increase your AEG's rate of fire. "LiPo Ready" is a marketing term that some manufacturers use to indicate that their gun has robust enough internals to handle the abuse that some LiPo packs can put on your gun. Honestly, damn near any AEG can handle a medium output LiPo battery, provided it's in proper running condition and not on its last legs, so to speak. Today, we'll be going over some new "high output" 20C rated LiPo packs from Tenergy, one of the older and more trusted names in airsoft and hobby battery packs. Keep reading for more info on these impressive little packs!
I was sent these batteries directly by Tenergy, who offers a wide range of batteries for airsoft and R/C use, as well as industrial and a huge variety of other uses. They were established in 2004, and have been coming up with new products ever since. These batteries are some of their newest, offering great output power, but in a tiny size. I haven't found these specific batteries for sale yet, as they are so new, but I will update this one I track down actual links where they can be found. Most Tenergy packs run about $30-$35 or so, and I expect that these will be around the same price.
As mentioned before, these batteries are part of Tenergy's new “High Discharge” LiPo line. The packs are currently available in four configurations, including two 7.4v 1000 mAh packs (split cells and solid cells), and two 11.1v 1000 mAh packs, also in split and solid cells. I'm reviewing the 11.1v solid cell pack, as well as the 7.4v split pack. I figured that these would be the most common packs for airsoft use, as they can be used as buffer tube packs, nunchuck/butterfly packs, and the different voltage options allow for use in pretty much any gun with any power level. They're really small enough to fit in almost anything.
Like most battery packs, these are packaged in a simple plastic sheet with a cardboard hanging tag, ready for retail shelves. Along with the battery, there was a pretty detailed sheet explaining the proper use and charging procedures for them.
From this point on, click on the thumbnails to view full size photos
Retail hanging tag
I can't stress enough how small these packs are. Even the larger of the two packs, the 11.1v unit, is about half the size of a normal NiMH mini 8.4v pack. This lets it fit in damn near any gun. The actual specs are as follows:
11.1v 20C 1000 mAh – 20A continuous rating
100mm x 20mm x 18mm
7.4v 20C 1000 mAh – 20A continuous rating
100mm x 20mm x 12mm (with better mounting flexibility due to split cell configuration
Compared to 8.4v pack
About the same thickness
About half the width
The cells appear to be well made, certainly on par with other LiPo packs that I've tested from a variety of companies. As mentioned before, the 11.1v pack I'm reviewing is the fixed cell model, so all three internal cells are heat-shrinked together into one solid pack. This gives you some slight mounting restrictions, but it's small enough to fit in most AR buffer tubes, handguards, obviously any full stock, and most stick battery compartments, including SVD and AK rifles. It really can be mounted almost anywhere.
Plugs and wiring
The 7.4v pack is even easier to tuck in your AEG, as the split cells can let you mount it in crane stocks, or smaller stick compartments than the 11.1v pack.
7.4v split cell configuration
The wiring is a pretty good length on both packs, giving you enough to reach your AEGs plug, but not so much as to get in the way too much. You also have plenty of wiring to cut and solder on your choice of connector, including Deans plugs. The battery packs come with mini Tamiya (Kyosho) plugs, so if you want to use them in a gun with full size Tamiya, you'll need an adapter.
The two packs together
Using a LiPo battery isn't that different from using a normal battery. There are just a few things that you need to monitor, due to the way LiPo cells discharge. You also need to use a proper LiPo charger, otherwise catastrophic damage may result. Tenergy offers several options, but for my use, I'll be using my trusty Kong Power charger. When charging, it is recommended that you keep it at a 1C charging rate, so for these batteries, it is recommended that you charge it at no higher than 1Ah. Ensure that your charger has a proper cutoff for your battery's voltage, and that you charge the battery in a safe location, preferably in a fire resistant "LiPo bag".
After your get your LiPo specific charger, preferably a balancing model, you need to ensure that your gun will be able to properly work with the pack that you have. In general, 7.4v packs put less strain on your gun than an 11.1v or higher pack, so if you have concerns about your guns internal strength, stick with the lower output pack. In my experience, I've only had one failure on a gun that I can directly attribute to a high output battery, and that was only after a 2000 round drum magazine dump with an 11.1v 15C 1800 mAh pack. I was trying to break the gun, and finally it lost two teeth on the spur gear, disabling the gun. This was on a $90 Army AK, certainly not the highest quality AEG.
The next thing you need to pay attention to when using a LiPo pack is to pay attention to how your gun is shooting. LiPo batteries drain differently when compared with NiMH or NiCd cells. With those other cells, the output slowly drops as the battery drains, so your rate of fire will drop continuously throughout the battery's use. With LiPo packs, the rate of fire stays pretty much consistent, until one point where it will noticeably drop. AT THIS POINT, IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU STOP FIRING AND CHANGE YOUR BATTERY. The main reason why you need to pay attention to this is that if you overdraw your battery, that is, if you use too much of the battery's available power, you risk damaging the cells from having too low of voltage. This ROF drop is the most tell tale sign of it.
Many modern MOSFET systems feature voltage over-draw protection, and I recommend using them if you plan on using LiPo packs consistently. They're not necessary, but they do prevent damage to the gun from too high of voltage/amperage, as well as protecting the pack from overdraw.
While these batteries could certainly be a good buy based entirely on their size to power output ratio, most people want to know how they affect your gun's rate of fire. I put together this quick video showing the difference between these packs, an older (4 years or so) 11.1v 15C 1800 mAh pack, and an ACM 9.6v 1200 mAh NiMH pack. I tested the packs using my KWA CQR Mod 2. The review for the KWA CQR Mod 2 that I used to test the packs can be seen HERE. Many thanks to Airsoft Atlanta for providing the KWA! Please note, all of the batteries tested have gone through multiple charge cycles, including the Tenergies, which were shot about 1000 rounds, and recharged, followed by another 1000 rounds and recharge. The batteries still had plenty of life at the 1000 round mark, with no noticeable drop in ROF. I just wanted to get a partial drain on it before putting it on a charger again.
As the video showed, the old LiPo pack barely offered any difference compared to the 9.6v pack, only having a slightly higher ROF. The 7.4v Tenergy pack had a similar rate of fire as these two packs as well, which is pretty impressive for a 7.4v pack. Usually, you'll see similar rate of fire readings between 7.4v LiPo and 9.6v NiMH packs, so this was expected.
I was VERY surprised with the rate of fire that I got with the 11.1v Tenergy pack. The battery has a rating on par with what KWA recommends for the gun, and the thing absolutely screamed with the Tenergy pack. It will likely be my new battery for damn near all of my guns.
Great power output, without being TOO high, which can put too much strain on stock guns
Tiny physical size – about half the size of a mini 8.4v NiMH pack
Clean layout without too many extraneous wires
Available in a range of voltages and cell configurations
More consistent power output across the charge cycle compared to NiMH or NiCD packs
No memory effect like other battery chemistries
Somewhat low mAh rating, only 1000 – may have a short charge life
Requires special LiPo charger – this is a generalized LiPO problem however
Priced higher than some other LiPo brands
Normal LiPo concerns – fickle charging amperage requirements, overdraw risks, etc
I've used a wide range of LiPo packs in my years of doing this, from low output 7.4v packs to 80A monster packs that could rip most stock guns to pieces. These new Tenergy packs are a great middle ground between the two, offering enough power to pull back damn near any spring/motor combo, with small physical size, and a low enough output to be used in most stock guns. They're sized in a way that one battery can be used in almost any gun that you might come across, and they come with Tenergy's reputation for quality. I'm happy to throw them in my guns, and I'm really impressed with how powerful the little 11.1v pack is! In my KWA CQR, it just hoses BBs out, while falling within their recommended battery range.
Some users are concerned about the safety issues associated with LiPo packs, but really, if you pay attention and use the proper equipment, these Tenergy packs will provide you years of service. I'm looking forward to seeing what they come out with next!
Many thanks again to Tenergy, and of course, Airsoft Retreat!