Airsoft AEG’s run on batteries to function but as most people know from their experiences in the ‘real world’, there are various sizes, types and power ratings that can cause the device to die if incorrect.
So, which batteries does your airsoft gun need and what are some of the other things you need to be aware of when purchasing a battery?
First and most simply, the way that the battery connects to the gun. This is one of the places that can make or break whether your battery is compatible with your gun. Everything else makes the battery ‘optimal’ for your AEG, but if the connector is incorrect, you won’t be able to… connect it.
Deans (T Connector)
The most common battery connector is the mini tamiya connector. It’s small and comes standard on most airsoft guns. They will look like the picture above, although are occasionally different colours.
Next and often found on older weapons is standard tamiya connector, they are larger than mini tamiya (duh) so less common (as space becomes restricted).
Deans (or T-connector) aren’t often found on stock airsoft guns, but if you’ve bought second hand, they may have been upgraded to deans. They are often the preferred connector of choice, as they provide a better surface contact for the contact, resulting in less resistance in the circuit.
Don’t panic if you have a battery with the wrong connector, there are plenty of adapters out there, or you can solder new connections!
These are not the only kind of battery connector on the market, but they are the most common kind.
Airsoft batteries come in a range of voltages, from 7.2v up to 12.8v. Most standard airsoft guns will run on a battery ranging from 7.2v to 9.6v.
The higher the voltage, the ‘better’ your AEG (or aep) will perform. A higher voltage will provide a greater flow of electrical current to the motor, resulting in a faster rate of fire and trigger response (it does NOT affect fps).
So you may think that the highest voltage battery you can get is the best. However, a higher voltage can cause ‘arcing’ across the trigger contacts. This can cause overspin and erratic trigger response, eventually damaging them and resulting in their failure. Not to mention the fact that a higher voltage caused the gun to fire faster, putting more strain on the internals and causing them to fail earlier than usual.
MaH stands for MilliAmp Hours. In its most basic terms, the MaH rating of the battery is how long it will power your gun for. If your gun uses 500Milliamps per hour, a 1500MaH battery will last for 3 hours (of sustained fire). Two or three 1500MaH batteries should last a whole day of rigorous skirmishing.
There’s no easy way of telling how many MilliAmps your AEG uses per hour, it’s not something that manufacturers specify on their products. As mentioned 2 or 3 batteries should last a game day (1500+ Mah), it’s much better to purchase an extra and not need it, than to run out half way through the day.
Quick tip: Take at least 1 spare battery out into the game with you. This way, running out mid skirmish doesn’t involve a walk back to the carpark and missed play.
Batteries can be composed of a number of different chemicals. The most common of battery compositions is NiMh. Nickel Metal Hydride batteries are some of the most ‘safe’ batteries for airsoft (they still contain acid, chemicals and electricity…so be careful), they can be fully discharged and recharged, and can be charged with the simplest of chargers. By far the safest for a new airsofter.
LiPo Batteries are becoming more and more popular. Lithium Polymer batteries are much more unstable when compared to other types. Can burst into flames if shorted, punctured or looked at in an odd way. They also require special chargers that balance each cell to the same voltage. Oh, and if they discharge too much they’re broken forever. Why are they popular again? Oh yes, they offer huge power output in a very small package making them ideal for compact weapons.
Once you’ve chosen which battery has the right connector, voltage, MaH and chemistry, it’s important to ensure that the battery fits in your AEG.
Most m4 style rifles with a sliding stock will accommodate a ‘nun chuck’ style battery. Named because they look like nun chucks. These batteries fit into 2 small tubes in the sliding stock.
Lipo batteries are small enough so that you can often fit a ‘stock tube battery’ in the… stock tube. This allows people to put slimmer, smaller and more lightweight stocks on their weapons without losing battery space.
Most manufacturers will recommend a battery size and shape for the weapon’s applications.