Batteries are probably the most popular method of powering bots. Though some people use IC engines to power weapons and the like as a rule they all still use batteries for drive or at a minimum for powering their radios.
Recent trends in batteries and cost reduction of them have really changed the norm in robots. Over the past few years the cost of lithium batteries have decreased significantly. This has led to most competitive robots being run on lithium polymer (Lipo) or lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4
or just LiFe
) often referred to as A123s as the leading battery manufacturer.
There are several types of batteries
- Lead Acid / Sealed Lead Acid (SLA)which are the cheapest type of rechargeable cell but (especially in lighter bots) they loose capacity when high currents are drawn. Derate quoted capacity by about 60-70%. They are also the heaviest chemistry. see LeadAcid
- Nickel Cadnium (NiCd) are an older style of cell but are good for providing very high discharge currents while retaining much of their capacaty, Typically these are the most "Robust" cell chemistry availablle. Derate quoted capacity by about 20-30% see # NickelCadmium
- Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) An "environmentally friendly" replacement for NiCd. Higer capacity but typically a higher InternalResistance, Derate quoted capacity by about 30-40% see NickelMetalHydride
- Lithium Ion Polymer (LiPo) The all new top of the line Cell, Extreme capacity, Extreme lightness, Extreme cost, these cells are however limited in the current you can draw from them before they burst into flames, While it may look cool fire is generally not regarded as a good property for your very expensive batteries to have. Derating is unkown at this stage but will likley be in the 20% region as you simply cant pull too much current from them. see LithiumIonPolymer
- Lithium Iron Phosphate ( LiFe) see LithiumIron
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