Antweight Batteries

Most Antweights used to use NiCd batteries, but these days nearly all of them use the newer LiPo batteries.

Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) Batteries

Back when Antweights first began, there were very few batteries to choose from that were small and light enough to suit them. Some builders used standard AA batteries, however these were large, heavy and not rechargeable. In the end, NiCd batteries became dominant as they provided a fair compromise between power, size and weight. They are still used today, although many Antweight builders have moved onto LiPo batteries (see below).

For beginners, NiCd batteries remain the most sensible option. You will probably want at least a 6v pack but going much higher than 9v may result in servos burning out from the higher voltage. Servos cannot cope with a larger voltages, however the micro geared motors that many modern Antweights use can use higher voltages.

If you want more power from your Antweight and you are all ready pushing the servos to their limits with your voltage then I would suggest in upgrading your servos, not increasing the voltage any more.

Lithium Polymer (LiPo) Batteries

Recently, LiPo batteries have become much more mainstream in the world of robot combat, particularly in Antweights. Generally, it is now recommended to use LiPo batteries over NiCd ones.

There are a few advantages to using LiPo batteries over NiCd batteries. The main ones being:

  • LiPo batteries have a huge weight advantage over normal NiCd ones - they are a lot lighter.
  • More power is available from fewer LiPo cells than NiCd cells. Not only does this save weight it also saves space as there is no need to carry as many cells.

LiPo batteries have their disadvantages as well though. They often get bad press because of their tendency to explode while charging or in use if they have not been treated correctly. While such incidents can and have occurred, if you treat the batteries right - use the correct charger and do not let them discharge below 3v - then you should have no problems. All good makes of LiPo batteries come with clear instructions, which you should read throughly before using them.

Two reliable suppliers of LiPo batteries suitable for use in Antweights are:

Batteries with a capacity of 200mAh or above should be more than adequate for most Antweights, high powered brushless motors may require a higher capacity battery in order to run on full power for an entire fight. Higher capacity batteries tend to be heavier however, and most people find that around 200mAh is a good compromise between high capacity and low weight.

A community project to provide a central source of information about Antweights. Anybody can add information, and everyone is welcome to contribute.

We have made two Antweights, Bobblebot (in 2003) and Myth, which is currently being built and will hopefully be completed in time to take part in events towards the end of 2010.

Antweight Links - Antweight resource site - Discussion forum - The Antweight Wiki
Simon Windisch's site - Useful guides and advice - Good general resource site - Beginners site

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