There are 3 main types of battery in airsoft at the moment the NiCd (Nickel-Cadmium the original battery but getting quite rare on the ground now) the NiMh (Nickel-Metal-Hydride, the most common) and LiPo (Lithium-Polymer, the new battery getting more and more common).
There are two sets of numbers you need to be aware of with all batteries, the Voltage (V) and the MiliAmpHours (Mah). The voltage will affect the rate of fire you have and the Mah will affect how long the battery lasts, i.e. how many BBs you can fire before the battery runs out.
The NiCd batteries are the oldest techout of the 3 and can suffer from a memory effect which reduces the usable power range of the battery over it's lifespan, the NiMh batteries have almost eliminated the memory effect so are much more versatile and longer lasting.
The LiPo batteries have no memory effect so can be topped up whenever you need to without worrying about discharging them first although the reason the LiPo batteries are gaining popularity on the airsoft field is that although they have a lower voltage they have a higher discharge rating which enables them to supply a higher current and will give you a much higher rate of fire! Most people report that a decent 7.4v LiPo battery will give you a comparable rate of fire to a 9.6v NiMh! Another plus with LiPos is that they are much smaller so will fit easily where other batteries just won't go.
A word of caution however, you should only ever charge a LiPo battery with a good quality LiPo balance charger (each cell must be balanced and not overcharged as this can be hazardous). As a higher rate of fire/current will increase the wear on your AEG make sure it is in good condition before you make the switch, the new battery will put a bigger load on your physical gear system and your trigger & electrical system, a mosfet trigger, Deans connectors & battery monitor are recommended. Deans connectors have a higher power handling capacity than Tamiyas, a basic Mosfet trigger system will take the load off the trigger contacts to stop them carbonizing with the higher currents and the battery monitor will make sure you know if your battery is running low, you can damage LiPo batteries by running them too low.
If you have any questions on upgrading to LiPos please email us on email@example.com or call us on 01293 525880.
Airsoft chargers come in a few different guises. The trickle chargers take the longest but will keep your batteries in the best condition, fast chargers do just that, charge with a higher current to speed up the charging time, but so slightly impact the battery life.
A lot of the higher end BB guns that we stock do not come with chargers, this is by no means a bad thing, 99% of the AEGs that come with batteries & chargers have sourced them for the lowest possible price, your new AEG will almost always run better & for longer with a decent battery and charger!
On NiCd and NiMh batteries there is an equation for working out how long to charge your battery for, it is...
(Mah/Ma)x 1.4=Charging time
For example, if you have a 1600Mah battery and a 250Ma battery charger (you should always charge a 8.4v battery with a 8.4v charger)
(1600/250)x 1.4= 8.96
So you should charge this battery for just under 9 hours.
It does take the thought out a little to have an 'auto-cutoff' charger but you should still never rely purely on the auto cutoff. Always charge your batteries on a fireproof plate and always disconnect when charging is complete. Never leave your batteries unattended while charging, if you battery becomes hot to the touch disconnect it. Never overcharge your battery, you will not get any extra out of it and you will fry your battery.