9 steps to a straight, tight pack
By Greg Vogel

If you're buying expensive matched cells for your race machine, you probably don't want to goof them up (or worse, reduce their performance) by doing a hack soldering job. Here's how to build a tight, straight, clean pack that will fit in your car properly and deliver maximum performance.

It's a snap to build your own packs. To make this job easy, I suggest using equipment of the same quality as shown here. A wood-burning iron from a hobby store may be able to melt solder, but it won't work well enough to heat all the components at once, which is what you'll need to do a good job. And building a pack without a jig may result in misaligned cells that won't fit in the chassis. You only want to do this once, so do it right. Take your time, and use the right tools.


NO1.gif Gather all the equipment you'll need: heat-shrink wrap, heat gun, X-Acto knife, solder, soldering iron, battery jig, battery bars, wire and connectors (if applicable).



NO2.gif To keep the cells' labels clean on a Trinity* matched pack and help prevent the chassis from marring the original covering or causing shorts, simply slide a piece of wrap over the cells and blast it with a heat gun or a hair dryer to shrink it.



NO3.gif Scuff the ends of the cells with a Scotch-Brite pad, fine sandpaper, or—in a pinch—use your X-Acto knife to scratch their ends; this will give the solder something to stick to.



NO4.gif Tin both ends of each cell with good-quality solder such as Acer Racing's* silver solder (shown here). I'm using an Ungar* Race Station for the soldering duties. This iron has a knob to adjust temperature, and at its hottest setting, it can quickly melt solder onto the cells. Don't hold the iron on the cells for long because excessive heating can damage them.


NO5.gif The easiest way to assemble a pack is in a jig—here, a Deans* jig. Now is the time to determine how the pack will sit in your car. Normally, the positive lead is in the back of an off-road car; use the cell layout patterns as a guide; a saddle pack's positive lead will be closest to the ESC. Remember: keep the labels facing up; it's just the cool thing to do. Place the cells in the jig so the positives will be soldered to the negatives.


NO6.gif Place a battery bar across the cells, as shown here, and place the spring clip over the bar to anchor it. Hold the iron on one side of the bar and feed a little solder onto the top of it. If you don't use a Deans jig, quickly put down the solder after you've applied it to the cell, and use the X-Acto knife to hold the bar while you remove the iron from it. When you've completed one side of the bar, follow the same procedure for the other side and for the rest of the pack. When you flip the pack over, be careful not to place a bar across two cells that have already been soldered together. Remember, you're completing a "loop" between the cells.


NO7.gif You've pretty much finished. If you're hard-wiring the pack into your car, take a battery bar and bend its top quarter over at a 90-degree angle. Solder the long end to the battery pack; solder the wire from your ESC to the bent portion. Connectors are easy to install, too; simply solder the positive side of the plug to the positive side of the battery, then repeat the procedure for the negative.


Saddle Up
build_battery10.jpg 1. To make a saddle pack, cut a length of wire that's long enough to span the bridge in the chassis. Replace the center battery bar with the wire using the procedure described in Step 6.

2. (optional). Glue the cells together with CA gel. Just apply a bead of gel between the cells, and give them ample time to dry. This will prevent the cells from coming apart in a hard impact. If you ever need to disassemble the pack, remove the battery bars and tear off the clear shrink-wrap you applied earlier. It may take a while to rebuild the pack, but the original battery shrink-wrap will not be damaged.



Source :

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