X-Craft Hovercraft battery replacement with LiPo

My son bought a X-Craft Hovercraft (http://www.rcmania.com/fastlane-rc-x-craft-hovercraft). It was cheap (end of life) and announced with a “12v power” where a lot of similar products were 9.6v.

Indeed, 12v is really a plus and the hovercraft is pretty fast. Unfortunately, the battery is a good old NiMH rated at… 600 mAh (10 x 1.2v cells, near half aaa in size) ! It last between 8 and 10 minutes for a charging time of around 5 hours. It was difficult to find another one at a reasonable price and the charging time had to be monitored carefully (no auto off).

So, I decided to build two 12v LiPo (11.1v to be exact) with three 18650 cells. I had to change the way the battery could be plugged on the Hovercraft.

I also used a charger I already had for heated gloves, which was able to charge two 12v LiPo at the same time.

The final result : 30 minutes of play time with one battery, 4h to recharge both with an auto stop ability (mandatory for LiPo batteries).

Used materials for each battery:

  • 3 x NCR18650B batteries
  • 1 x 3S LiPo PCB protection board with balance function
  • 1 x 12v round connectors
  • 3 x solder tabs
  • 1 x DC connector (5.5×2.1 mm)
  • Some adhesive tape

 

Soldering cells in series and wire the 3S protective board:

 

Attaching the DC male connector and finish with the adhesive tape:

 

Soldering the female connector to the Hovercraft and plug the battery

5 comments

  • Hi!

    Thanks for your post!

    Would you by any chance be making these replacement battery packs for sale? I face a similar problem but I am a klutz when it comes to electronics stuff.

    Thanks again!

  • John Austen Clayton

    Great work. I’m in the process of doing something similar with my X-Craft (which is definitely the most powerful and fastest ready to run RC hovercraft in my experience).
    Was the hovercraft more or less powerful with the Li-Po battery?

    Is there anyone out there who can help me out with photos of each page of an X-Craft’s manual/user guide, please?

  • I did the same battery upgrade. It gives much more run time, but the Hovercraft is also significantly faster e.g. it will now get ‘on plane’ on water. Very pleasing!

    Did your X-craft go any faster with the new battery?

    • I did not see any change regarding motors’ power. Voltage with lipo are close to NiMH original battery I guess.
      And… Hmmm I’m sorry but I do not have the manual anymore.

      Unfortunately, the skirt has a hole now, and I can’t find somewhere to buy another one ;(

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