SMC (Superior Matching Concepts) makes some of the best (THE best?) Lipo packs for cars. In the past some flight packs were offered, but the demand wasn't enough to keep them in production. The popularity of the mini quad market, has seemingly gotten their attention. They now offer two flight packs. A 4S (14.8V)1800mAh pack and the 3S (11.1V) 1300mAh pack featured in this review.
SMC designs and produces their own brand of products. They sell them direct to consumers rather than through a network of stores. This allows them to offer their products at wholesale prices directly to consumers. It is a small operation compared to most, but don't let that fool you. These products perform!
SMC True Spec
The first thing you may notice when looking at the pack is that you won't find a "C" rating. What you will find is a "True Spec" rating. Rather than xxC you will find how many Amps it is rated for. Why not the common C metric? SMC has some strong words about the C rating system:
As most of you know C rates have basically gone out of control in the past few years and are basically just used for marketing to try and sell packs. There is also no official standard on how to calculate C rates, so assuming real C rates would be used a 30C pack from one company could be equivalent to 20 , 25 , 30 ,35 etc. from another company.www.smc-racing.net
We all measure our quads energy needs in Amps. Why not have a batter specification that is more straight forward and tells us just how many Amps the pack can safely and consistently provide? This is what they say about their True Spec rating:
Every battery is rated by Amps. In theory amps is pretty much the same as C rate but the difference with our Amp rating is that we're actually listing how we get the results so anyone can do the same testing and confirm our rating. This means true results you can count on. The packs amp rate is determined by the IR(Internal Resistance) of the cells in the pack tested with the Full Analysis ESR meter. This means the amp rate is the maximum amp rate you can use and expect the pack to not have any voltage sag or get to hot and get damaged.www.smc-racing.net
This 1300mAh pack is rated at 37A. If that were converted to a C rating that would equal 28.5C. Most of you would not give a 30C pack a second look, must less one under 30C. But should you?
What does the data say?
How does this 37A True Spec compare to those rated higher? Should you invest in these paltry 28.5C packs instead of the much more sought after 65C packs? Take a look at this chart and the answer is pretty obvious.
That graph is a bit crowded, here is the same data but looking only at the 3.55-4.0V range:
How is this possible? The SMC pack beats out 60C and 65C packs? Those are supposed to handle close to 80A constant. More than double this packs 37A rating. How can this be?
Its really quite simple. The others use the nearly meaningless C rating while SMC tells you exactly how well these perform. They just happen to perform as good as it gets. Which also means you really can't have better than a 30C pack at this size!
The detailed data
For each pack I take all kinds of measurements and data. Here is a summary of what I think is more important or helpful:
- IR of 5-5-7
- Maintained 3.6V through 1000mAh
- weight: 114g
- Average voltage during first 50% of 1050mAh discharge test: 3.87V/Cell; 3.76V/cell for the full test.
- Final voltage under load: 3.59V/cell
- Final temperature: 117.8F
If I had to nitpick there is one negative. If you want to buy one to try it shipping starts at $8. But lets be honest, shipping can be pricey. If you see cheap or free shipping, its built into the price. Just ask Hobby King. They recently offered free shipping. All their prices also jumped up. Customers didn't like that so they changed back to lower prices and removed "free" shipping. If you buy 3 or more it goes to $11 which is pretty good for FedEx 3 day on 6 (or more?) packs.
At SMC they don't build it into the price of their packs, they charge you an honest shipping cost. Besides, you really don't want just one or two of these. That sums up SMC: face value. What you see is what you get. And what you get is very good!
These packs are legit! Sure they won't impress others who read the label. However they are nice "sleeper" packs. People may humor you when you brad about your 28C packs. However once they get them in the air the results will be obvious. The higher voltage at the initial 30% of the discharge means more power than ANY other pack tested. Yes, even the 65C and 60C packs can't offer the power these do.
At just $19.95 each, they are well worth it. They are built to last and come from an honest company here in the USA.