Depending on the LiPo battery manufacturer, the batteries you purchase may not come pre-soldered with your desired connector. Once you have flown RC aircraft for a while, you’ll definitely settle on a preferred type of LiPo battery connector.
LiPo Battery Connectors and Types
There are several types of connectors that batteries ship with, and probably the most common is the bullet connector.
LiPo Battery Connectors L to R: Bullet, XT-60, and Deans T-connectors.
Bullet connectors are many times the stock connector attached to LiPo batteries, especially larger LiPo batteries.
These connectors can handle a lot of current but have the tendency to pull apart during hard landings or through rough usage.
If you plan to leave the bullet connectors that came with the LiPo battery on, be sure to purchase the correct size to match. For example, this 5000 mAh 3S 25C LiPo from HobbyKing comes stock with a 4mm bullet connector.
Another connector that has in the past come standard with smaller batteries is the Deans T-connector. This type of connector, in my view, has several issues associated with it that make it unsuitable for use in your models.
First, they are quite difficult to solder. With no cup or structure for the wire to sit in while the solder flows, the wire commonly slips off the flat contacts and makes soldering T-connectors a frustrating experience. Some vendors also sell a knock-off version on eBay, which are extremely difficult to solder and not as sturdy.
Be careful to only purchase true Deans connectors as these are much higher quality than the fakes. When pushed tightly together, Deans T-connectors are difficult to separate.
In the field in cold weather, they are almost impossible to get apart if fully connected. Some hobbyists swear by these, but I recommend going with either XT-60 or bullet connectors.
XT-60 LiPo Battery Connectors.
XT-60 connectors, while more expensive than most other types of LiPo battery connectors, are popular among RC FPV hobbyists.
They are substantial in design, and are more easily soldered than Deans T-connectors.
It may be a good idea to purchase XT-60 connectors in a bulk lot, such as sold on Alibaba or eBay.
To save time, these bulk connectors can be purchased pre-soldered to a short length of 12 or 14 gauge wire.
From my experience, it’s much easier to solder two wires together than a wire to a connector. You may prefer the other way around.
Servo connectors are convenient, common, and easy to use. However, they are only useful for low current and may not be strong enough for some purposes.
Sometimes in a crash, servo connectors can become detached and cause an open circuit in the wiring, or simply loosen. This can make for problems in future flights if the loose servo is not discovered and fixed.
One solution used to strengthen the servo connectors and prevent disconnection in flight, is to put a dab of hot glue or super glue on the connection after connecting the servo connectors.
The hot glue solution is reversible, while using super glue will permanently bond the two plastic surfaces together. Servo connectors, while not an acceptable choice for LiPo battery connectors, can be ideal for camera and video transmitter wiring.
By soldering on a servo connector to a video camera or video transmitter, the components can easily be changed out without having to perform additional soldering. The three wire configuration of the servo connector works well for these applications, with the third wire carrying the video signal.
LiPo Battery Connectors and Adapters
If you’re not convinced of your soldering skills, you could also purchase custom made adapters. Pre-soldered cable adapters will make it easy to hook up whatever connecter your LiPo battery comes with to your model’s wiring.
These XT-60 adapters can save a lot of time, but will add additional weight to your aircraft.
And at a few dollars a piece, they will add a bit to the total cost of your aircraft build as well.