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Losi Micro Desert Truck AAA Battery Pack Mod Guide
Pictures illustrated instructions for building a long life AAA battery pack for the Losi Micro T, Baja, or Desert Truck R/C cars.

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Generic AAA Ni-MH
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4 AAA Wired In Series
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Prototype Battery Pack

I purchased a used Losi Micro Desert Truck on eBay for about $40. It's in great condition considering it was less than half the cost of a new unit.

Unfortunately, the stock NiMH 150 mAH battery only lasts a few minutes before the truck starts to slow down significantly. It was also annoying having to charge 8 NiMH AA batteries every other day to keep the Losi portable charger working.

The options I saw online were either to purchase another stock NiMH battery and a wall charger for about $30 or buy a LiPo charger and battery pack for about $40.

Rather than choose either of those options, I decided to build a very long life battery pack with four 1000 mAH AAA 1.2V NiMH rechargeable batteries wired in a series to equal the 4.8 volts output of the stock battery pack.

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Crude AAA Pack Taped
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Bare Wires On ESC Plug
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4 - AAA Battery Holder
Before I started ordering any parts or taking a trip to Radio Shack, I wired up a proof of concept battery pack using some generic eBay AAA NiMH batteries from Hong Kong.

They have 1000 mAH stamped on the label but I suspect their capacity is more like 250-500 mAH.

I wired the 4 AAA batteries in series (+ of battery 1 to - of battery 2, etc) and then secured them together with a rubber band.

I didn't want to cut up the connector on the stock battery to test the prototype, so I just placed the bare wires into the plug on the electronic speed control.

The test run with this crude pack went well and it provided about ten minutes of full power run time, which is about double the run time of my worn down stock battery pack.

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Heat Shrink Tubing
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Velcro Strips
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4 AAA In Holder
Since the test run was a success, I went ahead and ordered a set of the Losi Micro T battery/ESC connectors for about $3.50 on eBay.

Then I went to Radio Shack and purchased a 4xAAA battery holder for $1.99 and a bag of heat shrink tubing for $3.49.

These green NiMH AAA batteries work well enough in an old MP3 player and A/V remote controls, but I wanted longer run time for my Losi Micro Desert Truck.

So I ordered a set of four Sanyo Eneloop AAA NiMH low self discharge rechargeable batteries for $11 from Amazon.

They have a true capacity of 800 mAH which should last about 5 times as long as the stock Losi 150 mAH NiMH battery pack.

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Losi Micro T Connectors
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Losi ESC Connector
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Losi Battery Connector
Wiring up the Losi Micro T battery connector to the 4 AAA battery holder is a fairly self explanatory procedure.

For some reason the connectors had orange and blue wires rather than the standard red and black.

I was careful to double check that I got the polarity correct when attaching the wires together.

A bit of shrink tubing helped to keep the connections secure.

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Orange = Red, Black = Blue
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Wires Twisted Together
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Connection Heat Shrinked
After another quick test of the AAA battery holder with the generic AAA batteries, I cut the wires again and shortened them to a more appropriate length.
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Battery Pack Wired
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Attached With Rubber Band
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Pack Wire Shortened


 
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Maha NiMH Battery Charger
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Velcro Pieces Cut
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Velcro On Top of ESC
To help keep the battery pack in place, I placed a square piece of Velcro on top of the ESC's plastic cover and the opposite piece on the battery pack.
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Velcro On Battery Holder
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Pack Mounted With Velcro
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Pack With Generic AAA
The Velcro worked well at keeping the AAA battery pack in place on top of the Losi Micro Desert Truck's ESC.

The extra weight higher up and on the front part of the vehicle does change the driving dynamics, but not by much.

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Eneloop 800 mAH NiMH
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Pack With Eneloop AAA
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Front View of Desert Truck
In my Maha Powerex MH-204W AA/AAA battery quick charger, the 800 mAH eneloop batteries take about 15 minutes to fully charge.

Popping the batteries into the Radio Shack holder and attaching it to the Micro DT takes much less time than it would to unscrew and reattach the battery panel on the bottom of the truck.

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High Center of Gravity
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Completed AAA Pack Mod
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Full Speed Turns = Flips
So far this custom AAA battery pack has been a great addition to my Losi Micro Desert Truck. The pack allows run times of almost 30 minutes.

I do try to take short breaks every 5 to 10 minutes to allow the motor to cool down.

So far the only downsides are that the vehicle occasionally rolls over during sharp turns at high speed and I can't attach the colorful lexan Desert Truck body.

The total cost of building the battery pack including the Radio Shack parts, the Losi connectors and the eneloop AAA batteries was about $20.

To see a video clip of the Losi Micro Desert Truck in action with this custom AAA battery pack, click on the following link. The movie is encoded in the WMV (Windows Media Video) format. To download the video to your hard drive, right click on the link and choose "Save Target As" or "Save Link As". (I was shooting the video and driving the truck at the same time, so please forgive the endless circles.)

Losi Micro Desert Truck With 4xAAA Battery Pack Video Clip
 

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