If you own only a few two-way radios and don’t use them all that much, you might not fret about your batteries: Just buy some extras and a charger, and you’re pretty much set.
But as your radio fleet gets bigger, you really need to pay attention to your batteries. If your radios number in the dozens, hundreds or even higher, batteries can become a significant cost center. Squeezing the most life out of your batteries is just good business.
Furthermore, if your business lives or dies on your ability to communicate with portable two-way radios, there’s simply no excuse for neglecting your radios’ power source.
Two-way radio batteries can berecharged a fixed number of times, and discharging has a large impact on batteries’ useful life. Make sure you know how many recharge cycles your batteries have, and that you understand how charging and discharging multiple times will affect your batteries’ performance over the long haul.
To make sure your batteries are being charged in the most effective means possible, it’s a good idea to invest in an analyzer/conditioner, which is programmed to get the maximum number of charging cycles from your batteries. Note, however, that an analyzer/conditioner often is not intended for everyday use and can actually damage your batteries if you try to use it in place of a charger.
The two main battery chemistries are lithium-ion (Li-Ion) and nickel-metal hydride (NiMH), so you have to ensure your chargers are built specifically for your batteries. The best chargers can work with multiple battery types.
What preserves battery life?
- Starting out — from the very first charge — with a full charge to capacity
- Allowing batteries to become completely discharged before recharging
- Charging batteries fully before storing them for extended periods
- Making sure radios are turned off when they are in the charger
- Finding a cool, dry place to store batteries
- Buying from BearCom to ensure your batteries are the right fit for your radios, and your chargers are the right fit for your batteries
What shortens battery life?
- Putting a battery into a rapid charger before it is significantly drained of power
- Leaving a battery in the charger for extended periods. Some rechargers are programmed to avoid damage by stopping the charging process once your battery is fully charged, but you must make sure your rechargers have this capacity — if they do not, leaving batteries in the charger will destroy them.
- Using a charger as a base for your radio and leaving it there for extended periods. While the battery will pass power on to the radio as long as it is mounted on the base, the battery may not be able to hold a charge if extended overcharging has damaged it. This negates the mobile capacity of your handheld radio.
- Using your analyzer/reconditioner as an everyday battery charger
Radios aren’t good for much without a reliable power source. That’s why it’s such a big deal to make smart decisions about your batteries — and to have a process in place to get every last drop of energy from them.
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