Ten Commandments of Extending Your Crew's Two-Way Radio Batteries
The two-way radios your team carries are an integral tool for your operation. They help keep your entire organization running smooth. The batteries in those radios are just as important, if they go dead, your profit goes down with them.
Which means your team needs to take proper care of their two-way radio batteries to extend their lives; otherwise, you'll be the one burning revenue to replace them. A new two-way radio battery should last between 18 and 24 months. Anything less than that is costing you money, period.
Which is why we created this resource for you, we want to help you save money, not burn it needlessly.
1. Initialize Your Batteries
New Two-Way Radio Batteries come with near 50 percent of their capacity charge for two main reasons:
You need to charge the batteries overnight to optimize their future capacity. Be sure to charge the batteries for 14 – 16 hours.
Note: The 14 - 16 hour charging is only for first-time use, since most of the battery units sold today are rapid chargers, a battery can be up to 90% charge time in about 1.5 hours, at this point the charger will automatically switch to low charge which would take an additional one to two hours to bring the battery to 100%.
2. Proper Storage at Room Temperature
For new uninitialized batteries, store them in a well-ventilated, cool, dry place to preserve their capacity and several life cycles. Avoid storing your two-way radio batteries near flammable substances.
3. Discharge Used Batteries before Storage
At times, you may want to store batteries. In that case, you should discharge them to 50 percent of their capacity. Afterward, store them in a cool, dry place away from flammable substances.
4. Proper Maintenance
Ensure that your battery contact surfaces are always clean. Dirty contact surfaces are a primary source of charging issues. Regular cleaning will optimize performance. How do you clear the dirt and residue? Use a soft cloth to clean the contacts. Use pure alcohol to get rid of grease and other contaminants.
5. Discharge Used and Stored Battery Before Recharging
When you initialize your batteries, use them, discharge them to 50 percent and store them, it's best to discharge them before recharging them again. Don't confuse this process with the initializing process, since the batteries have already experienced a load at the time of use.
6. Use Battery Conditioners
Every NiCad cell battery suffers a condition known as the "memory effect." When your two-way radio batteries suffer the condition, they will not charge back to full capacity. How can you prevent this? You should use a conditioning battery charger. This charge can detect and try to correct memory effect. What if you can't find a conditioning battery charger? Consider discharging your battery completely before recharging it. It's worth noting that regular top charges are among the leading causes of memory effect.
7. Don't Charge Batteries Before the Batteries Are 100% Discharged
You should charge your batteries only when completely discharged. It is advisable to buy a spare battery for longer duty cycle applications. In fact, having an extra battery in tandem with the main battery is a more cost-efficient solution than purchasing a new, primary battery every six months.
8. Don't Continually Charge Two Way Radio Batteries
Office-based employees tend to leave their handheld radio in its charging port on their desk. That is wrong. It explains why their batteries degrade faster compared to those used by field-based employees. You should not leave your radio connected to the charger for prolonged periods of time. Likewise, avoid using the battery charger as a stand when it is plugged in. When you subject your battery to continuously charging, it ends up losing its capacity.
9. Never Return a Fully Charged Battery to the Charger
Your employees might be tempted to return their already charged batteries to the charger for an extra boost. That is a costly mistake. They should never try to increase battery life by extra charging. Otherwise, they will reduce the life cycle and capacity of the batteries.
10. Replace Old Radio Batteries
Even if you give your two-way radio batteries the best care in the world, they won't last forever. They will wear out one day. It is advisable to replace any batteries you have used for over 18 months. When you are ready to shop for battery replacements, be sure to go for reputable brands, such as Motorola. Likewise, it is imperative that you recycle your old batteries. According to EPA, rechargeable batteries are a hazardous waste. You should contact your local Hazardous Waste Authority to find the appropriate location for disposal.
- Last Thoughts
Nothing can be more frustrating than an off the grid crew member with a flat battery in his or her two-way radio. The cheapest option is to have your employees take care of their two-way radio batteries.
If they follow our tips, it will extend the life of your batteries.
Also, keep in mind that Two Way Radios are prone to wear and tear. Hence, you should only go for durable models from reputable manufacturers.
Motorola is known to produce some of the best models of Two-Way Radios on the market.