Old Batteries = Trouble
Portable radio batteries have always been the single most cause of problems in a radio fleet. This is because defective batteries still allow the radio to operate albeit in a compromised way, or they work when tested and fail when at distance or a short time later.
Portable transmitter output power is dependent on battery voltage. Batteries nearing or beyond their useful life can’t transmit at full power like new batteries can. This is because they have higher internal impedance. In simple terms lower power means shorter range.
Most people wrongly assume that if a battery is analyzed and it contains 70% of its original nominal capacity that the radio’s battery just has 30% less daily capacity. They think of the battery simply like a smaller gas tank. If we use that gas tank analogy, we should imagine the gas tank with a sponge in it that prevents the gas from getting to the engine quickly – it still has lots of gas, but when the engine needs a lot in a hurry it cannot deliver. Portable radios use more power while transmitting and when receiving at volume and this is when you will see problems. Cold temperatures make it much worse because your available capacity is diminished.
Battery experts agree that 80% of nominal capacity is a more realistic line to determine pass or fail. Below 80% capacity battery for most users means is end of useful life, and you will likely have communication problems.
Because battery maintenance is so important to the integrity of communications, Motorola revolutionized battery maintenance with its IMPRES smart battery technology. This technology is available in their mid to high tier radio platforms. It makes is simple and automatic to manage your battery fleet.
IMPRES batteries contain a micro chip that stores all kinds of information about the battery and is updated when you charge the battery and as you use it. When you put the battery into an IMPRES smart charger, it reads the battery information and determines how much to recharge it. If the charger is equipped with a display you can see the battery status.
Visit our battery page for part numbers: www.bccommunications.ca/battery/
Unlike aftermarket batteries, Motorola premium batteries have a 1-year 80% capacity exchange warranty. IMPRES batteries extend the warranty 6m to 18m. Motorola Premium batteries carry a 48m construction warranty. Each battery is date coded as well to ensure you know how old it is. The 3 or 4-digit code on the battery label means YWW or YYWW (year/week)
Other useful information
There are 3 main battery chemistries: Ni-Cad, NiMH and Lithium Ion. Lithium batteries are most popular now as they are extremely light weight, have high current capability, recharge relatively quickly, have very low self discharge, and work adequately in the cold. Cadmium based chemistries are being phased out because they are not as environmentally green.
Many Motorola radios can be purchased with intrinsically safe battery option. If you need intrinsic safety, you must replace batteries with the same model as what it was supplied with. Adding an Intrinsically safe battery to your radio does not make it Intrinsically Safe