Troubleshooting Battery Problems: Battery Capacity, Warranty, Date Codes
Are your radios not working as well anymore? Do you find the range of your radios has been reduced, that certain radios are dropping transmissions, or that batteries are not lasting a full shift? It may be that one or more of your radios have a bad battery that needs to be replaced.
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. Many batteries will drop below 80% capacity after around 3 years of use, so if your batteries are older than 3 years there is a good chance they should be replaced to avoid communication issues.
Using IMPRES Technology to find your Battery's Rated Capacity
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 chip that records the battery's usage history. If you have an IMPRES battery, you can check the capacity of the battery with a Motorola Solutions Multi-Unit IMPRES Charger that has a display on it, or with an IMPRES Data Battery Reader. The important thing to note is that even if your battery is fully charged and the indicator light on the charger turns green, it is only charged to the maximum of it's rated capacity. This means that if the battery only has 85% rated capacity, it is has fully charged up to 85% of it's rated capacity. Usually, an IMPRES charger will flash red and green if the rated capacity drops too low.
You can learn more about the advantages of IMPRES technology here.
View this PDF document to learn more about IMPRES charger light codes:
If you have a non-IMPRES or 'Standard' Motorola Solutions radio battery, the rated capacity cannot be read using end-user equipment. Nevertheless, our service shop can test your batteries using our specialized in-house CADEX battery testing equipment. If you would like help testing your batteries, please contact us. You can find our contact information at the end of this article.
Motorola Solutions' Manufacturer Warranty for Batteries
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.
If your Motorola Solutions battery drops below 80% rated capacity or stops working, you should check to see if your battery is still under warranty before purchasing a new battery. View this PDF for more information about Motorola's battery warranty:
How to Read the Date Code on your Motorola Two-way Radio Battery
If you want to find out if your battery is still under warranty, you can check the age of a battery by looking at it's date code. The 4-digit date code is printed on the sticker at the back of the battery. See the example below with the date code circled in red.
The 3 or 4-digit code on the battery label means YWW or YYWW (year/week). In the above example you can see where to find the date code. In this case, the battery manufacturer date is marked from the 13th week of 2020.
Exchanging your Battery Under Warranty
If your battery qualifies for a manufacturer warranty, we can help facilitate a battery exchange under warranty at no cost to you, even if you did not originally purchase it from us! If you are not sure if your battery is the problem, our fully equipped service department can help to diagnose any issues your radios may be having.
You can contact our service department directly at 604-985-0340 and select prompt #3, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, visit our contact page.
See this document for important battery maintenance tips to help your batteries last as long as possible: Motorola Solutions Battery Care Tips