Proper two-way radio care starts with taking care of your batteries. Batteries are easy to forget about—often, employees just set a two-way radio on the charger and leave it until they have to use it again. Learning and then teaching your employees how to maintain a two-way radio battery will help your company get the most use out of each radio’s battery before needing to purchase new ones. The health of your two-way radios relies on healthy batteries that you maintain and condition regularly.
Charge the Battery Before Using It
Charge your new battery overnight before use. This is referred to as “initializing,” and it will enable you to obtain maximum battery capacity.
Only Charge Batteries When Empty
One of the worst habits your employees can practice is to put two-way radios back on the charger at the end of a workday—no matter what amount of charge they have. A worker should only place two-way radio batteries on the charger when they have no charge left. Charging a two-way radio battery from empty will help to condition the battery, allowing it to live longer and degrade at a slower pace.
Your two-way radio batteries can last for up to 18 months when maintained and conditioned properly. After they lose their effectiveness or reach the 18-month milestone, you should replace them.
Take Batteries off the Charger When Full
How often do you walk into the room containing the two-way radio battery charger, and a dozen fully charged lights greet you as you pass by? Do you take them off the charger? If you don’t, you should. Overcharging the battery does nothing beneficial and can even result in damage.
Motorola IMPRES battery chargers can prevent heat damage with a trickle charge, automatic shutoff, and built-in conditioning. The two-line display on your charger shows a battery’s serial number along with its battery effectiveness out of 100 percent. When it dips below 60 percent effectiveness, the charger notifies you with a blinking light. Once the battery has fully charged, the charger will stop the current but continue to monitor the battery.
Motorola designed their IMPRES batteries for MOTOTRBO and APX series radios. They are tough enough to handle most environments and can last up to two years.
Store Batteries Properly
For a battery to continue functioning while stored, you must place it in the proper storage area. Things to consider include temperature, humidity, the battery’s charge level, and cleanliness of the storage area.
Your storage area should be dry and held at a comfortable room temperature. A hot room, or storage next to something hot such as an oven, can cause a fire hazard. Cold temperatures in storage can cause batteries to lose charge more rapidly.
Humidity is another factor you need to keep in mind for your battery storage. Frequently high humidity over 60 percent can shorten the lifespan of your batteries. Humidity levels that are between 30 and 60 percent are perfect for two-way radio battery storage.
Before you put a battery into storage, it is crucial that you either charge or discharge it to about 50 percent of its capacity. You will lose some capacity after storing, but keeping the batteries with less overall charge will prevent intense capacity loss. After taking them out of storage, use up the remaining charge on the battery before cycling it through the charger again. It will take a couple of cycles to warm up to its full potential again.
For new, unused batteries, don’t forget to initialize them after you use their charge. You will not need to initialize batteries that you have stored away once you start using them again—only drain them of their remaining charge.
The storage area of your two-way radio batteries should be free of anything flammable. If you notice dust buildup after a long period of storage, wipe it off with a clean, soft cloth. If you notice a chemical has seeped into or leaked out of your battery supply, you may need to dispose of it.
Clean Batteries and Two-Way Radios Regularly
First responders take two-way radios into extreme conditions all over the world. The area around the battery or charger can become dirty with dust, ash, or soil. Keep your radios and their batteries clean with a cloth. If they have grease or liquid stains, use isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) of at least 70 percent alcohol concentrate, to remove them.
Only Charge Motorola Batteries in a Motorola Charger
If you’re using Motorola two-way radios, you should only use a Motorola-approved charger to ensure that they charge properly. Using a non-Motorola charger for a Motorola battery can cause damage or harm the battery’s performance. The technology inside a Motorola two-way radio’s battery and its charger is continually improving. IMPRES batteries are some of the best in the industry when it comes to lifespan and how easy they are to maintain. If you have any questions about which battery is best for your business, or if you have questions about how to maintain a two-way radio battery, contact ERS Wireless. As two-way radio distributors of Motorola Solutions, we are qualified to help with sales, repair, and maintenance for the complete line of Motorola radios and accessories.