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The Importance of Battery Care in Mission-Critical Communications

Written by Dave Gertz on 6/16/18 8:08 AM

In the most critical moments, you rely on your P25 radio as your lifeline. Whether you’re entering a burning building or responding to a 911 call, your radio just needs to work. During a 12 hour shift, you should be able to focus on the one thing that matters – protecting and saving lives – and have confidence that your radio battery is as resilient as you are when you need it most.

The reliability of your radio and its battery is determined by two factors:

  1. Selecting a P25 radio manufacturer that is equipped to meet your agency’s mission-critical requirements
  2. Ensuring your team proactively cares for the battery once it’s in use.

Selecting a Partner

Quality-Assurance – You trust your P25 radio vendor to provide you with the highest-quality communication equipment that you can rely on. Selecting a radio provider with strict quality-control processes provides certainty that your equipment is able to withstand even the most challenging conditions. Make sure your P25 radio partner implements the following quality control processes:

  1. Voltage, Internal Impedance, and Capacity check of all cells
  2. Protection Circuit Module (PCM) Function testing including: static current, over/under voltage protection, over discharge current protection, DC internal and thermal resistance, and communication verification testing
  3. Inspection of critical dimensions and appearance
  4. Random production quality inspections of at least 10% of total inventory

Battery Options – There are two main types of battery options for P25 radios – Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMh) and lithium-ion. While NiMh batteries are less volatile than lithium-ion, they are much heavier and the battery level drains much quicker which can inconvenience the radio user. Because lithium-ion batteries are light-weight and have a larger cell capacity, they are better suited for mission-critical operations.

Warranty – Public safety agencies across the United States spend millions of dollars on radio equipment each year. Protect your investment by selecting a partner that stands behind every component that goes into your P25 equipment and offers a standard warranty on all radios and accessories.

Battery Care

Storage – For maximum lifespan, batteries should be stored in a cool, dry place with a battery percentage level of at least 30%. Storing the battery with at least 30% charge will dramatically reduce the loss of recoverable capacity and can provide full battery performance throughout its entire life. It is important to remember that the higher the temperature during the storage period, the more likely to impact your battery life. Proper temperature conditions vary based on the type of battery and the length of time that the battery will be kept in storage:

Lithium-ion Batteries 

Less than 1 month: -4 to 122°F
1 month – 3 months: -4 to 104°F
3 months – 12 months: -4 to 68°F

Nickel-Metal Hydride Batteries

Less than 3 months: -4 to 113°F
Up to 12 months: 50 to 86°F                            

Charging – The first time you charge the battery, it should be left on the charger for 12 hours to ensure that it is correctly calibrated and the battery level is reaching 100%. For optimal results, charge your radio battery at room temperature. Charging the battery immediately after being exposed to extreme conditions likely will not produce a full battery percentage and can damage your battery cell. Lithium Ion batteries can be charged at 50 to 113°F, while it’s best to charge NiMh batteries at 50 to 86°F for maximum efficiency. Available charging options may vary by manufacturer. For example, KENWOOD Viking gives you the flexibility to charge your P25 lithium-ion battery attached to the P25 radio or the freedom to charge the battery alone allowing the portable to remain in the field. KENWOOD Viking P25 radio batteries can be charged at any battery level without damage.

Maintenance – After each use, simply do a quick inspection of your P25 portable and clean using a cloth and water or use isopropyl alcohol for sticky areas. Be sure to remove the radio battery during cleaning to detect any hidden debris. Wiping the portable and battery clean after every use can significantly enhance the life of your portable radio, battery, and accessories.

Disposal - Having a healthy battery is critical, because when your battery isn’t operating efficiently, your P25 portable isn’t either. Once your battery’s health indicator has reached the “poor” level, it’s time for a replacement. To safely and efficiently dispose of your radio battery, visit www.call2recycle.org to find a recycling drop-off location near you.

*Remember, to always check with your P25 equipment manufacturer for recommended care instructions as requirements may vary.

The KENWOOD Viking® Advantage

When the mission is critical, no one has time for complexities. That’s why we manufacture the highest-quality P25 radio equipment backed by a standard warranty on all portable, mobiles, and accessories. KENWOOD Viking radios and accessories are certified IP 67 and rigorously tested against the MIL-STD-810 to ensure maximum reliability using ambient, swelling, thermal shock, drop, and cycle life testing. 

KENWOOD Viking charging docks are specifically designed to work with KENWOOD Viking radios and batteries offering you the most efficient and effective charging option that best suits the need of your agency. You can store your KENWOOD Viking lithium-ion battery in the charging station without fear of damage, so it’s ready to go the next time you need it. When the battery life is full, the charger will turn off automatically and turn back on when the battery reaches a charge of 80% ensuring that you are always prepared with a battery level of at least 80%.

With the ARMADA® Elite Battery Management feature, administrators can track the health of all KENWOOD Viking batteries in their radio fleet in real-time including: current capacity, health, full charge capacity, and cycle count. This allows users to identify batteries nearing the end of their service life, so the agency can proactively budget for battery replacement. The information is then gathered in the battery server and used for the fleet view.  Alternatively, battery information can be read when the portable is directly connected to Armada via the USB programming cable or by the programmable Radio Information option.

Download the KENWOOD Viking Accessory Catalog to learn more about the available accessory options for KENWOOD Viking P25 portable and mobile radios.

 

About the Author

Dave Gertz is the Field Service Subscriber Training Manager for the JVCKENWOOD team. With over 42 years of LMR industry experience,  he uses his decades of engineering manufacturing, design engineering, and technical service expertise to provide valuable on-site training and technical support.

Fun Fact: Dave has a passion for cars and has a 72’ Cutlass Supreme Convertible of his own. He recently finished a 7.5 year project restoring a 1949 5-window Chevy 3100!

Tags: P25, KENWOOD Viking

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Every day we go to work to make the world a safer place. We provide mission-critical communications products that ensure first responders always have the lifeline they need when they need it.

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