A flat battery in a 2 way radio can be a frustrating experience. Here are some quick tips to improve the lifetime of your battery.
1 – Go Digital
Digital radios use a technology called Time Division Multiple Access. When you are transmitting with an analogue radio it sends a continuous radio signal. Digital radios with TDMA rapidly switch the transmitter on and off, effectively only transmitting half the time. This can increase battery life by up to 40%.
2 – Be Brief
Reduce the time you spend transmitting by sticking the principles of Accuracy, Brevity, Clarity and Discipline to convey a message quickly. Aside from saving battery life, your colleagues will thank you for not tying up the radio channel and allowing them to speak. A great example of good radio communication practise called AirwaveSpeak can be downloaded from the National Policing Improvement Authority (pdf).
3 – Disable GPS
Global Positioning Systems (GPS) consumes lots of battery power. Consider disabling GPS if you don’t need it, or reduce the polling frequency. You may consider on-demand positioning, where the radio only activates it’s GPS positioning system when polled by a dispatcher.
4 – Reduce Transmission Power
Configure your radio to use the minimum output power necessary to communicate effectively. Some digital technologies automatically adjust transmission power, while others need manual settings by your radio dealer. The lower the transmission power the longer your battery will last.
5 – Use Battery Conditioners
All batteries suffer from a condition called the “memory effect” including Lithium-Ion. This results in the battery no longer charging back to full capacity. To avoid this, use a conditioning battery charger which can detect memory effect and try to correct it. If you don’t have a conditioning batter charger, try to fully discharge the battery before recharging it. Regular top-up charges are most likely to result in memory effect.