7 Tips to Improve Your Two-Way Radio Battery Life
Those of us in businesses that use two-way radios as opposed to cell phones know the reasons why. There is a durability and a reliability that you just can’t get with conventional cell phones, not to mention most modern smartphones have plenty of apps that distract more than assist. In addition, those apps also drain the battery. While longer battery life is a benefit to two-way radios, even the best digital two-way radio is going to have its limitations.
As with most things, there are right and wrong ways to store and care for your radios to get the maximum use from your batteries. Here are seven different two-way radio battery saving tips to get the most use out of your radio.
Fully discharge your batteries
You’ve likely heard a similar tip for use in extending the life of smartphones as well, and the same holds true for two-way radios. The reason has to with a phenomena known as the ‘memory effect.’ Basically, if you usually charge your battery at 20%, it may begin to only hold a charge up until that point, “remembering’ that position. By fully discharging the battery before recharging, you ensure getting the best charge. Charging your battery overnight for the first time is also a good idea. (This is called initializing.)
No extreme temperatures
It goes without saying extreme temps aren't great for technology in general. Batteries do best when charged at temps above 40 degrees and below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range is the best for extending battery life.
Don’t leave radios in chargers
A radio should not be left in its charger for long periods of time. Not only does the constant charge degrade the ability of the battery to hold a charge, but it can heat up the battery which also decreases its life span. It’s also a good idea to cycle batteries out on the same radio so one is always fully charged and so you can fully discharge the first battery with confidence.
Digital is the way to go for extra battery life
While there are plenty of reasons to upgrade from analog, battery life is yet another one. Analog radios send out a continuous signal which drains the battery faster. The best digital two-way radios like RCA BR200Ds use tech known as Time Division Multiple Access which cycles the signal on and off rapidly, effectively saving about one-third to one-half of the battery of an analog.
Keep it brief
A relatively straightforward tip -- use your radio less! Obviously not applicable in all situations but the more time spent on the radio will eat up more battery life. Keeping it short and sweet on a regular basis can add up, so maintain discipline and cut back on the chatter and jokes.
Use the right battery
Even with the best battery care, you will need to replace the batteries for your radios every 18 to 24 months on average. Lithium ion batteries hold the longest charge, weigh the least and produce the least amount of heat of conventional battery options.
Turn off the junk you don’t need
Some sophisticated digital two-way radios have features like GPS, text and display functions and the like -- and they all drain the battery. Most people don’t even need them. Disabling these functions and dialing back the screen lighting can help reduce battery usage.
When applied in concert, you can achieve many more hours of usage on your radio and improve overall battery performance.