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Battery choice for CERT applications


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#1 berkinet

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Posted 24 February 2018 - 11:30 AM

We have setup a repeater for post-disaster (AKA earthquakes in our area) communications. The idea is to create a channel for neighborhood groups to communicate, principally for the purpose of sharing resources.  This is important, because in a post quake situation official resources may be maxed out for several o=hours to a few days.

 

We have looked at a range of HT radio options and have been principally using the Motorola P1225. This is a well built, sturdy radio that has ben well received. They are fairly inexpensive and we have the know-how and tools to program, maintain and repair them.  We also have a number of people using CCRs, and their FCC accepted variants.

 

But, this question is about batteries. The only batteries available for the P1225 are NiCads. There do not seem to be any Li-ion of AA/AAA adapter battery packs. So, the issue is: Leaving a NiCad on the charger is not good for the NiCad, and leaving it in a drawer is not good for maintaining a charge.

 

What have other groups done to address this situation.

 

Thanks


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#2 axorlov

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Posted 24 February 2018 - 01:30 PM

We have setup a repeater for post-disaster (AKA earthquakes in our area) communications. The idea is to create a channel for neighborhood groups to communicate, principally for the purpose of sharing resources.  This is important, because in a post quake situation official resources may be maxed out for several o=hours to a few days.

 

We have looked at a range of HT radio options and have been principally using the Motorola P1225. This is a well built, sturdy radio that has ben well received. They are fairly inexpensive and we have the know-how and tools to program, maintain and repair them.  We also have a number of people using CCRs, and their FCC accepted variants.

 

But, this question is about batteries. The only batteries available for the P1225 are NiCads. There do not seem to be any Li-ion of AA/AAA adapter battery packs. So, the issue is: Leaving a NiCad on the charger is not good for the NiCad, and leaving it in a drawer is not good for maintaining a charge.

 

What have other groups done to address this situation.

 

Thanks

- Refurbishing NiCad case with newer better low-selfdischarge NiMH cells like Enerloop or similar

- Keeping 70% charged NiCad and NiMH in the fridge



#3 PastorGary

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Posted 24 February 2018 - 02:46 PM

From previous comments over the years, some chargers designed only for NiCad's will not do well trying to charge NiMH. 

That is one reason that my Chaplain responder team uses Kenwood equipment exclusively.  The KSC24 rapid charger is fairly universal, especially for the TK 260, 280, 380, 270 and 370 series radios. Kenwood programming is user friendly, unlike some brands mentioned in the past, and performance rivals or betters any other type certified commercial Part 90 and Part 95 radios out there.  In over 12 years of using Kenwood in the field, in some really bad natural disaster locations and environments, we have yet to have a single radio failure of any kind and 1700 MAH NiMH batteries give us long battery life with no fall off of performance like NiCAD's can sometimes do.  When a charge is needed for the NiMH batteries, the KSC24 charger gets things back in service in less than 90 minutes... critical when field operations are running 24/7.


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#4 axorlov

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Posted 24 February 2018 - 03:57 PM

Totally agree, however I do not have experience with wide range of part 90/95 gear. When I was looking for the family comm solution few years ago, my criteria was a balance between price, availability of programming software, accepting LiPo and Part 95 certification, because I wanted to be good with FCC. My choice is Kenwood 3170 or 3173 with KCS25 charger which can take NiCad, NiMH and LiPo.

#5 berkinet

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 08:04 AM

Thanks for the comments.

 

- Refurbishing NiCad case with newer better low-selfdischarge NiMH cells like Enerloop or similar

- Keeping 70% charged NiCad and NiMH in the fridge

 

Do you have any guides to doing this?  

 

From previous comments over the years, some chargers designed only for NiCad's will not do well trying to charge NiMH. 

That is one reason that my Chaplain responder team uses Kenwood equipment exclusively.  

 

Good point on the charger. BTW, I mis-wrote above, the batteries are all NiMH. I will check that the chargers we have are specifically for NiMH.

Unfortunately, we are pretty invested with the Motorola equipment. But, I will keep an eye out for some used Kenwood gear and give them a try.


Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.

-- Marcus Aurelius


#6 axorlov

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 12:58 PM


Do you have any guides to doing this?  

 

 

Fairly simple. Assuming all your current batteries are functional and hold charge, buy a cheapest, worst looking, not holding charge battery off ebay for the experiment. Pry the case open, as neat as possible. Consider how you'll glue the case together for the later use - batteries do not have to be pretty, but must fit. Look what's inside. Chances are that it'll be something of a standard size (AA, 2/3 AA, AAA, etc). For the refurbishing, you'd need to solder tabs or wires to the new cells. It is not a big deal. You would need a 20W or bigger soldering iron for that, the bigger the better. The quicker the soldering action the better - do not overheat the cell.

Modern NiMH cells are night-and-day comparing to the old cells. The are low self discharge, getting closer to alcalines for that, the capacity is also getting close. The good ones are AmasonBasics and Panasonic Eneloop (former Sanyo). Tenergy are fine, many are already with tabs.There are others too. Any new cell would be better than the old depleted cell.


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