Are Single Chargers Used Incorrectly?

It’s true that most entry-level and mid-level two-way radios are suppied with a single charger. This can be either a desk charger pod and power supply or a mobile phone style plug-in PSU only that plugs into the radio or the battery directly.

Motorola WPLN4256 Charger

At first, most people think this is really handy because not only is the charger supplied free, but you can also keep the radio always charged whilst in use, right?

WRONG! And you should never do this!

Every battery has a maximum rated charge cycle count, usually between 300 and 400. A charge cycle is defined as a single discharge and recharge. Every charge cycles results in natural degradation and reduces the battery’s performance, eventually to a point where it no longer holds charge.

You might have seen this in your own smart phone no longer holding any usable charge you feel like your charging it 200 times a day just to use it. That’s because the battery has degraded so badly the battery is no longer holding charge.

When a radio is switched on it’s always using electricity; even in standby mode (not transmitting or receiving). When a radio is left in it’s charger switched on, the battery is always discharging. The charger is always trying to catch up and will start charging even with the battery dropping to 99% charge, adding 1% to get the battery back to 100%. And that can be one of the 300-400 charge cycles used.

This can happen multiple times every hour and will eventually result in a battery prematurely failing. In some instances we have seen batteries fail in 2 weeks due to rapid charge cycling.

Even knowing this, people still leave their radios switched on in the single charger on their desk. This is not because people mean to purposely damage batteries. It’s just because people forget the radio is on charge.

As you can see, single chargers promote bad charging beaviour. But what’s the alternative?

Introducing the Multi-Unit Charger

a what?…

Almost all two-way radios have a 6-way charger or 12-way charger option. Some two-way radios even have 18-way chargers. And you might be thinking “yeah, but people can still leave them switched on”…

Having multi-unit chargers means you will likely have a a single charging location where all radios are returned to at the end of every working day; or swapped out if you have shift patterns or a 24-hour business.

You can use wall brackets to attach the chargers to the wall (as shown above). You can create a book-in / book-out routine wher you implement a checklist to ensure the radios are switched off and accessories detatched. And so on.

Six-way chargers provide a solution to a problem you didn;t realise you had!

To find the correct six-way charger for your radio, search for your radio (using only the model number, example for Motorola DP2400e just search for “dp2400e”) and you will find an accessories link that will take you to the accessories page for your radio.

Questions Answered

Q. But aren’t multi-way chargers more expensive than single chargers?
A. Almost always, yes. But now that you know how single chargers will be mis-used and cause premature battery faults, you can weigh up the cost of replacement batteries every month to the cost of a muti-way charger.

Q. What if I just train my staff to remove the radio from the single charger when in use?
A. In our experience, it’s impossible to police and people just forget. Worse still, some people think it’s a myth and ignore this advice.

Q. What if I ask my staff to charge their radios in one location and go and get a radio?
A. Great idea! But can you imagine having to find 24 sockets for 24 chargers? You’d be better with 4x 6-ways or 2x 12-ways.

Q. Is Radiotronics trying to make more money by trying to sell me a six way charger?
A. Every business is trying to make money. But, no. Delivering the right solution is more important to Radiotronics than profit margin. That is demonstrated by the fact that we actually make less profit margin on 6-way chargers. But they’re almost always the right solution for more than 2 radios and when a fleet will grow over time.

Q. Is there ever a good reason to have single chargers?
A. Yes. Budget restraints. Or if you only have 2 or fewer radios.

Q. Should I buy a six-way charger if I only have 2 radios?
A. It’s up to you and whatever your budget allows. If you ever envisage your fleet will grow to 6 radios and eventually you purchase a 6-way charger, then the single charger would have been a waste of money in the first place.

Q. Are there any other benefits ot 6-way chargers?
A. Yes. Almost all six-way chargers are modular, parts are really cheap and most servicing can be done with a single screwdriver and little to no technical knowledge.

Q. What is IMPRES?
A. IMPRES is a battry reconditioning technology that keeps batteries in good conditioin. You can read about Motorola IMPRES technology here.

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