High failure rate and unreliable battery performance have prompted many organizations to check fleet batteries as part of quality control.This entails inspecting new batteries as well as maintaining packs deployed in the field.Conventional wisdom says a battery should always perform flawlessly when new.Yet many users know that a fresh supply of batteries does not always meet the specifications.Some purchasers check incoming batteries with a battery analyzer and return an entire lot if one in 10 does not meet the capacity requirements.Here,you can find some usefull tips for you to avoid battery failure.
Placing underperforming primary battery into the field can jeopardize an entire system with unpredictable performance and frequent downtime.A customer will occasionally call a maker of battery analyzers,such as Cadex,to complain that the unit is faulty and no longer indicates correct capacity readings when testing batteries.In most cases,the customer has just purchased a new batch of batteries,and when tested,their capacities were at an unacceptable low level of 70 percent instead of the specified 100 percent.The customer naturally assumes that it can’t be these new batteries and blames the analyzer.
Although the radios seemed to function well in receive mode,the firefighters had trouble transmitting.They were often left in peril,unaware that their calls for help had not gone out.Responding to the growing complaints from firefighters,the fire brigade acquired a Cadex battery analyzer to service all batteries.Packs that failed to recover and deliver the required target capacity of 80 percent were replaced.The technician supervising the service was surprised to see how many fleet batteries were underperforming.Many had capacities of only 20 percent after a full charge,a level that is not sufficient for field use.
Battery analyzers also perform the important function of restoring faded batteries and weeding out deadwood.Weak batteries can hide among their good peers and everything seems fine.Yet,when the system is put to the test in an emergency situation,these non-performers can wreak havoc.Underperforming batteries are the cause of many operational failures.Organizations tend to postpone lithium battery maintenance until a crisis situation develops.This happened to a fire department in the Vancouver area,and the two-way radios experienced chronic communication problems,especially during callouts lasting more than two hours.
Shortly after servicing the batteries,the firefighters were summoned to a large fire that lasted for 10 hours and demanded heavy radio traffic.To their astonishment,none of the radios failed,and the success of this flawless operation was accredited to the battery performance.The captain of the fire brigade personally contacted the manufacturer of the battery analyzer and endorsed the device enthusiastically.On another occasion, a Cadex representative was allowed to visit the emergency management facility of a large US city where over 1,000 batteries sat in chargers.The green lights glowed,indicating that the batteries were ready at a moment’s notice.
Knowing that nickel-based batteries or ni-mh battery sitting in chargers have been weakened by memory,the representative asked the officer to hand over a battery from the charger to do a validation check.He obliged and within seconds into the test,the analyzer indicated a fail condition.In an effort to make good,the officer grabbed another battery from the charger,slid it into the battery analyzer and it also failed.Subsequent packs were tested with the same failing results.Such scenarios are not isolated,and in most cases even the operators in charge do not know about the condition of batteries on standby.A maintenance program that mandates periodic verification of battery readiness would prevent the system from falling into disrepair.
A user group that relies heavily on batteries is the military.Defense organizations take great pride in acquiring the best-performing equipment.When it comes to batteries,however,there are exceptions and batteries often escape the scrutiny of military inspection.Auditors pass them on visual appearance rather than performance.Maintenance requirements are frequently ignored and little effort is made to keep track of capacity,cycle count and age.In time,weak batteries get mixed up with new ones and soldiers begin carrying rocks instead of batteries.Figure 1 illustrates this situation in a cartoon format.