Smart Move: Stretch Battery Life

Smart Move: Stretch Battery Life

Barcode scanners, two-way radios, rolling workstations — the list of mobile devices that businesses depend on is growing all the time. Commercial batteries aren’t cheap and a little extra care goes a long way to protect your investment. Break the expensive cycle of routine replacement with smarter battery management that squeezes more life out of every unit.

Specific battery designs come with specific care instructions, but there are also a few common strategies for boosting most batteries regardless of their technical profiles. Charging and storage habits are prime examples.

Do you use chargers as a ‘stand’ for your devices? It’s not a good idea. Avoid leaving radios, other portables, and fully-charged batteries in chargers when not actively charging. Relentless charging will shorten battery life. While certain designs, such as lithium ion, can benefit from an extra hour or two beyond full charge, allowing batteries to sit on chargers as a way of life is a shortcut to wearing them out.

Charge batteries only when they need it. Rather than charging a battery with a little juice still left in it, try carrying a spare instead and switch when the first battery dies. That’s probably the single most cost-effective habit for devices logging long hours of continuous use. Drain the battery completely and then recharge for maximum battery lifespan.

Portable device batteries are not intended to always stay on chargers when not in use.

What’s the temperature in environments where you use your battery-powered devices? Whether it’s outdoors in the hot sun or inside specialized cold storage facilities, allow batteries to stabilize to a typical room temperature of about 72 degrees before recharging. If you charge below 40 degrees or above 104 degrees, you’ll watch battery life cycles shrink prematurely.

Finally, if you’re using a high volume of batteries, give serious consideration to investing in intelligent cabinets for better tracking, storage, and smart charging. The cabinets are designed to be sophisticated technical managers, offering analytics and even reporting functionality.

“The software inside these cabinets can make sure devices are charged properly and weak batteries are flagged,” says Mike Markham, Commenco’s Director of Technology Solutions. “It can also connect to the Internet and deliver firmware updates overnight when the devices are not in use.”