As more and more gadgets are added to our emergency management toolboxes we may find ourselves with more battery chargers than we typically have outlets available in our office without the need for multiple power strips. Each of those chargers and the way that you use it contributes to the overall life of the battery within each of those devices.
Many of the lessons that we have learned over the years about caring for rechargeable batteries however may no longer hold true. Most modern devices from cell phones and laptops to two-way radios now utilize Lithium-Ion batteries and these batteries must be cared for very differently than the NiCad batteries of days passed. Common ideas of battery care tell us:
Always keep batteries fully charged in storageMyth
- Keep batteries cool in storage True
Always fully discharge batteries between charges Myth Keep your device plugged in whenever possibleMyth
As you can see, much of the conventional wisdom of battery care simply doesn’t apply to most modern batteries. In fact, if you follow those traditional care strategies you may actually be hurting your batteries. A few simple rules to remember:
- Always keep your batteries in a cool place when being stored. The closer to freezing the better.
- Minimize full discharges of batteries by keeping a spare on hand and switching them out as they get low.
- If you are using a device such as a laptop off of it’s power cord for an extended period, consider removing the battery after it is fully charged.
- While our industry dictates we keep charged batteries in a ready state, keep any surplus batteries beyond your ready reserve charged about halfway for extended storage. A possible solution is to keep third tier spare batteries on chargers attached to power strips. If it looks like you may need them due to a major event, flip the power switch on the strip to begin charging to full capacity.
- Since Lithium-Ion batteries have a limited shelf life, consider emergency contracts to immediately obtain additional spare batteries from local vendors rather than maintaining your own surplus.
Additional information regarding the care and storage of batteries can be found at BatteryUniversity.com.