So you have bunch of Rugged PDA’s but you’re not going to be using them for a while. They’re rugged right? You can just stick them on a shelf, lock the door and leave them for a few months right?…….Wrong!
People often forget that rugged equipment still have the same resisters, capacitors and chips at heart and electronic equipment still needs to be treated right. If you want to put your equipment to bed for a few months then following a few simple instructions will make sure the batteries they come with are fresh, capable and ready to be used when you need the devices once again. Here’s what you do:
Charge your batteries….but not too much!
But we’re not using them I hear you cry! Well Lithium ION batteries do not like being empty and whilst charging them fully sounds like a good idea, this also puts pressure on the battery. Li-ION batteries actually have a very slow background discharge rate. So charge them to about 40% and the chances are in the months ahead they’ll still have charge in them which keeps them working well.
Disconnect the battery
I know it’s nice and easy to leave the battery connected in the Rugged Handheld. However you ideally want to leave the batteries stacked with nothing potentially draining their circuits. Even though the PDA’s might be off, anything connected to the battery terminals can drain them and actually can risk shorting them out too.
Batteries have unbelievably different characteristics depending on the climate they’re being used int. Even within their stated usage temperature limits, capacity can change radically, well over 50% in some cases. If you store your batteries in conditions that are too hot or cold then they will get damaged, if they get wet then they will definitely get damaged, IP ratings don;t apply to batteries!! It is also amazing what temperatures a top shelf in a cupboard can get to and actually even in the UK, the winters are getting so bad now that they are really messing up battery life if not looked after. Just make sure they are safe and sound.
Lastly some proof
This chart was copied form the Battery University and shows just how heat and charge level can permanently damage a stored battery.
In the next blog we’ll continue looking at batteries with a look at typical battery issues and what to do about them.