Battery Charging Problems on a Whistler 1040

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CRFD121

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I recently just purchased a Whistler 1040 scanner and I am trouble with the batteries charging in the radio. I am using Eneloop Pro AA High Capacity Ni-MH batteries with the yellow battery tray along with the provided AC plug. I did go into the settings and changed the battery type, Did i miss something in the set up or is this a common issue with this radio?
 

jaspence

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Battery charging

Scanners are terrible battery chargers. If you do a little searching on RR, you will find many suggestions to use an external charger. I have had the back of a scanner melted when a battery shorted while being charged internally. It is not worth risking a scanner that cost hundreds of dollars for the slight convenience of a poor charge. In the scanner, the batteries are charged in series, not individually like a good external scanner. Check the forums for suggestions of a good, safe charger.
 

muskrat39

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The 1040 charges at a rate of about 14ma. To charge a 2300ma battery would take about a week with the scanner turned off the entire time. The radio is not designed to charge the batteries, only maintain them.
 

Machria

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The 1040 charges at a rate of about 14ma. To charge a 2300ma battery would take about a week with the scanner turned off the entire time. The radio is not designed to charge the batteries, only maintain them.
Where are you getting this 14ma number from?

It's no secret that I HATE with a passion the current battery use/charging situation in these scanners. They should be using a LiOn battery pack and drop in charger, but I find it hard to believe the charge level is as low as 14ma's??
 

wa8pyr

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Where are you getting this 14ma number from?

It's no secret that I HATE with a passion the current battery use/charging situation in these scanners. They should be using a LiOn battery pack and drop in charger, but I find it hard to believe the charge level is as low as 14ma's??
A drop in charger and direct-to-battery contacts as on a professional radio would be nice, but it would most likely cause a big jump in the price.

As far as internal charging current, it's a question of the capacity of the voltage regulator in the radio as well as the current requirements of the radio itself.

For safe overnight charging, NiMH cells prefer the c/10 rate, which for 2300mah cells works out to 230ma. I forget offhand what regulator GRE/Whistler use, but it's most likely a tiny surface mount device with little if anything in the way of a heat sink, and 230ma may be more than it could handle safely when combined with an operating radio.

That line of radios uses, if I recall correctly, a 9v wall wart for charging/operating. With a battery voltage of 6v and internal circuitry about the same, the regulator has to drop 3-4 volts at the needed current, which gets dissipated as heat. With no heat sink the regulator itself has to dissipate that heat; more charging current equals more heat, which would quickly fry the regulator.

So, they limit current to something that little bitty regulator can handle without getting too hot and self destructing; this probably means slightly more than a "float" charge. If the radio isn't being used for scanning at the same time, there could be more charging current available, but I suspect not as much as the c/10 rate.

There are a number of variables for current and voltage use they have to look at in the design process, but 14ma does seem low even for a float charge on 1000mah cells; even so I wouldn't expect much more than 30-40ma float as a trade-off between lower capacity and higher capacity cells if the regulator can handle it. I've seen somewhere that the default charging rate is somewhere around 200ma, but in reality I would suspect it to be lower, especially if the radio is in use and the cells are closer to being on a float charge.

Always better to charge the cells in a reliable external charger; better for them and better for the radio in the long run.
 
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muskrat39

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wa8pyr

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Leave it to California. . .

It has been discussed in several threads. The 14ma charge rate is due to California law
http://forums.radioreference.com/radio-shack-scanners/315697-pro-651-charging.html
Leave it to California to screw it up for everyone else. 14ma is well below even typical float charge levels.

Seems like it would be more efficient to either require use of "smart" chargers (better), or charge batteries at the manufacturer's recommended slow charge rate and then shift to float charge.

Permanent float charge works fine for emergency lighting systems which rarely use battery power and can usually top off at float level without much effort. On the other hand, consumer batteries usually get drained to the "won't work any more" point or close to it, thus would be more efficient and last longer with a proper full charge followed by float charge.

And proper charging leads to longer battery life, which fits in with the green efficiency standards California is ostensibly pushing.
 

buddrousa

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Like IPHONES AND SAMSUNG PHONES.
What you want they gave us years ago and we rejected it because of the cost and do not want it.
 

Machria

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A drop in charger and direct-to-battery contacts as on a professional radio would be nice, but it would most likely cause a big jump in the price.
The price argument is ridiculous. It will not cost any more to make a little plastic drop in charger than it does to put the charging circuit on board as it is now as you so eloquently described. MOST HH two way radio's currently come this way, NOT just "professional radio's". A perfect example I keep sighting because it is a good example, is my marine VHF radio, and Icom M1 which is not 10 or 15 years old. It cost $225, and 15 years ago, came with LiOn battery pack and a drop in charger with both an AC plug, and a DC plug.

I just paid $500 for my TRX1, which is only a receiver. My Icom is a transmitter and a receiver. You will not be able to convince me Whislter or Uniden can't do something similar at twice the price!!

In addition, they could actually MAKE more money by selling extra and/or replacement battery packs! The battery packs cost about $5 at quantities from manufacturers, and they sell them to us for $30.
 

Machria

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You know, to come to think about it regarding the cost of a charger/LiOn battery pack: How much did you pay for your AA charger? $40 or so? And how much are those rechargeable AA's you bought? $20? AND, you need to replace them every year or two right? Well the LiOn pack will last 10 years. ;)
 

buddrousa

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Back when they offered battery packs Charger over $100 Battery pack 4 AA batteries over $60. So you want to pay $60 for 4 AA batteries. I will sale you all you want for that price.
 

Machria

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Back when they offered battery packs Charger over $100 Battery pack 4 AA batteries over $60. So you want to pay $60 for 4 AA batteries. I will sale you all you want for that price.
They should not be that much. But still, add up all your AA's for 10 YEARS and then compare. At a high $60 for a battery pack, you will still be cheaper then 10 x $20 = $200 for 10 years of rechargeable AA's.
 

buddrousa

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IGNORE
Every battery has a finite lifespan, and this is given as the "recharge cycle" or "battery cycle." Put simply, this is the number of charge/discharge cycles that a battery can endure before being no longer fit for service. Many manufacturers offer this number. For example, Apple state that the iPhone battery is designed to retain up to 80 percent of its original capacity at 500 full charge and discharge cycles, while the MacBook Pro or MacBook Air is designed to deliver up to 1000 full charge and discharge cycles before it reaches 80 percent of its original capacity.

But most people think that they can dodge this charge and discharge by topping up their battery regularly so the battery doesn't get fully discharged. Unfortunately, you "cannae change the laws of physics." If you only let you battery discharge by 25 percent, then doing this four times counts as a cycle. Same if you do five charges after 20 percent discharge, or even 20 recharges after 5 percent discharge.

You cannae change the laws of physics!
 
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Machria

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IGNORE
Every battery has a finite lifespan, and this is given as the "recharge cycle" or "battery cycle." Put simply, this is the number of charge/discharge cycles that a battery can endure before being no longer fit for service. Many manufacturers offer this number. For example, Apple state that the iPhone battery is designed to retain up to 80 percent of its original capacity at 500 full charge and discharge cycles, while the MacBook Pro or MacBook Air is designed to deliver up to 1000 full charge and discharge cycles before it reaches 80 percent of its original capacity.

But most people think that they can dodge this charge and discharge by topping up their battery regularly so the battery doesn't get fully discharged. Unfortunately, you "cannae change the laws of physics." If you only let you battery discharge by 25 percent, then doing this four times counts as a cycle. Same if you do five charges after 20 percent discharge, or even 20 recharges after 5 percent discharge.

You cannae change the laws of physics!
Yea, so? I agree 100% with all of that, I don't think anybody disagrees with any of that, what is the point?

However, a few very important facts you left out on the subject is that LiOn batteries have much higher life cycle. They also have a higher capacity vs weight and size, and they also have an extremely low self discharge rate.

So you will replace your Nimh cells aprox 5 to 10 times more often than Lion cells. In addition they will hold more power, longer. What is not to like. It has been proven 1000's of times, LiOn batteries are much more cost friendly over the long haul, that is not my opinion, that is fact.
 

wa8pyr

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The price argument is ridiculous. It will not cost any more to make a little plastic drop in charger than it does to put the charging circuit on board as it is now as you so eloquently described. MOST HH two way radio's currently come this way, NOT just "professional radio's". A perfect example I keep sighting because it is a good example, is my marine VHF radio, and Icom M1 which is not 10 or 15 years old. It cost $225, and 15 years ago, came with LiOn battery pack and a drop in charger with both an AC plug, and a DC plug.

I just paid $500 for my TRX1, which is only a receiver. My Icom is a transmitter and a receiver. You will not be able to convince me Whislter or Uniden can't do something similar at twice the price!!

In addition, they could actually MAKE more money by selling extra and/or replacement battery packs! The battery packs cost about $5 at quantities from manufacturers, and they sell them to us for $30.
I guess it's a question of preference and priorities. A dedicated drop in charger and battery pack for the scanner can only be used for that radio, while I still have to have the external charger and batteries for other devices. My Canon camera flashes as well as other scanners and broadcast radios all use AA cells.

I also can't stop at the corner bodega in a pinch while I'm out gallivanting about and pick up a battery when that dedicated pack goes flat at a critical moment (unless the radio has a AA cell holder, which is one more thing to tote around and get lost).

Personally, I'd rather have a scanner using AA batteries (preferably in multiples of two, hello Uniden...) that I can charge in an external charger; I can use the same charger for AA (or AAA) batteries in other devices as well, thus getting considerably more bang for my buck, and less clutter of additional chargers to boot. I've even used the external charger plugged into a portable inverter in the car when the need arises.

Once they have AA sized lithium ion cells with voltage and capacity comparable to a good Eneloop NiMh cell at a reasonable price I'll start moving that direction, but for now the NiMh Eneloop cells suit my needs admirably.
 
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DJ11DLN

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People who have used commercial LMR gear, and I imagine a lot of Ham/marine/etc radios, know the advantages of the battery packs and drop-in chargers. That describes a lot of us here, but does it describe the average person who buys a scanner? I don't know...I have no idea how one would find that particular statistic. For now, the option to charge AA and AAA batteries externally, for several applications, isn't a bad compromise.

I recall that my ex had one of the old original flip phones back in the '90s that came with a charge base just like the ones I used to keep my FD H-T and pager charged. She hated it because she couldn't use the phone while it was charging. Whereas today's phones can and often are used while plugged in. I know, that doesn't apply to scanners...but I'd bet there would be some who would get upset that they couldn't grab their scanner and take it with them because it wasn't done charging. And it would probably never occur to them to have a spare pack and just swap that out, let the charger top off the other pack and go.

No matter how the manufacturers do it, somebody is going to be upset and unhappy. So I imagine we're stuck with charging AA batteries externally for the time being.
 

Joseph11

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The PSR-500 and PSR-800 both charge at 150 mA. I don't believe this changed with the Whistler variants. You should be able to determine the charging time you need by dividing the NiMH battery capacity by 150. For example, the 2700 mAh PowerEx batteries I have in my PRO-668 should take about 18 hours to charge (2700/150). I have been charging them this way for a while and have had no issues whatsoever.
 

Machria

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I guess it's a question of preference and priorities. A dedicated drop in charger and battery pack for the scanner can only be used for that radio, while I still have to have the external charger and batteries for other devices. My Canon camera flashes as well as other scanners and broadcast radios all use AA cells.

I also can't stop at the corner bodega in a pinch while I'm out gallivanting about and pick up a battery when that dedicated pack goes flat at a critical moment (unless the radio has a AA cell holder, which is one more thing to tote around and get lost).

Personally, I'd rather have a scanner using AA batteries (preferably in multiples of two, hello Uniden...) that I can charge in an external charger; I can use the same charger for AA (or AAA) batteries in other devices as well, thus getting considerably more bang for my buck, and less clutter of additional chargers to boot. I've even used the external charger plugged into a portable inverter in the car when the need arises.

Once they have AA sized lithium ion cells with voltage and capacity comparable to a good Eneloop NiMh cell at a reasonable price I'll start moving that direction, but for now the NiMh Eneloop cells suit my needs admirably.
Fine. So use the AA adapter, throw the battery pack and docking station away when you buy the scanner. ;)

In my request to Whistler, what I ask for is BOTH options, similar to what was done on their WS1088 which comes with two battery trays, one for recharable's, one for Alkaline's. In this case, we should get a battery pack, and a battery tray that holds 3 or 4 AA's. Both fit into the same slot. The battery pack has leads on the bottom for charging in the dock, the AA tray does not. So even if you "accidently" install the AA's tray and then drop it in the charger, nothing happens.

Your happy! I'm happy! And Whistler will sell 1000's more scanners because they are now known as the best company with the most features! :D


No matter how the manufacturers do it, somebody is going to be upset and unhappy. So I imagine we're stuck with charging AA batteries externally for the time being.
See above, we will ALL be happy. :D
 
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