Battery Question for Newbie

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lars128

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After looking into fixing my Pro-90 and seeing what else is out there, I'm considering picking up an additional scanner. I'm looking an older non-trunking scanner and setting it up for AAR frequencies for train watching. Because I often will walk to a location and stay for a few hours, batter life is important to me. However, I'm unsure of what most of the battery options are.

It seems the Pro-90 with the separate battery pack is in the minority. I like this system - It held a charge well and I replaced the battery pack once for about $15. Looking at a bunch of specifications I see a lot of AA/rechargeable setups, with some that use different voltages. How do these work? How do they compare with the Pro-90 pack? Can I (or would I want to) convert a scanner to a separate battery pack?
 

LEH

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I've had radios with the battery pack and overall though they were okay, I much prefer the newer approach where I can insert individual batteries.

Would I recommend trying to adapt to a battery pack, no that is unless you are really good with soldering and running wires in small confined areas not designed for extra material.

Now some radios (most of the GRE's) have a battery (actually usually two) cases for holding the batteries. One is usually for rechargeable batteries and the other for non rechargeable batteries (though you can put rechargeable batteries in it, you just cannot charge them with that particular case). The case is removable to make removing and replacing the batteries much easier.

Most of the newer NiMH batteries offer very good performance in a scanner. I'd stick with those rated between 2000 and 2500 MaH (there are some higher capacity out there, but they are getting mixed reviews as to actual rating, longevity and life span). Buy an extra set with an external charger. That way you can have one set charging and the other scanning.

One of the current better NiMh batteries out on the market are Sanyo's Enoloop (white with blue lettering). These hold a charge for a fairly long time if they aren't being used and still have a 2000+ MaH rating. Wal-Mart (at least in my area) were selling a four pack of AA's with a charger for like 20 - 25 dollars (forget as I already had some).

Don't get one of the rapid chargers. They are nice in that they charge your battery in 15 minutes, but the run the cell life down doing it (too many steroids).

You should also search through this forum as there have been some fairly recent battery info and charger posts.
 

lars128

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Thanks for the help. When looking at getting an older scanner for my rail-only scanning, do I need to pay attention to which ones take AA rechargeables or will they work with all relatively newer scanners (say a Pro 51 or newer)? Will all scanner models allow me to plug into my car's power outlet and a DC adapter and charge the batteries?
 

LEH

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Thanks for the help. When looking at getting an older scanner for my rail-only scanning, do I need to pay attention to which ones take AA rechargeables or will they work with all relatively newer scanners (say a Pro 51 or newer)? Will all scanner models allow me to plug into my car's power outlet and a DC adapter and charge the batteries?
Most newer scanners will take rechargeable batteries. Go with NiMH (nickel metal hydride) over NiCad. NiMH provides better performance and has fewer issues in the long run. For scanners like the PRO 96/97 or PSR 500, make sure you use the yellow charging holder and not the black holder. Do be advised that NiMH do require a higher charge rate than NiCads, but the trade off is worth it.

You can charge with any appropriate charger. Just make sure the voltage, current rating and polarity of the charger are correct. The Uniden 396 will not charge if the voltage (and possible current) are not correct. It will actually display an error message (nice).
 
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