Standard Horizon HX300 battery life

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Chris Bolton
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Standard Horizon HX300 battery life

Post by Chris Bolton » Fri Sep 06, 2019 10:05 pm

I have a Standard Horizon VHF and have been quite happy with it. The battery life seems good, based on the indicator on the screen - but I've discovered a problem. Having been on 7 day trip, and perhaps had it on standby for half the time I was on the water, the battery still appeared to be fully charged. I called the coastguard to tell them we we're safely ashore at the end of the trip, and they told me my transmission was very weak and there were unable to follow it. Then I spotted that when I released the transmit key, the battery showed flat for several seconds, before being restored to full.

I entirely understand that a partially charged battery will suffer much greater voltage drop on a high drain activity like transmission, compared to standby; my concern is that the battery level display is not sensitive enough to detect that the charge level is actually below that required to transmit. Is this unique to my radio, to the HX300, to SH or to all Lithium cells?

PlymouthDamo
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Re: Standard Horizon HX300 battery life

Post by PlymouthDamo » Sat Sep 07, 2019 1:24 am

I've got a Standard Horizon HX280e and an Icom M33. They both do the same, which once resulted in my radio dying on me whilst trying to tell the coastguard that the trouble we were dealing with didn't require a lifeboat... I now ignore the battery indicator and just charge it before any trip where it might be needed.

andynormancx
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Re: Standard Horizon HX300 battery life

Post by andynormancx » Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:40 am

It is true that it is harder to estimate the remaining charge in lithium cells than some other battery chemistries. The problem is that the discharge curve is much flatter, in other chemistries the voltage drops much more as the battery depletes.

In devices like laptops and phone the remaining charge is estimated by measuring the amount of energy being taken from the battery over time, leading to reasonably accurate estimates. I suspect our VHFs radios and their batteries are not doing this.

So yes, charge it every time (I mostly do, but need to be more careful to).

Chris Bolton
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Re: Standard Horizon HX300 battery life

Post by Chris Bolton » Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:56 am

Thanks for the input. I do charge it every time I leave home, but not when I'm away from mains power. Since it was reporting a good charge, on a trip away I've saved the power bank for charging things that reported a loss of charge. I'll just need to either get another power bank or not keep a listening watch.

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