Battery chemistry degrades after 24 months of use and can affect radio performance. Many intermittent radio problems are solved with a fresh battery. In this article we will show you how to check the age of your batteries and recommend the best replacement for the most popular Motorola radios.
How to Check a Motorola Battery Date Code
All Motorola batteries have a 4 digit date code on the battery label. The first 2 digits indicate the year manufactured and the second two digits identify the week. Check the date codes on your Motorola batteries to determine if you are ready for replacements.
The date code on this example is highlighted in yellow. The date code, 1401, indicates 2014 and the first week of the year. Most IMPRES batteries carry an 18 month warranty to hold 80% of the capacity. In this example, the capacity is 1900 mAh. As capacity degrades, so does output power and talk time. You may find radios start to perform poorly at the end of the shift.
Most Popular Motorola “Proven Tough” Radio Batteries
The second generation IMPRES 2 PMNN4486 is our favorite for the APX 6000 and APX 7000 radios because it packs 3,400 mAh capacity in a small housing. For those who need maximum battery life, the IMPRES 2 PMNN4487 with 4,850 mAh is the best choice. All IMPRES 2 batteries have an improved 24 month warranty.
The APX 4000 standard battery is the 1900 mAh NNTN8128 but we like the high-capacity 2,700 mAh PMMN4448.
The IMPRES HNN4001 has 1,900 mAh capacity and automatic reconditioning technology when used with an IMPRES charger. It is compatible with HT750, HT1250, HT1550, and PR860 model radios.
We also carry Vertex Standard OEM and Power Products batteries for Kenwood, HYT, Harris, Tait, Icom, and many other brands. Visit our online battery catalog and our online store for audio accessories, chargers, and carrying cases.
Motorola APX XE vs. APX XE500 RSM Feature Comparison
Motorola’s IMPRES XE rugged remote speaker-microphone (RSM) choices for extreme environments are designed for firefighters with APX 6000XE, APX 7000XE, and APX 8000XE P25 radios. Available in black or high visibility green, they have a strobe light, orange emergency button, and clip with D-ring.
Motorola APX XE and APX XE500 Shared Features
Both the XE and XE-500 are rated IP68 for submersibility and carry an intrinsically-safe rating to match the APX radio certification. Both have a large volume toggle switch and are 50% louder than a XTS RSM. There is a reflective label on both styles for increased visibility. The APX XE was introduced about 5 years ago and is available in green (NNTN8575A) and black (NNTN8575ABLK).
New APX XE500 Feature Improvements
The XE500 started shipping last year with additional features. It has a channel knob and larger emergency button with embedded orange lighting. Noise suppression is improved and can pickup your voice when you can’t hear yourself talking. The heat resistant cable can withstand 500 degrees for 5 minutes without harm.
The XE500 is intrinsically safe rated for UL-TIA4950 but does not have a FM certification. If your department uses intrinsically-safe APX radios, check to determine if you need FM or UL certified accessories. They are not interchangeable.
Motorola Solutions recently started shipping IMPRES 2 batteries for the APX 6000, APX 7000, and APX 8000 series radios. The new IMPRES 2 batteries are Li-ion chemistry and are more rugged with a IP68 submersibility rating. Battery capacity ratings are larger too but Motorola changed to “typical” from “minimum” that may not result in better performance. There are 3 housing sizes and all IMPRES 2 batteries include a 24 month capacity warranty when used with an IMPRES charger.The PMNN4485, PMNN4486, PMNN4487, and PMNN4494 outlined in blue above are not IS (intrinsically-safe) and can be used with APX 8000, 7000, and 6000. The NNTN8930 and NNTN8921 outlined in yellow are IS (Div 1 & 2) for only APX 6000, 7000. The PMNN4504 and PMNN4505 outlined in red are designed for APX8000XE IS radios for Division 2 only.
New APX IMPRES 2 Chargers Include USB Charging Ports
Motorola has introduced new IMPRES 2 chargers for the new APX batteries. The NNTN8860 single unit AC charger is more energy efficient and includes two USB charging ports. There is a switch to disable the condition/calibration features when needed.
There is also a multi-unit NNTN8844 charger that has six APX radio pockets and six more USB charging ports. Each pocket also has a display for reading battery data. This charger is designed for long term battery storage and has a switch for maintaining batteries at 50% and 75% capacity levels. The first pocket provides additional battery data including IMPRES vs. non- IMPRES charge cycles, potential, rated, and initial capacity.
Proper IMPRES Battery Care Starts With Initialization
A Motorola IMPRES battery must be initialized by an IMPRES charger the first time it is charged. This process is indicated by a STEADY YELLOW light on the charger indicator (the same as if the battery were reconditioning). The process is automatic, includes an initial reconditioning of the battery, and begins charging upon completion of this process.
This process requires approximately 12 hours depending on the capacity. Do not remove the battery from the charger until the STEADY GREEN light is on.
IMPRES Indicator Light Chart with Explanations
IMPRES Automatic Battery Conditioning
Motorola IMPRES Adaptive Chargers, when used in conjunction with a Motorola IMPRES battery, have the ability to determine the appropriate time to recondition the battery. When an IMPRES battery is properly inserted into the charger, the charger determines if it is appropriate to recondition the battery. If the battery needs reconditioning, the charger automatically indicates a STEADY YELLOW.
This process may take up to 12 hours to complete, depending upon the state of charge and capacity rating of the battery when it is inserted. It is important to note, for this process to be effective, the IMPRES battery must be allowed to complete the recondition/recharge process. Leave the battery in the charger until the charger indicates a STEADY GREEN. At the completion of the recondition cycle, the charger automatically recharges the IMPRES battery.
How to Terminate the IMPRES Conditioning Process
At any time during the reconditioning process of a Motorola IMPRES battery (STEADY YELLOW indication), reconditioning may be terminated by removing and reinserting the battery back into the charger within 5 seconds. This causes the charger to terminate the reconditioning process and begin the charging process. The charger indicator changes to a STEADY RED. The charger will attempt to recondition the battery at the next battery insertion.
Manually Initiating the IMPRES Reconditioning Process
Within 2-1/2 minutes of the initial insertion of an IMPRES battery (STEADY RED indication), remove and reinsert the battery within 5 seconds to manually force reconditioning to occur. The charger indicator changes from a STEADY RED to a STEADY YELLOW. This forces the charger to recondition and automatically recharge the battery. This is a useful feature to have when IMPRES batteries have been in storage for several months or longer. Two or three manual recondition cycles may be required to rejuvenate the batteries, due to long term storage conditions.
What is different between Li-ion and Li-Polymer Batteries?
We have received several inquiries about the newest battery technology, Li-Po, that is now available for 2-way radios. Historically, NiMH was an improvement as compared to NiCD and Li-ion has many advantages over NiMH. The assumption that Li-Po is now the best battery for your radio is more marketing than anything else.
Li-Po or Lithium Polymer battery cells still use the same chemical material as Li-ion but the difference is the way they are packaged. Li-ion batteries use a thick-walled, rigid aluminum case for the cells and Li-Po utilizes a new thinner foil aluminum case. Bottom line is the difference is all in the cell construction.
Both Li-ion and Li-Po are Recommended But Check the Specs
Li-Po battery manufactures must add a more rugged case to meet the mission-critical specs required for two-way radio specifications. When comparing Li-ion and Li-Po batteries the following should be considered:
Battery capacity measured in mAh – The higher the mAh number the longer your battery will work before needing a recharge. When comparing specs be careful when you see the words “typical” or “average” and not “minimum” or “rated”. Our experience is there can be a big difference in actual results.
IMPRES or Advanced Charging Technology – “Smart battery” automatic conditioning improves performance and keeps them in service longer.
Drop Specification – Dropping the radio is probably the most common reason why batteries fail. Most Motorola mission-critical batteries are rated at 36 drops from 5 feet to a concrete floor.
IP (Ingress Protection) Rating – Higher IP numbers are better and signify the ruggedness of the battery. The first number references solids and the second number signifies liquid protection. The highest solid number is “6” (dust tight) and the highest liquid is “8” (submersibility beyond 1 meter).
Overvoltage protection circuit – Better batteries have 2 levels, some have 1, and lower cost batteries may not include have protection at all.
Temperature Range – Extreme cold affects Lithium battery performance and the spec should be investigated if your environment is outside “normal”.
Intrinsically-Safe Rating – FM Approval is important if you use your radio in hazardous, combustible atmospheres where an electrical spark could cause an explosion.
Motorola Solutions radio batteries purchased after 7/1/2012 now carry a warranty against defects in manufacturing or workmanship for 48 months.
This change applies for both IMPRES batteries with automatic reconditioning and non-IMPRES battery types.
Every Motorola Original battery is shipped with a 3 or 4 digit date code for warranty purposes. Motorola will replace any two-way radio battery that falls below 80% of rated capacity during the warranty period. Warranty depends on battery chemistry type (NiCD, NiMH, Li-ion) and if the battery has IMPRES automatic conditioning capability.
The date code is located on the label of the battery. The first digit represents the year and the second two digits are the week of manufacture. A battery with a date code of 926 indicates it was manufactured in the 26th week of 2009. It would have a minimum warranty until the 26th week of 2010. At times we see new batteries with date codes in the future by a few weeks.
4 Year Workmanship Warranty
There is a 48 month workmanship warranty on any Motorola Premium or IMPRES battery that displays any of the defects below:
Shifting cells that affect operation
Cracked case without physical abuse
Contacts showing corrosion or pitting
Battery clip breakage without physical abuse
Battery that does not fit in radio or charger properly