I’m a bit of a battery snob – I like having backup power & the option to take my equipment wherever I choose. You no longer have to be glued to the shack in fear of carrying that beast of an SLA (Sealed Lead Acid) battery around with you anywhere you go! Battery technology has been quickly evolving – just take a look at the advent of electric cars these days! I was turned onto a company called Bioenno Power – which I’ve mentioned a few times in previous posts – but never took the opportunity to discuss such a great product – and great company!
I’ve been using Bioenno’s 9aH LiFePO4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate) for over a year now with great success – even to power my 100 watt rig (dialed down a bit)! Initially it started out as my Elecraft KX3 battery – it lasted FOREVER with the KX3 – granted not so long on a 100 watt rig – but a little power pack being able to handle 18 amps of discharge (20 amp peak for 2 seconds) that’s this small? Sign me up!
Bioenno has geared some of their lineup specifically towards the ham radio community – how cool is that? They also show up to hamfests all around the country & answer all kinds of questions from folks seeking this kind of power option. Don’t be afraid to take that 100 watt setup portable! I see so many hams concentrating on QRP rigs & trying to keep the weight down – maybe I’m just used to carrying the typical heavy military man-pack radio’s from the Army, but with the new advances in batteries – I would never hesitate to carry a 100 watt radio with me portable now. Which is why I went a step further and obtained Bioenno’s entry level battery for a 100 watt rig, their 20aH LifePO4 battery:
Bioenno Power informed me that this battery would provide ‘approximately’ 10 hours of operating time – assuming an average 20% Transmit/80% Receive operating profile for a 100 watt setup. I wanted to be able to power my TS-480SAT or TS-590SG from the field with a battery that wasn’t too heavy – and this one fit the bill perfectly. I was considering the 30aH to be honest – but considering I’ve never even came close to using the entire capacity of my 9aH even on QRP levels – I went with the 20aH to keep weight at an acceptable level for hiking even the most extreme of heights. The 30aH would have added another 3 pounds – not bad though. Want to take an SLA that’s capable of the same thing this battery is? Double your weight immediately – if not more… IMHO SLA batteries will soon become a thing of the past. I have a few left hanging around for backup purposes – but after their service life – I’ll probably never purchase another!
A great company to deal with and a great product! I priced these batteries locally from a company here in Austin, TX, the only difference was the type of enclosure used for the battery – and the cost was phenomenal, over $600ish for something that would have been close to their 20aH battery w/ charger. Safety is also paramount when transporting batteries – & LiFePo4 batteries are extremely safe when compared to even it’s immediate predecessor, the Li-Ion battery – just take a look at the FAA’s battery incident chart if you don’t believe me :).
Longer life…. less voltage drop… less weight… what’s not to like about LiFePO4? If you say price – immediately yes – but in the long run – the LiFePO4 works out to be the winner. Now that the Spring Equinox has passed – and the weather is warming up – the 20aH will be put to the test.
Just my .02 on this great company – Bioenno.