Two-Way Radio Battery Glossary – Terms and Definitions

Welcome to Battery 101. Two-Way Radio batteries have a lot of technical terms that can leave you confused.

We’ve compiled a list of terms and their definitions to help you better understand what everything means.


According to Google, a battery is a container consisting of one or more cells, in which chemical energy is converted into electricity and used as a source of power.

The battery pack is typically found on the back of a device and is removable to charge or replace.



Capacity is defined as how long a battery will operate before needing to be recharged. The higher the capacity the longer the run time. This will differ among the type of batteries.



A charger is an electrical device that recharges a battery.  A charger consists of slots that you can insert the battery into to start the recharge process. Charging a battery can take about 4-6 hours to fully charge.


Charge Cycles or Cycle Life

A charge cycle resembles a complete charge and recharge. Every time you drain a battery of power and recharge it, that is considered a cycle.

For example, if a battery has a charge cycle of 500. This means it can be completely drained and recharged 500 times before it no longer charges.

Typically, a battery will last around 18-24 months.



The chemistry on a battery determines the components it’s made from and how well and long a battery is going to perform.

Chemistries include Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-Mh), Lithium-Ion (Li+), and Lithium-Polymer (Li-Po).

Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of each chemistry.


Intrinsically Safe

The technical term for Intrinsically safe means a device that does not release sufficient electrical or thermal that could cause ignition. In other words, equipment must be intrinsically safe if used in a hazardous environment where flammable gases, vapors, or liquids exist to limit the possibility of an explosion.

Firefighters are known to use intrinsically safe equipment because of their hazardous environment.


Mah (Mil Amp Hours)

MilliAmp Hours, or Mah for short, shows how much current a battery will discharge over one hour or its storage capacity. The higher the MilliAmp hour, the longer the battery's run time or capacity.

For example, a 1400 mah battery will maintain a 1.4-amp discharge per hour before being considered discharged.


Memory Effect

Memory effect or battery memory happens when a battery is consistently being charged without completely depleting its energy. In other terms, your battery remembers each charge cycle. If you charge your battery at 40%, your battery will remember this charge cycle, and won’t bring it back to a full charge next time.

This will result in decreased battery life and a shorter operating time. Lithium Polymer batteries do not have a memory effect.

If you notice your battery does have a memory effect, placing your battery on a reconditioning charger will help fix the memory effect. Learn more about reconditioning two-way radio batteries here.


Motorola Impres Technology

IMPRES is Motorola's technology that automatically runs maintenance and reconditions batteries when charged with IMPRES chargers.

IMPRES reduces the amount of work you have to do with tracking your battery use. All you need to do is place the battery in the charger and remove the battery when done.

Primary Battery

A primary battery is non-rechargeable. Most of these are Alkaline batteries such as AA, AAA, 9-Volt, D-Cell, and C-Cell batteries.

Non-rechargeable batteries have a long shelf life for storage and are great to use during power outages, natural disasters, and remote locations, where charging may not be accessible.



Reconditioning a two-way radio battery is a process where a rechargeable battery undergoes several “reconditioning” cycles to bring the battery back to a better capacity and reset its memory effect.


Secondary Battery

A secondary battery is rechargeable and can be charged and recharged many times. NiMH, NiCad, Li-Po, Lithium-Ion, are considered rechargeable.


Shelf Life

This determines how long a battery can sit on a shelf before “going bad” and need to be recharged again. For example, a battery with a 10-year shelf life, when stored in the optimal temperature and environment, will store for up to 10 years before needing to be recharged.


Smart Battery

Smart batteries are designed to help extend the performance of your two-way radio batteries compared to a normal battery. A smart battery is designed with better components and intelligent technology to automatically recondition batteries when needed, extending its life.



Battery voltage is the amount of electrical potential, measured in volts. The Volt may be different on all batteries depending on size and construction.

For example, a voltage can be labeled as 4.3V.


Waveband Communications is a two-way radio accessories manufacturer for major radio models including Motorola, Kenwood, Harris, BK Technologies, and more. Find durable, long-lasting, two-way radio batteries to keep your radio running all day long. Shop now or speak to one of our knowledgeable staff at 800-806-1076 to find the right solution for you.


Have any more questions on a term that wasn’t gone over in this article? Drop it in the comments below!

Taylor Thomas is a Marketing Manager at Waveband Communications. With her experience in critical communications, she helped public safety clients enhance their team communication through the help of two-way radio accessories.

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