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NEWS | Dec. 13, 2021

Commo Batteries: Tips for Ensuring Peak Performance

Battery in SINCGARS class
Photo Courtesy of 103rd Public Affairs Detachment
Without batteries to power them, many of your radios and electronics are just lifeless heaps of metal, plastic and wire. That’s why it pays to be battery-smart. Here are a few points to ponder:
  • Don’t hoard batteries. If you’re the kind who usually stockpiles supplies, change your ways: Set a limit to the number of batteries you order. Have enough on hand to fill your unit’s battery needs—no more, no less. You see, batteries need to be used in equipment. Left lying around too long, they begin to lose their power. So, rotate your stock. First in, first out.
  • Determine your unit’s battery needs. Use CECOM’s Power Optimizer for the Warfighter’s Energy Requirements (POWER). It’s a Microsoft® Excel-based application that helps you manage battery supplies and enables you to better estimate your battery needs. It’s a simple, step-by-step process in which you are asked a series of questions about device usage.
POWER program graphic
POWER takes user input to make specific recommendations
After each step, relevant information is presented to assist you in making the proper choices with regards to battery type, frequency of changing the battery, etc. After making your final choices, you can save the information by automatically adding it to a spreadsheet.

To sum it up, here’s what POWER can do for you:
  1. Present battery options for your equipment.
  2. Figure out a battery’s run time based on surrounding temperature.
  3. Estimate how many batteries you need to support your mission.
Get POWER by emailing Ari Herman at DEVCOM RTI:

Or get it from the PS milSuite site (CAC required) at: 
  • Protect batteries from temperature extremes. High temperatures drain the life out of batteries. They cause loss of capacity. Capacity is the amount of energy a battery can deliver in a single discharge (normally expressed in ampere hours).
Most commo batteries can withstand 110oF for a few days without harm. But when the temperature reaches 130oF for more than a few days, any battery can be seriously degraded. So keep batteries cool during storage to preserve their shelf-life. And never store them in a closed, unventilated shelter, CONEX or MILVAN in the summer. That’s when temperatures soar inside these containers.
  • Store batteries in a climate-controlled area at least several hours prior to cold weather operations. Batteries won’t last as long when they are very cold. (Don’t place them directly next to a heat source to warm them up!) If possible, keep spare batteries inside your jacket so they get some heat from your body.
  • Keep batteries in their original packaging while in storage. The packaging:
    • identifies batteries by stock number, lot number, manufacturer and type
    • helps prevent damage from high humidity or dryness
    • protects against crushing, puncturing and shorting
    • contains battery leaks
  • Take rechargeable batteries out of their original packaging and charge them. However, return them to their original packaging for long-term storage. Charge the batteries at least once a year from then on.
  • Report battery failures—cracks, stains, bulges, odors or leaks—on a Standard Form 368, Product Quality Deficiency Report.
  • Before you go on a mission, make sure your batteries work. Test them with a simple tester. Or run a radio/equipment check like your TM says. If you have large quantities of the same battery with the same date codes, test a small sample to make sure your batteries have power.
For more ideas on how to keep batteries performing at their peak, read SB 11-6, Communications-Electronics Batteries Supply and Management Data (Mar 17). You’ll find it on the Logistics Analysis Data Center (LDAC) Electronic Technical Manuals Online website:
  Choose the LDAC tab, then open the Publications dropdown on the left side menu and select ETM/IETM.
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