Battery Boosters

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio Systems' started by W0BTW, Nov 20, 2021.

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  1. W0BTW

    W0BTW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Does anyone have experience with either of the latest battery boosters by West Mountain Radio and MFJ? The West Mountain Radio N8XJK Super Booster and the MFJ 4416C Battery Booster. MFJ has a newer more expensive model also, but there is software evolved with it I believe. There are a few reviews of these and earlier models on the net. The possibility of a very hot mounting plate on the N8XJK has been mentioned and reliability of the solid state devices were mentioned on the 4416C. Any thoughts?

    thanks Greg
  2. AK5B

    AK5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    I used to have one of the original N8XJK units; worked OK but would generate some hash. Finally sold it and went to Bioenno LiFePo4s for clean, dependable DC power in the field and never looked back. A 20 or 30ah model is a much more worthwhile investment in my opinion. I can run 50-100 watts portable with my 30ah job and there are MPPT solar charge controllers like the Genasun that will keep things topped up w/o RFI, too.

    Hope this helps!


    K0UO likes this.
  3. W0BTW

    W0BTW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Jeff,
    thank you for your comments, they gives me somethings to think about.

    Where I am headed with all this is that I have an IC 7100 that doesn’t like the voltage drop in the wiring run in my pickup camper, or the batteries. During the day, sunny one, my MPPT solar charger keeps the voltage up, but of course clobbers the radio with interference, so I will definitely check out the Gensun. At night the voltage drop in 8-10 feet of #10 and aging AGM battery’s cause the IC 7100 to drop out. On the camper’s form I see some folks have changed to lithium batteries, quite expensive, but worth looking into as my AGM’s are aging. It would be interesting to see what kind of a voltage curve lithium batteries would have on discharge compared to AGM’s. I’m sure more than you wanted to know, but thank you for giving me some more things to think about.
    Cheers. Greg
    AK5B likes this.
  4. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Battery boosters provide a good way to abuse a battery.
    K3RW and AK5B like this.
  5. KV6O

    KV6O Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is true. Check your connections, avoid using power distribution panels. 10' of 10 AWG @ 20A will cause a 1/2 volt drop at 12V. If your battery is bad, that's what needs fixing. If your connections are bad, that's what needs fixing. Bigger wire will have less of a drop. Lower your power out.

    The booster will make things better for your rig for a short period of time, as it makes things worse for your battery.
    AK5B likes this.
  6. K2WPM

    K2WPM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    KA9JLM likes this.
  7. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    It is hard to tell the charge level of a Lithium battery by measuring voltage, Unlike lead acid.

    Many good chargers will go by load and time in service since last full charge, To determine when the battery needs recharging.

    When near dead a Lithium will die quick. It is best to charge them when there is >20% left, Or they can suffer permanent damage.

    I do not like a fast charger, I can wait instead of buying a new battery in a hurry. :) A spare battery may be a better idea.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2021
  8. W0BTW

    W0BTW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks everyone for your comments. The discussion of lithium batteries is quite interesting. They are amazing on my power tools. I have a Four Wheel Camper and their forum has some interesting posts on powering the camper on lithium. To get the storage capacity I need to run the entire camper on lithium is very expensive. The practicality of mixing battery types and finding room is another problem. As time goes on hopefully costs will come down and there will be more choices.

    I have some #6 wire left over from converting the camper’s factory 20’ + run of #10 from the pickup aux battery to the camper to charge the camper batteries, and will use that to feed the IC 7100 in the pickup. #10 has been a joke by the manufacturer on it’s customers for years as the voltage drop to the camper is so high it is almost impossible to charge the batteries. Despite many folks informing them including me, and many posts to their forum, the last I heard they were still using #10. I’ll put the IC 7100 on a variable voltage supply and see where it drops out and at what power level. Should be interesting. The AGM batteries are another question. If 2 are good and one a little weak and they are in parallel, what happens if I just replace the weak one. They are on their 6th year. False economy?
  9. AI5DH

    AI5DH Ham Member

    That tells you a poor job installing the radio.
  10. W0BTW

    W0BTW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Gee Dereck, you know how to hurt a guy…hi

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