How does the internal battery work?
The internal battery is a Lithium-ion polymer with 1000mAh nominal capacity. This is the same battery technology used in cell phones and modern laptops and tablet computers.
The power switch is a true hard switch that connects the battery when in ON position or fully disconnect it in the OFF position. As the battery is fully disconnected in the OFF position, you can keep your RF Explorer stored for months and the battery will keep the charge intact, as opposed to cell phones or laptops which uses a soft switch which slowly discharge the battery by drawing a few microamperes continuously from it. This doesn't happen in your RF Explorer.
We designed RF Explorer power circuitry in a way you can always have your RF Explorer ready to use!
Note there is actually a self discharge effect in the battery but it is so negligible that you can store your device for a year or more and a battery will not be depleted.
Never charge your device unattended or in any place where there is a risk of fire.
Never store RF Explorer in a place where temperature may go beyond 50ºC (122F). A car can heat up incredibly quickly in the sun, especially in the summer, and damage or reduce the lifetime of your battery if stored in such an environment.
If you manipulate RF Explorer to assemble an Expansion Module, always proceed very carefully with the Lithium Ion battery and make sure it is not punctured, damaged or inflated in any way. A healthy battery is a flat rectangle with no signs of any deformation. If you have any doubt, please take a picture of your unit and send it to us for further help.
If your battery doesn't seem to hold a charge or work properly, or if the unit gets hot when charging, switch the power button OFF immediately and review and/or replace your battery.
How do I charge the internal battery?
You charge it by plugging it in to a powered USB port or USB wall-wart charger via the USB mini socket. For the internal charger to access the battery, you must set the power switch to ON position, otherwise the device will be running but will not use the battery at all nor charge it.
RF Explorer may draw up to 500mA according to USB standard, and may take up to 3hs max to charge a fully discharged battery in normal conditions. We recommend the first time to be charged for up to 8hs.
Note: Some USB cables designed for some cell phones brands include incompatible, internal resistors design to identify them as proprietary and will not work fine with RF Explorer or other USB devices. They may not charge RF Explorer correctly. If you need a standard USB cable, please get one from our distributors or from any local or online shop. Just any normal, non proprietary Mini-USB connector cable will work with your RF Explorer device.
There is no risk on having the battery connected forever to the USB port, the internal charger will stop and start the charge when needed.
If your USB port is unpowered it may not be capable of delivering more than 100mA; the battery may not be charged at all. If you have no other option available than a 100mA USB port, set the LCD backlight to OFF in the OPTIONS MENU and keep charging for as long as needed (it may take up to 24hs in these conditions so you should use a powered USB port whenever possible).
What if my battery was fully depleted?
The firmware includes a protection mechanism to shutdown everything if the battery goes too low, in the range of 3.3V or less. However, this will still keep drawing about 1mA from the battery so if you keep the power switch to ON forever the battery will be depleted to a safe 3V level where battery protection circuitry will reduce the leakage to about 50uA.
In any case, the internal battery charger will take care of the battery conditions once it gets powered back from the USB and will charge the battery using an internal efficient algorithm. However for that to work properly when the battery was fully depleted, you should set the LCD backlight to OFF in the OPTIONS MENU and keep charging for as long as needed, it may take up to 8hs for the battery to be revived and fully charged.
Can I replace my battery?
If your battery is dead or no longer holding a good charge, you can easily replace it. Check this replacement product from SeeedStudio.
Improvements added in firmware v1.08 and higher
Starting with this firmware version, RF Explorer adds two new features to improve the management of battery charge time.
When connected to a PC or a USB charger, the unit will automatically go to sleep and switch the backlight off if you set it on the Splash Screen and put the power switch to ON.
For more info please check the Release Notes firmware document.
In addition to this, there is now an option for the RF Explorer device to automatically switch the screen completely OFF when running RF Explorer for Windows.