Saturday, January 4, 2014

A Li-ION Battery Alternative for the Yaesu FT-60r Hand-Held Transceiver

By Joe Sammartino, N2QOJ – QCARC/QCECG, Queen Creek AZ

As most FT-60r owners should know, the standard battery that comes with the FT-60r purchase is the FNB-83b.  It is an Ni-Mh type, i.e. nickel metal hydride.  The standard matching charger (PA-44/48) for this battery is designed to ONLY charge this NI-Mh chemistry but can also handle Ni-Cad (nickel cadmium) chemistry.

Most FT-60r users quickly learn that the standard battery does not deliver much operation time under average to heavy use.  The battery is rated at 1400 mAh and 7.2 volts.  Yaesu does not offer an alternative battery as you can see from the owner’s manual excerpt below:


The FT-60r is a great handheld with its dual band features and extended receive capability.  It is a perfect fit for emergency communications and other service related use.  What is needed is a modern battery alternative that not only extends the operational use of the FT-60r but also provides additional benefits as well.

Great news!  There is now an option.  Recently, Doug, WB7TUJ, shared with us that he had located such an option.  Vertex, the Land Mobile Radio sister division of Yaesu Amateur Radio, markets several handheld models that share the physical appearance of the FT-60r.  Since the target audience for LMR is public safety, construction, transportation, etc., the power requirements are a bit more demanding.  As a result, these LMR models are usually supplied with the modern Li-ION batteries.

Here is a detailed photo of Doug’s new FNB-67VLIA battery:


One of these batteries, the FNB-67VLIA, can be substituted for the standard NiMh battery of the FT-60r.  It can provide 2000 to 2300 mAh of current at 7.2 Volts*.  Here is a picture of the battery from a couple of online sources:

From :

*You may have noticed that the example products and description actually indicate 7.2, 7.4 Volts and current ratings of 2000 mAh and 2300 mAh.  This is typical of battery sources.  Be sure to read the purchase ads very carefully and buy the best battery at the best price you can, i.e. get the best value for your money.  You are also recommended to buy Vertex branded battery to ensure you are getting exactly what it advertised regarding battery ratings.
Let’s review a few features and benefits of this Li-ION battery alternative:
·         Extended operational window - More radio time, especially if you normally operate at reduced power modes.

·         Easier battery management – Can remain in charger, battery can be returned to charger after each use.
·         Ii-ION does not develop “memory” – The “memory” effect does not apply to Li-ION chemistry as it does to NiCad or NiMh battery chemistries.

Do you need a new charger?  Yes!
As mentioned earlier, the Li-ION battery requires a charger specifically designed for it.  That means your original charger that came as a standard accessory for your FT-60r will not work and will damage itself and your Li-ION battery.  Of course, your original charger will continue to work just fine with your original NiMh battery type and is a protected investment.

Here are a couple of Li-ION charger alternatives suitable for the FNB-67VLIA battery:

From :  (Fast Charger)

From :  (looks like only for stand-alone battery)

Here is an example of both a charger and battery offering on eBay – Note it is not an authentic Vertex battery but you can make the decision on whether you want to take the chance it will be as advertised.  However, this eBay seller has a good reputation:

There is now an alternative battery for you FT-60r that can provide the extended operational time that typical emergency communications, service events, and other activities demand.
With a bit of online shopping, you should be able to source this alternative battery for a reasonable cost.

Important NoteFor those of you using vehicle battery DC power cords such as the E-DC-5B cigarette lighter adaptor cord or E-DC-6 adaptor cord with your own power connector:

The FNB-67VLIA battery will not be charged when using such a DC adapter cord.  It is not designed to be charged via the radio DC external power source.

Appendix A – Some FT-60r Manual Excerpts concerning battery installation, usage, charging, etc.

Appendix B  – Calculating Battery Life for the FT-60r
Use the following table from the FT-60r Owner’s Manual to gauge your operational time from whatever battery you may be using.  Remember, operating the radio at reduced transmit power levels adds additional time to your operating window.

Let’s calculate some expected operating times for both the standard and alternative Li-ION batteries using the above current specifications….
Using 5/5/90 standard usage and stock 1400 mAh battery in 440 MHz band:

TX: ~ 1.6 A (1600 mA), 3 min.
 RX: ~ 0.125 A (125  mA), 3 min.
 STBY: ~ .047 A (47 mA), 54 min.
Actual = 1600mA(3/60) + 125mA(3/60) +47mA(54/60)
Actual = 80mA + 6.25mA + 42.3mA
Actual = 128.55mA used in one hour

How long will the battery last?
1400mAh available / 128.55mA used = 10.89 hours

How about 50% TX and 50% RX?
Actual = 1600mA(30/60) + 125mA(30/60) =  862.5mA
1400mAh / 862.5mA = ~ 1.6 hours

Using 5/5/90 standard usage and Li-ION 2300 mAh battery in 440 MHz band:
TX: ~ 1.6 A (1600 mA), 3 min.
 RX: ~ 0.125 A (125  mA), 3 min.
 STBY: ~ .047 A (47 mA), 54 min.
Actual = 1600mA(3/60) + 125mA(3/60) +47mA(54/60)
Actual = 80mA + 6.25mA + 42.3mA
Actual = 128.55mA used in one hour

How long will the battery last?
2300 mAh available / 128.55mA used = 17.9 hours, ~ 64% more time than standard battery

How about 50% TX and 50% RX?
Actual = 1600mA(30/60) + 125mA(30/60) =  862.5mA
2300mAh / 862.5mA = ~ 2.7 hours, ~ 69% more time than standard battery

Joe Sammartino - N2QOJ - - 480.270.4563