A new item arrived on my doorstep this week.
Brewer 3D Design (hyperlink), a seller on Etsy.com, has created a few accessories for this rugged and capable radio including screen covers and caps for the connectors. They recently added a battery pack for the radio that makes using it in the field that much more convenient.
From their posting:
While the world waits patiently for the OEM battery pack from Lab599, I decided to build my own based on their initial renderings.Brewer 3D Designs
So what did I get in the mail today?
I received a well designed, 3D printed (in ABS) battery pack that mounts via the included hardware directly to the back of the radio.
Also in the box is a 3D printed radio stand that tilts the radio back into a comfortable operating position, and a hang tag that lists a serial number (mine is 0006 which I assume means that this is the 6th one sold) and thank you note from the seller, and two (spare I assume) magnetic connectors that align to the connections on the back of the radio.
The specs as noted by the seller are:
- 4000 mAh capacity
- 9-12.6 volts
- Li-Ion polymer cells (PL-605060-2C)
- 3S2P configuration
- Included BMS
- 5.5mmx2.1mm charging jack
Mounting the battery pack requires the removal of the 4 rubberized feet on the back of the radio which exposes 4 tapped holes which are there for future accessories. Installation is simple – use the 4 included screws to attach the battery pack to the radio via the now exposed holes. Make sure that you align the connections properly. They are magnetic so you will feel a slight attraction as they line up.
Note that no instructions are provided with the radio, but mounting and operation is quite straightforward. For the switch, one direction enables power to the radio while the other allows for charging. HINT: sliding the switch towards the center of the pack powers the radio. Towards the outside is for charging.
Also note that installing the battery pack makes the built-in tilt legs non-operable – they are blocked by the battery pack. That is what the included stand is for.
Measuring the pack with my cheap calipers, I get the following measurements:
- 17.1mm thick (top to bottom), compared to 21mm for the radio itself
- 79.5mm wide, compared to 90.5mm for the radio
- 197mm long, compared to 205mm for the radio (not including the connections in the measurement)
Attaching the pack almost doubles the thickness of the radio itself, but doesn’t add any additional width or length.
The print resolution seems to be quite fine, with all layers uniform and no visible separation or flaws that would affect durability or longevity. The lines and edges are smooth. All parts mate up uniformly and without gaps.
The case is held together with screws that are connected to threaded inserts in the ABS – no direct screw to plastic contact. Nicely done!
On the inside, this is what you’ll find:
The BMS appears to be this one on Amazon (hyperlink), or at least something similar.
Specs from that listing are:
- 3 strings: 3 18650 batteries or polymer lithium batteries in series
- Polymer battery rated voltage: 10.8V
- Rated voltage of 18650 or 3.7V lithium battery: 11.1V
- Maximum discharge current limit: 10A
- Maximum working current: 5-8A
Upon full charge the battery bank should have about 12.6 volts.
KB7MBD at Brewer 3D Design has created an extremely well thought-out design and has implemented it quite well. The design is a good balance between utility and matching of the TX-500’s aesthetics. I haven’t had enough time yet to determine how the battery holds up, however I am convinced that the capacity (about what I normally carry outside) combined with the convenience will mean that this is a power pack that I can use for multiple POTA activations. Further testing will be required which I guess means more time playing radio.
I also need more time to determine if the BMS is RF quiet or not – I don’t foresee any issues there but is always a concern with anything electrical that is attached to our radios.
At the end of the day, it is exactly what it is advertised to be; namely a rechargeable battery pack that fits the TX-500 like an OEM accessory.
The pack can be purchased via their Etsy site, though availability determines whether it shows up in their listings or not. Also for anyone outside of the US, at the time of this writing the seller offers a “kit” version that doesn’t include the battery cells themselves.
Expect a follow up after some field time!
UPDATE – 2022/03/11
After posting this I started to receive multiple inquiries about the availability of this product in the vendor’s store. I should point out that I have no affiliation with the vendor, and therefore have no visibility into whether it is available or not at any given time.
My working assumption is that like many vendors on Etsy, items only appear as they are available and ready for purchase.
You can see the vendor’s shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/brewer3Ddesign
There is contact information there which you can use to reach out and verify availability.
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