Batteries

Last week I spent a couple of hours after returning the HK Sub to G1 Bryanston, testing and throwing away dead batteries, obviously a skill that no one else seems to have… so here are some tips on dealing with batteries in wireless mics:

  1. The debate rages: ‘Rechargeable vs non-rechargeable’
    In my experience in the way we run church, rechargeables don’t work because: 1. they don’t hold a charge when not in use and 2. they take hours to recharge, so you can’t rock up on Sunday morning for setup, find the batteries dead and ‘quickly’ charge them before the service.
    So my advice, and our practice is to use good alkaline batteries like Duracell® or Energizer®;
  2. Don’t trust the battery meter on the mic! If you haven’t just put in fresh batteries, test them properly to see if they are ‘good’
    Here is how I do it:
    With a Multi-meter, check the voltage of each battery:
    -Turn the selector to DC volts

    -Touch the terminals on the battery (Don’t worry if you use them the wrong way round, it will just show the volts in the negative, but rather put the red one onto the positive of the battery and the black one on the negative) If you are really struggling with this, check out this clip

    -Read the voltage level on the display. If the voltage is below 1.3V for an AA or 7.8V for a PP3 then the battery is no good, now here is the important tip! Dispose of this battery immediately. It is extremely annoying to open up the ‘sound’ box and find a dozen batteries in it, that you just don’t know whether they are good or bad?!!

  3. Don’t use different brands, or mix old and new batteries in the same mic, unless you have no other option…
  4. If you are not going to use the Mic for several weeks, then take the batteries out and store them;
  5. Keep batteries in a plastic container that prevents the terminals from shorting or touching each other, especially 9V (PP3)

Most wireless mics should last about 7 or 8 hours on a fresh set of good batteries, so unless money is nothing to you, don’t change the batteries for every service, they should be good for at least 4 services if the mic isn’t left on in between. Many of these mics have a way of displaying the battery state on the receiver, as well as the transmitter (mic). I’ve found that you have about 10mins before the mic will die completely once the low battery light shows on the Shure SLX and PGX range that we use at GodFirst. Check the user manual of your mic to see if/how the receiver displays the battery status.

Lastly, a word to the actual users of wireless microphones!

Almost all wireless mics take a few seconds to start working after you turn them on, so don’t hit the power button, start talking/singing into the thing, and then glare at the sound guy coz your channel isn’t on, it probably is, and the mic just hasn’t started working yet! Turn the mic on, at least 5 seconds before you need to use it!

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