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SoldierMod Volume 17 | May 2016 LinkedIn | click for more
Volume 17 Articles

Bren-Tronics logo Reducing Weight
for Soldiers - Rechargeable Batteries
and Solar Solutions

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The weight burden for today’s warfighter is higher than ever. Depending on the mission length, they may be carrying up to 40 kg (88 lb) of equipment along with the batteries that power them. Different studies show that, depending on their role in the unit, a modern soldier will carry about 15 kg (33 lb) of rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries for a 36-hour mission.

When dismounted from a vehicle, they cannot afford to run out of power for communications, weapon controls, night vision, etc. so they carry not only what is needed for the mission but extra batteries as well “just in case.” Additionally, the use of primary or one-time use batteries is still very high and a warfighter will always take brand new batteries on each mission, even if they didn’t used them on the prior mission, as well spares “just in case.”

Today, we see original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s) modifying their equipment to require less energy less energy and looking towards rechargeable batteries as a solution for the future.

Bren-Tronics was the first company to design a military Li-Ion rechargeable battery for the US Army in 1995. Today there are more than 80,000 batteries manufactured each year.

How can we continue to reduce the weight burden
for dismounted warfighters?

Soldiers still have to carry AA-batteries due to the variety of fielded military equipment powered by them. With their rechargeable batteries, they can recharge them in the field, thus lowering their weight burden by lowering the number of spare primary batteries they can leave behind.

The need for alternative sources of energy and
capacitive rechargeable batteries

Bren-Tronics has developed a series of dedicated chargers that use multiple sources of energy such as rugged and flexible 60W solar panels, DC power from a vehicle cigarette-lighter socket, 24V vehicle power or can harvest/scavenge energy from other batteries to charge the standard military batteries such as BB-2590, ALI-142, ALI-143 and Sophie.

Each charger has an integrated charge controller built-in so that the solar energy or any other source is properly treated and charges safely the dedicated rechargeable Lithium-ion battery. The total weight of such equipment is less than 2 kg (4 lb) and will charge 1 to 2 batteries within 3-5 hours. Charging is monitored by the charge-controller embedded and the cells are balanced at all times.

In the event of an emergency evacuation, all equipment can be folded and stowed rapidly. It’s also important to note that a partially charged batteries is still of great use to the warfighter, so charging it even for a short time can mean the difference between calling in a strike or not.

Bren-Tronics is proud to do our part to help reduce the soldier’s weight burden with innovative batteries and field proven chargers with the ability to draw power from universal sources of energy including our biggest free resource, solar energy.

As always, “Running out of power is definitely not an option.”

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