REVIEW – Baofeng UV-5RA : 3800mAh Lithium-Ion battery option

I am a huge Baofeng UV-5R handheld radio fan! Yes, it is a Ham Radio, but it is also much, much more and I love Baofeng UV-5r handheld radiothe little radio. It is a dynamo! The radio is a great size, packed full of features, reliable, and more than anything else EXTREMELY affordable. You can read more about my review of the Baofeng UV-5R radio here < UV-5RA review >. This post is dedicated strictly to the 3800mAh Lithium-Ion battery option. And Baofeng UV-5R 3800 mAh lithium ionbatteryplease read the whole article so you know what I think of it overall. You might be surprised at the ending.

This is a “mixed” review. First, I love the idea of a battery with a more than double the ampere hour rating. Theoretically the 3800mAh battery should last 110% longer than the 1800mAh battery that is standard feature for the radio. That remains to be seen, I am still testing the life of the optional battery vs. the standard battery. Since it will take days to fully test, I will have to add that result into this article later. (The battery last for 4 days. It took 7 hours to charge it back to full life.)

But on the downside of the 3800mAh optional battery is…IT DOESN’T FIT! Yes, you read that right. I bought two of the optional longer life batteries and neither of them fit the UV-5R battery. Here is the ad headline straight of off the Amazon ad, “Tera BL 5L Extended 3800mAh 7.4V Li ion Battery for Baofeng UV 5R Radio.” In the body of the ad it reads, “This BL-5L 3800mAh 7.4V extended Li-ion battery is specially designed for Baofeng UV-5R and Pofung UV-5R radio.” They lied.

But, I have bought after-market stuff for the Baofeng radio before and I knew full well that there could be a problem Baofeng UV5-RA 3800 doesn't fitand I was willing to accept that. So I get the two batteries in, and try the first one on my GHB (Get Home Bag) radio. It doesn’t fit. But I had read the reviews on Amazon and was prepared for this, I had a good idea what the issue might be. I look the battery/radio over very carefully and knew what to do. Out comes my set of diamond files and pocket knife.

After a couple minutes of carefully eye-balling the fit I started to file and whittle. Within five minutes I have the offending plastic removed and the new battery fits the radio perfectly. I get that solid “click” indicating that the battery has slipped into place. I turned the radio on and the battery shows full charge. Note: 12-hours later the battery is still showing a full charge, even after having left it on all night on a popular local Ham frequency.

Modified Baofeng UV-5RA 3800 mAh battery

OK, so I have a double-life battery, it now fits the radio, it is already charged up, and I like the “feel” to the battery. Well, technically I like the feel to the radio with the larger, slightly heavier battery. The radio is now approximately 40% taller, about 1-5/8” taller. And I like that, just “feels” better in my hand. No, no additional thickness to the radio, the new optional battery doesn’t increase the thickness of the battery overall.

So now my plan is to work on the other battery to fit my wife’s GHB radio, another Baofeng UV-5RA. And here is where the surprise comes in…IT REALLY DOESN’T FIT!! And I can tell that no amount of “whittling” is going to make it fit. I was pissed mad.Baofeng UV5-RA 3800 mAh battery that doesn't fitSo, I get out the other radio to double check the fit. Yes, it is because I am always willing to double check myself. Some call it OCD, some call logical troubleshooting. You are free to call it whatever you wish, I just couldn’t believe it so blatantly didn’t fit. After double checking, I confirmed it didn’t even come close to fitting. Comparing the two batteries side-by-side they were not the same batteries.

Baofeng-UV5R-3800battery7aThe model was the same, the brand was the same and all the superficial markings and “look” to it were the same, but they were not the same batteries. I had no choice but to return the offending battery.

While preparing the battery for return I noticed the picture in the ad matched the battery that didn’t fit. I then did a search on other 3800mAh Li-ion batteries and found all the pictures were the same except for the style battery that DOES NOT fit the UV-5RA radio. So I am not sure what I am going to do other than return the battery that doesn’t fit. I may try to order again just to see what I get, I might get lucky and receive a battery that fits.

As of right now…DO NOT BUY THIS BATTERY if you own a Baofeng UV-5RA radio. And the is based on the fact that I have no idea that if you purchase the battery, that you will get one that will fit the UV-5RA radio. I did a lot more research on these batteries being advertised for sale. I paid a whole lot of attention to the pictures of the batteries in the ads. I think I might have found one that is correct. I’ve ordered it but it will be at least a month before it is delivered, I am sure it is being shipped from China on a slow boat.

I will advise you if I can get it resolved and find the right battery that will work.

Warning3

There is a charging receptacle on the side of the battery opposite of the PPT button. DO NOT USE IT !   Well, don’t use it unless you can verify that the charger you are using actually only puts out 8.4vDC (+/-). Otherwise, you will fry the battery and maybe start something on fire in the process.

 

 

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11 thoughts on “REVIEW – Baofeng UV-5RA : 3800mAh Lithium-Ion battery option

  1. 09/17/16. The problem is still not fixed by Baofeng! I got a second battery in the mail today. It did not fit – just like the first. So I looked it over carefully and found the bottom part will not allow it to snap into place. I thought that was unusual for a genuine OEM part. Then I searched for a possible solution on Al Gore’s Internet and found a video and this thread. I filed down the edges – which went easily using a metal file. The battery finally seated and clipped into place. It is now on my charger and I anticipate long life with much use. Had I known this would need to be modified I wouldn’t have bought it in the first place. The radios are a great value and the normal battery lasts a long time to begin with. Two or three regular batteries would have been better than this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This battery is made specifically for UV-5R. Even though it’s made for this radio, it’s still a tough fit. I know, I own one. It’s not a hand in glove fit just be advised in advance. I agree with what is written above and A.H. has some great pictures to depict the good from bad. BTW, I have 4 of these batteries and they’re all the ‘Good’ ones. Now, it is possible to get these batteries to work with the 5RA with minimal effort. Start by filing down the front of the battery lip as shown above. Then lay down a bead of Lazer Bond (as seen on TV) just behind the ridge on the ‘radio’ (not the battery) (there is another ridge just behind the front lip), it will lay behind the ridge of the battery. The reason I say to do this is, the back plastic retaining pegs to the rear of the radio that fits into the battery ‘will’ break off in time and the battery will flex away from the radio and break the top retainer of the radio in time. Now, that bead you laid will go down into the battery behind the ledge enough to keep it tight and secure. Depending on how far down you file the battery ledge, you may have to lay another bead of glue on top the first. The bead of Lazer Bond adheres really well to the plastic and gets rigid (hard) in seconds. Oh, don’t forget when you lay the bead, hit it with the UV Light before going on and be careful not to get too much glue laid down and make sure it’s behind the front ledge of the radio. This mod has been working for me for the last few weeks as it’s hung off my pocket and banged around a bit in the car and radio shack. BTW, I removed my mobile unit and just use my HT now with a remote antenna and remote mic. I’d list the antenna here but, after I bought mine I can no longer find them. If they come available again, ‘after’ I get mine ordered, I’ll post it here or let A.H. know so he can evaluate it and let you know how it turns out. A good antenna is a critical part of your radio setup. 73’s, AR, ._._. , Out, and End…..D

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. Glad I read your article before making the purchase of this battery. I am with you on the versatility and convenience of the UV-5R. Many people in our Ham net own them and own a few. Programming is a breeze with the software and correct cable though programming manually may be quite a chore for those not familiar with Ham Radios. As for the larger battery I was just about to order a couple. I can now order them knowing I have to do a little mod to them and just what to do after reading your article. Thanks for heads up and oh yeah, thanks also about the heads up on the car charger on another article. That’s definitely a safety alert that people should be aware of…..D

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad I was able to share some useful info with you! I have a series of articles coming out on the Baofeng UV-5R radio. Including more on battery options. And I am going to be posting a huge list of programming files that can be uploaded into the UV-5R. The files will be organized into geographic areas or “groups” of frequencies sch as repeater nets, etc.

      A buddy of mine mentioned that on the “bad” battery with all the extra plastic bits that he could take a Dermel tool and grind out all of that plastic. Yup, he sure can if he wants to. But I am going to wait to see if that new battery that I ordered (that I mentioned in the article) works with only minimal alteration.

      In any event I will keep everyone posted.

      Like

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