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 the 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 please 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 and 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.
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.So, 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.
The 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.
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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