LIFEPAK 12 Li-ion battery and REDI-CHARGE battery charger now available

I occasionally receive press releases of one kind or another in my inbox.

If I think they may be of interest to my readers (or if I really like the product) I will post them but I do my best to cut through the marketing language and get to the nuts and bolts of the device or product being offered.

Just prior to EMS Today 2011 I had received a press release from Physio-Control about their new lithium-ion batteries.

The press release makes this claim:

The new Li-ion battery offers up to 12 hours of monitoring (actual run times may vary depending on device configurations, environmental conditions and monitoring parameters used) on two batteries, offering EMS and hospital teams enough power for a 12-hour shift. Additionally, the new batteries require no conditioning or calibration.

The battery was developed with a cell technology specifically designed and approved for medical devices. Vital safety features such as over-voltage and over-temperature protection circuitry were then incorporated, creating the foundation for a high-quality, reliable battery. It carries an IP44 rating for solid and liquid ingress, making the battery the most durable yet for the LIFEPAK 12. And unlike some third party batteries, the battery is tested and validated with LIFEPAK devices by Physio-Control and recognized by Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL).

The new REDI-CHARGE charger offers support for both the LIFEPAK 12 defibrillator/monitor and LIFEPAK 15 monitor/defibrillator batteries, making it an ideal charging solution for organizations with mixed fleets. It features a rapid charge turnaround, returning batteries to full capacity in just over 4 hours.

I’m always a bit skeptical when I see qualifiers (e.g., language that essentially means “your mileage may vary”) so I went to the Physio-Control website and found a product data sheet that showed this chart:

This still didn’t help me figure out exactly how much longer these batteries would last than the batteries we use right now (especially since in my experience NIBP is a serious battery drain and that is not on the chart) so I contacted Erik Denny from Physio-Control with a simple question.

Can we compare and contrast the rechargeable lithium-ion battery with the batteries currently in use?

Here’s the reply I got.

Physio-Control’s highest capacity battery for the LIFEPAK 12 was the 1.6 Ah NiCd. This new 7.2 Ah Li-ion therefore has 4.5 times more capacity and will last 450% longer. So without know any specifics on how a particular device is used (NIBP, 12-Lead monitoring, a lot of printing, etc.) we are limited to say it lasts 4.5 times longer than the 1.6 Ah NiCd battery. Physio’s verification testing demonstrated nearly 12-hours of continuous 12-Lead ECG monitoring.

That’s a much simpler way to understand it! These batteries last 4.5 times longer.

I followed up with questions about the REDI-CHARGE battery system.

Specifically I asked:

1.) How about a cost analysis? How much were the NiCd batteries and how much are the Li-ion?

2.) I’m also confused by the “adapter tray” because on Hilton Head Island our charges don’t look like that. We use the “Battery Support System 2″.

Here’s the reply I got:

1.) NiCd list price is $209 and has a 1.6 Ah rating. Li-ion list price is $395 and has a 7.2 Ah rating. (Though service contract customers can get them for $295 for the next 6 months). The Li-ion is less expensive and higher performance than any other battery for the LIFEPAK 12 in terms of dollars per amp-hour.

2.) As far as the charger goes, the Li-ion battery can only be charged in the new REDI-CHARGE charger. The BSS2 cannot be used to charge this newer technology. Similarly, the REDI-CHARGE charger can be used to charge, but not condition existing NiCd batteries. The REDI-CHARGE charger can charge either LIFEPAK 12 or LIFEPAK 15 Li-ion batteries by simply changing the adapter tray.

It could be old age but I found this to still be a bit confusing so I followed up with more questions.

1.) How much does the REDI-CHARGE charger cost?

2.) Does the adapter tray get used for the old batteries or the new batteries?

3.) Right now our LP12 can plug into a little charger/conditioner pack and it will charge the batteries that are currently installed in the LP12. Am I correct in assuming that will not work with the new batteries?

Here’s the answer I got.

1.) REDI-CHARGE Charger List Price is $1,537 with a LIFEPAK 12 Adapter tray. An additional LIFEPAK 15 Adapter Tray can be purchased for $175.

2.) There is a LIFEPAK 12 Adapter Tray that works for the new Li-ion batteries. It can also charge but not condition legacy LIFEPAK 12 batteries. The second adapter tray allows users to transition easily to the LIFEPAK 15 without requiring a new charger.

3.) Correct. The AC power adapter that charges batteries while they are in the device is not compatible with the new Li-ion battery. Due to the high capacity of the Li-ion batteries, there are currently no plans to upgrade the AC power adapter with this capability.

So there you have it! Everything you ever wanted to know about Physio-Control’s lithium-ion batteries and charging system but were afraid to ask.

I had just about forgotten about this correspondence with Physio-Control when Erik Denny contacted me yesterday with this promotion.

A free REDI-CHARGE battery charger when you buy 4 lithium-ion batteries for $295 actually seems like a really good deal to me.

Your mileage may vary!

This post was based in part on a press release from Physio-Control with whom Tom Bouthillet and the EMS 12-Lead blog have no conflict of interest.

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