Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Buying batteries on Ebay

Yesterday I wanted to experiment with using a ferrite rod antenna for WSPR. I was using my AA-200 antenna analyzer to try to tune the antenna when it suddenly restarted. I switched it off and on again and as soon as I chose any function the analyzer restarted again.

The last time I used the AA-200 I remember the batteries ran out so I charged it. It appears that after 6 years of use the rechargeable battery pack won't hold a charge.

AA-200 antenna analyzer and open battery pack
I'm useless at taking things apart but Olga managed to open the battery pack to reveal a shrink wrapped pack of 4 AA cells. I could have ordered a replacement from Strikalite but their price was £20. I found an Ebay seller in Hong Kong whose price was a quarter of that. So for the sake of a few days wait I could save myself £15.

I ordered the battery pack, but this morning there were two emails in my inbox saying "We are sorry to tell you that we are not allowed to dispatch batteries recently for the customs are very strict on exporting batteries." Is this something new? It's the first I have heard of it. I've certainly bought battery packs (including batteries for handheld transceivers)from China on Ebay before.

The seller has refunded my money (or at least he has said he will.) In the meantime I found a UK seller of Chinese batteries, Vapextech UK, which, while not as cheap as the Hong Kong seller, is still a third of the price of Strikalite. Having said that, Strikalite is still a good firm to go to if you want to refurbish a ham radio battery pack and like me you are useless at taking battery packs apart.


VE3WDM said...

Good morning Julian, 6 years is great for rechargeable batteries. It's to bad that Rig Expert made the removal of the old cells such a chore. Great to hear you were able to find a replacement.

Tregonsee said...

I have seen references on some amateur lists to more stringent UK regulations on shipping hazardous materials, including LiIon batteries. Perhaps this is the issue.

Anonymous said...

Hello Julian

The rules regarding the air transport/freight of batteries changed last year and they are a lot more stringent than they used to be. They are pretty involved but one can look them up on the Post office web site if one likes legalese.

I looked them up when a prospective buyer in Brazil wanted me to post a hand held I was selling on Ebay, in effect it is simply not worth the bother for small quantities if not banned all together for certain types like Li Ion.

So unfortunately your supplier was correct, but at least you could find an alternative without too much trouble.

Kevin G6UCY

Julian Moss said...

Thanks, Kevin. Does this imply what I think it implies to the business of buying transceivers (such as Baofengs with their LiIon batteries) from overseas?

Julian, G4ILO

Anonymous said...

Hi Julian, I'e noticed recently on our local post office posters stating what you can and can't sent in the post Internationally and batteries are one of the items they say you can no longer pop in the post overseas.

Anonymous said...

Hello Julian
I am no legal expert but from what I understand from reading the information on the links below



and reading the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) regulations it seems that the only way that such items can be imported is via surface mail, which appears to make any company that still supplies individual batteries from overseas a little dodgy.

However it appears that it is possible to import Lithium batteries contained in equipment as long as they comply with the ICAO regulations but not if packed separately, which is not much help when the manufacturer normally packs batteries separately.

All of the above is why I have now made it a standard rule to put UK only in bold on any Ebay sale listing to avoid the hassle I experienced when selling my old VX-1 last year.

Kevin G6UCY

Jon Lorton said...

I don't know if these people have what you want but I have found them very helpful in the past : http://www.strikalite.co.uk/index.asp

Julian Moss said...

Hi Jon.

Yes I have used Strikalite in the past, especially for refurbishing old radio battery packs. But for ordinary batteries their prices don't compare with sellers on Ebay.

Julian, G4ILO

Adrian said...

New ICAO regulations rules also about the maximum quantities of LiIon batteries that are allowed to air mail or air parcell. It's a real pain to ship these batteries or SLA. 73 de Adrian, YO3HJV