Baofeng UV-5RE: BL-5 Battery Overview

After I mentioned I was thinking of repurposing the nearly unused lithium-ion batteries from the Wouxun KG-UV3D radios for a blinky light, Dragorn of Kismet introduced me to his Baofeng UV-5 radio. The radio itself seems to be the worst amateur radio you’d be willing to use, but when seen as a standardized battery and drop-in charger with a free radio and antenna tossed into the deal, it’s not all that bad:

Baofeng UV-5RE radio - overview

Baofeng UV-5RE radio – overview

The Wouxun and Baofeng 7.4 V batteries allegedly have similar capacities: 1700 vs 1800 mA·h. The Baofeng also has a 3800 (or 3600) mA·h pack that extends well below the base of the radio (not all large packs seem to be compatible with the UV-5RE radios I got); that would be roughly equivalent to the larger packs that power the Wouxun / APRS / voice gadgetry on the bike.

The Baofeng battery pack is smaller and has features that seem less likely to misbehave on a bike.

It has a latching tab with a ramp and a positive notch, with ridges around the edge that engage the radio shell:

Baofeng UV-5RE radio - battery latch tab

Baofeng UV-5RE radio – battery latch tab

The radio body (which is what I must duplicate) has a movable latch tab above the battery contact pins, so the latch holds the battery into the compartment. The spring-loaded pin pairs are wired in parallel, presumably for redundant contact with each battery terminal:

Baofeng UV-5RE radio - battery compartment latch and contacts

Baofeng UV-5RE radio – battery compartment latch and contacts

The battery terminal pads are reasonably well protected by the tab:

Baofeng UV-5RE radio - battery contact pads

Baofeng UV-5RE radio – battery contact pads

The battery slides into the radio compartment and latches with a snap. Two holes on the battery base engage a pair of pegs on the radio case:

Baofeng UV-5RE radio - battery base detail

Baofeng UV-5RE radio – battery base detail

The holes are rounded rectangles and the pegs have one corner sliced off. The pegs seem entirely too fragile and not well suited for 3D printing, so some metalwork may be in order. The pegs must resist only pulling forces perpendicular to the case back, not sliding forces, and the case constrains side-to-side motion.

The two square posts (with two others not shown) form the “feet” that support the radio when it’s standing on the desk or in the charger.

Now, to doodle up the dimensions and measure the actual capacity.

Speaking of capacity, BL-5 batteries on eBay range from $23 for “genuine Baofeng” that may or may not actually have that name on the label, all the way down to $8 for the usual no-name equivalent.