This shutdown timer prevents dead batteries.
RAM Safe-T-Charge™ Battery Protection System
By Brad Brewer
As law enforcement embraces more and more mobile technology, we often forget the demands this places on a vehicle’s electrical system. In addition to the traditional laptops and land mobile radios, becoming more commonplace are license-plate recognition systems, mobile video systems, infrared cameras, and e-ticketing systems.
Aftermarket equipment parasitic amp draw is a real and significant fleet management and fleet maintenance issue. Many departments have installed second batteries to help with this issue, but in some vehicles this is either not an option, or in the case of the Ford CVPI, not recommended. Battery venting issues and hard, heavy objects in the trunk are reasons not to install a trunk-mounted battery in the CVPI.
RAM Mounts USA, a Seattle Wash.-based company, has been around since the early 1990s making high-quality police vehicle products. Long known for producing mounts for pretty much everything electronic, RAM Mounts has been the choice for high-quality consoles and laptop docking stations by law enforcement for years.
It is only natural that a company specializing in mounts for electronic devices would introduce a solution to the parasitic amp draw from those devices. RAM recently introduced a new run-down protection device that is inexpensive, easy to install, and easy to operate.
The affordable and feature-rich RAM Safe-T-Charge™ is designed to protect the electrical system and battery on any on-road or off-road vehicle or boat. With multiple configurations available through onboard dip switches, the RAM Safe-T-Charge™ can be configured to shut down connected devices either by a trigger coming from the ignition of the vehicle or by sensing a drop in the DC voltage below a level capable of starting the engine.
This battery saving solution is important given the increasing government pressure on law enforcement to reduce vehicle idle times. The cost of one dead battery, vehicle jump start or tow bill, and officer out-of-service time far exceeds the costs of the RAM Safe-T-Charge™.
The best part is each agency can easily select a predetermined duration of time before the connected devices shut down. This assures officers will always be able to start their vehicle. This flexibility is important due to the diversity of equipment installed in police vehicles across North America. The RAM Safe-T-Charge™ fits any agencies’ needs no matter what they have in their vehicles.
The RAM Safe-T-Charge™ offers an audible tone starting five minutes before the timer shuts off power to the devices, and continuing every minute until the power is shut down. This ensures the user is aware that battery power to connected peripherals will shut down. The on board over-ride switch enables the user to bypass the timed shut off feature in the case of an emergency or other event that requires immediate access to device power.
The RAM Safe-T-Charge™ is a shutdown timer, which is sometimes referred to as a delay timer. It protects the vehicle’s battery from over discharge and equipment from low voltage and high voltage damage. If an officer had no choice and had to get a jump start, they would probably not think to remove the laptop and shut off other onboard equipment before the boost. The potential damage from a voltage spike during the jump is a significant concern.
Specific to the RAM Safe-T-Charge™ is the easily accessible manual override switch that can be quickly initiated by an officer without the need to move a protective cover or touch any wires. Engaging the override switch circumvents the timer logic to ensure power is supplied to all connected devices, such as the land mobile radio or laptop computer.
Quick to install and made of high-quality materials by an all-American company, the RAM Safe-T-Charge™ is one of the lowest-cost battery saving devices on the market today. Even with the low price, it is one of highest in features and functionality. The RAM Safe-T-Charge™ comes with lifetime warranty on the mechanical housing, and a two-year warranty on the internal electronics and connectors.
Sergeant Brad Brewer is a 22-year member of the Vancouver Police Department. He sits on the Ford Police Advisory Board and regularly gives presentations at law enforcement conferences on mobile computing, wireless technology and police vehicle ergonomics. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.