What is the best method to insure our batteries are always ready to go for each meeting?
Having fresh batteries for your entire meeting means you will not have to interrupt the flow of the meeting to change batteries. Batteries are the life blood of your wireless mics. Without the right battery and charged properly wireless mics can be a nuisance rather than a great tool.
Here is what we recommend.
Each session should have its own batteries and chargers. You should be able to get about two hours of use out of each charge. Some sessions might stretch the available power a little thin. Rechargeable batteries will not last as long as throw away batteries (usually a just bit over 2 hours in most mics).
This has worked well as procedure for battery replacement:
At the beginning of the session, the sound mixer operator installs the
batteries waiting in the charger into the wireless mics.
At the end of the session, he replaces the batteries in the charger and leaves them there until the next meeting replacing the dead batteries with fresh ones from the charger.
We have seen these batteries last 12-14 months but we say they last 9 months or so before you'll notice they don't hold the charge very long. When that happens, you’ll know it is time to call us for a new set.
Should I purchase spare rechargeable batteries?
That is up to you to decide depending on how many sessions each day you do. But it is a good idea to have a couple of Duracell's in the drawer just in case there was a power outage that drained the batteries just before the meeting. They will last 3 years in a drawer and are a great way to provide a good back up.
I heard that you should drain rechargeables each month so they don't get a memory effect from the short term use we sometimes give them.
We have found this to be incorrect with NIMH type batteries though it was correct for NiCad types. In fact, it has been our experience that draining the battery dead actually shortened the life of a NIMH battery to only 6 months. Don't worry about draining the batteries. Just use, recharge after each meeting and forget about it.