Medical computer carts cannot function without a power source. Even medical carts equipped with laptops do not operate at 100% efficiency without power, as the laptop’s internal battery has a limited capacity, unsuited to last the long shifts in a healthcare environment. Advanced power systems compatible with medical-grade computer carts, such as hot-swappable batteries, meet the needs of any caregiving facility.
How Hot-Swap Batteries Work
A hot-swap battery system is a specific type of onboard power system employed by powered medical carts.
Like other battery systems, hot-swap batteries provide power to connected computers and medical equipment without relying on fixed power outlets. This characteristic means that battery-powered carts resist power outages and other electrical issues, a common challenge in healthcare environments.
What makes hot-swappable battery systems different from other battery power supplies is the possibility of quickly installing fully-charged batteries and removing low ones. Medical staff can replace batteries without needing advanced technical knowledge simply by sending low batteries to a charging station and retrieving fully-charged ones.
Although single-battery hot-swap battery systems are available, the most efficient hot-swappable supply systems feature multiple batteries.
Although hot-swappable batteries offer numerous benefits over other power supply types, the most significant advantage is their time-saving potential.
A medical computer cart with a hot-swappable battery system saves time and reduces costs, especially compared to integrated, non-hot-swappable equivalents.
Eliminates Charging Downtime
The primary advantage of a hot-swap battery system is the ease of battery manipulation. Personnel can slot in a fresh battery or remove an old one at the press of a button, making it easy to manage the cart’s power needs.
Easy-read visual indicators such as the SOCI II eliminate ambiguity regarding remaining battery power by providing autonomy readouts in hours and minutes instead of vague percentages.
When the cart’s battery needs replacement, medical personnel can simply transport the cart to a charging station or battery storage area, shut the computer down, and swap the low battery for a fresh one.
With a dual-battery system, timing battery swaps when one of the two batteries allows personnel to keep carts charged without ever needing to shut the computer or equipment down. This feature is crucial for managing battery power while editing or saving electronic medical records.
Extended Battery Autonomy
Multiple-battery setups can significantly extend the amount of onboard power available to a computer cart, giving nurses and doctors peace of mind by ensuring it can last an entire shift without recharging if needed.
For instance, even the best single-battery solutions rarely exceed 9 hours of total battery autonomy. Additionally, battery autonomy can be reduced by power draw; the more powered equipment the cart carries, the faster they drain power from the battery, potentially cutting its lifespan by a few hours.
In contrast, multi-battery solutions such as the Scott-Clark 100-0001-008 Dual Battery System are designed to carry two identical batteries, each with a maximum autonomy of 9 hours. Such systems draw power from one battery at a time, switching to the second when the first battery gets low.
Two fully-charged batteries combined provide a maximum autonomy of up to 18 hours, more than enough for a complete hospital shift.
How Scott-Clark Hot-Swap Batteries Enhance Cart Mobility
Medical computer carts with a hot-swap battery system are intended to maintain mobility without compromising functionality, provided the battery system is sufficiently lightweight. The wrong combination of battery technology and functionality can eliminate many advantages of using hot-swap systems.
Hot-Swap Systems with Legacy Batteries
Many hot-swap systems employ older, more familiar battery technologies (e.g., lithium-ion, sealed lead-acid) alongside multi-battery and hot-swapping capabilities to provide a computer cart with enough autonomy to last an entire shift. Such systems can go up to 5 batteries per cart.
While these systems solve the problem of autonomy, they are often heavy, weighing the cart down and degrading its ergonomics. Consequently, such carts are more challenging to transport safely in a hospital environment.
Hot-Swap Systems with Scott-Clark LiFePO4 Batteries
Scott-Clark Medical hot-swap battery systems are available in two variants: single-battery and dual-battery. Our carts do not need to carry more than two batteries because they employ the most advanced and long-lasting battery technology in today’s market: Lithium-Iron-Phosphate (LiFePO4).
A single URB0012 battery has a maximum autonomy of 7-9 hours (depending on power draw), providing a dual-battery cart up to 14-18 hours of power. Additionally, each battery is relatively lightweight (8.1 lbs.), meaning that a fully-loaded dual-battery configuration adds no more than 16.2 lbs. to a cart’s weight.
In contrast, a multi-battery SLA system is approximately 55% heavier than LiFePO4. Two SLA batteries add over 25 lbs. of weight to the cart before factoring in the computer, medical equipment, and accessories.
Contact Scott-Clark Medical to Learn More About Hot-Swap Technology
Scott-Clark is a leading provider of battery-powered computer carts and flexible power systems. Our partnership with UltraLife, a world-leading manufacturer of batteries and power solutions, allows us to offer advanced LiFePO4 batteries and hot-swap technologies to healthcare facilities looking to buy new carts or upgrade existing ones.
For more information, contact us today at (512) 756-7300.