There won’t be many people who didn’t notice the striking resemblance between the Baofeng UV-5R and the TYT TF-F8. An obvious question was: are spare parts like antennas and batteries exchangeable? The answer is yes, but there’s one mystery left to solve.
I purchased two TYT TF-F8 spare batteries on eBay from this seller. Apart from the rated capacity (1600mAH vs 1800mAH) I couldn’t really notice any significant differences between the TYT version and the Baofeng version. The charge contacts are organized the same way, but whether the plus and minus contacts on the top were organized the same could not be established. I took a risk here, but these contacts proved to be compatible also.
The TYT fits like a glove, too. (see update at the end of this article)
The UV-5R battery weighs 79 grams, at 81 grams the TYT battery is 2 grams heavier. The difference is likely caused by the fact that the plastic of the Baofeng version is cut out here and there to match the looks of the radio. Which leaves the question “If only a bit of plastic is responsible for the difference in weight, what are the differences inside?”
I don’t know yet, but I have my suspicions. I already had some doubts about the Baofeng rating of 1800mAH, which seemed a bit optimistic when looking at the package. After using the original battery for a while, and especially after this purchase I think I might have been right. The problem is that I don’t know for sure, because the TYT battery still needs its three cycles of depleting and charging. When that’s done, I can compare them in a more scientific way.
If both batteries prove to be identical, it wouldn’t make any sense to buy a Baofeng branded version. At the time of writing the lowest price for a TYT battery is $12.99, while a Baofeng battery can’t be found cheaper than $17.00. That’s a 31% price gap!
*Update* Dave W1WBZ, who uses the same combination, noticed that the TYT battery appears to be properly seated while it’s not. I checked his findings and have to agree with him. Although it took quite some effort here, it is possible to remove the TYT battery without unlatching it. Dave solved the problem by filing off some of the plastic, after which the battery latched properly. Picture will follow.