new year, new digital radio…

The newest radio to come along is the Motorola CP200d. It is part of the widely touted MOTOTRBO digital/analog line of radios. Trbo radios are a great transitional radio into the digital world. You can add them into your fleet as an analog radio to match your existing radios, and then one day when you are ready they can be upgraded or reprogrammed to be digital. Or even be digital or analog on a per channel basis. Much like the existing CP200 radio, the “d” model is available in either VHF or UHF and has 16 channels.

The CP200d is available from Motorola Channel Partners (a fancy way of saying authorized dealers) in two versions:
1. Analog only model, upgradeable later to digital (upgrade MSRP $83).
2. Digital/Analog model. Straight out of the box the radio has both features.

The advantages of digital are much like you would have experience when changing to a digital cellphone a few years ago, 40% longer battery life, clearer transmissions, and a small to moderate increase in range. Good news is the radio uses the same batteries and chargers as the standard CP200. Some audio accessories will be backwards compatible such as the PMMN4013 remote speaker mic. Many other audio accessories are available for the digital models. Watch for the digital symbol to be on the accessory to insure good functionality with the digital radio.

The analog model is priced pretty much the same as the standard longstanding CP200 radio. The digital version of the CP200d is $50 higher. Also new on the scene are the CM200d, CM300d, and XPR2500d mobiles.

At this time the standard CP200 you have known for several years is still available, and we continue to repair this model in our Radio Repair Center for a flat rate repair of $85.

Have a great 2014!
cl

tips on avoiding radio repair…

CDM1250 radio in for repair

CDM1250 radio in for repair

While we enjoy helping people and repairing radios, we also know how frustrating it can be to have your radio fail and need to come into the repair center.  We’ve compiled a list of ways to help you keep your radio out of the radio repair center.

  • Keep radios dry and free from dust and debris.
  • If your radio gets wet, do not transmit, take the battery out, dry it as much as possible and get it to the repair facility pronto.
  • Utilize dust covers provided to cover audio jacks and openings, do not remove them.
  • Refrain from operating the radio at full volume continuously.
  • Replace bad or weather checked antennas.
  • Use only the antenna, charger, and accessories designed for a particular radio model.
  • Always have the radio turned off when charging.
  • Never transmit when a radio is on a charger.
  • Charge overnight, not an extended amount of days (a weekend is okay).
  • Clean your battery contacts using a pencil eraser, never a sharp object or solvent.
  • Replace the battery every 2-3 years, or sooner if needed.
  • Safeguard your radio from crush damage, avoid back pockets and places people sit.

Please remember we are here if you need us, happy to help repair your Motorola radios, so you can put them back to work.

~cl

surrounded by batteries …

Boxes and boxes of new replacement batteries, we are surrounded! During September, October, and even into November, we have the rare opportunity to purchase batteries at a enormous discount from Motorola. We are sharing the savings with our customers.  Bulk Purchase batteries are available in 2-packs, 4-packs, and 8-packs. We’ve posted the popular battery models’ 4-pack pricing on www.eradiostore.com. If your battery isn’t listed just give us a call and we can give you pricing.

Just a reminder, be certain to dispose of any old batteries properly. These are considered hazardous and should not go in landfills. You can find your nearest battery recycling center by visiting http://www.call2recycle.org/locator/ Any radios sent for repair with bad batteries can have their batteries disposed of at the repair facility at no charge.  Just let us know and we’ll be happy to help by putting them in our recycling bin.

~cl

everything you need to know about CP200 batteries and more …

NNTN4497The Motorola CP200 radio has come with 3 different battery types over the past few years. The current CP200, CP200-XLS, and new digital CP200d come with the NNTN4497 Li-Ion 2250 mAH battery. You can expect this battery to give you a good full work day of 12-14 hours. Life expectancy is approx. 18-24 months. Li-Ion is less likely to suffer from the memory effect which is common to the NiCd chemistry of batteries. It is the preference battery by most users.

The current NNTN4497 Li-Ion battery and the earlier NNTN4851 NiMH batteries need to use the fast rate charger to properly charge their battery packs. The fast rate charger is easy to differentiate from the trickle charger. The fast rate charging tray has outlines of several batteries depicted on the bottom of it, while the trickle charger has only one outline of a battery.

The trickle (slow rate) charger is only useful for charging one chemistry of battery, the NiCd NNTN4496. Early models of the CP200 radio came with the NiCd battery and a trickle charger. Note: The NNTN4496 NiCd battery is no longer available from Motorola, but still available from after-market vendors. Older model CP200 radios can be upgraded to use the current Li-Ion NNTN4497 battery and a fast rate charger with no modification needed to the radio. You would simply need to purchase the Li-Ion battery and a fast rate charger.

The next step up in radios from the CP200 is a nearly identical PR400 radio. The PR400 radio can also use the same chargers/batteries as the CP200 line of radios. The PR400 comes standard with a slim Li-Ion 1600 mAH battery NNTN4970, which will also fit the CP200 radio.

The single unit and multi-unit fast rate drop-in chargers for the CP200/PR400 radios will accommodate any of the above mentioned battery types. The charger features a convenient insert which can be removed and turned around to fit the size of battery being used. This same insert has vertical rails which guide the battery into place, and will hold a battery alone or a battery attached to a radio in place during charging.

Tip: Always have your radio turned off when on the charger. And only charge your battery when it is 80% or more depleted. This will help you achieve a long full life from your batteries.

Most batteries will last approx. 2 years (or 3 years if you treat them really well). Use the manufacturers date code to determine the age of your battery. On a Motorola brand battery the first digit(s) are the year and the last two digits are the week of the year.  Example: 1226 would be 2012, the 26th week, and 226 would also be the same date (or if very old it could be 2002, the 26th week). Keep in mind using an old battery for an extended period of time can eventually lead to the radio needing repair. If you plan to use your radios for many years it is wise to replace your batteries every 2-3 years. This will help keep your radio in tip top shape.As always, call us if you have questions.

~cl

intrinsically safe …

HT750_whiteThis Motorola HT750 we’ll call “Old Paint” came in today for repair. It and 2 others from a manufacturing plant have been customized. These three intrinsically safe radios are on their way to Motorola for factory service. While most radio models are repaired inhouse at the Radio Repair Facility, we also offer forwarding of specialty radios directly to Motorola for factory repair. “Old Paint” and friends are on their way today to Motorola.

Radios manufactured to be intrinsically safe are labeled with “FM approved”  stickers and/or embossing. This will typically be a diamond shaped logo with green letter. Users of these FM approved radios must also use FM approved batteries. All audio accessories used must also be intrinsically safe. Depending on the industry the radios are being used in, there are different types of intrinsically safe ratings.

Note: Intrinsically safe (IS) is a protection technique for safe operation of electrical equipment in hazardous areas by limiting the energy available for ignition.  Areas with dangerous concentrations of flammable gases or dust are found in applications such as petrochemical refineries and mines.

adventurous …

Motorola Radio RepairOur normal day is a life of adventure, the thing most radios only dream about.  Our company ad says: “Learn the ropes of rock climbing from our expert staff. Soar through the air with one of our professional trapeze artists. Trek through the woods on a mountain bike. And don’t miss out on the opportunity to zoom through the trees on one of our many zip lines. Your next adventure is ready and waiting.”  Me and my buddies are a pretty extreme sport crowd. We’re livin’ the dream! Nothing like zipping through the tree canopy riding on the hip of one of the adventurers. Ah… this is the life!

So here we were on a fine Summer afternoon hangin’ out with the cool crowd at the resort, zippin’ along through the trees, when suddenly my clip became dislodged from my guide’s belt and I began to tumble end over end to the floor of the forest. Luck for me the guide noted approximately where he had dropped me. A group of fellow guides on the ground swiftly began searching for me among the green vegetation. I waited staring up at the blue sky peaking through the tall branches.  Occasionally I would hear them talk into their radio to see if they could hear my speaker respond. My ability to receive transmissions and speak out must have been quieted by the fall. All I could manage was a distorted mumble. So every opportunity I had I would mumble.  Eventually, using their keen tracking skills they located me in my soft cushion of grass.

When it was discovered I was mumbling, they must have thought I had a concussion, and they took me to the office. I sat there on desk in a box with several other radios listing to the phone calls, office chitchat, and a noisy copy machine. I longed for the outdoors. I decided… the office was boring. Or maybe it is just boring to a radio of adventure like myself. I just wasn’t cut out to be an office radio.

Soon I overhear them talking about me and some others needing to go to a radio repair facility. By the next morning we were in a box, riding in a truck on our way to Missouri. One of the other radios had been there before, and said it will take about 3 days in the dark to get there. We might as well get some rest. Well sleeping worked for a while, then I was wide awake. As we passed through cities we could occasionally hear someone talking on their two-way radio through our receivers that were left turned on. The journey seemed longer since it was in the dark.

Then on day three we arrived at the repair facility. The lights were bright when the box was first opened. A friendly girl with a nice voice took me out of the box and put me in a brightly colored bin with the others from the resort. She read the note the guide had written and taped to me. She spoke out loud and said “this one has poor receive”, as she admired my customized exterior.

The guide who uses me most had decorated me with checkered flag duct tape. I figured it was because he and I together are so fast at all the sports. No team can zipline as fast as us, or climb the rock mountain so quickly. We don’t have race cars at the resort, but if we did, we would likely be among the fastest on the track. Some of the others in my group also had some customization. A radio nicknamed Green had a simple piece of green tape around his antenna, and another one had blue and white racing stripes. You could tell we were not the office radios, we are the extreme sport radios.

At the repair center we could feel the looks of the other radios as they admired our sporty look. While some radios had their company name emblazened on them, or a fruit sticker on their front, we were like a flashy sports car ready for the race. Our bin made its way through the repair facility and on to the technicians bench. He took great care in returning us to working order. Soon I will be headed back to Connecticut ready for my life of adventure. I’m dreamin’ now about zippin’ through those trees, climbing the rocks, can’t wait to be home.

~cl

ahh the life (expectancy)

Battery label from CP200 radio with a battery date code of 1226.

Battery label from CP200 radio with a battery date code of 1226.

Radio battery life expectancy is a common topic of conversation among radio users. As a general rule rechargeable batteries last between 18-24 months, with some variation for chemistry types, with NiCd and NiMH batteries at 18-24 months and Li-Ion 14-18 months. These are approximate numbers. If you treat your battery well, and do not overcharge it, undercharge it, or  otherwise treat it poorly, you may get as much as 3 years from the average battery.

Signs of a bad, defective, or aged battery include constant or intermittent static, a shorter work day, and intermittent or poor transmit. Transmit problems are an early indicator of a old or bad battery. It is simple, it takes more energy to transmit than to receive. So if you have a radio that receives perfectly, but is iffy on transmit, check your battery.

So then the question arises… What happens if I continue to use the old battery? Just like any home appliance operating on low voltage, your radio will eventually have failures associated with the brown out. Then the simple need for a replacement battery turns into a battery + radio repair. As you can see, it would be much cheaper and wiser to replace the old battery when needed.

How do you know the age of a battery? On Motorola brand batteries you will find either a 3-digit code or 4-digit code on the label of the battery or embossed in the plastic of the battery itself.  (See above photo for an example.) The first number on the 3-digit code represent the year of manufacture, the next two numbers are the week of the year. Example: 226 would be 2012 (or heaven-forbid 2002) the 26th week of the year. The newer 4-digit date codes are easier, 1226 would be 2012, the 26th week.  If you have difficulty determining the age of a battery, give us a call and we’ll assist you. 800-872-2627.

FYI: Annual Battery Sale is May 28-June 28, 2013. You can receive a double discount on your battery purchase if you combine the purchase with a paid radio repair or new radio purchase.

~cl

in the dark

Here I am, all alone in a box, rattling along on my way to the Radio Repair Center. John, my buddy, who uses me everyday is on vacation for a week. And what does he do? He packs me in a box and sends me on my way. I know I’m a little older now. My body has a few nicks and scratches. I am sometimes a little hard of hearing too. John thinks I need a tune-up. This box sure is dark, and it seems I’ve been in here for a few days. First on a truck, then a conveyor belt, then another truck. Lots of jiggling and jostling.Light Bulb

First moment of light comes into the box, and here is a the friendly face of the Radio Check-In person. She examines me and puts me in a bright yellow tub to ride through the repair facility. As I look around, I see lots of yellow tubs with other radios riding like little soldiers standing up in a row. Some look old, some look young. As I wait my turn in line night falls.

When morning comes the technician takes me to his bench. The bench is full of tools, gadgets, and electronic test equipment. He swiftly removes my outer housing and looks at my component board. His computer softly plays music in the background as he replaces several parts on my component board. That soldering iron can be pretty hot, but I’m tough, I can take it.

Pressing my PTT button he whistles and speaks a-u-d-i-o–a-u-d-i-o. His voice is now crystal clear. Just as swiftly as he removed my housing, he puts one back on. One final test and then back in the yellow bin I go.

As I am being carried back to the front of the shop, I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the glass of the window. I have a new housing. I look all young and new again.  The time comes and I am back in a box riding home from my adventure. Sure will be good to see John again. Hope he recognizes me in my new clothes!

~cl

construction grade radio

CP200Hardworking, durable, tough, will take a drop, these are all phrases we hear when people are talking about the CP200. It is the best choice in the mid-tier of Motorola radios. It is an all around construction grade radio. It is the replacement radio for the SP50, P110 and P1225 radios in the former Radius Division, now Commerial Series for Motorola. It durable 40-hour a week working radio, has a full two year factory warranty, and comes equipped with both a long-life Li-Ion Battery and a Fast Rate Desktop Charger. All the month of February this model is $20 off. PLUS, if you get 6 radios Motorola is offer a $185 rebate.

Flat rate radio repair is available for the CP200 after it is out of warranty for $85. Includes parts, labor and return shipping.

~cl

special modifications…


Occasionally radios arrive at our repair facility with some unique modifications. These two CP100 UHF radios arrived together from one of our very favorite nursery companies. They were just so special we thought we’d take a picture or two and blog about them.

The first radio is a classic example of a radio with poor transmit and receive, caused inadvertently by the user. Both the microphone hole and the speaker grill are covered by duct tape. We can see the reason for the duct tape engineering, the carryholder was broken, and the user wanted the radio to stay in the carryholder. However, in doing so, they blocked the transmit and receive of the radio. Radio lesson: Be watchful when applying tape or stickers to the front of a radio. You might be covering up something you will need.

The second one had lost its antenna covering and the user had fashioned a Sharpie pen cartridge to cover the coil. Now while this might be all the rage in the Sharpie fashion world, it is a very temporary fix for the problem. This radio would begin to lose range due to the coil being exposed to the outside elements. Little by little the coil would oxidize and/or corrode, until the radio’s transmit and receive would be shortened dramatically. So if you need to do this for a day or two, great, but then follow it up by getting the radio to the repair center and a new antenna installed.

Have a great day!
~cl