bent 2-way radio at the repair center

this is not good at all

Bent CP200d boardbent CP200d radio board

In the radio repair industry we have seen many ways end-users damage their radios. One of the more common types of portable radio damage is compression or crush damage. When this happens the component board, which is very rigid, can become bent. There are a multitude of problems that can be caused when your component board gets bent in this way, and none of them are good.

shield damage on CP200dUsually the exterior house of the radio miraculously can bounce back into shape follow a squeeze (unless it is of the extreme nature). What you can’t see is the effect it has had on the board inside. Many times the radio user will not realize the component board has been damaged.

The Motorola radio pictured arrived from Mississippi with only exterior scuffs, and no additional notes. The real damage wasn’t seen until the technician had opened the CP200d radio. As you can see in the pictures, the metal shields were dented in, and the green component board was warped. Not seen in these photos, underneath the shields there are likely components which have popped off the board. The layers of the board and traces are likely cracked. Unfortunately in a case such as this the damage is fatal. The radio had to be deemed non-repairable.

At the radio repair center we’ve seen radios that have been driven over by a truck be repairable. We rely on our highly skilled technicians to assess each radio and determine if it can be repaired or needs to be replaced. If you have a radio you believe to have compression damage, go ahead and send it in the the radio repair center. As radios have became smaller we see more compression damage. Some damage is as simple as the user placing the radio in their back pocket and sitting on it. Other damage is more serious and caused by machinery or vehicles.

crush damaged 2-way radio batteries

Another area of concern would be the battery that was on the radio at the time the crush damage happened. The cells in the battery could be come unstable and be a hazard. Much like the radio housing the battery’s exterior may not show the damage within. If the compression was enough to deem the radio non-repairable, the battery should also be retired to recycling. (Side note: Most Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Best Buy stores have battery recycling centers near the front of the store.)

If you find yourself with a compression/crush damaged radio, we’ll be happy to take a look at it and determine if it is repairable.

~cl

rusty 2-way radio

There is a point of no return when it comes to wet electronics.

Unfortunately, this Motorola MagOne BPR40 from an automotive recycler in Illinois set a bit too long before coming to the radio repair center. As you can see in the photo the rust and corrosion overtook the component board. It fell out of the radio like confetti, and the tech could immediately see the radio was non-repairable. As you probably guessed, the ladies here at Delmmar hate making those calls, letting customers know their radio has been deemed non-repairable.

Motorola BPR40 radio repair
MagOne BPR40 – liquid damage

Here are a few wet radio TIPS :

If you know your radio has gotten wet, remove the battery, and dry the radio with a soft cloth. Then get the unit to the radio repair center as soon as possible. If the techs can get to the radio right away, they can clean any visible rust or corrosion, working to prevent further damage. Your battery may be damaged as well. Include it with your radio (unattached), and Delmmar’s technical staff can check it also.

If the radio and battery have been submerged, it is likely the battery will need to be replaced.
Just like other electronics, you can put your device in a bag of rice, or use an Evap-Bag to aid in the drying process while it is in route to the repair facility.

We don’t know the story behind this 2-way radio, but from appearances it may have been left outside and recently found after several weeks or months of weather. The customer chose to dispose of this radio here at the repair center, so there was no charge for return shipping.

You can always find a copy of Delmmar’s current repair form on our website delmmar.com and eradiostore.com.

 

 

oh, what a bite…

Motorola XPR3300e radio repair

Motorola Mototrbo XPR3300e
2-way radio repair

Some days on the job are tougher than others. It’s always a bad day when your radio isn’t secure and you drop it into an industrial machine that takes a big bite out of the radio. That is what happened with this XPR3300e radio. Your next big hurdle is telling the manager what happened, followed by getting the radio sent in to the repair center to see if it can even be saved.

This Mototrbo XPR3300e radio arrived at the Delmmar radio repair facility mid-summer. Once the radio is checked in to the facility, it goes back to wait in line for repair. Good news, Delmmar’s senior technician was able to repair and replace missing components from the exposed component board. During the repair process he replaced common failure parts, along with replacing the exterior house. All covered by the flat rate repair fee. The radio was retuned and align back to factory specs. Within 5 days it was headed back home to the client via UPS.

Motorola XPR3300e bottom view
before and after radio repair

Can all radios like this be repaired?

Not always, but know our highly skilled technicians make every effort to repair each radio that arrives here at the Delmmar radio repair center. We do component level repair. We offer affordable flat rate radio repair with a fast turnaround. If your radio is deemed non-repairable, you only pay for the return shipping costs.

tips: remote mics

Push and hold the PTT button while transmittingRemote Mic
One common mistake many radio users make is starting to speak before they’ve completely pressing the PTT (push-to-talk button), or releasing the PTT before their transmission is complete. You might only miss a few words, but those words could be critical. It very well could be a matter of safety. Push the PTT and give yourself a moment before speaking. Hold the button until you are finished.

Speak clearly in your normal voice
Shouting CB-style can cause distortion of your voice, just as speaking to softly can make your communication non-discernible. Speak clearly, enunciate, and at a normal volume for best communication when using a remote speaker mic.

Hold the remote mic 1-3″ from your mouth
It is a common mistake for users to have their mouth too far away from the microphone. This can make it harder to pick up your voice, and also leave you open to environmental noise.  Having the mic too close to your mouth can also be a problem. This unwelcome mouth noise and breath sounds could be a distraction to those receiving your transmission. Practice keeping the microphone a nice 1-3″ from your mouth, and speak clearly.

Don’t wrestle the microphone around in your hand
While most modern remote microphones have some noise suppression, you should still avoid unnecessary movement while transmitting.

Connect the microphone securely to the radio
If your microphone has a two-prong plug, make sure it is completely seated before turning on the radio and beginning to communicate. You should feel a small snap when it seats into place correctly. Avoid unnecessary plugging and unplugging, over the course of time this will lead to a bad jack connection. Plug straight in and pull straight out, refraining from side-to-side wobbling, which can wobble out the jack. If possible leave your audio device plugged in all the time. If your radio has a multi-pin connector, be certain you security to the radio. Clean your contacts with a pencil eraser for best connection.

Always have your radio turned off when attaching any audio device
Most modern radios will sense the audio device and react accordingly. In the event you plug the device in with the radio turned on, many times you will experience problems such as temporary or intermittent voice activation (VOX), or an unresponsive audio device.

Keep your microphone clean
Read our blog post about Hygiene for more info.

Most radio models have remote speaker microphones available. Call us if you need help determining which mic would work best with your model.

 

 

2-way radio hygiene

Motorola Radio Hygiene Guidelines

Disinfecting your radios and audio devices:

Radios may be disinfected by wiping them down with over-the-counter isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) with at least 70% alcohol concentration. When cleaning with isopropyl alcohol, the alcohol should never be applied directly to the device. It should be applied to a cloth, which is then used to wipe down the device.

The effects of certain chemicals and their vapors can have detrimental effects on plastics and the metal platings.

DO NOT use bleach, solvents or cleaning sprays to cleanse or disinfect your device.

General Cleaning: Apply 0.5% detergent-water solution with a cloth, then use a stiff, non-metallic, short-bristled brush to work all loose dirt away from the device. Use a soft, absorbent, lintless cloth or tissue to remove the solution and dry the device. Make sure that no solution remains entrapped near any connectors, cracks or crevices.

Motorola disclaimer which accompanies the above information:
Important: Motorola Solutions, Inc. is unable to, and did not, determine whether any particular cleaning product is effective in removing specific foreign substances (including viruses) from the device, nor whether any disinfectant will remove all germs or viruses. However, the above cleaners, disinfectants and processes have been approved for use by Motorola Solutions, Inc. related to their less degrading effect on the physical device. Please consult the chemical manufacturers’ documentation for specifics on cleaning product efficacy with regards to foreign substances (such as viruses).

wet 2-way radio?

Don’t wait until your radio is corroded and rusty inside to send it in for repair. By then it may be too late to repair. Once a radio has become wet, corrosion starts to form rather quickly and deteriorate the metal. Good news, many times it is possible if caught early to restore a radio which has become wet. Early signs of corrosion can be removed and stopped.

Some basic information on what to do if your radio encounters water:

  1. Remove the battery. Do not turn on or try to use the wet radio, as this could cause further damage. (If you feel the battery has became wet inside, you will need to replace it.)
  2. Thoroughly dry the radio. You can use a towel on the exterior and any internal battery compartment. If you feel the water has intruded further, use a blow dryer on a low setting to air dry the radio. Specialty EVAP-bags can help to remove the moisture (700x more effective than rice). Call our office, 800-872-2627, and inquire about availability of EVAP-bags.
  3. Get the radio to a radio repair facility ASAP. The longer you wait, the more likely the radio will grow corrosion, and be deemed non-repairable.

Watch for IP57 or IP67 ratings when purchasing radios for the most water resistance. IP stands for Ingress Protection.

We’re here to help, and do our best to bring your radio back to good working condition. Give us a call if you have questions or need more info, 800-872-2627.

Poor range – is it your bad antenna?

Your antenna may be shortening your range. Here are some reasons:

  1. Your 2-way radio antenna is weather check, missing the top cap, some outside sheathing or has a crinkle or big bend in it. Exposing the coiled wires within to outside elements can oxide or corrode the metal, causing them to be inefficient and reduce range. If you can bend the antenna and see the metal coils or it is crooked in appearance like someone shut it in your car door, you need a new antenna.
  2. You are not using the correct antenna. Somewhere along the line you decide to use another antenna on your radio. It seemed to fit, so you weren’t worried, despite being shorter, taller, VHF vs. UHF, etc. See #4 below.
  3. You’ve used the antenna as a handle. This can strip the threads, or pull the antenna connection loose from the component board. When this happens you will need to get your radio into the repair center, or in some instances there is a chance the radio would be deemed non-repairable due to non-reversible damage to the component board.
  4. Any of the above three problems can also lead to a radio problem called reflected power. Instead of doing its job of getting all the power away from the radio and returning none to the transmitter, the bad antenna reflects the power back down into the radio and beats up the transmitter. This can quickly lead to a radio needing repair.

The inexpensive fix is simple, buy a new radio antenna. Most antennas range between $9.10 and $20. Delaying taking care of the problem can lead to the need for both a new antenna and a radio repair ($85 and up).

A good rule of thumb to remember is HEIGHT and PLACEMENT determines range. Holding your radio upright, perpendicular to the ground, will give you the best range. Tilting your radio to the side or using a stubby antenna will reduce your range by up to 2/3s. Educate your radio users on how to hold their radio for best range, you will be amazed at the difference it makes.

No time like the present to check your antenna. If it seems bad or weather checked replace it.

~cl

someone ran over my radio

It happens more often than you might think… an employee comes in to tell the boss “someone ran over my radio”. The radio repair center sees them in all shapes and sizes (Motorola, Kenwood, Vertex and others). Some are repairable, while others are not.

What to do if your radio gets ran over:
1) Turn off the radio. Look for physical signs of damage.
2) Be especially watchful of any battery which has been squeezed or crushed. (See the previous blog post about this.) If the battery is obviously damaged get rid of it in hazardous waste. If you are uncertain, send it in with the radio.

The good news is many business grade radios survive being driven over by a loader or truck. All is not necessarily lost. If your radio is damaged get it in to the radio repair center right away. Let us know it has been squeezed or crushed. We will do what we can to get it repaired and back to you right away.

~cl

bulging, smoking, flaming batteries

Scary even when it’s not Halloween! This bulging DTR series battery is from a radio that came into Delmmar’s 2-way radio repair center for repair. During the radio repair the radio is assessed by a qualified technician. All common failure parts, along with any other necessary parts are replaced. With this radio a phone call was made before beginning the repair. The customer has chosen to have their DTR650 radio repaired under the flat rate repair and purchase a new battery to replace this bulging one. Bulgy has been disposed of in hazardous waste.

In the news recently there has been a lot of talk about electronics devices catching fire on planes. An educated guess would be the battery in the device was damaged or poor workmanship. It could have been physical or liquid damage, overcharging, poor manufacturing, or the effects of the change in air pressure in the cabin. While we have not heard of any incidents involving 2-way radios (which have restrictions when taken on a plane), users should always use wisdom whether in the air or on the ground.

There are dozens of youtube videos showing these types of batteries in flames once they are abused, overcharged, wet or mistreated.  Short story: If your radio battery bulges, or shows any sign of puncture/damage DO NOT use it. Motorola has a good explanation concerning the differences between Li-Ion and Li-polymer batteries. You can read it here.

For your two-way radio choose a fresh good name brand battery from a reputable radio dealer. Choose good quality Li-Ion or NiMH batteries instead of Li-Polymer.

~cl

spicy – 2-way radio repair

They say “variety is the spice of life”. Here in the 2-way radio repair center things are usually pretty spicy. We see a variety of radios every week, everything from portable radios (handhelds) to repeaters (a device which increases the range of the average two-way radio). When you do flat rate repair on more than 40 models of Motorola radios, and then add in Kenwood and Vertex radio repair… variety is the name of the game.

Most radios are in need of the common user-interface items. The things you move or touch when using the radio such as push-to-talk buttons, battery contacts, on/off/volume potentiometers, accessory jacks, antenna ports, etc.. Then there are the radios which look like roadkill and the electronics technicians are miracle workers using everything but the kitchen sink, bring them back to life. The techs do board level repair, this means they actually work on the component board that came in your radio, soldering and replacing necessary parts to bring your radio back to factory spec (or as close as possible).

Our customers are pretty spicy too. We take care of radios for businesses of all types, from A to Z. If they use radios we probably have them as a client. Today we might be talking to a nightclub owner and the next client might be a monkey reserve.

We enjoy the variety and helping businesses keep their radios in good working order. Plus, we can generally repair a radio for 1/3 of the cost of a new unit. This makes us all happy.

Have a radio needing repair? Pass the Tabasco please!
~cl