why care about battery dates?

GOT STATIC? GOT POOR TRANSMIT? Using an old battery on your radio can cause you problems, including poor or intermittent transmit, a battery that no long last the full day, lots of static or white noise, poorly functioning add-on audio devices, and more. Continual use of an old or bad battery can eventually cause wear and tear to the radio itself, resulting in the need for repair. The life expectancy of the average rechargeable battery used in 2-way radios or other devices is 2 years. This includes your rechargeable flashlight as well as your portable radio.

How can you tell the age of your battery?
Nearly every manufacturer of a rechargeable battery marks the battery with a date code representing the date of manufacture. Sometimes these date codes are hidden in plain sight. You might feel like you need a secret decoder ring to break the code. Motorola is no different than most manufacturers, their batteries and accessories are marked with manufacturing codes.

Motorola batteries follow a very simple date code system. You will find a 3- or 4-digit number on the battery label (or embossed in the plastic of the battery itself). Use the example 1611, the first two digits are the year, and the next two digits are the week of the year. The battery shown is dated 2016 the 11th week.
If you have a 3-digit code the first number is the year. 611 would be either 2016 or 2006. (You can usually tell by the appearance of the battery if it is 10 years or more old.)

Next time you have a poorly functioning radio check your battery date code. Maybe you simply need to replace your battery.

Battery tips:

  • Clean your battery contacts on your radio and charger periodically with a pencil eraser to remove any film or debris. This will allow your radio to make better contact on the charger. (Never use chemicals or a sharp object to clean contacts.)
  • Always have your radio turned off when placed on the charger, and if in an emergency you must have a radio turned on when on the charger, never ever transmit while charging. This can burn out components in your radio causing the need for repair.
  • If you feel you have an old, bad, or poorly functioning battery, try trading batteries with a known good radio and see if the problem is solved. You may simply need to replace your old battery.
  • The shelf life of a battery which has never been charged (initialized) is supposed to be indefinite. If you store new batteries before you use them, mark them with the date you initially charged the battery. This will give you a better idea on your 2 year life expectancy.
  • When initially charging a battery that has been in the cold or stored for a period of time before use it may take 2-3 charge cycles for the battery to successfully take that first charge. If you charger is blinking when it usually doesn’t, leave the battery on the charger and let it blink a few hours, even try again the next day doing the same thing. The battery will usually wake up, charge and be fine.
  • Beware of aftermarket batteries from less than reputable sources. We’ve seen or tried them all. We do offer a good aftermarket battery for most models if you are looking for such a battery.
  • Dispose of all old batteries in hazardous waste. Most big box stores have handy recycling bins where you can deposit your old batteries for recycling.

What are you waiting on? Go check your date codes!
~cl
#motorolaradiobattery #nntn4497 #motorolaradiorepair #motorolabatterydatecode

do you have walkie monkey problems…

The radio arrived with a note saying “Walkie Monkey may have caused the problem… no one else will admit to it.” As an added surprise Walkie Monkey arrived with the #BPR40 radio and he’s not talking.

Customers ask us often what they should include with their radios when sending them to the radio repair center. Short answer is we need the radio and any other accessories you think might be associated with the problem. If you include the battery we can check the date code and run it on the reconditioner/analyzer to see how well it is performing. If you think the antenna or charger may be part of the problem include them too. Oh the other hand, if you feel certain the issue is with the radio alone, just send the radio itself. It is that simple.

Occasionally we receive fun surprises like Walkie Monkey, which brightens our day. The BPR40 radio from sunny California is now in line for repair, and Walkie Monkey continues to have this smirky grin and is maintaining his silence. We think we will keep him here for further interrogation.

#motorolaradiorepair #monkeyproblems #BPR40radio #radiorepaircenter

-cl

radio soup

Somewhat like the book series Chicken Soup for the Soul, our days at the radio repair facility can consist of true stories about ordinary people’s lives and they way they use and sometime abuse their 2-way radios. Today the subject of soup came up because of an interestingly packaged Motorola BPR40 radio, which came in for repair packaged in an AT&T cellphone box and an open, but clean, soup package. The radio suffers from low receive (Rx) audio, and the user says it can faintly be heard. Currently the radio is in line awaiting the electronics technician’s careful assessment. Barring any unforeseen circumstance this BPR40 radio should be repaired and headed back to the tofu with spinach soup eating customer in just a few days.
~cl

radio repair – get onboard

Did you know Delmmar’s radio repair center does repair on Motorola 2-Way Radios and Kenwood 2-way Radios? Yes, it is true. We keep a large supply of common failure parts on hand, and have skilled electronics technicians on staff to repair your existing radios. Did you also know radio repair is typically less than one-third the price of buy a new radio? We are always happy to help you with either option, repairing your existing units or purchasing replacements.

This week we happened to have a few radios on hold awaiting parts, two from Alabama and one Kenwood Protalk from Illinois. Barring any unforeseen circumstance, the parts should arrive in a timely fashion and the radio repaired the same day the parts arrive. Soon our little travelers (radios) will hop on the UPS truck and be heading .

more than just for public safety users

So you are probably used to seeing your local law enforcement officers wear a remote speaker mic on their shoulder. It’s identifiable, something that seems to be part of their uniform. But did you know many other industries use these devices too? Just to name a few: manufacturing, amusement, sporting and entertainment venues all take advantage of the convenience of the remote microphone. Remote mics (aka lapel or shoulder mics) can be used anywhere two-way radios are used. They move the convenience of your radio on your lapel.

You can find a remote mic for most types of commercial two-way radios. Mics vary in features with some including submersible, windporting, display screens, antennas, emergency buttons, audio jacks for earpieces, coiled or straight cords. For basic business two-way radios a remote mic may simply have a speaker, microphone, coiled cord, lapel clip, and a push to talk button.  Everything you need to have the convenience of your radio near your head, where you an both talk and listen.

Ever seem like you are constantly taking your radio off your hip to talk? Maybe a remote mic is right for you!

~cl

rough treatment or poorly packed?

Some days when boxes arrive from all over the country with radios for repair there will be one like this example. A slightly crushed, broken open package. The investigation begins! Questions arise: What’s inside? Is it damaged? Do we think anything is missing? Who does it belong to? Where’s the camera? The fact the radios inside were coming for repair anyway helps alleviate some of the problem. If it is broken, the technicians in the repair facility have a good chance of fixing it. (They are good that way!)

This package happen to have two mobile (vehicle install style) radios inside. Thankfully, it didn’t appear anything was missing or severely damaged. The customer’s paperwork was intact. The radios were checked in, repaired, and shipped back to the customer with in a few days. Yet this box can serve as a good example for those shipping radios in. Here are some points to ponder and suggestions:

  • Mobile radios and other heavy devices can be double boxed (a box within a box) or wrapped well with bubble wrap, to prevent them from banging together or shooting out the side of the box during rough shipping.
  • Use plenty of packing materials to make the box more rigid. Whether you use packing peanuts or bubble wrap, make the package tight. The contents have more of a chance of arriving at their destination intact. (You never know when an elephant might be sitting atop your box during shipping.)
  • Save money! Most carriers now charge by dimensional weight (height x width x length, divided by 1.66 = UPS dimensional wt.) instead of actual weight. To keep shipping costs down, use the smallest box possible, while still maintaining 1″ of packing around your cargo.
  • Remove extra labels when reusing shipping boxes to prevent the box from boomeranging back to you. The box in the example had both a label addressed to the Delmmar Radio Repair Center and a label from when someone else sent the box to our customer.
  • Expedite your repairs by enclosing a copy of the Radio Repair Form and/or a packing slip letting us know who is sending them and pertinent information needed to get the radios repaired and on their way home.

It’s our job, everyday, waiting and watching for those boxes of all shapes and sizes to come in the door. Send us your radios, we will fix them and get them back to you as quick as possible. Thanks!

~cl

I’ve been working on the railroad

well… maybe not all the live-long day, but often enough. The radio repair center works on many kinds of radios and electronic devices associated with 2-way communications. One of the larger and more interesting is the Motorola Spectra Clean Cab Railroad Radio. Large enough to require a handle like a suitcase, these radios were built rough and tough. Ham radio users and railroad enthusiasts have been scooping up the good used ones as they become available, as the larger railroads are replacing them with newer digital style radios. If you want to see one in action you can find one here on youtube. If you are looking for one to buy, check out this one for sale on ebay.

new, small and clever…

Forget the old brick shaped radios. Motorola has recently introduced the SL300 portable radio. Available in either UHF or VHF band splits, your choice of 2 or 99 channel models. This is a new digital/analog radio in the Mototrbo line of radios. It is ultra-slim being less than an inch thick, 4.95″H x 2.17″W x 0.87″D.  In a modern twist this radio features a shatterproof Active View display with LEDs which shine through the housing to give the user radio information. Motorola describes it this way: “Designed for easy and intuitive use, the SL300 has a side volume control, dedicated power button, prominent push-to-talk button, and top toggle channel switch to enable quick one-hand access. Channel “fast toggle” allows users to scroll through 10 channels at a time.” We think this cleverly designed radio is destined to be widely popular amount radio users who are looking for a small, discrete, lightweight radio which can be stowed in a pocket or purse.

~cl

have radio, will travel…

Charging radio batteries can become a problem when away from the office. We’ve seen clients improvise all kinds of devices to charge their radios when away from their home/office. Being this close to Halloween, we can tell you, several of these jury-rigged devices were downright scary! Today, we received good news from Motorola, they will be offering a new Travel Charger for the CP200d and PR400 family of radios.

While some models have had a travel charger available, the CP200 family of radios did not. The new PMLN7089 Travel Charger includes a single unit charging tray, mounting bracket, and cord w/cig. lighter adapter.

While we still suggest users only put their radio on the charger overnight (think of it as putting your radio to bed), there are still times where a charger in a vehicle would be very handy. This little device will take care of that need.

Happy Autumn!
~cl

wet 2-way radio rescue…

We’ve found a new innovative product available to assist in saving a wet 2-way radio or cell phone. It’s the EVAP Rescue Pouch. The manufacturer states it is ” 700% more effective at removing moisture than rice. EVAP contains a unique drying agent that safely removes the moisture from sensitive electronics preventing damage while restoring use — fast!” The kit consists of a specialized ziplock pouch with moisture indicator, 2 large packets of drying agent, and easy instructions. The price of $15-$22 each is less than we expected, considering most smartphone related items start at $29.99.

We received our first one in to look at and we were impressed. It comes sealed to keep moisture prior to use away from the special drying agent. The instructions are simple and concise. The bag is big enough for most modern 2-way radios or a cell phone. (Size:  5.196″W x 6.299″H) In the event your device is too large for the bag supplied you could still use the kit by putting your item in the pouch and then sealing it in a large ziplock bag. The handy moisture indicate on the bag will tell you when it is done in 6-24 hours.

Here at the radio repair facility we see radios coming in for repair daily which have liquid damage. The keep to repairability is getting the device dry and getting it shipped to us as soon as possible. With this new EVAP Rescue Pouch you could even ship it to us pouch and all. It could be drying out on the way here. Such a neat idea we wish we’d came up with it ourselves!
If you are interested in getting an EVAP-bag to have around in case of emergency, just give us a call, 800-872-2627.

~cl