batterybulgedtrScary 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. The customer has chosen to have their DTR650 radio repaired (flat rate $85) 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 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 good name brand battery from a reputable radio dealer. Choose good quality Li-Ion or NiMH batteries instead of Li-Polymer.

~cl

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.battdatecodes

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.)
For more details see this PDF: Battery Date Code Sheet

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.

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

cellphone vs radioWe often are asked by friends, family and clients about the status of 2-way radio in a world where everyone seems to be carrying their own personal communications device, a cell phone. Here are some of our thoughts and thoughts of those in this industry concerning this subject.

Most people would admit they could not function without their smart phone, the computer attached to your hip. But in reality, as a communications device, a cell phone is still a device for making a phone call to another person. You dial a number, let it ring, wait for an answer, hope to talk to the person you are calling, possibly leaving a voice message. The process takes at least a minute of your time or more just to connect. And following this routine, you may end up having a conversation for several minutes.

When using a two-way radio you simply press the push-to-talk (PTT) button and instantly speak to your group (or one-to-one depending on your radio system). You can give a brief message or instruction, receive an immediate response and finish your task accordingly. The entire process typically takes a few seconds. It is fast and efficient, saving time and money. In the realm of public safety and businesses such as construction, it can save lives. In addition, radios are highly effective in high noise environments, built rugged for long-term use, offer an intuitive one-touch user interface, and feature a battery designed to do a full day’s work.

Nearly all business models of two-way radios are repairable and have replacement battery packs available. The life expectancy of a two-way radios is up to 10 years, with many exceeding this mark.  Computing the cost of purchasing a typical business 2-way radio (Motorola CP200) over 10 years including replacement batteries every two years and 1-2 repairs, it would calculate to under $10/month to own/operate the radio. Much less than the overall cost of cellular for the same time period.

Cellular devices are generally speaking rather fragile. The majority are too lightweight for work environments. Battery packs are often non-replaceable.  If you talk to those in the cellular industry, you will find the life expectancy of a phone is about two years. At the 2-year mark, the cell carriers are ready to make a deal with you where you can get the next model “free” or inexpensively to keep you as a client. The industry is reliant upon the monthly fees we all pay. We’ll let you do the math on what a maintaining a cell phone will cost you over the course of 10 years.

Radio communication is instantaneous with the simple use of a PTT button. The person needing information  receives it quickly. Requests for assistance are heard by everyone monitoring the frequency. This is essential in many industries and especially in public safety. Radios designed for public safety can also have other features such as an emergency button or a mandown feature where the radio will notify dispatch of an officer who is no longer vertical. In construction when giving instructions to a crane operator PTT radio technology is the quickest form of communication.  Think about restaurant hostesses or retail clerks communicating with others on their team. This type of communication is done more efficiently using a radio versus a cell phone. It would be hard to imagine the public safety or business world without 2-way radios.

Cellphone & CP200 side-by-sideAnd up to now we haven’t mentioned the downside of using a cellular device instead of a radio, things such as surfing the web, playing games, making personal calls, just aren’t a problem when businesses use two-way radios for their onsite communications. So when choosing between using your smart phone and 2-way radios, you can see where the two devices differ both in features and overall long term cost. Both have their place where they can work to the best advantage. It’s up to you as a business person to choose your communications device wisely. ~cl

Our customers in the Nursery and Greenhouse business are starting to prepare for Spring. Radios which had been set aside from last season are beginning to arrive at the radio repair center to be tuned up and repaired for the busy season ahead.Spring Motorola Radio Repair

Many in the growing industry use push-to-talk radio technology instead of cellular for on-site communications. A variety of reasons include: two-way radios are dedicated primarily to voice capabilities, which support immediate person-to-person and group communications; and while smart phones provide many features and Apps, it is the simplicity of two-way radio that makes it attractive for situations where simple communication is important. Simply push the button and talk! It’s easy with no learning curve, or games and Apps to get distracted.

Two-way radios are designed to be rugged, and take the punishment of a 40-hour work week. Nearly all models are repairable and have user replaceable batteries. This is why many nursery and greenhouse owners rely on basic push-to-talk technology to save the steps of many workers while providing communication throughout their facilities. One of our growers explained one increased productivity benefit this way, “You don’t have to worry about an employee calling or texting his girlfriend on his radio… unless she is an employee too.”  Guess that can be listed as another side benefit of 2-way.

So this is your reminder to check your radios over before the busy season and get them in for repair if needed. Also, now would be a great time to replace batteries during the Bulk Battery Deal. If you order at eradiostore.com during February 2014 use the discount code ITSNEW at check-out to get a nice discount.

~cl

 

CP200d_frontThe 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

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

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

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