radio ran overIt 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

WalkieMonkey_smlThe 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

1 Oct, 2015

BPR40 radioSomewhat 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

2-way mobile radio repairSome 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

railroad-radiowell… 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.

wet radio rescue…

12 May, 2014

Wet Electronic Device 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 $15.25 each is less than we expected, considering most smartphone related items start at $29.99.EVAP Rescue Pouch

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!

We spoke tips for wet radios in this previous blog post.

~cl

 

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

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