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Motorola DP3400 problems

littlewoman

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#1
At a recent event we had problems with our DP3400. Radio checks were done and all were on the same channel. After some time some users found that several could talk to each other but not to other callsigns. Essentially, it appeared that several people had jumped channel. This was happening on a regular basis and it seemed the only way to cure it was to switch off and switch on again, but even then you might have to try several times to get it to work. This only started happening after the repeater was removed.
Any clues what might cause this. Or more importantly how to prevent it.

We also had problems with batteries running down. Are Li-Ion better than Nickel Hydride? Also, I know the Nickel Hydride are only good for 500 charge cycles but most event radios are hired, so how on earth would you tell how many times they have been charged. Do they also have a time lifespan from the manufacture date?
 

danny56o

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#2
Havent got any ideas on what causes this but it also happens at the site I do most of my work at. It drives the security manager mad they think you are ignoring the radio
 

littlewoman

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#3
Having looked at the manual, I'm wondering if its somehow getting into test mode and the frequency steps are being changed. But its unlcear from the manual if each of the steps described in test mode need to be followed sequentially. If they do that means pressing one of the small side buttons 5 times rapidly just after its turned on and that can't be happening. If it doesn't then that means that pushing one of the side buttons could change the frequency, which would seem a bit mad.
Danny, if you want to test this possibility, try covering up the two round buttons either side of the PTT in a way that means they can't be pressed.
 

danny56o

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#4
Ill try it and see whether it works thanks for the info. Today ive learnt something new :)
 

rhea

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#5
I don't know this radio personally but those side button could be programmed to anything at all by the supplier. Change channel, go encrypted, hi/low power or scan. So you would need to ask the company that supplied them.

If you do not know what they are for or need them as you have already said, tape them up.
 

littlewoman

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#6
I don't know this radio personally but those side button could be programmed to anything at all by the supplier. Change channel, go encrypted, hi/low power or scan. So you would need to ask the company that supplied them.

If you do not know what they are for or need them as you have already said, tape them up.
Thanks Rhea, the problem is that with most events I'm just a grunt on the ground, I can't really ring the hiring company demanding details of the radios supplied. You'd think if the buttons weren't needed they'd program them to do nothing at all, but perhaps that isn't an option. Now I have the manual, I'll take it with me on my tablet (I have a couple of pages printed out). Any luck we'll get the analogue radios instead which I've never had problems with.

It has also occurred to me that if one of those buttons was programmed to encrypt it, it may be that several of us end up encrypted and the others on the same channel unencrypted aren't even hearing a transmission. But I don't know if that's what happens with encrypted signals on digital.

Incidentally Motorolas web page for the UK (it automatically transfers you to the UK page if it detects you're from the UK) only gives you mobile phones and such like. No help available for radios. I even managed to get their US help email address once that did give help for radios and they refused to deal with me because I was in the UK.
 

Visioneer

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#8
Regret no definitive answer.

Need to have a look at the set-up files for the radio kit to see how they're programmed, which the individual user almost certainly can't do. If they're hired, beat up the hire company and get them to check. If they belong to a specific company, someone, somewhere, Facilities management ?, should have the right permissions to access the set-up logs.

As for the battery tech: Are Li-Ion better than Nickel Hydride? : Advantages & Limitations of the Lithium-ion Battery - Battery University

Comes down to how you use them.

V
 

Ivan67

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#9
http://www.motorolasolutions.com/XA-EN/Product+Lines/MOTOTRBO/Portables/DP+3400_XA-EN

Seems like many firms in the UK, Netherlands, Germany, France and Austria hire comms. A friend of mine saw a market in this throughout France about 16 years ago. He was an American soldier and one day he was in Kaiserslautern Germany doing something for the Army and thought he would check out a miliatry auction site for the DOD, turns out Kaiserslautern was the DRMO HQ for Europe and the year before all US Military Police got new radios and turned them in, and around the time he was their the DRMO has five blocks open for closed bid. He put in a bid of 50 USD on each block and about three weeks later found out he won the bid on each block and was now the owner of about 3700+ radios, three times that in batts and about 100 multi unit chargers. All that for 250 bucks, I remember it well because I own a truck and always have, so friends often think that menas I like moving their shit around. At that time I had a Dodge T-Rex with only a 25 foot goose neck but I filled that trailer and drove it back over to Spain where he was stationed at.

He told me that half the batts where no good, all chargers worked and about 90% of the radios where good after he got done with them. He only had about two years left and then he was due to retire and move to France with his wife, his father in law did some sort of event management stuff and after a few months of spending all of his time getting the radios up his father in law was able to get his radios to the people who needed them. He has blown up since then and has a comms contract with mines in Germany and Spain.

Point is perhaps that it a market to explore for some of you in the UK. Purchasing at DRMO is not a hard process, I have purchased many Toughbooks there over the years, 19 John Deere Gators, Stainless Steel Kitchen furniture, three 2.5 ton trailers and one Rib. I only bid very low to flip fast out on the open market. The only trouble I have noticed with them is that with purchasing electronics you know the make and model and it states how many units are there, but everytime I have purchased electronics, there is about 60% more there than what is stated. Same with Stainless Steel, if it states 6 tons of SS then you better bring a truck that can tug 12 tons.

Just food for thought, it is cheap money to be made there and the best part is that the Germans treat Logistcs like the Brits treat security, you can always find someone cheaper. The plus side of it is that you do not pay an import tax because it is already inside the EU, you make your purchase and then DRMO gives you your paperwork needed for the local customs agency, you drive that down to Zöll (German Customs) and they cut you all the documents needed to get that shit in and out of the EU, to include demilitarized paperwork. Have not purchased anything in about 10 months but back then it was €27 I had to pay.

Hope that link helps, saw a White Paper in there from the ACC Liverpool, not sure if it applies.
 

Visioneer

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#10
It's quite common for the batteries / chargers, to be any cheap sh1t, other than Motorola, as companies try to shave a few quid.

Motorola batts are / should, be good for 500 cycles, and if the FM has an eye on them, swap the batteries out when they near end of life.

...then they'll replace them with cheap alternatives, 'cos they're tight. Same with chargers.

V :(
 

M.R.Investigations

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#11
If you are experiencing any problems the first thing to do in my experience is to make sure you are on the latest firmware. This resolves most problems. If one is coming through encrypted then you will hear an encrypted transmission. The radio will not remain silent. Having said that the privacy key should have been programmed into all radios anyway. I once had a problem with the dp3400/3600 radios periodically coming through encrypted even though they were all on the same privacy key. A firmware update fixed the problem and have never had a problem since.

If the side buttons don't have a function programmed then they won't do anything. I don't have mine assigned to high power or low power for the simple reason people forget to switch them back so I leave fixed at high power.

As for batteries I know they are expensive but get yourselves the impres batteries. Anything else is false economy they last for hours. Also get an impres charger to compliment them. We have been using the mototrbo series radios since 2008 and would not consider anything else now. They have been reliable with lots of intensive radio traffic going on do not let us down.
 

littlewoman

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#12
This is a very old post now, but I did find out at a subsequent event that one of the side buttons was to shift the channel up by half a channel. I suspect that this had been done on the radios at the previous one but no-one had told our teams, so if the button was pressed accidentally during handling it was shifting that radio out. Having no holsters just increases the chances of that happening.

As for the batteries, they do have a date code which was the year and week of manufacture (there are images on the internet), so if they are two years old (as ours were) and have been used most days, and hire ones get a lot of use, then they are probably nearly dead. I suggest anyone hiring radios checks the date codes on the batteries and if the are on the old side ask for some new ones as back up. Having most of a night shift on lone positions with no radio with a few hours of shift left is not good! I also think it's wise to check all radios thoroughly (no just a quick radio check) as soon as you get them. Unfortunately in most cases that is the day the event starts!
 

M.R.Investigations

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#13
If you have one of the display models and have impres batteries you can see on the radio when the battery was first used and the service life left.
 

G6 Global Communications

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#14
Batteries and buttons!

I've only just seen this post but you are right MR Investigations, if using Motorola Digital the genuine IMPRES accessories are preferable even though they are considerably more expensive.

As to the previous issue from Littlewoman, I suspect one of the side buttons is programmed with the 'repeater talk around' function. This is used when a repeater fails and, essentially, turns the repeater channel into a simplex (back to back) channel. So this is the most likely cause of the issues you were experiencing.

The DP radios from Motorola are good and reliable, but if you are looking for something with a lower profile, then give me a call on 07768 501775 and I'll talk to you all about the Hytera X1E which knocks spots off of the Motorola in both form factor and performance. Likewise if you ever have any comms related issues, we specialise in working with companies in the security space so just ask a question on here and we will respond.
 

M.R.Investigations

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#15
We have just taken stock of some dp4800 radios which unfortunately have a different antenna connection and therefore won't work with out sma-bnc adapters so we can't use our mag mounts. Do you know of a suitable connector?
 

G6 Global Communications

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#16
DP4800 external antenna

There is a way to do this but it is incredibly complicated and horrendously expensive. As far as I am aware, no adapter exists to screw directly into the antenna connector (but if you discover one I'd be glad to learn about it). To access the RF test port you need to remove the battery, then slide off the upper part of the rear case (the bit with the number and model details on it). You will then see an RF test port sealed with an orange rubber bung. In order to access this you need two specific Motorola parts, both cost in excess of £150 each!! And one of which no image seems to exist anywhere on the web, including the Motorola site!!

But its not too late!! I'd swap out your Motorola's for Hytera if I was you, and I can help with that. Happy to chat about he we can make this work for you with minimum cost and disruption. We can talk part exchange or something similar against any existing radios you may have. Feel free to give me a call on 07768 501775 (Andy Clark). Hytera is the way to go!!
 

M.R.Investigations

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#17
Yes I know of the test port but it looks too "breakable" for my liking. Apart from this these radios as well as my dp3600 and 3400's are perfect for what we need tried and tested, hytera is just another dmr radio and can't see what benefits they offer over the Motorola
 
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