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Installing a Motorola Maratrac Radio

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#1
I know this has been posted before but it has been awhile and I am a new member. I recently bought a Maratrac off ebay and need any instructions on installing it. If someone has a manual they are willing to share or install instructions I would appreciate it.
 
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#2
Maratrac installation

Don't have an installation manual but the wiring is as follows.

Big BLACK wire to a GOOD GROUND near the drawer unit.

Big RED wire and the GREEN wire to the battery. Large size 40 amp fuse required on the RED wire and a standard 3 amp on the GREEN lead. NOTE! It is essential that the green wire is attached to the same voltage source as the red wire or there will likely be operating problems. The green wire supplies voltage to the receiver and the radio controls and requires a 3 amp fuse.

ORANGE wire is a signal wire to tell the radio to turn on and/or to control the XMIT function and requires a 3 amp fuse. It can be attached to a switched output in the fuse panel or connected at the same place as the GREEN wire if you just want to use the ON/OFF switch on the control head. It should be separately fused for 3 amps either way.

I usually avoid running the GREEN wire to the battery by soldering its fuse lead to the red wire somewhere easily accessible inside the passenger compartment. That way it's connected to the proper voltage source by default.
 
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OpSec

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#4
I would listen to the man above, as he's probably installed more Maratrac's than he can remember...however, I have one lowband unit in service and have never had any issues with the orange and green wires run together, through fuses, to my switched ignition source that is separate from the main B+ red wire. Clearly, your mileage may vary so I'd do it as recommended.

I am moving it into a new vehicle in the coming weeks, so now watch it be an issue since I just posted that it isn't :)
 
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#5
the green wire issue....

It's MotherMoto that recommends the green wire/red wire co-connection for all their products configured thusly. The radio drawer and the control head use a form of binary communication to "talk" to each other. Without getting onto a laborious and technical dissertation on the pros and cons of this arrangement on an obsolete but great radio series, there's simple way to look at it. If there's much more than a few millivolts potential difference in what the radio sees between the voltages on these two wires, there is the strong possibility that noise and voltage spikes riding the potential difference can be sufficient to be interpreted as control signals and cause the radio to do some really strange antics. It's just best to save time and follow the recommendation and not question the lack of sufficient filtering to combat this or a different power source arrangement that would be less susceptible to the interference. The radio is, after all, no longer manufactured and is "out of sight, out of mind" as far as Mom is concerned.

Me? I've had durn few to give a problem over the years, but there were a couple "installed by others" that had caused the installation people and the techs to pull their hair out simply because they had failed to read the installation instructions. The whole issue with these radios isn't really that you've got the green wire connected to a source other than the battery, it's that the radio doesn't see any potential voltage difference between the two wires and the ground is common to both voltage sources. The worst I ever saw was the one on an ambulance that had the red wire connected to the right battery and the green wire connected to the accessory control panel which was tied to the left battery. Add the battery isolator into the mix along with the bum ground connection between the box and the cab and there's no way to describe the numerous intermittent antics that were created by the varying voltages the radio was seeing. Grab 'er, Newt! She's gonna buck!
 
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#6
The worst I ever saw was the one on an ambulance that had the red wire connected to the right battery and the green wire connected to the accessory control panel which was tied to the left battery.
Never saw that on but I can only imagine! My worst are 24v transit buses.

The TX power control runs off of a comparator from different sources. If the green lead voltage varies, it upsets the reference voltage to this comparator and could lead to a full reduction of TX power. Not fun.

My trick is to delete the green lead altogether. I solder a fuseholder to the back of the interconnect board(between pin 4 and the big A+ terminal) then stuff the fuseholder in the space behind the I/C board. The orange lead could then be hooked to any other 12v source. If you would like to switch the radio on and off with the orange lead, hook it to a switched acc point on the fuse block, open the control head up and find JU1003 near the power switch. Remove JU1003 and you are good to go...
 
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#7
Ramal, you're the third person I know of that does the green wire elimination thingie that way. On MaraTracs with the A3 handheld control head, I always did the interconnect board shortcut to make the installation itself less of a pain, and it definitely does make for a neater installation. The other benefit is that because it's inside the drawer unit case, it tends to lessen ways for serious radiated noise (like nasty strobe supplies) to get into the act on the green wire side.
 
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OpSec

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#8
The whole issue with these radios isn't really that you've got the green wire connected to a source other than the battery, it's that the radio doesn't see any potential voltage difference between the two wires and the ground is common to both voltage sources.
That explains why I don't have any issue, because both of my fuse panels that I installed (front and rear in vehicle) that this MaraTrac are powered from the master fuse at the battery. I admit I've never seen a Maratrac install guide, so I just installed it like a Spectra.

The new install it will be used in would require a different method, so I think I'll do green wire mod.

Thanks for info, guys. You should be good to go now, OP.
 
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#9
That explains why I don't have any issue, because both of my fuse panels that I installed (front and rear in vehicle) that this MaraTrac are powered from the master fuse at the battery. I admit I've never seen a Maratrac install guide, so I just installed it like a Spectra.

The new install it will be used in would require a different method, so I think I'll do green wire mod.

Thanks for info, guys. You should be good to go now, OP.
The Spectra and MaraTrac installation guides have identical requirements as far as the red and green and orange wires are concerned, so you did the right thing. Your fuse panels are powered from the same source as the red wire, so that meets the radio's needs as long as whatever else you have connected to the fuse panels aren't huge current pigs and don't generate noises and spikes into the loads on the panel.

The trouble with connecting stuff to car fuse panels instead of creating your own directly connected panel is the vehicle's fuse panel is where all the electrical noises the car generates are directly available for contaminating everything else. The battery itself acts as a filter capacitor and tends to attenuate noises in the vehicles electrical circuits as long as you are directly connected to it.

That green wire mod is looking better all the time for my junk, too. One is already done, so I think I'll take a little time tomorrow afternoon and do the mod on the other two of my three MaraTracs. Nothing like consistency.
 
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#10
That green wire mod is looking better all the time for my junk, too. One is already done, so I think I'll take a little time tomorrow afternoon and do the mod on the other two of my three MaraTracs. Nothing like consistency.
I never understood why Motorola in their finite wisdom even had the green lead if it is required to be connected to the same point as the red lead. It seems they could have tapped it in the radio like the mod does. Maybe it was a hold over from the Micor and Motrac days where the green wire controlled the receiver and the orange the transmitter (tube filaments in the Motrac case).
I lost count of 'other' Maratrac installs I had to go back on where they connected the green and orange together and tapped in to an ignition point in the fuse block. They either didn't know about the jumper in the control head or were too lazy to take the time to clip it. Once the vehicle got a little age and/or they had a lot of accessories running - no transmit power. Since it was intermittent, it drove me nuts until I figured out what was going on...
 
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#11
Yeah, what he said.

The orange wire really amounts to nothing more than a signal wire and as such isn't much affected by where the voltage source is as long as it has a common ground. Seems to me it would have been mo' bettuh to have used that signal wire and then done the whole control option thing with software configurations referencing the wire like the HUB switches were done. I also think the status quo is as you say, carry over from the preceding mobile technologies.
 
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#12
Hey CCHLLM,

I read above but still have questions. I guess it's Maratrac for dummies because you lost me! Now, I have hooked my wiring to the port which is a screw in deal. Then I clipped the wiring into the back of the deck. Now I have thick black and red wires, then small green and orange wires all spliced and the green and orange is twisted together at the end. Off of the deck cabling is my speaker wiring which is attached at the clear white ends but the end going up the wires to the speaker is two cut off butt connecters for the two black wires. Where do I go from here. I am trying to install this in a 2001 Ford F-150 and wanted to use the ignition power on deal. I used this site and tried powering up from his directions but my radio would not work off my Radioshack power supply.

A Quick Look at a Motorola MaraTrac Mobile Radio
 
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#13
Hey CCHLLM,

I read above but still have questions. I guess it's Maratrac for dummies because you lost me! Now, I have hooked my wiring to the port which is a screw in deal. Then I clipped the wiring into the back of the deck. Now I have thick black and red wires, then small green and orange wires all spliced and the green and orange is twisted together at the end. Off of the deck cabling is my speaker wiring which is attached at the clear white ends but the end going up the wires to the speaker is two cut off butt connecters for the two black wires. Where do I go from here. I am trying to install this in a 2001 Ford F-150 and wanted to use the ignition power on deal. I used this site and tried powering up from his directions but my radio would not work off my Radioshack power supply.

A Quick Look at a Motorola MaraTrac Mobile Radio
Wow, you lost me completely. Lets back up.

The Maratrac has four wires to power it up. The thick black wire is ground. You could connect this to the battery negative, but best is to screw it to the vehicle frame. The red lead is the high amp power for the radio, best you hook that to the battery positive. Use a 40 amp fuse. Now the green lead. As stated above this could give you headaches, so to be safe, run it up and connect it where the the red lead is connected (battery). Lastly is the orange lead. You want the radio to turn on/off with the key. OK, route the orange up to the fuse block and tap onto a fuse that is only active with ignition.

Good to go? not quite. Default from the factory, an lack of voltage on the orange only disables the transmit function. You need to split the control head and remove jumper JU-1003. With that removed, now the orange lead will now power down the radio. (Hollar if you need help with JU-1003).

The speaker question I'm not sure about. The speaker leads (black with stripes) come off of the control cable near the control head and have a two pin molex plug. Just plug (or butt splice) the speakers onto these wires.
 
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#14
What he said....

There are only 4 power wires, so surely that can't be stopping you. The two speaker wires are a Black/Green (Audio Hi) and a Black/Orange (Audio Lo). No connectors just means you need to connect the zip cord speaker leads to them with butt splices or male and female insulated spade lugs or similar. I recommend using connectors instead of splices for the ability to disconnect without cuttin off any more of a short pair of leads. The ribbed lead on the speaker zip cord is the Audio HI or + side, BTW, if that matters to anyone. I am an audiophile, so I always observe polarity.

DO NOT GROUND OR SHORT THE SPEAKER LEADS! That will destroy the audio amp and ruin your day.

The mic hanger will have to be grounded or the scan and TPL/DPL subtone (CTCSS) functions won't work.

If your Radio Shack power supply can't easily provide at least a solid 30 amps at a solid 13.8VDC, then you can't transmit. The only thing that will work with a small pretend power supply is the receiver and control head functions and programming.

The VIP plug with the jumper in place has to be in the proper slot next to the mic plug for TX to happen unless the jumper has been put in place inside the control head to eliminate the need for the external VIP plug.
 
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#15
I am going to attempt to install the radio in the truck today. I'm just a little confused to where I hook up the wires. I think ramal121 explained it well, I just need to try it out. The remove jumper JU-1003 I have no clue what that is all about. When I was describing the speaker, one radio set had the speaker butt connected on both wires. The other radio set did not and clipped right together. CCHLLM, if I ground the big black wire to my chassis, do I also need to ground the mic?

I used my RS power supply once to see if this radio would work. I ran the thick wire to positive and the green and orange to negative like they said on that site with no victory.





 
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#16
OK, let's start over.....

Forget anything about ORANGE wire jumpers in the control head for the time being. You can deal with those later.

The Big RED wire is power for the Transmitter Power Amplifier and goes to the Battery + terminal with a fuse at the battery connection.

The Big BLACK wire is GROUND and goes to a REAL GROUND near the radio drawer. NO GROUND, no workee.

The GREEN wire is power for the receiver and control circuits and goes to the same connection point as the big RED wire with a fuse at the connection point. It does not go to GROUND.

The ORANGE wire is a remote switch control function and can go to a switched source such as the IGN or ACC taps in the fuse panel with its own fuse at the connection point. It does not go to GROUND.
OR
The ORANGE wire can be connected with the GREEN wire at the battery with a fuse at the connection point.
IF
The GREEN and ORANGE wires are already twisted together, they can be connected at the battery at the same point as the big RED wire with a 5 amp fuse at the connection point.

Nowhere in any batlabs info does it say to connect the ORANGE or GREEN wires to Negative in a negative ground system. If you did so without a fuse in the lines or a fuse rated higher than required, it is possible that you have damaged something.

The microphone hanger must be grounded for the TPL/DPL and SCAN functions to work when the microphone is on hook. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the radio ground.

The VIP plug must be in place on the back of the control head for the PTT function for TX to work unless a jumper has been installed inside the control head to eliminate the external jumper in the VIP plug.

There are only two speaker leads. The Black/Green and the Black/Orange wires should be connected to the zip cord speaker leads, either through their own original white Molex connectors, or through some other sort of connectors. DO NOT GROUND OR SHORT THE SPEAKER LEADS!

If the radio doesn't work when connected as stated above, then there is a problem we can't diagnose from a distance. You'll need a radio technician familiar with MaraTracs.
 
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#18
How many amps does this radio need to work? I am trying to run this radio off of a 15 amp power supply. The big red, small orange and green are all conected to the positive on the power supply and the big black is on negative. I go to turn the radio on and the channels start counting up higher and the volume starts counting louder and does not stop so I quickly turn the radio off. Am I doing something wrong? The radio used to be in a 2001 Ford F-150, worked just fine. The other radio is in an "88 GMC diesel. He wired them up the same way I am trying to do.

Help greatly appreciated.
 
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#20
I couldnt even xmit. Just turning it on it starts up like that and gets worse so I quickly shut it off. Well, ok, this radio is no longer good for a desk/base unit. I have a Vertex on a 19 amp, the GM300 was on the 15 but now I was attempting to put the Maratrac on that, and I have the Maxar 80 on a smaller amp where i don't transmit on.
 
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