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Uniden 396 illegal voltage

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billy245

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My 396D has been giving me the signal "illegal voltage". When this occurs, the radio won't turn on. It has been doing this about half the time. I have 3 rechargeable 1.2V AA batteries in it and my switch is on NiMH. However, when I plug in my DC cigarette lighter cord, the illegal voltage display goes away and the radio will start no problem and stay running even while I take the cord off of it to run just on the batteries. I have tried several charged batteries so I know it is not low power.
I tried 3 AA alkaline batteries, and with the switch turned to Alkaline and got the same illegal voltage display. Ofcourse I did not hook up the DC cigarette lighter while this was on Alkaline.
So it seems that if I "jump start it" with a Cigaretter lighter cord, the problem goes away.
Any suggestions? Anyone else have this problem?

Billy
 

pmsar35

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Do you have more than one Uniden charger? I know I got that message when I accidentally plugged my BC246T adapter into my BCD396T.
 

billy245

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no. it does it without anything plugged in.. Just with batteries...
 

DaveIN

Founders Curmudgen
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Once you jump start it, when you press the scroll control down once, what does the battery voltage say with, and without, the adapter plugged in?
 

billy245

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It is working at this time but I will check as soon as it does it again...
 

nycirnwrkr

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Jun 28, 2006
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Location
Woodstock,NY
Illegal Voltage for my 396

I have recieced this message too...it turned out to be the charging unit not working. but i got a second unit to replace it and it seems to have burnt the second unit out also....this time the whole unit goes back. it seems like the scanner is drawing more amperage than the charging unit are capible or the sensor circut that senses the over all chrging isnt working in the scanner itself...in any event it going back in all the boxes i recieved it in..sigh
 

drsouth

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I had a similar problem, on mine it turned out the diode that's underneath the black epoxy next to the power connector inside the radio went out. Luckily, mine was at the 9 month mark, and was still in warranty.

Turned out, the rectifier diode (chip type, very small) popped. When it did, mine would still power up on batteries, but would not charge them, nor run off of external power source, "Illegal Voltage". The Uniden Tech said that this could be caused by running "under-rated" batteries, which he has seen when the batteries of lower amperage start to peek out from charging, they get hot and can cause this.

I tried to get him to elaborate, since what he was describing sounded like thermal runaway, he wouldn't... I also said sounds like the diode works as a fuse in case of accidental reversed polarity, I assured him that was not the case with mine, I've only used the charger that came with the scanner. He only said that if it happens again to send in the wall charger and the batteries with the unit next time. *sigh*

At any rate, I hope this helps. I was pretty upset over mine doing similarly what you describe, the repairs done to mine were very straightforward, the tech somehow ground down the black epoxy to the surface components, and replaced the diode.

This is a link to how I filed my repair claim at Uniden:
http://www.uniden.com/repair/info.cfm

Let us know what you find.

David
 

VHFSMR

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Mar 22, 2006
Messages
7
check the voltage of your cig lighter plug. It should be between 5.8 & 6.0 volts only or you will get this message.
 

joetnymedic

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May 30, 2003
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Location
West Haven, CT
guess that explained what happened to my bc296. Funny thing is they fixed it, sent everything back to me including a new antenna, and wall charger for some reason but forgot to send me my battery pack. Good thing is they sent me a new pack as soon as I let them know. They checked and I guess found the pack and sent it right back to me. Tell you this much - Uniden did me justice, when got my scanner back from repair, it worked better than when I bought it new. I love my 396, but I use both the 396 and the 296 daily.
Joe
 

alwayslookin

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Nov 22, 2007
Messages
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Location
Southern Indiana
Ok I bought my 396xt scanner back in February from scannerworld I accidently pluged up the wrong charger to it needless to say I smelt something burning and unplugged it real quick but not quick enough so now I get the Illegal Voltage message on the screen. The scanner works fine on batteries but wont work at all while plugged in. Is this fixable and is it covered under any warranty if not does any know an estimate on how much Uniden will charge to fix it? Thanks for any help.
 

alwayslookin

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Nov 22, 2007
Messages
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Location
Southern Indiana
Thanks Upman the alot better than having to buy a new scanner although I will prob next month hopefully about this tiime. LOL. any ways when I got home today Strange thing happend I plugged the correct adapter the one that came with it this back in and now its working again. I still plan to send it in just to be on the safe side though.
 

KD4UXQ

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Dec 24, 2004
Messages
223
Ok I bought my 396xt scanner back in February from scannerworld I accidently pluged up the wrong charger to it needless to say I smelt something burning and unplugged it real quick but not quick enough so now I get the Illegal Voltage message on the screen. The scanner works fine on batteries but wont work at all while plugged in. Is this fixable and is it covered under any warranty if not does any know an estimate on how much Uniden will charge to fix it? Thanks for any help.
I did the same thing about a year ago. Plug and cord of my 12V Yaesu adapter looks the same. That plug now has some red tape on it. It popped a surface mount resistor near the power jack. The component density in that are is very high and difficult to get to without the right soldering station. I have the skills but no longer access to the tools. Not being sure if there was any other damage I might find and no schematic available, I sent it on for the $50 repair. Got it back in 2 weeks repaired.

It was well worth sending it in! No need for extended warranties with that type of repair service available.

Paul,

I bought a Uniden MHS75 Marine Handheld off eBay a few months ago. When I got it, the radio would not produce more than about 1mW, but receives. I took the back cover off of it, and although it is a submersible radio it was evident sea water crepted into the radio and onto the edge of the PCB. The seller refunded the purchase and told me to keep it. I have used it as a receiver, but I wonder if it is repairable under the $50 plan.
 
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oldsarge

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May 7, 2003
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Location
Olathe, KS
I get that error whenever I use a charger that has difference specs than the scanner. The problem with us with multiple systems are the many chargers we have to contend with, not so much with car chargers as long as it fits the scanner. Now pull out all of your AC chargers and tag them for the equipment they are used for. You can do this by looking at the output voltage on the charger and input voltage on the device. They must match. Don't worry about amps as much. Radio Shack sells a multitude of chargers with multiple voltages and plugs fairly cheap. My problem is that I always lose my plug. If Uniden and Radio Shack would make multiple AC voltage devices, the problem will go away or at least make universal chargers for all scanners.
 
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