996 Problems & Faults

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bReed11091

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Over about a 1 week period of use, I have discoverd problems and faults with my BCD996T scanner. I would like to get what I feel is the most important one out of the way first.

This is the biggest one I have noticed so far, and I believe it should be given the most attention. Over the weekend, I was travelling in my car for about 3.5 hours with my scanner on. When I arrived at my destination, I took my scanner out of the car, and put it in the house. After I unpacked my car, I went inside, turned on the scanner, and it wouldn't scan. The first screen came on, then the copyright screen. It would just hang on the copyright screen, and do nothing else. When I turned off the scanner, the backlight would go off, however the LCD display would still display the copyright screen until I unplugged the scanner. It would do this both in the vehicle and home. The only available way to fix this problem at the time was to initialize the scanner's memory by holding the 2, 9, and the Hold/Resume key. This caused me inconvenience as it deleted all of my programmed systems, however I figured I would rather have the ability to scan services than do nothing at all.

Another thing I noticed is that sometimes the backlight has a mind of its own. For instance, I would set it to be dim green, and then sometime later on it would be bright green. It does this totally on it's own, and how it does it, I have no idea.

I have also noticed that in the systems list Logic Trunked Radio is read as LT instead of LTR. This should be fixed.

If anybody else notices any problems or has any comment or fixes for problems of my own, feel free to PM me, e-mail me, or reply to this post.
 

Mark01

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Another thing I noticed is that sometimes the backlight has a mind of its own. For instance, I would set it to be dim green, and then sometime later on it would be bright green. It does this totally on it's own, and how it does it, I have no idea.
MY 996 exhibits the same backlight problem it seeems to have a mind of it's own.I set it on Manual via the menu settings and set the light to Low green and over a period of time it will switch to Middle brightness,I've seen it happen by itself without even touching a button on the unit.Setting the light to red does not seem to have this problem.Judging from other 996 owners that are having the same problem this may be a bug,wonder if a firmware update would fix this?
 
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k9gunner

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I just purchased the 996, and i am going on hour number 8 of trying to program it. I am the fleet officer for my police dept. and we were thinking about putting these in all of our cruisers. I can PROMISE that we will never put one of these in our fleet cars. I am so mad that I have waisted 8 hours of my day trying to program this pile of junk, that we will not purrchase any.

I am aware that you should study the book, but if the average citizen cant understand it after 8 hours, there is some design problems in my opinion. I will probably spend the rest of my night off trying to program this, only to tell my admin that it is a $500 paperweight.

Anyone who thinks they can explain how to program this, feel free to PM me.
 

bReed11091

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Firmware could fix just about any internal problems such as the backlight thing. I'm pretty sure that everything I mentioned could be fixed with firmware updates, but I just hope that another version is released soon, and that it covers every known problem plus improves overall performance.
 

iMONITOR

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k9gunner said:
I just purchased the 996, and i am going on hour number 8 of trying to program it. I am the fleet officer for my police dept. and we were thinking about putting these in all of our cruisers. I can PROMISE that we will never put one of these in our fleet cars. I am so mad that I have waisted 8 hours of my day trying to program this pile of junk, that we will not purrchase any.

I am aware that you should study the book, but if the average citizen cant understand it after 8 hours, there is some design problems in my opinion. I will probably spend the rest of my night off trying to program this, only to tell my admin that it is a $500 paperweight.

Anyone who thinks they can explain how to program this, feel free to PM me.
I feel your pain! However, once you forget everything you know about programing scanners, you'll be better off. You really need to start over, from the beginning, because programing a scanner with dynamic memory is a total departure from what we're all used to. I found I could relate to it better by comparing it to how folders, and files are arranged on a computer hard drive. Then I did a little reverse engineering on some existing preprogrammed systems, so I could relate to what was a group, a system, etc. Then you get into Quick Keys, which are similar to pushing bank buttons. A lot of the complexity of programming comes with the extended features of the scanner. Kind of a necessary evil.

Before you give up, try downloading Butel's software, ARC996, and see if that helps.
 
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k9gunner

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Ok, i tried the free version, and just figured out how to download from the database here on RR whenit quit working. It said it did not detect my scanner. Should I just buy it?
 

iMONITOR

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k9gunner said:
Ok, i tried the free version, and just figured out how to download from the database here on RR whenit quit working. It said it did not detect my scanner. Should I just buy it?
I can't remember if the RR database download works with the trial version of Butel's software. Are you connecting the scanner to a serial port on your computer? In the ARC996 software, click on the BCD996T pull-down menu, then click on RS232 Communication Setup, then click on AutoDetect Scanner. See if that works.
 

k9gunner

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I just purchased the softwre, it seems to be working now. Just trying to learn how to map everything out in the software. How do you see the "banks" or whatever they are in the scanner? I currently have 3 in I think.
 

benjaminfs733

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Backlight

I believe that the back light will change when the volume button is pushed. Could it be that you are pushing it in by accident? I have noticed that I do this on occasion when I adjust the volume and it will change my backlight.
 
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iMONITOR

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k9gunner said:
I just purchased the softwre, it seems to be working now. Just trying to learn how to map everything out in the software. How do you see the "banks" or whatever they are in the scanner? I currently have 3 in I think.
OK, here again you have to forget about "banks", and start thinking in terms of Systems, and Groups. A system would compare to a bank. When you create a new system, you should assign a "Quick-Key" to it. A Quick-Key is similar to pressing a bank button. So if you have a system labeled Sheriff, you could assign Quick-Key #1 to it. Then when you're in Scan mode, pressing key #1 will toggle that system (aka bank) on, and off.
 
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iMONITOR

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Hopefully k9gunner is happily listening to his newly programmed scanner...or maybe he fell asleep? :confused:
 

UPMan

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If you don't turn off the power using the power switch, when power cycles (by losing then restoring power at the power jack) the b/l will revert to whatever setting it was on the last time you turned it off using the switch.
 

mancow

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I have never had a single incident with my back light or with the radio seizing up. I too wonder if people are hitting the button by accident. Personally, I find the programming to be straight forward and simiple. At least you don't have to remember a ton of stupid FUNC + whatever number commands as you do with the 96 or 2096. I find those to be a nightmare.
 

Jay911

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I've had no problem with the backlight nor the radio seizing up, and I have a nasty habit of cutting power to the scanner without turning it off (as my car only provides power to the p/p socket when running). For those whose scanners are changing the brightness all by themselves, I respectfully suggest you check and see if the three-pronged jack on the back of the scanner isn't being shorted by something. One of those pins is intended to be to measure the dashboard brightness of your car, so that your scanner will match the bright/dim of the rest of your car. If you're not using that cable, it's possible that something could be touching that connector.

As for the scanner freezing, my first thought is that the scanner doesn't like having power removed without shutting it down first - it's akin to just pulling the power cord out on your computer rather than choosing Shut Down from the menu. Besides that, you may have a defective radio. Law of averages requires there to be some in every build.

And for the fellow contemplating putting them into police cars.. although I've never understood the draw towards scanners instead of professional mobile radios, if I had to put a scanner in any emergency vehicle, this is the one I'd go with. The issue is programming it and setting it up properly. My biggest issue with the scanner right now is that banks don't stay locked when I want them locked - and I can tell you right now, that's because I haven't read the manual properly/fully. One day maybe I will, and solve my problem. You and I both know if you are going to put a scanner in an emergency vehicle, it is going to have to be just about foolproof - most first responders are NOT of the mindset to be messing about with various features on the go. They just want to be able to, say, push '4' and get $next_agency_over's comms. Take advantage of the scanner's design/behavior in programming your banks, even if it's not maximizing the potential of the scanner. And I've yet to find a reason to shell out money for scanner software for either the 396 or the 996, since the (free) UASD software came out. It's about as simple as you can make it - I arrange my freqs in a spreadsheet, then cut & paste into the UASD table, and hit Write to Scanner. I don't need to buy someone else's program overloaded with excess options and designs. Then again, I'm the kind of guy who programs his 780 and 250 by using a spreadsheet to write a text file of the proper commands, and then send it to the scanner using Hyperterminal. :) Anyway, I think if you take another look at the scanner and its manual, and UASD, you'll find it much more appealing than before.
 

Mark01

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I too wonder if people are hitting the button by accident
I just tested that theory.I turned on my 996 that is hooked up to the supplied Uniden AC adapter.I set the light to Low green using the volume to tap it to low.I left it unattended so there was no issue of anyone touching a button or knob on the unit.
When I came back 15 minutes later the unit had moved up two levels and now was on High Intensity Green.If I tapped the Vol knob the next cycle was Medium Intensity Green so it seems as if the scanner thinks it's still in the Low Intensity mode.
 

mancow

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I guess that proves it then. Maybe the power supply is defective and the power is fluctuating causing problems. Or, maybe it's just defective. That is strange.
 

mikewazowski

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My backlight has a mind of it's own as well. The scanner is never shut off and I'm not changing it.

As Mark01 says, the backlight still thinks it's on the previous setting.

I've heard of one other scanner locking up on the copyright screen. The reset solves it but it must be reprogrammed afterwards. It's going back to the store for an exchange.
 

iMONITOR

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The back-light problem is real, and Uniden is aware of it. I bought a 996 when they first became available. Mine developed the problem two days after I had it. My local dealer replaced it, and Uniden told him they were aware of the problem and to send the defective unit back. Around that same time, there were a few other instances being discussed.
 

DaveIN

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bReed11091 said:
I have also noticed that in the systems list Logic Trunked Radio is read as LT instead of LTR. This should be fixed.
As for LT being displayed for LTR that is correct. MO is displayed for Motorola, and ED is for EDACS. You can manually change it to whatever you want, so you could go back and change LT to LTR if you like.
 
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DaveNF2G

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For the public safety users, perhaps it would be helpful to recall that some two-way mobiles are capable of being set up with different "personalities" so that the same radio can be used in different geographical areas with varying channel configurations. Basically, in scanner terms, the same frequencies are programmed in several times, but with different CTCSS/DCS, priority, and lockout settings. Channel labels can also differ for the exact same frequency settings from one region to another.

Try conceptualizing the 996's systems as personalities and see if that helps with design and programming for emergency use.

Also, the absolute best way to program any of the new dynamic memory scanners is by computer.
 
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