BCD536HP speaker output problem in serial mode

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BigEvil

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First, let me preface this post by giving UPman and his team credit for doing their best to push the scanning hobby forward. I doubt its easy to do so on limited resources in a niche market but they've tried their very best to give us(the consumers) what we want. This rollout has been far from perfect but I know in the end they will do right by us.

Anyway, I'm a new owner of two BCD536HP units and am experiencing another relatively challenging audio problem not previously addressed here (in addition to the known headphone issue etc).

On both of my units, the quality of the speaker out when running the scanner into a computer is OK at best. I'm going to be spending the next week or two troubleshooting various gain levels, computer input levels, boost levels etc but needless to say my 396XT and 996XTs sounded way better in my opinion. (I've been using uniden scanners for 6+ years on my LAPD Feed http://www.broadcastify.com/listen/feed/3711/?rl=rr ) This however is not the problem I'm facing.

I noticed last night, that when using the scanner in serial mode (to take advantage of alpha tags etc...) the speaker output level goes down significantly. For example, when my usb cable isn't connected to the scanner and I'm using it in Scannercast or RadioFeed just directly (no alpha tags) I keep the scanner volume at either 8 or 9 with the input in the computer around 50%(no boost). When the USB cable is connected, and the scanner is in serial mode (regardless of if alpha tag usage is selected or not in the application) the speaker out volume drops so low that I have to crank the scanner volume to 18 or 19 and boost the computer input to 90% (and boost 10%).

Anyone else experiencing this? Needless to say this is very disappointing and concerning. I've now spent well over $1200 on new Uniden Scanners that have almost more problems than new features.....

Any help/thoughts/ideas appreciated
 

WaveJam

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I noticed last night, that when using the scanner in serial mode (to take advantage of alpha tags etc...) the speaker output level goes down significantly. For example, when my usb cable isn't connected to the scanner and I'm using it in Scannercast or RadioFeed just directly (no alpha tags) I keep the scanner volume at either 8 or 9 with the input in the computer around 50%(no boost). When the USB cable is connected, and the scanner is in serial mode (regardless of if alpha tag usage is selected or not in the application) the speaker out volume drops so low that I have to crank the scanner volume to 18 or 19 and boost the computer input to 90% (and boost 10%).
This is confirmed here. Nice find BigEvil. I have a thread open here http://forums.radioreference.com/uniden-scanners/282965-bcd536hp-external-audio-very-weak.html in regards to low volume as well. After reading BigEvil's notes, I tried running the feed without the USB connected and POOF! my audio sounds great. Loud, a bit muffled, but I'll take it. Then I plugged the USB back in and the audio went quiet again. VERY quiet. Simply put, 536HP with USB hooked up = very low audio in the feed. 536HP with no USB hooked up = loud volume in the feed.

I pray the fix to this is firmware and not hardware related. I can't have downtime with no scanner while shipping it back for repairs.
 

NYRHKY94

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I can confirm what the other guys are saying here as I tested my BCD536HP with the newly released RadioFeed from Bob at Proscan as it now supports text tags for these new models. When using the speaker out for the streaming audio, the sound is so low that you can't even hear it. Even after cranking it up, it is still way too low IMO to be useful for an RR feed. When using the preferred headphone jack for streaming the audio, you obviously have the white noise/hissing issue broadcast as part of the stream, so that's not a solution at this point (until the new replacement units are distributed by Uniden).
 

WaveJam

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Now the question is... How do we get UPMAN to see this thread? I believe this is a separate issue, totally unrelated to the headphone jack audio issue. Thats my guess anyways...
 

BigEvil

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one of UPman's best quality's is that he and his peeps actively monitor these threads. I imagine if enough people weigh in with this problem, it'll deserve being addressed by them
 

an39511

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I want to direct you to http://forums.radioreference.com/uniden-scanners/283794-bcd536hp-audio-output-problems.html where I was having a lot of problems with low audio. That thread explains how the rear audio output is different. I can say for me "It is a ground issue" that is causing my audio to drop out. It is quite possible when you plug in your USB cable the shield of that cable is acting as a ground which makes the audio drop out. Hope this helps
 

WaveJam

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Amazing... I spent an hour on hold waiting for Uniden tech support (in hopes of just opening a case related to this issue). When the tech finally answered the phone the answer I get is: "Well, I just hooked up a speaker to mine and plugged in the USB and it works great." and went on to say "Unfortunately I cannot open a case for a problem related to a software issue" Grrrr... ITS NOT A SOFTWARE ISSUE! If it were, my 996XT would have the same issue when I plug it in. Guess I shoulda expected that...
 

an39511

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Amazing... I spent an hour on hold waiting for Uniden tech support (in hopes of just opening a case related to this issue). When the tech finally answered the phone the answer I get is: "Well, I just hooked up a speaker to mine and plugged in the USB and it works great." and went on to say "Unfortunately I cannot open a case for a problem related to a software issue" Grrrr... ITS NOT A SOFTWARE ISSUE! If it were, my 996XT would have the same issue when I plug it in. Guess I shoulda expected that...
One thing I found out that if you plug it into a laptop you will most likely not have a problem. Plug it into any PC desktop (with a grounded plug) and the speaker shorts out.
 

N8JJ

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speaker out

One thing I found out that if you plug it into a laptop you will most likely not have a problem. Plug it into any PC desktop (with a grounded plug) and the speaker shorts out.
I think you are correct. I plugged it into my laptop with no change in the speaker output.
 

N8JJ

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audio out

If it was me I would try an audio isolation transformer like a
Calrad 10-78 to isolate the grounds. About 15 bucks.

Radio has one, but it has RCA plugs, so you would need some adapters.
 

an39511

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isn't this all the same issue that is going to be addressed with the replacements?
I think the reason people are having trouble is because the rear audio jack is BTL. As UpMan commented in the other thread the wiring on the rear audio jack are driven on both sides. What is happening is the jack on the computer uses the shield for a ground and the 536 audio jack does not. It isn't a fault with the scanner, it was designed that way. At any rate you can make it work without too much difficulty.
 

pkneeyahx

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If it was me I would try an audio isolation transformer like a
Calrad 10-78 to isolate the grounds. About 15 bucks.

Radio has one, but it has RCA plugs, so you would need some adapters.
I use that one.. took it apart and soldered it inline with stereo phono cable. works like a champ.
 

BigEvil

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I think the reason people are having trouble is because the rear audio jack is BTL. As UpMan commented in the other thread the wiring on the rear audio jack are driven on both sides. What is happening is the jack on the computer uses the shield for a ground and the 536 audio jack does not. It isn't a fault with the scanner, it was designed that way. At any rate you can make it work without too much difficulty.

can you elaborate on this further? what would the solution be for those of us hoping to plug it into their computer. Obviously the headphone jack is off the table.
 

an39511

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can you elaborate on this further? what would the solution be for those of us hoping to plug it into their computer. Obviously the headphone jack is off the table.
The thread I referenced above has detailed information on how and why the audio jack is different. Later in the thread I wrote out exactly how I made the cable. That cable works without any problems. Others are speaking about purchasing a transformer, which will probably work too but I decided to make my own cable.
 

BigEvil

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Right, problem is that if something goes amiss with this cable then my warranty will likely be voided. I believe UPMAN specifically warned against that.
 

an39511

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Right, problem is that if something goes amiss with this cable then my warranty will likely be voided. I believe UPMAN specifically warned against that.
I agree. If people are incompetent and don't understand what is being explained they should not attempt to do anything on their own. It is better to let others solve the problem for them.
 

vortex360

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I agree. If people are incompetent and don't understand what is being explained they should not attempt to do anything on their own. It is better to let others solve the problem for them.
They are not incompetent for not following your advice. That would be foolish. The experts already advised against it.
 
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