couple of bcd436 questions

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golftango

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hi folks! 73 to the group!~

i think this is my first forum thread i've originated on radio reference although i search in here all the time. and i did try to search these items and wasn't successful.

i've had several of the uniden 'new generation' (?) scanners such as the 396 and 396xt and i run a 996p2 as my base station. i have a bc125 as a portable close call device as i literally wore out my 396xt and haven't found a replacement for it that makes sense.

so i finally 'settled' on the bcd436hp although i'm not at all sold on the 'home patrol' meme. it did have some new tech compared to the portable version of my 996p2. and the 996p2 is, despite me being a comm/computer tech for 45 years, damm near impossible to operate if your memory is going and you want to do anything subtle or advanced. even the simplest operation can be hiding behind 6 levels of menus or take a 'hidden' long press or an unmentioned fn key.

not near my first rodeo with radios and scanners and computers--i've connected more than two dozen over the years through my mac to windows running under vmware, so not much surprises me when i get a new radio in.

but i swear paul optiz hired a team of drunken monkeys to design this thing or else he just mailed it in from aruba. :) i knew about the power, <cough> anomaly before i purchased, but, having used one of the 396s for 15 years i use maha powerex cells and charger and power isn't an issue. but on this 436, when i plug the radio into my usb port with the power off, i get the message 'illegal voltage'. which imo either means the voltage sensor isn't wide enough or that when the power is off, it's trying to charge. but everyone says that it won't charge this way.

i searched and searched and didn't find anything that applied so i called uniden. what a f_cking mistake that was! i got 3 idiots right in line, #1, #2, and #3. the first one couldn't spell my first name. the second one said that the radio doesn't work on a mac and that no one who'd ever called him had gotten it to work. the 3rd one thought he was jesus christ and gave me a sermon about 'bad language'. well, i left him with some new words and gave up on that clown crew. i hope paul knows how badly they're making him look. :)

anyway, that's the first item and the workaround seems to be to be sure to always turn the radio on before plugging in the usb cable. but that means that i can't be charging the batteries and that i have to have live batteries before i can plug it in. if that isn't friggin' insanity, i don't know what is.

the second item is to ask if anyone knows of a step-by-step on how i can replace the factory micro-sd card with a 32gb one. it appears that the uniden software was designed by drunk monkeys as well and that it seems to only talk to the card, not the radio. also, what's the deal with the damm things downloading and updating and massaging the entire rref database to the world's slowest sd card every single time i turn it on or off or breathe wrong? does the dammed radio not have any memory of its own? did they completely cheap out? that's gonna get real annoying real quick.

i hardly ever have to return stuff because i do my homework, but i'm saving the box on this one. it's looking like i should have waited one more generation to try to replace my 396xt. :)

tks, /guy (73 de kg5vt | wqpz784)

[oh, forgot to note that i did get the sentinel software installed and connected the radio and updated sentinel and the firmware and registered the esn in case i want the very pricey dmr update. i think they just went budget everything on this system. the bad part is that, from what i'm reading, if i replace the micro-sd card i'll have to every bit of that over again, is that correct? surely the radio has enough memory to hold its own firmware--if not, that would be a severe logical inconsistency. :)]
 
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UPMan

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1) Illegal voltage means that the input voltage is not within the limits of the "good voltage" detector in the scanner. Or, the "good voltage" detector in the scanner is bad. It might also happen if you have bad batteries, but that could easily be checked by plugging in w/o batteries. If still the warning, then it isn't the batteries.

2) a. Put blank card into card reader (or scanner).
b. Run Sentinel and connect scanner (or card reader) to the PC. Turn scanner on if connecting scanner.
c. Select "Mass Storage" if card is in scanner.
d. In Sentinel: Scanner --> Clear User Data then check "Display All Drives"
e. Select the drive that is the scanner's SD card and then "OK".

c) When I was a CS rep a long time ago, when someone ranted at me using foul (or even if not foul) language I would say "You have one chance to stop and ask me your question or I'm hanging up." If the rant continued I would hang up. They aren't paid enough to have to put up with abuse. I would advise our current CS reps to do exactly what I did 35 years ago. (Caveat to the CS reps: I'm not your supervisor and cannot guarantee that yours shares this philosophy...I may have been fortunate that mine did.)
 

golftango

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aha! look what i found on the 'easier-to-read ....' site:

"Plug the USB cable into the scanner when the scanner is off and "Battery Charge" - "Start Charging? Yes = "E"/ No = "." will display. Press E/yes.
The scanner displays &#8220;Normal Charging&#8221; and charges the batteries according to the "Set Charge Time" setting.
When charging is finished "Charge Complete" will be displayed."

so i'm supposed to get a 'charging' message instead of the illegal voltage one. perhaps it's detecting that my batteries are topped off and refusing to pump any more current into them. i'll see if i can find a set that isn't charged to try that theory out.
 

Drumbum

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Sd card part is easy, get a new one and put it in and connect to sentinel software and restore, I had to do it one time because if you leave it on record and it fills the SD card, its corrupted and SD card bricked, I don't remember the exact procedure but I'm not a computer programmer and if I figured it out you should have 0 problem, as for the charging, yes it is dumb, I always find myself having to leave it off to charge because it will not charge running, yes its insane, I haven't used a bearcat scanner yet that couldn't use someone with common sense testing it and giving their feedback before producing it,, also you will find later that no delay will annoy the Hell out of you when you try to scan full database with GPS or by entering ZIP code, more proof someone with common sense didn't test it, I fixed that by using ARC 536 software and bulk edited by state for a delay, I don't really like sentinel and only use it for firmware and database updates

Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk
 

phask

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And - NO - DMR/Provice is in Firmware, short of replacing one of the main boards, it's always there.


[oh, forgot to note that i did get the sentinel software installed and connected the radio and updated sentinel and the firmware and registered the esn in case i want the very pricey dmr update. i think they just went budget everything on this system. the bad part is that, from what i'm reading, if i replace the micro-sd card i'll have to every bit of that over again, is that correct? surely the radio has enough memory to hold its own firmware--if not, that would be a severe logical inconsistency. :)]
 

golftango

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hey paul! i did smoke you out. i'm sure you don't remember me from when i lived in euless and you helped me with traffic between there and my job in arlington, but you've always been helpful to everyone.

but c'mon, the first cs guy couldn't spell 'guy'? and then disconnected me and hadn't asked for my ph# before my name as should have been the practice. the second guy refused to even talk to me because he didn't believe anyone could run a radio on a mac and i had to just give up on him. and by the time i hit #3 i wasn't a happy camper and said 'jesus' and he took a deep deep offense to that. i have no use for the fundy christians--i've had to live amongst them for 64 years now and they haven't improved a whit. now, if i'd called him a 'f... ing idiot' or some variety of moron, he would have been able to be, if not offended, at least angry and have some justification for hanging up.

tks for the step-by-step on the sd card. i've only had this radio for 90 minutes and that 'uploading database' message is growing on me already--and not in a good way. but i think that i'm only going to use this radio with the default zip-code/location freqs and use close call, so hopefully i won't get more frustrated.

tks agn, /guy (73 de kg5vt | wqpz784)
 

golftango

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Sd card part is easy, get a new one and put it in and connect to sentinel software and restore, I had to do it one time because if you leave it on record and it fills the SD card, its corrupted and SD card bricked, I don't remember the exact procedure but I'm not a computer programmer and if I figured it out you should have 0 problem, as for the charging, yes it is dumb, I always find myself having to leave it off to charge because it will not charge running, yes its insane, I haven't used a bearcat scanner yet that couldn't use someone with common sense testing it and giving their feedback before producing it,, also you will find later that no delay will annoy the Hell out of you when you try to scan full database with GPS or by entering ZIP code, more proof someone with common sense didn't test it, I fixed that by using ARC 536 software and bulk edited by state for a delay, I don't really like sentinel and only use it for firmware and database updates

Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk
tks! yeah, i'm balking at the $40/70 butel price considering this isn't going to be my main scanner and i use the abandonware 'freescan' with the 996 despite it not being as polished as the butel stuff. as i told paul, i think i'm dedicating this one to mostly close call and for mobile use as i purchased the little gps unit for when i'm driving. so hopefully i can get by with just sentinel for critical updates.

i'm trying to pick up something on both my 996 and this one to see if i can tell how sensitive it is, but, go figure, everything has died right around the shift change and i'm out in a rural area so i don't have many channels to monitor from here considering i don't really have a 'real' antenna for even the base unit.

/guy
 
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hiegtx

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aha! look what i found on the 'easier-to-read ....' site:

"Plug the USB cable into the scanner when the scanner is off and "Battery Charge" - "Start Charging? Yes = "E"/ No = "." will display. Press E/yes.
The scanner displays “Normal Charging” and charges the batteries according to the "Set Charge Time" setting.
When charging is finished "Charge Complete" will be displayed."

so i'm supposed to get a 'charging' message instead of the illegal voltage one. perhaps it's detecting that my batteries are topped off and refusing to pump any more current into them. i'll see if i can find a set that isn't charged to try that theory out.
I presume that you are using the USB port on your pc to charge. The scanner should not give you an "illegal voltage" message just because the batteries are not charged. I've connected my 436HP's to either an external USB charger (or wall wart like can be used for a cell phone) with depleted batteries only only get the "charge yes/no" prompt. I would suggest trying a USB charger, like for your phone, if available, or trying a different USB port on the PC.

I'm also presuming you are using the USB cable that came with the 436HP? If using the cable like that for your older scanners, like the 396XT, that plugs into the wrong port.

Since you indicate that you are using a Mac, I wonder if it is giving the correct voltage out through it's lightning or USB C port.
 

hiegtx

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tks! yeah, i'm balking at the $40/70 butel price considering this isn't going to be my main scanner and i use the abandonware 'freescan' with it despite it not being as polished as the butel stuff. as i told paul, i think i'm dedicating this one to mostly close call and for mobile use as i purchased the little gps unit for when i'm driving. so hopefully i can get by with just sentinel for critical updates.

i'm trying to pick up something on both my 996 and this one to see if i can tell how sensitive it is, but, go figure, everything has died right around the shift change and i'm out in a rural area so i don't have many channels to monitor from here considering i don't really have a 'real' antenna for even the base unit.

/guy
Download ProScan and try it for up to 30 days. It is $50.00 to purchase a license, but logging & recording are part of the program without having to update to the higher cost "Pro" version as is the case with the Butel software. Note that ProScan will also handle programming on your other Uniden scanners (396T/XT, 996P2).
 

golftango

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well, got the new card in just fine. but in the process it erased every tweak i'd done since i got the radio. evidently the settings are stored on the card, not on the radio and not in the sentinel software. i pity the fool who wants to juggle cards around. nor can you change them from the software or save and restore them from there, as far as i can tell. there's a reason the butel guy gets a premium price for his software in the past i've always ante'd up and thus i haven't been in a uniden menu system for over 15 years now.

oh well. paul, if you want a new project, give me some firmware so that i can go out with the 436 in 'close call' mode and when i get a close call hit, store it to a text or csv file on the card, offer to let me make a voice recording to accompany it and store that on the card, and if the gps is plugged in, add the location to it. easy-peasy, right? :)

/guy
 

golftango

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I presume that you are using the USB port on your pc to charge. The scanner should not give you an "illegal voltage" message just because the batteries are not charged. I've connected my 436HP's to either an external USB charger (or wall wart like can be used for a cell phone) with depleted batteries only only get the "charge yes/no" prompt. I would suggest trying a USB charger, like for your phone, if available, or trying a different USB port on the PC.

I'm also presuming you are using the USB cable that came with the 436HP? If using the cable like that for your older scanners, like the 396XT, that plugs into the wrong port.

Since you indicate that you are using a Mac, I wonder if it is giving the correct voltage out through it's lightning or USB C port.
yeah, you wouldn't believe the extent of my usb bus running off this mac--i have one usb2 10-port hub just devoted to radios and i have mixed usb2 and usb3 hubs and they don't always play well. so it's possible. besides, i have no need to charge from a pc--i just dislike reading error messages so i'll just have to remember to turn it on before i connect it. i could test the charger theory, but having gotten the radio talking i'm loathe to unplug the cable (which, i might note, is very very non-standard connector although some cameras use it) to try it out.

and many thanks for the proscan tip! i would pay $50 to get a better program than freescan which would support both my 996 and the 436. if i could copy and paste back and forth that would really help me get more use out of the 436. on the ham side i try to use rt systems stuff because you can basically share anything among all your radios. chirp will do this, but without a lot of support for radios i have and with a little more effort.

ok, tks again. i'm going to check that out right now. btw, does it let you change the radio settings from the computer? and it sounds like there's some sort of control module as well and i use that feature on freescan all the time to record a hit log and do recordings.

/guy (73 de kg5vt | wqpz784)

[proscan doesn't support the bc125, but i'm replacing it with the 436 anyway. tks again for that tip--downloading now ....]
 

UPMan

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If you read from the card into Sentinel, then all the settings and setup are in Sentinel. "Write to Scanner" now, from Sentinel. "Clear User Data" reverts the scanner to factory load (but Sentinel still has what you read out of the scanner).
 

golftango

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well, bad luck. at some point in the past i must have tried proscan because when i installed it, it told me the demo period was expired. but with your recommendation, i don't see the downside to giving them $50.

/guy
 

jonwienke

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+1 on the $50 for Proscan being worth it.

All settings for the 436 are on the card, except for the firmware, scanner serial number and upgrade keys. If you swap out cards it's sort of like changing the hard drive on a computer--you can have totally different configurations on different cards.

Get in the habit of making all of your tweaks in Sentinel or Proscan, and writing them to the scanner afterward. It's easier to do than using the scanner keypad, and then you have a backup of all your scanner settings on your computer. If the SD card goes bad, all you have to do is put in a new card, clear user data, and write to scanner and you're back in business.
 

hiegtx

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yeah, you wouldn't believe the extent of my usb bus running off this mac--i have one usb2 10-port hub just devoted to radios and i have mixed usb2 and usb3 hubs and they don't always play well. so it's possible. besides, i have no need to charge from a pc--i just dislike reading error messages so i'll just have to remember to turn it on before i connect it. i could test the charger theory, but having gotten the radio talking i'm loathe to unplug the cable (which, i might note, is very very non-standard connector although some cameras use it) to try it out.

and many thanks for the proscan tip! i would pay $50 to get a better program than freescan which would support both my 996 and the 436. if i could copy and paste back and forth that would really help me get more use out of the 436. on the ham side i try to use rt systems stuff because you can basically share anything among all your radios. chirp will do this, but without a lot of support for radios i have and with a little more effort.

ok, tks again. i'm going to check that out right now. btw, does it let you change the radio settings from the computer? and it sounds like there's some sort of control module as well and i use that feature on freescan all the time to record a hit log and do recordings.

/guy (73 de kg5vt | wqpz784)

[proscan doesn't support the bc125, but i'm replacing it with the 436 anyway. tks again for that tip--downloading now ....]
ProScan can do recordings as long as you have an audio cable connected (same as was necessary on the 396XT, among others).

Of course, you can also use the built in recording feature of the 436HP, but that records all channels/talkgroups. In ProScan, you can individually select channels/TGID's to record, as long as you also have the data cable connected.

The data cable for the 436HP is a "mini-USB". Multiple choices for lengths, as well as right-angle ends, available on Amazon or Monoprice.

At least with the 436HP and your 996P2, you'll be ready for when Abilene transitions from their current ProVoice system to P25 Phase II.

I'll second Jon's recommendation to do your changes on the software. If you update a frequency 'in the field', but don't mirror the change in Sentinel as well, the next time you write to the scanner from Sentinel, your changes get overwritten with older data.
 

golftango

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well, proscan works. i guess. sort of. but unless i'm missing a _lot_ of stuff, except for the control aspect, it's 90% disappointing.

first, you can't seem to change radios. at least not easily. i can't read from the radio nor is there a panel to change settings, much less to read them, change them,, and send them back. the user interface is something only a mother could love--it's horrible even by windows standards.

what has happened to the programmers of america? maybe we should make them all go back to cobol and learn something. you manage to program a user interface in cobol, you've sone something!

unless a buttload of hidden menu items suddenly appears, this proscan program seems useless for anything but a control program with a tiny little display i can't see anyway. and god save your soul you cant use the mouse or the arrow keys, so if you go into the menu system and want to move between lines, you have to make a micro-movement with the mouse on a tiny tiny little circle that i guess represents the control knob on top. that's truly the height of laziness. and even then he hasn't followed his interface meme or he'd have you click that control knob to /enter/, but nooooo you have to go clicking everything to find you need to click the /yes/ button.

i'll see if i can get it to change radios to the 996 and see if it's any better there. but as far as the 436 goes, unless i find some deep documentation and i've missed everything, then it's only useful as a control app and since the power situation is hosed on the 436 and you can't run it from the usb port without removing the batteries, i'd say that's a non-starter.

i spent most of my life as a beta tester in my spare time, so i'm sorry if i'm too hard on programmers, but most of them deserve it!

/guy
 

golftango

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well, you proscan users prove me wrong--please! i don't take the slightest embarrassment from being proven wrong.

how do i read data from the 436? let's start with the easy stuff. the freq database or the setting, either one.

how do i change radios? 90% of the time the menu items for comm port &c arent' even visible. and there's no right-click support. my opinion is that this guy wrote this app back in the 70s and then has been dining out on it ever since. matter of fact, i think i remember running it in dos 3.1!!!! :)

/guy
 

gonefishn1

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well, proscan works. i guess. sort of. but unless i'm missing a _lot_ of stuff, except for the control aspect, it's 90% disappointing.

i spent most of my life as a beta tester in my spare time, so i'm sorry if i'm too hard on programmers, but most of them deserve it!

/guy
You need to take a chill pill. You also need to learn how to use ProScan! I have done everything with Proscan that you cant do. So I suggest you read the manual.
 
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