Do scanners generally have a long shelf life? ( especially digital?)

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AlphaDelta10

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I've had my Uniden BCD396T since 2007 and listen to it almost every day for hours. Last night I was getting out of my chair and spilled coffee on it and it went in through the speaker. Still works fine but it made me wonder how long scanners, especially digital ones if that makes any difference, are supposed to last?
The digital ones are CRAZY expensive and I'd hate to have to buy a new one anytime soon. I have never dropped mine in 5 years. The only thing that has ever happened to it would be the coffee incident last night.
 

W2NJS

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Digital receivers are known for their long life as long as they're not physically abused. You may have to replace a speaker but that's not a huge deal. The general procedure for an HT that gets dropped in a storm drain or in the mud is to take it apart and wash it out with warm water, dry it as much as you can, and then let it sit in a warm place to get thoroughly dry. Now, if you run over it with a vehicle you'll probably have a bad outcome but that you'd expect that anyway.
 

wyomingmedic

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Scanners are no different than any other electronics. It is not like food rotting. Minimizing mechanical shock and temperature extremes will help keep things working well.

That said, components do have a lifespan. Could be 100K hours or could be 10K hours. As they age, they can change values which may degrade performance. Eventually, everything will fail.

If I had to just take a stab at it, I would put it like this. If you bought a new scanner tomorrow that you didn't drop, use mobile (Mechanical vibration is hard on stuff), kept fairly temperature constant, on a well regulated power source, I would expect it to last longer than the technology itself. As in, the scanner will be obsolete before it fails.

Or you could have a crap individual component that takes a poop way earlier than spec.

WM
 

W6KRU

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IMHO, The bathtub curve is a pretty good way to represent the failure rate of electronic components. This should be a fairly long period of time with the type of components used in today's scanners if the scanner makes it past the early life failures. The Medics statement that the technology will be obsolete before electronic failure should be accurate. One accident though and that all goes out the window.

Here is a link that explains the bathtub curve: Bathtub curve - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

KR4BD

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If you take care of your scanners by keeping them dry and away from extreme temperatures, they should last a long time. Dropping them doesn't do them any good, either. Several of my scanners were bought in the early to mid 1970's and they are still fully operational. My Pro-2004 bought in 1987 still works fine although the back light failed last year.
 
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rwier

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I've had my Uniden BCD396T since 2007 and listen to it almost every day for hours. ...........................................
The thread title mentions shelf life. To me that would be the time prior to 2007 (if you got it new).

My personal experiences with the expected life span of scanners is that:

If you turn them on, and leave them on, they will last until you find them to be obsolete for your interests (or, thinking way back, until one's financial situation changes). I had a radio (not sure if it qualified as a scanner, it might have been tune-able). With the exception of power outages, it blabbered away bedside for more than 18 years. About that time my financial situation improved and I gave the radio to my mother. In my opinion it was as good as the day I bought it. My mother never turned it on.

Rob
 
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tampabaynews

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I still have a old school Bearcat given to me by my grandfather 15 years ago, who knows how long he had it before that.
 

57Bill

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I don't know about digital scanners, but I have a few analog scanners that are over 30 years old, and they can still perform.
 

ratboy

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I've seen a bunch of 40 or so year old scanners that still work fine. With handhelds, in my experience, if they make it past the first couple of days, they usually last until...well, I don't really want them anymore. my Pro-43 went through a bunch of keypads, a BNC connector, and a speaker in the nearly 20 years I had it, but the radio itself had no real problems. It looked terrible, all shiny from finger wear, the LCD had a million tiny scratches in it, but it worked fine when I sold it on ebay.
 

MTS2000des

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that is so true. that nicotine skank coats circuit boards, attracts dust=static electricity=electrostatic discharge=early death. the same sludge gets into keypads, controls, fogs display windows, and in general leaves a nice, urine colored tinge to the unit. Ever seen the inside of smokers' computer? Yuck.

As far as how long a scanner will last, I still have my first scanner, a Radio Shack Pro-2020, made in 1982. I was 7 when I got it. It still works as good as it did ever (though not much to listen to on wideband analog, so it's been relegated to HAM and Aircraft monitoring). Last I put a service monitor on it was in early 2003, and it still met factory specifications. But this unit has always been used indoors, away from smoke, heat and the elements.

The biggest points of failure are electrolytic capacitors. As they age, they fail. Usually causing erratic operation, VCOs to unlock, audio problems. Good news is they are cheap and especially in older equipment, fairly easy to replace if you're comfortable with a soldering iron. Newer equipment (made in the last 20 years or so) is usually crammed full of surface mount parts. Servicing these requires much more skill and to do it right, expensive SMD soldering/rework equipment.
 

kd7rto

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If a radio is submerged, chances of it ever working again are not good. Within a few hours, as the water starts to dry, the circuit boards start to display a nasty white powder all over them. Game over. Getting the radio completely disassembled as quickly as possible, and sprayed thoroughly with electronic parts cleaner is your only hope. Isopropyl alcohol might work, if that's all you can come up with.

If you're not confident in your ability, you need to immediately head to the nearest 2-way service shop. Their rates won't be cheap, even a can of electronic parts cleaner costs plenty, but it beats the price of a new radio.

Whatever you do, do not try to clean electronics with water.
 
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Go-West

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I own two of the BCD 396T's and bought the first one in 2005 when they first came out. I bought a second one in 2006. The first one had some hardware issues, but I sent in to Uniden and they repaired it for me for only $20. Both are still working fine and use them regularly.
 

CoolCat

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I have owned several scanners over the years and have never had one fail on me. The oldest scanner I still own is a Radio Shack Pro-90 that runs 24/7 as a feed scanner.
:)
 

jim202

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The old issue of spilling your drink into any electronics will kill them for sure. I have worked on countless radios from both police and fire that have had the common drink they are addicted to spilled into the control head or front of a dash mounted radio. In short time, the circuit traces start to be eaten up and go away. Might take a couple of weeks or more, but it will happen. Bottom line, the radio will stop working down the road.

If you spill something into any electronic device, get it flushed out as soon as possible and cleaned by someone who knows what they are doing.
 

jaspence

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Scanner life

I have a small collection of amateur 2 meter and 440 mhz walkie talkies that date from the mid 1980's to the present. The older ones still work as well as the newer radios, and they have had no special treatment other the the previously mentioned cautions.
 

mikemey

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I have an 895xlt that's about 10 years old that still runs great.

It's a shame what I paid retail for it compared to what I might get for it now. :/
 

57Bill

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I knew a guy back in the day (1965), who dropped his Lafayette C.B. radio in the lake. He fished it out and opened the cabinet and "emptied" as much water out as he could. He then placed it into his gas oven with only the heat afforded by the pilot. After two full weeks, he fired it up. It worked! I don't know for how long.
 
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